July 2004 •  Published for the members of IBEW Local 18 and their families

A Very Close Encounter: We Can Beat Cancer!

By Diana Salas, Member, Professional Unit

We often take our everyday lives for granted; we are comfortable with our schedules and routines. Then one day, we get a wake up call we cannot ignore. That's what happened to me.

In 1997, I received a dreaded telephone call from my mother. "I have breast cancer," she said. My reaction was fear, concern and anger. All of a sudden, my "ordinary life" became filled with doctors' appointments and tests. I asked others how they handled a similar crisis. I got advice from family, friends, even strangers, on how best to handle the situation. My mom underwent surgery and chemotherapy; she went through hell and back, but survived.

This year, my mother had more surgery in February, and then began chemotherapy. In November, she will receive radiation treatment. This time, the cancer was "borderline," meaning there was a possibility that she wouldn't survive. But the news was good! The doctor told us that her cancer was curable. Curable is the most relieving word in the dictionary. As my mom goes through her ups and downs, we still have hope.

Women should do a monthly breast self-exam and take a clinical breast exam. If they are over 40, they should get am annual mammogram. It can literally be the difference between life and death!

Breast-cancer statistics are horrible. According to the American Cancer Society and National Cancer Institute, breast cancer takes a life every 14 minutes. This year alone, some 40,000 women will die from it. Early detection is the key to survival. Don't let this disease take someone you love!

My mom's cancer was detected early, probably saving her life. I realize how lucky we are; as busy people, we may forget how good life is for us. As IBEW members, we really are lucky! Please take advantage of what our Union has negotiated for us: a full body scan. Early detection can save the life of a loved one—or your own.

My experience compels me to help fight breast cancer. I have been fortunate; others are less lucky. This September, I will be walking in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. Please help me to help others. Sponsor donations may be made at www.avonwalk.org. Thank you.

Earlier this year, National Woman’s Month was celebrated, and the Executive Board and Business Reps. of IBEW Local 18 proudly showed off their support for women in the workplace, at home, and as full equals.

Amazing CT Body Scan Available to Local 18 Members

We are very pleased to report that as of July 1, 2004, all IBEW Local 18 members who are under the age of 65, and enrolled in the Blue Cross CaliforniaCare HMO, Owens Valley Plan, or the new Power CareAdvocate PPO Plan, are entitled to an exciting new supplemental health plan benefit, a CT body scan.

Local 18 brothers and sisters can go to any licensed body scan facility to undergo this very valuable examination. Such facilities include HealthView Body Scan. Every eligible Local 18 member and one adult dependent will be covered by Blue Cross for one body scan per year. Blue Cross’ maximum reimbursement is $500.00 per body scan.

Why is a body scan so important? How can it benefit you and your family? Let me outline why this is such an invaluable procedure.

Essentially, a body scan is a complete three-dimensional computerized image of your body. The high-tech, very sophisticated machine scans your body so rapidly that it can record three-dimensional views of your beating heart and breathing lungs, even as it views all your other organs. The real beauty of the body scan system is that it is non-invasive, so there is no pain or discomfort.

The body scan includes a thorough review of the heart and arteries, the lungs and spine and, for women, a breast examination that augments the usual mammogram. It checks internal organs in order to detect small tumors, stones and cysts. The scan reviews aneurysms in the abdominal and chest cavities, checks for thyroid and parathyroid diseases and, finally, it searches for signs of uterine, ovarian and prostate disorders.

The CT body scan is a vital and proven method of detecting early diseases and other problems before they become serious. Further, the scan offers a real psychological benefit: seeing your body laid out in full on a scanner becomes a powerful motivational tool for making important life-changing decisions that can help you stay as healthy as possible. Finally, this wonderful technology is a valuable tool for your own personal physician so that he or she can have the best-available information concerning your body’s health.

As an added bonus, Health View Body Scan has a mobile CT body scan facility. It will provide two types of services: consultations and scans. It will be able to perform around 16 scans a day, with nine of them having physician consultations on the same day. The mobile facility will be at the Local 18 Union Hall, and visits are scheduled by appointment—we will publicize the dates when they are available. The first scan will be at 7:00 a.m., and the last scheduled appointment on a given day will be at 2:00 p.m. It is expected that the mobile facility will gradually expand the number of people it can service.

The CT body scan is a priceless preventive and life-saving process. We are grateful that it is now available for Local 18 brothers and sisters! Take advantage of this remarkable benefit!

Unit 50 Members Lend Their Helping Hands

Here are some of the Local 18 Unit 50 members who contributed their time and skills to help the Burbank Historical Society with its construction. Thank you for all your enthusiasm and public-spirited attitude!

Back row (left to right): Kris Blomdahl; Rene Spruch; Lonnie Maybin, and Joe Yoder.

Front row (left to right): Barry Heller; Bill Kusch; Bruce Redmann; Kent Vest; John McKaskie, and Vince Bengar.

Not pictured: Chris Besvold; Marco Jimenez; Dale King; Mark McCord, and Don Tyndall.


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