Worried woman in doctor's office/breast cancer questions and answers

Why did I get breast cancer? How could it have been diagnosed sooner? Should I get genetic testing?

October 10th, 2016 | I'm Not Your Mother, But ...
When you're told you have cancer, in a split second everything comes to a grinding halt. You're so dumbfounded, you can't think straight. Read the Rest »
Packet of birth control pills

A new study says birth control pills may make you depressed. That’s not news to many women

October 6th, 2016 | I'm Not Your Mother, But ...
Danish researchers analyzed the health records of more than one million Danish women and girls between from 15 and 34 years of age. Fifty-five percent were on or had recently been on birth control. Compared with women who were not on any form of hormonal birth control, those who used a combined pill (with estrogen and progestin) had a 1.23 times higher risk of going on an antidepressant for the first time. Read the Rest »
Morning Report breast cancer questions

Answers to frequently asked questions about breast cancer

October 5th, 2016 | I'm Not Your Mother, But ...
I asked Dr. Tracey Weisberg, a breast cancer specialist at New England Cancer Specialists to list the most common questions she gets from her patients. The top two are:
  1. Why did I get breast cancer ?
  2. Is there anything other than a mammogram that could have caught it sooner?
Sharon Rose Vaznis and I discuss the answers on the Morning Report. Read the Rest »
Michelle Spencer

A lifetime of headaches became this woman’s worst nightmare

October 4th, 2016 | Catching Health Stories
For nearly 30 years — ever since she was about 10 years old — Michelle Spencer endured headaches. Migraines doctors said.  Read the Rest »
Use by date on can

What do all the dates on food packages mean?

September 29th, 2016 | Recipes
Guest post by Kit Broihier, MS, RD, LD Courtesy of the Maine Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Depending on what packaged product you’re looking at (or considering eating), you can usually find a date stamped or printed on the package somewhere. Some of these dates are there to help consumers determine a food’s freshness and safety, but which ones? Read the Rest »
Beautiful flowers

The art of offering comfort to someone who is grieving

September 27th, 2016 | I'm Not Your Mother, But ...

It's been a hard month for my family since my mother died a few weeks ago, on September 6, 2016. She left behind a passel of grievers. Me and my seven brothers and sisters, 15 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. We all still need comforting and also to comfort each other.

At 90, Mom had outlived my dad, her siblings and most of her cousins and peers. But a few are still here and before and after the funeral they regaled us with lovely memories — of my mother as a girl, a teenager, a bride and a young mother. Hearing the stories brought me great comfort. I didn’t listen and think, “My, this is comforting.” I simply felt close to the storytellers and to my mother. Read the Rest »


Make sure to follow these simple safety tips when you’re cooking outdoors

September 22nd, 2016 | Recipes

Fall may officially be here, but I'm an optimist and I think there is still plenty of time left to enjoy eating, cooking and playing outside.

Here are some simple tips and strategies for handling and storing food from Eileen Molloy M.S, RD/ LD, C.D.E., courtesy of the Maine Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics. We want the fun to keep going on before and after your picnic, barbecue, or camping trip. Read the Rest »

Apples from Mullis Orchards

Where you can pick apples in Maine

September 14th, 2016 | Recipes
Some people consider apples a superfood, so one a day just might help you stay healthy. There are thousands of varieties to choose from, many of them right here in Maine. I've put together a list of some Maine orchards that let you pick your own apples — a great way to spend a late summer/early fall afternoon. Read the Rest »

A tribute to my mother Beverley Swett

September 13th, 2016 | Catching Health Stories

My mother died last week. Tuesday, September 6 at 5:16 in the morning. I was there, hand resting on her chest. I needed to feel her last breath, her final heartbeat. Three of my sisters and one of my nieces were also there, holding her hands and gently running their fingers through her hair, which she always loved. Read the Rest »

tomatoes and mustard

What to do with all of those tomatoes! Try this recipe for tomato mostarda

September 1st, 2016 | Recipes
If you're like us, you're always shocked at how many tomatoes you managed to grow in your little backyard garden. We only put in a few plants. Big Boys, cherry tomatoes, and tiny oh so sweet blueberry tomatoes. Read the Rest »
rhythmuswege / Pixabay

Massage your muscles and your mind

August 31st, 2016 | I'm Not Your Mother, But ...
Guest post by John Turrell, Wellness Coordinator, Greater Portland Branch,YMCA of Southern Maine. How's your summer going? It's been a great one for outdoor activities. Have you been doing a lot of kayaking, cycling or gardening? Are your muscles a bit sore? Read the Rest »
By BruceBlaus (Own work) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Understanding aortic valve stenosis and new treatment options

August 30th, 2016 | I'm Not Your Mother, But ...

During a routine checkup about 10 years ago, my mother’s doctor picked up a heart murmur. He sent her to a heart specialist who ordered some tests, including an ultrasound. The diagnosis was aortic stenosis. Read the Rest »

Ray Doyon

Being in a wheelchair hasn’t prevented these people from playing an energetic game of tennis

August 24th, 2016 | Catching Health Stories

It was an exciting day for Raymond Doyon. Encouraged by his friend Leo Glaude, he decided to try his hand at tennis. This was a big deal because ever since he became paralyzed in an accident 20 years ago, Ray says he’s spent way too much time watching TV and feeling depressed. "My wife works and I was home alone," he says. "It's not a life. Many times I remember I wanted to die." Read the Rest »

Person wearing hat with veil

DIY remedies for stings, bites, scratches, and sunburns

August 23rd, 2016 | I'm Not Your Mother, But ...
We get our fair share of bugs here in Maine during the summer. Whether you wear a special hat, suit up from head to toe or cover yourself in bug spray, warding them off can be a hassle. So can dealing with their bites and stings. Read the Rest »
Earl in the lake

Earl Cutter has MSA. You won’t see life the same again after you read his story

August 22nd, 2016 | Catching Health Stories

Earl and Judy Cutter first met in Paris, France. They both lived in the small Maine town of Westbrook but didn’t know each other. Earl had recently started teaching French and Latin at the local high school and had organized a class trip to Paris. Read the Rest »

Mary Moskowitz

Thriving after cancer. One woman shares her recipe for a healthier lifestyle and for sesame swiss chard

August 18th, 2016 | Recipes

Guest post by Mary Moskowitz, an integrative health and cancer coach at Mainely Health and Nutrition.

The diagnosis

A cancer diagnosis is a life-altering event not only for you but your family and friends as well. Hearing the “C” word from your doctor is frightening, to say the least! In 2007, while shopping at my local grocery store, I received a call from my family doctor informing me that I had infiltrating ductal carcinoma (breast cancer) and that I would be getting a call the next morning from the cancer center to explain what this meant. My first thought was that she had the wrong person! I had always considered myself to be healthy. I exercised regularly, never had a weight problem and ate fairly well. So what gives? Read the Rest »
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How dementia can lead to a serious swallowing problem. On the Morning Report

August 15th, 2016 | Catching Health Stories
Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia) is common in people with dementia and it can lead to serious, even life-threatening complications. I recently shared some important information on the WCSH 6 Morning Report with Sharon Vaznis. Read the Rest »
Avita resident scraping plate

How composting stirred up happy memories for some people who struggle to remember what happened yesterday

The other day I asked my mother if she remembered composting when she was growing up.

I was curious because Avita of Stroudwater, the memory care facility she now calls home, recently started composting all of its food (and paper products) waste. Jamie Bell, the dining director, told me that he thought a lot of residents probably had gardens and composted when they were younger, although they may not have called it composting. Read the Rest »

JanTemmel / Pixabay

What you may not know about blueberries plus a smoothie recipe you’re sure to love

July 28th, 2016 | Catching Health Stories, Recipes

Did you know this about blueberries?

  • There are two kinds of blueberries: Wild and cultivated.
  • Wild or low bush blueberries are native to North America and have grown naturally for thousands of years. The bushes are low to the ground and spread from underground runners or rhizomes. They’re harvested with special wild blueberry rakes.
  • Cultivated blueberries grow on high bushes that have to be planted. They can grow as tall as 12 feet. The berries tend to be bigger than wild blueberries and are picked, not raked. The first crop of cultivated blueberries was harvested in 1916. It was developed by Elizabeth White, a New Jersey farmer’s daughter and Frederick Colville, a botanist with the US Department of Agriculture.
  • The United States produces more blueberries (both kinds) than any other country in the world.
  • Michigan produces the most cultivated blueberries
  • Maine produces the most wild blueberries.
Read the Rest »
Dr. Rosen

Podcast: What you might not know about osteoporosis. Listen to the latest research

July 26th, 2016 | I'm Not Your Mother, But ...
As we age, our bones become less dense and strong. More so in women. Losing too much bone can lead to osteoporosis, which means bones are brittle and can break with little effort. There are things we can do to prevent osteoporosis or the stage leading up to it called osteopenia. Read the Rest »
sevenpixx / Pixabay

Warning: Too much time in the heat can make you sick (pets, too)

July 25th, 2016 | I'm Not Your Mother, But ...
So ... what did my husband and I do on a scorching hot summer day? We stacked wood! That's right. Instead of taking it easy in my hammock, I helped him stack wood. At high noon. When the thermometer was hovering in the mid-80s. But I made him set the timer for 30 minutes and when it went off, we were done. Literally! Read the Rest »
Lupus featured image

This is what it feels like to have lupus

July 21st, 2016 | I'm Not Your Mother, But ...
Even if I were to lay out all of her symptoms one by one you might not figure out that Jo Ann Plante has lupus. That’s because the disease is not well known to the average person — even though it’s estimated that more than 16,000 new cases are reported every year in the United States. It’s also because lupus has lots of symptoms that are similar to a host of other diseases. It’s sometimes called the “great imitator.” Read the Rest »
Ekologiskt_Skafferi / Pixabay

The garden is bursting with basil, so let’s make some pesto together!

July 21st, 2016 | Recipes

I love basil! The look of it. The smell of it. The taste of it. I especially love that we're growing it in our garden. Every night I'm out there snipping off leaves so I can add some to whatever I'm making. Salad, pizza, pasta. Read the Rest »

Blueberry list featured image

Where You Can Pick Blueberries in Maine

July 20th, 2016 | Catching Health Stories, Recipes
If you're looking for a farm that will let you pick your own blueberries, you're in luck because there are several in Maine. Read the Rest »
Diane Atwood's mother

How to recognize a swallowing problem in someone with dementia

July 19th, 2016 | I'm Not Your Mother, But ...
My mother had a couple of choking episodes recently. I wasn't alarmed because she's had swallowing issues in the past. At least twice over the years, she had a procedure that stretched her esophagus because of a stricture or narrowing. Read the Rest »
Diane and granddaughter

Some expert advice on how to be a good grandparent

July 12th, 2016 | I'm Not Your Mother, But ...
My daughter and her husband had their first baby a month ago. A sweet, adorable little girl. My first grandchild. They live out of state, but we (and her other grandparents) were able to meet her a few hours after she was born. Read the Rest »

4 little-known facts about black flies that may make you hate them a little less

July 11th, 2016 | I'm Not Your Mother, But ...

I don't know which I dislike the most. Ticks? Mosquitoes? Deer flies? Black flies? UGH to them all! For this post, though, I'll devote my energy to the almighty black fly!

Black flies may not transmit diseases in the United States like ticks and mosquitoes do, but they sure can be a nuisance. There are 1500 to 1800 known species in the world. We've got about 40 species in Maine — four to six bite and they're all females. Males prefer nectar, but the females go for blood — they need a protein-rich blood meal so they can lay eggs. Did you know? Black flies will fly up to 10 miles in search of blood! Read the Rest »
Diane Atwood's mother

Podcast: Dementia forced me to learn how to love my mother in a whole new way

July 8th, 2016 | I'm Not Your Mother, But ...
Within months after my father's death in 2009, we could tell something was wrong with my mother. Before then, we knew she was having trouble with her memory, but we weren't worried. After all, she was in her mid-80s. And because our dad was seriously ill, most of our attention was on him. Read the Rest »
Page from book

A gold medal award for a Maine author’s book about children, cancer and sibling love

Maine artist and author Sally Loughridge just found out that her book, Daniel and His Starry Night Blanket: A Story of Illness and Sibling Love has won its sixth award. Read the Rest »
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The alcohol intervention that gave us back our father: On the Morning Report

July 6th, 2016 | I'm Not Your Mother, But ...
This is a tribute to my father, who died in 2009. At the time of his death, he had been sober nearly 25 years. With the help of a trained counselor, my family had done an alcohol intervention. It started him (and us) on his path to sobriety. I talked about the process recently on the Morning Report. Read the Rest »