A-to-Z Challenge

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The month of April is around the corner and is special for us bloggers because it’s the Ultimate Blogging Challenge called the #A-to-ZChallenge.com  I am participating in this event along with many of my WordPress friends and today is the theme reveal.  For me the theme is NO THEME 😛

Starting April 1st, each day except for Sundays are represented by a letter from the alphabet.  Instead of following a particular theme, I will write about whatever inspires me on a daily basis because I have a wide variety of interests, loves and even dislikes 😉

I know hard to believe right?

Get ready for some interesting stuff heading your way on April 1st beginning with the letter A 🙂

See you then,

 

Much Love,

Jen ❤

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Love More By Caring Less. Huh?

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I love my friends they are my rocks in life.  We lean on each other in times of trouble and in times of laughter so much to the point where we offer each other advice on everything.  It doesn’t always mean we take the advice from each other but it is very comforting knowing we’re all in this together with big open hearts and love.

Friends often give each other advice even when we don’t ask for it.  It’s because we care so much and don’t like to see our friends suffering so we try to brainstorm a solution for them right there on the spot, I know I am also guilty of trying to fix a situation. This can be interpreted in two different ways, one that it is being done out of love and protectiveness or two, they are controlling, judging and criticizing everything you do.

I can understand why someone might think about it in the second example because it may come across like an attack and they aren’t accepting you as you are.  “You need to change.”  Change is scary and when we’re scared, we get defensive.

Now imagine if I said to you “Well *friend* I just love you.  I don’t care what happens to you.”

Huh???

Does this statement make you feel more relaxed, less anxious?  To some, it may come across as something cold but if I were to translate it to mean, “I really don’t care what happens to you, no matter what you do, I won’t love you any less.”  Real love comes from people who are both totally committed to helping—and able to emotionally detach.

Try this example; think of someone you love but causes you to feel angry, sad or anxious.  Now write “If ________ would only ____________ then I could feel ______________.”  Now scratch out the first part of that sentence so only this remains; “I could feel _______________.”

Yes, your lovely friends’ cooperation would be lovely, but you don’t absolutely need it to experience any given emotional state. This is incredibly hard to accept—it would be so easy to feel good if others would just do what we want, right? Nevertheless, you can feel sane even if your crazy-making friend stays crazy.  This is the key step to loving without caring.

We need to find our own ways to be happy and not depend so much on other people, especially the undependable ones!  Even if all your lovely friends remain insane forever, it’s still possible you’ll find opportunities to thrive and joys to embrace.   The bottom line is that we are powerless over other people and when we can accept that hard fact, that’s when we start creating our own happiness.  There are days when it feels like a non-stop cha-cha where it’s one step forward and two steps back but you have to trust yourself and your friends.  It’s all in the power of letting go of control and loving more.

One day it would be nice to hear “Friend, I love you unconditionally—I don’t care what happens to you.”  This is the kind of loving and uncaring friend we should all have in our lives.  The one who lets us be who we really are, to be free to do and choose what we want.  Live and let live, love and let love.  And in the end they will love us till the day we die no matter what.  As you support your friends this way, maybe they will mirror the same support back to you.  Either way you can be happy so what do you care?

At the same time, if you disagree then I lovingly and respectfully do not care 😛

To all my loving friends out there ❤

 

So much love to you all,

 

Jen 🙂
xoxo

 

 

 

 

Sexual Health-Know The Risks, Enjoy The Benefits

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Now that I have your attention, I’m about to have a serious conversation with you from a nursing perspective and the area of work I am in which is Women’s Health.  In honor of International Women’s Day I thought this would be a good post to put out there today.

In North America, regular screening for cervical cancer in women is done on a proactive, preventative basis instead of on a reactive one.  In Canada, depending on which province you live in, this type of screening can be anywhere from every year to every three years.  In Ontario where I work, it’s every three years for women to have their regular pap test done.  There are exceptions which I will get to shortly.

What is a pap test?

A pap test is a routine screening test done during a vaginal examination to check for abnormal cells on the cervix.  A speculum is placed in the vagina and a sample of cervical cells is collected using a soft brush.  The specimen is then sent to the laboratory to be examined under a microscope.  When all cells are normal, the pap test result is normal.  An abnormal pap test result means some of the cells on the cervix did not change normally and there is some abnormal growth in the cells of the surface layer of the cervix.  This is called dysplasia.  If these cells go undetected and continue to grow, they may develop into cervical cancer.  This is the reason why regular screening is crucial for women.

What does an abnormal pap test mean?

It can mean one of six things.

ASCUS – (Atypical Squamous Cells of Undetermined Significance)
This means there are mild changes in the cervix and the test detected some abnormal cells.  It may be caused by something as minor as an infection, irritation, inflammation or thinning of the vaginal tissue in perimenopause or menopause.

LSIL – (Low Grade Squamous Intraepithelial Lesion)
Again, mild changes detected with some abnormal cells.  However, these changes are related to the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)

ASC-H – (Atypical Squamous Cells, Cannot Exclude High Grade Intraepithelial Lesion)
Some abnormal cells cause by moderate to severe dysplasia.

AGC – (Atypical Glandular Cells)
Some abnormal cells of glandular type that may be arising from inside the cervical canal.  Patients here require a surgery called a Cone Biopsy

HSIL – (High Grade Squamous Intraepithelial Lesions)
Moderate to severe dysplasia, precancerous lesions are present.  Patients here require surgery called a LEEP

Adenocarcinoma – Cancer of the Cervix

When patients have an abnormal pap with their family doctor, they are referred to a Gynecologist who specializes in Colposcopy which is further testing of the abnormal cervical cells.  I work with an amazing Obstetrician/Gynecologist, Dr. Constance Ling, MD, FRCSC

What is Colposcopy?

It is similar to the pap test except that once the pap is complete, vinegar  4% is sprayed onto the cervix to highlight any abnormalities that might be there.  After waiting a minute the Dr. looks through the colposcope at the cervix.  The colposcope looks like a microscope on wheels.  If there is a need to take a biopsy, it is done at that time and sent to pathology for examination.  Results can be any one of the six listed above and if necessary a future surgery can be booked to remove the abnormal cells and tissue.  Patients are closely monitored every 6 – 9 months having their colposcopy done until they have two normal paps in a row.  Once they reach this milestone they are discharged from the Gynecologist back to their family doctor once a year for their regular pap tests.  This is the exception to the rule of being seen once every three years.

What Causes An Abnormal Pap?

It can be from anything mild like an irritation, infection or inflammation to most commonly the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) which is a sexually transmitted disease that causes genital warts.  This virus can live in the body and go undetected for years without symptoms unless the warts become visible or a woman has an abnormal pap result.  Therefore, for those who are not in a committed relationship, it is important and recommended to use condoms as protection because you or the one you are with may have this virus and not even know it and could pass it on for life.  Men are the carriers of HPV and it is said that 75% of the sexually active population will be exposed to this virus at some point in their lives.  Even if you are married or in a committed relationship, you won’t know if you or your partner has this virus unless either of you have symptoms.  Furthermore, there is no way to trace back to who or when you contracted HPV because it depends on the sexual history of every person your partner has been with prior to you.  When your immune system is down the virus can become active in your body which can result in an abnormal pap test.  By taking a daily multivitamin, not smoking and getting a vaccine called Gardasil 9, this can greatly help in clearing your paps back to normal again.  Smoking feeds the HPV virus making it worse and chances of developing cancer are increased.

What is the Gardasil 9 Vaccine?

Gardasil 9 is an intramuscular injection that is given three times in the deltoid muscle over a period of 6 months.  It keeps the HPV strain you have been exposed to quiet while protecting you from the other 8 that you haven’t been exposed to which greatly reduces the chances of cervical cancer from developing.  Men can also receive this vaccine to protect themselves, prevent the virus from becoming active and causing genital warts or spreading it to other people.  Young girls aged 11 and 12 are now being offered this vaccine for free in schools across Ontario before they become sexually active so they are protected ahead of the game.  Boys are not yet included in this free offer, however it is widely available and recommended they get it too.  After all, they are the carriers.  By only vaccinating the girls, we are solving half the problem.  Boys and adults need to pay for this vaccine and at pharmacies it costs around $200/injection x 3.  Where I work we get it at cost from the drug company directly and we charge $160.00/injection x 3.  Private health insurance plans often cover part of the cost however what is your health worth to you?  Let’s stamp out HPV one vaccine at a time.

What is my advice on this?

Knowledge is power and talking about this subject is not taboo it’s essential.  If you have kids, put on a brave face and talk to them about it, live a healthy lifestyle, have regular check-ups and pap tests with your Dr. get the Gardasil 9 vaccine and if you are not in a momogamous relationship, use condoms when you are sexually active to protect yourself and the one you’re with.  You really don’t want to have this on your mind when you are with the one you love.  By being proactive, taking care of yourself and knowing your sexual health, you can relax and enjoy the benefits.

Happy International Women’s Day!

 

~ Jennifer Juneau, RN
**P.S. – Please feel free to comment below and if you would rather send me questions in an email you can reach me at Jennifer.juneau1@gmail.com