This morning I had the honor of attending the Harbor City Harbor Gateway Chamber of Commerce "The Answers are in the Room" Breakfast Connection.  I am a new member to this esteemed group and was welcomed warmly by everyone.  There were about 5 or more of us that were given new member plaques and were able to briefly describe our business.  I was able to take a few pictures with some of my fellow members and new friends, and I am looking forward to working with them in the near future.  I want to thank them again for their friendship and support.
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All of the new members are presented with a plaque and give a short presentation on their business.
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Me with Christine Taylor with Legal Shield looking fierce at the Harbor City Harbor Gateway Chamber of Commerce July 12, 2012 Breakfast Connection
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Me with fellow member Chris Cowan - Merchant Rep for Global Electronic Technology at the Harbor City Harbor Gateway Chamber of Commerce July 12, 2012 Breakfast Connection
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Me with Mario Johnson of Grandma's House Catering the snack caterer for the T.V. show Modern Family, and Susana Lee an agent with Aflac at the Harbor City Harbor Gateway Chamber of Commerce July 12, 2012 Breakfast Connection
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Me with Giselle Garcia-Lopez (L - Graduate Employment Advisor) and Monica Shakin (R - Director of Career Services) for Westwood College, at the Harbor City Harbor Gateway Chamber of Commerce July 12, 2012 Breakfast Connection.
 
 
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My baby sister Ladina and me. I love these Mardi Gras masks!
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The gang's all here working it and looking fierce in this photo!
My sister Ladina and I love Mardi Gras and here we are at a Mardi Gras themed birthday party.  I have gone through a lot in my life, but I never let that stop me from enjoying my life and being the best person I can be.  My life experiences, both good and challenging, have shaped me into the person I am today.  As you can see from the pictures above, I live my life!  Be well and God bless.
 
 
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Me and Dr. John Reinisch at his office in Los Angeles
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Me and Dr. Robert Landaw at his office in Los Angeles - photo taken by Norma
I love keeping in touch with my doctors who have treated me, and there are more out there that I would love to reconnect with to express my appreciation for everything that they did for me.  For now, I keep in touch with two of my doctors and I stopped by on a Friday afternoon for a New Year's visit and to catch up.

My first stop was to visit Dr. John Reinisch with the help of his lovely assistant Francesca.  I first met Dr. Reinisch in  1986 when was 17 years-old and had just graduated from high school. At the time, Dr. Reinish was with Childrens Hospital Los Angeles. I remember he used two expanders, one on the right side of my forehead and the other just under my left jaw to gradually stretch my facial skin over a 4 month period. He then used the newly stretched skin to replace the skin that had been scarred by my hemangioma, and what a difference! I love Dr. Reinisch and I am so grateful that he is my doctor and my friend.

John Reinisch, MD is Director of Craniofacial and Pediatric Plastic Surgery in the Department of Surgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, and a plastic surgeon  at Cedars-Sinai Medical Group.

Formerly chairman of plastic surgery at the University of Southern California, Dr. Reinisch established the Division of Plastic Surgery at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles in 1983. Dr. Reinisch is the recipient of numerous awards including the Baby Randy award which honors service to children. He was also named one of the best doctors in Los Angeles by Los Angeles Magazine in 1997 and best children's specialist by Parent Magazine.

Next, I visited my pediatrician Dr. Robert Landaw at San Vicente Pediatrics.  His assistant Norma is great and I have spoken with her many times over the years.  This was a bit of an emotional visit for me because Dr. Landaw was my pediatrician at Kaiser Permanente when I was a baby.  He has photos of me when I was born without hemangioma and then when I was 2 months old and on when the hemangioma was developing on the left side of my face.  I went through so much as an infant and I feel truly blessed to be here.  I cannot thank Dr. Landaw enough and he will be an important part of my life forever.

I have kept in touch with Dr. Landaw ever since my father told me about him and tracked him down for me when I was in high school.  Over the years I have sent him pictures and called him every year.  But this visit was actually my first time ever seeing him since I was an infant, and you know what, he looks great and is hilarious too!  He is also an excellent pediatrician and he refers his patients with hemangioma or other vascular birthmarks to Dr. Reinisch, so I was happy to learn that my two doctors knew each other. 

My visit with Dr. Landaw was a great way to wrap up my day, and below is the picture that Dr. Landaw took of us doing the whole "I am going to hold the camera in front of us and you look right here sweetie" method of photography.  Love it!
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Me and Dr. Robert Landaw at his office in Los Angeles - photo taken by Dr. Landaw










Resources:
John Reinisch, MD: http://www.cedars-sinai.edu/Patients/Physicians/Cedars-Sinai-Medical-Group/Find-a-Doctor/John-Reinisch-MD.aspx
Small Wonders Foundation: http://smallwondersfoundation.org/drreinisch.php

Dr. Landaw does not have a website for me to provide a link to, but you can look him up under Robert Landaw MD/Pediatrics at San Vicente Pediatrics in Los Angeles, California.


 
 
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Me and my cousin gospel singer Alfie Silas Durio at her Annual Christmas Party
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Me and my cousin Patsy
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Me and my three cousins. From left to right: Jonathan, me, actor John "JP" Autry (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FC3Im47E-Yo), and Devin.
Sorry for the late post, I've been really busy.  Anyway, I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday and a Happy New Year.  I enjoyed time with family on Christmas as you can see from these pictures, at my cousin Alfie's Annual Christmas Party. 

I love the third picture but I wish my cousin Eric would have been in it.  There are four of us (Devin, Me, Jonathan and Eric - in that order and with me being the only girl) that were born in 1968.  It must have been quite a year to have so many cousins expecting at the same time. 

The four of us are threatening to celebrate our 45th birthday together.  I say "threatening" because whenever we see each other it comes up, but realistically it would be an ambitious project getting four grown people in the same room at the same time at night that have all sorts of different responsibilities that they juggle.  

But, with my cousin Devin's help, we will make this group birthday celebration happen because Devin is really good with planning events to get family and friends together, as exhibited below....

We also had a wonderful time on New Years Eve at my cousin Devin's New Year's Eve party.  I love the randomness in the background of this picture.  So many questions...
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Me and my cousin Patsy.
 
 
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Welcome to my Blog and my first blog post.  I decided to kick off my blog with a picture of me and some loved ones having a bit of fun.  Being black, I am in the "majority" being female, and in that "rare" category of infants born with hemangioma according to the statistics I have researched. 

Here is a picture taken at my baby sister's birthday get together before the main event.  From left to right, my baby sister Ladina, her boyfriend's mom Joyce, Me - Kris Silas, Joyce's good friend Marilin Archie - winner of Season 3 of She's Got The Look, and my baby sister's good friend and former roommate Dez.  I feel a little anatomically compact nestled in between all of these statuesque women.