Being There

a-heart-made-of-stone-from-god-to-remind-us-of-his-love-brigette-hollenbeckImagine being an American of Japanese decent immediately after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. It had to have been a very frightening time for everyone, but the overreaction to the incident resulted in fear of anyone who was Japanese even if they were born here and had lived in our country for decades. The United States government answered the attack by rounding up these citizens and placing them in detention camps, one of the more unfortunate missteps in our country’s history. Among them was a little girl who lived in Los Angeles. She was in the first grade at the time and her best friend was Mary Frances. Immediately after Pearl Harbor the little girl became a pariah through no fault of her own. Only Mary Frances continued to be her ally and to protect her from the taunts that rained down on her head. Eventually the child and her family were sent to Wyoming where they lived behind a chain link fence fortified with barbed wire. Their conditions were cramped and frightening, and the little one did not understand what was happening, but she would always remember how Mary Frances had stood up for her. She loved Mary Frances and never ever forgot her.

A lifetime of years passed. The little girl became a woman. She studied to be a nurse and worked all over the world. She had a very good and productive life, but more than anything she wanted to find Mary Frances to thank her for her unfaltering friendship. She had no idea how to even begin, but with the help of professionals she tracked Mary Frances down. They planned to meet in the Japanese Gardens in San Francisco. There the once tiny child who was now an old woman rejoiced upon seeing her old pal. She was finally able to describe how important Mary Frances had been to her at that crucial time.

As I heard this story I thought of the people who have passed through my life who were exactly where I needed them to be at important junctures in my development. Most of them were there and then they were gone forever. I never really had an opportunity to tell them how much they actually meant to me, and I so wish that I might one day see them again.

My first recollection is of a woman named Pat Wright. She was our next door neighbor when I was no more than four or five years old. She was a striking woman with a flair for the spectacular. She might have played the role of “Auntie Mame.” She was a commercial artist and her home reflected her avant guard take on life. She often invited me to visit with her and in those times she and I created art work together. She told me how talented I was and made me feel as though I was the most special person on earth. Nobody other than family members had ever before been so attentive to me and I loved her dearly. We moved when I was six and my parents made promises to get together for visits, but somehow that never happened, and so I never again saw Pat Wright. I have thought of her over and over again and smiled at the memory of being in her extraordinary home and drawing with her professional tools. I suppose that if she were even alive she would be well into her nineties. I would so enjoy being able to tell her how much I enjoyed our time together, but I suppose that will never really happen.

When I was five years old my parents enrolled me in the first grade with no warning. One day they simply announced that I would be going to school the following morning. I was terrified, but unwilling to reveal my fear with tears. I needn’t have been so worried because I was soon to meet two angels who have forever been in my heart. The first was my teacher, Sister Camilla, who in so many ways inspired me to become a teacher and influenced my teaching style. She was gentle and loving and helped me to feel welcomed and secure. I also met a girl named Virginia who seemed to sense just how upset and worried I was. She guided me through the ropes of being a student as well as a youngster is capable of doing. She gave me wise advice and encouraged me. I adored her as much as I did Sister Camilla. Between the two of them school became a happy place for me. I had thought that Virginia and I would surely be best friends forever, but that was not to be. My family moved to a new neighborhood and soon I was in another school.

I imagined that I would never again see either Sister Camilla or Virginia, but as with Pat Wright I carried the warm memories of being with them in my memory. Consider my surprise when I learned at my fiftieth high school reunion that a number of my classmates had been in that same classroom when I was, and among them was Virginia. I have learned that Virginia is today as sweet and wonderful as she was back then, and I hope that she doesn’t think it too strange when I tell her what a profound impact she had on me.

There have been others like Rose Marie Frey, a neighbor who was perhaps the most beautiful woman that I have ever known. She had five children of her own but somehow she always found time to talk with me and make me feel very grown up. She taught me how to do so many things that I might otherwise never have known about. I was quite sad when she and her family left our neighborhood. We went to visit them many times but as so often happens we soon lost touch. I truly hope that she has had a very good life.

Perhaps Edith Barry wins the grand prize for being there when I most needed someone. She and my mother were the best of friends and had shared many secrets with one another. One of the things that my mom had confessed to Edith was her fear of being diagnosed as mentally ill like her mother had been. She asked Edith to promise that she would be a protector if anyone ever even suggested that Mama needed medical care for such an illness. Of course how could Edith have known that my mother would have a terrible nervous breakdown requiring hospitalization? When virtually every adult abandoned me as I struggled to get my mom the care that she so desperately needed it was only Edith who was willing to incur Mama’s wrath and be a true and loving friend by insisting that she admit herself for care. By helping me Edith did in fact lose my mother. Their friendship suffered, but I understood all too well that Edith had made the ultimate loving sacrifice and she would become my all time hero. I don’t suppose that I really ever explained to her how much I appreciated what she had done. Now she is gone and I can only hope that somehow she knew.

We each have those special people. They do remarkable things for us that we almost take for granted at the time, but in retrospect we realize how wonderful they actually were. We would do well not to wait too long to let them know how important they have been. 


Bogey Men Under The Bed


Not long ago I awoke in the morning to find that we had left the garage door open all night long and forgotten to lock the door into the house as well. I flew into a state of panic considering what might have happened to us had we not been very lucky, and I began to think about my experiences as a child. Back then our windows were wide open all summer long, all night long. We didn’t own an air conditioner, so we relied on the breeze from our attic fan to keep us relatively cool. It never occurred to us to be frightened that someone might enter our home quite easily, but it would have required little effort to pop out the screen and climb right inside. In fact, we had done just that a few times when we didn’t want our mom to know that we had been out and about a bit too late. She no doubt wasn’t fooled by our antics, but we thought ourselves quite adventurous. At no time did we imagine that someone with criminal intent might one day use the same route as ours to invade our home. We always felt quite safe whether we should have or not, and nothing ever happened to change our beliefs.

During the day we kept the doors to our home ajar as well. Friends and neighbors came and went with little more than a quick knock and a shouted “hello” to warn us that they were incoming. It was as though we were just one great big happy family in our community with nary a thought of home invasions or such. Perhaps we were naive, or maybe it really was as secure as we assumed.

The funny thing is that my mother was quite relaxed inside our little haven, but she was quite guarded whenever we were traveling through the city, especially at night. She was distrustful of strangers and instructed us over and over again in the necessity of avoiding any kind of contact with people that we did not know. She freaked out royally when I once accepted a ride from a man that I only minimally new. She raised such a ruckus that I found myself almost running if a stranger even looked my way. I suppose that I was more afraid of her anger than I was of someone that I did not know. Luckily it was quite rare for unknown persons to come our way.

I watched our little world change over time. My brothers and I moved away from home and my mom purchased a new house in a different neighborhood where she never felt quite as relaxed as she had in the home where I had grown up. She put chains and extra bolts on the doors and screwed her windows permanently shut. She installed peepholes and kept her blinds and drapes tightly shut. There was little wonder for her caution for not only was she living alone, but  she had also been burglarized multiple times by then. Fortunately the robbers only came when she was not home, but her fears grew nonetheless, as did my own.

I was living in a very nice apartment project where I had many good friends when i learned that one of them had been raped upon returning from the laundry room one day. A man had followed her back into her place and threatened her with a knife. She silently submitted to his demands because she had a sleeping child in another room, and she feared what might happen if the baby awakened. I recall the horror that all of us felt along with the unadulterated fear. My husband often worked an evening shift during that time and I grew more and more uncomfortable living in that place. I was somewhat relieved when we finally moved, but my sense of complacency was forever gone. Never again would I be lax in protecting myself, even when I lived in a neighborhood where I knew everyone and felt quite secure.

As a society we have become very afraid, sadly often with good reason. Virtually everyone that I know has been the victim of some kind of crime, from the somewhat trivial to horrific incidents. One of my husband’s uncles was bound and gagged in his home while thieves ransacked his belongings. But for the grace of God they chose to keep him alive. The worst of the terrifying situations were the murders of two of my former students in unrelated incidents.

Our streets and our homes have seemingly become unsafe, and so we install cameras and alarm systems in addition to heavy metal doors and locks, even when we have few possessions that would be of much worth to home invaders. The idea of sleeping with the windows open is unimaginable.

I sometimes wonder if those who speak of “making America great again” are thinking less about issues of equality and more about a time when crimes against strangers were unusual rather than as frequent as they now appear to be. Given the ages of the supporters of the MAGA idea I suspect that they remember an era when everyone felt incredibly safe without walls or locks or loaded guns. Maybe they actually believe that given the right circumstances we might once again return to less fright filled lifestyles. My guess is that they long for the serenity that once felt so commonplace.

The saying goes that you can’t go home again. I suppose that we are long past the days of openness to the extent that we enjoyed fifty or sixty years ago. We have to adapt to the new ways, but we needn’t become overly afraid either. The fact is that in spite of rising crime rates and the need to exercise caution, we mostly enjoy our lives without incident. The reason that hearing of terrible events is so shocking is because they are still mostly rare. We don’t have to lock ourselves away as long as we have a bit of common sense, which includes checking doors and such before going to sleep. We don’t need to be so lax as to leave ourselves wide open for trouble like my husband and I accidentally did, but we don’t have to be constantly worrying either because given the odds most of us will blessedly never encounter trouble.

I’d truly enjoy having the same peace of mind that I experienced as a child, but in reality it came mostly because I was too innocent to even imagine that I would be touched by violence. Bad people were out there even back in the day, but I paid little attention to them chiefly because my mom sheltered me from such things. We had a neighbor who was murdered by her husband, and my sweet mother explained that the man had just been very sick and we did not need to worry. Our response was to avoid walking near the house where the crime had occurred, but otherwise having little concern that something similar might one day happen to any of us. Our innocence was in actuality not that far off of the mark, and we would be wise to carry on with our lives without overthinking our possibilities of being harmed.

Humans have worried about boogeymen under the bed for centuries. Sometimes they are real, but mostly we are just as safe as we have ever been as long as we take care not to place ourselves in harms way.

Charts and Graphs

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAfPAAAAJDBhNTVkMGFiLWI0MDUtNDQxOC1hMjBjLTg0MzA3ZTEwYTQ2YwDoes anyone else remember when Ross Perot ran for President of the United States? He was a funny looking little guy with big ears and a Texas drawl that wouldn’t quit. He was a third party candidate in the election that included George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Bush was defeated in his bid for a second term and many folks thought that Perot was the reason that he lost, noting that Perot took votes that the President may have received. Anyway, Perot was a much tougher guy than he appeared to be. He had amassed a fortune making him a billionaire, and when Iran took several Americans hostage, he was the guy who planned, financed and executed their escape. He became a kind of folk hero in spite of his somewhat wimpy appearance, and at some point his groupies encouraged him to run for the highest office in the land on two different occasions. In many ways he was the precursor of Donald Trump, but with  a more pleasing kind of “aw shucks” personality.

Perot was most notable for giving visual presentations of his views on the American economy. He used posters and a pointer to demonstrate the problems in our nation and the solutions that he advocated. While people poked fun at his methods, there was something about his way of explaining things that brought clarity to ideas that had previously been rather difficult to understand for the average person. He won over a number of followers because he laid out his ideas with his charts and graphs in a highly understandable folksy manner. He was a cross between a kooky professor and a cowboy, a strange fellow who had managed to outfox the bullies and the naysayers in real life.

I didn’t vote for Mr. Perot, but I still think about his visual aides and I often find myself wondering if we need someone with similar tendencies today to show us the truth about the various issues that we face in today’s supercharged atmosphere. There is a great deal of chatter about various topics, but very little effort to elucidate what various ideas and laws really mean. I have learned for example that there is real confusion over the so called Dreamers, immigrants who were brought here illegally by their parents when they were children. Many people feel little or no pity for their cause because they think that they should have done the work to become citizens before now, little realizing that it was not possible for them to become citizens because of their illegal status.

I sometimes imagine Mr. Perot with an easel and a set of posters outlining all of the truths about the Dreamers, one visual at a time. Of course his instructional moments would need to take no more than three minutes or so, because I have learned over time that few people have the ability to concentrate and comprehend for more than a couple of minutes before they begin to drift away into their own thoughts. Still I think that with a targeted series of demonstrations everyone would eventually understand all of the issues surrounding DACA and the Dreamers far better than they presently do.

Knowledge is power, but we are provided with so little of it these days. Instead most of our leaders leave us with soundbites, tweets, rants and memes that keep us in a state of ignorance. Mr. Perot on the other hand actually wanted us to know the facts, and while I didn’t exactly agree with his points of view or solutions for problems, I liked his style. Perhaps because I am a visual, linear learner I appreciate the clarity provided by seeing a sequence of visual explanations for things. They don’t have to actually be old school posters on easels. A nice Power Point presentation might work just as well, but then again there was something rather catchy about Mr. Perot’s homespun looking presentations without the bells and whistles of today’s Instructional programming. They were eye catching simply because they were so primitive.

So I’d like to suggest that either a politician or a journalist be very very honest in outlining all of the information surrounding the big issues of the day. We need to be taught about chain immigration including when and why it came about and what it’s effects are today. We must know more about what actually happens when the government shuts down and which agencies and individuals are actually affected. It would be good to take some time to go through lessons on the constitution, where we might learn about how each branch of government is supposed to work. Our discussions might move from the irate to the rational with proposals for solutions that actually reflect the realities of various situations. It would be quite a change from the ignorance that is almost encouraged these days to keep us in the dark and in political trances. Perhaps even our memes would change to brief but accurate sources of information. The possibilities are wondrous.

Somewhere along the way we’ve been led down a garden path. The politicians know that we are rather busy and can’t get around to gathering all of the information that we need to make good decisions, and so they have learned how to play on our emotions and turn us against one another. While we’re busy brawling, they are kicking the can of responsible governing farther and farther down the road. They leave office with guaranteed health insurance, pensions and usually more money than they had when they arrived. We in the meantime are more confused than ever about what to think. Let’s bring back Mr. Perot and his pointer. He’s only eighty seven. Surely he has the energy to be our guide once again. We don’t want to know his philosophies or ideas, just the facts, only the truth. Perhaps his true destiny has finally arrived.

A Time To Remember

prodigal_sonI grew up in Catholic schools and we were not exactly Biblical scholars. I understood the gist of the stories and parables in that great book, but I would be lost if I had to name the chapters and verses that contain various elements. Still I have enough familiarity with the four books that comprise the volume that I am able to relate both the history in the Old Testament and the story of Jesus in the New. What I learned is that Jesus was all about love and redemption. Over and over again he pushed back against the rule oriented Pharisees and preached the importance of understanding that He had come to remind us all that God is open to each and every one of us and that it is never too late to ask for forgiveness.

Jesus was often misunderstood by the people of His time which ultimately resulted in His being hung from a cross like a common criminal. So it is little wonder that even people who profess to be experts in the interpretation of His words might come up with ideas that appear to be more in line with the Pharisees than with Jesus. Somehow we can all hear or read the very same passages and come up with differing interpretations of them. It’s been happening for centuries and no doubt will continue as long as we humans attempt to unravel the instructions of how best to use Jesus’ instructions for how to behave toward one another.

One of my favorite parables was that of the Prodigal Son. Jesus told this story after the Pharisees and other critics suggested that He was often sinful in the selection of people with whom He associated. They disliked that Jesus was friends with tax collectors and women of dubious character and such. They worried about how He flaunted the religious laws by performing miracles on the Sabbath. They felt that Jesus too often excused bad behavior when He should have instead condemned it. What they didn’t appear to understand is that Jesus was preaching a new way of living that promised every human a pathway to amnesty regardless of how egregious their sins might once have been. Somehow large numbers of people who purport to be loving Christians have forgotten this message and instead use fire and brimstone passages from the Old Testament to defend their unforgiving stances on various issues.

The whole idea of illegal immigration, and in particular the Dreamers is a perfect example of how very religious people have somehow become unwilling to even consider the idea of forgiving those who broke the law or those who were brought to our country without consent when they were children. We have forgotten the story of the the Prodigal Son, perhaps the most powerful tale that Jesus ever related. In it he spoke of a very wealthy man who had two sons, one of whom became impatient to receive his inheritance and asked his father to give it to him immediately. The errant son took his father’s treasure and went away with it, forgetting about his family and living a profligate life. After losing everything he was starving and desperate. He came back home with the intention of begging his father to take him back as a servant to earn his keep. Instead when the loving father saw his son returning he rushed out to meet him, instructing the servants to clothe his child in fine robes. He not only forgave his son but planned a celebratory meal for him. When the other son who had been faithful to his father heard what was happening he was irate, questioning why his brother should be honored when he had been so thoughtless. The father reminded the angry son that a parent’s love is unconditional and that by prostrating himself the prodigal son had demonstrated his willingness to change and seek forgiveness.

I think of this parable whenever the subject of illegal immigration is mentioned. I realize that we cannot as a nation continue to allow people to break the law without consequence, but there are people here who came for very good reasons which we may or may not understand. They have lived peacefully among us, working hard and doing their best to fit into our society. Since we did little to turn them back initially they have little hope of returning to their native countries and finding a livelihood because they have been gone for too long. The truth is that we sat back for decades and did nothing to stop them. Now many among us want to simply turn their backs on these people and send banish them without any thought to what doing so may mean. There are even some who wish to punish their children who were brought when they were too young to even understand what was happening. Like the Pharisees so many Americans and lawmakers only see the rules and not the humanity of the situation. They shout down any plan that might rectify the status of these individuals without giving them actual citizenship, but requiring them to come out of the shadows. They speak of amnesty as if it is a dirty word rather than one that Jesus Himself would no doubt have appreciated given His propensity for forgiving people thought to be hopelessly broken. 

I tend to believe that our political leaders who continually oppose all immigration plans that propose even a smattering of forgiveness are mostly concerned about losing political power. They don’t seem to realize that their unwillingness to bend and compromise even a bit is only exacerbating the problem. They spread silly ideas that they should not concern themselves with the fate of immigrants rather than the safety of Americans. They point to the lawlessness of those who would cross our borders without permission and insinuate that most who come here are criminals. They raise the fears of our citizens by suggesting that terrorists will be coming if we do not have a hard line. Instead of telling us what chain immigration is and why we have it, they just make us afraid of it. They point to criminals who came here through chain immigration as though such incidents are the norm. They constantly speak of rules that must never be broken, forgetting how often Jesus did just that to emphasize our need to be compassionate and loving. They conveniently forget the ultimate message of redemption by His death on the cross.

As I write this the government shut down for a short time because our leaders were at an impasse. A few days later they grudgingly agreed to a short term fix, but left all of the big problems for another day. Who knows how well those discussions are going to go given the fact that we haven’t had many bipartisan moments in years. We appear to no longer be able to compromise. I suspect that if our Founding Fathers had been this way we might all still be part of the British Empire like Canadians. They would have argued infinitely and gotten nowhere, which is where we are now. 

There are those who want to lay blame for the state of our union and I would like to suggest that there is plenty to go around to everyone including those of us who vote. Of late we have turned our backs on anyone who has shown the desire to bring the country together for the general good. While we are bickering real people are being hurt and we are forgetting about all of those beautiful parables that Jesus taught us, and yet Jesus Himself would be loving and understanding even of those of us who have sometimes forgotten or ignored His message. Maybe the time has come to remember it the way it was intended to be.

Right On Target

targetI’ve never been entirely sure how tall my paternal grandmother was at different times in her life. By the time that I knew her she was already in her seventies and had a very pronounced hump on her back caused from a serious case of osteoporosis. At that moment her height was under five feet, but her body had been so twisted by her disease that I suspected that she might have once been taller. She always used to tell me that I was exactly like her, and as I have aged I have begun to believe that she was absolutely correct. I seem to not only resemble her in appearance, but also am inclined toward many of her health problems. I’m bolstered by the knowledge that she was a high energy woman until shortly before her death at the age of eighty eight, and even that might have been prevented until a later time had she paid more attention to the symptoms of cancer that were slowly stealing away her life.

My mother had three sisters all of whom suffer with problems from osteoporosis. One has been wheelchair bound for many years, another has had major hip surgeries and walks with a cane. The third one does a bit better, but still has all of the symptoms of the disease that destroys bones. Only my mother was never diagnosed with osteoporosis, and her body structure was very different from that of her sisters who tended to be taller and leaner. Since I have always been shaped more like my aunts than my mother I assumed that perhaps I might carry more of their genetic tendencies. This combined with my strong connection to my grandmother made me wonder if I too would one day be afflicted with the same bone destroying disease that they all had.

I began worrying when I was in my late thirties when I noticed that my back began to curve just a bit. I talked about my concerns with my doctors, but they assured me that I was way too young to worry about such things, and they also noted that my health insurance would be unlikely to cover the cost of a bone scan simply because I had a family history of the disease. They urged me to be patient and wait until I was of an age more suitable for thinking of such things. It was not until was in my late forties that I relayed my fears to a new gynecologist who took over for my doctor who had retired. He found a way to get a bone scan for me, but he also insisted that I was probably more worried than I needed to be. The images proved him wrong. I already had a great deal of deterioration that was abnormal for my age. The doctor insisted that I take a high dose of calcium each day and eat foods that might increase my daily intake of that vitamin. Since women are only allowed to get a bone scan every two years it was going to be a while before I would learn whether or not my situation had improved with my new regimen.

The next scan showed even more problems, so the doctor prescribed the drug Fosamax which was a frightening experience because I was told that if it got stuck in my esophagus it might do permanent damage. Because I have a naturally occurring narrowing of that area I often begin to choke on pills and some foods. I literally held my breath and prayed to God each Saturday when I attempted to swallow the medication for my osteoporosis. Luckily I never once had a bad reaction, but I nonetheless had to wait another two years to find out if I was doing any better.

When it came time for me to get another bone scan my doctor referred me to an osteoporosis specialist who put me through a battery of different tests. At the end of the process he announced to me that I was doing great and didn’t even have osteoporosis anymore. It seemed almost too good to be true, but he insisted that I was in great shape. In spite of his reassurances I was not convinced because my body seemed to be slowly changing, and when I mentioned this to him or any of my doctors they essentially suggested that I was being silly, insisting that I looked just fine. I kept taking my calcium and my Fosamax and hoping that they were right and I was wrong.

I was already in my sixties before I found a great Primary Care Physician who takes everything that I say quite seriously. When I told him that I was becoming as bowed as my grandmother had been he studied my stance carefully and ordered a number of tests, among which was another bone scan. He found that my bones were in a fragile state, and told me that I still clearly had osteoporosis. He also noted that I have scoliosis and wondered why nobody at any point in my life had suggested some form of therapy. I cried when I learned that I was no longer five feet six and a half inches tall, but rather only five foot four. He felt that the problems that I have with my knees were an outgrowth of my changing skeletal structure and told me that my legs have bowed because my body is compensating. He also assured me that I was not crazy in thinking that I had somehow lost my formerly long thin waist because my spine had collapsed. He not only took the time to listen to me, but he also agreed that my body had indeed changed dramatically, and he set about crafting a plan for me. It was the first time ever that I felt as though someone considered my worries to be important. He also assured me that my fear of ingesting Fosamax was exactly right.

For two years now I have injected Forteo under my skin in the hopes that the drug will rebuild my bones. I have taken my little injection pen and needles everywhere that I have gone, and I suppose that I will soon find out how effective the medication has been. My doctor has guided me in diet and exercise as well. In fact he is my conscience when it comes to religiously performing the weight bearing routines that are even more important than the medication in building bones that will keep me strong. My appearance is what it is, however. I will not grow tall again nor will the bend in my back become erect. I might make my legs stronger which will somewhat help the bow in them, but essentially the way I appear now will be the way I will always be, and it saddens me that I was ignored for so very long. Perhaps I need not have endured most of the problems that I have had.

I’m not a whiney woman, nor do I generally complain about my status vis a vis that of a man, but I do believe that there are times when simply by dent of my sex I have been ignored. I definitely think that my concerns about having osteoporosis went unanswered for so long because to my doctors I sounded a bit hysterical in my belief that I was following in the footsteps of my elders and doing so at a relatively early age. I didn’t help my case by mentioning that some of my female friends were also worried about the way they observed me carrying myself. They pushed me to speak with my doctors, and weren’t satisfied when I told them about the reactions that I had received. I was caught in the age old trap of males thinking that women sometimes overreact. I was patted on my little head and sent away because they felt that they were dealing with far more serious problems. Now I am older and more likely to struggle with this disease and its devastating effects for years to come. Had more been done when I was younger I might not have become so deformed.

All of my aunts are clear headed and healthy save for their osteoporosis which has forced them to live in assisted living and nursing homes in their twilight years. They have endured painful operations and rehabilitations and have seen their independence dwindle because of the same disease that I have. They fight with all of their might, but like me their own conditions were not diagnosed until they were older and their symptoms had grown.

There are things that every woman might do to prevent their bones from becoming brittle and eroded like swiss cheese. From an early age weight bearing and resistance exercises as well as a healthy diet are essential at least three to five days a week. Joining a gym or the YMCA is an investment whose worth can’t be measured. Eating green vegetables and other sources of calcium every single day is a must. It’s never too early to have regular physical checkups and to discuss any concerns about body changes with a doctor. If the physician doesn’t seem to be listening, then go to someone else. Talk with family members about their own medical histories. The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree, and genetics play a huge role in our overall health. Mostly, no woman should be afraid to take charge of her situation. Each person knows better than anyone how they feel. Those instincts are usually right on target.