Typically, I love a lot of things about October. But this year October is going to be rough for me.
This upcoming Saturday would have been Dad’s 92nd birthday. Instead October marks the half year point of Dad’s passing. His death still weighs heavily in my heart and mind. I still see his face in my dreams and often wake up to the sound of his voice only to realize he is truly gone. They say time heals but for now this is all to new and too real to get over.
Mom is staying strong, but as we get closer to Saturday, I can see the hurt creeping into her eyes. I guess it will get a bit rougher as we approach the holidays and soon the one-year anniversary of his death, but Mom and I are keeping each other lifted and for now, healthy.
So, let’s focus on many other things that this month brings to the table.
Despite the cooling temperatures the month of October is still an active time in the tropics for Hurricanes. Right now, Tropical Storm Delta is threatening to hit the U.S. this weekend as a Category one or two hurricane and impacting the coast between Louisiana and the Florida Panhandle, yet again.
It turns out October is National Month to a WHOLE lot of different things.
The most obvious is it’s National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I have so many friends and family members that have bravely fought and survived Breast Cancer. I’ve also lost a few friends from the disease.
We’ve come a long way in battling Breast Cancer. The most important thing is early detection, so this month should serve as a reminder to get a mammogram done. A monthly self-exam is a good start, but a yearly mammogram is still best.
When we talk about Breast Cancer we tend to focus on women, but men can get breast cancer too. About 1 out of every 100 breast cancers diagnosed in the United States is found in a man, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). The most common kinds of breast cancer in men are the same kinds in women and the symptoms are similar as well.
While there are several risk factors, one is genetic mutation. Inherited changes in certain genes, such as BRAC1 and BRAC2, increase breast cancer risk in men.
So, listen men, if several members of your family have had breast or ovarian cancer, or one of your family members has a known BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation, share this information with your doctor. Your doctor may refer you for genetic counseling. In men, mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes can increase the risk of breast cancer, high-grade prostate cancer, and pancreatic cancer.
To learn more about Breast Cancer in men visit: https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/men/index.htm
October is also National Adopt a shelter dog month. According to the ASPCA, approximately 3.3 million dogs enter shelters every year. When these abandoned and often abused animals find their way to a shelter, each one needs a forever home, and their potential is limitless. Liberty County has several animal rescue and welfare groups that are always seeking homes for their shelter dogs. These shelters need monetary donations, especially during these trying times. These folks work long hours to care for their shelter population, getting them vetted, training the dogs, getting them groomed, feeding them and keeping them up to date on their vaccinations. Reach out to your local shelter and ask how you can help. Also the car company Subaru is launching their second annual National Make a Dog’s Day asking folks to adopt – the Underdogs!
These are dogs that are either older in age or have special needs and desperately need a home to be loved. Check out their program here:
For foodies, like me, October is also National pasta, pizza. pork, pickled peppers, popcorn, sausage, pretzel, spinach and chili month (just to name a few of the foods that are on this national month list).
It goes without saying this month is also National Halloween Safety Month. Halloween is a fun holiday for friends and families, but since it usually involves being outdoors late into the evening, it’s important to keep safety in mind when you’re out celebrating. The National Safety Council says in 2013, an estimated 6,100 pedestrian deaths and 160,000 nonfatal injuries occurred among pedestrians in motor vehicle incidents. Make plans in order to have a safe Halloween. Place reflective strips on Halloween costumes or make sure kids carry flashlights. Kids should travel together in groups and younger kids should have a chaperone accompanying them. If old enough, make sure they have a cell phone on hand to call someone in case of an emergency.
If you want to see the complete list of October National activities check out the entire list here: https://nationaldaycalendar.com/october-monthly-observations/
Patty Leon, Senior Editor