Don’t Wait…

I personally cannot stomach waiting. I hate the feeling down to its very core. I am not talking about patience or perseverance, but rather the feeling of helpless complacency. Waiting, simply means life will choose the course. When I was seventeen years old, a soon to be high school graduate, I decide to stop waiting.

A mixture of teenage humor and a drive to make a difference prompted me to start a non-profit, for testicular cancer, called Sacks of Love. In the beginning, it was a rollercoaster. A good friend and I would walk around the halls of our school, with sharpie markers and two manila envelopes, collecting twenty-dollar bills and t-shirt sizes. We managed to desperately scrounge together a list of forty names and eight hundred dollars. Two weeks later we showed up to the cafeteria with a box of cheaply made t-shirts. Next thing we knew, we were in the Principals office answering awkward questions about the t-shirts with the “balls” inverted into a heart shape.

Since then Sacks of Love has developed into more than just a pet project of two seventeen year olds. Our team has helped to raise over $30,000 so far for awareness. We’ve distributed thousands of early detection materials, hosted several events including our own 5K run and filed to become a 501(c)3 federally tax exempt organization.

We use our humor to make a difference but the issue itself can be completely sobering. Last year, I spoke with a mother, who had lost her nineteen year old son to testicular cancer. She and he both were not aware of the risks till it was too late. I am glad that I choose not to wait. Men need to be aware and feel comfortable enough to talk about testicular cancer and get the resources they need. The disease, if caught early on is virtually one hundred percent curable, nobody should ever die from it.

About Sacks of Love:

Sacks of Love is a non-profit organization that aims to spread awareness for male health issues, specifically testicular cancer. Testicular cancer is the most common cancer among younger men. In 2012, 350 men in the United States died from this disease. However, when detected early it is usually not fatal. We encourage all men to perform self-checks regularly as demonstrated in our self-check materials. This will lead to early detection and ultimately save lives.

We want to create a community that brings together men and their families to support one another. This community can offer support and guidance to many men who are embarrassed or ashamed. Sacks of Love uses humor and positive messages to end the negative stigma surrounding testicular cancer and create environment where men are comfortable to share their experiences and get the resources that they need.

Holiday Survival

Do You Have a Holiday Escape Plan?

The holiday season can be a stressful time, even when things are going swimmingly. But add on the pressure of trying to conceive, and it can be especially hard to see this time as the “Most Wonderful Time of the Year!”

Here are some tools that can help ease the stress of the “festive” gathering and help you deal better with the holidays this season.

To Go or Not to Go?

The first step is determining your pain to pleasure ratio with regards to the gathering. Does the pain of attending outweigh the benefit of going?

You can do this by asking yourself these questions:

Will this event cause me to overstress?
How am I feeling when I think of this event?
Will I be uplifted or will I feel anxious?
If you decide not to go . . .

Here’s a secret I’ve learned from experience and one of my most frequently used mantras: “Ten years from now, this will not matter.”

At the moment, your decision may feel so important, but — I promise — years from now it will not be as emotionally intense and/or will probably be forgotten.

If You Decide to Go . . .

Ask yourself about your intention. Intentions are a large factor in managing your situation. An intention is like a mini goal for the day or the encounter.

What is your mini-goal for the event? You’ll want to set it for two reasons. First, you’ll want to beam out into the universe what you’d like to have happen and how you’d like the situation to play out. Second, by establishing an intention you set yourself up to win!

Coping During the Event

Say you and your partner need to attend your partner’s office party. You don’t feel up to it, he does, and you are at an impasse as to what to do.

Break the Event Down into Parts

Decide which parts of the event you are capable of attending. Perhaps you are in a position where you “must attend” and are feeling the pressure. You and your partner can commit to attend the cocktail portion of the party and then make a discrete exit. Stay longer if you are up to it, but if you feel you’ve fulfilled your goal, then leave acknowledging, “Another job was well done!”

Or, just attend the dessert portion of the event, stating that you have a prior committment but will come later.

Create an Elevator Speech

An elevator speech is a rehearsed and well-delivered speech at the ready to answer those annoying questions such as: “Do you have children?” “When are you going to have children?” and the dreaded, “Isn’t it time for you both to start having children?”

My tried and true elevator speech was, “We have a whole team of experts working on that.” Or you can try, “Babies come when babies come.”

Create a Red Flag Phrase

You may be fearful that if you go to your husband’s holiday party and need to leave, he won’t understand.

I understand that fear. I ran into a similar dynamics of misunderstanding the other’s “pain to pleasure” ratio. Here’s how I solved it. I came up with a Red Flag Phrase. Mine was a line from Seinfeld, the television show: “These pretzels are making me thirsty.” When either I or my former husband used it, it meant no questions asked — we had to leave.

I remember being at a party and feeling as though I was going to faint because the pressure of holding myself together got too great. It was right after we lost our pregnancy and the talk was mainly about children and babies. I handled it well at the beginning, but it just went on and on and I began to feel dizzy and sick to my stomach.

I walked up to my former husband and whispered into his ear: “These pretzels are making me thirsty” and at first he asked if I wanted a drink and then he realized it was ”get the coats” time. The key is using your mutually agreed upon phrase only in times of need and to be clear that the request needs to be fulfilled without questions.

This Too Shall Pass

Remember, the holiday season will soon pass. I hope you can use these strategies to enjoy it as much as possible. If you do, you will find yourself feeling stronger as you start a new year.

Please feel free to email me and I will send you an EveryDay Certainty Pocket Companion.
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