- 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 email@example.com 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.)
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Sonia Pressman Fuentes
What to Do With Aging Breast Implants
Experts set the record straight for women who often face conflicting advice.
By Linda Searing, HealthDay Reporter
SUNDAY, March 26 (HealthDay News) -- For the estimated three million American women with breast implants, one thing remains certain: At some point, they will need to be replaced or removed.
Breast implants do not last forever -- whether they are filled with silicone gel or saline, or whether they were done to reconstruct a breast after a mastectomy or to augment the size or shape of a breast.
Knowing just when that time has come, however, and what to do if you suspect it has, is not always simple.
Sonia Fuentes, 77, of Potomac, Md., a retired attorney and co-founder of the National Organization for Women, encountered that conundrum last year when she suspected problems with the silicone-gel implant she had gotten 15 years earlier after a mastectomy. She thought it had hardened and gotten smaller and feared it was leaking.
She consulted her oncologist, the surgeon who had performed the mastectomy and the plastic surgeon who had performed the implant, and she also scrolled the Internet for background. But opinions and advice were conflicting:
- Get a mammogram to see if the implant has ruptured, one doctor suggested.
- Don't get a mammogram, a women's Web site warned, as the compression could cause the implant to break.
- Have an MRI, the FDA urged on its site, noting that that's the best way to detect a rupture.
- An MRI wasn't necessary, another doctor told her.
"The quality of advice people get is very spotty," said Dr. Scott Spear, chief of plastic surgery at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C., and immediate past president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
So what's a woman to do?
Anyone concerned about an implant should "start off by seeing a doctor, a plastic surgeon" preferably, Spear said. If the original surgeon cannot be reached or the woman is uncomfortable with the surgeon's opinion, he recommended going to a clinic that specializes in implants or finding a plastic surgeon associated with a university.
That's when Fuentes' saga really began. First she consulted the doctors who had treated her initially. "All of these doctors are top guys," she said. "I had a lot of respect for them." But, she said, two of them "said to me, 'Your breast hasn't changed,' " which she considered "a little presumptuous."
She also was not comfortable with their nudging her to have a mammogram, given what she had read on the Internet and heard from friends.
"You've got to learn to go with your gut," Fuentes said. "But so many women, if a doctor tells them something -- that's it."
Fuentes insisted on an MRI, her doctor relented, and the MRI revealed a ruptured implant.
She asked a plastic surgeon in Cleveland to remove the implant, replace it with a saline version and reconfigure her breasts to ensure symmetry. But she said the surgeon insisted on an ultrasound of the implant beforehand, an option no one else had proposed. It, too, showed a rupture, and the surgery went on as planned.
Dr. Michele Shermak, chief of plastic surgery at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore, said she also uses ultrasound to evaluate implants.
"A mammogram, like any plain film X-ray, is not good at seeing soft-tissue problems," Shermak explained.
For detecting breast cancer, the American Cancer Society recommends regular mammograms, and Shermak indicated that advice should apply to women with and without implants. "Compression should not be a problem" for women with implants, she said.
But for detecting possible rifts in an implant, "mammograms are really not the best way to go," she said.
"Ultrasound is usually the first test that I'll do," Shermak said. She described it as "easy technology" and a test that most medical offices could perform.
"MRI would be the next step," she said. "The MRI is very good, very specific, very sensitive." She described it as "almost too precise in some cases" as it tends to detect "any little thing that looks a little bit abnormal."
In Fuentes' case, however, the MRI and ultrasound were on target. Her surgery took 4-1/2 hours, in part because "the implant had collapsed and had silicone all over it, so it was difficult to remove," Fuentes said she was told by the surgeon.
Saline leaking from a broken implant appears to pose no danger, but opinions differ on the effect of escaping silicone.
If silicone leaks, "the body walls it off," Shermak explained. "The body normally develops scar tissue to things it doesn't see as itself. The scar tissue effectively becomes a shell around the implant."
However, Spear said that "the risk of it even locally causing mischief is pretty low."
Both surgeons said that for any woman unnerved by those thoughts or having other fears about an implant, removing the implant is usually the appropriate option.
"You only need to treat or remove the implant if the patient is symptomatic," Shermak said. "But I would never say 'don't do it,' if that's what the woman wants."
To learn more about breast implants, check the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Breast Implant and Consumer Handbook.
SOURCES: Scott Spear, M.D., professor, Department of Surgery, and chief, Division of Plastic Surgery, Georgetown University Hospital, Washington, D.C.; Michele Shermak, chief of plastic surgery, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, Baltimore; Sonia Fuentes, Potomac, Md.
Last Updated: March 26, 2006