- Stories & Articles by Sonia
Articles and Stories by Sonia Pressman Fuentes
- On July 29, 2020, the new website of the Cornell Club of Sarasota-Manatee was launched. It includes Sonia's article on her friendship with the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
- Sonia's article, "The Meadows has a fascinating history," appeared in the online newspaper, the Sarasota News Leader, on Sept. 13, 2019. Sonia bought a condo at The Meadows in March 1999 and thereafter spent varying amounts of time there during the winters. Beginning on Nov. 1, 2006, she lived there full-time until Nov. 1, 2019, when she moved to a nearby Jewish senior community called Aviva. In early January 2020, The Meadoword, the newspaper of The Meadows, republished that article. You can access it here.
- Sonia's article, "How Being an Immigrant Shaped My Life," appeared in the summer newsletter of the Jewish Genealogical Society of SW Florida, published on April 3, 2019, and on its website. You can read the article in pdf format here.
- On Jan. 14, 2019, Sonia's remembrance of her late, feminist friend, Dr. Bernice "Bunny" Sandler (known as the "Godmother of Title IX"), who died at the age of 90 on Jan. 5, 2019, in her Washington, D.C. condo, was published in the "We Remember" section of the Jewish Women's Archive (JWA).
- Sonia's write-up of her experiences with Hurricane Irma in Sarasota in September of 2017 appeared in the Cornell Alumni Magazine of July/Aug. 2018 in the Class Notes for her class, the class of 1950, on page 69.
- On March 20, 2018, Mary Wilson, president of the Greater Orlando, FL chapter of NOW, put Sonia's write-up on how she became a feminist in the chapter's enewsletter.
- In honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27, 2018, The Forward newspaper shared its readers' stories, including Sonia's.
- Sonia participates in a one-hour webinar set up by the National Women's History Project (NWHP) on Jan. 13, 2016. 1) Click here to read about NWHP. 2) To listen to the oral comments and see the written comments, click on "webinar archive" toward the bottom of your screen. On the "webinar archive" screen, it is, however, very difficult to move the written comments up or down. 3) To get a clearer view of the written comments and to be able to move them up and down easily, click on "Chat Log." 4) Click on "Final PowerPoint Presentation" if you would like to see that.
- Sonia's article on the second wave of the women's movement: its origin, accomplishments, and the problems that remain--both in the U.S. and globally--appeared on June 14, 2015, on the website of the Institute for Science and Human Values.
- Sonia's write-up appeared on the Facebook page of the Red Star Line Museum commemorating the 81st anniversary of the arrival in the U.S. from Germany, via Belgium, of Sonia and the rest of her immediate family.
- "My Jewish Weekend in Sarasota," sent by Sonia to her friends, Nov. 16, 2014.
- "History Without Hitler?", Op-Ed in the New York Times and its international edition, October 26, 2014. This Op-Ed was written by Sonia's friend, Timothy Ryback, and edited by Sonia.
- "End of Life Issue," October 16, 2014.
- “Top 18 Issues Challenging Women Today,” The Shriver Report, May 5, 2014.
- Sonia’s letter of April 16, 2014, to Bishop Frank J. DeWane, bishop of the Venice, FL diocese, is on the blog of Bridget Mary Meehen.
- On Nov. 1, 2018, a paperback anthology of writings by older women about their lives entitled “You’re Doing What?: Older Women’s Tales of Achievement & Adventure,” edited by Marjorie Penn Lasky, was published. In a section called " A Life of Activism," it contains a piece by Sonia named "Eighty-five years old in Sarasota County, Florida." The book can be purchased from Amazon. For purchases in bulk, Regent Press (email@example.com) will take orders for 10 or more books and provide them at a discount.
- “The Second Wave of the Women’s Movement—Past, Present, and Future,” Women You You Should Know website, March 26, 2014.
- Sonia reminisces about her three British feminist friends, March 25, 2014.
- Sonia’s article about her trip to the Catskills appeared in the Jewish News of Sarasota-Manatee (Jan. 2014, Vol. 44, No. 1, p. 23A).
- Three-part series by Sonia in the Sullivan County Democrat, a newspaper in the Catskill Mountains of New York State.
- Sonia’s submission to the book Mother Knows Better - Sense and Nonsense from American Moms by Patti Murphy is one of over two hundred momisms in the book.
- Sonia’s article about the travails of The Forward after Superstorm Sandy appeared in Der Bay (Vol. XXIII, No. II, Mar.-Apr. 2013, p. 12).
- NOW (National Organization for Women) Founder Sonia Fuentes Gives Back To Education.
- "A heart-healthy diet is easier to adhere to than it may seem, especially with plenty of grocery and restaurant choices in Sarasota," December 7, 2012. (To see this article, which first appeared in the online Sarasota News Leader, once the large picture appears, scroll down to the article.) On April 27, 2015, the article was published on the website of Vegan Everyday Stories. On May 22, 2015, a shortened version of the article appeared on the website of the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.
- “A Journey of Discovery,” Sonia’s article about her September 2011 week’s trip to Germany exploring Jewish life in Germany, published in two parts.
- "Finding My Identity as a Feminist" - This article appeared in the online magazine, Identity, on September 21, 2011.
- "My Story" - This article appeared in HavaMag, Issue 4, August, 2011.
- To access the article:
- Click on the arrow to the right until it takes you to the Table of Contents on the left.
- Click on the first item in the Table of Contents, which is the article about Sonia, on page 10.
- When you come to the article, double click on each page to make the type readable.
- To access the article:
- "First Woman: Sonia Pressman Fuentes," appeared at the end of July 2011 in Ms. JD, an e-zine for women law students and lawyers.
- “Judging Our Future: Supreme Women Move Up,” about the increasing percent of women judges on the U.S. Supreme Court and other courts, went online in the Café section of On the Issues e-zine on December 21, 2010. In February of 2012, the article was added to the featured news & comments section of the website of Cornell University’s Avon Global Center for Women and Justice.
- "Advancing Rights: 1964 Marks the Beginning of a New Era" - This article was published in On The Issues Magazine, Café section, on August 25, 2010, in celebration of Women’s Equity Day, the 90th anniversary of suffrage, August 26, 2010.
- Sonia has written articles for Scitable, a website for women in science, or been introduced as a resource on women and employment law for Scitable, as follows:
- Sonia decries American women’s ignorance of the legal rights they have achieved since the early 1960s and lists those rights. (August 13, 2013)
- Sonia discusses breast implant ruptures and leaks. (Mar. 21, 2011)
- "Sonia Pressman Fuentes on Pregnancy Leave, Parental Care Leave, and the Law" - Sonia explains the law on leave and benefits in connection with pregnancy, delivery, and post-delivery. (July 28, 2010)
- Correction to posting of June 3, 2010, introducing Sonia as Scitable’s resource on women and employment law. (June 4, 2010)
- Sonia is introduced as Scitable’s resource on women and employment law. (June 3, 2010)
- "My Life After Divorce" - Sonia discusses her life after divorce for a “Divorce and Women’s Success” series. (2010)
- "A Negative Experience, A Positive Outcome" - The lucky day Fuentes was fired. (2009)
- "First Wedding at the Fontainebleau," an unpublished anecdote, November 23, 2008.
- Added as a Luminary on inspiremetoday.com, Oct. 2009, and updated in Nov. 2013.
- “If You Build It, They Will Come—The Birth of A Yiddish Club,” published in Der Bay, The International Anglo-Yiddish Newsletter (Vol. XVII, No. 9, Nov. 2007). Sonia starts a Yiddish Club in Sarasota, FL. Also published in the Gantseh Megillah. (Nov. 14, 2007, Issue 8.10)
- "My Fortuitous Escape from the Holocaust and My Life Thereafter" - This article is published on a Web site called "Women and the Holocaust." (2006)
- “A Love Letter to Ostuni” (2005)
- "My Visit to Piltz" - A sequel to "A Visit to Piltz." (2005)
- "Three-hour Tour Turns Unforgettable" - This article, by Fuentes, recalling the saga of her trip to the Thomas Edison and Henry Ford estates in Ft. Myers, FL, appeared in The East County Observer, a newspaper in East Manatee and Sarasota Counties, Florida, January 16, 2003.
- "I Lucky Everything: The Story of a Real `Miss Saigon'" - Along with a manicure, a reminder of how immigrants revitalize our nation. (2002)
- "A Visit to Piltz" - This article is about Fuentes' August 2001 journey to her parents' birthplace, a village called Piltz in Poland. (2001)
- "How I Built a Life in Retirement" - Sonia had a difficult time adjusting to retirement, and then she entered the best years of her life. (2000)
- "How I Published My Memoir: A Lawyer-Feminist's Story" - This is the story of the six years Fuentes spent in researching, writing, publishing and marketing her memoir and making the transition from being a lawyer to a writer and public speaker. (Also see: "How I Got Published in South Africa) (2000)
- "A Seder in Shanghai" - Fuentes participates in a seder in a most unlikely city, Shanghai, China. This piece appeared previously in JoyZine and on Harry Leichter's website. (1999)
- "HUD Goes to the Moscow Trade Show" - This article was originally published in Sparks 28. March - April, 1999. (1999)
- Breast Cancer and Ruptured/Leaking Breast Implants - The story of Fuentes' experience with breast cancer. (1998)
- "Three United States Feminists: A Personal Tribute" - This article is about Fuentes' most memorable encounters with Alice Paul, the Rev. Dr. Pauli Murray, and Catherine East (1998). Later that year, a slightly different version of the segment on Alice Paul was published in Moondance. A more readable version can be accessed here.
- “Representing Women,” a 17-page article, originally published in Frontiers, a Journal of Women Studies (Vol. 18, No.3, Nov. 3, 1997), by the Washington State University Press, is available by emailing Sonia at firstname.lastname@example.org and asking her to email it to you or by purchasing it at jstor.org. This was Sonia’s first published article about women’s rights.
- "House of History" (written in 1996) -- A history of the headquarters of the National Woman's Party (NWP). The house, most recently known as the Belmont-Paul Women's Equality National Monument and previously known as the Sewall-Belmont House, was for many years the headquarters of the National Woman's Party. However, at the end of 2020, NWP ended its existence and transferred its functions to the Alice Paul Institute in New Jersey.
- "Magnolias" - A Washington, DC, love story. (1996)
- "Family Past Unfolds Like Detective Story" - Research Leads to Ship's Records, a Movie and Snapshots. (1995)
- “Impressions: The Status of Women in Southeast Asia,” published in the Common Law Lawyer (no longer in existence), Sept.-Oct. 1978. (To enlarge the print on machines using Windows, hold down the control button of your computer while moving the wheel of your mouse. If viewing through Adobe Acrobat, enlarge the text with the plus button, or use the percentage dropdown list.)
If you'd like to enlarge the print, at the bottom of each page on the right-hand side, three buttons appear. Click the middle button, which is a zoom and it enlarges the print.
Sonia Pressman Fuentes
Ruptured Breast Implants
Millions of women in the U.S. have breast implants, which they secured after mastectomies or for cosmetic reasons. Many of them do not know (1) that they need periodic MRIs to determine if their implants are leaking or ruptured; (2) how to find a facility that has the equipment for performing such MRIs; and (3) what to do if the MRI reveals their implant is leaking or has ruptured.
I had no problems with the silicone gel breast implant in my right breast during the fifteen years after my 1990 mastectomy and simultaneous implant other than its hardening. During those fifteen years, none of the doctors I saw (the surgeon who performed the mastectomy, the plastic surgeon who did the implant, my oncologist, or my internist) ever suggested that (a) I have a test to determine whether the implant was leaking or had ruptured, and (b) if a leak or rupture were found, I consider having the implant removed and replaced.
In the spring of 2005, while I was at my Sarasota, FL, winter residence, I began to notice that my right breast appeared to be growing smaller. Shortly thereafter, I saw an article on CNN.com stating that silicone gel implants had limited life spans and could leak or rupture and advising women to have periodic MRIs to check on their implants.
When I returned to my Potomac, MD, residence in late spring, I researched this matter on the websites of the FDA and the National Research Center for Women & Families, visited my oncologist and plastic surgeon and discussed this matter with the surgeon who performed my mastectomy.
I learned from my research that studies by Dr. Lori Brown and her colleagues at FDA indicated that most women with silicone gel-filled breast implants would have at least one broken implant within 10 years.
The FDA's Web site at that time stated:
“Breast implants do not last a lifetime. Some breast implants rupture/deflate in the first few months after being implanted and some deflate after several years. Others may take 10 or more years to rupture/deflate. . . .
“As a last note, FDA does not consider mammograms an adequate means of detecting implant rupture/deflation for silicone gel-filled breast implants. As described in the Local Complications & Reoperations (Rupture/Deflation of Silicone Gel-Filled Breast Implants) section above, FDA believes that MRI is currently the best method for detecting implant rupture for silicone gel-filled breast implants.”
Note: The FDA has a Breast Implant Consumer Handbook with a section on “Local Complications & Reoperations,” based on a study it conducted in June 1999. It is online at here.
When I mentioned these facts to my doctors, they either expressed ignorance of this information, suggested I have a mammogram before an MRI to check on the condition of the implant, or said that even if the implant were found to be leaking or had ruptured, removal and replacement were not necessarily required as such leaks and ruptures were not harmful, and that the decisions as to whether to remove and replace a leaking or ruptured implant were up to me.
On the issue of whether silicone gel breast implants that are leaking or ruptured should be removed, the website of the National Research Center at http://www.breastimplantinfo.com then stated as follows:
“Can broken implants make me sick?
“According to the FDA’s research, women with leaking silicone implants are more likely to report fibromyalgia (a painful disorder) or several other painful and debilitating diseases. . . .
“What do I do if my implant breaks?
“Most experts agree that it is important to remove a ruptured implant as soon as possible, especially if it contains silicone gel. . . .
“It is important to have ruptured silicone gel implants removed as soon as possible. The longer the silicone is allowed to remain in the body, the more time it has to migrate to other parts of your body, like lungs or lymph nodes, where it can’t be removed. Unfortunately, nobody knows for sure what will happen as a result of silicone in the body because no one has conducted any research on the subject."
I was able to get a prescription for an MRI from one of my doctors and then I had to find a facility qualified to perform such an MRI.
In my research, I learned that Dr. Michael Middleton of San Diego, California, was an expert on using MRIs to detect the leaking and rupture of silicone breast implants. Dr. Middleton suggested I find a facility that:
a) had a 1.5 tesla scanner,
b) had and used a “breast coil,”
c) imaged each breast independently (one at a time),
d) for each breast, performed T2-weighted imaging with water suppression,
and then with silicone suppression, and
e) for each sequence, obtained images at high enough resolution:
minimum: 20 cm FOV, 256 x 256 matrix, 4 mm slice thickness.
I called two facilities in the Washington, D.C., area that did not have this equipment but then I found a third that did and scheduled an MRI for June 1, 2005.
Subsequently, I had the MRI, which showed that my implant had indeed ruptured.
Thereafter, I consulted several experts for recommendations on a surgeon to remove and replace the implant. All highly recommended Dr. Lu-Jean Feng who has her own clinic in Cleveland, Ohio. At the end of August 2005, I flew to Cleveland to consult Dr. Feng, who recommended that I have an ultrasound given by a doctor in Cleveland who specialized in such ultrasounds. That ultrasound confirmed the diagnosis that the implant had ruptured. On September 1, in her clinic, Dr. Feng removed the ruptured implant and replaced it with a saline implant.
That was five years ago and “so far, so good.”
© 2011 by Sonia Pressman Fuentes