Posts Tagged ‘health’
I am dedicating this post to Jessica at Alone…With Cats. I’ve been meaning to write this post for awhile but got distracted. It happens. Sue me.
Once upon a time, I discovered a lump. It was the size of a gumball, under my left ear. Like a good patient, I told my rheumatologist because there are a lot of glands there and I figured one was swollen.
Dr. C felt the lump and went “huh…” then he prescribed antibiotics and some prednisone, thinking it might be an infection. We rescheduled for two weeks later. Alas, the lump remained! So he sent me for a CT Scan of my neck. Just to check things out.
I dutifully went off for my first CT Scan. I giggled a little when the technician told me the contrast dye would make me feel like I peed my pants. I appreciated how she stressed that I would not actually be urinating, it was simply the sensation. I left thinking it was nothing painful, but I wouldn’t want to do it again.
Dr. C called within days to tell me that the lump didn’t show up on the CT Scan so there was nothing to worry about there. But…
Oh, when the doctor says “but…” you should run. Run fast in the opposite direction. Apparently the CT Scan caught some other things and I would need further tests. An MRI was required for the cyst in my brain and another CT Scan was required for the swollen lymph glands in my chest.
So a single lump that wasn’t even important enough to show up on a CT Scan instead led the way to other problems! I should have never even said anything about the damn lump!
Off I go for the MRI of my brain. You know. For the little cyst somewhere in my brain! I don’t remember much about the MRI because it was two years ago. I do remember thinking I never wanted to crawl anywhere in a tunnel.
Yes, the MRI confirmed I had a cyst. It’s a teeny weenie cyst somewhere around my pituitary gland, close to the optical nerves. Originally, it was diagnosed as an arachnoid cyst. Arachnoid=spider?! But because there was a cyst and it was on my pituitary gland, I had to see other doctors: an endocrinologist and a neurosurgeon. Just for fun, an ENT was thrown into the mix to check on the original lump.
My appointment with the ENT took 5 minutes. Maybe. Well, I probably sat in the office for four and she spent a minute with me. The best thing about an ENT visit: you don’t sit on a table, you sit in a recliner. She felt my neck. Pronounced it was probably nothing. Explained that my atrophied parotid gland (as revealed by the MRI) was like our ovaries: when we no longer need them, they shrivel and die. My words, not her’s. But the sentiment remains the same. Except I sure could use my parotid gland…
The endocrinologist needed blood and lots of it. He looked like Niles Crane, which was distracting. He checked my thyroid. He poked at The Lump (because by this point it needs an identifier of its own!). He hmmmed and said he needed to see the results of the blood work.
ENT, check. Done with her with no plans to return. Endocrinologist, check. Follow up on blood work. Which required me to go back to the office because…Some blood work was awry. It would require a re-testing in six months.
I went to the Neurosurgeon who was wonderful! She told me I probably had developed the cyst when I was at 28 days gestation. Apparently the cyst (now referred to as The Tumah, ala Kindergarten Cop) was small enough not to require anything other than monitoring. She showed me the MRI of my brain, showing me exactly where the cyst was located. She did add a test for my regular six-month visit to the ophthalmologist: a field of vision test. I needed this test to monitor if the cyst starts pressing on the optic nerve.
The Tumah is taken care of. Just follow up monitoring to make sure it doesn’t grow. Easy peasy.
Time to take care of the swollen chest lymph nodes. Dr. C the pulmonologist looks at the CT Scan of my chest. He points out the lumps. Says they could be a biproduct of the Sjogren’s Syndrome. They could be fat-filled (yippee…). They require monitoring. This Dr. C is the master of multitasking. As he’s explaining his findings to me, he is on the phone dictating his notes for me chart! He did it in such a way that it wasn’t even bothersome.
Dr. C continues to be efficient. He doesn’t need to see me every six months. His office sends me the orders for the follow up CT Scans in the mail, I have the test, he calls with the results. After two years (I think I’m taking my last one soon!) if there is no change in the lymph nodes, they will simply be identified as permanently enlarged, no further explanation required.
Let’s recap. One gumball sized lump in my neck led to numerous CT Scans, one MRI, multiple vials of blood being drawn, visits to multiple doctors. One gumball sized lump led to the discovery of a cyst and swollen lymph nodes.
By the way, the original lump is still there. In exactly the same spot. No one’s sure what it is. At this point, it’s being blamed on the Sjogren’s Syndrome. I’m starting to think the Sjogren’s is a scape goat…
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Health…such a difficult thing to write about! My mind is either racing or stalled helplessly as I stare at the screen wondering what to write.
I think being healthy means knowing when to relax and stop obsessing about your health.
Yes, eat fruits and vegetables and healthy food…but know when to open the Ben & Jerry’s.
Yes, exercise and get some movement…but know when to sit back and watch the world pass by.
Health is a balance. Good and bad. Mental and physical.
Listen to your body. Are you craving salad and other vegetables? You should indulge. Feeling the urge to exercise? Get up and move. Need a chocolate chip cookie? Yup, have one. Nap time instead of running three miles? Take to your bed.
We are surrounded by information each and every day. Things to do and things to avoid are tossed at us like gospel. Only to be proven wrong months later. Remember, eggs were bad? Now they’re good. Fat was bad? Oops, we need fat! Avoid cravings or substitute something else? Well, that doesn’t work. Have what you’re craving and get it over with.
It’s confusing and disconcerting. If the “experts” can’t agree on what’s good and what’s bad, how can we mere mortals know what to do? We can listen to our bodies! They are amazing machines. They are self-cleaning, self-regulating. They can tell us what they do and don’t need!
Too often we get so caught up in the dos and don’ts of living a healthy life that we end up making ourselves miserable. Which isn’t very healthy! I don’t believe feeling mentally horrid but physically healthy equals health.
Health should mean enjoying life! Have fun. Play. Instead of concentrating on finding a workout buddy, you should find a laugh buddy. Someone who makes you feel like a kid. Not because you’re doing child-like things, but because they teach you how to laugh again.
No, not the polite laughter we use at work and in social situations. I’m talking about gut-busting, abs-hurting, guffaws. Laughter that makes middle-aged women pee their pants and tears stream down their faces.
Laughing like that has to help your health just as much as the aerobics class. You can’t laugh until it hurts and stay mad at the world. It makes you forget the bad and makes you see the good in things.
It’s hard to be negative and snarky when you’re finding things to laugh at. Unless you’re laughing while being snarky. And sometimes that happens.
We don’t need to be perfect to be healthy. We do need to live to be healthy. Living means trying different things in different ways. And being able to laugh at ourselves if we fail.
Have you ever forgotten something? Forgot where you put your keys or forgotten someone’s name? By most accounts this kind of forgetfulness is normal. There are many reasons why we are forgetful: stress, inattentiveness, lack of sleep, and poor diet. Sometimes more serious factors cause memory loss: Alzheimer’s disease, thyroid disorders, and depression, to name just a few.
Regardless of the factors that cause memory loss, you shouldn’t sit still and do nothing. Sometimes memory loss is a temporary problem that might be alleviated by trying something, anything! Aside from visiting a doctor, one of the easiest things to do to try to alleviate your memory loss is to change your diet.
More magazine published an article entitled How to Feed Your Brain which contained suggestions of what to eat to improve your memory:
- Eat chocolate. It increases blood flow to your brain. Chocolate contains flavonols which move blood through the brain. But, it must contain 70% cocoa. And who doesn’t love chocolate?
- Apple juice. Apple juice helps brain cells communicate by getting more magnesium into your system. Magnesium supposedly will help fight memory lapses and help brain cells communicate with each other, which is ultimately what you want.
- Berries and turmeric help fight off inflammation (not in the same meal, please). Berries and turmeric help fight inflammation which makes your memory go bad (aka cognitive decline). So…eat lots of berries (fruit is healthy anyway) and eat spicy foods that contain turmeric (like Indian food, yum) and you’ll be SMART again! Or at least, you’ll remember what you ate for dinner.
- Fish keeps the brain flexible. Bruce from Finding Nemo had it right: fish are friends. Fatty Fish contains DHA (and omega-3s!) which helps slow down mild cognitive impairment. Again, this is what you want.
- Water. Don’t get dehydrated. Drink water or foods with water in them: watermelon, peaches, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc. Sounds like a yummy salad to me.
- Fix what broke: walnuts, almonds, and green tea can be like Bob the Builder in your brain, fixing stuff that isn’t as healthy as it should be.
Adding these goodies to your diet sounds easy. It looks to me like one should eat fruits and veggies, water, nuts and plenty of Indian (yum) food. If you do all these things, you might keep your brain smart. Or at least from eroding any more.
Good luck and happy eating!
Hi. Welcome to me. At 40 something I find myself struggling with forgetfulness and other cognitive problems, which can be equally funny and frustrating! Given my issues with memory loss, declining brain cognition, and depression, I blog at iyampam about how these issues affect me or anything that comes to mind.
I love books, especially children’s books. I have a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science, but my “specialty’ if you will, is books for kids of all ages.
What makes my blog different from others is that I look at books from a multicultural perspective. I feel that many popular books still ignore these populations. It is only natural that a reader should want to read a book about someone who looks like them or shares a similar background!
I also like to have fun and being a little silly never hurts.
Seriously, television executives! You think that pitting brides-to-be against each other for the prize of plastic surgery is a good idea. You think people will be tuning in to watch.
Seriously, American television viewers! You want to watch such drivel?!
I’m afraid I know the answer to that. I watched one episode of Mike & Molly and have refused to tune in again. I won’t even watch one episode of this train wreck. I also will not provide any links to it. You’re on your own if you want to Google it!
This show is exploiting a woman on the most important day of her life. As little girls we dream of our wedding day. Some of us have them planned down to the floral arrangements on the table long before we find the man who will fill the role of groom.
Now someone thinks it’s a good idea to take these wedding dreams and exploit them. They want to take the goal of perfection even further. It’s not enough to have brides maid dresses in exactly the right shade. Or to have the exact flowers you’ve been coveting since girlhood. Now they want these brides to yearn for physical perfection. Not only yearn for it, but to fight for it.
I can just hear the television brainstorming:
Let’s pit bride-to-be against bride-to-be. It will be a hoot to see who survives to the end! And we’ll give the winner surgery! Yes! Plastic surgery! So they can fix all those pesky physical flaws that prevented them from finding love and happiness in the first place. Well, they’ve got some happiness and love–but not the kind they would have if they looked like a Barbie doll! Oh, lordy, this has to be the perfect television formula!
Apparently, the television industry is working with the print media to perpetuate the myth that less than perfect doesn’t count. Perfect, of course, being defined by physical looks alone. The perfect nose. High cheek bones. Flawless complexion. Liposuction to get rid of belly flab and saddle bags. And we women keep buying into it.
We allow television networks to show these things, along with the commercials for diet pills, lunch-time face lifts, and beauty potions. We’re not going to get a break until we agree to turn off these programs. We need to band together and promote programs, articles, and the ideas that beauty isn’t skin deep. When women realize that they are much more than a sum of their parts–whether perfect or imperfect–and refuse to watch this drivel, we’ll all be in a better place.
A better idea would be a show where brides-to-be do something charitable. With the most charitable woman winning the wedding of her dreams. I’d even watch a bride-to-be cooking show. Or decorating show.
What I won’t watch is another show where women are awarded for bad behavior. Especially when the winner of that particular contest wins plastic surgery.
I’d love to get these women together and show them all the plastic-surgery-gone-wrong shows I’ve watched. Maybe that would change their minds. I just hope one of the brides-to-be doesn’t end up on one of those shows.
What do you think? Appalled? Or are you going to watch it?
Childhood Obesity is a huge deal right now. Michelle Obama is all over the television talking about the horror of childhood obesity, you can’t look at cnn.com or yahoo.com without seeing something about how obesity is after your child. Kids are being subjected to public weigh-ins and BMI report cards.
I see some major issues with this:
First, obese children are children first. They are not little walking statistics. They are precious children who have feelings, and who are learning lessons now about self-esteem and body image that will follow them for the rest of their lives. If we try to motivate them to be healthier by shaming them about their bodies it’s going to backfire. Do you take care of things you don’t like? Kids don’t either, and if their body is the epicenter of chiding, shaming and teasing we’re going to teach them to hate those bodies, and they will never take good care of them.
We have a “war against Cancer” and that makes sense – our goal is to eradicate Cancer. But a war against obesity isn’t quite the same. Obesity is measured by our bodies. Bodies we live in 100% of the time. I am my fat. My fat is me. You can’t have a war against my fat and leave me out of it. Therefore a war on obesity is a war on obese people and a war on childhood obesity is a war on children. In the end, people just end up at war with themselves.
Second, nobody can prove that they have a way successfully achieve long term weight loss. Studies show that 95% of people who attempt intentional weight loss fail. We are prescribing something that only works 5% of the time, and then blaming the other 95%. What we do know is that the medical issues that are the result of cycle dieting (yo-yo dieting) can far outweigh the medical issues correlated with obesity. Starting your kids on a diet roller coaster is setting them up for life threatening health problems later for only a 5% chance of success.
Don’t get me wrong – I am absolutely for children’s health. I’m for healthy food in the schools and lots of PE classes and recess time. I’m for those things for ALL children, not just the obese ones. I just don’t see the logic that singling children out and making them feel bad about themselves is a path to health and well-being.
When weight loss is the goal, kids feel punished and restricted. They are forced to exercise to try to change the shape of their bodies, and they learn to hate exercise. They eat what someone else tells them to eat, and they stop trusting their bodies and start labeling foods as “good” and “bad” in a way that can set them up for disordered eating later. And at the end of the week when the scale doesn’t go down as much as they want, they are labeled failures no matter how hard they worked
When healthy behaviors are the goal, kids have success every time they engage in healthy behavior. They succeed every time they are active, make a healthy food choice etc. They can find ways to move that are fun for them, they can learn about what foods they like and don’t, what their bodies really need for fuel, how different foods make them feel, and how to truly make choices about eating.
It’s up to you. You can set your children up for a lifetime of yo-yo dieting, poor body image and low self-esteem. Or you can help your kids use their childhood to plant the seeds for a life of loving movement and exercise, and appreciating, listening to, and taking care of their bodies. While you’re at it – you could choose that kind of life for yourself too. You could be a model for health, high self-esteem and great body image in your family. What do you choose?
A few years ago, I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. I was having heart flutters and when my doctor saw my test results she said I needed to cut down my stress. When I started spewing all the things I had to be stressful about and heard myself telling her about my routines, I gladly took the prescription for an anti-anxiety medication that she offered.
It changed my life.
In a few short weeks, all those voices that were in my head saying mean and spiteful things went away. My mind wasn’t replaced with silence. I don’t think I’m capable of being voice-less. As Aaron often says, “it’s how God made me.”
Once my mind did quiet down, I was able to see how obsessive compulsive I was acting. I was constantly counting. I was having a hard time leaving my house because I was afraid of what would happen if I did. I had to check the animals, the appliances, the lights over and over several times before I could leave. Often, I would get a few blocks away from home and have to turn around to re-check everything again.
The medication hasn’t been without side effects. It affects sex drive. It impedes the ability to orgasm. It’s finding the right dose that makes it bearable.
After being on the medication for awhile, I started studying Buddhism. The details are for another post, but many of the teachings are also about quieting our minds. The judgmental voices in our heads are of our own making and we have the ability to change their tone.
I am not “cured.” I still do my routines. Many times when Kelly picks me up for an outing I will have to go back inside to re-check everything before we can leave.
I was getting concerned because Aaron does the routines with me. When it’s time to go somewhere, he immediately offers, “the dryer’s off…the dogs are inside…we can go.” I told my doctor I was worried he was catching my OCD and she suggested maybe he’s just being empathetic. I still worry because he was awfully OCD when he came to live with us, although it seems to have passed as he settled into a secure environment.
Jim tries to be understanding. But I still see occasional the eye roll when he tells me everything is fine and I still have to check it out myself. The twins are accepting of everything, so I feel no judgment from them.
The anxiety seems worse when I get my period. I’m hoping maybe that when my hormones settle down after menopause I might be “cured.”
Despite having my masters degree in clinical psychology, it never occurred to me to mention my anxiety to anyone when it started out. Maybe I thought I could handle it. Maybe I was embarrassed. But that conversation with my doctor was the best one I’ve ever had. Having it sooner could have saved me years and years of needless anxiety.