Menopause

Outside the Lines: A Marylou Falstreau Giveaway!

Color Outside the LinesA post by artist Marylou Falstreau:

People think of me as a “coloring outside of the lines” kind of girl because of the way I paint.

I’ve led workshops that encourage participants to break rules, push through creative boundaries and question their ideas about perfection. I splatter, scrape, tear off and glue things on. It doesn’t bother me a bit. I love it and feel strangely powerful and juicy at the same time.

On the other hand, if you asked me to drive in L.A. traffic, eat non-vegetarian sushi or go to a high school reunion, I would probably say, “no thank you”.

Over the years, I have drawn invisible lines around the idea of who I am. I have drawn lines in the shape of a girl and stepped in.

Statements like “I am an introvert, sensitive, I enjoy simplicity and a quiet life” have kept me from saying ‘Yes’ to a Lemon Drop Martini and a girl’s trip to Las Vegas. The truth is; fear, lack of confidence and bad habits slipped in to my self- imposed box while I wasn’t looking, and have used up more than their share of oxygen.

So today, I banish the tight little lines that hold and contain me. I will be an adventurer who wears a funny hat and colors that don’t match and I won’t think of myself at all. I won’t even wear make-up. I will take risks. I will say Yes!

Will you join me and break free from the lines that have defined and contained you?

I hope you will say yes…

Giveaway! Marylou is offering a “Color Outside the Lines” print, card, and magnet to a lucky Friend for the Ride reader. For a chance to win, please enter a comment by July 1 saying you’d like to be the winner. U.S. and Canada only, thanks!

Read Marylou’s menopause post on Friend for the Ride.

To learn more about Marylou and her empowering art check out her website.

Mary Lou

The Women and the Hourglass Series: See the first Friend for the Ride post on Marylou’s art and watch her video on the series.

Menopause

Healthline: My Cartoon Debut

Snow Man

A few months ago, Healthline invited me to come up with concepts for menopause cartoons. Whoopee! I wrote twelve, and illustrator Julia Selutina brought them to life.

Above is my favorite. I’ve no clue how this idea came to me, but the thought of a menopausal woman marrying a snowman seemed way cool (pun intended).

Not sure the pun on “men-o-pause” (below) is original, but it certainly speaks to the lowered libido that The Great Pause can bring on. Here’s a Healthline article about discussing lowered libido with your partner. Many women feel shy or uncomfortable bringing up the topic, leaving their partner guessing and sometimes coming to the wrong conclusion.

Men-o-pause

And although I loved doing community theater this winter, I’m not sure I’m ready for Menopause the Musical. I did enjoy attending the show with Cliff, who was a very good sport. Catch the production if it comes to your town!

Musical

So there you go! My first three cartoons. More to come!

Check out Healthine’s excellent section devoted to menopause.

Capture

I am delighted that Healthline named Friend for the Ride a Top Menopause Blog of 2015. Meet my sisters in menopause crime by clicking here. 

Healthline 2015

They say menopause brings on new adventures. What fun to write cartoons! Thanks for taking a look and thank you, Healthline.

Endometrial Cancer, Menopause

Raising Awareness: Womb Cancer Support UK

Womb Cancer Support

Thanks to the posts about my own cancerI connected with Kaz Molloy, a uterine cancer advocate in the UK. There, uterine cancer is known as “womb cancer.” Kaz says there’s very little awareness of this kind of cancer in the UK. She shares her story with Friend for the Ride. Take it away, Kaz! 

When I was diagnosed with womb cancer, or endometrial carcinoma, to give it its medical name, on 23rd Dec 2009, I had never heard of it. I had to ask where my endometrium was!!

Little did I know then that many women who are diagnosed with it have never heard of this cancer either.

My cancer diagnosis came out of the blue; I had gone for an MRI scan to determine the size of fibroids that had been picked up a month earlier by ultrasound.

After my treatment ended in July 2010, I started searching the internet for support groups and organisations and discovered that there wasn’t a dedicated womb cancer charity or even any womb cancer support organizations here in the UK, so I set one up myself.

On 11th April 2011, Womb Cancer Support UK (WCSUK) was founded and although it initially started out as a Facebook support group, it has now grown, and we have a great social media network.

It became apparent soon after I started the group that there were indeed other women like me who had never heard of womb cancer, and so we decided to start raising awareness as well as supporting women who had been diagnosed.

Womb cancer is the 4th most common female cancer in UK, with almost 9,000 women a year being diagnosed. There are more women diagnosed with it than either cervical or ovarian cancer, yet unlike the others two, there is no national womb cancer awareness campaign. There is very little awareness about this cancer – indeed I was shocked to discover that many women believe that a smear test would pick it up; sadly many of us that have been diagnosed had clear smear tests only a few weeks before being diagnosed.

There is also the misconception that womb cancer only affects post-menopausal women, and I know of many women in their 20’s and 30’s who have struggled to get a diagnosis because their GP keeps telling them that they are “too young” to get womb cancer! We have women in their early 20’s who have been diagnosed, and indeed we have recently lost 2 young ladies in their early 30’s who died as a result of womb cancer.

In the absence of any national awareness campaigns we have taken it upon ourselves to produce and distribute awareness leaflets around the UK. It is very much a grass roots level approach as the organization has no funding and is run entirely by myself from a small island off the west coast of Scotland! We rely on women taking leaflets into their GP surgeries or clinics or displaying them in other appropriate places.

As we approach our 4th Birthday, I am so proud of what we have achieved. The women who are part of WCSUK are strong, positive women, and despite many of them being on their own personal journey through a cancer diagnosis, they are always there for each other to offer support and advise or just a shoulder to cry on.

We are determined to do what we can to raise the profile of womb cancer and spread the word about the risk factors and the signs and symptoms to be aware of.  We will do what we can because we have to.  Peach Sisters Rock!

Here’s the link to the WCSUK website.

Womb Cancer Support

Here’s their Facebook page.

Here to Talk

And Twitter!

Kaz

My name is Kaz Molloy, and I was diagnosed with womb cancer, stage 1 grade 2 on 23rd Dec 2009 when I was 46 years old. I had a total hysterectomy followed by chemotherapy and then external radiotherapy. My treatment ended on 12th July 2010.

I live with my husband on a small island off the west coast of Scotland, and it’s from here that I run Womb Cancer Support UK, which is an online national womb cancer support and awareness organization.