Bladder cancer symptoms often brushed off, York Township woman says

Brenda Neff, shown in her York Township home with her dogs Lenny and Lilly, was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2001. She had five recurrences of cancer over 8 years, but has been cancer-free since 2009. (Kate Penn — Daily Record/Sunday News)

Brenda Neff, shown in her York Township home with her dogs Lenny and Lilly, was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2001. She had five recurrences of cancer over 8 years, but has been cancer-free since 2009. (Kate Penn — Daily Record/Sunday News)

When Brenda Neff was 48 years old, she said she needed to know the location of every bathroom in town.

But one day at the York Galleria, she realized something was seriously wrong.

In December, 2001, Neff, of York Township, was diagnosed with bladder cancer for the first time. It’s the fifth-most common cancer in the U.S., and she has had it four times since, the last being in 2009.

The symptoms are easy to brush off, Neff had thought she was just going through menopause with occasional bleeding. She decided to call her gynecologist, a woman’s first response when an issue like this happens, she said.

What she really needed though was to go see a urologist, which was recommended to her when the gynecologist gave her a negative test result for infection.

“I wish I had known the symptoms,” Neff said. The tumor was so big that by the time the doctor saw it, it had been there at least six months, maybe one year.

Continue reading “Bladder cancer symptoms often brushed off, York Township woman says” »

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The best part of waking up: Waking up, first of all, and a lot more

The disheveled bed of a rushed young adult.

The disheveled bed of a rushed young adult.

I read this great piece on Medium earlier this week by Benjamin Hardy about the morning.

Ah, the morning. Some love it. Some hate it.

I get to be in that special and crazy group that naturally wakes up at the crack of dawn. Some nights, when I work my late shift, I come back expected to gracefully sleep in through until the sun is high in the sky.

Nope. No dice. Every day, it’s usually 6 a.m. Sometimes 5, sometimes 7. But always early.

And I’ve really come to embrace it. I agree with Hardy that the mornings are quiet in their power. If you’re ready to roll in the morning, chances are, you’ll be ready to roll straight through the day and up until you turn the lights out at night.

His advice? “Wake up, get in the zone, get moving, put the right food in your body, get ready, get inspired, get perspective, do something to move you forward.”

For me, waking up isn’t the tough part. Mornings are the crown jewel of the day. Give me a bowl of cereal, a newspaper or a magazine, a run or a yoga session, and I’m happy as a clam.

There's nothing quite like a quiche for breakfast.

There’s nothing quite like a quiche for breakfast.

Getting yourself jazzed in the morning doesn’t need a huge leap of faith. Start with a healthy meal. Or start putting your phone on airplane mode at night (I highly recommend it). Jump in a pool. Go on a run.

We all have goals, and sometimes our day-to-day life can seem draining or dull. But if you kick it up a notch (Emeril style) in the morning, even the most groan-inducing day can be rad.

Be Emeril. Be Rocky. Be Serena Williams. Or, as my generation eloquently describes, you do you.

We’ve all got things to work on, and ways to improve. The mornings are a great chance for you to recharge, refresh and rethink your life. Pour a cup of coffee, listen to the birds. And realize how great those early hours really can be.

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Running my first 5k – with Foxy of course

Foxy wearing her 5k medal

Foxy wearing her 5k medal

I let Mark convince me into signing up for a 5k at Pinchot Park last week.  I’ve never run a race before in my life – never actually been in any kind of race – biking or otherwise – in my adult life.  I was a little nervous.  I was going to run the 5k and Mark was going to run the 10k.

I knew if I was going to do it, I would have to bring Foxy, so I was relieved to find out that dogs were allowed.

We lined up at the start line, the gun went off, and Mark yelled, “Way to go, Dawn!” and I looked over and saw him smiling. For some reason that was really important for me; having someone cheer you on is pretty cool. Continue reading “Running my first 5k – with Foxy of course” »

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The waaaaiting is the hardest part

The week before a race is always the hardest for me.

042313-jl-clock4.jpgThe work is done. All that’s left to do is compete and see what you can do. But instead you’ve got to go to work, sleep, pull back on training, and check the weather…constantly. I’m good at doing, not so good at waiting.

I find myself second guessing my decisions. This weekend I’m doing the y-tri through the York YWCA. It’s my second year doing the race (you can read about how much I loved it last year here) but this year instead of following a training plan…I didn’t. Continue reading “The waaaaiting is the hardest part” »

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Tips and tricks for grilling vegetables

Submitted: Grilled romaine hearts with shaved Parmesan

Submitted: Grilled romaine hearts with shaved Parmesan

By Julie Stefanski RDN, Clinical Dietitian at WellSpan Health

I not only love to eat, I love to cook. Cooking outside over leaping flames though? Nope, I’ve never been a griller. The grill master in our home, my husband, unfortunately works as a nurse on second shift. So what’s a woman to do when she wants the taste of grilled goodness? For me, it means learning how to do it yourself of course!

Nutritionally, meals prepared on the grill can be lower or higher in fat and calories compared to boiling, baking, or frying. Cuts of meat which do well staying moist and juicy over flames often have a higher fat content like steak compared to chicken breasts. Steer clear of too many processed meats which can be extremely high in sodium and other additives. Too much of the blackened charred parts though (my favorite) is considered a possible carcinogenic risk by some experts in cancer prevention so it’s best to not consistently burn your food to a crisp.

If you’re trying to eat healthier you can balance your plate better, decrease the calories in your meal and up the nutritional quality by adding some vegetables to your grill. I love grilled veggies in all their smoky goodness. In one of my recent grilling experiments though, two of my sliced zucchini slipped though my clutches to end up totally done for in the bottom of the grill.

Obviously my technique needed help. So I went straight to the one person that makes the best grilled veggies I’ve ever tasted. My neighbor, grilling wizard Chef Luc St. Onge of Never Forgotten BBQ was happy to offer his advice on how to save my poor zucchini from its fiery fate at the bottom of the grill.

Continue reading “Tips and tricks for grilling vegetables” »

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Reclaiming my life: The journey and giving back

dianeBy Diane M. Leib, Manchester Township

The journey:

May 2014, I was overweight and out of shape –  just not myself. So after a nutrition consultation, I cleaned out the kitchen, began clean eating and attending twice weekly boot camps.

After only 3 days of clean eating, nothing hurt in the morning, joints didn’t hurt, it was easy to get out of bed in the morning. My plan was to try clean eating for 28 days, but after realizing how good I felt, I wanted to continue. One year later, I’m still eating clean. That meant no soda, no sugary iced tea and no processed foods.

The combination of clean eating, weekly boot camps, strength training, enabled me to lose over 80 pounds. in 12 months. By Jan. 2015, I had lost 25 percent of my body weight.

Along the journey, family, friends, co-workers and my trainer have been very supportive. Their kind words and gracious comments meant so much.

I am currently at 87 pounds. lost. Now one year later, my doctor is extremely pleased and says I’ve reversed what was a pre-diabetic condition, lowered my cholesterol and reversed the start of fatty liver disease.  He kept shaking his head saying …..”I can’t believe you’ve done this…”

The celebration: Giving back

To celebrate, my 80 pound weight loss, I’m having a food drive for our local Catholic Harvest Food Pantry.  My goal is to collect 80 pounds of food for the pantry. I  have challenged my friends who are also on their own weight loss/fitness journey to collect food as well.  If they’ve lost 20 pounds, I’ve challenged them to collect 20 pounds of food.

A video of my food challenge and collection totals are on my trainers Facebook page. At this point, we have about 200 pounds of food to donate, but we are delivering the food to Catholic Harvest Food Pantry on Wednesday.

Thank you for the opportunity to share my journey with you. I truly hope it can inspire more people to  begin or stay on their own journey –  because it is a journey with many twists and turns.

Read Diane’s story here: The journey of losing weight is about a tailored lifestyle.

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Pods of protein: Edamame in two ways

Perfectly steamed edamame will be bright green.

Perfectly steamed edamame will be bright green.

I love sushi. It’s one of my favorite foods on planet Earth, and if I could, I’d probably eat it once a day. While exploring this love for sushi, I was introduced to the perfect little snack that is edamame.

A year ago, I had no idea what edamame was. A friend of mine ordered it while waiting for our sushi at a restaurant, and when the waiter brought out a tiny bowl of what looked like snap peas I was a bit hesitant. I have no malice towards snap peas, but waiting for my eel roll was arduous enough without being teased by steamed vegetables. But at my friend’s persistence, I tried this “edamame” (aka immature soybeans), and fell in love.

Since then, I’ve started trying different ways to make it on my own. This weekend, I went a little bananas and made it twice. Luckily, there are super fast recipes that won’t take you more than half an hour to prepare both.

When shopping for edamame, it’s important to keep in mind what you’ll be using it for and that’ll help you determine which kind you need. I usually buy a frozen bag of the beans, pods and all, that’s been pre-seasoned with sea salt, which worked out perfectly for the first recipe.

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How can we improve men’s mental health?

By Hans Philippen, clinical psychologist with TrueNorth Wellness Services

Mental health concerns of men are often similar to those of women: The need for safety, security, sufficient sustenance, and sexual and social fulfillment. Our self-esteem, our sense of worthiness, stems from a certainty in our ascribed and achieved roles.

The task of attaining and sustaining healthy mental (cognitive, behavioral and emotional) functioning is generally automatic and innate. Men live long lives, develop deep loving connections with others, and achieve spiritual awareness and a sense of a meaningful purposeful existence.

Continue reading “How can we improve men’s mental health?” »

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Just a girl in a gym: How small moments can have big meaning

On my walk after working out, I found a great footpath in a park near my office.

On my walk after working out, I found a great footpath in a park near my office.

Ever since I was in college, I’ve felt the strings of sadness pull at me in the hours after I leave my family.

Because of my strange schedule, I went home on Thursday and Friday to celebrate Father’s Day. Yet, today (Sunday), I couldn’t help but feel bad as I scrolled through my Facebook page. Photos of sweet fathers and smiling daughters and sons. I wished again to be with my father, and mother, even though I’d just been home.

Anyone who’s close to their family can probably relate to the feeling I had. In college, it would take me a day or more to get over it.

Continue reading “Just a girl in a gym: How small moments can have big meaning” »

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CSA Summer: Week 2, featuring turnip-apple salad, grilled veg spaghetti

Jeff and I started out this past week pretty ambitiously — we planned to use that vegetable for this, and this fruit for that — but you know how best-laid plans often go.

Here’s our half-share bounty from Week 2:

Clockwise, from bottom left: Two-toned squash, greenleaf lettuce, strawberries, broccoli, sweet turnips. Photo by Chris Dunn.

Clockwise, from bottom left: Two-toned squash, greenleaf lettuce, strawberries, broccoli, sweet turnips. Photo by Chris Dunn.

(Brandie’s half-share consisted of another head of lettuce, another squash, the entire portion of sweet peas, half the strawberries and the other broccoli crown.)

The only produce we didn’t use as we’d planned was the strawberries. We meant to modify one of Jeff’s mom’s recipes to make miniature tarts, but we forgot to buy a pretty key ingredient for the pastry, and then the week became busy. So we just ate the strawberries plain. Nothing wrong with that!

For the sweet turnips, Jeff made up a turnip-apple salad recipe:

Turnip-apple salad. Photo by Chris Dunn.

Turnip-apple salad. Photo by Chris Dunn.

Jeff used our mandolin pretty heavily for this recipe. If you don’t have a mandolin, it’s totally okay to just slice everything as thinly (and safely!) as you can. Continue reading “CSA Summer: Week 2, featuring turnip-apple salad, grilled veg spaghetti” »

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