Posted in Health

What’s in Your Water?

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after writing a new beginning for my latest WIP. It’s made the story stronger which makes me happy. 🙂

Now to finish it. I’m hoping it won’t take me too much longer. I like this story just like my last one.

Well. Enough about that. We had an interesting week this week. Our community has learned our water supply may be in danger due to the fact a company I shall not name used the surrounding area as a dump for the chemicals they used in tanning the leather used in their shoes.

Photo credit: dantelecan via Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-SA

The middle school my sons attend is near one of the dumpsites and this company has started providing bottled water for the school until the results of the water tests come in.

A few days later we learned there were other dump sites within the community. So we’re all worried about our water now.

Photo via VisualHunt

This is just another example of corporate greed and further evidence that supports a theory I have. We are going to end up killing ourselves if we don’t stop this kind of behavior.

Look at the Flint water crisis. According to sources they still don’t have viable drinking water. At least this company is taking responsibility and trying to correct the problem, but many companies don’t they deny…deny…deny until the evidence is overwhelming.

I know it’s cheaper for corporations to cut corners and work around some of our environmental restrictions, but if it’s bad for our environment, it’s bad for us. Those restrictions are there for a reason.

Photo credit: Images George Rex via Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC-SA

I also know that countries like China and Japan don’t have the restrictions we do. They aren’t as concerned about the environment as we are, but they should be. This is the reason they can produce products less expensively than we can.

Photo via Visualhunt

We need to set up a global environmental protection agency. Set up a protocol we can all live with. I know corruption will still go on, but maybe it’ll be a little bit better if everyone’s playing by the same rules.

We need to make sure we leave a planet our future generations can survive on. I’m worried about the mess we’re leaving behind for our kids. I want to make the world a better place for them, don’t you?

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post today. Do you have any ideas on how to make the world a better place? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

 

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Posted in Health, Reading

Reading: It’s Cheaper than Therapy

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I’m talking about the future of reading in our society. According to this article, reading is on the decline. Washington Post Article

Like the article states, we readers have many distractions pulling us away from our beloved books. There’s the internet, movies, and video games. Now, I’m not big on video games. In fact, the only time my boys want to challenge me to a game is when they need an ego boost because I suck at video games. However, I can attest to the fact there are more things demanding my attention so I don’t read as much as I’d like to.

Photo via VisualHunt

I’m sure you’ve heard many educators claim that reading teaches empathy, and with reading on the decline so is our ability to empathize with our peers. This is evident in the arguments I see on social media. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, but it just seems like we have less tolerance for people who are different than us.

 

Photo credit: Bikes And Books via VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-SA

Not only is reading linked with empathy but there are other benefits we need to pay attention to as well.

For example, reading is an incredible stress reliever. Did you know by picking up a book and reading for just six minutes you can reduce your stress level by sixty eight percent?  I don’t know about you, but I’m teaching this to my kids. Exercise and reading are better ways of handling stress than drinking alcohol or taking drugs, wouldn’t you agree?

As a parent, we need to teach our littles how to cope with everyday stress and one of the cheapest ways is to pick up a book and read. It sure beats the alternatives and is less expensive than therapy.

There are still more benefits to reading for pleasure. Like running is exercise for the body, reading is exercise for the mind. It improves focus, improves memory, and analytical skills. To read more about this check out this post: The Benefits of Reading

I don’t know about you, but I feel we can’t let this decline continue. If we do we’ll be seeing our young people resorting to other stress relievers that aren’t as beneficial.  We don’t want that to happen. You realize there’s an opioid epidemic happening don’t you?  I don’t want one of my kids to end up as part of that statistic, do you?

So teach them healthy coping mechanisms like reading for pleasure and exercising. They’ll be happier and healthier because of it.

Photo via Visualhunt

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. Do you have any thoughts you’d like to share? Leave a comment. I love to hear from you!

 

 

 

Posted in Health

You Need to be Your Own Advocate

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a harrowing week of being at the hospital with my son who developed appendicitis over the weekend. My poor little guy was in so much pain. Sob. When we figured out he might have appendicitis, we immediately got him into the doctor who then made arrangements for him to go to the emergency room.

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We got our son into the hospital and we hoped he’d have surgery that night. Nope. He wasn’t considered an emergency case because his appendix hadn’t burst. According to the ultrasound, it was just inflamed. So they gave him pain medication and anti-nausea medication for the night. He was scheduled for surgery the next morning, but he was pushed back to noon because an emergency case had come in. When he finally went into surgery it was one thirty, and guess what, during our wait his appendix burst. The surgery took longer than expected and so has his recovery. We were in the hospital two days longer than we had planned.

 

Photo via Visualhunt.com

The reason I’m telling you this is because you must be your own advocate when you seek medical attention. I wish we hadn’t blindly followed the doctor’s advice and allowed him to push our son’s surgery back. I wish we had said we feel this is a real emergency and we want this taken care of now.

Another example I’d like to share with you is when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. The surgeon who performed my mastectomy originally recommended a lumpectomy because they had only found one spot.

Photo credit: KOMUnews via Visualhunt.com / CC BY

I told him I wanted an MRI done to make sure there weren’t any other cancerous spots. I wanted this to be a one and done kind of thing. I didn’t want to have to go through anything like this again.  His response was, “We don’t do MRI’s on people your age.”

I told him I didn’t care. I wanted to make sure there weren’t any other spots and he needed to order an MRI. He did and there were five other cancerous spots. Now if I had just listened to him, I’d be going back for more surgery and the cancer would’ve most likely spread through my body. My life would’ve been cut dramatically short.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate everything the medical community has done for me. After all, they’ve extended my life and I get to see my kids grow up. But they’re not always right and some doctors have a tendency to cut corners whether it’s at the behest of insurance companies or for other reasons I’m not sure. So the moral of this story is: You need to be your own advocate for your health. Ask questions and push the issue when you need medical attention. Get second and third opinions. It could literally save your life.

 

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. Do you have any medical experiences you’d like to share? Please do. I love to hear from you!

Posted in Health

The Benefits of Forest-Bathing

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week. We went on a quick vacation to Tahquamenon Falls and had a good time. We hiked along the river and got some great pictures. I love getting out into nature, it’s so calming and good for you, too! Experts are calling it Forest bathing.

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I mentioned it last week in a post and I thought I’d dig a little deeper. Forest bathing originated in Japan where it is called Shinrin-Yoku. Why is walking through a forest beneficial for us?

That is a very good question. The reason traipsing through the woods is good for us is because we inhale phytoncides when we breathe in the forest. These are antimicrobial volatile compounds derived from trees.

 

Photo via Visual Hunt

These phytoncides are released by the trees and plants as a defense mechanism against fungus, bacteria, and even animals. These compounds are good for humans as well. According to one study, they enhanced the destructive mechanism in our cells that kill the cell when its time has run out. It also enhanced the anti-cancer proteins production.  Now that is good news.

To put this in layman’s terms, breathing in phytoncides enhances our own natural defenses.  I think this is incredible. It supports the theory that we’re all connected, with each other, and with nature. Wouldn’t you agree?

Not only is forest bathing physically healthy it’s also psychologically good for us, too. It has been found to be advantageous to people who are dealing with chronic stress. I can attest to the stress-relieving benefits of walking through nature, but now I have scientific proof. Yay Me! For more info about this, check out this post from Huffington Post.

Huffington Post

It’s important in our hustle and bustle world that we teach our kids how to take care of themselves, and one of the things we need to teach them is how to decompress. Not only is forest bathing a great way to relieve stress, it’s a great way to reconnect with your family. It’s important to reconnect with our loved ones. It’s vital to everyone’s psychological health.

 

Photo via VisualHunt.com

So get out into the forest and get moving! It’s good for your body and your soul. Thanks for stopping by, I’d love to hear your thoughts on forest bathing so leave a comment. Or maybe you have other stress relieving habits you’d like to share? I’d love to hear from you!

 

Posted in Health

Is Processed Food Poisoning Us?

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I’m talking about the food we eat. I just watched a documentary titled, “What the Health.” It was eye-opening to say the least. To check out the documentary click the link below.

What the Health 

In this show, the producers claim it is the meat we eat that’s causing heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. They feel the public has been misinformed by all the health organizations who encourage us to eat meat. Their spin on the whole thing is these organizations accept donations from the meat industry and therefore, act as advertisers for it.

Photo via Visualhunt.com

I watched the documentary in its entirety and it did make me question whether or not their claims could be true. There were people interviewed on the show that were taking all kinds of medications for diabetes and heart disease and after two weeks of eating a plant based diet they were either off all medications or on their way there. They interviewed doctors who all claim that meat is the cause of many of our society’s sicknesses.  The popular theory is that all the pesticides and preservatives in our meat are causing these life changing illnesses.

The way our food is processed has come under attack before. In the documentary, “Fed Up,” it illustrated how sugar is added to our processed foods, like canned tomatoes and other vegetables (See the link to the trailer below).  It’s added to our soda and cereals as well.Now sugar is just empty calories, so if we’re adding empty calories to our diet, what happens? We store those calories as fat and now that we’re a more sedentary society, we don’t burn off those extra calories. Where does that lead us? Obesity. What happens when we’re overweight? We’re at a high risk for heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Trailer for “Fed Up”

 

Photo via Visualhunt

 

We are literally poisoning ourselves with the food we eat. How sad is that? So what’s the answer? Well according to the producers of “What the Health,” we need to eat a plant-based diet. But where will we get our protein you ask? From nuts and beans.

 

I’m going to try and eat a more plant-based diet and see how I feel. How about you? Do you feel the way our food is processed is making us sick? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

 

**** On a side note, there were some conflicting claims between the two documentaries so keep that in mind if you watch them. 🙂

Posted in Health, Parenting, Teen

Heroin: It’s Not Just for the Dark Alley Anymore

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I’m talking about something I learned while doing some research for my story. I was shocked and dismayed to hear this and as a parent I’m sure you will be, too.

I learned that Heroin has reached epidemic proportions in our high schools. This stresses me out because I’ve got two young boys who’ll be entering high school in a few years. So naturally, I asked my source, how did this happen? (My source is very reliable and that’s all I can say about that. ;)).

 

Photo credit: Alan Cleaver via Visualhunt / CC BY

 When he told me prescription drugs like OxyContin and Oxycodone, I couldn’t believe it. The kids are either prescribed these pain killers for injuries or surgery, and then they get hooked, or they’re stealing them from their parents and using them to get high. When their bodies become used to these drugs, it takes a stronger dose to get the same effect. At this point, it’s easier and cheaper for the teen to get Heroin than it is to get “Oxy.”

Photo via geralt via Visual Hunt

My source tells me Heroin is so addictive and some people are so vulnerable that it only takes one use to become hooked.  Check out these real life stories of two teens who’ve become hooked on it. http://www.teenvogue.com/story/teen-heroin

Photo credit: danielle.spraggs55 via Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC-SA

Heroin has evolved from the use of a syringe in a dark alley to a pill. That’s right, it’s in pill form called a button. This makes it easier to get, easier to use, and it’s much more powerful (purity is about ninety percent) so the high is that much better. I’ve been told it’s the most relaxing feeling in the world, all your troubles just float away. I can understand why someone would get hooked on that feeling. Especially our young people who are experiencing teen angst and all the pressures of being a teen for the first time. Historically, the average age of a heroin death was between forty and forty five.  Now, the average age is between eighteen and twenty five.

What can we do as parents to prevent this type of addiction from happening?

That’s a good question. First of all, get rid of all the leftover prescription medication you have. Don’t let it sit in the medicine cabinet and if you’re taking some medication, monitor it. Only take what you need and throw the rest away and I don’t mean in the garbage can where young hands can find it, return it to the pharmacy where you bought it and they’ll get rid of it in a manner that’s safe for people and the environment.

Photo credit: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration via Visual hunt

 

The next step is we need to impress upon our medical professionals that they need to monitor their prescriptions. They’re so busy that they overprescribe these pain killers because it’s quicker and easier. I’ve seen this in action myself. I was prescribed Lorazepam during my stint with chemo and ended up taking it when I was finished as a sleep aid.

Later, I found out you’re not supposed to take this drug for the long term, but my doctor’s nurse kept refilling the prescription. Finally, after a year, she stopped and had me start taking Melatonin to help me sleep. I stopped the Lorazepam cold turkey. This isn’t recommended either, but it scared me to think I could be addicted to a drug so I wanted to stop right away. Luckily, I just had a couple of nights where I had insomnia and then my body returned to normal. I’m telling you this story to show you how easy it is to become addicted to a medication. Especially one that has been prescribed for you.

We rely on the medical professionals to guide us in the right direction and for the most part they do, but they’re human just like us and things slip through the cracks.  We must be critical thinkers especially when it comes to our health and our children’s health. We must ask questions and get second opinions. When we’re prescribed a medication, let’s make sure we know all the side effects and exactly how long we should be taking it.

Photo via skeeze via Visualhunt.com

Maybe there should be a position in each facility to monitor the prescriptions going out the door. This might not only help the doctors and patients, but it might also create a few jobs. 🙂 How about you? Do you have a solution to this problem? Or maybe you have a story you’d like to share. If so, leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

 

Posted in Health, Personal

Self Compassion Goals for 2017

 

Happy New Year everyone!  I hope you had a joyous and happy holiday season. I’m looking forward to 2017, I’ve got some lofty goals that I hope come to fruition. So cross your fingers for me!

Photo credit: James Marvin Phelps via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC

This new year I’m participating in a Self-Compassion Group and I’m excited about it because I feel it will remind me to take better care of myself. Each member posts one thing that they did that day to take care of themselves.  It’s not my idea, it’s a friend of mine’s but it’s an awesome one and I’m grateful that she’s sharing this adventure with me.

Photo credit: Mary Brack ~ www.foundonbrighton.com via VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-SA

I think a lot of people get wrapped up in their tasks for their kids, spouse, and job, they put themselves last. I know I do it and that’s when I get burned out. So I’ve joined this group to remind myself to do a self-care task every day. It doesn’t have to be big. It could be something as simple as meditating or reading a book.

 

I feel if I do this. I’ll actually be more productive and my relationships will be better.  I thought I’d share some of my self-care tasks with all of you and maybe it will motivate you to take better care of yourselves, too. I thought the first day of 2017 would be a great time to start this.

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The Meme Above explains the Philosophy behind the Self Compassion Group.

 

Self-Care Tasks:

  1. I’m going to read more in 2017 and write more. Writing and reading are great stress relievers for me. 🙂
  1. More bubble baths. There’s nothing more soothing than a bubble bath with candles and soft music.
  1. More exercise. More running. This is a big one. I’ve been working hard on getting my sciatica under control and I’ve seen a big improvement. So I’m going to increase my activity and get back into shape.
  1. More walks in nature. It’s so soothing and calms my anxiety.
  1. I’m going to eat more fruit and vegetables. I need to stop eating so much sugar. I feel this will help me manage my weight and who knows, maybe I’ll even lose a pound or two. 😉
  2. I’m going to paint with a group of friends once a month just for fun. I find connecting with them over a fun activity is healing for me.

Photo credit: Tadie88 via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-ND

So there you have it. Some of the self-compassion tasks I’ll be practicing at least once a day. I’m sure I’ll come up with more ideas from the other members as we share them. How about you? Do you have any ideas? I’d love to read them. Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!