Wednesday, July 14, 2010

No Mammogram for YOU!

I went for an annual "check up" at the ob/gyn yesterday. Truly, I think it is a waste of time being that I am otherwise healthy, child-bearing, breastfeeding, and monogamous! I mean, really, what is there to screen for? Not to mention the fact that I am not a believer in most of what obstetrical medicine stands for - I birth my babies at home, for God's sake.

But,I have a loving and well-meaning husband who happens to be an MD and who wants to see all his little ducks in a row before we leave for Saudi Arabia.

So, at his behest, I go. The PA I saw, Sheri Hyatt, was great. She made me feel comfortable, or as comfortable as one can be in that position, and was very friendly and pleasant.

But then came the history. . . this is always the hard part for me.
As she reads over the forms I've filled out, Sheri says "oh, so sorry to hear about your mom." Yes, mom passed away 12 years ago at the age of 45 of breast cancer. So then comes the big question: "At what age was she diagnosed?"
She was 33 at her first diagnosis, just 3 years older than I am today. I still remember clearly the day that she found out. SubhanAllah. . . the memory just flashed into my mind as I am writing this note. I was the age that my oldest son is now when my mother sat me down in the living room to tell me the news. My poor mom. A single mother fighting to raise her two daughters and fighting cancer. May she get justice in the afterlife for all the hardship she endured in this one.

So, protocol for a first mammogram for a woman who has a first degree relative (mother, sister) diagnosed with breast cancer is to start mammogram screening 10 years before the age that the relative was diagnosed. That would make me 7 years LATE for my first mammogram. So, Ms. Hyatt kindly writes me a referral for a mammogram AND a breast ultrasound because it is notoriously difficult to read a mammogram of a lactating breast (and, yes, I am still breastfeeding - will it ever stop?).

But now comes the tricky part. I call this morning to make an appointment for these procedures to be done before we leave (all duckies in a row, you know?). And am told that I cannot have EITHER procedure done! Ha!
No Mammogram for YOU, missy!
The kind woman who answered the phone at the lab simply tells me, "We do not do mammograms on breastfeeding women".
"Oh, okay," I tell her, "That's why the doctor has also ordered a breast ultrasound. So we'll just schedule that one only for now."
"Okay, then, what is the diagnosis?" she asks.
"Diagnosis? I just told you that this was for screening only. "
"Insurance will not cover breast ultrasound without diagnosis. So, what is the problem you are having with your breasts?"
"Nothing! They are working just fine, but I would really like to be screened for breast cancer seeing as how my mother, who eventually died of the disease, was diagnosed at 33."
"Sorry, we don't do mammograms for women who are breastfeeding."

So.... no mammogram for ME!!

Really, it's okay. Allah is the best of helpers, and it is to Him I turn seeking protection for the diseases and evils of this world and punishment in the next. But, Jeez, what a screwy system we have here! There must be a better way.
It's like the poor patient of my husband's who couldn't come in for her follow-up visit because they can't afford the co-pay their insurance charges. . . Ah, but more on that for another day.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

NY Times - Veiling in America

I was interviewed for this article, and I think it came out well.
I hope everyone will check it out.
Front Page, Style Section, Sunday NYT.

Behind the Veil

The Story of a Hippie Mom and an MD, and what they decided about Vaccinations

Okay. . . so, what happened is this:
Once upon a time, one non-vaccinating home-birthing home-schooling hippie woman married an MD.. . . and that was the beginning. Now with each subsequent child the hippie mom pushed the vaccination compromise a bit further in her direction (delaying all vaccines with number one for about a year, only selectively... See More vaccinating number two, and not vaccinating number three at all!). Everything was fine and good until the family found out they are moving to Saudi Arabia, where many of these eradicated diseases still exist. The MD put his foot down. "We must have this boy vaccinated before we move," he said. To which the hippie mom replied, "NOOOOO. . . I can't do it!" and cried big crocodile tears. To no avail. The MD had his mind made up. So the hippie mom, not fully ready to give in, began to do a full investigation. She read a couple of vaccination books (including The Vaccine Book, by Dr. Sears's son Dr. Sears) cover to cover, and finally came to the following decision.
Some vaccines are really really pointless (HepA, for example). Others are good for young children but virtually useless for the older child (HIB and Rotavirus, are two examples). But, two became clearly the stand-outs for useful vaccines that have proven efficacy, and diseases that are prevalent AND have high-mortality rates in the middle east.
So. . . drum roll please. . .
The baby of the hippie and the MD is getting vaccinated for Polio and DTaP (Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis).

And both the MD and the hippie mom can rest at peace.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Yes, I Am Serious

Dear Speaks-Her-Mind-And-Runs,

Running into you at the farmer's market last Wednesday was so unexpected - for both of us, I suppose. You hurled insult after insult at me in front of my young children, to all of which I calmly but firmly responded. I know that you were in a big hurry to leave, maybe because you didn't expect me to speak English when you decided to begin your barrage of verbal assaults, but left without giving me time to explain.

Looking at my clothing and asking if I am "serious" is obviously not what you really meant to ask. I mean, look at me, do I look anything less than serious? I am serious. If I wasn't serious about my religion, and didn't hold it as close to my heart as I do, I certainly wouldn't be walking the streets of Fresno, California, covered head to toe. You see, to me, the way I dress is a symbol of who I am - a proud and strong Muslim woman. But, you didn't have time to hear me explain.

Maybe what you meant to ask was why I am dressed this way? Ah, now that is a question that I can actually answer. Muslim women cover their bodies and heads as an act of pure obedience to Allah, our creator - a symbol of piety, if you will. It is also a sign of the high place that women should hold in society - not lowered to the lewd and crude depths of objectivity. Much the same as Christian and Jewish women did up until the last hundred year or so - and some still do. Can you tell me what the blessed virgin Mary's hear looked like, or describe the shape of her hips? But, you didn't have time to hear me explain.

You asked if I had ever heard of Jesus? Why, yes, actually, I have. The Qur'an talks extensively about Jesus and his blessed virgin mother, Mary, and of Jesus' singular message for mankind - to worship God and not associate partners with Him. Go and look for yourself in your Bible, and you will see. But, you didn't have time to hear me explain this either.

You called me a crazy person. . . this one I'm not sure I can even address. Is it crazy to be passionate about the one thing in this life that will be there for you after you die - your faith? Is it crazy to openly express your faith in a "free country"? Or, is it crazy to randomly assault perfect strangers who are different from you? But, no, you didn't have time to hear me explain.

Insult after insult you hurled at me, and my children are still asking what it was you wanted from us. . . so. . .what was it you wanted?
Did you need to get some grudge against Muslims off of your chest? Well, is your heart lighter today because of it?
Did you think that you could just make a comment and walk away because I wouldn't understand it anyways? Well, God, your Lord, hears you.
Did you think that I would be to passive and timid to answer you back? Well, God, your Lord, will hold you to account for every word that you utter.
Did you think that your crass attitude would cause me to open my heart to a personal savior? Try to look at Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) and his glorious example - he who would not even spurn the prostitute that his own followers wanted to expel from their meeting. What would Jesus do?

Yes, truly, what would Jesus do?

Remember Allah is watching us

I know, I know, it's cheesy. . . it's from an e-mail that has been floating around cyberspace for God knows how long, but it really struck a nerve with me tonight. . . maybe I need to hear it.

Remember Allah is watching us

Several years ago an Imaam moved to London . He often took the bus from his home to the downtown area. Some weeks after he arrived, he had occasion to ride the same bus.
When he sat down, he discovered that the driver had accidentally given him twenty pence too much change. As he considered what to do, he thought to himself, you better give the twenty pence back. It would be wrong to keep it. Then he thought, oh forget it, it's only twenty pence. Who would worry about this little amount?
Anyway, the bus company already gets too much fare; they will never miss it. Accept it as a gift from Almighty Allah and keep quite.
When his stop came, the Imaam paused momentarily at the door, and then he handed the twenty pence back to the driver and said "Here, you gave me too much change.

The driver with a smile replied "Aren't you the new Imaam in this area? I have been thinking lately about going to worship at your mosque.

I just wanted to see what you would do if I gave you too much change." When the Imaam stepped off the bus, his knees became weak and soft. He had to grab the nearest light pole and held for support, and looked up to the heavens and cried "Oh Allah, I almost sold Islam for twenty pence!"

Remember, we may never see the impact our actions have on people.

Sometimes we are the only knowledge of Quran someone will read, or the only Islam a non-Muslim will see. What we need to provide, Insha Allah is an example for others to see. Be careful and be honest everyday, because you never know who is watching your actions and judging you as a Muslim.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Feeling all Homeschooly!

Well. . . alhamdulillah (praise to Allah) we have finally filed with the state of California, and we are now OFFICIAL HOMESCHOOLERS! Yikes!
So, what does that mean, practically for our family?
Absolutely NOTHING! Yeah, you read it. . . nothing! We are not only officially homeschoolers now, we are officially Unschoolers (well, in my mind at least it's official)!
I have always leaned towards unschooling, and the more and more I read, the more I think that maybe, just maybe, and by the will of Allah the Most High, this unschooling thing can actually work!
The kids are learning and doing "schooly" stuff all the time. They have been interested in outer space, space exploration, and the moon for some time now. So we found this great book about the moon (Moon, by Steve Tomecek), and the kids absolutely devoured it! And there was a little science experiment at the end - I totally skipped over it assuming the kids wouldn't be interested. Well, turns out that's the key! (uschooling at work here) They found the experiment while perusing the book by themselves and begged me to do it with them!
The experiment itself involved dropping pebbles into a plate of flour to see how craters are made. They did that for a while, and then turned it into an experiment about what water does to flour in different quantities. . . ultimately a huge mess, but a lot of good educational fun!
And then, last night, while waiting for Sayf to get ready for story time and bedtime, Omar and I were sitting on the bed and he starts counting. He's never been as fast as his brother with numbers, and I'm okay with that; I'm not pushing him. So when he started counting, I thought maybe he'd get to 30 and then get distracted. Nope. . . on and on he went until he reached 100! And then (this is the best part) he turns and looks at me with his big doe-eyes and says, "Mama, now I can count to one-hundwed!" He was so proud of himself, and I couldn't have been prouder. Not really for counting, but for his taking the innitiative and doing it all on his own! Allahu Akbar!
These are the moments I couldn't miss for the world! As a friend of mine who recently started homeschooling 4 of her 5 babies put it so beautifully: "No job, no money, no outside time to myself while my children sit at a desk all day and are herded from room to room can compare with watching their 'lightbulb' moments".
I am such a lucky mommy to get to share this experience with my kids.

Saturday, June 6, 2009