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SUMMER ISSUE 2010 • Vol. 1, Issue 2

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SUMMER OBESITY • CANCER • DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

CHECK OUT GIRLFRIENDS ON:

GROUP PUBLISHER

GRAPHIC DESIGN

Matthew Johnson

Ebony Ssali

ATLANTA PUBLISHER

WEBSITE

Linda Torrence CHICAGO PUBLISHER

Syleena Johnson DALLAS PUBLISHER

Neil Foote EDITOR Sandra K. Samuel MEDIA CONSULTANT

Cheryl Ragland ASSOCIATE EDITORS

Chrishirella F. Warthen, PhD.

Johnson Media Milwaukee CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Lee Marvin Adams Sharnell Cunningham Neil Foote Tina Hall Derrick Hayes Lynne Haze Raquel Jones Dr. Audrey Newsome Lori Price

COVER PHOTOGRAPHER

Christopher Baylor

TOLL FREE (877) 287-7858 GIRLFRIENDS HEALTH GUIDE PO BOX 511643 MILWAUKEE. WI 53203 WWW.GIRLFRIENDSHEALTHGUIDE.COM

Girlfriends The Health Guide for Woman of Color is designed and published by Girlfriends Holdings, LLC. Submission of manuscripts, illustrations and/or photographs must be accompanied by a stamped, self-addressed envelope.The publisher assumes no responsibility for unsolicited materials. Copyright © 2010 by Girlfriends Holdings, LLC. All rights reserved under International and Pan American Copyright Conventions. Reproductions in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher is strictly prohibited. Printed in the United States.

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COVER STORY

6 • REAL WOMEN HIV/AIDS 7 • SUGAR FREE

COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS

10 13 20 34

8 • HEALTHY BODIES

GIRLFRIENDS CAREGIVERS MY DAUGHTER’S LAST DAYS

VITAL ORGANS THE KIDNEYS

15 • MAKING STRIDES N’ RECOVERY 23 • GIRFRIENDS CONNECTIONS 30 • BOOK IT 33 • GF EMPOWERMENT GIRLFRIENDS FINANCE

www.girlfriendshealthguide.com

SUMMER 2010

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As we immerse ourselves into another hot summer, Girlfriends Health Guide for Women of Color has devoted this issue to helping you stay fit and fine. First, let me thank all of you who joined us for our May launch party at the Magnolia Hotel. Our volunteers were amazing, the food was scrumptious, and Shirley Murdock (and husband Dale) truly blessed us via music and song. Our sincere appreciation to: Mai Nguyen at the Magnolia; DSW Shoes (Preston Center Shopping Pavilion); Lavish Limousines; Dallas Artist Marty Ruiz; VITAS® Hospice Care; Bee M.D. Organic Honey Throat Drops; Nutress Hair; the Administration for Children and Families and the many others who made valuable contributions. We all know what happens during the winter, we enjoy comfort food and reduce or eliminate our workout routines or morning walks or runs. Then, the summer hits. Those shorts, that bathing suit, that fly sun suit, well you know, they just aren’t fitting the way they did last summer. So, my DFW Girlfriends, join our writers who are offering you their own bits of advice – with humor and candor – to help you look good, eat right and in the long run, live a healthier and hopefully longer life. Check out 94.5K-SOUL’s Lynne Haze’s “Eating Right” essay where she offers you six basic tips to improve your weight, looks and energy. Angelique Tege, the former WFAA anchor and host, discusses how she channeled her disappointment after losing her job into launching her own media company, and locking into a daily fitness routine. In his man’s point of view,“Flip Flop, Flabby Arms and French Fries,” comedian Lee Marvin Adams suggests you surround yourself with friends who will be brutally honest with you about wearing certain summer attire. Our friends and sponsors at Susan G. Komen for the Cure® Circle of Promise shares tips on a Healthy Lifestyle. This edition of Girlfriends also offers you several other compelling and inspiring stories. Read Debra Crawford’s truly heartfelt testimonial about living a healthy, fulfilling life with the HIV/AIDS virus. Read Raquel Jones’ “Recharge Your Batteries” as she describes her battle with lupus. You’ll be inspired by Sharnell Cunningham’s article on how her daughter’s death has helped saved the lives of others because of organ donations. Got ideas? Please email us at dallasgirlfriendshealthguide@gmail.com. Neil Foote Publisher neil@neilfoote.com


HEALTHY LIFE WITH HIV HAVING HIV/AIDS IS NOT A DEATH SENTENCE

I have lived with  HIV for many years,but only known for the past two years. It took me a while to admit this openly, but with meditation, counseling and a wonderful family, I’m living proof that being HIV positive is not a death sentence. I thought I was doing all the right things. I was a single parent working hard. I was very healthy, playing ‘Super Woman’ when I discovered lumps on the back of my neck and under my chin. I went to my doctor who told me not to worry about those lumps. But then that all changed. When the HIV/AIDS test from my insurance company came back positive, I went to my doctor who got the same results. My doctor seemed more hurt than I was,seeing how we both missed the symptoms, and I failed to ask for HIV testing with my yearly check-ups. I immediately went to the infectious disease doctor who ran more tests, and my new journey in life had begun. I was angry, devastated and thought I was going to die. All these thoughts ran through my head. I didn’t want to miss my daughter’s graduation. I was thinking about the choices I had made – or even if it was my fault. It’s a feeling, quite honestly, that doesn’t go away. I’ve gotten pass a certain stage now where I live with it. My family couldn’t believe it. “Not you, Debra,” they said. “Not you, the person who cares for her daughters, the community.” They couldn’t understand it. I didn’t’ fit the stereotypical mold of what a person with HIV/AIDS. What I learned was that this could happen to anybody. I had to realize that I had two choices: Get busy living or get busy dying. So I started to meditate more and reconnected with God. I just got quiet. I had to learn to love myself more. I learned that God gave me a voice for my girlfriends and young children. - Debra Crawford 6

SUMMER 2010


SUGARFREE (DIABETES)

ANSWERS TO YOUR COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS According to the American Diabetes Association, Type 2 Diabetes is the most common form of diabetes and it affects millions of Americans today. African Americans have a higher risk than any other ethnic group. Diabetes is especially hard on African American women because of other risk factors such as heart disease. In type 2 diabetes your body is either not producing enough insulin or simply not using the insulin that it is making. When we eat our bodies break down sugars and starches to use for energy. Insulin’s job is to take the sugars from the blood stream and move it into our cells where it will be used for fuel. When our body isn’t producing enough insulin to perform this task, glucose (sugar) builds up in our blood stream which causes the complications of Diabetes. Will diabetes predispose women to recurrent yeast infections? Yes. Glucose in your body is the perfect trigger to encourage the growth of yeast. Will menopause affect diabetes? Yes. The changes in your hormone levels may cause your blood glucose levels to become out of control. Will birth control pills raise my blood glucose levels? Yes. Birth control pills raise your blood sugar. Will I need to give up all foods high in sugar and eat only sugar free items? No, absolutely not. Our bodies need sugar we just have to make healthier choices. Sugar free items can be deceiving and actually contain sugar alcohols which can be converted into sugars. With a healthier lifestyle, regular exercise and proper nutrition we have the power to protect our health and lower our risk factors. -Sylette DeBois R.N. Nursing For All Communities (Nfac) www.girlfriendshealthguide.com SUMMER 2010

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HEALTHYBODIES (OBESITY)

A healthy lifestyle involves many choices. Among them, choosing a balanced diet or eating plan. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a healthy eating plan: • Emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts • Is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars • Stays within your daily calorie needs If healthy eating makes you think about the foods you can’t have, focus on all the new foods you can eat— FRESH FRUITS Don’t think just apples or bananas. How about a mango? Or a juicy pineapple or kiwi fruit! When your favorite fresh fruits aren’t in season, try a frozen or dried varieties. Be sure canned varieties are fruit packed in water or in their own juice. FRESH VEGETABLES Try something new.You may find that you love grilled vegetables or steamed vegetables with an herb like rosemary. When trying canned vegetables, look for vegetables without added salt or sauces. Commit to trying a new vegetable each week. A NEW TWIST ON AN OLD FAVORITE If your favorite recipe calls for frying fish or breaded chicken, try healthier variations using baking or grilling. Maybe even try a recipe that uses dry beans in place of higher-fat meats. - CDC Healthy Eating For Healthy Weight, www.cdc.org.

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SUMMER 2010


ITSCOOKINGTIME Girlfriends, since discovering that I have high blood pressure and high cholesterol I have been encouraged to develop new healthy and tasteful recipes. This one is so simple, fast and most important, low in fat!   BROILED SALMON WITH A SPICY KICK 4 Salmon Filet’s rinse and pat dry 1/4 cup olive oil 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional) Juice of one lime 2 teaspoons of Cajun seafood seasoning 2 teaspoons chili powder Fresh ground pepper     BROILED BRUSSELS SPOUTS 4 cups Brussels spouts 2 tablespoons olive oil 8 small asparagus 1 lemon juiced Kosher salt Cooking with Esther Caspino Cracked black pepper   Heat oven  broiler (500) & place rack second shelf close to direct heat. Prepare salmon by washing, drying and seasoning.  Top with spices sprinkled evenly among filets, drizzle oil on filets and broil for 15 min. When Salmon is done squeeze lime juice over the hot filets.   Prepare Brussels sprouts by washing and slicing them in half. Toss Brussels sprouts in a bowl with salt, pepper, juiced lemon and olive oil.   Broil to your desired crispness and serve with salmon.   Note: You can add other veggies with the Brussels sprouts, such as red and yellow pepper...a great combo! 

BROILED SALMON & ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS


GIRLFRIENDSCARINGFOROTHERS (CAREGIVERS)

MY DAUGHTER’S LAST DAYS No mother should ever have to watch a child die; but in March 2008 my then 13 year-old daughter, Maiya Cunningham, was admitted into the hospital for pneumonia and this consensus became my reality. Maiya had been a pediatric heart patient at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas since she was two, when doctors first diagnosed her with congenital heart disease. After a life preserving surgery to correct the abnormalities of her tiny heart and valves, she was expected to live a long, normal life with the understanding she would one day require a heart transplant. The battle with pneumonia ended any hopes of her ever receiving a new heart. Her health rapidly declined due to irreversible heart, kidney and liver failure. Doctors admitted they didn’t expect her to live; therefore, she was no longer a candidate for a heart transplant. They removed my child’s name from the heart donor list and referred us to hospice. The doctors’ plan was to make her as comfortable as possible while providing end-of-life care. My plan was to make her last days on earth as memorable and normal as I could. For the last five months of Maiya’s life, I stayed in her hospital room – working remotely, sleeping, balancing school and the lives of my two other children – wanting to spend as much time with her as possible. Between her physical therapy and counseling, she took classes, had her 14th birthday party and even voted co-manager of her high school drill team. Maiya knew she was dying. Her prayer was for God to have his way and to make the pain go away. On August 31, 2008, God granted Maiya her last wish. I was there by her side. From my experience, I founded Maiya’s Heart of Hearts to help keep families together by providing pediatric palliative care and hospice in a freestanding residential facility.Visit us online at www.i-heartyou.com. - Sharnell Cunningham Editor’s Note: Girlfriends Health will have more on this story and end-of-life care in our fall issue for the November observance of National Hospice Palliative Care Month.


CONSIDERING END-OF-LIFE CHOICES

If you or a loved one were facing a life-limiting illness, would you know where to turn for information about end-of-life care? A good first step is to gather information from sources you know and trust. • Ask your doctor for advice. • Talk with your friends and relatives about how they handled similar choices. • Ask your clergy for input. • Meet with representatives from hospices and home health agencies in your area.    Dedicated patient care teams that include physicians, registered nurses, social workers, hospice aides, chaplains and volunteers, provide pain and symptom management and social, spiritual and emotional support to patients and their loved ones. Patients, family members or physicians can request an evaluation for hospice care. Medicare, Medicaid and most private health insurance offer hospice benefits. Some providers, VITAS Innovative Hospice Care® included, provide care to all eligible patients, regardless of ability to pay. When selecting a hospice provider, patients and families should consider which one is best able to meet their individual needs. • How will pain be managed? • If the patient prefers to remain at home, what kind of assistance and in-home care will be available? • What role can family members have in patient care? • How will the spiritual and emotional support necessary for quality end-of-life care be administered?   Since 1984, VITAS has cared for patients with life-limiting illness and their families in Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Hunt, Kaufman, and Rockwall counties and at the VITAS inpatient hospice unit in Irving. For more information, visit VITAS at www.vitas.com or call (214) 424-5600. - Patrick Bullocks www.girlfriendshealthguide.com SUMMER 2010

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Over the course of a day, your kidneys will filter 200 liters of fluid, removing toxins from your body. Healthy kidneys are essential to life. So if you have diabetes, high blood pressure or a family history of kidney disease, talk to your doctor. And get screened. Soon. The National Kidney Foundation offers free screenings coast to coast. Check our website to find one near you. Your kidneys do a lot for you. It’s time Love Your KidneYs

to show them a little love. kidney.org.


VITALORGANS According to the National Kidney Foundation, an estimated 26 million Americans are walking around with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and most of them are unaware of it. Symptoms of kidney disease often don’t show up until the kidneys already have irreversible damage. ROLE OF THE KIDNEYS The kidneys are very important organs, as essential to life as is our heart. The kidneys filter our blood about 12 times each hour. They remove “waste” (primarily a byproduct of food and physical activity) from our blood which would otherwise build up to a toxic level. Waste becomes urine, leaves our kidneys via the ureters, and is stored in our bladder until we go to the bathroom. Clean blood returns to bring nutrients to the rest of the body. The kidneys also regulate blood pressure and electrolytes and stimulate red blood cell production and growth hormone.

TAKE GOOD CARE OF YOUR KIDNEYS

LEADING CAUSES OF KIDNEY DISEASE The two most common causes of kidney disease in this country are diabetes and high blood pressure. Other risk factors include; a family history of diabetes, high blood pressure or chronic kidney disease (CKD), smoking, obesity and belonging to a certain ethnic group. African Americans, Hispanics, Asian Americans and American Indians have higher rates of chronic kidney disease than others. If you have diabetes or hypertension (high blood pressure), it is recommended that you be screened regularly for CKD. Your doctor can do a simple urine test to check for microalbumin, which indicates protein in your urine. This test can detect the very earliest stages of kidney disease. You should also talk with your doctor about a having a creatinine blood test as part of your annual physical. This test can be used to determine the filtering rate of your kidneys. If kidney disease is caught early, the progression toward kidney failure can often be slowed or prevented. - Mary Schimmoller

Most of us don’t think much about our kidneys, until they stop working properly.

www.girlfriendshealthguide.com SUMMER 2010

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MAKINGSTRIDES (CANCER)

AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY RESOURCE NETWORK CONNECTS WOMEN WITH SUPPORTIVE SERVICES WE’RE JUST A PHONE CALL AWAY.

By American Cancer Society®, High Plains Division, Inc.

Breast and cervical cancers take its toll in Texas each year, where about 13,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer and another 1,000 develop cervical cancer.* Thousands of others develop lung and colon cancers, also major killers. African-American women face even greater challenges, as studies show disparities that result in 17 percent lower survival rates than whites or Hispanics. For these women, important questions will arise about cancer, such as treatment options, financial concerns, healthcare demands and emotional stress. The American Cancer Society provides high quality, timely and understandable information to help women make hard decisions related to their cancer diagnosis and treatment. Women will be directly connected or receive referrals to other health care or community resources that will help meet their needs. In North Texas, varieties of support and advocacy groups are available. For example, the Black American Cancer Connection (BACC) hosts and participates in a number of community events to increase cancer awareness among African-American women. Another, the American Cancer Society’s Resource Network, is available to help you: • Learn what to expect and how to plan • Understand treatment options • Find help with insurance and financial resources • Find transportation • Find local support groups, internet discussions and chat rooms To access this 24/7 Resource Network, call 1-800-651-4911. To learn more or to get help, call 1-800-227-2345 or visit www.cancer.org. *American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures 2010. Atlanta: American Cancer Society; 2010 www.girlfriendshealthguide.com

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MAKINGSTRIDES

HE LTHY LIFESTYLES PHYSICAL ACTIVITY Physical activity not only burns energy (calories), but can also help lower the risk of some types of cancer and other diseases. Here is all it takes to get started: See your doctor before starting an exercise program. • Build physical activity into your daily routine. All you need is moderate (you break a sweat) activity — like brisk walking for 30 minutes a day. • Do whatever physical activity you enjoy most and gets you moving. After exercising, think about how good you feel about yourself and your body. Use that feeling to motivate you the next time. • If you are already physically active, keep up the good work. Physical activity may help lower your risk of breast cancer. This is because exercise lowers estrogen levels, fights obesity, lowers insulin levels and boosts the function of immune system cells that attack tumors. Susan G. Komen for the Cure is not a health care provider and does not give medical advice . The information provided is not meant to be used for self-diagnosis or to replace the services of a medical professional.

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SUMMER 2010

WEIGHT CONTROL Gaining weight after menopause increases a woman’s risk for breast cancer. Weight gain of 20 pounds or more after the age of 18 may increase your risk of breast cancer. If you have gained weight, losing weight may lower your risk of breast cancer. NUTRITION The second part of healthy living involves what you put into your body. • Eat fruits and vegetables. Strive to eat at least five servings per day. • Eat whole-grains and cereals. Choose whole-grain breads and cereals. • Eat fewer high fat foods and sweets. • Take a daily multivitamin with folate. • Get plenty of calcium.Your body needs at least 1000 mg each day. You can get it from low-fat milk or yogurt, fortified fruit juices, spinach, kale or calcium tablets. Leading a healthy lifestyle will not eliminate your risk of serious health problems like cancer, but it may lower your risk.


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be smart Taking these important steps towards a healthier lifestyle can do wonders to lift the spirit, keep weight in check and, more importantly, reduce your risk of breast cancer. MOVE AND GROOVE If there’s one thing breast cancer hates, it’s an energetic, active lifestyle. The key to getting fit is doing something you love – and doing it long enough to reap the all-important health benefits. LIVE TO EAT WELL A diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains is the ideal way to nourish your body. Be sure you have your nutritional bases covered by taking a multivitamin containing folate and staying on top of your calcium intake. STEADY ON Maintaining your ideal weight isn’t just for looking food in your skinny jeans. Keeping the number on the scale in the healthy range can mean a decreased risk of breast cancer after menopause. KEEP THE (INNER) PEACE Diet and exercise alone aren’t enough to keep your body and mind in top form. Take special care of your emotional health by maintaining close relationships with family and friends as well as engaging in the activities you cherish. DON’T WINE While research has shown that drinking a glass of vino a day lowers the risk of heart disease. It can actually boost your risk for breast cancer. Keeping your alcohol intake to less than one drink per day may help stave off this risk. GET IN THE DRIVER’S SEAT Don’t make the mistake of riding shotgun when it comes to fighting breast cancer. Take control of your well-being by making sound diet and exercise choices, annual checkups and recommended screenings. For more information on how to make positive lifestyle changes or to get involved with Susan G. Komen for the Cure® Circle of Promise visit circleofpromise.org.


COVER STORY

Lynne Haze, a native of Buffalo, NY, is a radio personality for 94.5 K-SOUL in Dallas. You can learn more about ‘Lynne Haze Presents…” on her website www.lynnehaze.com or e-mail her at lynnehaze456@gmail.com.

My sisters are you watching what you eat? Have you looked at what’s on you’re girlfriends plate? Do you have less on your plate than she does? If you’re not appalled, I’m outraged! It’s time to take your health back! Whether you want to lose weight or you are trying to lower your blood pressure the first thing we all have to take is RESPONSIBILITY! I know how hard it is to stick to a diet or an exercise routine. There are always distractions that take you away from taking care of YOU! On any given day, it could be your work, your family and let’s admit it, sometimes we’re just tired and don’t want to be bothered. Well, believe me, I have battled with all of this. 18

SUMMER 2010


Over the years, I’ve been a member of a fitness club, gone on crazy diets and even looked into other methods to get me looking fit and fine. There’s one thing I’ve discovered that there’s no one sure-fired way to lose weight.What I do know is that there are some simple steps you can take to be more health-conscious. First of all, replace the pork bacon with turkey bacon.Turkey certainly has 50 percent less fat, and it really tastes good. My favorite brand is Louis Rich by Oscar Meyer. The second step you should take is to put the salt shaker down. Use sea salt instead of regular salt. I have to admit I was a little leery about this change at first but now I won’t use anything else. One of the biggest problems all of us have is portion control. Recently, I was on a cruise and I was amazed – no appalled – at the huge helpings of food people were heaping onto their plates. This is my biggest challenge, but if you take this seriously, you have a chance to enjoy the things you like, and cut back at the same time.

PRESENTS EATING RIGHT As far as drinking alcohol, I’m not one of those who believe you need to cut it out of your diet. I’ve come up with some simple ways to adjust my habits. Drink red wine instead of white wine. And drink clear liquor (gin, vodka) in place of brown liquor (scotch, whiskey) because they have fewer calories! (Of course, drink in moderation.) On the issue of working out, I’ve done it all.What I try to do is at least walk several times a week when I can’t get to the gym,When I do get to work out, it’s all about cardio, cardio, cardio. That was the answer Mary J. Blige gave when I interviewed her and asked her how she maintains her figure. Thirty minutes of walking five days a week does wonders for stress and pre-menstrual stress. It also helps with high blood pressure. You also can grab one of your BBF’s and catch up on what’s going on in each other’s lives! Last, but not least, You’ve got to incorporate prayer, meditation and laughter into your life. You can’t nourish the body without taking care of the spirit! Plus a good laugh is always good for soul. Girlfriends, here’s to taking control of our health! www.girlfriendshealthguide.com SUMMER 2010

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N’RECOVERY SEPTEMBER IS

RECOVERY MONTH

Promoting the Effectiveness of Treatment and the Possibility of Recovery through Community Events

National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month (Recovery Month) offers an opportunity to encourage individuals in need of treatment to seek help, celebrate individuals and families who are living happy and healthy lives in long-term recovery, and acknowledge individuals working in the field who provide the needed treatment and recovery services. Community and media events is the cornerstone of Recovery Month and holding an event is an exciting and important way to make a difference in your community.The impact your organization can have by spreading a lasting message of recovery throughout your community is invaluable. The following two organizations are intricate planning partners of this effort:

SUICIDE PREVENTION RESOURCE CENTER

“Fifteen percent of all alcohol-dependent people die by suicide. This is a loss of 7,000 to 13,000 people every year”, said Anara Guard, Deputy Director of the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC). SPRC’s goal is to prevent more lives from being lost by providing local and statewide coalitions with the best sciencebased information to conduct comprehensive strategic suicide prevention plans and activities. Today, 48 states have a suicide prevention plan. SPRC was founded in 2002 with the support of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  It serves coalitions in the states, territories and tribal communities offering in-person and online suicide prevention training programs, as well as specific trainings tailored to different professions. Guard says SPRC is a Recovery Month planning partner because “we are doing similar work. Alcohol use impairs judgment and leads to impulsive behavior. A person at risk of suicide who might not have made an attempt while sober may do so while intoxicated. Recent research indicates that such a relationship also exists between suicidal behavior and drug abuse”. If you or someone you know SUMMER 2010 20


N’RECOVERY

needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK. For more information about suicide prevention, please visit www.sprc.org.

ASSOCIATION OF RECOVERY SCHOOLS

Recovery is like a puzzle. At first you have no idea what you have in front of you, but through patience, perseverance and, hopefully, a friendly hand, recovery is possible. One of the biggest challenges young individuals in recovery confront is coping with their ordinary activities while choosing a sober life style.The Association of Recovery Schools helps teenagers stay in school and get a diploma. Recovery Schools was founded with the help of the Center of Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) and SAMHSA, by bringing together independent recovery schools workers who had the same vision. “Together we are more powerful than individuals alone,” said Monique Bourgeois, Executive Director of the Association of Recovery Schools. Seeking that unity is the reason why they joined Recovery Month, “I think that adolescents are an underrepresented group. Recovery Month has given them a national way to highlight educational recovery and also to acknowledge them. We are dedicated to support students in recovery. They are a valued, necessary, and fundamental part of education and treatment systems,” Monique stated. As part of this effort, Recovery Schools is holding its annual conference on July 21-23, 2010 at the Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. Recovery Schools hopes that any student who needs a recovery school has access to one. “I encourage all youth who have a problem to seek recovery, and to attend a recovery school if possible,” Ms. Borgeois said, and adding, “They need to take the opportunity to see what these schools can offer. Recovery happens one day at a time but you need to get around people who understand recovery.” To learn more about Recovery Schools, please visit www.recoveryschools.org. www.girlfriendshealthguide.com SUMMER 2010 21


GIRLFRIENDSADVOCACY

100

SICKLE CELL DISEASE TURNS

It was in 1910 that Sickle Cell Disease was first described by a Cardiologist and Professor of Medicine, Dr. James Herrick. He along with an intern, Dr. Ernest Edward Irons described a “peculiar elongated and sickle shaped” cells in the blood of a 20 year old dental student, Walter Clement Noel. Noel was hospitalized in 1904 with a diagnosis of “Anemia” and thereafter with “Muscular Rheumatism” and “Bilious Attacks”. In 1916, Dr. Noel returned to Grenada to practice Dentistry but died of pneumonia.

For many years the sickle cell disease was treated with hospitalization, symptomatic therapies such as pain killers, oxygen, and antibiotics for infections. The greatest medical treatment advance occurred in 1995 with the use of Hydroxyurea. This treatment became the “chemotherapy” of choice to reduce the severity of attacks by reactivating fetal hemoglobin production replacing hemoglobin S (the sickle cell). With the addition of blood transfusion both treatments proved to be effective by increasing life expectancy from teens to 60-80 years of age. Other medical advances which predicted longer and better qualities of life for children 0-5 years were daily doses of a Penicillin with Folic Acid supplement to compensate for their immature immune system; bone marrow transplants; and Nicosan, a phytochemical which gives promise of Gene Therapy to modify the hemoglobin switching. People not diagnosed with the disease but are carriers have the sickle cell trait. In 1979, the US Air Force dismissed 143 applicants who tested positive for the trait. This discriminatory practice ceased when an applicant filed a lawsuit. Sickle Cell Anemia is known to primarily affect people of African descent. Greater research dollars and studies need to be dedicated for continued advancement of knowledge and treatment. Perhaps this would be the best way to celebrate a 100 year birthday! - Dr. René Settle-Robinson 22

SUMMER 2010


GIRLFRIENDSCONNECTIONS

www.bullysuicideproject.ning.com

“I have chains wrapped around me.At the end of those chains are the words they called me.” This direct quote was taken from a nine year-old victim of bullying, a victim who committed suicide This quote, no doubt, rings true for all victims of bullying. As a survivor of bullying and as the CEO and Co-founder of the Bully Suicide Project, these words definitely rang true for me. As an overweight child, I was relentlessly bullied, called names and chased home almost on a daily basis. That experience has given voice to my mission and passion of doing everything in my power to spread the message that words can and do kill and to create a more keen awareness of the devastating effects of bullying. The Bully Suicide Project is a non-profit organization making a tremendous difference in the lives of youth in Texas and across the country by providing hope to youth who are being bullied.The organization works with school administrators, teachers, parents and students to make each campus a bully-free environment for learning. Also included in the project is the “Therapy on Canvas Program” and the “Movement Therapy Program”. Both programs allow students to express their feelings through art and dance. Additionally, the project staff has initiated an internet campaign to bring awareness to the plight of victims bullied to the point of harming themselves or committing suicide. The message is “Don’t give up, there’s hope!” My advice to parents of children being bullied is simple: Support your child and don’t blacke them for being bullied. - Dr. Audrey Newsome www.girlfriendshealthguide.com SUMMER 2010

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GIRLYOUNEEDTOKNOW THE CHANGING FACE OF ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE Whose face comes to mind when you think of Alzheimer’s disease? Ronald Reagan? Rita Hayworth? Sugar Ray Robinson? Rosa Parks? In actuality, all of these famous individuals were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease but, increasingly, the faces of Alzheimer’s disease are faces of color. According to a recently released special report by the Alzheimer’s Association, African-Americans are two times more likely and Hispanics are one and one-half times more likely than whites to develop this illness.And while this disease typically affects people age sixty-five and older, there are also people in their fifties, forties, and younger who are living everyday with the debilitating effects of this disease. What is Alzheimer’s disease and why does it impact some ethnic groups more than others? Alzheimer’s is a disorder of the brain that results in the loss of brain cells and causes a gradual decline in memory, thinking and reasoning skills. People often mistakenly believe that a significant decline in mental functioning is just a normal part of aging. In reality, such changes should not be ignored but, instead, evaluated by a physician who is familiar with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. It is now known that if a person has diabetes or high blood, for example, they are at an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease if these conditions are not being well managed. And it is, in part, because of the prevalence of these conditions in the African-American and Hispanic communities that these populations have a higher incidence of Alzheimer’s disease.

- Beverly Kimmons 24

SUMMER 2010

What can you do? Learn the ten warning signs for Alzheimer’s and contact the Alzheimer’s Association for information about a brain healthy lifestyle, disease management, support services and more.You can reach us 24/7 at 1.800.272.3900 or by visiting our website at www.alz.org.


New problems with communication is 1 of the 10 warning.signs of Alzheimer’s disease. Recognizing the symptoms is the first step toward doing something about it. For more information, and to learn what.you can do now, go to alz.org/10signs or call 877-IS IT ALZ.

©2010 Alzheimer’s Association. All Rights Reserved.


ENVIROGIRL

iving Green

RESOURCES: Nature hikes: blacksurvivalnetwork.com Natural hair care products: Newbein.com Documentary: Food, Inc. For books on African Americans living holistically: www.afriware.net Recycling information: Recyclebank.com

Living “green” was never our family’s intention but evolved naturally as a gradual lifestyle progression. It just made sense to discontinue using products and eating foods which were harmful to the environment and ourselves. What is green you ask? It begins with you choosing to live holistically to care about the planet and the people in it. Holistic green living involves reducing the amount of toxins and natural resources you use and consume for a simpler way of life. My family and I incorporate green living in our daily lives by purchasing foods not laden with MSG (monosodium glutamate); hydrogenated oil; high in fat, sugar and salt; or artificial colors and preservatives. Foods with these ingredients have negative effects on the brain and bodily functions. To sustain our healthy eating goal we joined a local food cooperative.There we buy locally grown organic and non-organic fruits and vegetables from farmers directly. Another practice we have adopted is recycling about half of our waste. A composter would probably help us to eliminate 65% of our total waste from entering the landfill. Lastly, my family and I have found nothing more holistic than producing our own food. We do this by organic container gardening. It is cost effective and my husband and I are passing along a life skill to our children. Our garden consists of tomatoes, peppers, beans, green onions, carrots, sunflowers, edible flowers, a variety of leafy greens and basil. For less than $20 we produce enough food to feed a family of five for months. Living green can make a difference. Just start small. If we all do a little it will have a huge impact to reduce our carbon footprint. -Safia Rashid


GIRLFRIENDSFEATURE

THE MEN IN MY LIFE If someone were to ask you about the men in your life, you might think of a father, husband or a brother. I know I do. I can vividly recall my father fixing things around my house; my husband providing for my children and me; and yes, my older brother always taking care of his sisters and not allowing his male friends to talk to us. If there was ever a scary thought in my mind, it was not that all the strong men in my life would die. In the past four years, I have watched all three of them pass away and my life take a turn, which I never thought possible. My father and husband had been sick for sometime but my brother’s passing came without warning. All of this was very overwhelming, particularly since I was holding down a full-time job as a manager; in school part-time working on my bachelor’s degree; serving as director of music ministries at my church; and working as a full-time mother and a full-time caregiver for my husband. There were times I thought I could have lost my mind, but because I had so much going on, I had to maintain my sanity. Too many people depended on me, leaving no time for me to focus on my own situation. Girlfriends, you cannot elevate your own situation and minimize someone’s situation because you’re going through so much. We’re all “going through something”. If you think about all that you have going on in your life it will depress you. So don’t. I have decided the best way to help yourself is not to focus on yourself. During those difficult days, the one thing I decided was to try to help others. I took time to visit hospitals and nursing homes and found that while visiting these facilities the people there would make me feel a sense of self worth. That’s what it’s all about – helping others to help yourself through your own down time. Try it. It just might help you get through, what you’re going through. - Tina Hall www.girlfriendshealthguide.com

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Check out the Haute Travels blog hautetravels.blogspot.com.

GIRLFRIENDSGETAWAY

GLAMOROUS VANCOUVER CHIC

On my Glam Getaway to Vancouver, a world-class city with amazing shopping luring celebrities like Beyonce and shopaholics alike to this culturally diverse Mecca. We found enjoyable accommodations at the, Georgian Court Hotel, ladies only Orchid floor. The amenities were extra special: flat irons, yoga mats, ladies-only emergency kits and fashion magazines! Fashionistas in love with trendy, vintage or classic styles will revel treasure hunting on chic Robson Street among others. Ya l e t ow n w a s my f avo r i t e a re a ! I absolutely loved the posh boutiques and the many makeup and beauty bars surrounding the former warehouse district. You’ll see city girls dashing from Basquit Boutique (favored by Halle Berry) to the Noir Lash Lounge for a lash glam then off to the Beauty Mark for cool cosmetic items. It’s a girly girl’s paradise! The swank South Granville has upscale fashion and art galleries along with Gastown filled cute cobblestone streets and unique boutiques.

Vancouver is similar to Chicago or New York, a city of neighborhoods each with distinctive taste and offerings. Use the ChicWalks apps to navigate your shopping route. After a day of strolling Yaletown, my fellow glam girls & I stopped at George Ultra Lounge, the Home of Cocktail Couture! Modeled in London style, the lounge pioneered the cocktail kitchen concept in Canada. You’ll find awardwinning Shaun Layton (the master mixologist)behind the bar. For dinner, we feasted at a one of the newest eateries, Society. The restaurant is regarded as one of the most unpredictable food lounges in the city with re-imagined comfort food with a twist. Other Haute restaurant spots to try: George and Coast. Indulge yourself with an afternoon of beauty makeovers at the Holt Renfrews Salon and Spa.

-Marian Anderson

www.girlfriendshealthguide.com

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BOOKIT Terrie Williams, one of the nation’s most accomplished and widely recognized public relations professional, has worked with such high profile personalities as Bill Crosby, and Eddie Murphy. In her book, Black Pain, It just Looks Like We’re Not Hurting, Williams reveals her painful battle with depression. She aptly describes the day her best friends had to “break into” her New York apartment because Williams admittedly had reached the bottom. She locked herself out from the world. No phone calls, no conversations, barely any food or light before her friends literally opened the curtains to let light into her life. In her book, “Black Pain”, Williams shares the plain many other black women experience, but hide behind a veil of secrecy. The book’s introductions by Mary J. Blige and Susan L. Taylor thank Williams for her bravery to talk about depression. An excerpt from Williams opening chapter:

Black Pain, It Just Looks Like We’re Not Hurting is published by

Scribner Books.

My life experience has taught me time and again that when you know better, you do better. I have written this book to help us know better. To know ourselves better, know our pain better, and know that there are paths to healing. It is my greatest wisth that, as happened to those of us who read Price Cobbs and William Grier’s now –classic Black Rage over thirty years ago, you will not be the same after reading, Black Pain. That you will look differently at everyone you meet. That you will see those around you more compassionately, knowing that they, too, have a story. That the outer layer of people’s lives never shows us how many holes the person has inside. That every meeting is filled withpossibility – the possibility of touching someone in a way that may hurt their spirit, or of touching them in a way that helps them heal. We have the power to mend ourselves and others, simply by being true to our own feelings. Black pain may be a reality, but it doesn’t have to be our destiny. Let’s bring new meaning to “lift as we climb.” Let’s join hands to pull ourselves up, up from a long legacy of pain, and into the light of wellness.

-Neil Foote 30

SUMMER 2010


GIRLFRIENDSFEATURE FLIP FLOPS, FLABBY ARMS, AND FRENCH FRIES Ladies, let me start by saying I thank God my mother is a Black woman, my sisters and daughters are Black women, and at night my head rests on a pillow right beside the head of a beautiful Black woman! If the good Lord ever made anything more beautiful than a Black woman, I’ve never seen it. Honestly, I don’t want to. My heart couldn’t stand it! With that said, I must remind you that mirrors sometimes deceive us, showing us who we were versus who we are. Such a mirror without a friend nearby leads to unnecessary social slip-ups. Therefore, I’ll be your friend, that subtle hint to help you avoid the summertime pitfalls of “Flip Flops, Flabby Arms, and French Fries”. Simply put, everything is not for everyone. Take, for instance, flip flops. Although they come in a variety of styles, there are some subtle signs that flip flops might not be your first choice for summer footwear. If your toes reach over the front of the flip flop as if trying to grab the ground ahead of you as you walk, then flip flops are not for you. If walking across carpet barefoot sounds like tearing Velcro apart, cover those dogs. Start now for next summer by soaking your feet nightly in a mixture of Lemon Joy, Arm & Hammer Baking Soda and prayer, followed by a thorough rub down with Vaseline. Tank tops are also popular summer attire. But do you really want to do that? Sure, we can look in that mirror and see ourselves high school fit and trim. Look again. Smile. Wave. If your triceps are still waving after your hand stops—you might be a sweetheart, but sleeveless apparel? No. Finally, summertime fun foods, like most things, are best in moderation. I love French fries—crinkle cut, Cajun battered, curly-Q’s or tater-tots. A few are probably okay. But a double order with chili, cheese, onions, and jalapenos? A bad idea, especially on a first date. Remember, it’s never the fries’ fault. Blame the person who ordered them. My Nubian queens, we are all in this together. Flip flops, flabby arms, and French


One minute, I’m fine. Then, BAM! My body aches so bad

09/12/2008

I can hardly move. My hair is

falling out. I need some answers. One minute, I’m fine. Then, NOW. BAM! My body aches so bad I can hardly move. My hair is falling out. I need some answers. WENDY AGE 35

NOW.

WENDY AGE 35

When you need answers, ask a doctor the right question. COULD I HAVE LUPUS? couldihavelupus.gov (800) 994.9662

you need answers, ask afive doctor the right question. Did youWhen know that approximately million people worldwide COULD LUPUS? have a form of lupus and the disease affectsI HAVE the lives of about 1.5 million Americans? Lupus causes the immune system to attack couldihavelupus.gov the body’s own organs or tissue, sometimes resulting in devastating consequences like: heart attacks, strokes, seizures, and kidney (800) 994.9662 failure. It’s been over 50 years since a new treatment was approved for lupus.

Working closely with the doctor helps ensure that treatments for lupus are as successful as possible. Because some treatments may cause harmful side effects, it is important to promptly report any new symptoms to the doctor. It is also important to promptly report any change in treatments or new treatments to your doctor.


GIRLFRIENDSEMPOWERMENT

A CONVERSATION WITH ENCOURAGEMENT When you look in the mirror Does the picture speak clear? Have you heard the voice of doubt? If so, then say “He has to get out” If you get close to throw in the towel Always speak strength in your vowels

A E I O U

ACHIEVING COMES FROM BELIEVING EMPOWER SEEDS INTO FLOWERS INSPIRE YOUR SKILLS INTO HIRE OVERCOME WITH AN OPEN MINDED DRUM UNDERSTAND LIFE IS IN YOUR HANDS

Don’t let He said, She Said Get into Your Head Unless He said, “You Can” Or She Said, “You Will” Everywhere you go let yourself Know Your search is not for cash, but for Overflow Overflow with Today Overflow with Tomorrow Keeping Love in your life Brings an End to Sorrow

- Derrick Hayes www.derrickhayes.com

Copyright © 2010 by Encouragement Speaker Derrick Hayes

www.girlfriendshealthguide.com

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GIRLFRIENDSFINANCE WOMEN AND RETIREMENT: PUT SOME “LIFE” IN THE MIX

Build, protect and manage your retirement savings now so you won’t have to deplete your assets later. Planning for retirement is a complex undertaking for all of us, but for women, it’s especially challenging. One reason is that women live longer than men, so they have more years of retirement to prepare for. Another is that they spend more of their active years out of the workforce, raising children or caring for aging relatives, which gives them less opportunity to build up retirement savings and private pensions. As a result, women wind up more dependent than men on Social Security to pay for retirement, and Social Security often isn’t enough. On average, it pays just 40% of what a wage earner made in her working years. But as a woman, you can improve your prospects for a secure retirement through smart long-term planning: • Take retirement into account when choosing a job. Ask employers if they offer a retirement plan and/or pension plan. Look for employers that match at least part of your contribution to a retirement account. • Work as long as you can. The longer you earn income, the more time you have to save. The older you are when you stop working, the fewer retirement years you’ll need to budget for. Delaying the start of Social Security benefits up to age 70 will result in a larger monthly check. • Purchase a life insurance policy. Permanent life insurance provides guaranteed death benefit protection for your loved ones in the event of your death. It offers valuable “living” benefits and tax advantages.As a policyholder, you can access accumulated cash value through loans and withdrawals to supplement your retirement income. These funds can also be used for college expenses, as collateral for a small business loan, or any other happily anticipated or unexpected event. Using life insurance is a little-known option that can be a big help for women down the road. This educational article is being provided as a courtesy by New York Life Insurance Company. For more information, please contact Agent Cindy Horton at (972) 774-2391 or at chorton@ft.newyorklife.com.


Make an

. Save our sisters.

Too many black women are dying unnecessarily from breast cancer. The Susan G. Komen for the Cure® Circle of Promise needs inspiring women like you to help rewrite the story of African American women and breast cancer. Let’s work together to find the cures. Join the Circle today at circleofpromise.org.

This space provided as a public service. The Running Ribbon is a registered trademark of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. ©2010 Susan G. Komen for the Cure ®

Girlfriends Health Guide  

Summer 2010 issue of Girlfriends Health Guide in Dallas, TX