Chocl8t’s Health

Sometimes I am truly dumbfounded by the things people allow to fly out of their mouths and what they will post on the internet, from the incredibly obtuse to the blatantly ignorant. This, falls somewhere in the middle…I guess.

Ernestine Shepherd

A friend posted this picture of Mrs. Ernestine Shepherd on his Facebook page. “Ernie”, as she is called by those who know her, is a 75 year old female body builder who looks FANTASTIC! Given her slim frame, she is not bulky, masculine looking, nor hard like the majority of her female counterparts in the sport. She is, however, toned, well defined, and above all else, an inspiration to every African American woman whose goal is to get in shape.

According to the CDC, 51% of non-Hispanic Black women, age 20 years or older are obese. Non-Hispanic Black females aged 2-19 – 24% are obese. These statistics are both staggering and frightening. [Source]

Over half of my sisters are obese and run the increased risk of the following health conditions:

  • Coronary heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Cancers, such as endometrial, breast, and colon cancer
  • High total cholesterol or high levels of triglycerides
  • Liver and gallbladder disease
  • Sleep apnea and respiratory problems
  • Degeneration of cartilage and underlying bone within a joint (osteoarthritis)
  • Reproductive health complications such as infertility
  • Mental health conditions

So when you say “I would rather stay fat than to look like that.” what I interpret that to mean is:

  • I would rather have high blood pressure and suffer a stroke…
  • I would rather have Type 2 diabetes, rely on insulin, and end up blind and in renal failure…
  • I would rather have cancer…

…than to be physically fit and healthy.

And that…is just profoundly sad.


The Mammogram

My yearly visits to the torture device, also known as the mammogram, started in 1998 when my right breast began to leak fluid due to a ruptured mammary duct.

That diagnosis cam by way of a general surgeon after visiting a “breast specialist” who, after administering a breast ultrasound told me “Oh, that’s normal.” Good thing I sought out a second opinion.

Never accept a doctor’s word at face value when you know in your heart of hearts that what he/she is saying does not ring true. Do not be afraid to seek out a second, or third, opinion. Be your own advocate!!

During a self breast exam in 2003, I discovered a lump. A mammogram, ultra sound, biopsy, and eventual lump removal revealed there was no cancer. All was good and the torture device visits continued.

Sitting in a meeting at work about 12 days ago (a Tuesday) my upper right arm grazed my breast when I reached for something on the conference room table. I winced from the pain and tenderness and my first thought was “What was that?”

Immediately after the meeting I called to schedule an appointment for a mammogram. (The yearly visit was last August.)

Thursday morning found me at the Cobb Women’s Imaging Center for a mammogram and a breast ultrasound.

There are no words to accurately describe the anxiety. I barely ate and had a headache that laughed at the Tylenol I ingested. Despite trying to remain positive the internal dialogue could not be quieted.

What if it is cancer? How will we decide to treat it? Is it early enough that I won’t lose my breast? Chemotherapy? I’ll lose my hair!! Just when I decided to let it grow out again. I rocked a natural look surely I could rock the bald look too. If it is cancer, they’ll just have to remove the lump ASAP and I will start chemo after I return from Thailand in March.

Then there was the Monday afternoon appointment with the surgeon.

Tuesday -Hit auto-replay and shuffle on internal dialogue.

Wednesday morning – an ultrasound guided needle biopsy.

Thursday – Hit auto-replay and shuffle on internal dialogue.

The call came from the doctor’s office on Friday. It is not cancer.


I am forever grateful to the universe and will continue my monthly breast exams and my annual mammogram. If you’re a woman over 40, you should do the same.

If you’re a woman under 40, or a man (YES. MEN, you can get breast cancer too!), self breast exams are a must. Learn to do them correctly!

Visit the following links for more information on mammograms and self breast exams for men and women!

Here’s to happy healthy breasts!!!

Women click here. Men click here.

Breastfeeding for mothers will now be a little easier at work thanks to the newly passed Obama Healthcare bill.

Nursing mothers will now get additional support, thanks to page 1239 of the health care bill that President Obama recently signed into law. It requires employers to provide “a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from co-workers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk.” Only companies with less than 50 employees can claim it’s an undue hardship. [Source]

Personally, I think this is a good thing. Any measure to help mothers raise healthier children is a positive, in my opinion. Although breastfeeding is not an option for all mothers it is indeed healthier than the alternatives, i.e. formula and cow’s milk. You can read the numerous studies done on the matter but here is a short condensed list of benefits [Source]:

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It has been six months since I have been to the gym. Yes, I’ve been slacking – slipping on my fitness game. The past few weeks has been spent motivating myself to get back into the groove.

Motivation finally turned into action Sunday morning when I made the trip to Wally-World, (Wal-Mart for you short bus riders), to buy a jump rope and 5lb ankle weights. The rationale is to ease back into the routine so it will not be such a “shock” to my body.

So I’m back at the house, in the garage, iPod tethered to my arm, earphone in ear, ankles weighed down, and jump rope in hand. I set th timer on my phone to 30 minutes while I’m thinking ‘this isn’t going to be so bad’.

Three minutes later I’m gasping for air, walking around in circles, and scratching like a heroin addict.

WTH was I thinking?!! I’m dying!!! DYINNNNGGGGG!!!!!

I need some water! Yeah…my mouth is parched.

I run upstairs to the kitchen and grab a bottle of water from the refrigerator and head back to the garage. I am determined to push through it!

After jumping for another minute or so, (I swear it felt longer), I decide to do squats. I manage to get in 50 and I jump for another minute or two all the while panting like I have run a marathon and my heart pounding like crazy. It’s on to 50 dead lifts (using a piece of firewood for resistance), 50 more squats, and another round of jumping.

With my legs feeling like Jell-O, I quit. When I stop th timer on my phone, only 20 minutes have elapsed.

This is going to be harder than I first thought….Pray for me. 😐

You know a tree by its fruit…and its roots.

Since my early 20s, I have been a strong supporter and advocate for Pro Choice, the idea that the government has the right to tell me what to do with my body angered me – still does.

While I was in college, I remember friends who visited Planned Parenthood clinics for free birth control and on a few unfortunate, sad occasions – an abortion. I never needed the services at Planned Parenthood because my mother had good medical coverage via her job. However, I thought this was a great free service, the birth control, for young poor women and college students.

In the span of 2 hours a major shift occurred – my views on both matters are cloudy at best. This does not come as a result of some deep religious or spiritual movement. No. Quite the contrary. The 2 hour documentary, “Maafa 21: Black Genocide In 21st Century America“, shook me to my core and goes into great detail of the history behind Planned Parenthood and its founder, Margaret Sanger, her connections with Eugenics and her ties to Hitler and the Holocaust.

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