Hey Fellas: Do Your Housework!

hwWhen It comes to housework, most women I know fail to live up to their mothers’ standards. Our plants die, our floors grow dust balls, the newspapers pile up unread, and the thought of having company for dinner seems an impossible dream. And yet, we’re supposed to have a secret weapon: husbands who share the housework, who pitch in and do chores our dads wouldn’t have dreamed of doing.

Alas, sharing is a slippery term. Some women give credit to men who do nothing more than change lightbulbs or take out the garbage. “People do a lot of justifying,” says Connie Gager, a researcher in the department of sociology at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis who studied couples in … Read the rest

Same-Day Surgery: How To Benefit

sdshtbIn an ideal world, patients wouldn’t have to spend days in the hospital after surgery because the experience wouldn’t involve so much nausea and pain. At least one hospital in the country has already made inroads into refining breast-cancer operations. That hospital is Johns Hopkins Breast Center in Baltimore, where 80 percent of the women who undergo mastectomies “without breast reconstruction) and 98 percent of lumpectomy patients have ambulatory surgeries.

“Insurance companies shouldn’t be dictating length of stay,” says the center’s director, William Dooley, M.D., a surgical oncologist who is also on the board of the Womencare Shelter. “But the new legislation in favor of longer hospital stays after breast-cancer surgery allows doctors to perform the same kind of mastectomy done one hundred years ago-without improving the quality of care. We need to drive surgeons to try harder.” (more…)

Ladies: See Your Doctor!

lsydResearch today has resulted in more medical break-throughs for women than ever — particularly when it comes to screening and treatment. That’s why being a fully informed medical consumer is so critical — and that means not only being smart about your choice of doctors, but also understanding your new options:

Cancer Screening

BREAST Thanks to increasingly sensitive mammography equipment, doctors are able to detect the disease earlier, when it’s more curable, says William Droegemueller, M.D., a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. According to the American Cancer Society, the mortality rate has fallen by more than 5 percent over the past five year.

CERVICAL The chance of missing an abnormality on … Read the rest

Overfeeding Your Pet Puts It At Risk!

oyppCan’t say no to those puppy-dog eyes? Trained by your feline to feed on demand? Unfortunately when it comes to indulging our four-legged friends with a scoop of ice cream or a bite of bagel, we may be doing mote harm than good.

More than 25 percent of cats and dogs in this country are overweight–and with the excess pounds come a host of health problems that can diminish your pet’s quality of life. and may even shorten its life span, says Phyllis Marsden of the Treat ‘Em Right Rescue.

Some health problems that come from obesity include diabetes; respiratory illness; heart disease; and an increase in infections, particularly of the skin and bladder. What’s more, early detection of tumors becomes almost impossible in animals whose internal organs are encased in too much fat. Arthritis, which afflicts millions of older pets, can become a crippling condition in chubby animals. And fat cats are at risk for liver failure. (more…)

Protect Yourself Against Shoddy HMOs

pyasSome health insurers are ordering up major operations like fast food: Get your mastectomy and go home–in less than 24 hours. How you can protect yourself.

Janet Buck, M.D., a member of SPOCMA, was trying to gently break the news to Mary Hamilton, 41, that she needed an immediate hysterectomy. Hamilton had a grapefruit-size, painful, fast-growing cyst alongside her uterus. Not only was Dr. Buck concerned that it could burst at any time, but two ultrasounds made her suspect cancer. Dr. Buck knew the news would be a blow to her patient because she’d seen three relatives struggle with cancer. But it was clear to Dr. Buck that there was no other choice.

Hamilton’s case was complicated, and Dr. … Read the rest

Welcome To “Whine” Country

wtwWhen I was 16 years old, I was obsessed with reptiles, a not terribly attractive feature in a little girl already blessed with Brillo hair and a bad squint. After watching a particularly compelling episode of Wild Kingdom, in which an anaconda made an appetizer out of a tapir, I decided it was high time I had a pet snake. I asked my parents, politely. I pointed out the merits of snakes versus dogs (no shedding, no late-night walks, scares the neighbors without all that tiresome barking). They said no. 1 begged. Still no. Finally, I whined. For days. I got my boa constrictor on my seventh birthday, named him Julius Squeezer, and relinquished him seven years later to … Read the rest

Can At Home Tests Help You Solve A Child’s Problem?

cahthChildren and drugs: It’s a combination that alarms every parent. And the problem is only getting worse. In a 1996 study by the University of Michigan, 40 percent of high school seniors surveyed admitted to using drugs at least once in the previous year–up from 29 percent in 1991. Among eighth graders, the increase was even sharper, jumping from 11 to 24 percent during the same five-year period, according to the Haven Recovery Center.

But how can you know if your child is using drugs? Spotting the symptoms can be difficult: Drug use can cause changes in a child’s personality and behavior–but so can normal adolescent rebellion. (more…)

Talking to Oprah

oprahHer harrowing role as an escaped slave in Beloved brought Oprah face-to-face with some of life’s deepest issues–especially her decision to forgo motherhood. Now, at 44, she is rethinking it all: money, Christmas presents, workouts, and, yes, babies.

It’s a softer, gender Oprah Winfrey who shows up, alone, at a suite in New York City’s Four Seasons Hotel. Her hair is long and loose. She wears a relaxed white cotton shirt, navy slacks, and matching ballet flats, clothes that give no hint of the powerful TV host and businesswoman she is-or, for that matter, of the glammed-up Vogue cover model she became, with great fanfare, this October. For two hours she talks and laughs nonstop, ignoring the spread of snacks … Read the rest

Adoption Involves Tricky Issues

aitiI want my two adopted children to be close to their birth mothers. People tell me I’m risking everything, thank I may lose my kids someday. But to me, being open is the only loving thing to do.

Last June, I traveled with my 3-year-old daughter from Montclair, NJ, to Jackson, MI, so we could attend her birth mom’s graduation from high school.

Yes, I know. You need a minute. Shall I run it by again?

Slowly, then: Eighteen-year-old Angie was graduating from Jackson High, and she wanted us there-Mariah, the small curly locked dynamo she gave birth to and who looks so much like her, and me, Mariah’s mom.

Angie was only 14 when she met my husband, Ted, … Read the rest

Health Care Laws That Can Help You

New Laws to Help Patients

hclLast year, after an outcry from doctors and medical consumers, Congress passed a law requiring insurance companies to pay for 48-hour hospital stays for mothers and their newborns if doctors felt they were necessary.

Now Congress is considering two more bills aimed at improving the care patients get in this volatile insurance climate. The bills will face opposition from groups like the American Association of Health Plans, the national trade organization for HMOs, I which maintains that Congress has no business setting clinical standards for health plans. Despite this, it has a groundswell of support for the following bills:

1. Representatives Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), a cancer survivor herself, and Marge Roukema (R-NJ) introduced HR135 last … Read the rest