This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm
January 29th, 2007

Ya Gotta Have Heart

Every once in a while we all have a bad day - and 'we' had one this week. We had an appointment down in Portland at the Oregon Health and Science Center with the neurosurgeons to see if they had a solution to my face pain. I've written about the surgeries I had two years ago for a basel cell cancer on my face. The cancer is gone, but it grew around the nerve(s) and left a painful reminder. In this case, the answer is no. There is a rather unproven surgery, which involves implanting wires in my face, and then an electrode in my brain cortex. I'm not going there. So it is and will be a matter of pain management. That's the focus, and we'll do the best we can to find a comfortable pain management system which will allow me to maintain my life style - and that includes being the publisher of this website. I do appreciate all the kind emails, phone calls and prayers. Thank you so much.

While I'm on the health topic, there is something which bothers me.

I'm sure you've seen the pink ribbons, on ads for various products, announcements on programs like Casting for Recovery, Walk for the Cure and others supporting a cure for cancer. I've had cancer, my mother died from it - and she was a victim of breast cancer.

Our society is very 'breast orientated' - everyone - especially the guys, knows who has what for breasts. Hooters are us.

So what's my problem?

Let's see if you can answer this one. What is the biggest killer of women in the United States?

Breast cancer?


Heart attack. Seen any red ribbons promoting awareness of heart disease? Anyone walking for a cure? If you are a man, when is the last time your wife or girlfriend had a full physical? How about an EKG?

Is she over 40? Her chances of having a heart attack are doubled.

Think you just mis-read something? You didn't. HER chances is the trick phrase.

The lack of publicity on women having heart attacks is criminal. Breasts make a much better story in our culture.

One of the reasons women are so susceptible is because all the research done of heart disease until recently has been done on men. All the statistics have been done on men. And one day the heart specialists realized they were seeing large numbers of women. Oops. So they started checking the numbers. Another oops.

The American Heart Association is trying to get the word out. Women go into their doctor for a multitude of reasons, but usually don't connect the dots to suspect they have a heart problem. And, until recently, doctors weren't really checking women's hearts. A lot of other places for sure, but if the heart was beating it was dandy.

Here is something you can do. You can suggest - insist - your wife, girlfriend (mom too) get an annual physical. Women are supposed to get an annual breast exam (of course), mameogram, pap smear - but no one expects to require a heart check and EKG. If there is absolutely no heart problem, the doctor will have a 'base' from the EKG to compare to if a problem crops up.

Do someone you love a big favor. You just might save her life.

How about that for a Valentine idea? ~ The LadyFisher

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