On my 40th birthday was the last time I saw my mom before she passed. She was on hospice, and it had been a few days since she had opened her eyes, or communicated much with us. She was dying of breast cancer.
This was a pivotal moment in my life, where all things seemed to converge into one big glob that was my life. I was a new mom, of a not-yet adopted son (who was going to turn 1, two weeks later), I was turning 40, which was a HUGE turning point in a woman's life and I was quickly becoming an orphan- losing my most favorite human on the planet.
I loathed cancer. I had already been widowed in my 20's by this stupid disease, and had been with my mom on her 10 year journey. I was scared to death to lose her. I couldn't believe what was happening. And to top it off, this was a harsh reminder that the last time I saw my own father alive, was also on my birthday, several years earlier.
My (now) husband, worked hard to gather a few close friends and have a "party" for me. But none of us were in the party mood. We knew we were getting close to the end with my mom and it was difficult for everyone. I secretly didn't want to turn 40 and I certainly didn't want to enter into such a life changing decade without my mom. That night, we all fell asleep- and I was woken by the news of her passing.
Fast forward to 2018- July, I turned 42. I know that when you hit 40 you are supposed to go get your baseline mammogram. I had all kinds of excuses not to go and get it. Work. Work and more work. Being a mom (and a foster mom to additional children at that). Other loved one's health challenges. An adoption. And well, I was plain scared.
Being a scaredy cat isn't really in my nature. I am an anxious person, but I deal with that mostly through trying new things. But the ugly "C" word has stopped me in my tracks one too many times, and as I blew out candle number 42, I knew I had to do what no woman loves to do- Get my girls squished!
In July, I got new insurance, so I put off the other dreadful test that every woman hates- a pap smear. The doc took all of 3 minutes to complete her task and then reminded me that I was overdue for my mammogram. I told her that I knew, but that I was scared, given my family history with the big "C". She tried to evoke confidence in me, by reminding me that finding anything early, is better that waiting. I knew that in my brain- but my anxious subconscious voice was getting louder- "Mom skipped a mammogram and ended up with advanced cancer. I have skipped 2 years of recommended time to get one done- THAT COULD BE ME TOO." I had also learned that a childhood friend of mine, went for her first mammogram an was diagnosed with pretty advanced breast cancer at 43. That scared me- for her and for me.
When I left the doctor's office, I put my "big girl panties" on and made the appointment. That felt good- to at least taken a tiny step towards what I know I needed to do.
Each day leading up to my appointment, I tried to get my anxious mind to turn off. All of the "what if's". What if it hurts? What if they find something. What if I have cancer! I just kept plugging away at things to take my mind off of those nagging questions and pretty soon, I oun myself in the office of the radiology clinic. I signed in and sat down, knowing I could no longer put off what I had tried to do for over 2 years.
Within 20 minutes, my name was called and I went back into this small area, with little closets. The nurse told me to undress from the waist up and put on this lovely green gown she handed me. I changed and then sat in a chair outside the dressing room to wait. It wasn't long and this short, older lady who was quite bubbly, called my name and took me into her dark room. She tried to make light of everything- "Oh you're here for your baseline mammogram." All I kept thinking is "I'm here to see if I have cancer lady."
I followed all of her instructions as she placed my boob on the tray. The one thing I wasn't mentally prepared for is for someone to be moving my breasts around in precarious positions. I just kept breathing. She would move my arm, my head, to position me just right and then ask me to hold my breath. She run the machine and then return to position me again and again.
The one thing that surprised me was that it was virtually painless! What were all these women complaining about? All I ever hear was that it was painful, and horrible to have a mammogram done. I can certainly say it was awkward to have a woman fondling my breasts, but other than that, the experience was nothing like I had dreaded.
She then shocked me and said "Do you want to look at them? " "Um, sure?" I said. We walked over to the screens and there they were. My twin girls (who were fraternal twins- because, she pointed out to me during the exam that one boob was larger than the other). I saw a lot of grey matter, along with some "glowing white" streaks- but other than those distinctions, I could only tell that those were indeed my boobs.
The anxious voice in my spoke up. "Do they look ok? Do you see anything I should be concerned about?"
She said "oh, I just take the pictures. I leave all that to the docs." She then led me back to the changing rooms.
While I was changing, I was trying to keep that nervous voice from sending me into a full blown panic attack. This, I reminded myself- is the worst part. This- being the waiting. The same interval of time that came after my first husband was diagnosed with cancer (twice). The same amount of time between my mom's tests and her results. The horrible, awful, anxious time that has to pass between when you have a test like this done and the (what seemed like) inevitable phone call. I was not prepared for this.
Click here for part II. The follow up to my Mammogram Monologue.
I was in the bay area today, on our weekend Thanksgiving Trip to visit my family. My husband and I like adventure, but didn't expect the events of today to transpire - and definitely- didn't expect to be posting a "LOST DOG" poster online!
We have 2 dogs: Chelsea, a 7 year old Great Dane Mix and Rocky, an 8 year old "Heinz 57 variety" (we were told at the shelter when we adopted him as a puppy that he was Shepherd and Rottweiler mix, but he's only 40 lbs, is very "cattle dog like", very similar to a breed called "Kelpie"
So, our Great Dane, has some arthritis issues and today, seemed to be in a lot more pain than usual. She was grunting and moaning and could not seem to get comfortable. So, we decided to take her to a nearby vet. We left Rocky in the back yard, at my Mom's house, while we all went to her appointment. We were gone approximately 2 hours and when we returned.... no Rocky.
So at 5:30pm, we had a large dog doped up on pain medication to worry about and now, trying to find our other dog (fur baby as I like to call them) in a neighborhood he doesn't know! SCARY!
It appeared that he somehow managed to get under the house and escape out of a grate he pushed through at the front of the house (probably chasing the cats my mom has had inhabiting under there).
We spoke to some people outside at a neighbor's house who said that Animal Control had been by a little earlier asking about a Shepherd dog, and if they knew the owner. They didn't because we were just visiting. They gave us a good clue that he had probably been picked up by them, but of course, the shelter doesn't open until Tuesday (3 whole days away) and like any good "mom", I couldn't just sit around and wait... "What if he didn't get picked up?" "What if he's out there lost?" So, I had to take measures of my own, just in case.
While my husband and sister drove the neighborhood, and my 9 year old nephew made home made posters, I took to the avenue I know best: social media. I first went on the Animal Control Website where you can search to see if your pet was brought in (actually, it's a link to PetHarbor.com). It was too early yet, for Rocky's picture to be there, so I submitted a lost dog alert and then took to Craig's List to post in the Lost and Found.
I did, almost instantly, get a call from a wonderful community member, named "Marilyn", who was just a volunteer who was passionate about animals, who had seen my posting on Pet Harbor. She thought she had spotted him, but it turned out to be a similar looking dog who's been there since November 5, 2013.
From there, I got an email, suggesting I post on the Facebook Page: Fido Alert: East Contra Costa County . I did as she suggested, and with-in minutes, she created the flier that you see above. That was wonderful in and of it's self. Within 31 minutes, it had been shared from her page, 30 times!! There are 4,000 plus "fans" on this Facebook page, and they proved very quickly how passionate they are about connecting fur babies back with their parents.
If that wasn't exciting and supportive enough, I got a text at 8:54pm from a leader of the Fido Alert Page, "Cat" (ironic huh?) who stated that it appeared that the shelter had posted Rocky on the Pet Harbor website, sometime within the last few minutes. I jumped on there and sure enough, there he was. My little jail bird. He is micro chipped (with unfortunately, the wrong contact information) so they were able to know some things about him before posting him online.
You can see his mug shot here:
I am so truly thankful for the support of complete strangers tonight. It has restored my faith in humanity knowing that they are so willing to help someone they have never met, and probably never will. As an animal lover myself, and one who will stop just about anywhere to try to rescue a "lost" dog, I am grateful for those who go beyond themselves to help others. Please, if you are an animal lover too, consider supporting your local shelters and rescue organizations like Fido Alert and Pet Harbor. They truly do make a difference in the lives of people and pets, both on and offline!
Because of Social Media, texting and the shelter website, I am able to sleep a little easier tonight...
8/21/2013 4 Comments
Rebecca Johnson was selected to organize and run the first ever, Social Media Help Desk at the California State Fair, in Sacramento, in July 2013!
Rebecca reached out to her extended network and with the help of some awesome volunteers, was able to provide social media support to fair goers for nearly 3 weeks!
The volunteers ranged from small business owners, to Social Media Club members, to students from UC Davis and Sacramento State University.
The fair, understanding the growing need to implement social media into the fair experience, wanted a place for fair attendees to gain a deeper understanding of how some of the new features worked. Volunteers answered a variety of questions including: "What are all these bar codes I keep seeing?" "How do I download a QR code scanner?" "How do I post this picture to my Facebook account?"
Fair attendees were very receptive to the idea, since there is currently no place to get "free" social media help or advice!
My Social Media Pro also provided a social media photo kiosk for one of the weeks during the fair.
Keep an eye out , because it looks like we will be back again next year!
In the meantime, here are some pictures! Enjoy!
I am always fascinated by the data that is collected on Social Media Platforms like Facebook! I stumbled upon this website called YouAreWhatYouLike.com that analyzes your personality just from the pages you chose to "Like" on Facebook.
Out of 1001 things I chose to "like", it took 75 of them and came up with a quick personality profile of me!
According to the image below, I am:
What do your likes say about you?
So, it's been awhile since I last blogged. I'm always encouraging my clients to blog at least once a week- and yet, I can't seem to do get it done for my own websites!
Over the last few months, I have been dealing with a lot of things:
So, the first part of 2013 has been a challenge. I have struggled with the reality of losing my mom, possibly sooner, than later (and living in another city away from her), to being sucked in my daily "to-do" list of business and personal items; to injuring myself which not only hurts, but holds me back from being as productive as I usually am. I felt "stuck", unmotivated and exhausted from it all.
After doing much reflecting, I discovered that there is an up-side of all of this (yes, there is an "up side")!
The Upside, is that these things, while posing their challenges, have actually slowed me down a bit; For those of you who know me, slowing down is not on my list of things I must accomplish in my life- but it has been a good thing.
Last night, when I couldn't sleep, I turned to dabbling on the internet- Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter... and then I realized, if I had time to check Facebook for the umpteenth time yesterday, I had time to write a blog post. I had time, to make some much needed adjustments to my websites and those of my clients. I needed to make the choice, to get UNSTUCK.
So, here it is, my first blog post of 2013. My transparent, authentic attempt to get back in the saddle. :)
On December 11, 2012, you'll be getting the new LinkedIn profile, which has a simplified design, provides deeper insights, and surfaces new ways to connect and build relationships. You'll also be one of the first to preview a new way to showcase rich content on your profile -- like presentations, videos, documents, and more.
Now there are more ways than ever to tell your professional story on LinkedIn, and we're excited for you to try them out. As we roll out these changes, we'll also be streamlining our app offerings, so the following LinkedIn apps will no longer be supported on the homepage or profile as of December 11:
Please note, if you use SlideShare Presentations or Creative Portfolio Display your content will still be available on your LinkedIn profile. You can find out more about these changes on our Help Center.
We hope you like your new LinkedIn profile!
The LinkedIn Team
Drum Roll Please...
We have a new feature that I am loving on Facebook! It's a change that I think you will like- GO FIGURE!
Introducing, Facebook's PAGES FEED!
So now, all of you who were so worried about not being able to show up in "feeds" on this famous social media site, can breathe a little sigh of relief!
It's in the left hand column of your home page under "Pages" (See the screen shot below). When you click on that, you can now see the feeds from ALL of the Pages you are connected too!
What does this mean for you as a page owner? Not much, except for the fact, that your "fans" or followers have a place they can go to get the latest information from great products, services and brands that they love (including YOU!).
Now, you still need to make your content engaging; i.e. posting pictures and content people can relate to. If your content is engaging enough, Facebook will plop it into your fan's news feed (at least for now).
So the moral of this story is: don't give up on your fan page!
I just received this question and thought "Im sure other's are wondering this too". So here you go!
Q. I get a crazy number of friend requests on Facebook and have over 2000 friends but very little comments on my posting since it all goes by so fast. Any simple advice on how to better manage. I have 70 people waiting for a friend reply and I'm not sure I want to say yes!
Here is my response:
A: Just from looking briefly at your page it looks like you are pre-scheduling through Hootsuite and which Facebook doesn't like. They want authentic real time communication, especially on your Facebook Profile Page. It's silly, but they set their algorithm up to make sure "real" people get priority in the news feed.
To resolve that issue, I would suggest using Hootsuite to schedule out Twitter posts and set your phone up to engage more on Facebook in real-time.
As for the friend replies. It's really up to you. I am careful now, who I add, but it's a personal choice on how you decide who to "friend". You can always send them a message and ask them to "like" your fan page instead to connect; but that can be time consuming too. There is also a "subscribe" option where you can allow people to subscribe and only things you make as "public posts" will show up in their feed. That has slowed my number of requests down quite a bit too.
Hope that helps!
Q: Are you paying for ads on Yelp and does it help your business? I have an estate sale business and they "filter" all my good reviews and show all the bad ones.....I have heard if you advertise with them to the tune of $300 per month, they will "fix" that......have you found it worthwhile advertising here.....as in does it bring you more clients? Customers we will always have, but wondering about clients and new sales.
Many people are finding more questions than answers when it comes to Yelp and Yelp Advertising. So much so, that you are hearing about it more often from frustrated business owners and through websites Yelp-Sucks.com
Here is what I say:
A: There are a few things to consider:
1) How many leads are you CURRENTLY getting from Yelp without advertising?
2) How many reviews total do you have and how many of those are negative?
3) If you have negative review, how negative are they? I have found that negative reviews often can help a business because people feel challenged to "see for themselves".
4) are you using any other ways to gain reviews? Google Places, Yahoo local, Facebook etc?
In this case, I wouldn't worry too much about bad reviews or paying for Yelp Advertising. Chances are, for your type of work, you won't see a high enough return at $300 a month from your target market. You would be better off spending time and money on Estatesales.net, the Sacramento Bee,Penny Saver and any other local sites as well as estate related websites which is where your target market is more likely to be spending time.
Rebecca Johnson is a Freelance Digital Media Specialist, Social Media and marketing strategist. She uses her creativity, and marketing skills, along with her business ownership experience to assist small and medium sized businesses with their online marketing. Rebecca owns with her husband, Get Networking Now!, Rebecca Johnson Consulting and My Social Media Pro.
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