Tag Archives: medicine

For the Ladies — Do You Pee When You _____?

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Hi there.

Yup two posts in one day.

Guys, you get a pass today unless you feel like reading about how women regardless of their child-bearing experience (but it affects it for sure) can leak some pee when they sneeze, cough, run, jump, dance, laugh … you know: exist.

I am coming out right now: I had a surgery back in 2007. It was called a “transurethral sling implant” because I leaked when I did any of the above living behaviors.

I did a lot of research. I did a lot of investigating. If you know me, you know how absolutely tenacious I can be when it comes to research. So, when it comes to research for an elective procedure (which conversely did affect the quality of my life) I’m slightly insane. Not that I’ve had any other elective procedures. Other than a brain transplant. It failed; they had to give mine back.

So the “brand” of device I had was called the “TVT-O” and here’s why I needed it: despite years of stoplight kegels, pelvic floor exercises, weight loss (to reduce the pressure on the bladder and urethra) I still leaked.

I wanted to stay in shape, but that meant I had to make arrangements. No matter how many arrangements I made: it didn’t work. I’m 5’5″, 135#; pretty average. I couldn’t run. I couldn’t dance. I couldn’t laugh without a >splee!< down there.

IT SUCKED.

The final straw came at a major family event that I attended. I wanted to shake it up on the dance floor. Cut a rug. Get my groove on. I am active! But I ended up dancing like a 92-year-old post-op fitness instructor. My feet shuffled, they never left the ground. My youngest son wanted to do the preschooler dance, the constant “jump and hop” with me: nothing doing. My legs were fine, as were my lungs, heart and attitude but my urethra? That freaking TINY little tube the length of a small paperclip was my master.

I was out. It was awful. I couldn’t dance at this huge, glorious event.

It’s technically called, “Stress Urinary Incontinence” (SUI). I called it freaking embarrassing and utterly frustrating.

I put up with this condition for seven eight NINE  years.

I was determined then to investigate.  After finding a doctor thanks to a good friend, and then interviewing her good friend who had the procedure I was looking into, I called the doctor (not all doctors are certified to perform this procedure, by the way).

why is it that when i searched for urethra i got mostly male anatomy? are we SO closed up about this highly common issue with women? (http://www.thirdage.com/files/cond/female-urethra.jpg)

why is it that when i searched for urethra i got mostly male anatomy? are we SO closed up about this highly common issue with women? (http://www.thirdage.com/files/cond/female-urethra.jpg)

We had to go through a couple phsyicals, tests, and some sort of exam she gave me to determine my candidacy for the surgery. Apparently I pissed (ahahahahahhaaaa!) with flying colors.

It was my anatomy. My urethra was positioned in such a way that it managed to hold on to some urine despite my efforts to fully empty my bladder.

After literally looking at me without even physically assessing, she said, “Yup. You’re a candidate. Your bladder is empty. But due to age, weight changes from carrying babies, gravity and the tilt of your uterus, you have a ‘dip’ or ‘pocket’ in your urethra which holds urine that didn’t void. So when you run, laugh, jump: it leaks for you. Your pelvic floor is strong, there’s no doubt of that because it’s what’s putting the pressure on your urethra which causes the leaks, but what you need now is a sling to hold it up or reduce the dip… Does that make sense?”

She could’ve been saying “doggie go boo-boo in the banana tub running heartaches with lollipops and salad casserole carpools” and I wouldn’t have cared. But when she said ‘You’re a candidate.’ I stopped listening, even though I didn’t stop hearing.

Three weeks later, I went in. The procedure was outpatient in her office and it took all of 20 minutes. Local anesthetic here, there, “Blabitty blah, how’re the kids? Do you have any plans for the weekend? No, I haven’t seen that movie, I hear it’s great. I can’t believe they made a third ‘Shrek…’ I know right? Yes, it’s incredible that Brad and Angelina are having twins… Try not to laugh … annnnnd we werrrrrrrre done. Scoot up, get dressed, come see me in my office and we’ll talk about after care and recovery.”

Super.

Six weeks of no heavy weights. I couldn’t run. But I was allowed to laugh.

The benefits were INSTANT. It took a little while for me to trust it, to get used to not having to suppress my laughter or cross my legs when I’d sneeze or cough or shout, but I got the hang of it pretty quickly.

I’m sharing this because I hear about this problem for many of our sisters. I learned about the procedure when I started to open up, talk about it candidly and ask for help. Here’s where I am: I’m here to help you. You don’t have to ask me any questions, you can chat me up privately or simply share the info with someone you love who’s talked about it.

I’m six years post-op today, as a matter of fact, and I’ve never regretted getting this done. There are contraindications (if you’re planning to have a baby is the first and yo-yo weight fluctuations is another) you should consider.

Let’s talk.

Thank you.

ps – here are other posts I’ve written For The Ladies

Living and Thriving with PMDD

Yes Ma’ammogram

Now I’ve Just Had It. A Rant on Health

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People of earth; regular day-to-day, non-medical personnel or police personnel:

PLEASE. PLEASE stop using antibacterial soaps and antibacterial household cleaners. I’m not trying to scare both of you, but here’s the truth:

Do you know what’s happening because of our country’s planet’s truly bizarre and scary obsession with germs? We are getting sicker and the antibiotics we’re taking aren’t working. As a result, they’re going to the gym, working out and meeting other germs and rocking the hell out of us with their SuperGerms. MRSA, anyone? Read on.

this is your body after using antibacterial soaps. this is a clinical, actual microscopic slide. the germs are called fauxgerms and they are all over my iPad.

this is your body after using antibacterial soaps. this is a clinical, actual microscopic slide. the germs are called fauxgerms and they are all over my iPad.

You know, how when you exercise too much, you get worn down? Or if you eat the same foods, you get sick of them or you can develop intolerances to them? Or how if you wash your hands all the time (that’s one thing) but unnecessarily with antibacterial soap that you end up putting its tricolsan in the water supply and the environment and what happens when you keep doing that? You’re basically telling the germs you love them. The germs and bacteria don’t need to go to the gym to workout and meet others, because what we’re doing is killing off the common bacterial we can handle and that is good for us (ever heard of the word, “probiotic” or “good bacteria”? — it’s true… there are bacteria that are good for us…) and that these soaps don’t know the difference between good and bad bacteria, just like your adrenal glands don’t know the difference between good stress (YAY! WE WON THE LOTTERY!) and bad stress (CRAP! WE HAVE TO DECLARE BANKRUPTCY!) and they end up secreting waaaaaay too much cortisol which makes you fat around your organs and your belly…? (The cortisol thing is a topic for another post — I know too much about this stuff.)

The point is: wash your hands with regular soap and regular water. Just do it. Regular soap removes everything you don’t need on your hands exactly as it should. If you don’t work in a hospital or medical office or in an ambulance or police station or health clinic or dentist’s office or school clinic:

LAY OFF THE ANTIBACTERIAL SOAP.

Just leave it alone. Leave it for the doctors. Leave it for the EMTs for the nurses, for the dentists for the people who actually need it. Good God just leave it alone. The execs at the antibacterial soap manufacturers? They don’t care. They want to scare the hell out of you to get you to buy it. They want you to line their pockets with gold so they can build their panic rooms and safe houses to keep you away from them when all bacterial hell breaks loose. Trust me: they don’t care about you.

Watch this… it will illustrate it humorously:

Eat off the floor. Increase the 5-second rule to 10, you will live better for it! TRUTH.

I realize I can’t moanandgroan about this without providing solutions: use Ivory, Dove, Method, even softsoap makes a regular soap now, I think it’s called “SoftClean” or something ridiculously brand-specific like that. Bath and Body Works are some of the worst? best?  most active promoters of the antibacsoaps. They make them smell like fruit salads so you think you’re cleaner but you’re not; you’re hurting yourself and the rest of us. DON’T BUY THEM.

What to else to buy? I love the fancy “Caldrea” pump soaps at Target (my favorite is “green tea” – I swear, I could get stoned off it, I love the way it smells so much, ask my kids, I sniff them like a bear would when they come out of the bathroom), there’s a great soap here: http://www.vitacost.com/natures-gate-organics-liquid-soap-lemongrass-and-clary-sage-12-fl-oz and all national big box stores sell all sorts of regular soaps.

A nurse friend of mine commented on my FB page about hand-washing, that actually all any soap does is loosen the dirt, etc. The hand-rubbing and chlorinated water usually do the trick. Live on well water? Same thing. YOU WILL LIVE. Probably better than you do now if you toss the antibacsoaps.

As a blogger friend said to me today, “the germophobes are going to kill us all; as if the Howie Mandels of the world are the predominant normal people.”

don't be afraid, just be smart. stop using this stuff. please.

don’t be afraid, just be smart. stop using this stuff. please. i drew this.

Don’t go all boo-hoo on me either. I hail from a long proud and stubborn line of clinically diagnosed and treated Obsessive Compulsives, so don’t tell me I’m making fun or being insensitive to those with OCD. I’m NOT. I’m just one person, who’s been unable to shake a cold for the last 4 weeks and who’s watched every single one of her kids go down for illnesses they should have been able to beat but probably couldn’t because their schools are loaded with antibacterial soaps. In the past month my sons have come down with strep and today, Scarlet fever (which is strep, I know that) but this is NUTS… they we never get sick here. Truly very seldom.

Think I’m full of crap? Go here (data from an environmental ONCOLOGY — you know: “CANCER” center):

“Antibacterial soap and disinfectants may contain triclosan or other active ingredients classified by the EPA as pesticides. Studies by government scientists have shown that regular use of antibacterial soap allows bacteria to become resistant to them and can irritate the skin, especially the skin of infants and children. In fact, in 2005, an FDA panel, in an 11 to 1 vote, warned that popular mass-marketed antibacterial soaps and washes showed no evidence of preventing infections more effectively than hand washing with regular soap.

The FDA asked for the panel’s advice because of concerns that common antimicrobial agents used in the soaps, such as triclosan and triclocarban, that can also be found in products ranging from deodorants to plastics, accumulate in groundwater and soil. As they build up in the environment, these chemicals could eventually contaminate drinking water and farmed food. This could give rise to potentially dangerous resistant bacteria.

Several experts caution that even the potential risk of resistance may not be worth continued mass marketing of soaps that have no proven benefit to consumers. Drug-resistant bacteria are considered a major health threat by public health experts. Some strains, including S. aureus (staph), have shown increased levels of resistance to multiple antibiotics. The safest solution is to wash your hands frequently for 15 seconds at a time with warm soapy water and using paper towels or air drying to avoid transmitting infections.”

Source: http://www.upci.upmc.edu/ceo/soap/

Or here:

“You know when your doctor prescribed a course of antibiotics and told you to take the entire prescription? You really should’ve listened. Thanks to millions of misused antibiotic prescriptions worldwide (how many half-empty bottles are in your medicine cabinet ri­ght now?), the bacteria you intend to kill are getting stronger. In fact, some bacteria — like the MRSA superbug — are immune to select antibiotics.”

Source: http://health.howstuffworks.com/skin-care/cleansing/myths/antibacterial-soap-outlawed.htm

Or here:

“Tuberculosis, food poisoning, cholera, pneumonia, strep throat and meningitis: these are just a few of the unsavory diseases caused by bacteria. Hygiene—keeping both home and body clean—is one of the best ways to curb the spread of bacterial infections, but lately consumers are getting the message that washing with regular soap is insufficient. Antibacterial products have never been so popular. Body soaps, household cleaners, sponges, even mattresses and lip glosses are now packing bacteria-killing ingredients, and scientists question what place, if any, these chemicals have in the daily routines of healthy.”

… Unlike these traditional cleaners, antibacterial products leave surface residues, creating conditions that may foster the development of resistant bacteria, Levy notes. For example, after spraying and wiping an antibacterial cleaner over a kitchen counter, active chemicals linger behind and continue to kill bacteria, but not necessarily all of them.

When a bacterial population is placed under a stressor—such as an antibacterial chemical—a small subpopulation armed with special defense mechanisms can develop. These lineages survive and reproduce as their weaker relatives perish. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is the governing maxim here, as antibacterial chemicals select for bacteria that endure their presence.”

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=strange-but-true-antibacterial-products-may-do-more-harm-than-good

I could go on and on and on and on about this; but I won’t. I will tell you this: core ice samples of the arctic circle several thousand feet below have discovered super-old (that’s a scientific term) bacterial samples that you don’t even want to think about. When those glacier start to melt, I mean reeeeeeally melt, the stuff that’s gonna hit the water… and it will be different, is all I can say. I can’t judge, and there’s no way to suggest that they would be viable when they reintroduce themselves to the water systems, but…  Maybe we’ll all (times 15 generations) be dead by then, but the point is: if we’re not… I’m not sure I wanna be around then. Scientists aren’t suggesting another plague or “The Andromeda Strain” and there’s nothing we can do about any of that so let’s do something we can do something about: let’s get on the side of the good germs, the probiotics and treat our antibiotics with care and for the love of all that is good, decent and correct in this world: just STOP using the antibacterial soaps and household cleaners. JUST STOP. You’re MAKING it WORSE. Don’t put them in the toilet, just stop using them.

If you still don’t believe me: Google it, prove me wrong. Here’s one more article coming up next week (that’s right… I have connections…): http://www.scientificamerican.com/report.cfm?id=antibiotic-resistance-bacteria-in-depth

I welcome a nice healthy and civil debate. Good luck finding data that suggests I’m incorrect. I’ll buy you a case of Purell if I’m wrong.

Oh, and you’re wasting your money too: http://www.topclassactions.com/lawsuit-settlements/lawsuit-news/1552-softsoap-antibacterial-class-action-lawsuit

Do you have old meds and you don’t know what to do with them? This just in: put them in used coffee grounds! Don’t drink coffee? Shit… then, read this: http://www.ismp.org/consumers/throwAwayMedsSafely.asp

Thank you.

ps – one two three four more things: 1) chill out on the need for antibiotics. Chances are you don’t need them and neither does your kid. 2) Chill out on the tylenol and fever reducers: I am also not too quick to treat a fever unless my child is in pain or discomfort. If we bring down a fever too fast, the body can’t burn up the virus. People are loopy. Let the body do his or her AMAZING work. We’ve survived this long… we can do this ourselves. 3) Oh, and eat more yogurt or Kefir. And greens! 🙂 and 4) Do you know someone with a uterus? Is she moody sometimes and doesn’t know why? Maybe reading this will help: Living and Thriving with PMDD

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Quickie: Gratitude

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Quickie: Gratitude

I have a lot to do today but I wanted to take a moment to give thanks for a very simple thing: lack of physical pain.

I caved yesterday and had the 2nd cortisone shot in my left elbow for the tennis elbow I’ve been dealing with since January.

I’ve done all manner of interventions: acupuncture, massage, strength and physical therapy. I even did a wacky self-induced masochistic torture which did provide some relief, but never took it away.

I am a Big Believer in psycho-genetic pain. I have read several books by Dr. John D. Sarno on the matter of “Tension Myositis Syndrome” (the link will take you to his site, but his work goes way beyond back pain) and I believe what he says has legs. I have friends who think I’m nuts — they actually look at me like I’ve got three heads when I start talking about the connection between emotional repression and physical pain or the chakras and how they manifest what we’re up against. I still love these people and I don’t care if they think I’m nuts. I end up feeling better and they continue to repress. I’m digressing…

I have personally experienced relief of physical ailments by participating in the exercises (mental folks, so the only sweating you’re gonna do is emotional) Sarno proposes. This tennis elbow is included in that experience, but it hasn’t gone away completely because I believe two things: 1) I haven’t done enough of The Work he proposes and 2) I am still holding back a few things which leads me back to #1. I am digressing again, I apologize.

The point is: I am grateful for the shot of cortisone. My pain is gone, completely, for the time being and that means I can concentrate on healing inside because I won’t be distracted by the manifested physical pain. Maybe I will write a post about it. Maybe…

I am extremely aware at this moment of people who are in pain. I am conscious of it because now I don’t have any and I know what it’s like to wake up with the pain I’d had for about nine months as my body gradually adapted and muscles compensated for the injury. This morning, I woke with the phantom of that pain: anticipating it but not feeling it. Worried about it but not experiencing it. Obsessing over it, but not having it. I am sort of out of sorts — the pain had become a part of my existence and my identity. I have fear in my heart that it will return; part of this (the return of the pain) I can not control; the fear I can. And I will have to work on that.

I know that everyone out there who lives with pain on an hourly, moment-by-moment and daily basis is in my heart today.

I am putting together a post because I have won three blogger awards in the last three weeks: Versatile Blogger, Very Inspiring Blogger and the Liebster Blog Award.  I am thrilled and grateful for the recognition; there are fantastic writers and photographers and artists out there that I’m gonna share. I hope you will take a peek at that post! If you love movies, I’ve got a site for you. If you love painters, I’ve got a couple sites for you. If you love holistic health, I’ve got a site for you. If you love woo-woo psychic stuff, I’ve got some sites for you. I’ve got you covered, is all I’m gonna say. So, stick around. We’ll be right back.

Thank you.

Doping & Masking

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I don’t follow cycling. But I do know the name Lance Armstrong. I do know that he likes yellow. I do know that he is competitive and I do know that today I read an article about his refusing to combat the charges levied against him by the United States Anti-Doping Agency for doping in his cycling competitions, most notably seven (SEVEN!) Tour de France titles and a bronze Olympic medal.

According to the article, ten of Mr. Armstrong’s teammates were willing to testify against him.

Many people have suggested that Armstrong’s refusal to fight indicates that he is guilty.

In America, we have the presumption of innocence before guilt is proven. It’s one of our favorite legal tenets. It actually separates us from a lot of crazy countries.  I think it has an official latin name or Constitutional article number, but I don’t know that stuff. I know about things like great vacuums, how to make a killa PB&J, which are the best pencils and why I hate to do laundry or clean my house.

I don’t care about Armstrong, frankly.  My impression of him is one of a vain guy whose family and marriage were sacrificed at the expense of his vanity and glorious pursuit of greatness. He shacked up with Sheryl Crow. I don’t have a high opinion of her either. I say this because I am the Universal Arbiter of All That is Honorable, Just and True.

No, I say this because I’m sad that he let this shit get to his head. That’s what happens sometimes.

That said, before we start judging people — and I know this is a quantum leap — be careful: did you have coffee this morning? How much? Did it make you more effective at work? Do you take vitamins and supplements for your health or your ability to stay healthy? What about viagra? What about lunesta? What about sudafed? What about aspirin? How about “Five Hour Energy” (if you take that stuff, you can stop following my blog because just the ad campaign alone is not worthy of my snarling lip)?

We are an insatiable species. We are also hypocrites.

The thing is, we as humans have always looked for something outside ourselves to make us feel, do, perform, look, act, seem better than what we really are. Even if that means pointing fingers. I have no problem popping two Advil for my headaches or cramps. I have no problem taking calcium if it helps me fend off osteoporosis. I have no problem using mascara if it makes my lashes look fuller, plumper and healthier. The problem however manifests when the lashes get wet and I end up looking like Tammy Faye Bakker.

Tammy Faye Bakker – remember her? She believed her press too. And cornered the market on mascara.

I understand that athletic / performance-enhacing drugs, blood transfusions and steroids are completely different than what I’m talking about.

Sort of.

If Lance did it, and we suspect he did (along with so many other empty and vapid athletes out there) for money, fame, glory, whatever shame on him. And shame on us? People looked up to him. Maybe they shouldn’t? Do we need heroes? I like to think we don’t…

People don’t look up to me (well, maybe my kids do) but they don’t look down on me either if I take some aspirin to fend off pain or an extra cup of coffee (now) to supposedly ward off fatigue. I know the medicinal effect is false, and that in the case of caffeine the side effects are dubious. The aspirin is not actually solving the problem of my headache (stress) nor is the coffee helping my sleep-deprivation (don’t let child sleep on floor after 2am, he breathes like a dying flounder) but what they offer does keep me out of the newspapers.

Not so much with Lance.

I had to tape up my palms last night after rowing just so I could drive myself and my son home without stinging pain.

I have tape on my hands and fingers due to all the blisters I’ve gotten while sculling lately. Does it make me more of an “athlete” if I row without the tape? No. But I want to row, the tape helps it not hurt so much and I get to continue. Totally different than taking drugs, but still: masking.

So what do to now? Lance maintains his innocence and I have to hand it to him, if he’s lying, he’s got that denial streak going strong. May he live to 200 and build a boat to save humanity during a big storm. If I am still alive I will try to row for him. Do we support him and believe him or do we look sideways, wondering if it’s possible: seven times, historic, ten people alleging doping (jealousy on their parts?), supposedly irrefutable evidence and an aggressive USADA… the evidence seems compelling. He’s fought every other charge, why not this one?

At the finish line (sorry, had to go there), none of this matters to any of us on a personal level; what matters is Character and if we do what we say we do and we do our best when we try. So you only get to point at Lance if you’ve never done anything extrinsic or supplemental to make yourself “better” than what you actually are, feel or think.

Again, a quantum leap, but essentially not. Be authentic. That means: stop the vitamins, the supplements, the prescriptions, the meetings, the meditations, the drugs and the negative self-talk… easier said than done I’m afraid.

Maybe admitting that what you/we are is enough is a start. Maybe seeing ourselves as heroes is asking too much? Seeing others as heroes could be Masking too much…

Thank you.