Showing posts from October, 2014

Life: Better or Worse after Breast Cancer?

Many can’t imagine how having a better life after being diagnosed with invasive breast cancer is even possible.    Kathleen Franklin, retired Superintendent in charge of a large territory of parks and beaches in the Malibu area remembers that day:  “Imagine being told in the prime of your life, that you have stage 3 breast cancer.  Your everyday world screeches to a halt.  You’re in shock. You go through the motions with this terrible background noise ever present in your mind.  Your doctor gives you the protocol:  Chemo, operations, radiation!  If you were to ask me then if I would be better for having breast cancer I would have said no.  Unequivocally, NO”!
Her journey to recovery wasn't easy either…   Is it ever?  It just seems that cancer has a way of making itself present at that precise moment when one is on the track of enjoying life; when one is supposed to be living the fruits of one’s work, family and friends.  Or maybe so it’s thought, until one day, the diagnosis is in……

Taking a Proactive Approach to Wellbeing in the Difficult Road of Depression and Sadness.

Personal health begins with being our own health advocates.  When dealing with a health crisis, time and time again we are told to be proactive:  research the best doctors, write down our questions, get informed, keep a journal, seek peer groups that are dealing with the same issues…  the conclusion is always: our health stars with us.
The Howell Health and Happiness Series presentation “Depression vs. Sadness:  Learning to Know the Differences” offered by Dr. Christina Zampitella provided an overview of pragmatic and realistic approaches to achieving wellness when dealing with sadness, and provided guidance on when to seek help if suspecting depression.
There is more to depression than sadness, and sadness can lead to depression if left untreated.  Although the road seems difficult, there is hope.  A wellness approach will depend on how we balance our health-body-spirit components effectively, and what steps to take to achieve such balance.

To understand the differences between s…

Sad, Mad, Bad, and a Remarkable Woman’s Journey to Recovery

I would add taking control.  That’s Judy’s philosophy in life.  She truly represents how to take a sad situation and turn it into a learning experience; and more so, a living philosophy.  
Judy has always enjoyed life; the kind of enjoyment where you are ready to just go and get life going, instead of just watching it pass by.   That’s how she and Tony ended up living a two year adventure in New Zealand.  She enjoyed skiing, being in the outdoors and traveling.   He thought it would be an adventure they both could live. 
A Registered Nurse by trade, she lost her first husband Tony to pancreatic cancer.  Facing the challenges of raising 4 kids on her own she remembers the day she met her second husband:  “With so many things I wanted to do, he just didn’t seem like the right man for me”.   What she didn't know is that he would become an excellent husband and more of a friend than father figure to her adult children.  It was a combination of this sixth sense and a very strong gut f…

The Very Fine Line Between Depression and Sadness

With so many similarities between depression and sadness, it is hard to know if we are truly depressed.  Learning to identify your feelings is the first step towards mental health.

About the Doris A. Howell Foundation:
The Doris A. Howell Foundation for Women’s Health Research is committed to keeping the women we love healthy, advancing women’s health through research and educating women to be catalysts for improving family health in the community.
The organization does so by funding scholarships to scientists researching issues affecting women’s health;   providing a forum for medical experts, scientists, doctors, researchers, and authors to convey the timely information on topics relevant to women’s health and the health. of their families through its Lecture and Evening Series, and by funding research initiatives that will create women’s health awareness and advocacy in the community.    
For more information about the Doris A. Howell Foundation, please visit

What Impact do Howell Scholars Have in Women's Health Research? Does BRCA-1 Sound Familiar?

It is no secret that the Howell Foundation's core mission is to fund scholarships for students to conduct their research in women's health.  In participation with reknown educational Institutions such as UCSD, USD and SDSU, the Howell Foundation surpassed the half - a - million dollar mark in donations, helping almost 200 students complete the required research to pursue a career in the medical and biomedical fields.

Many have asked about the impact these scholars have in women's health research. We received news from one of our past scholars last year.   His news was definitely encouraging and validated more than ever the need to keep on funding brilliant scholars in their research.

Most of us were elated with the news of the gene discovery that led Angelina Jolie to be mentioned probably in every media outlet in the world.  But how is the Howell Foundation related to Angelina Jolie?  Here is the rest of the story.  From 2013, Dr. Hemmati writes:  

"My name is Dan…

Education is Key! The 5 Things to Start Doing TODAY to Lower the Risk of Breast Cancer

Many of us have been touched directly or indirectly by breast cancer.  Even though significant research progress has been made, awareness is the key to become one's own health advocate.

According to the American Cancer Society, one in 8 women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in their life time.  As of 2013, over 230,000 women were diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, and 64,000 with carcinoma in situ. Once regarded as a terminal illness, the survival rate is now 98% if detected and treated early.  It is estimated that 2.8 million women diagnosed with breast cancer are survivors (including women who are going through treatment); however 40,000 women in the US will sadly die from the disease.

Considering that breast cancer will develop as a consequence of gene mutations, the causes of breast cancer are not specifically known.   As for the risk factors that cause cancer, the American Cancer Society divides the risks as those that we can control and those we cannot, su…