September Recap

Okay, so the weekly book reviews this summer didn’t quite pan out. The best laid plans always have a way of sounding better on paper than in reality. And having regular days for regular posts didn’t work so great either. I guess I just blog when I have something to say! But my new idea, is once a month to do a regular post of my kukai submissions/results and another of my writing accomplishments for the month. That much I think I can do. Here’s a list of my September writing accomplishments, in a nutshell:

  • Submitted three haiku to the September/October Sketchbook “fall trees” haiku thread.
  • Submitted to the September “leaves falling” Shiki Kukai (still awaiting results).
  • Took 1st place in the 17th Caribbean Kigo Kukai with my “bluebird” haiku.
  • Had a short essay appear the Oregonian special Komen section and on OregonLive, along with a (even briefer) quote on OregonLive.
  • Had a tanka  entitled “love” appear in the Read Write Poem NaPoWriMo anthology.
  • Won 2nd place in the Write On! Online Summer Challenge with my fiction story “Love at 30,000 Feet”.
  • Had a post “Without Pay” appear in the summer 2010 Oregon Humanities magazine.
  • Had a poem “End of Year Blues” be selected for the Top Ten list in the Poetic Asides monotetra challenge.
  • Was selected as WOW! Women on Writing Facebook Fan of the Week. (Bio and accompanying photos to appear this Sunday.)
  • And put plenty more writings into the pipeline, including submitting to a haiku contest, a query contest, a haiku journal, a hint fiction contest and  an essay contest.

All in all, a good month for writing!

Poetry Wednesday

There’s some great poetry going on today at Poetic Asides. I guess some prompts just speak to us more than others. The prompt was to write an “emergency poem” and immediately my mind went into flight or fight mode. I was going to tackle something heavy about losing my mother, when I read a couple poems (which I almost never do before I write my own, so I won’t be influenced unduly by them!) which made me smile. And immediately I wrote this. (My husband’s been out of town for a week– can you tell?)

Laundry Emergency

My breakfast untasted,
my email unread,
I knew I should
have stayed safe in bed.

The cats are purring
at my feet—
I know, I know,
they want something to eat.

But I’m sure it’s going
to be that kind of day
when I see my son
has something to say.

There’s tension on his face,
there’s friction in the air,
when he tells me
“Mom, I have nothing to wear”.

The Doors are Closing

This week’s Big Tent Poetry prompt (which I almost missed, due to being so busy this week I forgot to check the Monday prompt until today), is to write a travel haibun. I’ve always wanted to try my hand at haibun. It combines my favorite two literary elements: prose writing and haiku. So here is my very first (and definitely not last!) haibun:

The Doors are Closing

This is an eastbound train to City Center and Gresham. The doors are closing. Past cars on the freeway, suddenly plunged into the darkness of the tunnel. Riders with iPod buds in their ears, behind newspapers, dozers. Metal on metal, shrieking in protest. Washington Park. Doors to my left. The doors are closing. And suddenly we emerge again, like moles, blinking into the sunlight. Past The Real Mother Goose, past Brooks Brothers, past the Galleria. This is a blue line train to Gresham. In the priority seating area, you are required to move for seniors and people with disabilities. Sun gone, now threatening rain. A man huddled in blankets on the sidewalk looks up at the sky with dead eyes. A woman snubs a cigarette out on the sidewalk. Skidmore Fountain. Doors to my right. The doors are closing. Over the steel bridge, the Willamette still and sullen. I stash away my notepad, take a few wobbly steps to the door, clutching the pole for balance. Rose Quarter Transit Center, Rose Quarter Arena, and Memorial Coliseum. Doors to my left and right. Exit, breathe city air, shoulder my backpack. I’ve arrived. Behind me, the doors are closing…

early fall-
the maple drops
a single leaf

2010 Race for the Cure Recap

I just complete my 7th annual Race for the Cure 5K walk, as well as two volunteer stints at the associated health expo at the Oregon Convention Center. Even after all this time, I am still amazed (and moved) by the incredible turnout both at the health expo and on Race day. With an estimated 1 in 8 women going to be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetimes, it’s no wonder that cancer touches so many lives. Talking with survivors, co-survivors, and supporters really brought home to me the devastation that cancer can wreak, and why it is so imperative to get the message out about early detection, and to continue to fund research.

My daughter and I on Race day.

Know Your Teal- Answers

True or false: Symptoms of ovarian cancer are often nonspecific, persistent, and increase over time.
True. The symptoms are often vague, and mimic those of other more common conditions. When in doubt, check it out!

True or false: Most cases of ovarian cancer are hereditary.
False. Like with breast cancer, only 10-15% of cases are hereditary. Every woman is at risk for ovarian cancer.

True or false: A pap smear is a test for ovarian cancer.
False. A pap smear is used only to detect cervical cancer.

Name two symptoms of ovarian cancer.
Some of the more common symptoms of ovarian cancer are bloating, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly, and pelvic or abdominal pain. If your symptoms persist, see your doctor.

True or false: Being diagnosed with breast cancer increases your risk of developing ovarian cancer.
True.

True or false: The overall five-year survival rate for ovarian cancer is about 45%. If caught early, this five-year survival rate increases to 94%.
Also true. Having regular pelvic exams may decrease your risk of developing ovarian cancer.

As with breast cancer, early detection saves lives!

Know Your Teal

Breast cancer awareness gets lots of attention, especially this time of year, but sadly, ovarian cancer is still a silent killer. The problem is that its symptoms mimic those of many other diseases, and by the time it’s diagnosed, it is all too often in the late stages already, when it is less treatable. And unlike breast cancer with the mammogram, no definitive screening tests exist for ovarian cancer.

September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness month, and just recently, on September 15 of this year, the House of Representatives voted in favor of a House Resolution sponsored by Rep. Wasserman Schultz to designate the last week of September as National Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Week (HBOC) and the last Wednesday of the month as National Previvor Day. A previvor is one with an increased genetic  cancer risk, who does not yet have cancer themselves. I was a breast cancer previvor before I was a survivor, and am now an ovarian cancer previvor.

How well do you know your ovarian cancer facts? Take this quiz and find out:

  1. True or false: Symptoms of ovarian cancer are often nonspecific, persistent, and increase over time.
  2. True or false: Most cases of ovarian cancer are hereditary.
  3. True or false: A pap smear is a test for ovarian cancer.
  4. Name two symptoms of ovarian cancer.
  5. True or false: Being diagnosed with breast cancer increases your risk of developing ovarian cancer.
  6. True or false: The overall five-year survival rate for ovarian cancer is about 45%. If caught early, this five-year survival rate increases to 94%.

Answers are here.


For more information about ovarian cancer, check out the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance website. And for more information about hereditary breast and ovarian cancer, FORCE (Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered) is a wonderful Resource.

Know Your Facts- Answers

Here are the answers to the breast cancer facts quiz on my earlier post:

What are the two best steps to take for early detection?
Have regular mammograms beginning at age 40,  perform regular breast self-exams, and get regular clinical breast exams. (Okay, that’s 3.)

What should you do if you find a lump?
Contact your doctor as soon as possible to have it checked out. While 80% of breast lumps are NOT cancerous, 20% are, so you want to play it safe.

True or false: 85% of breast cancer cases are NOT hereditary.
This is correct. Just because you have no known cases of breast cancer in your family doesn’t mean that you can’t be diagnosed with it. Most breast cancer is NOT hereditary.

True or false: The 5-year survival rate for breast cancer if caught in the earliest stages is 98%.
Happily, this is true.

True or false: The 5-year survival rate for breast cancer if caught in the latest stages is 26%.
Sadly, this is also true.

True or false: 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime.
Again, this is also true. Interestingly, a number of women I talked with thought this was a positive statistic. 1 in 8? I don’t know– sounds pretty high to me!

So the moral is: early detection saves lives!