Today, we feature four valuable health-related videos. We hope you find them valuable. 🙂
How to be healthier.
How to be healthier.
Today, we feature four valuable health-related videos. We hope you find them valuable. 🙂
We have all experienced some form of grief.
First, we look at grief in general. Then we consider grief and your immune system.
“Grief is a strong, sometimes overwhelming emotion for people, regardless of whether their sadness stems from the loss of a loved one or from a terminal diagnosis they or someone they love have received. They might find themselves feeling numb and removed from daily life, unable to carry on with regular duties while saddled with their sense of loss.”
“Grief is the natural reaction to loss. Grief is both a universal and a personal experience. Individual experiences of grief vary and are influenced by the nature of the loss. Some examples of loss include the death of a loved one, the ending of an important relationship, job loss, loss through theft, or the loss of independence through disability.”
“Experts advise those grieving to realize they can’t control the process and to prepare for varying stages of grief. Understanding why they’re suffering can help, as can talking to others and trying to resolve issues that cause significant emotional pain, such as feeling guilty for a loved one’s death.”
“Mourning can last for months or years. Generally, pain is tempered as time passes and as the bereaved adapts to life without a loved one, to the news of a terminal diagnosis or to the realization that someone they love may die.”
“If you’re uncertain about whether your grieving process is normal, consult your health care professional. Outside help is sometimes beneficial to people trying to recover and adjust to a death or diagnosis of a terminal illness.”
From our own health perspective, grief can have a dramatic effect on our immune systems. Understanding this is vital.
“Losing a loved one is one of the most stressful life experiences a person will endure. And its toll can be physical as well as emotional. Science has shown, for example, that widows and widowers have a 41 percent higher risk of early death, compared to their still-married peers.”
“The relationship between grief and the immune system may explain bereavement’s association with increased risk for disease and early mortality, at least in part. Since researchers began studying it in 1977, evidence has shown that people may experience negative changes in their immune function following the loss of a loved one.”
In a new research review article in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine, Lindsey Knowles, a psychology doctoral student at University of Arizona, and associate professors of psychology Mary-Frances O’Connor and John Ruiz examined 41 years of existing research on bereavement and the immune system. They focused specifically on 13 studies deemed to be of high scientific quality.”
Click the image to read Knowles and O’Connor discussion of their findings, as well possible directions for future research.
A Type 1 diabetic playing top-level college basketball.
Despite adulation for sports stars, they are not “heroes” in the true sense of the word. Athletes’ on-field performance does not make them heroes. Their off-field exploits may. As may the way they live their lives.
A new hero for me is Lauren Cox. She is a 20-year old star woman’s basketball player for Baylor University. Her team won the NCAA championship on Sunday in a close game. Lauren was hurt in that game, and missed the last quarter with a leg injury.
So, what makes her someone I admire? As a 25+-year diabetic (the last 4 as a virtual Type 1 diabetic), I know how tough it can be just to live well every day. In Lauren Cox’s case, to be able to play top-level basketball as a Type 1 diabetic, she has an insulin monitor on her at all times. Yet, she never complains or gets down about her condition.
“Lauren Cox swears it doesn’t hurt. But when she describes the act of getting her insulin tube ripped out, or having someone accidentally ram a knee or elbow into the insulin infusion point on her hip during a basketball game, it sounds extremely painful.”
“’I mean at this point, I’m used to it,’ the 6′-4″ player for the Baylor women’s basketball team told USA TODAY Sports. And she plays while checking her blood sugar multiple times a game. And that, makes her, according to longtime Baylor trainer Alex Olson, ‘just amazing.’”
“Cox is used to rough and tumble play — she actually picked college basketball over college volleyball because she prefers the physicality of hoops — and she’s used to playing with Type 1 Diabetes. She’s been doing it for 13 years.”
“Cox’s blood sugar is checked every five minutes by her Continuous Glucose Monitor. Using Bluetooth technology, her CGM sends the number to her insulin pump, a handheld device a little smaller than an iPhone, that connects a tube to an infusion port in her hip. During games, she tucks the pump into the side of her sports bra, and checks the number anytime she steps off the court. She and Olson are looking for a reading between 120-150; if it gets below 70 or above 300, she’s automatically pulled out of competition.”
Go Lauren. Here’s hoping you have a full recovery from your leg injury. 🙂
Don’t EVER give up!
Today’s post is dedicated to a couple that is near and dear to me. Both parties have undergone several medical issues over the years. Now the male of the couple is dealing with especially difficult heart issues. All the best to you both.
Making hope long-lasting is an ongoing challenge for many of us. Sometimes, it can be fleeting (ephemeral), depending on how we feel — physically and emotionally. For those of us with major illnesses, it may be difficult to always be hopeful. But it is imperative that we try to be hopeful even if our situation is dire. And even if we have physical limitations.
“Hope is associated with many positive outcomes, including greater happiness, better achievement, and even lowered risk of death. It’s a necessary ingredient for getting through tough times, of course, but also for meeting everyday goals. Everyone benefits from having hope — and psychologists’ research suggests almost anyone can be taught to be more hopeful.”
“‘Hope doesn’t relate to IQ or to income,’ says psychologist Shane Lopez, Ph.D., a senior scientist at Gallup and author of the book Making Hope Happen. ‘Hope is an equal opportunity resource.'”
“What precisely is hope? Most psychologists who study the feeling favor the definition developed by the late Charles R. Snyder, Ph.D., a psychologist at the University of Kansas and a pioneer of hope research. His model of hope has three components: goals, agency, and pathways. Put simply, agency is our ability to shape our lives — the belief that we can make things happen, and the motivation to reach a desired outcome. The pathways are how we get there — the routes and plans that allow us to achieve the goal, whether that’s adopting a child, finding a better job, surviving a hurricane or just losing a few pounds.”
“Hope is a construct which closely relates to optimism, although the two are not identical. Rick Snyder, one of the leading specialists in hope, represents it as an ability to conceptualize goals, find pathways to these goals despite obstacles, and have the motivation to use those pathways. To put it more simply, we feel hope if we: a) know what we want, b) can think of a range of ways to get there, and c) start and keep on going.”
“It’s not hard to guess that being hopeful brings about many benefits. For example, we know that hope buffers against interfering, self-deprecatory thoughts and negative emotions, and is critical for psychological health. In the domain of physical health, we know that people who are hopeful focus more on the prevention of diseases (e.g., through exercising).”
Last summer, we referred to the wisdom of Jim Valvano. In 1993, he presented a truly inspirational speech shortly before he passed away from pancreatic cancer. That speech is available at YouTube.
His most well-known quote that relates to hope is this: “Don’t Give Up . . . Don’t Ever Give Up!”®
The full text of Valvano’s speech is available at the V Foundation’s Web site. Here are some parts of the speech that especially resonate with me. And HOPEfully with you as well [the emphasis below is added by me]:
Time is very precious to me. I don’t know how much I have left, and I have some things that I would like to say. Hopefully, at the end, I will have said something that will be important to other people, too. But, I can’t help it. Now I’m fighting cancer, everybody knows that. People ask me all the time about how you go through your life and how’s your day, and nothing is changed for me.
I’m a very emotional and passionate man. I can’t help it. That’s being the son of Rocco and Angelina Valvano. It comes with the territory. We hug, we kiss, we love.
When people say to me how do you get through life or each day, it’s the same thing. To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. Number three is you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special.
I urge all of you, all of you, to enjoy your life, the precious moments you have. To spend each day with some laughter and some thought, to get your emotions going. To be enthusiastic every day. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Nothing great could be accomplished without enthusiasm,” to keep your dreams alive in spite of problems whatever you have. The ability to be able to work hard for your dreams to come true, to become a reality.
We need your help. I need your help. We need money for research. It may not save my life. It may save my children’s lives. It may save someone you love. And it’s very important. And ESPN has been so kind to support me in this endeavor and allow me to announce tonight, that with ESPN’s support, which means what? Their money and their dollars and they’re helping me—we are starting the Jimmy V Foundation for Cancer Research. And its motto is, “Don’t give up . . . don’t ever give up.”
I got one last thing, and I said it before. And I’m gonna say it again. Cancer can take away all my physical abilities. It cannot touch my mind, it cannot touch my heart, and it cannot touch my soul. And those three things are going to carry on forever. I thank you, and God bless you all.
See what patients’ roles encompass. With video.
Earlier this month, I gave a presentation to about 65 residents and other doctors on “Roles in Patient-Doctor Relationships: Seeing Both Sides.”
This is the second post:
Patients typically have the roles and responsibilities highlighted in this image. How do YOU rate YOURSELF across these roles and responsibilities?
As patients, it is also vital for us to educate ourselves. This video shows a few such factors.
Insights on chronic illnesses.
Today, let’s look at the observations of a Crohn’s disease survivor. As Tessa Miller writes for the NY Times:
“Finding out you have a chronic illness — one that will, by definition, never go away — changes things, both for you and those you love. When I was diagnosed, I didn’t know how much my life would change. There’s no conversation about that foggy space between the common cold and terminal cancer, where illness won’t go away but won’t kill you, so none of us know what ‘chronic illness’ means until we’re thrown into being sick forever.”
“Chronic illness patients not only face painful physical symptoms, but also mental ones that linger even when the disease is well controlled. A therapist should be considered a crucial part of your care team, just as important as a gastroenterologist or cardiologist.”
“Your relationship with yourself changes. You grieve a version of yourself that doesn’t exist anymore, and a future version that looks different than you’d planned. You might have to give up career goals, hobbies and family plans, learning a ‘new normal’ in their place.”
“Chronically ill people research their diseases ad nauseam. They try more treatments than they can count. In many cases, great scientific minds can’t crack a cause or cure. So unless someone asks for your advice, don’t offer it.”
“There’s a sense of shame that comes with chronic illness that pressures patients into secrecy, making them feel like they can’t discuss their disease outside of the doctor’s office. Secrecy bolsters the lack of public conversation and knowledge, which feeds the shame patients feel.”
“Living with chronic illness makes every day a little harder, but it also makes every day a little sweeter. Though I don’t know what my future holds, I’m overwhelmed with a gratitude I didn’t have before my diagnosis — some days I marvel at just being alive.”
Click the image to read more.
Be upbeat every day.
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” —Albert Einstein
“It’s not about how hard you can hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.” —Rocky Balboa
“The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” —Winston Churchill
“Challenges are what make life interesting, and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” —Joshua J. Marine
“Nothing can dim the light that shines from within.” —Maya Angelou
“Embrace the glorious mess that you are.” —Elizabeth Gilbert
“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” —C.S. Lewis
“The quality, not the longevity, of one’s life is what is important.” —Martin Luther King, Jr.
“All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure.” —Mark Twain
“If I had just one hour left to live, I’d spend it in math class…it never ends.” —Anonymous
Click the image to see more quotes.