Smart Phone Security for Today’s Technology

All of us seem to have a smart phone these days. We have pictures, documents, mobile wallets and if it goes south, hacked, lost…your life will seem to be over. So start thinking about the active precautions you need to take..NOW!

  1. Install a VPN  – virtual private network – there are many choices out there along with discounts
  2. Install an ad blocker. Some VPN’s  do that automatically
  3. Activate your screen lock
  4. Always check permissions with addition of new app’s
  5. Activate remote device locator
  6. Activate auto back-up
  7. Activate 2-factor authentication
  8. Turn on encryption
  9. Install antivirus
  10. Make sure to use different passwords for different accounts (password manager)

Security today has to be first and foremost in your mind. Often you are sing your own device at work. What will happen if your or your company information is compromised. Who is to be blamed? Can it affect your job? If a breach occurs because of your device what are the consequences. Mobile technology has made our lives more interesting, often easier, but also a challenge in keep information safe and secure.

For further information and other updates contact Linda at 310-831-4400 or watch for her regular Twitter updates!

Do you know what’s included in a background check?

What’s Included in an Employee Criminal Background Check?

Every employee background check also includes a thorough employee criminal background check. Some of the information is public and some is private, but all of the information is important in assessing a job applicant. Although the type of information checked varies from state to state and county to county, an employee criminal background check can include:

  • Credit, driving, criminal, education, medical, drug test, court, military, and bankruptcy records
  • Social Security Number
  • Vehicle registration
  • Property ownership
  • Past employment
  • Professional and personal references

All of this information is invaluable, but one aspect that is often overlooked is the credit report. A poor credit rating makes the average applicant a higher risk for identity theft. Additionally, research shows that one in four disputes over information on an employee criminal background check is connected to identity theft issues, so take every precaution to thoroughly evaluate every prospective employee’s credit and criminal records.

Linda Vincent, Founder of The Identity Advocate, is dedicated to helping consumers and businesses keep their identities safe. This article first appeared in the newsletter provided by The Identity Advocate.

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Breast Cancer and the Ongoing treatments after surgery

I have had a time out…as in trying to catch up with treatments, give good accounting, I got waylaid by other parts of my life.

Below is what I began:

This is going to be a long few months. June 24 will be last ‘chemo blast’ then onto just the striaght Herceptin! Then I will only be in the chair for a 1/2 hour vs. six hours. I am glad I have some travel , though mostly business, to look forward too! Florida, Amelia Island for board meetings at the Ritz. Santa Monica Lowe’s for a speaking engagement. Milwaukee for another non-profit group and board meetings…and in the middle (May) 10 days in in Hawaii on the Big Island! I don’t think I have a life anymore. I am finding it harder to plan anything but doctor visits; chemo visit; blood work; and those five to six hours in the chair during the chemo blasts, a very long day. I still have someone drive me to and from as I also have to take some benedryl in case of reactions (I have seen a few but haven’t experienced any). Then, too, I have to worry about dog care for the day, as she can’t stay home alone for that length of time.

My blood values are staying stable. I will not have to go through the Epogen or Neupogen blood additives. I have the two terrific days post chemo, then I begin three horrible days of excruciating bone pain. I will be taking two days of extra steroids for the bone pain and it will decrease it some, but not eliminate it. The ringing in my ears is becoming most annoying, and the hand and foot numbness is increasing.

Now I am going to end this piece and move onto the other issues post the last chemo blast.

To connect with Linda, call her at 310-831-4400 or email at



Solo-preneur and ongoing breast cancer treatments

When my surgeon said, the surgery was the easy part, he wasn’t kidding! I feel like I am always going to the doctors.

So I see the radiation oncologist first. Nice interview, lots of information, brought a friend for that second pair of ears. We had  discussions on the length of time in treatment– everyday! One of my questions included what if I need to miss a day. They will add it on at the end. They want to do the bulk of treatments back to back to get the desired effect. They did a physical exam of my breast. Doctor said it is still swollen but that won’t make a difference yet. They will ‘map’ me as I get closer to the time of treatment. The ‘mapping’ process will include CT of breast/chest, original tumor location, so they know density and relationship to rib cage. He did say I would get to update him once I visited the medical oncologist, as it looked like, in addition to estrogen/progesterone positive, I was Hers2 but that was simply injections every three weeks of Herceptin. Ok, well that no big deal! Let me go do more research on that Hers2 receptor site!!

Medical Oncologist visit. Well, now here is the surprise. We discussed factors used to determine the Hers2 and I am 3+ Oh my gosh! So this not only means Herceptin – IV, not a ‘shot’ as I was originally told, but six chemo blasts to improve the outcome and decrease chances of more cancer someplace else in my body. I need to have a ‘port’ surgically implanted. This will prevent all my veins being blown with all the IV chemo, pre-meds and such. Plus, I need an echo-cardiogram, (every three months) as the Herceptin has a chance of causing heart failure. Really ??? I guess I am buying quite the ‘insurance’ plan to make sure I come away as clean as my surgery had been. I know I am not looking forward to this.

The port is placed two weeks later. Pretty easy in and out surgery. Sets along top of ribcage. Lots of swelling and some redness. My fear, infection. But there was nothing present. However, first chemo, nurses couldn’t access port. Too swollen. SO, burned through three veins that day. Plus, I was there over six hours. Thank goodness I don’t have to return for 3 week. In between, I go to see the oncologist, to make sure I am doing okay.

Next chemo/Herceptin boost, the port is accessed. This makes life so much easier! Everyone should do this if you are getting more than a couple treatments. The Herceptin will continue until end of next February. Here I have really not been sick in my life, now doctors, nurses, infusions, blood draws, something all the time.

First two days post chemo, due to steroids I am in great form. Lots of energy, getting many of things done. However, day three, not only do I  crash down in energy but the bone pain in all my joints is excruciating! The post op lumpectomy pain didn’t hurt like this. Plus, I have numbness and tingling and burning in my feet and some of my fingers. When I call on Monday, they said, oh, gee, this is a little early for that kind of reaction. That usually happens at the end. Well, isn’t that special.

Next oncologist visit, he changes some of pre-meds (steroids) to also be post chemo too to help with bone pain. The we will ‘watch’ the numbness in hand and feet. What has happened. Surgery was so simple. And this will take me through June. I will be traveling around my infusion schedule, for board meetings and speaking engagements. I will do all best efforts to stay healthy!

Next, the ongoing saga of how things change with each chemo blast.

Question, thoughts, conversation, call Linda at 310-831-4400

Breast Cancer, Solo-preneur, and planning the work schedule

The first battle is done, now to think about when to work, how much to work and when to give yourself time off.

I am continuing to ice the surgical site, only about 2 to 3 times a day. Only still taking Tylenold, and part of that is for that silly arthritis type back pain. My breast does not hurt! One week post op and back for first surgeons visit. He said things went well, ultimately (with the aforementioned adventures). Incisions looks great. He is happy. He then tells me I am very lucky as not only were my lymph nodes clear, but I am estrogen, progesterone positive, which just means that daily pill for 5 years. I will learn more when I visit the oncologist. I will also have a visit with the radiation oncologist, as with lumpectomies, if you do not do radiation to the area, you have a 70% chance of getting a tumor back in the same area. Okay, add more doctors to my treatment plan. When am I going to work? Oh, and those daily naps mean a lot to my health and well being...make plans to do them!!

My time I get most tired is about 3 PM, so I give myself permission to snooze about 20 minutes, as that is all it seems to take. I take out my contacts and just getting between the sheets, makes me feel as if I am having a spa moment! There are a couple days that I found I was in need ot more time, and you know what? It was okay. Mornings are my best time to review emails, make a decision on what to do with them (respond later, discard, plan an action for later). I find I am resolving all three of my addresses in an hour. I may have come up with sometime to carry forward when all of the treatments are over! Gee my business coach was right, as she always has been! Next, I am not going to my office on weekends. I still need quiet time, to give myself that joy of not having to be somewhere, and responsible for email, text, linkedin communications. I found by not pushing I could get more accomplished in the morning which has been my best work time anyway!

Next, the visit with the radiation oncologist, before the medical oncologist as we KNOW we will have radiation. Wow, and that will have to be everyday. What a challenge in a work schedule.

Next time, more than I bargained for!

Breast Cancer: First five days post op lumpectomy

Post -op

I am so glad to get home to sleep in my own bed! I will have to add a new allergy to my list – Dilaudid! If I can’t stay awake, I shouldn’t take it. First thing I did was get my packet of ice to use on my  surgical site. It helps control the swelling which in turn helps control pain. I was too fearful to take the Norco they prescribed for pain having experience the narcotic Dilaudid in the hospital, so I took some Tylenol. No aspirin or aspirin products as they can lead to bleeding.

My dog was staying with friends, so I didn’t have to worry about taking her out for the last piddle of the night nor would my friend was who was staying over to help with changing out the ice and retrieving pain medicine. It was a pain free night, with just the ice and Tylenol. Who knew.

Morning comes, and swelling is minimal, pain is minimal, more ice, and more Tylenol to keep pain at bay. Often once pain starts, getting it back under control is worse than if it had never begun. Breakfast is quick, toast and salmon cream cheese and heavenly coffee. Nothing heavy. My dog will be staying with friends for another day, so no worries on who will take care of her, her twice daily medications, her meals and walking her! Remember if you have a pet, have a back up plan in case they need to stay with them longer!

I watched bit of TV, and there sure is nothing on during the morning after the news. Decided to go take a nap. Several friends checked in. I am glad for their caring and offers of assistance. Lunch and dinner are uneventful. Naps are plentiful. Pain is being handled by the ice and some regular dosing of Tylenol. I refused to fill the narcotic prescription!

My friends agreed they will keep my dog until sometime over the weekend.  I so miss her, but actually I am glad as energy wise, and assisting her up and down stairs sounds like more than I can handle.

All in all such an easier time than I expected. I do follow directions well, no lifting, I do regular icing, staying on top of Tylenol doses, and naps! Nurse friends said Saturday could be the toughest day, that was 3rd post op day, they were right! Just wanted to sleep and skip eating, but kept the ice on and took my Tylenol. Then another nurse friend of mine brought dinner on Sunday night. What a treat, again, things to plan ahead. Have some one with you the first two to three  days! Plan for someone to prepared a couple meals, and others to stop by with meals for those first 4 or 5 days. The first first days are key to your recovery! Funny I found out my surgeon was not a big proponent of ice! Never found out why. I have found ice helpful in all surgeries I have experienced.

Next, time to think about work plans.

To connect with Linda call her at 310-831-4400 or email at

Breast Cancer: The solo-preneur and now the day of surgery

The day of surgery is here.

Of to the hospital for an 8:30 AM admission time. I have not eaten or drank anything since late evening. Oh, well, I did have a couple sips of water brushing my teeth. I just can’t brush and not have a touch of water (that almost cost me my surgery-don’t do it). I have three of my friends and my pastor meet us at the hospital for prayer before admission. Admissions was tedious as they hadn’t heard of my plan (new to the marketplace due to the new “Obamacare’ rules). So finally after much ado about nothing it seems, I am sent to the outpatient surgery center on second floor. There starts the day that was never going to end.

Get settled into my bed, all those pre-op questions, and my friends wait in visitors area until I am done.  They also they are waiting on starting an IV, never did find out why. Friends arrive at bedside then off to radiology for needle placement so during surgery they can pinpoint my tumor. In placing the needle, it had to be removed  and placed a longer one that actually defined the complete size of the tumo. And of all the technological developments, to protect the end of the needle from coming out, or me hitting it or  being displaced and such, they tape a small paper cup over the end of the needle….pretty hilarious!

Now it has been about 12 hours since I have eaten or drank ANYTHING, so my veins, being what they are, are starting to collapse. Now they need to get an IV started right away. The pre-op nurse asked if I minded having the new graduate? Well, not really excited about this as I have crappy veins, but I remember I had to learn once upon a time too. He was awful! Grabbed my hand, I thought it was going to break. Then he went in too hard, and couldn’t get placement. I said you need to stop, NOW! So the actual pre-op nurse took over and placed it immediately.

Next, we found out my surgeon was 3 hours behind due to some complications with a current surgery, and there was to be one other surgery before mine. My expected surgery time was 1 PM, I will be getting in a 4 PM. He did come to see me about 1:30 to inject the radiological material for scan of the lymph nodes during surgery. He had said this was going to be the worst. So, as he injected, I kept waiting for pain. Then, he says, okay were done! I said really? Where is all that pain I expected, and was worried me more than anything to happen on the day of surgery. Guess my pain tolerance is pretty good.

Finally, 4 PM comes and they take me to surgery. My little hour to hour and a half expected surgery turned into 3 hours, due to a broken lymph node biopsy machine. They had to send out to another facility to obtain one that worked. In the meantime, they closed that small incision, so they could start the actual lumpectomy. Surgery goes clean to dirty, and as my nodes may be clear, they finished the lumpectomy, had to clean the surgical suite, so the nodes, hopefully clear,  could be removed and analyzed. They were clear! Yahoo! They finished surgery  and sent me to recovery.

In recovery as I began to wake up, they asked if I had any pain, I said yes, my left knee was killing me! They reminded me it was my right breast. I told them that ached a little, but my left knee was still killing me! They gave me dilaudid as ordered for pain. Put me right back to sleep. I never left the hospital until 11:30 that night. What a day!

Stay tuned for the next installment, the first 5 days post op! What you’ll need, what to ask for, and friends that helped!


To connect with Linda call her at 310-831-440 or email at


Continuing On: The Breast Cancer, the solo-preneur, Findings that lead to the Surgery

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions…

Now THE  appointment with the surgeon is here (yes, expect surgery if you go to a surgeon, but…) with all results in from MRI of both breasts, and bone scan (not bone density) and I brought along two friends from church. Remember, extra ears and friends taking notes are mandatory! You are under a lot of stress at this point and may not ‘hear’ everything.

Doctor comes in, sits down and says “well, we are going to have a very different conversation today from what I expected”. Now I am thinking oh Lord, what is this going to mean??? He went on to tell me the MRI showed my tumor was only 1.9 mm vs the 5 mm he first thought with biopsy results. Plus, the other breast was clear! Whew! His recommendation was breast tissue conserving surgery, thus a lumpectomy not the mastectomy he envisioned due to initial ‘size’ of my tumor! God was in my life and taking care of my body and  had a plan. Therefore life was not going to be so complicated with a longer surgery, drains, increased prospect of pain, then comes breast revisions and all that recovery time.

Next was to schedule the surgery as he was going on holiday and we would not get started for about 3 weeks. Lots to prepare for now. Get the date set; find care for the dog while out of commission; someone to take me to the hospital, bring me home and spend the night; lab work, EKG; chest x-ray; and scariest of all get my insurance coverage confirmed as I was also changing plans due to change in Cigna…So much to do, so little time and looking at my schedule I expect to keep working during recovery as it is only the lumpectomy, I plan to be working within a week!



Next up – day of surgery.


To connect with Linda, call her at 310-831-4400 or

Breast Cancer and the Solo-preneur: Surgeons visit


The Ultrasound and the mammogram results were it.  The surgeon confirmed there was ‘something’ there; it, the tumor, might be benign or might be malignant. So, after insurance approval, next up comes the biopsy. Then he had also ordered a bone scan, for base line reading as breast cancer so often morphs to the bone. Ultimately he ordered the MRI of the both breasts. Whew, but it is good to make certain of what’s there! Also good to determine the size of the tumor, and make the correct decisions regarding if a  lumpectomy or mastectomy was going to be the surgery of choice.

Biopsy results are in. Another appointment with the surgeon. I brought a friend of mine from church who has had both breasts removed due to two different kinds of breast cancer. Always bring another set of ears with you! Also, bring paper and pen to take notes, or have your friend take notes!

My surgeon is terrific. He began by saying that it was cancer, those words you just really don’t want to hear….especially when there is no cancer of any kind in my family! He said that he doesn’t believe in shrinking (via chemo) the tumor just to do a lumpectomy. There may be leftover cancer cells someplace  around. All his explanations were clear, all questions answered including those of my friend. So he will see me after the MRI to determine which surgery was appropriate. Currently my tumor was sized out at about 5 mm..kinda big..oh crap.

So here are some of the facts to consider: if the lumpectomy is done, I will need radiation as a tumor will re-appear in same area in 70% of cases (what a stat!); If the mastectomy, there is no radiation, but then you have all the re-constructive surgery to consider, as well as more pain, more tubes and drains, more time “off” for healing. So I turned it over to God asking just to be clear of any cancer, no matter which surgery was going to happen. Obviously there was surgery in my future.

Next installment: the MRI results and the decisions about surgery and what it may mean for time away from my work.

To connect with Linda call her at 310-831-4400 or Linda@theidentityadvocate


Breast Cancer and the Solo-preneur: We begin

If you read the first blog and thought it might be interesting to follow us, here we go!

So it started over a year before I did something about ‘it’. I was getting ready in the morning, and looked at my boob in the mirror and wondered how I got a bruise on my right breast. I felt it, and it was sore. It also felt like it was a small piece of rope in there, not a lump. I have had dense breasts all my life and even had to have an ultrasound one year, as they were not sure what they ‘saw’ in the mammogram. Well, there is no cancer in my family, just heart disease, so what was there to worry about? A couple weeks go by, the bruise and the rope-like lumpy thing went away.

I was due for my annual mammogram, didn’t say anything looked or felt amiss. I figured lets just see what the mammogram shows! Smart, huh? Well, in the end, not really. I didn’t do anything about checking it out further, but keep my eye on when it would show up and when it would disappear.

In the meantime, my friend, and dentist whose breast cancer was in remission, sadly  moved to her bones. Thus began her long battle to rid the bone/breast cancer. I became involved in her last 4 months of life, going to every doctors appointment; asking those nurse type questions; being that other set of ears. After her death in May, I finally decided to see my NP (nurse practitioner) and check out my ‘funny boob bruise’. Now we are really taking  the time for diagnosis!

She said there appeared to be something in there. She order the mammogram. I went next to a breast cancer surgeon, who determined in addition to the mammogram, to do the ultrasound. More reasons now to be scared? Still, no cancer in my family. Again, it didn’t ‘act’ like a lump…

Next installment: The office visit with the Surgical oncologist


Got questions? Want to connect with Linda? Call her at 310-831-4400 or email her at