LEWISTOWN - Local women of all ages gathered Saturday for the Women's Wellness Workshop at Calvary Bible Church in Lewistown. The event was sponsored by Lewistown Hospital's Wellness 4 Women Group and hosted a variety of workshops and free health screenings to promote women's health.
Tammy Miller, of Tammy Speaks, LLC, was the keynote speaker for the event, and kicked off the morning with an energetic lecture about individual choice and empowerment. Shortly after taking the stage, in a pink glitter boa, Miller asked her audience to hold their hand in front of their face, as if looking into a hand-held mirror. Then, told everyone to repeat after her.
"Mirror mirror on the wall, it's all about me, baby!" she exclaimed.
Miller's claim was not in vain. Like many others in the room, her life was touched by cancer after she was diagnosed in 2001. Now, she travels internationally, empowering women to stay positive and have fun, regardless of their circumstances.
No matter what the struggle, everyone is a survivor of life, she said, and that is worth celebrating.
"You cannot always change what happens to you," Miller said, "but you have control over how you respond to it."
Some healing is psychological, she said. Miller believes that by choosing to stay positive and have fun, women can live a happier, healthier life.
She then shared stories of her surgeries. For each one, she wore her signature pink boa and size 75 clown shoes, she said. Although surgery can be distressing and worrisome, Miller chose to face her situation with humor and lightheartedness.
"The choices that we make in life are our choices," she concluded.
Miller's lecture was followed by two more sessions with a variety of speakers.
Virginia M. Wray, Director for the FHA Weight Management and Nutrition Center at Lewistown Hospital, spoke to a full classroom of women about overcoming mental and emotional obstacles to maintain a healthy weight.
"Your body is the most important thing you own," she said.
Participants were shocked to learn that there are 3,500 calories in one pound of body fat. Wray said that by eating healthy foods and incorporating 30 minutes of exercise into each day, most individuals can achieve and maintain a healthy weight without restrictive dieting.
In another room, Stephanie Beamer, CRNP, encouraged women to have regular Pap tests, which detect changes in the cervix that may be caused by HPV, human papilloma virus. In some cases, studies have shown HPV can lead to cervical cancer.
"Cervical cancer is treatable and preventable," Beamer said.
She suggested that women ages 21-to-30 be tested every year. After age 30, women who have had three consecutive negative tests can go every three years, she said.
Other presentations included: Advocacy: Making Our Voices Heard from the Doctor's Office to the Congress, Ann Marie Potter, National Breast Cancer Coalition; Language That Lightens Stress: Declarations, Requests and Promises, Linda Letner, Evision L. Coaching; and Breast Health & Taking Care of Your Bones, Robyn E. Smith and Kathleen Spigelmyer, Lewistown Hospital Imaging Services technologists.
Throughout the morning, a number of free health screenings were offered by Lewistown Hospital.
Kathleen Spigelmyer, Lead Technologist of the Imaging Department, offered bone density screenings. Peak bone density is at age 30, Spigelmyer said, so the scan produces a T-score number, which compares bone density to the average woman in her thirties.
Women who attended the event could also visit a booth by the cardiopulmonary department which checked lung function, or a booth by the School of Nursing, which provided blood pressure and blood sugar screening.
Down the hall, a group of women waited patiently for free stroke assessments.
"We check blood pressure, pulse, and carotid arteries," Brenda Apple, of SUN Home Health and Hospice, said.
Although the risk of a stroke can vary based on age, race, gender and family history, Apple said there are several controllable variables too. Maintaining a healthy diet, keeping blood pressure under control and not smoking can reduce the risk of a stroke, she said.
During the wellness event, women could also enjoy a spa room and message therapy, zumba demonstrations and a variety of business and organization vendors.
Each participant was gifted with a bag of informational material from participating vendors.