Tag Archive: caring for your body


IJUST READ A WONDERFUL BLOG POST AND HAD TO RE BLOG IT FOR OTHERS TO SEE. CAN ANYONE RELATE TO THIS STORY? i KNOW i CAN. WE NEED TO TAKE BETTER CARE OF OUR GIFT FROM ABBA FATHER.

https://wordpress.com/read/post/id/95235255/67

Forgiving the Flesh–In Which I Recount the Ways My Body Has Betrayed Me

Dear Lily June,

As human beings, we live in the flimsy structures of our fleshy bodies. Our hearts, like birds, are protected only by a cage of ribs; our minds, like yolks, sit inside the bony eggs of our skulls. It is a system designed to be fragile and frail. We are not built to last forever.

In my youth, I felt as if my body was invincible and thus, I treated it as if it were invisible. (In fact, your Grandma Raelyn might recall to you someday how I used to hide my body, as a toddler, under my ratty baby blanket, transforming myself into a makeshift ghost and earnestly believing no one could see me when I was under there.)

When my own Grandmother Mary began the comparison game as I hit my early teens, wondering why I couldn’t “try to be beautiful” like my sister–your Aunt Loren–I detached my faith from my body entirely. I thought, in that time, there were two paths a woman could walk: beautifying the palace of the body or retreating into the sanctuary of the mind. I chose the latter, burying my unpainted face in books. For the most part, I never considered how I’d turned my back on my body. Unfortunately, the body will not be ignored forever.

***

It was in my first year in college that my body truly began to break down. It all started when I went to brush my hair and my fingers slipped over a smooth spot. It didn’t register right away what I was feeling–could there be something stuck in my hair, I wondered, making it feel so oily and smooth in one particular area?

What I was feeling, I would learn later, was a bald spot. I was nineteen and in reasonably good health. Nineteen year old girls just don’t go bald, I reasoned. It must be “the big C.” I went into a wet chicken panic, throwing myself around dramatically, sure I had been granted a death sentence by my own hairbrush. I’m glad you didn’t meet that version of your mom, Lily. It would have been a bad time to know me.

Alopecia_areata (2)

It turns out it was my first bout with alopecia areata, an autoimmune disorder where the body attacks its own hair and follicle cells as if they were the cells of a disease. My hair fell out for my first year in school in tufts and patches, though I never did discover, half the time, where it went. (I never felt as if I were leaving behind clumps the size of sewer rats in my shower, and yet, my scalp begged to differ.)

What I should have gotten was that my body was like a puppy–wreaking havoc in a desperate attempt to entreat me to pay it a little attention. Instead, I retreated deeper into my mind, trying to control my environment if I couldn’t control my body within it.

***

It’s around this time I began compulsively making lists (a symptom I would learn later was fairly typical of OCPD). It was a way of organizing the disorder I felt with the stress of college. Poverty kept me from living in dorms after the first year; I took two part time jobs to afford books and incidentals, and I took two buses each day–one to and one from campus–in order to make my three hour round-trip commute to save on living costs.

I was not your typical college kid, drunk on freedom or just, as so many are, freely drunk. One of the first in my family to even go to college, I was saddled with the responsibility of my own future early on, taking out loans I had no earthly business being granted to pursue a field I had no earthly business studying if I ever wanted to pay those loans back: English.

And so I tried to control the breakdown of the body with a buildup of vocabulary. I tried to hide my pain under a mountain of to-do items revolving around work and study. I tried, even with my hair falling out in patches, to again ignore my body. Unfortunately, the body will not be ignored forever.

***

Another hit came the summer I turned twenty: the sudden urge to go to the bathroom more and more frequently. And then pain, leading up to and after the release. And then the pain progressed from a light nagging to a hard knocking at the door of my nerves. And eventually, it couldn’t be ignored any longer, and I assumed, as did my doctors, I had some kind of UTI.

Over and over for months that summer I was put on one after the other course of antibiotics. Urinalyses determined there was no bacteria in my bladder, but the pain and the frequency persisted no matter how much cranberry juice I downed by the gallon. I got up two, three, four, twelve times a night to pee, and the resulting insomnia got me into a bad love affair with caffeine.

I’d drink coffee and tea to stay awake during the day, but it seemed as if that exacerbated the pain, keeping me up more at night. Drink. Pee. Pee. Drink. Rinse. Repeat.

After a series of invasive tests–trans-vaginal ultrasounds that turned me into a human joy-stick, a cystoscopy that slithered a camera snake into my urethra and stung about as much afterwards as if I’d been bitten by it–I had another diagnosis under my belt: interstitial cystitis (sometimes abbreviated IC).

Cystoscope-med-20050425 (2)

Like alopecia, this was another autoimmune disorder. Like alopecia, my body’s immune system was launching an arsenal against healthy cells, this time in the lining of my bladder, causing discomfort, embarrassment, pain, and a feeling of being imprisoned in my own, well, self.

For the second time before I could even legally drink, my body had betrayed me. My hair–called a woman’s crowning jewel–had strands that jumped like a suicidal lemmings from my scalp. My bladder–an organ that I would have been as accurate pinpointing the location of before all this as an American would be pointing out the location of Uzbekistan on a map–was cracking like chapped lips.

I felt as if, in all ways that one can, I was falling to pieces.

***

Things got better, Lily, as they’re apt to do in this life, even if you don’t do anything. The universe can only rain on so many of any one person’s parades before the clouds shift direction.

Fast forward with me for a minute. So successful had my lists been in keeping the chaos neatly arranged that I not only graduated from the University of Pittsburgh summa cum laude, I was my major’s graduation speaker. I got into graduate school, moved to the deep South, met, fell in love with, and married your dad, lived through a tornado (another story for another time), fled back up to the north in fear, and made real a life-long dream: having you.

***

Pregnancy was to be an awesome adventure, and suddenly, I couldn’t ignore my body even if I wanted to. My flesh had become a rental property, and as the landlord, I could suddenly see how worn down the grounds were. It started, for instance, with the progesterone scare that made me question my ability to grow and maintain a healthy placenta. I had to be afraid my bone house might harm you.

After we jumped through that hoop, though, for a while, I was granted a blissful reprieve. In one of nature’s kindly little flukes, my second trimester saw my IC in remission, at least in terms of pain. (As my expanding uterus put pressure on my bladder, nothing could stop the frequency.) Less pain meant better sleep, and a heaping helping of feel good hormones made the laughs come easy.

Lily June, I will never forget the extraordinary flutters of your movements inside of me–the way you would tickle my tummy with your hiccups, your hilarious assault on daddy’s face when he leaned against my womb to hear you and you let out the full-force of your kicks against his cheek. For the extent of the middle part of your stay, you changed my body from a prison I was trapped in into a secret garden I felt privileged to tend.

***

That magic made the harsh snap back to reality that much harder to take when things started to go so wrong so quickly. The preeclampsia, the “failure to progress,” the resulting C-section: now my body was failing you when it was failing me. I spent the first weeks of your life looking down at my flabby flesh and my Cesarean scar and hating the ways it had let us both down, wanting to punish my body for being fallible, frail, the damaged shell of a person. But then, I was the one who had ignored it for so long, even when it was screaming to me that I needed help, that I had to cut back on stress and bad habits, that I had to open my eyes and be a human being.

I think it’s time, Lily, now that I want you to have a different relationship entirely to your physicality, that I (try to) make and keep the peace. And so, without further adieu, I’m going to interrupt your letter, Lily, to talk directly, for a minute, with my Body:

Body, I forgive you.

I forgive you for showing me, so violently, that you needed me to pay more attention to you. I forgive you for attacking healthy cells because you were as scared and confused as my mind during an overworked, overwhelmed time. I forgive you for alopecia. I forgive you for IC.

Body, I forgive for the whole host of problems during the pregnancy. Maybe at the end, you failed to be induced, your cervix failed to open, your contractions failed to progress the labor. But we didn’t fail to live through a very scary surgery together. And I didn’t fail to love my girl the second I heard her first cry as she was wrenched from you, my body. I didn’t fail to dress her in her first outfit, even when my elevated blood pressure gave you the shakes so bad it took me ten minutes to do so. Everything I do with and for Lily is another way we didn’t fail–I didn’t fail you, and you didn’t fail me.

Early on in the pregnancy, we were told Lily probably wouldn’t make it. But shedidn’t fail to survive, that little miracle. You kept her alive. So now, I won’t fail to survive, either. Like daughter, like mother.

Body, I forgive you the flesh and the fat and the stretchmarks and the scar. They were never flaws to begin with, and I’m sorry I saw them that way. Body, I will work on my mind–I will get the counseling I need to pull through the emotional pain I’m still feeling. I’m sorry I am still reeling in so many ways, but seeing how you react to stress, I will make strides. Body, I will get a hydrodistention procedure on the 23rd of this month to see if I can’t help that IC. I’m sorry I waited so long (almost 11 years!) without treatment.

I’m sorry it took me so long to say I’m sorry.

Here’s the secret I will say to you that is really as much for Lily: Body, you are beautiful. You have born Lily, and you have borne me through. You, Body, have done the best you could with what I’ve given you. And like I will with Lily, I’m going to try, from now on, to give you the moon.

I will quit smoking. I will start eating healthy (again). I will exercise more regularly. I will heal us. And I will beg you, in the meantime, to forgive me.

***

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I recently visited another blog, Soulsby Farm – A Very Small Farm. I read a very interesting article regarding GMO, genetically modified organisms. I have reblogged the article to spread the word. So after reading please continue to inform others. Unless that is you have no objection to your food being re-engineered. If Agent Orange and pesticides can alter our DNA and also harm fetuses than just imagine what ingesting DNA modified foods can do. All in the corporate name of the mighty dollar. We are all supposed to take care of the body that God gave us. We need to stand up for ourselves and our future generations and teach our children whats acceptable and not acceptable to eat. Reduce TV time, make a garden even if it’s in a flower pot. Get back to basics. Realize the amount of brainwashing on TV, radio, media ads etc. Eventually I will set up another blog about being aware of what’s around us but in the meantime read the article, it is enlightening. Thank you Soulsby Farm for  sharing.

The Truth About Genetically Modified Organisms – GMO’s

I’m very proud to introduce a Guest Blogger writing an important/must-read piece concerning GMO’s. It’s a fantastic article that could also be titled; Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about GMO’s. Please share with others and leave your comments and questions below, Chris will answer them…..Take it away Mr. Vogliano:
My name is Chris Vogliano and I am currently studying nutrition and dietetics atKent State University in their Master’s Program.  I am conducting my thesis study on the topic of Genetically Modified Organisms related to Dietitian’s knowledge and perception of them.  According to previous research, the public trusts dietitian’s to relay current and scientific information on this controversial topic.  However, as I hope to prove in my research, there is a significant knowledge gap in the perception of what dietitian’s know versus the knowledge they actually hold.
I chose this topic because genetically modified foods is personal and strikes an emotional cord.  Ever since discovering the topic, I have unveiled more and more unsettling information about this complicated and controversial process.
Most of American’s have no idea what genetically modified foods are, even though over 80% of our supermarket foods contain them.  Many American’s believe that simple crossbreeding is the same or at least a similar process to that of genetic modification.  Some American’s place trust in the “assumed” strict regulatory processes of the FDAUSDA, andEPA.
Politics plays a much more pertinent role in our lives than anyone wants or cares to believe, and I adamantly feel this with GMO’s…
The patenting of a transgenic soybean in the early 1990’s has had more of an impact than we would have ever imagined. We have seen a revolutionary agricultural shift in the way we grow our produce form even twenty years ago.  Many see this synergy of biotechnology and agriculture as a positive step towards our goal of creating a more economically sound production method for our food.  Big agriculture business has consolidated hands over the years to just a few large corporations, leading with the illusion of solving world hunger and bridging the world’s nutritional deficits.  As a soon to be dietitian who heavily values nutritional philanthropy, I could not have been more eager to learn more about this technology that could potentially curb our world hunger problems.
Let’s take a step back and look at the role of corporations in our society.
While we all vary on our opinions of specific corporations, deeming some as good and some evil, we have to remember one simple fact.  Through all the humanitarian efforts some might drape over their figurative bodies to display a positive PR image, corporations have one goal and one goal only.
The primary goal of a corporation is to increase profits for its shareholders. Plain and simple.
While some corporations may choose donations and community building tactics to seem selfless, at the end of the day it is simply to make you feel better about being a customer of their product.  This is not to demean the great things some corporations have done, but to call it an altruistic act is not so valid (arguably, is anything actually selfless? a question better saved for your philosophy 101 class).
Back to the grit of GMO’s – The basics of genetically modifying organisms is as follows:
A desired gene from a species not related to the host organisms is transferred into the cultivar or desired product (while sounding simple, this is actually quite a complex process).  The interesting part is that we don’t know how this transgenic, or crossing DNA from one foreign species to another affects humans or the environment.  This technology was developed and implemented into our food supply less than 15 years ago.
Monsanto is the largest corporate sponsor of GMO’s, fighting for their governmental acceptance worldwide ever since their creation.  A quick lesson on Monsanto’s history:
One of the first products Monsanto created was the artificial sweetener saccharin, which we now know can cause cancer
The next major products were DDT, Lasso, and Agent Orange, which we now know are highly carcinogenic.
Now they are trying to sell the idea of “genetically modified seeds” to us as being healthy and safe, when in all reality they are a self regulating organization whose primary interest is not the health of the consumers, but the money in their pocket.
European countries have strict regulatory standards and most countries have stopped the production of GMO’s until further testing has taken place.  Those countries who do have GMO corn must blatantly label their products with the phrase “this product contains genetically modified ingredients”, which protects the integrity of the food supply and the safety of the consumers.
GMO seeds have NEVER been tested in human trials to determine the impact they have on our bodies.
60% of our DNA is identical to that of corn and soy, and we have no idea how this transgenic process of altering genes in our food will affect us in the short term or the long term.
The only test currently being done to determine the safety of these products is happening right now, in our grocery stores.
As American’s, we deserve the right to know what is in our food. There is a serious need for us to take action on this issue that will help define the future of the agricultural food chain. We need the health of our food to lean in our favor, and not that of large corporate interest.
While there has been unethical practices that have been slipped passed the American consumers unbeknownst to them in the past decade, there has never been a more opportune moment to express out opinion than now.  More than ever, people are forming organizations and events to express their desire to have genetically modified foods labeled.  It is out food supply and we deserve the right to know what we are consuming.
think. be educated.
For more information or to get involved (highly encouraged!) visit:
WordPress account

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