14 Goals for 2014

As we leave January and come up to new opportunity in February, I am anxious to set some goals for the year. While some may see this a little late, given that New Year’s was almost a month ago, I don’t think we should ever put a time limit on goal setting.

I have never been one to make resolutions, mainly because I always had a hard time following through with them. I instead set goals, adding new items to my bucket list, because while I may not get to the gym three times a week I do want to enjoy a gelato in Italy, learn to knit something besides a hat and plant a garden before I say hello to 2015 (or sometime after).

Working for Diva International Inc. has taught me the importance of goal setting. Every member of the Diva Team has a set of goals they try to reach, sometimes within a timeline, other times, it’s open to possibility. As a team, we also have corporate goals; goals we work toward together.

While I may not reach all my goals for this year, there’s no reason why I can’t continue working towards them, whether it’s 2015, 2016 or even 2020. What matters most is that we set goals for ourselves.

2014-goalsGiven that we are celebrating 2014, I thought to offer some potential goals for the Diva Community. The following is not a “to do” list, but more so an opportunity to dream, to look towards something different, exciting or even challenging.

  1. Try The DivaCup: If you have considered trying a reusable period care option, 2014 is the year to start! Offering 12 hours of leak-free protection, The DivaCup is comfortable, easy-to-use and saves money.
  2. Learn a new sport/activity: Whether you try yoga, snowboarding or kayaking, you are sure to have fun, and get in shape!
  3. Travel More!: Visit a new country, State/Province or rural village around your home town.
  4. Grow a vegetable garden.
  5. Learn to knit, sew or crochet.
  6. Learn to cook an authentic ethnic meal.
  7. Go camping: It is a chance to get away and enjoy the quiet and beauty of nature.
  8. Send snail mail: Everyone loves getting a letter or card in the mail?
  9. Be Creative! Learn to play an instrument or take an art class at a community center.
  10. Give your time once a month or contribute financially to an organization.
  11. Treat your parents or children to a dinner at a fancy restaurant.
  12. Learn a second language (or third).
  13. See a Broadway show or play.
  14. Run a marathon, complete a triathlon or participate in a cross country biking tour.

Share your 2014 (and beyond) goals with the Diva Community below!

 

[Guest Post] What the Pill Taught Me

sweetening the pillAt the time, a medical student about to be married, I didn’t know that my life would be forever changed. My first migraine, massively swollen legs and a later leg blood clot—all were because of hormonal contraception (the Pill) samples, which I got from Planned Parenthood. It was estrogen (100 micrograms versus today’s 20) first and then progestin. When I threw them away after five days I knew the high-dose estrogen Pill made me sick.

I got on with life and forgot about it. Now, reflecting, I know that my “Dreadful Pill Experience” changed me and how I am focussing my life. First of all, for contraception I learned to use a diaphragm and vaginal spermicide—it never let me down. Most importantly, it created my deep scepticism about the “goodness” of estrogen and a strong desire to scientifically understand women’s menstrual cycles.

For all these reasons, I rejoice at Holly Grigg-Spall’s Sweetening the Pill (Zero books, Hants, UK 2013). After all, her dedication speaks directly to me: “For every woman who has suffered physically and emotionally as a result of hormonal birth control.” I totally agree with Holly’s Pill addiction analogy—we as a Culture, and as individual women, are “hooked on hormonal birth control.” In fact, we’ve been brainwashed into thinking of our Pill-taking selves as our normal selves!

Sweetening the Pill appropriately focuses on unwanted effects from Pill use for contraception and to prevent pregnancy. But an even greater problem is that the Pill is now touted, advertised and promoted by physicians not just for contraception but to treat menstrual cycle, bone health and other problems women may experience. These Pill so called “non-contraceptive benefits” are not proven in placebo-controlled trials, the only way a therapy can be scientifically proven! Even the effects of the Pill on bone health had not been studied in a whole population of young women until we showed in the Canadian Multicentre Osteoporosis Study that menstruating women who’d been on the Pill at some point (86%) had lower bone density than those who had never used it (Canadian Medical Association Journal, 2001).

My misery on the Pill led me to learn some very women-positive things since founding the Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research. Now, surrounded by bright and committed colleagues we are poised to scientifically document that normal length (normal estrogen) and normally ovulatory (normal progesterone) menstrual cycles, prevent women’s risks for osteoporosis, heart attacks and breast cancer. Our focus should be on ovulatory menstrual cycles that include balanced levels of estrogen  and progesterone. Women who are stressed or losing weight or have regular cycles but don’t ovulate normally and thus lack normal progesterone. This is what we call “ovulatory disturbances” that are increasingly linked with serious health risks.

To have normal ovulation in her menstrual cycles, a woman needs to feel at home in her body, valued as a unique human and be comfortable with her future. Because life is not always perfect – women are often put down, we must learn to love ourselves, to accept our unique female bodies and to become our own advocates. Achieving this balance usually restores disturbed ovulation to normal. If not, for a time cyclic natural progesterone can be taken to mimic the normal ovulatory cycle. Most importantly, in my expert medical and scientific opinion cyclic progesterone therapy should be used instead of the Pill to treat absent or irregular cycles, acne, heavy flow and cramps—the Pill covers up, progesterone fixes, the problem. Ovulatory disturbances are the canary in the coal mine helping us to recognize when our life is out of balance. Stay tuned as CeMCOR develops a test so that you, cycle by cycle, can inexpensively and easily learn whether or not you’ve ovulated. Until then, keeping the Menstrual Cycle Diary and tracking your first morning temperature will provide what you need to know about your cycles and ovulation.

I have learned a lot from my horrifyingly miserable five days on a high dose estrogen Pill in the 1960s.

Disclaimer: The information and opinions expressed herein are not a substitute for the advice of a physician. Only your doctor or a qualified health provider can provide you with advice and recommendations for your individual situation. Dr. Jerilynn C. Prior and the Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research presents information that has been researched and written by a doctor for the community. Medical experts have reviewed the medical information for accuracy; however, the information provided should not be used as the sole source of information regarding reproductive health. Dr. Jerilynn C. Priorand CeMCOR cannot be held liable for injury or damages resulting from use of the information provided in this blog post and the referred links and studies. 

 

Jerilynn PriorJerilynn C. Prior BA, MD, FRCPC, ABIM, ABEM

Dr. Jerilynn C. Prior is a Professor of Endocrinology and Metabolism at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, B.C. She has a special interest in menstrual cycles and the effects of hormones on women’s health and has studied extensively on the topic of women’s menstrual cycles, perimenopause and the causes for and treatment of osteoporosis. Dr. Prior currently acts as the Scientific Director for the Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research (CeMCOR); a leader in menstrual health research.

 

 

 

Diary of a Diva: Dear Makers of The DivaCup,

Dear Makers of The DivaCup,

alanna1I just wanted to express how happy I am to have found your amazing product. I first found out about The DivaCup almost a year ago. My roommate burst into our room and exclaimed, “I am so excited to get my period!” Confused, I inquired as to why she was so excited, and she began telling me about The DivaCup. Reusable? Environmentally friendly? Economic? Waste- and chemical-free?

I had discovered the Holy Grail.

I went out and bought one that same day, and quickly became an advocate for The DivaCup. This product was revolutionary! It was so incredibly liberating. I am a very outdoorsy, active person, and I do a lot of trekking, backpacking, camping, and travelling. The DivaCup is an absolute Godsend in part because it is so small and light, and much less cumbersome than a huge box of tampons. But also because sometimes, when travelling in other countries, it is difficult to find feminine hygiene products, and if you do find them, they are ridiculously expensive because store owners know you need them and will pay the high price. The DivaCup avoids all of this.

When on the move, I protect my DivaCup like it’s my passport.

I also talk about The DivaCup to whoever will listen to me, and even sometimes when they don’t want to listen. How could you not want to hear about my revolutionary menstrual cup? I am always shocked and slightly alarmed when I learned how few people know about The DivaCup.

alanna2For instance, I went to a gynecologist for the first time a couple months ago and just happened to be wearing my DivaCup. She asked what this thing inside me was. “What? You don’t know?” I asked, genuinely surprised. I felt it was her job to be aware of alternatives to conventional feminine hygiene products. As a courtesy, I launched into an enthusiastic explanation of what The DivaCup was and why it was so awesome. She brushed it off like I was some silly, hippy teenager indulging in a passing fad.

I got a new gynecologist.

Just a couple of weeks ago I came back home to Toronto from Vancouver (where I study). I connected with some old friends as well as my mother and sister, none of whom had ever heard of The DivaCup! I decided that The DivaCup would make an excellent Christmas gift. I roved around Toronto looking in all the drugs stores but couldn’t find it anywhere (seriously, more stores need to get on this).

Finally I found the DivaCup at Mountain Equipment Co-op, an outdoor recreational store. I literally cleaned them out, sweeping the 5 or 6 boxes into my shopping cart. I got to the checkout and the girl at the counter kind of looked at me funny. “Aren’t these things great?” I said. “I just don’t know why we would carry them here.” She replied. I sort of just stared at her. She began putting my stuff into plastic bags. “No, no, I don’t need a bag.” I said with maybe a little too much ‘excuse me while I save the environment’ self- righteousness. And I walked out into the cold Toronto streets, my arms filled with menstrual cups, and my head held high.

Mountain Equipment Co-op is exactly the kind of place where I would expect to find The DivaCup. It is this sort of store where their target audience would shop – traveling, extreme sports, outdoor sports, camping.

Maybe it is the pretty purple packaging and the name “Diva” that throws some people off. At first I honestly wasn’t a huge fan of the name “DivaCup” because, these days, the word “Diva” has a negative connotation. I always thought a more appropriate name would be Strong-Independent-Woman-Cup, or something. However, I did feel a little better when I realized “Diva” could be turned into a witty reverse palindrome: Avid Diva (marketing slogan perhaps?).

Anyway, what I am trying to say is thank you for this incredible product. I’m traveling to New Zealand for 6 months after Christmas. Rest assured, I’ll be packing along my DivaCup

Sincerely,

An Avid Diva

alanna1Alanna recently graduated from university with a major in neuroscience. She is now taking a break from her academic endeavors to spend some time exploring the world, and to determine her place in it. She is planning a six-month solo-backpacking trip to New Zealand where she plans to horseback ride and hike – her two favourite activities.

 

Celebrate who you are, today!

2014 Diva Word

While the New Year is a time to celebrate, too often than not, it can also bring its fair share of stress and expectations. As the clock strikes 12 conversations start about New Year’s resolutions, hopes and dreams and with each comes an excitement that only the New Year can bring.

And then a week passes and the excitement we felt just days before seems to fade as the everyday comes back into focus.

Every once in a while I am reminded of the early days of Diva. Similar to the newness that comes with New Years, we were eager, excited and full of vision. And although we had some tough times, we never lost sight of our vision.

While the concept of a menstrual cup  is accepted more readily today, this was not always the case. We learned early on that although unique and different, The DivaCup was something that needed goals, outlook and perseverance.

As we begin another year, our company is keeping the vision of empowering women with a better period care solution at the forefront of all we do. Whether we are traveling to a trade show, training our sales team or interacting with our Divas, empowerment is key!

For 2014, I challenge you: Rather than looking back at what was, look forward to what is. Each day brings us the incredible opportunity to start fresh and do something new.

And don’t forget:

Every month do something for yourself

 

And likewise do something for someone else

 

Keep learning

 

Keep dreaming

 

Keep doing.

 

Francine-Signature