Monday, August 8, 2011

La Dolce Vita

I have returned from a memorable family trip to Italy; something I have always wanted to do. Since arriving home,friends and colleagues have asked, “what was the best part of your vacation?” Unequivocally, I have answered,“being together as a family."

But, I have to admit, the sites were breathtaking. Each Italian city is so different. It didn't take long to find our pace, absorb the Italian culture and the gelato. We were fortunate to visit the proprietor of a vineyard and wonderful Tuscan inn, take a cooking class in magnificent Florence, ride Venice’s Grand Canal and explore ancient Rome. No matter where we travel, however, there always are reminders of reality facing us at home.

When we visited the Vatican, our guide pointed out a sculpture of Artemis. This Greek Goddess of fertility was the daughter of Zeus and Leto and the twin sister of Apollo. The sculpture is distinctive with more than a dozen breasts. I was familiar with the second century artwork because Artemis also is the name of the Johns Hopkins breast center's e-newsletter. But, seeing the sculpture in person, and in Italy, was a reminder that the world is small and that women everywhere face many of the same health issues.

As we returned home I reflected on the two cultures. Florentian gelato may be memorable, but we are fortunate to have a program like A Woman’s Journey to learn about diagnosing breast cancer and a myriad of other health issues confronting us. We may not serve gelato or ice cream at the conferences, but you will be treated to a healthy serving of new medical information.


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