Tag Archives | menopause blog

Create a Ta Da List instead of a To Do List

Star Burst © lynette sheppard

New Year’s resolutions. They can be a setup for judgment, stress, and failure. While the “clean slate” of January 1 can certainly inspire us to set goals and intentions, it can also overburden us with expectation.

This year, why not make a “Ta Da” list looking back at 2017instead of focusing on To Do’s for the year ahead?

Your list need not focus on accomplishments (although those are worth a “Ta Da” certainly.) More important:  what inspired you? Touched you? Gave you joy?

Achievements might be just as easily be shifts in attitude, changes in self knowledge, feelings of connection, or new worldviews. All too often we don’t take the time to savor or appreciate what we have done, seen, or felt over the past 365 days. We don’t allow for the “Ta Da” before we rush on to the next “To Do”. Sheesh, no wonder we’re stressed sometimes.

So for the next few days, Menopause Goddesses, let’s compile a list of all we have done and experienced during 2017. In this eye-of-the-storm lull between Christmas frenzy and New Year’s celebrating, let’s ruminate on the past. Give yourself a great, glorious pat on the back for all that you have done and been this year.

We can work on our walloping To Do list later. For now, shout “Ta Da” out loud and celebrate all you’ve experienced over the last twelve months.

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Stay Cool This Holiday Season With Wicking Sleepwear: Cool-Jams Contest

Flame On © lynette sheppard

In the very beginning of my menopause journey and this blog, I discovered wicking sleepwear by Cool-Jams. Those pajamas saved me and my sanity.

Every night I would drench my cotton nightgown as hot flashes woke me from a sound sleep. Moments later, I’d be shivering in my wet sleepwear. To say that this scenario was not conducive to a good night’s sleep is an understatement! I’d change my nightgown only to repeat the searing heat – freezing damp cold act several times during the night. I was NOT a happy camper.

I got a set of Cool-Jams (I chose the tank capri set) and FINALLY was able to sleep comfortably. Wicking sleepwear does just that. The breathable fabric wicks away  moisture away from you to the outside of the jammies where it dries quickly so that horrible cycle of furnace to ice floe doesn’t interrupt a night’s rest.

I still wear wicking sleepwear, even though the worst of menopause is behind me because these pj’s are just more comfy overall. (I’m wearing them right now as I write this post.) The microfiber fabric is soft and silky; it feels wonderful.

Here’s the really good news:

The wonderful folks at Cool-Jams are sponsoring a contest for Menopause Goddess Blog readers. They will give away a $50 gift certificate for Cool-jams Sleepwear to one of my lucky readers. To enter this giveaway… just visit the Cool-Jams site and let them know which style you like best. You should select” Cool-jams Contest” from the dropdown menu (under Regarding) on the Contact Form and enter which item you want to win in the comment section.

The contest begins today, November 22 and lasts for 2 weeks. The contest ends December 10 and the winner will be chosen and notified on December 11.

Good luck and Happy Thanksgiving! Stay cool, goddesses.

Click here to enter the contest.

PS. Cool-Jams has several pertinent articles on their Resources page: Click here to see the articles.

 

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THE LIES OF MIDDLE-AGED WOMAN BRAND

We have a special treat for this blog post: amazing Menopause Goddess Juju Hook shares her take on the Middle Aged Woman Brand. Even better, she has written a new book called Hot Flashes, Carpools, and Dirty Martinis. It’s a hilarious, no-holds-barred look at the Pause. Here’s the best news: she is giving away the book to all Menopause Goddess blog readers – all you pay is shipping and handling. And to whet your appetite , the first chapter is enclosed at the end of this post. Link to get your book is also at the end. Enjoy!

THE LIES OF MIDDLE-AGED WOMAN BRAND by Juju Hook
I’ve never once in all my years heard a woman gush, “Oh, my God! I can’t WAIT to be 50!” Have you? It’s such a shame, really. Because midlife is where it’s at. We’re so much better in midlife… at everything.

In fact, I have a theory that if you want something done right—something that’s complicated, that requires multi-tasking, or secrecy, or duct tape—then you call a midlife woman. There’s simply no one else as prepared and qualified as the women in our menopausal posse, is there?

Here’s the thing, though. This all came as an absolute shock to me. That I’d be happy at 50. That I’d love life more than ever. That I’d be thrilled about beginning again in so many ways… that I could finally give myself a chance to be whoever I wanted to be.

Because the whole world told me it was gonna suck.

The world told me I’d be irrelevant. Invisible. Diminished in capacity. Hanging around doing things I felt “meh” about, because my ship had sailed.

And when I walked away from a 25-year-career to write the book I’d always wanted to write, the world fed me more than a handful of lies. The same lies, over and over again. What’s more, when I reached out to other middle-aged women, they were being fed the same sack of lies.

For more than 25 years, I was a brand strategist. And I have never seen a brand more in need of an overhaul than the “middle aged woman” brand. The messaging is off. The unique selling proposition is entirely out of whack.

So I decided to do something about it. To re-brand middle age for women. To tell the truth about how amazing this time should be. To pull the rug out from under the anti-aging industry… the liars, the nay-sayers, and the Chicken Littles. I shined a big fat spotlight on 3 problems and 6 lies that plague us all. That aren’t our fault. And that are easy to overcome, once you see them in the light of day.

In this moment, you have more power and potential than the world wants to give you credit for. But I see you. And I think you’re the bee’s knees.

Join me inside, Hot Flashes, Carpools, and Dirty Martinis: The Quintessential Guide for Turning Midlife into PrimeTime… We’re about to rip some shit up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here’s Chapter 1:

Hot Flashes, Carpools, and Dirty Martinis_Chapter1

Once again, click here to get your free book: Hot Flashes, Carpools, and Dirty Martinis.

 

 

 

 

 

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Hormone Linked to Menopausal Weight Gain

Finally, we have some promising research into the why of (and hopefully soon, the remedy for) menopausal weight gain. And it doesn’t have to do with calories or lack of exercise or all the other causes postulated up until now. As nearly every menopausal woman knows, dieting and increasing exercise often do little to help with the meno pot. It’s deeply demoralizing and can make one want to just give up.

During perimenopause and menopause, estrogen levels drop but levels of FSH, follicle stimulating hormone, remain high. This mismatch has been associated not only with weight gain but bone loss as well. FSH is the hormone that helps the egg develop and ripen in your ovary just prior to ovulation. These levels drop just after ovulation and increase again prior to the next ovulation.

Just prior to and during menopause, FSH levels remain elevated. Hence the weight gain and weird fat distribution coupled with bone loss.

A new study published in Nature has examined the use of an antibody to block FSH in female mice thrown into menopause when their ovaries were removed. They were fed a high fat diet, yet lost weight, upped their metabolism, and gained bone mass. While this is exciting news, the next step will be to try the experiment in larger animals, then humans. We may be some years away from realizing any benefits from this research but at the very least, we can feel vindicated.

That said, our best bet right now is healthy eating and continuing to move! Weight training with light weights, stretching, and walking will keep us at our optimal fitness level. We can eat less meat, more healthy carbs like quinoa or brown rice, and healthy fats such as almonds, legumes, and avocados. Oh, and a little dark chocolate and wine, just sayin’!

Read more at Medical News Bulletin.

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Finally! Natural Relief for Insomnia

Sweet Dreams © Dewitt Jones

Insomnia wreaks havoc on so many perimenopausal and menopausal women. One woman I met told me that she took HRT just to try to combat it. She said that she felt nearly psychotic from lack of sleep. She didn’t want to take hormone replacement or Ambien, but felt there was no choice. I get it!

Thankfully, my insomnia didn’t last too long. But I know women who are plagued with it still. It’s miserable to be hot, cranky, AND sleepy.

We recently had the chance to try a new, natural product – Sleep Spray. The folks at Verified CBD Oil sent a sample and one of our satellite goddesses grabbed at the chance to test it. She flat out loved it! Slept through the night the first use!

Sleep Spray’s active ingredients are CBD oil, GABA, and Valerian. Stevia helps the taste.

Here’s the short skinny on what these ingredients are:

CBD oil, also known as hemp oil, interacts with our naturally occurring systems, but is non-psychotropic, it doesn’t make you high. This makes it a safer, less controversial alternative than medical marijuana, while still offering significant health benefits.

GABA is a neurotransmitter that blocks impulses between nerve cells in the brain. Low levels of GABA have been linked to anxiety, sleeplessness, and chronic pain. Researchers suspect that GABA may boost mood or have a calming, relaxing effect on the nervous system.

Valerian root has long been used for insomnia and anxiety. It even is said to have some benefit in reducing hot flashes. I drank Valerian root tea early in perimenopause but while it didn’t seem to affect my hot flashes, I felt calmer.

It’s super easy to use – just spray it under your tongue right before bedtime. It absorbs and works quickly with no grogginess in the morning according to our goddess and numerous testimonials on the site.

This could be a godsend for menopausal women – try it and let us know how it works. This is how we find out about ways to ease this transition – by women sharing wisdom.

Oh, and I saw that they also have an anti-anxiety spray – boy, I sure could have used that early in my journey! If anybody tries that, we’d love to know how it works for you.

Here’s the website: Verified CBD Oil Sleep Spray. Sweet dreams!

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Stay Cool Without Calling Attention to Yourself


Hot flashes and just heat in general are hellish for menopausal women. Often, we find ourselves, mopping ourselves with kleenex or fanning ourselves with the nearest sheet of paper. It just plain sucks.

I found myself in just that situation a few years ago. One of our beloved elders had passed away in Molokai. A few thousand showed up for her memorial service held in a community center on the island. While we could open the doors, it was Hot with a capital H in there. Luckily, I had my secret weapon: the BlowMeCool fan. I’d charged it with the USB cord and dropped it in my purse for just such a menopausal emergency.

I turned it on, holding it in my hand. It was barely noticeable visually, it was QUIET, and blissfully blew loads of cool air right onto my beet red face. It saved my bacon that day and so many others. We’ve carried it in the Menopause Marketplace for 5 years or so.

Now, there is a new, blue edition (the first iteration is orange.) It’s sturdier and the blue color makes it even more unobtrusive. It’s less transparent so the inner workings are less visible. It costs a couple dollars more, but having tried it when the company sent me one, I can definitely recommend you buy the blue one if you can. If you are truly geeky and you want to see the innards, by all means buy the orange one.

And Menopause Goddess Blog readers get a 10% discount just by adding this code at checkout:  MGB18.

In this video, creator Brian Burge explaining why he developed this wonderful fan (spoiler alert: his wife went the the Pause).

Click here to order. And don’t forget to add our Menopause Goddess Blog discount code: MGB18. You won’t be sorry!
 

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Tackle Hormonal Mood Swings

Maelstrom © lynette sheppard

There are powerful things at work in each of our bodies that help regulate the most basic and the most complex of things. Take hormones, for instance: They regulate our growth and they impact our immune system. When it comes to estrogen and progesterone in females, they also control our reproductive processes.

But hormones have long gotten a bad rap, as a reason that women have to ride an emotional roller coaster every month based on their cycle or as changes occur in menopause. The question is—is that reputation that hormones have deserved?

Research suggests a strong maybe, although the link may not be as definitive as once thought. For starters, some women may be more in tune with those hormone level fluctuations, which means that the levels may have more impact on how they feel. And how they feel may also depend on the phase of their cycle and how they experience menopause.

To learn more, check out this helpful graphic shared by Health Perch in partnership with Ghergich and Co.

Health Perch offers these helpful suggestions for dealing with hormonal mood swings:

Balancing Act

If you feel like your hormones are holding you hostage, some relatively simple lifestyle changes may help.

1. Pay attention
Keep a diary of your symptoms for a few months. All women are different, and the only way to understand your moods is to record them and analyze the data. It may bring relief to observe that menopausal mood swings don’t last forever.

2. Eat up
Studies suggest women with hormone fluctuations may be deficient in calcium and magnesium. Foods rich in vitamin B6, omega 3 fatty acids, and zinc may also help prevent mood swings, according to some experts. It can’t hurt to eat a more nutrient-dense diet. Reach for vegetables, leafy greens, beans, seeds, nuts, legumes, whole grains, poultry, seafood and seaweed, and fish.

3. Improve sleep habits
Some women report insomnia when estrogen and progesterone levels plummet; 40 to 50 percent of women experience insomnia during menopause. Women with sleep disturbances are more likely to feel stressed out, tense, anxious, or depressed. To improve your odds of a good night of sleep, make your room dark, quiet, and cool, and stick to routine sleep and waking times.

4. Move more
In one study, eight weeks of aerobic training significantly reduced participants’ premenstrual symptoms. Choose physical activities you enjoy since the point is to feel good.

5. Manage stress
Women who experience stress early in a menstrual cycle are more likely to experience mood swings later in the cycle, according to a study. The same goes for menopause. Walking, mindfulness exercises, visiting nature, and hanging out with friends are proven ways to reduce stress.

6. Reduce caffeine and alcohol
In studies, caffeine has been shown to decrease feelings of relaxation and increase ratings of anxiousness, tenseness, and nervousness. Alcohol may interfere with estrogen detoxification (which could be why it’s associated with a higher risk of breast cancer). Reach for a drink, such as water or herbal tea, that helps you feel calm.

If you experience mood swings that interfere with your daily life and these healthy makeovers don’t help, it may be time to check in with your doctor or naturopath. Herbs, such as chaste tree and red clover, vitamin supplements, or medical treatments may help.

Conclusion
Hormonal changes should not be used to discount or discriminate against women or medicalize normal life changes. However, it doesn’t serve women to pretend our bodies and moods stay constant through the course of a lifetime. Whether the subject is menstruation, menopause, moods, or other topics, we should take women’s health seriously. Recognizing and understanding hormonal fluctuations may help women move through their lives with more awareness and ease.

You can find lots more health and wellness information on Health Perch: click here to go to their website.

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Can the Aging Process Be Stopped? Maybe…

dancing palm © lynette sheppard


Many years ago, I attended a book signing / talk by a well known physician turned healer. I was struck by one thing he said as an MD – that there is no physiological reason why we have to age. Our bodies have the ability for self regeneration and repair. He felt we could figure out why our bodies somehow “forgot” how to continue this process. While intriguing, I thought the premise was “pie in the sky”. Surely, we had to age.

Over the years, many truisms that I learned and believed with all my heart in medicine turned out to be false (or at least less true.) For example, I learned that there was absolutely no way to reverse clogged arteries in the heart – we could stop the process but never reverse it.

That was true…until it wasn’t. Dean Ornish set out to prove otherwise with a 10% fat diet, yoga, exercise regimen. PET scans proved him right. Now we “know” that it is possible to reverse coronary atherosclerosis.

Fast forward to the present time. Research is taking that physician-healer’s premise to the next level. Anti-aging and anti disease remedies may soon be on the horizon. Longevity is not the only concern (or even the main one) but living healthier as we age is a focus. Diseases such as Alzheimer’s, arthritis, Type 2 diabetes and cancer are being targeted as well harnessing the body’s immunity and self repair functions.

One of the leaders in the field just now is Dr. David Sinclair. He briefly explains some of the research in the video below. You can also find his Ted Talk on YouTube.

 

Much more information about aging research can be found on a site called Geroscience based out of Hamburg, Germany. Their mission is to educate and inform us of the science and issues related to the creation of this next generation of medicine. Check them out: click here.

These are exciting times. Google has embarked on an anti aging project called Calico – there is very little known about it and its progress so far. Google has been secretive about any progress or even what is actually being done.

Mark Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan through their foundation have funded an anti disease project bringing together leading scientists and researchers. By promoting networking and cooperation among the best scientific minds, they hope to eliminate, cure, or prevent disease by the end of the century.

In the meantime, we all can avail ourselves of some simple ways of aging vibrantly: exercise, eat well, and diminish stress. And don’t forget the chocolate and red wine.

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5 Ideal Workouts for Women Over 50

Sunny Day © lynette sheppard

In this guest post by Perly Rodolfo, she shares tips and ideas for creating an exercise program to keep healthy as we age. It’s simple, not necessarily easy – especially to keep motivated. My pal, Dee Adams, cartoonist creator of Minnie Pauz, started out slowly – just walking every day. She lost weight and gained fitness (and she took some mighty fine photos on her morning walks every day.) And if/when we backslide? No recriminations, just start again.

5 Ideal Workouts for Women Over 50 by Perly Rodolfo

Even if you don’t exercise regularly now, it is important to know that there is still plenty of time for you to initiate your workout program.

And if you are in your 50’s or older, becoming physically active is advantageous for your health. Staying fit as you age is a necessity rather than an option.

Many women suffer from menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, joint pain, sleeping disorders. But, did you know that a physically inactive lifestyle can increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis? A sedentary lifestyle can also cause emotional problems, even a midlife crisis.

Experts suggest that middle aged women who exercise more have a biological age of 35. This is the reason why you often see celebrities and athletes who are over 50 to be more energetic, fit and healthy.

To reduce your risk of disease and have a healthy life beyond the age of 50, you will want to embark upon a complete fitness program that is ideal to your age.

Without further ado, here are 5 ideal workouts for women over 50:

Aerobic Exercises
Aerobic exercises are perfect for women over 50 as most of the moves are not stressful, less intense and are common workouts at home. This type of exercise focuses on your large muscles benefiting your cardiovascular health as well as keeping your weight in check.

Some of the best aerobic exercises that you can do are walking, swimming, dancing, jogging, cardio machines as well as many others. If you prefer a more advanced exercise, you can try hiking, Zumba dance classes, boxing or other anaerobic exercises (aerobic exercises that are performed at a level of intensity).

Stretching
Stretching exercises focus on your flexibility to help maintain a healthy range of motion in your joints. Doing stretches before and after your regular workout helps reduce the risk of injuries and muscle soreness.  Some of the best stretching exercises for women over 50 are yoga and pilates. These forms of exercise help improve core body strength, increase stability and elevate mental power.

Strength Training
Lifting weights may seem too difficult and dangerous to middle aged women due to the risk of various possible injuries associated with incorrect strength training exercises. But lifting light hand weights can significantly improve your strength and posture, maintains bone strength and reduces your risk of lower back injury.

Above all, lifting weights that give tension on your arms results in a more toned and fit body. This means that lifting weights can burn more fat and in a much faster rate than any other regular exercise. You can start with hand weights that you can comfortably lift for eight repetitions initially. Increases reps until you can do 12 for each routine.

Core and Balance Exercises
Maintaining a strong core and a stable balance will help protect your spine and hips.  For these exercises, you need core equipment such as stability balls and half-round balls. You can use this equipment to help improve your abs, glutes and hips.

Abdominal exercises such as crunches and planks require some perseverance and patience especially if you are a beginner. Doing both balance and core workouts will give you optimal results out of your overall workout program.

Respiration and Relaxation
Women over 50 are not the same as young adult women in their 30’s. Your lung capacity begins to decrease during the aging process.

This results in weakening of your bronchioles and alveoli air sacs, lungs, diaphragm and intercostal muscles.
So how can you improve and maintain a healthy respiratory system? Aerobic exercises and the other exercises mentioned above can certainly help. But breathing exercises are the best. Tai chi is one of the most perfect breathing exercise programs for women over 50.

Tai chi basically helps improve overall well-being – mental, physical and emotional state. Plus, this breathing technique is simple and easy with no extra equipment required.

Conclusion
Remember that every bit of movement counts. Doing household chores or just walking your dog  can be helpful to your workout program. Take  vitamin D to help support your bone and joint health. Above all, follow a healthy and sensible dietary regimen that will support your workout.

Remember, age is just a number and you can prevent many of the signs of aging by just performing simple exercises at home.

Author Bio:
Perly Rodolfo is a health and fitness enthusiast, businesswoman and a mother of two. She spends most of her time with her family and blogging about dietary supplements, healthy lifestyles and online businesses. Learn more about Perly through her website at http://www.populardietpills.net/.

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An Obstetrician’s Transition to Menopause and Survivorship Medicine Part II

love, sweat, and tears

Last week, I posted Part I of Dr. Pam’s openhearted sharing of her journey from gynecologist to menopause healer. In Part II, she tells us more about her journey and how being a caregiver changed her forever. I am profoundly grateful that she has chosen to be naked and unafraid in order to help others. Be sure and click on the info at the end of the post about her breakout film “Love, Sweat, and Tears.”

An Obstetrician’s Transition to Menopause and Survivorship Medicine Part II

I became a caregiver to my husband when I stopped obstetrics in 2005.  He was an OB/GYN himself.    Our lives changed immediately after his first surgery and radiation therapy.  Our intimate relationship ceased immediately.  We tried to remain intimate, and we sought help.  We did ask one of his physicians for assistance, and unbelievably, he said, “Well, you are alive, right?”  Yes, he was alive, and we appreciated the fact that he was alive.  But, we lost a great part of our relationship.

We lost our closeness and our ability to show our love to one another.  It was a terrible loss, and we grieved the loss in different ways.  I didn’t realize that he continued to try to “fix” things.  About 2 weeks before he died, I was getting the laundry together and checking his pockets.  I didn’t realize that he was standing behind me when I took a couple of packets out of his pocket.  I put some glasses on and saw that it was packets of testosterone.  I turned around and saw him there and said the worst thing in the world.  I said, “What are you doing?  I don’t care about that!”  Well, he put his head down, and I know that he was tearful. He said, “I wanted to try.”  As he walked away, I realized that he took my words wrong.  I meant that it was not a factor in how much I loved him.

I wish that I could have that moment back.  The more that I tried to explain my thoughts, the more that I made the situation worse.  After he died, I have had years to think about this situation.  Here, you had a married couple – both of which are gynecologists – that have not talked for 5 years about the fact that we could not have sexual intercourse.   If we can’t talk about it, then I bet lots of people in our situation have absolutely no hope of talking about it.  How sad is it that two gynecologists can’t talk to each other about what we could do to help our problem.  How sad is it that two physicians went to another physician to ask if there was any way to help us get our intimate lives back, and none of us knew what to do.  I mean to change that fact.   I understand that one of the hardest things for a physician to say is, “I don’t know what to do.”   I mean to change that fact, too.  It is terrible to have to accept that a bad or terminal illness means the end of your sexual relationship.

Taking care of another adult is the hardest thing that I have ever done in my life.  Medical school, residency, and having twins were a breeze compared to this responsibility.  This is something else that I completely missed during the early years of my practice.  I didn’t understand what it was like to be a caregiver.  I didn’t understand the physical and emotional wear and tear that was required of my body and mind.  When a patient came in and told me that she was taking care of a husband or parent, I would immediately go into sympathy mode – and I meant it.  I asked who their doctor was, how they were progressing, and the plan of care.  I commented on the physician taking care of them and encouraged them to hang in there.  I completely missed the fact that they were hurting and overwhelmed.

Whether someone is taking care of a spouse, family member, or a parent, they become the “mother.”  It is difficult to take complete care of another adult.  The patient is angry about their situation and frequently those that are closest to them take the brunt of the anger.  As with so many circumstances, life experience is a brutal and uncompassionate teacher.  After being a caretaker, the object of my sympathy reversed – I focused on the caregiver.  I asked if they had any help. I asked if they ever got a break from their caregiving.  Usually, there is not, but someone who understands their “new” life and their “new normal” is a welcome change.  No one can help them, and they know it. However, having someone even acknowledge their responsibility, fear, and stress is comforting.

For almost twenty years, I was a good obstetrician.  I thought I had the best job in the world, and at the time, I did.  For the last ten years, I have become a (hopefully) great gynecologist, gynechiatrist, intimacy, menopause, and sexual medicine physician, intimacy counselor, and survivorship gynecologist.  I have impacted lives in a different way.  I know that I helped so many women as an obstetrician; I loved them and I know that they felt the same about me. However, if I am truly honest, my obstetrical career satisfied me.  The gynecology career that I ended up with satisfies the reason that I went to medical school: my desire and need to help others.

Pamela Dee Gaudry, MD, NCMP
NAMS Certified Menopause Practioner
Medical Sex Therapist
Survivorship Medicine Physician
(and I’m still an Obstetrician 😉

You can host a screening at a theater near you of Dr. Pam’s film, “Love, Sweat, and Tears” through Gathr – they handle the details, it costs you nothing – you get your friends to go and promote the film. Click here for details.

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