Postcard Project

Hello!

Interesting reads, and timely reminders —
10 Regrets Too Many People Will Have in 10 Years by Marc Chernof

Not spending enough quality time with the right people.At some point, you’ll just want to be around the few people who make you smile for all the right reasons. So today, spend more time with those who help you love yourself more—spend more time with those who make you feel good, and less time with those who you feel pressured to impress. Never be too busy to make room in your day for the ones who matter most. And remember that nothing you can give will ever be more appreciated than your sincere, focused attention—your full presence. Truly being with someone, and listening without a clock and without anticipation of the next event, is the ultimate compliment.

Not expressing your love openly and honestly with those you love. — Without question, you’re going to lose people in your life. Realize that no matter how much time you spend with someone, or how much you appreciate them, sometimes it will never seem like you had enough time together. Don’t learn this lesson the hard way. Express your love! Tell people what you need to tell them. Don’t shy away from important conversations because you feel awkward or uncomfortable. You never know when you might lose your opportunity. Is it really possible to tell someone what you feel? Yes, it is. They won’t always understand, because even when they’ve heard you, they can’t feel exactly what you feel inside. But you still have to speak up for your own peace of mind. If you appreciate someone today, tell them. If you have something else important to say, say it. Hearts are often confused and broken open by words left unspoken.

Being too busy to appreciate your life.Take action, work hard, but don’t forget to pause and pay attention to life’s little moments too. That’s honestly the best advice there is. Realize that life is simply a collection of little chances for happiness, each lived one moment at a time. That some time each day should be spent noticing the beauty in the space between the big events. That moments of dreaming and sunsets and refreshing breezes cannot be bettered. But most of all, realize that life is about being present, watching and listening and working without a clock and without anticipation of results at every moment, and sometimes, on really good days, for letting these little moments fill your heart with intense gratitude. Truth be told, you will inevitably, whether tomorrow or on your deathbed, come to wish that you had spent less time worrying and rushing through your life, and more time actually being mindful and appreciative of each day.

Strengthening the Resiliency Muscle

When something bad happens, we often fall into the trap of three Ps: We see it as personal (this is my fault), pervasive (this is going to ruin every part of my life), and permanent (I’m going to feel this way forever).
We can reject personalization by remembering that not everything that happens to us happens because of us.
We can conquer pervasiveness by keeping a journal—capture three things that went well or three moments of joy each day. Psychologists find that this reminds us that not every part of our lives is affected by setbacks.
We can overcome permanence by thinking of other times when we felt this awful, which helps us realize that this too will pass. “I will never feel pure joy again,” becomes, “right now it seems like I will never feel pure joy again.”

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Today. Illustration by Buddha Doodles.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. A year ago, this meant nothing to me.

Last November 10, 2016, I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer — Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, Nuclear Grade 2 (post operations, it was categorized as Stage 2B Breast Cancer). I underwent modified radical mastectomy in December 10, 2016, 16 cycles of chemotherapy from January to July 2017, and 33 sessions of targeted radiotherapy from mid July to early September 2017. Last July 13, 2017, my super cool oncologist categorized my case as “no evidence of disease”, no more cancer in my system. Though technically speaking, I am not cancer free yet, but I will be. I still need to wait for three years of no cancer recurrence to be medically declared cancer free.

Breast Cancer is still the most prevalent type of cancer in the Philippines. In 2016, among 197 countries, Philippines have the most cases of Breast Cancer. On average, there are 10,000 new cases discovered annually. In 2016, in UK, 1 person is diagnosed with Breast Cancer every 10 minutes. As of March 2017, in US, there are more than 3.1 million women with Breast Cancer history (including current patients). Nevertheless, Breast Cancer Survival has been improving over the years. There are well-established protocols of treatment, and generally increasing awareness in the society. In UK almost 9 of 10 survive Breast Cancer for five years or more. In US, 90% of Breast Cancer patients survive for more than 5 years, 83% for 10 years or more. Unfortunately, in the Philippines survival rate is only at 40% primarily because of lack of awareness, late detection, and lack of adequate diagnosis and treatment facilities.

To be honest, I am still uncomfortable to talk about my situation, particularly if I just have to answer useless curiosity (Bakit ka tumaba ka? Why did you gain weight? Grabe, nakalbo ka? You actually lost your hair?) or unnecessary drama (OMG, of all people, bakit ikaw pa, why did this happen to you?). However, I hope my case can be a simple reminder for everyone that the key in battling Breast Cancer is early detection. I felt a mass on my breast in mid-September 2016, had it checked in late October (it could have been earlier but I was not in Manila most of that month), was diagnosed in early November. Yes, I do observe frequent self exam, and semi-annual screening tests.

Essentially, there are three main risk factors for Breast Cancer:
(1) Being a woman. 99% of Breast Cancer are in women.
(2) Getting older. More than 80% of Breast Cancer occur in women over the age of 50.
(3) Significant family history. Though this is said to be uncommon; only 5% of people diagnosed with Breast Cancer have faulty genes (BRCA1 or BRCA2).

Personally, I fall under the first (duh) and third factors (thank you, family. Hehe).

So, how do we manage occurrence of Breast Cancer? Early prevention / detection via regular screening tests. Having a healthy lifestyle somehow helps too (regular exercise, mindful eating, stress management).

Breast Cancer is curable if detected early, particularly from stages 0 to 2. Please, please take self-examination and screening tests seriously. Women ages 30 and above must have annual sonomammogram, 40 and above must have annual mammogram.

Even if Breast Cancer significantly changed my world in the last 10 months, I still feel fortunate because it was detected at an early stage, I have the means and capacity to proactively go for the most efficient yet aggressive treatments, importantly, I have all the support I needed from family, friends, and colleagues. Hashtag blessed.

The purpose of this long post is for awareness on Breast Health and Breast Cancer. Please don’t feel sad or worried about me. Please. My medical team is very much capable in fighting and getting rid of this cancer. Arrogant as it may sound, I don’t need any pity or sympathy. I deeply appreciate, of course, all positive thoughts, prayers and love. Thank you! ❤️

Brief yet concise reference on Breast Health and Breast Cancer from National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc.: http://bit.ly/2wqnzHd

Statistics sources:
Philippines:
http://www.manilatimes.net/philippines-highest-breast-cancer-prevalence/311347/
https://lifestyle.mb.com.ph/2016/11/08/all-you-need-to-know-to-beat-breast-cancer/

UK:
https://www.breastcancercare.org.uk/about-us/media/press-pack-breast-cancer-awareness-month/facts-statistics

US:
http://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/understand_bc/statistics
http://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/breast-cancer/statistics

Beautiful photos from Instagram:

Photo from Carolyn / The Slow Traveler

Photo from Jane

Photo from Brooklyn Slate

33 of 33. 

Wish peonies are abundant in this side of the world.

Saturday ☺️

Beautiful photos from Instagram:

Photo from Design Boom Magazine

Photo from Melina Hammer

Photo from Interior & More 

Monday ❤️

Sunday ☺️