Mobile mammograms are opportunity for women to get screened locally
October is breast cancer awareness month. On Friday, October 6, a mobile mammography vehicle will come to Holton and offer 3-D mammograms, capable of taking detailed, precise images that can more accurately identify abnormalities. A 3-D mammogram is quick, minimizes discomfort and pain during screening, and provides accurate, timely results.
As a resident who cares about our community and my neighbors, I’m pleased that Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial is bringing the mobile mammogram on wheels to Holton. As a woman business owner, I’m excited that this service is now making it easier for people to get screened and I’d like to add my voice to the reminder that early screening can save lives.
Cancer in all its forms touches so many lives. It affects the individual, their families and sometimes entire communities. Ours is no different. Here in our area, we know so many people who have faced this disease with courage. We know those who took proactive steps to address cancer early. Unfortunately, we also know those who caught the disease too late.
Breast cancer is curable. When found early, breast cancer can be treated and cured. The challenge is detecting it early, and that’s where 3-D mammograms can help.
Here’s what I’ve been told about the technology: 3-D mammograms can look through dense breast tissue, by taking 1-millimeter-thin images at a time. The result is a three-dimensional image that a tech or doctor can look at from all angles, as opposed to two-dimensional images like a simple photograph.
More than the technology, this effort is about people. According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer will affect one in eight women during their lifetimes. The ACS recommends that every woman 40 years or older get a mammogram once a year.
This Friday, we can take that opportunity by getting screened when the mobile mammogram comes to Holton. It’s also free to those who qualify.
I’m honored that my business, The Pizza Mill, can be part of this effort by serving as the location for the bus-sized pink-and-white vehicle. You can’t miss it in our parking lot!
So, please stop by between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. at 8485 Holton Road, MI 49425, almost exactly midway on the main road between Fremont and Muskegon. I’ll be opening the Pizza Mill a little earlier and women who come for a screening are more than welcome to stop in for coffee.
Free mammograms will be available for uninsured or underinsured woman, and if you’d like to check to see if you qualify, call 616-486-6050.
While walk-ins are welcome, scheduling an appointment is the best way to secure a screening. Call 616-774-7998, and select Option 1.
Hope to see you women on Friday!
Owner, The Pizza Mill, Holton
By Megan Wirts
Fall is here folks! It is officially my favorite time of year! My tank tops and flip flops have been traded in for cozy sweaters and boots. Weekends are now filled with Friday Night Football and Soccer Saturdays.
So, like every other Saturday morning in September, I grabbed a sweatshirt to keep me warm on the sidelines as I watched my little weekend warrior kick some goals. Then, I stepped outside and was met with a suffocating heat that you would expect to feel mid-July and nearly melted!
WHAT IS HAPPENING!? I’m still in Michigan and it is late September, right? Faster than I could say “climate change”, I turned around and dug out a summer dress I had already pushed to the back of the closet. Only to realize that I hadn’t shaved my legs since before Labor Day. Ugh.
This isn’t how Fall is supposed to be! I’m supposed to be cozied up with a hot cocoa and complaining about being too cold! I’m supposed to be picking apples and making chili! You can’t do any of those things when it feels like the inside of an oven outside! So, what are we supposed to do!?
Two words: Enjoy it!
Before we know it, there will be 2 feet of snow on the ground and ice-covered cars in the morning. Sure, I was annoyed that I had to bust out the razor one last time before I go into hibernation mode, but I got over it. It was worth it to get to soak up one last weekend full of Vitamin D. It was also kind of nice to be able to enjoy a soccer game not bundled up in full winter gear and two blankets to keep myself from turning into a human popsicle.
After the game, we did what anyone would do on a sweltering Saturday afternoon, go out for ice cream. The only problem with that is most ice cream shops close after Labor Day weekend. Nobody expects 90-degree weather after the first day of Fall. After driving around to all the ice cream localities only to find them all closed, we settled for McFlurries. They did the trick.
If we hadn’t been busy with sporting events we would have done like almost everyone else on my Facebook friends list, gone to the beach. At the end of the hot day, I sat and scrolled through my news feed and saw photo after photo of happy people splashing in the water. Lake Michigan never looked so good on a September day.
Yes, my kids are wearing worn out summer clothes to school this week instead of their crisp new blue jeans and fall sweaters. Those will have to wait. I’m going to enjoy this last bit of summer sun and then go inside, crank up my air conditioning, light an apple cinnamon scented candle and bake a pumpkin pie.
I mean, it is officially Fall.
By Ken DeLaat
Couple of things.
Ok, maybe the Lions got jobbed with that bizarro alternate-world situation at the end and maybe they should have come away with a win and just maybe it’s a call that shouldn’t be decided by a guy who isn’t on the field anyway.
Quick sidebar: How must it feel to have been on camera thrusting your arms up enthusiastically with the TD sign in the closing seconds of a great game for the home team then have a dude or two somewhere else overrule you. You know how they replay videos of that kind of thing over and over for all of the American football aficionados to digest again and again right? Now you’re the schmuck whose dramatic call became impotent when reviewed inch by inch. Not a great day, man.
But, holy socks , this is a good football team. They took the defending conference champs to the wire. The Falcons grabbed a 17-3 lead at one point and yet there wasn’t a shred of panic to be detected in the Lion players. Down 2 TDs against a seriously good team with a boatload of offensive weaponry and barely a sign of concern from the Honolulu Blue.
They go about business and seem to know good things will happen. They pick off tipped passes because they continually swarm around the ball. They make acrobatic catches because their QB believes in them and is unafraid to deliver. Twice in the final drive tight end Ebron dropped critical gains but Stafford went to him again and will continue to all season because he knows he will make many big plays down the road they are on.
I love the Lions and got hooked as a wee one in the mid ‘50’s as my Dad and Much Older Brothers rooted them on in front of our black and white round TV screen. Being way younger and, thus, quite impressionable I joined in their excitement during that magical ‘57 season.
After that I continued to watch but pretty much divested myself of any deep seated optimism because, well, because they’ve never been much good and my youthful dedication and ongoing blind loyalty to the Tigers made me a bit jaded about becoming too emotionally involved with more mediocrity.
But I hope the bandwagon that will see many folks jumping on provides a good ride and that all who want to join in hop aboard whether they be long suffering Lion fans or folks who get caught up in the fervor of a front runner.
I might very well be wrong, because it’s still way early in the season and the history of Detroit sports teams has proven that if there is a chance to disappoint they likely will, but I kind of think this squad might be different.
For years when one crazy thing or another like the whacked out ending Sunday would occur folks would say., “Yup. Same old Lions.”
And maybe in some quarters they are saying it now but if you were paying attention after the game and saw the Lion players it was different.Sure there was disappointment but something was different.
They knew they won that game.
They had taken the best offensive punches the Falcons had in their substantial arsenal and yet found a way to put it back on them and win the game.
Yes, they knew they won it.
And so did the Falcons.
This game was a dandy. Perhaps the best game of the young season what with all the drama attached to it.
My hope is the two of them get another crack at each other.
Like in the playoffs perhaps?
To all those sharing your passionate views on social media about the epidemic of free speech expression in the NFL this past week that came as a reaction to words spoken by the Prez?
Go after it. Turn it loose. Reach back into your deepest sense of outrage and indignation and let those who disagree have it. Regress into name calling and get personal with insults. Make those blanket statements or share the insightful piece you’ve found floating aloft on the internet or maybe even one of those “With just a few words he/she destroyed (fill in the blank)” shares as if there is something that can be expressed or reposted that puts an exclamation point on what is a difficult and complex situation.
Then while you’re thusly engaged, step aside please because there is such a huge conversation that needs to be undertaken .
Unfortunately this vital discourse-in-waiting is consistently blocked and avoided by folks taking the simpler way. Cowering within the comfort of those who share their opinion and basking in some facetious sense of superiority by attempting to ridicule as cleverly as possible (always falling short I might add) those who might disagree.
Sheesh, aren’t we weary of it all yet? Does there exist anything out there that doesn’t create a firestorm to feed the divisiveness infecting our land?
Here’s a suggestion. Whenever there is a post that blames, scolds, insults, belittles,or disparages in lieu of striving for dialogue it would be great if people would respond only by typing “This doesn’t help” It will likely bring the usual crapshoot of nasty replies most times and yet says everything that can be possibly said and thus needs no defense.
This doesn’t help.
Maybe it could even become a cool little acronym like omg and lol.
tdh. I like the looks of it.
I picture lengthy rants by the usual suspects appearing only to be met by seeing the singular response tdh making the scene over and over again.
I asked an acquaintance about this. An otherwise fairly congenial person who prowls social media hunting for debates that generally degenerate into the usual finger-pointing, taunting and grammatically challenged competition of futility.
“So what if you say ‘This Doesn’t Help’? Maybe it’s not intended to help. Maybe I say it because I don’t want to help people who (fill in the blank) and are ( fill in the blank).”
Then please don’t pretend you’re part of the conversation because…..
By Charles Chandler
I recently read New Yorker Staff Writer David Grann’s #1 best-seller, The Lost City of Z and enjoyed it immensely. His next book out was Killers of the Flower Moon and at first I didn’t get too excited about this one. Ok let’s take a pause; this is going to be much more than a straight forward book review so here is the plagiarized thumbnail for those who are short on time.
“ In Killers of the Flower Moon, David Grann revisits a shocking series of crimes in which dozens of people were murdered in cold blood. Based on years of research and startling new evidence, the book is a masterpiece of narrative nonfiction, as each step in the investigation reveals a series of sinister secrets and reversals. But more than that, it is a searing indictment of the callousness and prejudice toward American Indians that allowed the murderers to operate with impunity for so long.Killers of the Flower Moon is utterly compelling, but also emotionally devastating.”
Ok so READ THIS BOOK. It is great and will make you crazy.
Now for those that can tarry a moment longer here is long and very biased and personal review.
Grann's book Killers of the Flower Moon is a story that will never appear on the Hallmark Channel, does not have a happy ending, and is a model for a miscarriage of justice. It is a story that begins with the oil discovery on the Osage Tribes lands in Oklahoma and the royalties resulted in sudden wealth for the remaining members of the Osage Tribe. The story takes place between 1921 and 1924 on the Osage Reservation in eastern north-central Oklahoma a place where the news media called” the most dangerous place in the United States.” The Osage Indian called this time the “reign of terror” when unbelievably evil crimes were committed against Tribe members and specifically the Mollie Burkhart family.
As mentioned, at first I didn’t get too excited about this book because I had lived in Tulsa Oklahoma for about 30 years and right next to the big Osage county. In that time I had socialized with and worked alongside Osage men, attended their powwows, tramped and traveled on their vast Osage county and generally knew that this story ended very badly. Then I heard an NPR interview with Grann, saw another interview with him on CBS Sunday Morning where he and the CBS crew traveled back to the Osage Reservation in Oklahoma, retold part of the story and visited with some of Mollie Burkhart’s family that obviously were still grieving these horrific crimes and waiting for justice. After those two interviews I realized that this book contained several stories within stories that Mr. Know-It-All here had not heard before. So after a few clicks to Amazon and with considerable loss of sleep book was read and the foundation was laid for this rant.
This book has a sharp point and focuses on the two year “reign of terror “however in my humble opinion the context for the larger back story and the questions of how could these horrible crimes take place in the 1920s should be examined.
To do this you will need to revisit early American History from the 1730s to the 1930s to truly understand why so many Indians were located in Oklahoma. You will find that there were many reasons including really bad luck when it came to choosing which side to fight on in the French and Indian, American Revolutionary, and the Civil Wars. Other reasons includes the European and American caste system and philosophy toward Indigenous Peoples and land ownership, and our National and State policy toward Native Americans. Over the last 200 year these factors resulted in the Diasporas and genocide of our Native Americans. These practices continued well into the 1980’s when the federal government resettled as many as 40,000 Indians in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in a program aimed at integrating them into the wider American culture.
Another story in this book is about how this small section of the United States could become so dangerous and lawless. Again the reasons are many; for years the twin territories Indian and Oklahoma had been the last residue of the vanishing Wild West with a large and growing population of “cattle and horse thieves, whiskey peddlers, and bandits operating in these untamed territory where law and justice if any was usually administered by a Cavalry sword, old fashioned gun slinging lawmen or the infamous hanging Judge Isaac Parker in Fort Smith Arkansas.
Another and more familiar reason is that once again, land hungry farmers pressured the government to remove Indians from their reservations and once again they did and around 1880, by hook or crook, most of the Tribal lands in Indian Territory had been ceded or taken. On March 3, 1889, President Harrison announced the government would open an 1.9 million-acre tract of Indian Territory for settlement and precisely at noon on April 22 between 50,000 and 60,000 hopefuls participated in the in the much publicized Oklahoma Land rush. Keeping in mind that a just a moment ago this tract was the home of some civilized, educated, Christian folks that happened to be Indians.
As for the Osage, before the forced settlement of the Five Civilized Tribes in Indian Territory the Osage had held sway over a huge territory that covered parts of what would become the states of Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma. The government of President Andrew Jackson and the army drove the members of the Five Civilized from their homes in the eastern state across the Mississippi River along what the Cherokee would call the “Trail of Tears” into Indian Territory. On this 2000 mile death march about 5000 old, sick and young members of the Tribe died. The result of this move was sort of like what happened after WW II when the British resettled the Jews in what the Palestinians considered their little piece of the desert and we know how well that worked out. Soon after resettlement the Cherokee pleaded with the same government to protect them from attacks from the wild Indians (Osage) and again their solution was the Cavalry sword. The troublesome Osage were then resettled in Kansas and finally in Oklahoma. The reason that the remaining 2500 member Osage tribe finally settled in those rugged dry rocky was that one of their Chiefs said that the White Men would not want that land because they only wanted flat land that they could farm, again bad Indian luck. In the late 1890s oil was discovered on the reservation and the Osage would again lose their Tribal lands.
An act of Congress in 1906 gave each Osage person a “headright,” or share of the reservation’s natural resources, by luck they retained their mineral rights and in less than three decades, the Osage people had become some of the wealthiest in the world. An important fact to note is that they could not sell their head rights but they could be inherited.
The Oklahoma land run and the oil discovery on Osage lands and subsequent wealth brought every variety of shysters, swindler, con men, and outlaw to this area many trying fair or foul to take advantage of the Osages wealth. Their sudden wealth and subsequent stories, myths and lies written by the media about the extravagances of the Osage made international news and brought notoriety, envy, and jealousy from far and wide. Their story was reported in Time magazine and written about in Edna Ferber's bestselling 1929 novel "Cimarron".
Some of those that that took notice and to the detriment of the Osage were again members of the US Congress. As always a friend to the Indians and in order to prevent swindles on the Osage people, the government appointed guardians to tribal members deemed “incompetent” to handle their finances. But the guardians were often no different than many of the swindlers.”Some 93 percent of tribal funds held in government trust went toward the costs of administering the guardianship system. A government study estimated that by 1924 nearly 600 guardians had swindled some $8 million in Osage oil funds.” Many of the Indians could not pay for food or medicine for their family without prior approval from or bought for them by the guardians. In many cases the guardians were local businessmen, attorneys and members of families that charged unimaginable prices for the goods and services that the Osage needed. Again note that many of the Osage were educated far beyond their guardians and were good Christians. Mollie Burkhart’s families were practicing Catholics.
One evil and amoral individual that that took notice and developed a diabolical plan to gain control of Mollie Burkhart’s family headrights was William K. Hale often referred to “King of Osage Hills.” Hale and his crime family developed a plan to inherit the Burkhart head rights that began the “Reign of Terror” and resulted in the serial murders of 23 members of Mollie Burkhart’s family. Sources suggest many more unsolved and equally heinous crimes were committed but never solved. Hale criminal organization and activities reached beyond Osage County to the state capital in Oklahoma City and to Washington DC.
Another story within this larger story was the inability of the Osage to get protection from the criminals. Oklahoma had just become a state in 1907 and was still a rough and tumble place where criminologist and forensic experts were in the far distant future. One of the 23 murders’ had taken place on federal land and that mistake by the murderers would eventually benefit the Osage and the Burkhart family. By the spring of 1923, the Osage community had lost faith that they would receive any help from the local and state authorities and as this story unfolds you see that almost every “white person” in the small towns in Osage County and surrounding area was in on the effort to cheat the Osage.
Most attempts by incompetent lawmen or private investigators to solve these murders were blocked because of friend or family ties to the criminal organization or by death threats and intimidation. Finally the Tribal Council in desperation wrote the FBI, an organization in its infancy, and asked for help. At this time the federal Justice Department was reeling from another big oil “Teapot Dome” scandal and that provided an opportunity for a young bureaucrat named J. Edgar Hoover to make his name.
These Osage murders were widely publicized, and considered to be the story of the century and the up and coming FBI Director wanted this case solved. He needed the notoriety from solved cases to help build a bigger budget for his department. After a several bungled starts he soon learned just how complicated and challenging this Osage case was and realized that he needed some regional old west talent to work this case. He finally put a former Texas Ranger named Tom White in charge of the Osage field team.
Tom White was an old style Texas Lawman that had ridden the western edges of civilization and witnessed how justice was usually delivered in a couple ways, six guns, or the hangman’s noose. He was from a family of law men with a father, and two brothers in the law business. White soon learned that no one could be trusted and secrecy was vital to solving this case. His undercover team, which including the only American Indian agents in the bureau, struggled to infiltrate the “White Community” in the region.
The young J Edgar was a challenge as well, demanding constant progress reports and insisting the FBI field team use the latest techniques of detection. Slowly White and his team along with the members of the Osage began to expose one of the most evil conspiracies in American history.
In doing so it is interesting to see how agent Tom White and FBI agency changed as they investigated what would become by the Bureau’s own account one of the agency’s most complicated cases. In the end Tom White would change his boots and hat for the traditional dark FBI suit and J. Edgar Hoover would become a force to be reckoned with.
As mentioned this story will never make the Hallmark Channel and as one of Molly Burkhart descendents stated “they killed our whole family for nothing but greed.” The few criminals that were convicted in this case only received prison time and were soon paroled. According to author Grann "There are still killers who remain unknown conspirators whose names have not been identified, and so some of the secrets, unfortunately, will probably remain lost to history."
History has forgotten the Osage and these cold cases but the Osage still live on that dark and bloody ground and will always remember.
And some things never change with the relationship between the government and the Native Americans.
“The Osage Nation would ultimately pay the FBI $21,509.19 for the bureau’s investigation.”
October meetings to explore options
From the Newaygo Economic Development Office:
I Am Newaygo! Reinventing a Great City
I Am Newaygo! is a local city development initiative centered around City stakeholders and their dreams for the future of our City. The underlying principles of I Am Newaygo! Include:
➤ A city’s future needs to be designed using an intentional, inclusive process.
➤ The city’s physical design needs to reflect the needs and desires of its stakeholders.
➤ The ongoing results of I Am Newaygo! will be a comprehensive and clear recommendation to the City of Newaygo, for inclusion in the city’s Master Planning process, and ultimately for inclusion in the City’s Capital Improvement Plan and budget.
What is a stakeholder?
If you are a city resident, rent or own property in the city limits, are involved in a neighborhood group, business organization, church, school, arts, athletic organization - you have a “stake” in our future: And that means YOU are a stakeholder!
Does stakeholder engagement really work?
Yes- This process, sometimes referred to as a “Public Participation Plan” has been used extensively in West Michigan - specifically in Grand Rapids and surrounding communities, which has resulted in a healthy, vibrant, balanced community and business environment. If you want Newaygo to be a regional , even national model of the best a rural small town can possibly be, then I Am Newaygo! needs your participation.
How can I get involved?
I Am Newaygo! Starts in October 2017, with two meetings centered around a single topic: Pedestrian and Bicycle safety, connectivity, and infrastructure, otherwise know as “walkability”.
Do you walk or bike our city? Where, when, and why? Where do you feel safe? Where is it impossible to walk or bike? What needs to be improved? Are there hidden gems that need to be developed? If serious improvements were made, would you likely walk or bike further, and more often? We have good news!
The city has contracted international walkability expert Jeff Speck to assist us in creating a buildable plan to make living, working, recreating, without the requirement of automobile ownership. Now we need real help from those who know the lay of the land- you! For stakeholders in walkability, the first two meetings, which are identical in content, are as follows:
Saturday October 14th, at 9:00 AM - 10:30 AM
Monday October 16th, at 6:00 -7:30 PM
Location: Both meetings will be held at the “Old Museum Building”, located along the Muskegon River, on River Front Park. Why there - of all places? Because that beautiful, historically important riverfront building needs to be reinvented, just like Newaygo! It's not heated, so dress appropriately - seating will be provided. Suzanne Schulz, Director of Planning for the City of Grand Rapids, will be facilitating the conversation, and she has years of experience to benefit our efforts.
Who is behind I Am Newaygo! ?
Ultimately, the City of Newaygo is behind I Am Newaygo! The City’s Newaygo Economic Development Organization has designed I Am Newaygo! to assist in connecting stakeholders to their elected and appointed leaders. NEDO is currently chaired by Scott Faulkner, and the initial Walkability Committee is chaired by Krista Looman.
By Megan Wirts
What’s the opposite of aging like fine wine? Stinky cheese?
Of course some people really like stinky cheese, so maybe that’s not so bad.
I am turning 36 this weekend. That’s right, I’m closer to 40 than 30 and it feels a little bittersweet. While I am thrilled to have completed another trip around the sun and look forward to many more, getting older also means less time.
Less time to reach those goals you have been putting off. Less time to lose that last 10 lbs. Less time to add to your retirement fund. Less time with your loved ones. Less time to learn how to play the piano, go dancing or laugh with your best friend.
Time is the most valuable thing we have and one we tend to waste the most. That’s why this year my birthday wish is to spend my time more wisely, purposefully and with people that are worthy of it. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to spend 12 hours binge watching The Great British Baking Show, because sometimes that’s how I purposefully want to spend my time.
In my life, I have seen how little time some of us are gifted and I don’t want to waste the precious amount I have left feeling unhappy. I have spent too much time feeling angry, jealous and unable to accept my own limitations. I want to spend my time choosing happiness for my life. This doesn’t mean I’m going to sit around my house with a grin on my face while folding laundry or smile and remain calm when my kids spill lemonade on the floor, never clean it up and now the kitchen floor is sticky and gross. Let’s be realistic here.
Choosing happiness doesn’t mean that you are going to feel happy constantly. That’s impossible. Life is filled with ups and downs and loads of emotions. Sometimes you are going to be full of rage because of the slow walker in the grocery store and all you want to do is get around her, get your loaf of bread and get out. (Full disclosure, I am that lady and I will squeeze every last avocado to test for its ripeness, and I don’t care.) Other times you are going to be at your wits end because your kids won’t stop shooting nerf guns at each other and running all over the house when all you want them to do is clean the basement and do their homework!
That’s life. It is full of annoyances, challenges, trials and tribulations and not all of them are going to leave you bursting with joy. Some will be those small everyday annoyances, while others will bring you to your knees and leave you wondering how you are ever going to feel true happiness again. Some of those challenges will be so frightening that you will consider just quitting and giving up for good.
Choosing happiness is hard. I’m not trying to tell you to “just be positive”. When I hear that phrase it makes me want to punch people in the throat.
It doesn’t mean you ignore or deny your negative feelings or sadness. It means you acknowledge them and then move on. There is no specific timeline, you could spend 3 minutes or 3 days feeling the opposite of happy, but after that try to get past it. Choosing happiness to me, means feeling all the feelings and using those trials as opportunities to grow and change. It means focusing on the parts of my life that are easy to be happy about and focusing on that. It means loving the things I have instead of being angry about the things I don’t.
It also means asking for and accepting help when you need it. People aren’t meant to live this life alone. Let others in and let them help you.
When I turned 30 years old I remember feeling so excited for the future. I had a career that I loved, a new home, a beautiful family and good health. I had no idea that in just a little over a year I would have my first brain surgery and that my future would feel so uncertain for so long.
They say that your body starts to go downhill after the age of 30, but I had no idea what was in store for me. I figured I would start getting grey hair, a few wrinkles and body parts might head south. I didn’t expect that over the next few years I would have two brain surgeries, lose my “good health” standing, lose my job, friendships, and security.
After the brain surgeries and many specialists, I was finally diagnosed with Dystonia, an incurable neurological movement disorder. I was relieved to have a proper diagnosis and treatment, but I felt as if everything was spinning out of control. I spent many days in bed crying, sad, depressed, angry, afraid and in pain. Emotionally and physically. I would put on a happy face for my children and strangers, but behind closed doors I was a mess.
I was afraid of what my future held. I was terrified of becoming a burden on my husband. I was feeling guilty about not being the kind of mother I wanted to be for my children. I was afraid my friends would abandon me. I felt isolated, alone, frustrated and scared of so many things that I had absolutely no control over.
Through all of that, my sweet, patient husband, family, friends and complete strangers showed me love and compassion. That love and care helped me to dig deep inside myself and start choosing happiness instead of feeling negative and hopeless about my new life. I am the one that had to choose it though. Relying on other people for your happiness is the surest way to never find it. I am the one that had to wake up every morning and live this life and I decided that I didn’t want it to be miserable, regardless of having a disability. I just had to figure out how to do that.
It has been a long process and one that can best be described as a roller coaster ride without end. There will be no ending for me and Dystonia, it will always be here with me. There is no overcoming my illness, only living with it. I can either choose to be angry and bitter about it or I can find a way to turn this pain into something good. That is not to say I won’t have my moments of sorrow or anger, I’m only human after all. I just won’t sit there and wallow in it.
I’m thankful to have another year. Getting older may mean less time, but it also means another year to leave your mark on this world. It means more opportunity to become the best version of yourself you can be.
It means more time to choose happiness.
September is Dystonia Awareness Month. To learn more about Dystonia, go to www.dystonia-foundation.org
By Megan Wirts
There was a brief time in my life when I thought I wanted to be a dentist.
Not because I have a love for oral hygiene or anything, but because I loved going to the dentist. Then I realized that being a dentist meant putting your hands in other people’s mouths and the thought of doing that made me physically ill.
I have been very lucky to have some awesome dentists over the years. When I was a little girl, I thought my dentist was a super hero. He was extremely tall and wore cowboy boots. He had a quiet voice and always made me laugh. He made the whole experience fun and never scary. I did need to have some teeth pulled once due to overcrowding, but he gave me happy gas and little girl me was floating away on a hot air balloon with Winnie the Pooh. It. Was. Awesome. My love for going to the dentist also was helped by the fact that I never had any cavities.
That’s right. Never. Not one. I honestly don’t think it has anything to do with my less than perfect teeth cleaning regimen. I do floss, when I remember, and I do brush my pearly whites every single day, but I don’t do anything special. I’m just lucky or I have excellent tooth genes. I was hoping to pass those genes on to both of my children, but it turns out only one of them was blessed like me. My son, who hasn’t had a cavity in quite some time now, confessed to me that he sometimes doesn’t even brush his teeth when I tell him to. Little turd. Then there is his older sister who brushes her teeth like her life depends on it and she had three cavities at her last visit! Life is just not fair.
For the most part, I have always gone to my regular 6-month cleaning appointment like clockwork. Until a couple of years ago when my health took a crap and I put my oral hygiene on the back burner. I was a little preoccupied with having brain surgery, being diagnosed with a disabling disorder, raising my kids and trying to keep my sanity through it all. I just didn’t have time to go get my teeth cleaned, but honestly, I didn’t want to go because I was terrified.
My once great love for the dentist had turned into great fear. The disorder that I have, dystonia, causes me to have uncontrollable muscle spasms all over my body, including my face. Imagine having all those pointy, sharp tools close to very sensitive skin and your face starts twitching and your head starts to wobble and suddenly you are being stabbed in the gums!! Not cool, not cool!
On top of the muscle spasms I also experience excruciating pain on the right side of my face and in my teeth. Sometimes it will feel like there are electric currents shocking my teeth and my chin will feel like it’s on fire. Other times it feels like someone has pummeled me across the cheek over and over again. To say that I was nervous about going to the dentist, was an understatement.
Over two years had gone by since my last appointment and I knew I had to go back. I also had to schedule my kids for their 6-month check-ups, so I figured this was my chance. I needed to face my fear and make sure that my teeth were not rotting out of my head. As I sat there in the waiting room, worrying about the pain I was going to feel and if the hygienist was going to notice that I was in desperate need of a mustache wax, my name was called. It was time.
I explained my worries to my hygienist and away we went. I opened wide, closed my eyes and took a few deep breaths. Thankfully, my hygienist was patient and thoughtful, and it wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been. That doesn’t mean I didn’t look like I had just run a mile from all the anxiety sweating I did, but I survived. Then my dentist did his checking, told me all about the horrors of oral cancer (It’s bad news guys!) and that I was still cavity free.
I did it, I faced my fears! I didn’t get stabbed in the gums by one of those pointy things and it looks like I will be one of those old ladies bragging about how I still have all my own teeth when I’m in my 90’s.
See you in 6 months Doc!
By Ken DeLaat
"By all these lovely tokens
September days are here
With summer's best of weather
And autumn's best of cheer."
Wait a sec!
Seriously? September? Already?
What happened to August? For that matter where did July go, leaving like she did without even a quick goodbye?
Schools back in session, apples have pushed their way into the forefront of the area’s farmer markets (can pumpkins be far behind?), football is being played on television as well as on area fields, the Tigers are out of contention (get real used to this one fans we’re in for a long haul here), and pumpkin spice aromas are suddenly inundating the olfactorial landscape..
The leaves are even starting to alter their hues in concordance with an ongoing agreement with Mother Nature.
We could heave a heavy sigh of sadness about the departure of summer (yes, we know the autumnal equinox has yet to descend but face it, Bucko, it’s over) or we can embrace all the wonderfulness of this magical season we who dwell in these parts are so gifted to receive each year.
There is nothing quite like Fall in the Mitten and her sister peninsula to the north. Perhaps it’s dear Mom N. delivering a dose of kindness prior to unleashing winter’s worst. A little peace offering before gloves, boots and layering once again define personal fashion trends.
But it is truly the most glorious of all the four seasons with a splendor unmatched by its three comrades. A casual drive results in a collection of oohs and aahs as the maples, birch, and their colorful counterparts set the woods on fire with radiance.
So get out there and enjoy. Do a little trail walking, meander down the Mighty Mo or the White in a kayak or canoe, cruise about the countryside to capture the colors, catch a high school football game, and attend one of the myriad of festivals heading our way this month.
The Wheatland Music Festival in Remus is next weekend and has been sold out for months but you can get still get a daily pass for Sunday’s performances. If you’ve never been, a Sunday visit is a good way to find out if you’re up for the whole 3 day extravaganza next year but if so plan on getting your tickets early. They sell out soon and with good reason. Anyone who’s been can tell you why.
The following weekend brings the Irish Music Festival, the absolute best idea Muskegon has had this century. This 4 day event is a cornucopia of Celtic conviviality with magical music, delightful dance, Irish oriented shopping and food, and the feats of strength (Highland and Celtic games) competition. The tents that house the bevy of musical groups have two added attractions…adult beverages and televisions that are tuned to the day (and evening) football games.
“Want to go to the Irish Fest?”
‘Uh, I dunno,it’s been a long week and the game’s on today so…’
“They have beer tents with big screen broadcasts of the games…”
‘What are we waiting for? Let’s get going!’ Notre Dame starts at noon!’
And closer to home?
At the end of the month, the final day before October makes its 2017 debut we are gifted with Trail Town III.
For the third year White Cloud rolls out the welcome mat for this celebration of the area’s wondrous natural resources. It features a spectacular trail run, a fun kayak competition (light on the competition, heavy on the fun) and this year’s musical guests are...wait for it… the Braunschweiger Blues Band.
So grab September with both hands and take a 30 day ride straight through to the month that truly unfurls fall in all its scintillating magnificence .
“Ah, September! You are the doorway to the season that awakens my soul... but I must confess that I love you only because you are a prelude to my beloved October.” -Peggy Toney Thornton
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