By Virginia ‘Ginya’ Carnahan, APR, CPRC
Dattoli Cancer Center & Brachytherapy Research Institute
It’s hot; it’s steamy; it’s rainy; it’s boring. It’s August! The summer is 2/3rds gone and what have you done?
For many folks the month of August is their last chance to get a vacation in before children return to school. Theme parks are crowded. Highways are jammed. Hotels are full. Children in the backseat are irritable (parents even more so). Maybe August is not the best time to vacation.
Here are some suggestions for filling this month with other worthwhile endeavors:
1. Once a week, reach out to a friend you may have neglected. Call for a chat and maybe suggest getting together for lunch, or after work.
2. Spend one weekend sprucing up your yard. A little weeding and pruning will connect you with the soil and give your place a facelift.
3. Clean out your medicine cabinet. We all have old, leftover medicines and supplies tucked away, taking up precious space. If you haven’t used it in 6 months – pitch it!
4. The same goes for your clothes closet. Go through all those hanging memories; if you haven’t worn something in a year, consider sharing it with a charity. Disabled American Veterans, American Red Cross, Pines of Sarasota and other organizations will come pick up your donations. And the Salvation Army and Goodwill have convenient drop-off locations throughout town.
5. How long has it been since you read a book for pure enjoyment? August is a good time to immerse yourself in some good fiction. Set aside 30 minutes before going to bed each night to read. Use your Kindle or read the “real” book. It is a small investment, especially if you purchase from a used book store. (Again Goodwill has some great books for great prices in their bookstores.)
6. Catch a movie! Take in a matinee – a couple of hours in the cool and dark can revive you in lots of ways.
7. Consider a day trip. Our state has some very interesting things to see and many of them are just a couple of hours from home. Have you ever crossed the state to Lake Wales and visited Bok Tower, for example? This highest point in vertical Florida has an amazing bell tower situated in a beautiful garden setting. Great for a picnic and photo-taking. Or have you stopped at the Dali Museum in St. Pete? You might not be a fan of the artist’s work, but the museum building itself is a work of architectural art.
How about “Corkscrew Swamp” south of Ft. Myers just off I-75? Miles of boardwalk through the swamp where you can see ‘gators up close, dozens of birds, small animals and majestic tall cypress trees. More photo ops!
8. Learn how to move. Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese system of slow, graceful movements that promote serenity and stress management. Many Tai Chi classes invite respectful visitors or offer a free introductory session.
9. Try Yoga and/or meditation. In this crazy, wild world we all need to learn to quiet our minds in order to process thoughts and plans. You can take a class or buy a CD to guide your private meditation at home. Ahh … Ohm …
10. (I hate to even mention this!) Inventory your hurricane supply kit. I believe August and September are the busiest hurricane months. It only takes experiencing a hurricane once to impress upon you the importance of being prepared. In addition to bottled water and canned foods, make sure you have a change of clothes and shoes, medical supplies (including prescription drugs), personal care items (toothbrush and paste, facial soap, sunscreen), some cash (ATMs won’t work when the power is off), easy access to your important papers (insurance policies, for instance), flashlight (with fresh batteries), cell phones charged, diapers for young ones – Depends for others, copy of important medical records. Some people put together a small stash of meaningful family heirlooms – grandmother’s wedding ring, newborn photos, etc. Just imagine what you need to exist for 2-3 days – and only having an hour or so to gather your supplies together. When you evacuate you must realize that there is a very real possibility that you could return to nothing!
Lastly, I must make a plug for Prostate Cancer Awareness Month coming up in September. Every year for the past 15 years, the Dattoli Cancer Foundation, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization registered in the State of Florida, has offered FREE screening exams for prostate cancer during September. We have provided more than 1,000 men the opportunity to learn about their prostate health at this annual event. This year’s event will be Saturday, September 9, from 10 am until 2 pm at the Dattoli Cancer Center office in Sarasota – 2803 Fruitville Road.
The screening event has two parts: a PSA blood test and a digital rectal exam (the finger test). If either or both of these are abnormal, the man will be directed to see his doctor. Finding prostate cancer early is the key to defeating it. Most men will live a good, long life following prostate cancer treatment if they find the disease early!
We do not make appointments for this screening. Just show up between 10 and 2. Men over 50 years old should have a screening exam at least every 2 years. If there is a family history of prostate cancer, the man should be screened every year! Participants are not required to fast before the exams. If you have questions, please call me: 941/365-5599, before the event. I won’t be able to answer your calls during the screening.
1-877-DATTOLI | www.dattoli.com