New recommendations say not all women need genetic testing for cancer. Critics say it could cost lives

Primary care providers should screen women for personal, family and/or ethnic history of breast, ovarian, tubal or peritoneal cancer to decide who should undergo genetic counseling for BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations, the US Preventive Services Task Force recommended Tuesday. The mutations increase a woman’s cancer risk.


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Elizabeth Warren announces 2020 presidential launch: ‘The fight of our lives’

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, one of the biggest names in a crowded field of White House hopefuls, is expected to officially announce her entry into the 2020 presidential race.
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How This Family Lives Off $45K/Year While Raising a Special Needs Child

On a late November afternoon, Vicki Fouche heats up slices of frozen pizza in the toaster oven for lunch.

Her daughter Hannah, 10, waits at the dining room table in their Ocala, Florida, home.

Hannah has challenges eating on her own. She was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, a neurological disorder that affects motor skills, muscle tone and movement, when she was 6 months old.

Vicki, 48, places two plates in front of Hannah. “Look here. Which pizza do you want? Do you want ‘The Lion King’ or Olaf?” Vicki asks, referring to the Disney characters decorating each plate. “Which would you like? Lion King? Olaf?”

Hannah replies with just a sound — one that would be incomprehensible to most. But without any words exchanged, her mom knows what’s wrong.

“You don’t want either one?” she guesses. “You want pretzel bites?”

Hannah utters another obscure sound.

“You’re a pain in the butt, do you know that?” Vicki jokes, and she whisks the plates away from Hannah, handing a pizza slice off to Hannah’s 21-year-old sister, Bethany.

Vicki heads back to the freezer to get some pretzel bites, one of Hannah’s favorite foods.

When Hannah’s lunch is heated, Vicki brings a plate over to Hannah, whose attention is fixed on the iPad in front of her. Vicki proceeds to cut the pretzel bites into small pieces and feed her.

Hannah’s condition is hypotonic, meaning she has low muscle tone — specifically in her head, neck and trunk. She can’t stand on her own, walk or talk.

Hannah has the cognitive abilities to communicate; she just lacks the physical abilities to speak more than a few words. She uses an app on her iPad that lets her select words and phrases to speak aloud for her. In fact, Vicki says Hannah often uses the app to request pretzel bites.

There are many variations of cerebral palsy. For some, the disorder has a minimal effect on their lives. Others require around-the-clock care.

An older sister helps her little sister find a game on her iPad.

According to the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation, 1 in 323 U.S. babies are diagnosed with cerebral palsy. There is no known cure for the disorder, which affects approximately 17 million people across the globe.

Hannah’s physical challenges mean that Vicki and her husband, Tim, have to care for Hannah in ways similar to caring for an infant. They feed her. They bathe her. They carry her down the hallway and lift her into her safety bed, which resembles an oversized crib.

Hannah’s parents also shoulder all the financial responsibilities of raising a child with cerebral palsy.

The Fouches are a family of five living off less than $ 45,000 per year. Though Bethany, their oldest daughter, doesn’t live at home anymore, Vicki and Tim have a 6-year-old daughter, Mikayla, and they took in their 15-year-old niece, Naomi, last summer.

Tim, 48, who works as a residential construction estimator for a custom home builder, is the family’s sole breadwinner.

“I work hard,” Tim says. “As a husband and a dad, you try to maintain a balance of working and being there for your family, too, at the same time. When you do that and you still feel like you’re falling short at the end of the month… it gets frustrating sometimes.”

Why Making More Money Isn’t an Option

A married couple sit at their kitchen table discussing finances.

The family qualifies for Medicaid and Social Security benefits for Hannah, plus a scholarship that covers home-schooling expenses. But Vicki says she’s scared of the possibility of losing that assistance if her husband makes more money.

“We’re [between] the proverbial rock and a hard place,” she says.

The Fouches know other families with disabled children that don’t qualify for assistance and aren’t able to get certain treatment or equipment covered under their private insurance.

“If [Tim] were to make more money and then they took [Medicaid away], it would cost us more in the long run,” Vicki says.

Vicki usually handles paying the bills and budgeting for the family since Tim works full time.

“How she does it, I don’t know,” Tim says. “She takes something out of nothing, and she pays the bills. But it’s a struggle every month.”

The Fouches have between $ 10,000 and $ 15,000 in credit card debt. They’ve used their credit cards when unexpected expenses came up, such as when the transmission went out in their minivan last year. They’ve made home-schooling purchases on credit, only to later find out Hannah’s scholarship wouldn’t reimburse the expense.

Every year, they like to put money aside from their tax refund to save for emergencies. Unfortunately, that doesn’t stretch through the year. They don’t have any other financial safety net.

“We never have money to save,” Vicki says. “We’re lucky that we have enough to pay our bills.”

Medicaid Helps… but It Has Limits

Each week, Hannah sees a speech therapist, physical therapist and occupational therapist. She also participates in therapeutic horseback riding. Because of assistance, the Fouches don’t have to pay out of pocket for any of that.

The Fouches have also gotten some of Hannah’s equipment paid for through Medicaid: an electric wheelchair, a manual wheelchair, a walker, a shower chair and Hannah’s safety bed, plus her nutritional drinks and diapers.

“We’re very, very blessed,” Vicki says.

But Vicki says the diapers Medicaid covers for Hannah leak easily. The electric wheelchair has malfunctioned several times.

Hannah never felt comfortable in the first shower chair they were able to get through Medicaid when she was little, so her father built one out of PVC pipe and trampoline material.

Vicki says she’s glad her husband is so handy. He also built a makeshift wheelchair ramp for their front door and widened the entrance into their kitchen so Hannah’s wheelchair could fit through.

A daughter is bathed by her mother.

Getting requests approved through Medicaid can be challenging, Vicki says. She says the agency requires in-depth explanations about why they need certain equipment or therapy and how Hannah will benefit.

And even when something is approved, the family sometimes still has to pay for part of it. Last spring, for example, Hannah received three weeks of intensive therapy at a facility in Melbourne, Florida. Medicaid covered the cost of the therapy, but the family had to pay for travel and lodging, since the facility was three and a half hours from home.

The family sold bracelets as a fundraiser and made about $ 2,300.

“We ended up having to come up with some of it out of our pocket,” she says. “We raised most of it, but not [all].”

A Plan Abandoned

A mother pushes one daughter in a shopping cart and the other daughter in a wheel char as she grocery shops at Sam's Club.

Vicki used to work as a Girl Scouts program coordinator, but high day care costs caused her to become a stay-at-home mom after having Hannah. She thought it would be temporary and that she’d go back to work once Hannah started kindergarten. Then, she got unexpectedly pregnant with Mikayla.

Vicki had her tubes tied after that pregnancy. With Hannah in school, Vicki’s new plan was to go back to work once Mikayla was in kindergarten. But then Hannah started having troubling experiences at school.

“She came home one time with rug burn on her cheek, a black eye, a split-open lip, and they say she fell over at circle time,” Vicki recalls, saying she suspects Hannah fell off a changing table instead. “She would come home 90% of the time with her lunch [uneaten].”

The Fouches were concerned their daughter wasn’t getting proper care at school. Two weeks before Hannah was going to start third grade, her parents told her she’d be going back to school soon. She cried hysterically.

“What kid at 8 years old hates school so bad?” Vicki asks.

So the Fouches made the decision to home-school their girls, and Vicki abandoned her plan to return to work. Though Vicki does a lot for her family, she sometimes feels bad that she isn’t able to earn an income. However, Tim says he’s very thankful for the role she’s taken on.

“[It’s] worth a whole lot for her to be with our children, to keep them safe and [see to it] that they’re taken care of and getting a good education,” he says.

That’s not the only sacrifice the Fouches have had to make.

A girl with cerebral palsy rides on a horse as part of a therapy session.

Vicki says they choose not to go to places as a family that aren’t accommodating for Hannah, like the playground or the fair. If Mikayla wants to go, she has to wait until one parent can stay home to watch Hannah.

The Fouches try to make sure Mikayla gets to do things she likes — such as gymnastics and T-ball — but the money isn’t always there for her to participate. Vicki says they had to charge T-ball registration fees to their credit card. They pay per class for gymnastics, and when money is tight, they’ll just skip it for the week.

One special treat the entire family enjoys is going to Disney World, which is only about an hour-and-a-half drive from their home. Last year, the Fouches had annual passes. They got them as a Christmas gift for the girls and paid for them in monthly installments. However, Vicki says they decided not to renew the passes for this year after Disney raised its prices.

“That’s been really frustrating,” she says. “That’s really the only thing that we do with the kids… Hannah doesn’t feel disabled at Disney. She can go on all the rides. She can’t do that at all the other parks.”

Their Plans and Dreams for an Uncertain Future

About a decade ago, when Hannah was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, Vicki remembers the doctor explaining the diagnosis twice.

“I guess most people get hysterical and we didn’t, so the doctor [asked], ‘Do you understand what I’m saying to you?’” she says.

But Vicki and Tim knew something serious was wrong with Hannah. Their infant daughter wasn’t meeting typical milestones for her age. Unbeknownst to each other, they both had suspected it was cerebral palsy.

Instead of being devastated, they were grateful Hannah didn’t have a terminal illness, but rather a disorder that can improve over time through therapy.

And the Fouches have seen Hannah progress over the years. She can sit up unassisted, whereas before her body wasn’t strong enough to support itself.

One speech therapist told the Fouches that Hannah would never be able to work a communication device.

“She said she would never be strong enough to push the buttons on the communication thing,” Vicki recalls. “And yeah, this kid’s a whip on the iPad. It’s not even funny.”

A mother comforts her daughter at a doctor's appointment.
A family comfort one of the girls as she cries in bed.

In early December, Hannah was fitted for a leg brace that will keep her body from folding up in her sleep. Since she can’t control her limbs, it can be dangerous if she bends herself in half overnight, causing her to hurt herself or even block her breathing. Hannah often sleeps in her worried parents’ bed so they can closely monitor her.

A few weeks after getting the brace, Tim says she’s still having trouble adjusting to it. Hannah’s therapist suggested putting the brace on for an hour or two in the evening and working their way up to using it while she sleeps. Once Hannah is able to use the brace overnight and transition to her own bed, her parents will be able to get a more restful night’s sleep.

There’s still other equipment the Fouches wish Hannah had to better her life.

They’d love for Hannah to have a mobile stander, a device that would help her stand and move around without having to support her own weight.

“We can stand her for a little bit… but the last couple times we had her in her walker, she’s gotten so overheated, she’s thrown up,” Vicki says.

A father carries his daughter to the living room.

Having a device that doesn’t make Hannah strain to support herself would be ideal. Being in a wheelchair so often causes Hannah to have poor circulation in her legs.

However, Vicki says Medicaid won’t cover the mobile stander, because Hannah already has the electric wheelchair. She says it’d cost $ 5,600 to pay for out of pocket — money the family doesn’t have.

She also says it’d be wonderful to have a hoist system in the house to lift Hannah up. At 60 pounds, Hannah isn’t easy to carry anymore.

“I’m scared I’m going to fall with her,” says Vicki, who had to be hospitalized twice last year after bad falls. Luckily, she wasn’t carrying Hannah on either occasion.

A father sleeps on the couch in his living room.

The Fouches also wish they had a handicap-accessible van, but they can’t afford one. Vicki said even getting their current minivan converted to be wheelchair accessible would cost around $ 15,000.

Instead, they have to lift Hannah into the minivan, and they use her manual wheelchair when they go out.

Hannah’s only 10 now, but Tim and Vicki have thought about what her life will be like as she gets older. It’s uncertain what Hannah will be able to do on her own once she reaches adulthood.

“If we could have one wish for her… I would really hope at some point that she could be able to speak,” Vicki says. “I think that would make a huge difference for her, instead of having to rely on a communication device. I don’t know if that will ever happen — and if it doesn’t, it’s fine — but if I had a choice between her walking or speaking, I’d rather have her speak.”

One thing Vicki and Tim do know is that they never want to place Hannah in a nursing home. The Fouches say their faith in God gives them strength to handle all the challenges that come their way.

Overall, Vicki’s greatest hope for her daughter is one most parents have for their child.

“I just want her to have as [good of] a life as she can,” she says.

A mother and daughter laugh together at home.

If you are raising a child with special needs, learn more about how to plan financially for your child’s future.

Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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Mom Of Gucci Mane’s Son Says She’s Living On Welfare While Rapper Lives It Up

World Famous Rapper Gucci Mane Shopping At The Gucci Store.

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The mother of Gucci Mane‘s 11-year-old son says she’s living on welfare and living in Section 8 housing while the boy’s famous father lives lavishly. Sheena Evans is seeking up to $ 20,000 in child support payments from the rapper and author, which would be an $ 18,000 increase.

The Blast reports:

A hearing was held this week in the case brought by Gucci’s baby mama, Sheena Evans, who sued seeking an increase in the monthly support from the current $ 2,026 a month to $ 20k for their 11-year-old son, Keitheon.

In video shot by Dennis Byron at the hearing, her lawyer spoke to the judge and said her client lives in Section 8 housing, is on government assistance, receives food stamps and is on Medicaid … all while Gucci is making millions.

In her suit filed last year, Evans argued the rapper was making a substantial amount more since leaving prison in 2011.

Gucci’s baby mama took issue with him spending a considerable amount of money on fine jewelry and says when the rapper got married, he spent in excess of $ 1 million for his wedding.

Gucci Mane’s side says that the rapper’s finances have not increased despite Evans’ claims and wants the case tossed out.

Photo: WENN

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The deadly shootings that Black Lives Matter ignores

Anti-cop activist Shaun King says that his involvement in the campaign around the Jazmine Barnes murder was not driven by reports that a white man had killed the 7-year-old girl, gunned down in Houston on Dec. 30. According to Barnes’ mother and 15-year-old sister, the white driver of a pickup truck had pulled up next…
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Chinese scientist criticized for risking ‘gene-edited’ babies’ lives

A leading geneticist who ran the conference where a Chinese scientist said he had made the world’s first “gene-edited” babies condemned him on Monday for potentially jeopardizing lives and having no biology training.


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The game of their lives was 25 years ago. They’re still replaying it in their minds.

The exploits of a high school football team can become small-town legend. For the Prestonsburg Blackcats of Eastern Kentucky, the 1993 season “was like something out of a movie, if you’ve ever seen ‘Hoosiers,’ ” one coach said. Reality, however, left more complicated memories.
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Tackling climate change could save millions of lives, report says

Climate studies often pinpoint the detrimental public health impacts related to rising atmospheric temperatures, extreme weather events and other consequences of a changing climate.


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Shamari DeVoe Reveals Pregnancy Challenge That Risked Her And Her Twins’ Lives

Source: Leon Bennett/BET / Getty

Shamari DeVoe was on bed rest for two and a half months when she was pregnant with her twin boys Ronald and Roman. The former Blaque singer, who recently joined Real Housewives Of Atlanta, suffered complications throughout her pregnancy that could have led to miscarriage or worse.

According to the CDC, Black mothers are 243% more likely to die from pregnancy or child-birth related causes. Like so many other Black women, even high-profile celebrities like Serena Williams, Shamari had to convince doctors to listen to her when she demanded they check her cervix.

Doctors assured her nothing was wrong with her cervix, but Shamari was adamant about it and it ultimately saved the life of she and her boys.

“[Producers] reached out to me when I was pregnant last year about joining the cast and because I was pregnant and I was on bed rest, I had to decline,” she revealed in a candid interview. “I had to make sure that my babies baked as long as possible because my oldest son, he wasn’t growing as fast as his [brother], so they wanted to make sure that I was being watched 24 hours,” she explained.

Going into detail about an experience Black women know all too well, Shamari revealed she had to plead with doctors to check her cervix because she felt like something was wrong.

“I told him and at one point he was like, ‘Your cervix is fine,’ And then I was like, ‘No, I want you to check it.’ And he checked him and he was like, ‘Oh my God, it really is opening.’ I had to go in once every two weeks and then, finally, one doctor visit, they were like, ‘Oh no, you have to go straight to the hospital and be on bed rest for the duration of your pregnancy.’”

She further explained her condition. “My cervix started to open and they had to make sure that to keep the pressure off of my cervix in addition to Ronald not growing as fast as his brother.”

Instagram Photo

Describing how difficult of a time it was, Shamari said, “Some days it felt like the walls were closing in, but I have a supportive family. I have supportive friends and it was not one day that went by that I did not have a visitor. I think that’s very important that you have people that come by and they check up on you.

I have a dear friend of mine that would come in every, every week and she would change the the atmosphere in my room. It’s really difficult, but I think just that motherly instinct kicks in and you’re going to do whatever it takes to make sure that your baby make it into this world.

So I stayed there and my husband was so supportive. He was there every single night and if he was not there in the hospital room with me it was, it was because he was on tour on the road and that’s the only reason.”

Despite being on bed rest, Shamari had a maternity shoot right in her hospital bed. “I did a full blown maternity shoot in the hospital. It looked like I was laying in like a king size bed.  Like if you go to my Instagram page, you’ll see that I’m going to go look at it and you’ll see my maternity shoot. That was all in the hospital.”

Instagram Photo

On a recent episode of RHOA, we learned Shamari and her husband had an open marriage for about year, followed by an intense period that almost rocked their union. With a lot of counseling, they appear stronger than ever.

Shamari and Ronnie put in the work to make their marriage stronger, including learning one another’s love language and practicing active listening to perfect their communication.

“We have an unbreakable bond,” Shamari said. “We have been together for 17 years. I’ve been married for 12 years and we make sure that we communicate with each other. We make sure that we constantly stay around other like-minded couples that have the same ideas that we do, which is to being a successful, healthy relationship”

Shamari also believes in prioritizing her husband over her children because a strong marriage is the foundation for raising grounded children.

First is God, then it’s my husband and then it’s my children and that’s the way,” she explained. “That’s the way the Bible teaches us so I try to live by that.”

She added, “Me and my husband are one and when you make that oath before God, you become one on that day. That is like the closest relationship that you can have under God. And then you know, me and my husband were there first and then the family comes second.

There’s no kid without my husband. He comes first, I need my husband to even have a child. And then one day when my children grow up, mommy will no longer be first. And I’m perfectly fine with that. That’s beautiful.”

As for Shamari’s story line on RHOA, she feels she brings something different to the show.

“It’s weird because I’m watching myself outside of myself, like it’s an out of body experience. Everything was so great about it. I think the world is ready for some new energy and I’m definitely bringing something different to the show.”

Shamari is currently working on new music with her Blaque co-star.

Watch Shamari and Ronnie DeVoe on RHOA every Sunday night at 8pm on Bravo TV.


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The late great author Louis L’Amour lives on in this new book

Louis L’Amour began writing “No Traveller Returns” in 1938. This week, 30 years after the author’s death, the novel — his first — will be published, thanks to his son, Beau L’Amour, who took the unfinished manuscript his father had left behind and wrote the rest of it. It’s part of a larger Louis L’Amour…
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Rest in Power: Feminist Filmmaker Audrey Wells Brought Women’s Lives to the Big Screen

Last week, after a courageous and years-long battle with cancer, feminist filmmaker and activist Audrey Wells passed away at 58 years old.

Wells was a screenwriter for The Hate U Give, in theaters now. The film, an adaptation of an Angie Thomas novel, is about a young black woman who is called to action after she watches police officers unjustly kill her best friend. Discussing such serious issues through her work was no new task for Wells, who always focused on representing characters multi-dimensionally and writing strong female leads. (Wells was perhaps best known for writing and directing the 2003 film Under the Tuscan Sun, which followed a woman intent on rebuilding her own life as she traveled to Italy for solace.)

Wells began her life as Audrey Ann Lederer. Born in San Francisco, California, in 1960, she grew up in a loving home with her parents who sparked her imagination and passion for learning. She received an undergraduate degree at the University of California, Berkley, and held jobs in radio before pursuing film; she ultimately obtained a graduate degree from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Creative, innovative, unique and progressive are some of the words that were often used to describe her films and Wells herself—but words alone cannot do justice to her work or her passion for social justice. Wells was an outspoken feminist intent on changing culture through her art, and a vocal supporter of feminist organizations. She was known in her field for leveraging a feminist lens in her work and using media to stand up for what she believed in.

Wells is survived by many family members, including her husband and daughter. Instead of flowers and cards, her family has asked that anyone grieving the loss of her life send donations to organizations including the Feminist Majority Foundation, which publishes Ms.

Miranda Martin is a feminist writer and activist and an editorial intern at Ms. She has written for a variety of publications and been published by The Unedit and Project Consent. Miranda recently graduated from University of Wisconsin La Crosse with a major in Interpersonal Communications and a double minor in Creative Writing and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. She loves to travel, read, exercise and daydream about the fall of the patriarchy.

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