10 Reasons Why I Love Being A Woman (Take The Pledge!)

Little B when she was 2 months old *heart*

1. I get to carry my babies around with me for 9 months and then bring them into the world.

2. I get to fall into the arms of the man I love, feeling accepted, protected and completely loved.

3. I get to wear high heels and flat shoes (and sandals and Fit-Flops).

4. I get to cut and grow out and colour my hair on a whim.

5. I get to ferry my kids from school to class to sailing to gym and drink bubble tea with them and talk.

6. The Singapore Woman’s Charter.

7. I get full licence to cry when I lose a body part. Aron Rolston had to be macho about it for 127 Hours.

8. I get to put on a bikini when I’m feeling skinny and a maillot when I’m feeling soggy.

When in doubt, always wear a colourful floatie to distract the camera.

9. When I’m down, all it takes is a new lip gloss—not a BMW—to cheer me up.

10. I never get my wee-wee caught in my jeans zipper.

And one more for the road:

11. I can still go for Zumba class no matter how old I get.

There are so many reasons to love being a woman. I’m writing these down because I’ve been reading the pledges at the Great Woman Pledge website (and I could only submit one pledge!). I’m struck by the camaraderie and supportiveness that women have for one another. They make me think of my BFF, Karen. Incidentally, this photo was taken when GE donated a portion of their GE 10K Women’s Run to my women’s organisation, WMD.

Me (3rd from right) and Karen (2nd from right) with my WMD buddies on the left (Barffie, Eunice Olsen, Chong Hai-Yen).

I encourage—I mean, ENCOURAGE—all of you reading this to go to this site www.itsgreattobeawoman.com now and make your pledge! Click on “My Pretty Pink Pledge” on the left column, and write why you think it’s great to be a woman!

You could win an iPad if yours is the most Creative or most Meaningful Pledge.

You can also VOTE for your friends — the entry with the most votes in either category will win an iPad each!

Here’s the REAL reason why you should make a pledge:
For every pledge that’s entered, Great Eastern will donate $1 to the Breast Cancer Foundation.
BCF is an important support group to breast cancer sufferers like myself. The Foundation works hard to create awareness of breast cancer, and has built up support groups that help women going through breast cancer to get the emotional support they need. BCF will benefit from this donation, which will help them to keep their work going.

Great Eastern wants to get 20,000 pledges by International Women’s Day—8 March 2011. That’s 8 days from today!

I urge you to click here and make your pledge now (then get your friends to vote like mad for you so you can win that iPad). You will be making a difference to women like me.

Please pass this message on! Help me help GE get their 20,000 pledges before next Wednesday!

Click here to make your pledge now.

How To Do A Breast Self-Exam (BSE)

I am posting this (quick post, haha) because I do get asked this a lot, and I am not always able to explain verbally how to do a proper and effective breast self-examination for lumps.

Why is BSE important? It’s how many breast cancers are detected—sometimes by spouses who are so familiar with their wives’ bodies, they can tell the difference. I learned how to feel my breasts for lumps in my 20s, after my mother had her first experience with cancer. She was a nurse, and taught me how to do it properly, whether lying down (which was fine between the age of 22-31) or standing up facing a mirror (once the kids arrived my boobs began to descend in opposite directions towards my armpits so feeling for lumps in prone position was harder).

The best time to do your BSE is after your period, like a day or 2 days. Apparently the breasts won’t have so many cysts at that time of the month, so you can get a more accurate “reading” of lumps. It’s important to make it a habit, so for me, once my period is down to just a stain, I’ll do my BSE every month (okay, I did miss a month or two but I’d say I remembered 10 out of 12 months).

It’s also pretty important to do your BSE in front of a mirror. Breast cancers may cause some subtle puckering in the skin of the breast (makes it look a bit “orange skin”) or there may be a colour change in the breast, or sometimes you can actually observe a visual difference between right breast and left that could be indicative of an growth.

Standing in front of the mirror, raise your right arm and feel your breast with your fingertips (fold in your thumb and use four fingers). I make small circles with my fingers starting from the outermost part of the breast, moving in towards the nipple.

If you think you feel something lumpy (and many women’s breasts are fairly dense and lumpy-feeling), the way to check if it’s a lump is to feel the opposite breast in the same spot. If you feel a similar “lump” in the same spot, then most likely it is just breast tissue, not a growth.

What does a lump feel like? For me, I didn’t even feel a lump, but there was a “thickening” under the skin that I could faintly detect. It really was because I was so used to feeling my breasts that this subtle change was apparent to me. For other friends who have found cancerous growths, they mostly describe it as a “pea under the skin”.

Here is a diagram I borrowed from Medline Plus that shows you, visually, how to do your BSE. There are different methods — just pick the one that is most comfortable for you.

Three ways of conducting your breast self-exam

I hope this post has been useful! You can ask me anything if what I’ve written isn’t clear enough.

PS Whether you’re high-risk (like me) or not, BSE is still a good habit to form, judging from the calls and emails I am getting from women who don’t have any family history of breast cancer.