At Girls’ Night Out, local women share stories of hope, healing, with heart and humor
FREMONT – More than 220 women heard stories of hope and healing at Girls’ Night Out on Thursday night and came away with one common theme: Women don’t have to go through their health journeys alone.
“When you start going through (menopause), find a support group, find a best friend that you can talk to, find somebody who can help you and give you the support,” said Cindy Warren, a grandmother from Holton who shared her physical and emotional journey through menopause. “You will get through it. Even though some days, you think you’re not going to be able to handle this anymore, you will get through it. I lived through it, I got through it.”
Warren was one of seven women who took to the stage at the Dogwood Center for the Performing Arts in Fremont to share their personal healthcare stories.
Danielle McCabe-Arbogast, a teacher in Hesperia, said she discovered she suffered from post-partum depression a few weeks after her daughter was born, when she experienced sleeplessness and extreme unhappiness.
“I didn’t even want to hold my own daughter very much,” McCabe-Arbogast said. She said she was also agitated and although she did not feel suicidal, she felt little desire for life.
“I did ask my doctor, I did ask for medication, I asked my doctor, ‘I know there’s medication, so could you please prescribe it for me?’ and they did do that for me, and they also would explain that my post-partum depression was just my hormones being out of balance,” she said, adding that she started attending church again and began socializing with other people as a way to overcome depression.
Today, McCabe-Arbogast said her relationship with her family is far more satisfying, her days filled with more joy, laughter and happiness.
In addition to McCabe-Arbogast and Warren, other speakers included Ethel Lobrigas, a physical therapist from Fremont, who discussed how pelvic health affected her life; Michelle Pekel, a hospice nurse from Fremont, who discussed her journey toward quitting cigarette addiction; Lisa Soueidan, a mammogram tech from Fremont, who confronted breast cancer in her early 40s; Julie Weiss of Fremont who talked about her heart disease; and Joni Erlewein, RN, who discussed ways to mobilize body, mind and spirit through mindfulness in the face of a health challenge.
“You have got to have help, you cannot go home and think you can do it by yourself,” said Weiss, describing the days after she underwent major heart surgery for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. After she received an artificial valve, Weiss went through challenging physical therapy.
She credits her determination to get answers for helping her take on a major heart disease.
“You’ve got to listen to your heart, your stomach, everything,” she said. “Be your advocate and follow through. The doctors are wonderful. They’ve got lots and lots of patients, though. If it’s not right, keep searching.”
The speakers’ stories also touched on topics that aren’t always openly discussed because of a perceived stigma attached to them, or as Warren described menopause: “It was the forbidden topic.”
“Nobody wants to hear about (menopause),” Warren said. “A mom doesn’t want to go to her daughter and say, ‘Man, these night sweats are killing me. I have vaginal dryness.’ They don’t want to hear that stuff!”
In addition to the speakers, the event also featured free screenings that corresponded to the topics being discussed, including scheduling mammograms and learning more information about quitting tobacco.