Last summer (2004) a new BCHP enrollee had her first mammogram done because the Mobile Mammo clinic was in Klawock, otherwise she says she would never have traveled somewhere else to have it done. She ended up needing a f/u Dx mammo/ultrasound and eventual biopsy. The happy ending was that it was benign.

She says she is very thankful, because it could have possibly developed into something more serious if left undiagnosed and if they hadn't removed the "lump". She is very thankful for the supportive and encouraging SEARHC staff and also for the speed in which she was able to get appointments and a final diagnosis.

Here are some comments from women who have participated in the WISEWOMAN and BCHP program:

Adela Florendo

It took some major life changes to get Adela Florendo off the couch and into the gym. Before that, she described her fitness program as sitting with the remote control. "My thumb got a real work out," she said jokingly.

By her 50th birthday, her priorities changed. "I started thinking about my own health issues. All my kids were out of the house so I finally had time for me," she said with a smile. Adela started her road back to fitness by lifting weights on her own, but she missed the fellowship of other women.

During a routine SEARHC check up, she learned that her weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels put her at risk for future health problems. Not one to take this kind of news lying down, Adela joined the SEARHC WISEWOMAN program, which through a series of fun activities and classes, teaches women to reduce their risk for heart disease by eating right and being more physically active.

As a WISEWOMAN member, Adela received discounts for membership and passes to local fitness facilities to make exercise more affordable. Eventually, her regular physical activity included yoga, weight lifting, volleyball and water aerobics. She said that exercising in the pool is a great way to get a workout that is gentle on knees and joints.

Last April she joined the SEARHC StrongWomen program and now enjoys a fun, challenging weight-training program along with other women enrolled in the program. The class is held twice a week at the SEARHC Juneau Medical Center.

Over time Adela lost 30 pounds and got her blood pressure and cholesterol under control. Her favorite part about being in shape is that she has more energy. "I used to sleep till seven and go to work at eight. Now I'm in the gym by five-thirty." She also noted that her legs don't tire as quickly. "When I play volleyball, now I can hit the ball a lot further."

When asked what advice she has for others she said, "Get up and start moving! It's the only thing you can do."

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Cathlee Bantsari

Cathlee Bantsari: "Hello WISEWOMEN! I have been a WISEWOMAN for over a year now and since joining my life is healthier and I am happier. I have a different outlook on people, because I am out there meeting other native women who are just like I was, as far as not being active and not really thinking about the food I was buying for myself and my family.

Before I joined WISEWOMAN I stayed at home and didn't do anything, nothing at all. My granddaughter, Tasha, was so happy I joined because now I am much more active in cooking, walking, and using the pedometer. I even take her with me when I go swimming and walking. We have made a game from it and Tasha is always checking my pedometer so I will beat the numbers from the day before.

Even when I was out at the grocery store, when women saw me wearing the WISEWOMAN logo on my jacket, that I wear almost everyday, they asked me where I got it from, and I told them I earned it by cooking recipes for SEARHC Medical Center lobby events that I got from a few of the cookbooks given to me during previous WISEWOMAN gatherings.

I have learned that you can add healthier foods to your daily diet instead of eating quick unhealthy snacks and fast foods, and it is a lot more fun and healthier to make our own snacks. We forget the candy bars now and just have one once or twice a week instead of on a daily basis. I never really bothered with reading labels before, but now when I shop, I am always checking out for the words: trans fats/partially hydrogenated oils.

I now use wild rice instead of bleached white rice in my cooking, and my family loves the nutty taste and aroma of the wild rice. I even have fish and wild rice for breakfast.

WISEWOMAN can change a person's life. It sure changed my life for the better. I feel like I am a lot more outgoing. My family is much happier that I did find the WISEWOMAN program. We look forward to our monthly newsletter and get so excited about the activities being offered. Tasha, now 10 years old, can't wait to become a WISEWOMAN. Once when she saw the WISEWOMAN pin I was wearing, I told her it symbolized a woman being reborn, she started asking me, 'When I can I be reborn to be a WW, grandma?'"

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Florence "Lynn" Paul

Florence "Lynn" Paul can always be seen walking around town or helping at community and church functions. She is a faithful WISEWOMAN member, attending exercise five times a week.

Since 2003, Lynn has lost 13 pounds and made healthy lifestyle changes. "I cut down on fatty foods, drink lots of water, and snack on veggies and fruit." She enjoys cooking healthy meals for her family.

Lynn learned from her WISEWOMAN health assessment that she can reduce her risk for heart disease by eating healthy and being active. She enrolls in every walking program offered by SEARHC Health Promotion, and has participated in all of the Saturday Community Walks for Health.

This 55-year-old woman just doesn't slow down. "I have lots of energy now." When she isn't doing TaeBo or walking exercises with the WISEWOMAN program, she exercises at home with videotapes or goes for walks with her husband.

All the children holler after "Grandma Lynn" on her walks. She is happy to donate her time to help out at the swimming pool so the kids can get exercise.

Everywhere she goes, Lynn brings fun and laughter; doing the twist, the Electric Slide, and cheering with the Red Hot Mamas, a group of 40-and-older rambunctious cheerleaders who aren't afraid to have a good time. She is looking forward to adding the StrongWomen program, a strength-training program, to her exercise regimen later this fall. Lynn is truly a role model for wellness. Go, Lynn!!!

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Gloria Sarabia

Gloria Sarabia: "I first heard of WISEWOMAN in 2003 but I didn't know what it was so I wasn't too sure of signing up and I didn't ask any questions. In April of 2004, Lynda Koski sent me mail asking if I would be interested in a program under WISEWOMAN called StrongWomen that involved work outs with weights. I was very interested although I could not begin the classes until phase two since I would be out of town.

Today, I look forward to every Monday and Wednesday which is our work out days. I have beginning stages of arthritis and the work outs seem to help a lot. I also love the camaraderie and support I receive. I will continue the classes as long as StrongWomen continues."

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Patti Adkisson

Patti Adkisson: "The StrongWomen program is a real joy. Within a few weeks of beginning I felt stronger and slimmer. I look forward to every session, probably because we all have such a good time joking while we motivate each other with, 'You can do it!' and 'Just 2 more!'"

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