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Breast cancer survivor urges women to get regular screenings and mammograms, thanks local non-profit ‘The Rose’

The first time Ediana Quijada found a lump in her breast, she was laughed off and told “it was happening because of her period and nothing to worry about.”

It was far from nothing. After a six-year battle with metastatic breast cancer, the cheerful Houston native is happy to share her story with other young women, advising regular breast exams, early detection having made a key difference in many cases.

In the fall of 2012, 29-year-old Ediana was finishing her construction management internship at the University of Houston.

The internship did not offer health insurance but UH hosts free mammography screenings in October in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month. However, when she told the nurses about her lump, they assured her, with a cursory glance, that she was too young to worry about cancer. She was sent away without a mammogram.

Reassured and a little abashed about being paranoid, she busied herself with assignments as the stresses of the semester took over. The second of four siblings (two sisters, one little brother), Ediana said she had no reason to suspect the worst because there was no history of cancer in her family.

But the lump wouldn’t stay quiet.


“I started feeling that the little lump was getting bigger and bigger,” Ediana said. “I could measure it; it was an inch now. Or is it in my head? Then I would calculate, my period must be coming, that’s why the lump’s getting big … and my breast is turning pink.”

A visit with her mother’s doctor in December confirmed the devastating news — a large mass in her breast. Could be a tumor. Clearly, the cancer had made good use of the two-month delay.

“I didn’t have insurance, so my mother took me to a walk-in clinic,” Eidana said. “The doctor said, ‘oh my God, why didn’t you come before?’”

A few hours and one $100-ultrasound later, she was advised to do a biopsy.

“The biopsy cost over $2,000, I thought ‘I can’t do that right now,’ and he (the doctor) referred me to The Rose,” Ediana said.

That first encounter with The Rose marked the beginning of Ediana’s long, painful but ultimately successful battle with breast cancer. A Houston-based nonprofit group, The Rose provides breast cancer screenings and treatment regardless of patients’ ability to pay. They began Ediana’s treatment by conducting another ultrasound, this one costing only $10.

A little monster inside your breast.

Ediana was paired with a patient navigator who helped her through the system and set up her appointments.

“It turns out I was Stage 3, Type C, which is borderline Stage 4,” said Ediana. “Very aggressive and very bad. They said, ‘it looks like you have a little monster inside’.”

Given the tumor’s massive size, treatment had to begin immediately. When three painful rounds of chemo (each lasting around eight months), one round of radiation and one surgery failed to eliminate the cancer, her doctors put Ediana on an–at the time–experimental drug called T-DM1.

“This

Washington Post board urges more transparency on Trump health: ‘No more spin doctors’



a group of people standing in front of a building: Washington Post board urges more transparency on Trump health: 'No more spin doctors'


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Washington Post board urges more transparency on Trump health: ‘No more spin doctors’

The Washington Post’s editorial board on Friday called for the White House to be more transparent about the state of President Trump’s health, demanding “more than spin doctors.”

“All presidents like to project robust health and are loath to admit weakness, even if caused by events beyond their control.” the board wrote in an opinion piece, citing when President Reagan was shot in 1981.

“But when a president’s health is abnormal, the public has a right to know, especially if the problem has any effect on his fitness to perform his duties. In Mr. Trump’s case, the unanswered questions are glaring,” they continued.

Trump was brought to the Walter Reed Medical Center on Friday, Oct. 2, just hours after announcing that both he and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive for the coronavirus.

The next day, doctors offered a rosy assessment of Trump’s health during a televised briefing. But statements The Associated Press and other outlets later attributed to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and other sources gave a more alarming account of the president’s health.

The White House later acknowledged that Trump had received oxygen as he was being treated for COVID-19 after White House physician Sean Conley initially sidestepped answering on the topic. Conley maintained the team briefing on Trump’s condition wasn’t “necessarily” trying to “hide” anything from the public.

Conley later disclosed during a briefing with reporters that Trump received supplemental oxygen after his diagnosis.

When asked why he had been reluctant to disclose whether Trump had received oxygen, Conley said he was “trying to reflect the upbeat attitude that the team, the president, that his course of illness has had.”

This week, Conley repeatedly ducked more questions about Trump’s health and the timeline of his infection, even though Trump was deemed well enough to leave the hospital and return to the White House.

The Washington Post board noted that Trump had a packed schedule the week before his coronavirus diagnosis, which included introducing his Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett in a White House Rose Garden event.

The White House has battled a spate of recent COVID-19 diagnoses among staff, leading Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, to describe what he called a “superspreader event” at the White House.

According to a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) memo obtained by ABC News this week, 34 White House staffers and “other contacts” have been infected with the coronavirus in recent days.

“Leadership matters, and Mr. Trump has been calamitously unable to provide it. In the pandemic, he offered glib reassurances when the nation needed realism,” The Post’s editorial concluded. “On the question of his personal health, a matter of public interest, we need more than spin doctors. We need real doctors providing real information.”

Trump plans to hold an in-person event at the White House on Saturday, two officials confirmed to The Hill, his first

Montgomery County Public Health District urges flu shots during COVID-19 pandemic

The Montgomery County Public Health District is urging residents to get vaccinated for the flu and is currently taking appointments for children with adult bookings coming soon.

“This year, it’s even more important with COVID because the signs and symptoms of COVID are very similar to that of the flu,” said Alicia Williams, MCPHD’s public health director.

Looming over this flu season is the possibility of there being a confluence with COVID-19. And that can happen, Williams said as she pointed to a full hospital capacity due to COVID-19 in July.

“We don’t want to have that situation if we can prevent it. And getting a flu shot is one way we can prevent it,” she said, signaling a strain on supplies, nurse and space capacity brought on by flu hospitalizations.

As of Thursday, there are 61 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in the county, including 18 in ICU, according to the Montgomery County Hospital District.


“Getting a flu vaccine is more important than ever during 2020-2021 to protect yourself and the people around you from flu, and to help reduce the strain on healthcare systems responding to the COVID-19 pandemic,” reads a statement on the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

MCHPD is booking appointments for free vaccines for children 6 months to 18 who are either uninsured, have Medicaid, or lack coverage. Vaccinations for children without insurance are being billed at $10, with waivers available for those who cannot pay.

Unlike in years past, this year, MCHPD is vaccinating adults who are privately insured and with comorbidities or are part of a high-risk group like the elderly. Those who do not qualify can pay the $10 fee with available waivers.

The vaccine includes the four most common and prevalent flu strains and is applied through injection. Williams explained taking the vaccination during the fall is most effective because that is right ahead of the peak season, usually at the end of the year.

Aside from the danger of a contagion intensified by COVID-19, Williams wants to remind people the flu can cost them work productivity, wages and school time. A vaccine, she continued, could avoid that.

Furnished by the State of Texas, there is currently no shortage of vaccines, according to Williams.

If people do not get vaccinated through MCPHD, Williams is still encouraging the general public to get a vaccine at pharmacy chains offering it. She also wants people to understand the mild aching and fever they may experience from the vaccine does not mean they have the flu, but rather that their immune system is activating antibiotics.

And to that effect, MCHD paramedics were vaccinated last week. Additionally, MCHD will be carrying out flu shots on Meals on Wheels recipients.

“Ideally (mask usage) would reduce the spread of COVID, but it would also reduce the spread of flu,” she said, while also highlighting the importance of social distancing. “Our goal here is prevention, and that’s across the board for public health. One way we can do

DC faults White House over Rose Garden event, urges testing

WASHINGTON (AP) — In an extraordinary step, the Washington, D.C., Department of Health has released an open letter appealing to all White House staff and anyone who attended a Sept. 26 event in the Rose Garden to seek medical advice and take a COVID-19 test.

The letter indicates a lack of confidence in the White House medical team’s own contact tracing efforts regarding an ongoing virus outbreak that has infected President Donald Trump, multiple senior staff members and two U.S. senators, among others.

Co-signed by nine other local health departments from neighboring jurisdictions in Maryland and Virginia, the letter flatly states a belief that contact tracing on the outbreak has been insufficient.


It says the public appeal is based on, “our preliminary understanding that there has been limited contact tracing performed to date, there may be other staff and residents at risk for exposure to COVID positive individuals.”

It asks all White House employees, anyone who attended the Sept. 26 event and anyone who may have been in contact with those people to “contact your local health department for further guidance/questions regarding your potential need to quarantine.”

The letter represents a rising level of concern and a clear shift in strategy by Mayor Muriel Bowser’s government, which had previously remained publicly hands-off and said it trusted the White House’s robust medical operation to handle its own contact tracing and follow-up.

Bowser said earlier this week that repeated attempts to contact the White House over the outbreak had received a “very cursory” response but that she believed the necessary steps were being taken.

“There are established public health protocols at the White House that are federal in nature,” Bowser said on Monday. “We assume that those protocols have been engaged.”

A Health Department spokeswoman did not respond to questions on whether the letter had been directly sent to any White House employees or people who attended the Sept. 26 event, or if the D.C. government had been provided with a list of attendees.

The move highlights the public health dilemma faced by Bowser’s government regarding the current outbreak. The Trump White House has operated for months in open violation of several D.C. virus regulations, hosting multiple gatherings that exceeded the local 50-person limit and in which many participants didn’t wear masks.

It shines a further spotlight on the Sept. 26 Rose Garden ceremony to introduce Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett. Multiple attendees, including Trump and Notre Dame University President Rev. John Jenkins, who flew in from Indiana for the ceremony, have now tested positive.

Washington’s local virus regulations don’t apply on federal property, but the current outbreak has blurred those distinctions. Trump inner-circle members like former counselor Kellyanne Conway, who has also tested positive, are D.C. residents, as are many of the staffers, employees, Secret Service members and journalists who have had close contact with infected officials.

White House spokesman Judd Deere said Monday that the White House “has established a robust contact tracing program led by the White

Former CDC director urges Redfield to expose Trump coronavirus mishandling

The former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) implored the agency’s current leader to expose what he says is President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump and Biden’s plans would both add to the debt, analysis finds Trump says he will back specific relief measures hours after halting talks Trump lashes out at FDA over vaccine guidelines MORE‘s mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I start each day thinking about the terrible burden you bear,” William Foege, the CDC’s former director, wrote to current head Robert Redfield in a Sept. 23 letter obtained by USA Today. “Don’t shy away from the fact this has been an unacceptable toll on our country … it is a slaughter and not just a political dispute.”

Foege suggested Redfield should not fear being fired by Trump, because bringing the president’s mistakes in handling the pandemic to light are in the public interest. 

“When they fire you this will be a multi-week story and you can hold your head high. That will take exceptional courage on your part. I can’t tell you what to do except to revisit your religious beliefs and ask yourself what is right,” Foege wrote.

Redfield has made statements publicly that contradict Trump on a number of matters related to the coronavirus pandemic including the efficacy of masks, guidelines for safely reopening businesses and schools and veracity of data tracking the spread of the disease across the country. 

Late last month, Redfield was overheard on a phone call by a journalist complaining about Scott Atlas, a newly added member of the White House task force who he said is filling Trump’s head with misinformation about the virus. 

Trump, who tested positive for the virus last week and returned to the White House Monday after a three-day stay at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, has downplayed the dangers of the coronavirus. Trump took off his mask in front of television cameras before reentering the South Portico.

“Don’t let it dominate your life,” Trump said of the virus in a video message posted soon after his return. 

Redfield and Anthony FauciAnthony FauciFauci gets his own action figure Trump health official meets with doctors pushing herd immunity Testing positive: Will Trump’s presidency be a casualty of COVID-19? MORE, the nation’s leading infectious diseases doctor, have warned of a catastrophic rise in coronavirus cases if people don’t continue to wear masks and practice social distancing. 

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Blackburn Maintains She Wears Masks, Urges Others to Do So | Tennessee News

By KIMBERLEE KRUESI, Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn maintained Tuesday that she regularly wears masks after being photographed without a face covering at a recent White House event where multiple attendees have since tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Tennessee Republican was at the White House on Sept. 26 when President Donald Trump announced the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett. She attended as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is set to begin the confirmation hearing next week.

Those present were largely outdoors, but they sat shoulder to shoulder with barely a mask in sight — including Blackburn. Several participants later said they tested positive for the virus, ranging from President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, some senators and the president of the University of Notre Dame.

“I had my mask on. I had worn it over there when I was seated, I had taken my mask off while I was seated there and as I got up to leave I put my mask back on,” Blackburn said in a virtual call with reporters.

Blackburn, 68, had also traveled with Trump ahead of the Sept. 29 debate. However, despite being exposed to the virus, Blackburn said the recent events have not changed her behavior.

“Most of our work has been done virtually,” she said. “It really has not changed in how we’re working. We’re careful, we’re watchful, we’re tested regularly.”

Blackburn added the last time she tested negative for the virus was on Sunday. She stressed that along with wearing a mask, she also regularly dons face shields and gloves to protect herself from COVID-19.

Trump has sparked criticism for advising by tweet and video not to fear COVID-19, a disease that has resulted in more than 210,000 deaths in the U.S.

“Don’t be afraid of COVID. Don’t let it dominate your life,” Trump tweeted.

Likewise, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said that seeing the outbreak at the White House isn’t changing his approach. The Republican has stressed the importance of masks and said he wears one every day, though he has been spotted at some events where he and others are unmasked.

“My behavior really hasn’t changed as a result of someone else’s diagnosis,” Lee told reporters Tuesday. “I’ve taken it seriously. I will continue to do so and make decisions to protect myself and my family and to protect the loved ones around me.”

Blackburn avoided questions on whether she agreed with president that the public should not be afraid of the disease. Instead, she encouraged Tennesseans to be mindful and careful to protect themselves.

The governor, meanwhile, said being afraid is the wrong approach.

“I don’t think we should be afraid of it,” Lee said. “I think we should respect it appropriately and make decisions as such.”

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people

Pentagon urges caution in linking steep increase in Army suicides to pandemic

“It’s too early to determine whether suicide rates will increase for calendar year 2020,” said Dr. Karin A. Orvis, director of the Defense Suicide Prevention Office, at a briefing that made public the Pentagon’s suicide rates for 2019. “We’ll need to have the full year of data and investigations completed to determine the cause of death.”

“What may be looking like an increasing or decreasing trend in raw counts may not be statistically meaningful once we have all the data,” said Orvis.

Through Aug. 31, there has been a 30% increase in the number of active-duty Army deaths by suicide, with 114 deaths compared to the 88 through that same time frame in 2019, a defense official told ABC News. The total number through Aug. 31 increases to 200 including Army National Guard and Reserve suicides, up from 166 for the same period in 2019, said the official.

The increase in Army suicides was first reported by The Associated Press.

PHOTO: Members of the military attend a ceremony at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Dec. 20, 2019.

Members of the military attend a ceremony at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Dec. 20, 2019.

Members of the military attend a ceremony at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Dec. 20, 2019.

With only a slight increase in the number of active-duty suicides during the first three months of 2020, the bulk of the 30% increase occurred during the spring and summer months that correlates to when the novel coronavirus pandemic was at its peak.

The increase has also translated to an increase in the suicide rate of 36 per 100,000 individuals, through Aug. 3, from 30.6 per 100,000 the year before, according to the official.

But Orvin stressed that the full annual rate is what is needed to make a full assessment of the year’s trends in the military overall. Current numbers for the other services do not indicate a spike like the Army. For example, the 98 total Air Force deaths by suicide this year (including guard, reserves and civilians) are comparable to last year’s, and the 34 active-duty Navy suicides are on pace to be lower than last year. The Marine Corps did not provide current statistics for this year.

“We have seen in the past that at times, where it looks like if we were just looking at counts, there may have been an increase, but once we had the full years of data, it was not statistically significant,” said Orvin.

The Army National Guard said in a separate briefing that the number of suicides in its ranks through Oct. 1 is comparable to last year’s numbers.

“Caution should be used when examining changes