Sunday, October 13, 2013

Stories

 Everyone has a story. This story is influenced by events from childhood to the present. Most of us may know parts of people's stories. But we seldom know the entire thing.

Back when I was still working in mental health, I had the opportunity to really hear people's stories. There were some folks who were reluctant to share their stories. Some were all too eager. I had to learn to check preconceived ideas and prejudices at the door. As I listened to hundreds of stories, this became easier and easier.

A drug addict is brought in from the Warren County jail. Orange jumpsuit, handcuffs and all. What a bum! Right? I listened to his story as he told me about turning to drugs after his young child died and his marriage collapsed.

That young woman arrested for child neglect? A throwaway child herself, dropped out of school in junior high, no job skills, no self confidence, dependent upon a cruel older boyfriend who beat her senseless if she put her child's needs above his own.

The obviously bright woman who can't get a decent job?  She never learned to read because she went to school before teachers learned to look for things like dyslexia. According to the US Department of Education, 14% of the US population can't read. At all.

One of the most heart breaking was the precious lady who had finally had to quit work because her hallucinations were so severe that she was afraid she would hurt someone. She had developed coping mechanisms over the years, but could not stay stable long enough to hold a job. Medications just made her so sleepy that she could not drive or work safely.

If one saw any of these people in the outside world, they looked healthy and normal. To the casual observer, it would not seem that anything could be wrong.

Unless they knew the rest of the story. 








Friday, October 11, 2013

Colonoscopy

The year I turned 50, I gave myself the "gift" of a colonoscopy. We have a family history of colon problems, so I felt it wise to just bite the bullet and do it.

Since I had polyps, I was put on the 3 year plan to get rechecked. I did not have time to do it last year due to my father-in-law's serious illness. So, this year, I made sure I got it done. 

Many people tell me that they just don't want to go to the bother of having a colonoscopy. They are afraid of the prep. They are afraid of what the results might show. Understandable fears, for sure, but when one considers that there were (according to The American Cancer Society) 102,480 new cases of colon cancer and 40,340 cases of rectal cancer in 2012, the inconvenience is well worth getting this test done. If colon cancer is caught early, there is a 74% survival rate. At stage IV, the survival rate drops to 6%. 

This year, I was pleasantly surprised by a much easier to swallow (pardon the pun) preparation. Instead of that gosh awful, pre-mixed stuff, I was able to mix Miralax with the Gatorade flavor of my choice, lemon-lime. Four Dulcolax and clear liquids for a day completed the getting ready phase. Needless to say, have some good bathroom reading on hand! 

The test itself is much easier than the prep. They give you enough good drugs to make sure that you don't really know much of what is going on. At GI Associates, the staff went over my somewhat complex medical history and list of medications in detail with me. I felt completely safe doing this on an outpatient basis. If one is not a good risk for outpatient procedures, they can do colonoscopies in a hospital setting. 

My results this time were good enough to put me in the 5 year plan, so I don't have to go again until I am 59. I can certainly "live" with that. 

It is not that bad. 

Just do it. 

 

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Doing it All

A few months ago, a line of T-shirts, huggies, caps, pillowcases, and mugs appeared at The Cricket Box. The slogan reads "I can't do it all" and in smaller letters "and neither can you." 

Despite many studies that show how damaging trying to "do it all" can be to our physical and mental health, so many people are still running on the hamster wheel of belief that they CAN do it all without any physical, spiritual, or emotional repercussions.

We women are usually the worst about this. Doing it all and keeping ourselves at the point of sheer exhaustion is a badge of honor for many women. I can relate. I used to be that way myself. Until, one year, it all caught up with me, causing health crisis after health crisis. My body and my spirit "broke down", leaving me with permanent medical problems.

I see so many of my younger friends constantly trying to "do it all." I am concerned for some of them. Can they keep up this pace indefinitely? I wish someone had really encouraged me to slow down, take some time to smell the roses, and slow down some before my body made the decisions for me.

None of us can truly do it all.

Now, can we say it and believe it?


Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Why Now?

I am sure that I have friends shaking their heads and wondering why I am doing a fundraiser NOW, of all times. 

Since I heard about the need for better security for the children and staff of Good Shepherd Community Center, I have been moved to do something about it. I had this fundraiser planned well before the government shutdown. I am on disability, so my income is threatened as well. We have medical bills from my husband's cancer surgery and the hundreds of dollars I pay out of pocket for my medical needs every month. We are certainly NOT rich. 

But, I am stepping out on faith and praying that, despite the shutdown, I can raise some money for the Good Shepherd Community Center. Every time I have stepped out on faith, I have been blessed beyond measure.  I am claiming those blessings in this endeavor.

Won't you step out on faith with me?