Daily Archives: November 10, 2011

One Less.

A couple years ago, I made the decision to guard myself against HPV (human papillomavirus).

According to Merck’s Gardasil website, here are the facts about HPV: HPV is a wide spread virus that can infect most males and females in their lifetime. In fact, approximately 20 million Americans are currently infected with HPV. Another 6 million people become infected each year. For many, HPV clears on its own. But for some, significant consequences may arise: cervical, vaginal, penis, anus, head, and neck cancers (oral cavity and throat). The virus often has no signs or symptoms, so many people who have HPV don’t even know it! This also means you can pass the virus to your partner without knowing it.

I am sure most of you know someone who (or you yourself) has been diagnosed with cancer. And I am sure the hope of a cure for cancer has crossed your mind. Gardasil is not a cure or treatment; however, it can prevent certain strains of cancer. Gardasil is the only human papillomavirus vaccine that helps protect against 4 types of HPV. Gardasil offers protection against some cancers of the vagina, vulva, penis, anus, and oropharyngeal. The vaccine is recommended for both males and females ages 9-26. Gardasil has been tested in over 11,000 women in the United States and around the world. This vaccine is found to be safe and effective in preventing these specific types of cancers. As stated previously, Gardasil does not treat cancer, but is a vaccine that prevents from receiving some cancers in the first place.

Gardasil is given in 3 separate injections over a 6 month period. Many insurance carriers cover the cost of the vaccine. If your insurance does not cover the Gardasil vaccine or you do not have insurance, UND Student Health offers state funded vaccine at $13.90 per dose.

A common question asked is if I am already sexually active, is it too late to get vaccinated? The answer is NO. If you are already sexually active, you may still benefit from this vaccine. If you have already been exposed to HPV, you may not have been exposed to the other types covered by Gardasil.

To me, receiving this vaccine makes sense. If you are only with one partner in your lifetime, how can you guarantee your partner isn’t carrying the virus from someone else? Being diagnosed with cancer is not a risk I’m willing to take, especially with a vaccine available proven to help prevent the disease.

I’m guarded. Are you?

For more information regarding HPV and Gardasil visit: http://www.gardasil.com

My Life

Suicide. It’s a strong word. It’s not a very good subject to have to talk about but when you have lived it and dealt with it in your family not only once but twice you know the feeling. You have felt the pain, the heartache and the loss. My cousin Travis, was the first person that we lost in our family to a suicide. It was a couple of days before his 19th birthday. He was a trouble teen who was lost, had a taste for alcohol and never thought his life would get any better. He was my closest friend and losing him to suicide affected our family forever. Then years later living in a marriage with my husband at the time who was a depressed alcoholic. Same situation, same scenero, never thought his life would get any better. He had other demons that I could never fix. A not so great childhood of abandonment and seeing physical abuse between his parents and alcoholism. You can only love someone so much, you can only help as much as you can. I wasn’t new to the loss but didn’t think I’d ever go through it again after my cousin Travis. He was a great kid, a great young man who had his entire life in front of him. I miss him every day, every single day does not go by that I think of my angel, my cousin. Below is my story of my husband and how I lost him to suicide. As I state in my story, it take one person to help another, to save one life in a room of darkness that someone might be feeling



Kevin Lee – RIP 3/11/2006Not very many people can look me at me and see my story.  They don’t look at the three smiling faces of my daughters and know their inner pain.  They don’t see or know what it feels like to face depression and suicide so close up. They don’t get to answer the question when I explain I’m widowed and have to tell the story.  I lost my husband 5-1/2 years ago to suicide.  I always describe him as a depressed alcoholic living with his inner demons.  I’ve always been a helper…knowing I did everything humanly possible to save this man…I couldn’t help him.  Through this pain and heartache you can take it so many ways. You can fail and let it take you over or you can pull your boot straps up and be thankful for every day that I get out of bed and put my feet on the floor to face my day. Live my day for my three beautiful growing girls who give me my strength…they are my light to a dark tunnel that I have climbed my way out of.

Through this emotional journey of single parenthood and not believing that this is how my marriage of 11 years was ever going to turn out this way, I always believed I was a strong person.  Since birth I was born a preemie at 1 pound 11 ounces and living in the age where the NICU had just been created and beating the odds.  But your strength is tested when on a snowy March day your father coming to you in tears while home visiting saying they had found my husband  in our garage in our home dead from carbon monoxide poisoning…death by suicide.

I remember the shock of it all and the surreal moment of having to tell my oldest daughters that their dad had passed away.  I think back to that day, and my most defining moment of the whole experience was lying in bed that night listening to my daughters breathing as they slept.  The only words I can describe it was listening to these girls breathe, being ALIVE and knowing my husband was no longer breathing.  It was a very sad moment in realization but also a moment where now I know what I have to do. I have to breathe in; breathe out every day for these three children that are now going to be living a different path and my soul purpose in life.

I wanted to share my story as it is a sad one but an emotional one. So those few people that I talk to that are depressed and I help them out I feel a little better knowing I made a difference. I can listen to their problems and getting them help to give them a purpose in life, I want them to see a spirit that they can be grateful for LIFE, and breathing.  You are ALIVE and you are here for a reason.   I tell this story so any woman, man, or teenager that is confronted by a friend or loved one talks about how they are feeling and you get that intuition that this person might need some help…listen to your intuition.

It’s given me a new lease on life, seeing my girls happy and progressing in life as they should. To see their happy, smiling faces it fills my heart.  Living life with the motto life is too short!  I know I have one more angel up there watching down on three beautiful angels down here on earth. It’s a wonderful feeling!

“Dream as if you’ll live forever, Live as if you’ll die today,

Love like there is no tomorrow, Dance like no one is watching.”



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