Posts Tagged ‘Health’

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As I stated last year, I’m not big on New Year’s Resolutions.  I think they’re generally committed to under duress, or worse yet, under the influence of eggnog and sugar.  And since no judge in the world would be able to hold you accountable for any contracts drafted by the pen of Captain Morgan or Sara Lee, you’re really sort of left in a lurch, with nobody to answer to but your own sorry self.

2010 has been a difficult year sucked ass.  Between my nutso autoimmune disease and my pregnancy losses, my body has had more attention than I generally like for it to have.  And I have found no shortage of people who are chock-full of tips, hints and general advice.  There are only so many times that one person can say, “Yes, that might work.”  Or, “That’s one idea.”  Or, “Sure, give me his card.”  Or, “Please step away from me, kind sir.”

So with that being said (and with nothing more than oatmeal and a possibly-lethal amount of coffee in my system), I have decided to make a December 5th Resolution.  Starting right this minute, anybody who attempts to offer advice about my body¹ will be met with a loud chirping noise, followed by a flick between the eyes, followed by a kick in the ass.

So hear ye!  Hear ye!  Whether you are a friend or a foe; a doctor or a salesperson; a pirate, a poet or a pauper, consider yourself warned.  The non-existent suggestion box is officially closed for business, locked, chained and cast into the deepest depths of the Pacific Ocean.  Got it?  Chirp, flick, kick.  Or maybe flick, chirp, kick.  Or, depending on the obnoxiousness of the advice-giver, kick, kick, flick, flick, kick, chirp.  We’ll see.  The possibilities are endless.  The world is my oyster.  And I prefer my oysters served without a side of shitty advice.²

¹ ie: What my body does or doesn’t do; is or isn’t capable of; does or doesn’t look like; should or shouldn’t behave like, etc…

² Okay, I’m actually allergic to shellfish but let’s just pretend I’m not for the sake of bad analogies.

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…They can call me crazy if I fail
All the chance that I need
Is one in a million
And they can call me brilliant
If I succeed…”
-Ani Difranco

I’m spending the morning in the Oncology unit at Virginia Mason Medical Center.  Don’t send flowers, I don’t have cancer.  I am undergoing Remicade treatment and it is a series of 4-hour IV infusions.  This takes place in the Cancer Center.  While most of the patients here are undergoing Chemo, not everybody is.  My roommate for this bout is Kevin.  He was my roommate the last time that I was here as well and I was happy to see him coming through the door.  His kidneys aren’t functioning well.  He lives a block from the hospital and walks over daily for weeks at a stretch for several hours of fluids.  In other words, my life is not so shitty.  Kevin eats a lot of graham crackers and he shows me pictures of his rescue mutt on his iPhone.  Plus, we can both agree to leave the TV off.  This I like.  Enough about the effing Swine Flu already.

Since I’m stuck in a plastic, reclining chair with a needle in my arm for a few hours, I have some time to reflect upon the experience.  Here’s what I’ve come up with so far, in no particular order:

1.  A quick quiz:  Question?  When it comes to driving on very wet, very steep hills during morning rush hour is it better to be in an automatic with bald tires and bad brakes or a stick shift with a slipping clutch?  Answer?  Trick question.  It’s a draw.

2.  I feel that the people who utilize the Ninth Avenue Parking Garage could benefit from a tutorial on parking from yours truly.  Lesson one: Those white lines?  They’re not decorations.  They are meant to provide you with a general idea of where to aim your vehicle before putting it into park and turning off the engine.  And if the word, “COMPACT” is stenciled between said white lines?  Keep driving with your urban assault vehicle.  Honestly.

3.  I would really like to take this little nurse’s aide home with me.  He’s funny as hell and could practically fit in my purse.  I could really use a gay sidekick.  More on that later but suffice it to say, I am accepting applications.

4.  Lastly, and most importantly:  Where is it written in the Merck Manual that cancer patients must only listen to smooth jazz and Enya?  I find this to be both patronizing and nauseating.  I see so many beautiful, unique, alive people walking and wheeling these halls and I feel that they deserve something with a little life in it.  There is nothing therapeutic about the musical stylings of people tinkering around on a synthesizer while wearing flowing, rayon frocks.  Hell no.  Save it for your Reiki appointment.  These people are trying to beat CANCER.  Where’s the Simon and Garfunkel?  Where’s the Aretha Franklin?  Where’s The Clash?  The only thing that Enya makes me want to battle is the effing PA system.

So as this Remicade drips into my vein, I would like to say: Bring the chutzpah, Virginia Mason.  Let’s start kicking some ass.  We’ll sleep when we’re dead.  And I, for one, will not be listening to Enya when the pale horse rides in.


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Mearth Mork and MindyAging sucks.  30 is not the new 20.  20 is, and will always be, 20.  I am 34 and I just found myself dropping names in an effort to get an appointment with a doctor who isn’t taking new patients.  I’ve already called three times today and faxes have been exchanged.  This may sound crazy but I have an autoimmune disease and apparently this guy is the best on the west coast for treating it.

When I was 20 I may have known one or two people who had a chronic illness.  Now it seems as though I know one or two people who do not.  I know this is just a part of the aging thing and that illness, cancer and death will all become as old-hat to me as they did to my grandmother.  Maybe, like my grandmother, I’ll start meeting up with my friends on a monthly basis to play Poker, drink Manhattans and discuss who amongst us is ailing.  It’s really not so different than meeting up with girlfriends to let the kids play while we drink coffee and discuss who amongst us is having a nervous breakdown.

I think Robin Williams was onto something (besides the cocaine) when he came up with the idea of Mork from Ork aging backwards.  The idea of having the wisdom of experience while also having the health to do something about it?  Brilliant…

But since I live here on Earth I will continue to beg, grovel and name-drop until I get an appointment with this specialist at Virginia Mason.  I’m not quite ready to be old yet and I think this doctor might be able to help me.  But I’ll be ready for that Manhattan in about 30 years.

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acai-berryGee, this Açaí Berry sure does sound like a miracle food, doesn’t it?  A “superfood”, if you will.  From emails to magazines, from Facebook ads to unsolicited texts and Skype chats, news of Açaí’s health benefits are everywhere I turn.  And there does seem to be some real science backing up the health claims.  But let me tell you something: When a fruit is being peddled in the same manner as a penis-enlarging device, a “barely legal” chat line or Canadian Viagra, I’m not buying.  So, to all of you Açaí pushers out there: Please take me off of your list.  I’ll be sticking with blueberries for my phytonutrient needs until Açaí is available for purchase in a way that does not make me feel as though I’m buying porn.  Thanks for your understanding.

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0814-lizzie-miller_vgA lot has been made of this photo since it appeared in the September issue of Glamour.  Women all over the country have embraced the image.  They see themselves and their postpartum (or not) belly in it and from the sampling of letters that Glamour is sharing, they like what they see.  The woman in the photo is Lizzie Miller, a 20-year old, childless model from San Jose.  Here’s what Lizzie had to say about body image:

“When I was young I really struggled with my body and how it looked because I didn’t understand why my friends were so effortlessly skinny.  As I got older I realized that everyone’s body is different and not everyone is skinny naturally–me included! I learned to love my body for how it is, every curve of it. I used to be so self-conscious in a bikini because my stomach wasn’t perfectly defined. But everyone has different body shapes! And it’s not all about the physical! If you walk on the beach in your bikini with confidence and you feel sexy, people will see you that way too.”

I hope this is true for Lizzie.  I hope this is true for all of the women- young and old, with or without kids- who rejoiced in seeing this photo.  I rejoiced as well!  But there was a tiny piece of me that felt something else.  As I read Lizzie’s words (and those of the revelers) a thought kept creeping in and raining on my parade: “Something stinks in Suburbia.”  How many times have we stood in horror as our size-2 friend has dissected their imperceptible cellulite or the gorgeous woman washing her hands next to us in the public restroom has bemoaned her “ugly” nose/hips/knees/earlobes/feet/fill-in-the-blank?  Is any woman really this accepting of what they see when they look in the mirror (Gisele Bundchen notwithstanding)?  I won’t claim to speak for every girl on the planet here.  To paraphrase what Regis Philbin said so astutely in his best-selling 1996 biography, I’m Only One Man!, “I’m only one woman!”  But, sadly, it seems unlikely.  And a 20-year old, no less?  Oy!

Lizzie is beautiful.  Breathtaking!  If I had her arms I would risk frostbite and go sleeveless 12 months out of the year.  I’m not interested in dissecting the flaws of other women.  There are only 24 hours in the day and my schedule is pretty full right now dissecting my own. I think most women in America hold this full-time, unpaid position.  And yes, we’re doing a shitty job and should fire ourselves.  So it is cause for celebration to see a non-emaciated woman in the pages of a national magazine.  Sure, she’s buried on page-194 instead of being featured front-and-center on the cover but Rome wasn’t built in a day, right?  Hey, maybe we could all borrow some of Lizzie’s youthful exuberance and hit the beach with our bellies in plain sight.  I hear soft lighting can do magical things.  Candlelight, moonlight…  When’s the next new moon?  I’ll meet you there.  I’ll be the one with the ponchos, blankets, sarongs and sarapes.  Just in case it’s a chilly evening…


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