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Praise the Lord!

1 Feb

Wow! I was so sick for the past week and I am still recovering from a nasty virus.  The 5 days I spent in bed gave me some time to really think about the blessings of God.  What a blessing it is to be healthy.  When we are sick it is hard to do the simplest of tasks.  Even getting yourself food can be a daunting task.  It is easy to take our health for granted when we are well.  So I just want to thank God for giving me the last week to reflect.  I thank God for all of the days that he has given me and for the comfort that he provides me. I thank Him for loving me and for showing mercy.  I thank Him for sending his Son for us.  I thank Him for his promises of the future and the hope that it brings.  As Mary said in Luke 1:

“Oh, how my soul praises the Lord.
How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
For he took notice of his lowly servant girl,
and from now on all generations will call me blessed.
For the Mighty One is holy,
and he has done great things for me.
He shows mercy from generation to generation
to all who fear him.
His mighty arm has done tremendous things!
He has scattered the proud and haughty ones.
He has brought down princes from their thrones
and exalted the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
and sent the rich away with empty hands.
He has helped his servant Israel
and remembered to be merciful.
For he made this promise to our ancestors,
to Abraham and his children forever.” Luke 1:46-55

Praise the Lord!

Skin Check

24 Sep

Being a fair skinned, freckled individual living in sunny Hawaii, I often think about how my skin type is the most common to develop skin cancer.  I have had more sunburns than I can remember as we practically lived at the beach growing up.  I try to keep a watch on my skin, so I went to the dermatologist this morning because I have three spots on my right forearm that have been worrying me.  They are a different texture than the rest of my skin and really dry.

Well, turned out they were all pre-cancerous sun damage! The dermatologist also found a spot on the back of my ankle that I had never even noticed.  So, she used nitrogen to burn off the three spots on my arm…ouch!  Apparently when you burn/freeze them off, after the scab falls off normal skin cells will replace the abnormal cells.  The spot on my ankle was a very dark freckle (almost black), so she cut that one off to be biopsied.  I now have to get a skin check either every six months (if the biopsy is abnormal) or every year.

Also, the derm. recommended that I start using a UV umbrella during the daytime because I told her that I only put sunscreen on my face and neck everyday.  I knew that I should wear sunscreen on my arms every day, but I don’t cause I don’t like how it feels.  I think that the new UV umbrellas are a great option since I can just keep it in my bag. I ordered one for about $35, which is actually cheaper in the long run than buying sunscreen all the time.  This is what they look like:

I am so glad that I went in to get a check before it was any worse!

I really recommend checking your skin and keeping an eye out for any changes.  For your back have someone check you or use two mirrors to check.  As a massage therapist I have spotted areas that looked suspicious on clients that they had never even noticed.

This is the ABCDs of skin checks:

The ABCD rule is a guide to the usual signs of skin cancer. Tell your doctor about any spots that match the following description:

A is for ASYMMETRY: One half of a mole or birthmark does not match the other.

B is for BORDER: Normal spots have smooth edges. Cancerous spots may have irregular, ragged, notched, or blurred edges.

C is for COLOR: The color is not the same all over and may include shades of brown or black or sometimes with patches of red, white, or blue.

D is for DIAMETER: Normal spots are about the size of a pencil end-about 1/4 inch- anything larger is worrisome.

E is for Elevated: Having a spot above skin level is another warning sign.

Any change in size, shape or color of a mole or the appearance of a new spot should be check by a doctor.

Some melanomas, the deadliest form of skin cancer, do not fit the ABCD rule described above, so it is very important for you to notice changes in skin markings or new spots on your skin.

Other warning signs are:

·a sore that does not heal

·a new growth

·spread of pigment from the border of a spot to surrounding skin

·redness or a new swelling beyond the border

·change in sensation — itchiness, tenderness, or pain

·change in the surface of a mole — scaliness, oozing, bleeding, or the appearance of a bump or nodule

via The ABCDE’S Of Skin Cancer: How To Spot A Suspicious Mole – Health News Story – WPXI Pittsburgh.

Titanium Pain Relief…

8 Sep

I heard about Japanese titanium discs a few months ago from my massage therapist friend.  My friend told me that the Japanese company Phiten had made these little discs and patches that you just stick on yourself wherever you have pain.  She put a couple on my shoulders where I had been hurting for a few days and the next day I did feel better.

So my question was, how can you put titanium in a little disc and why on earth does it make pain go away?  Well, I went down to the Phiten store and they explained it to me. Basically it has to do with electrical currents in the body.  I still can’t explain it myself, but all I know is it really works.  This morning I woke up with a headache, so I put 3 of the little discs on my left shoulder where I could feel the pain coming from and now two hours later my headache is gone.

What’s even cooler is the discs aren’t expensive. I got a box with 70 discs for $10.  They recommend leaving the disc on for up to 3 days (which I tried and they stay on in the shower no problem).  So really one box lasts a long time.

I just wanted to share this with you because when I find something that helps me not hurt I want to share it.  If you have a Phiten store near you, they will give you free samples to try out and see if it works for you.

Here is a commercial for Phiten that I found:

This is the link to their website, they have lots of other products besides the discs, but that is what I have tried so far.

p-50-titanium-discs.aspx

Jessica

Baby Business: The Birthing Debate

28 Jul

Lately babies are looking cuter and the idea of having one sounding more appealing.  I figure it is because I am 29 and so many of my friends are pregnant or have babies.  As a massage therapist and a person with an interest in alternative therapies and natural living, I have often heard about the debate between natural birthing and hospital births and their effect on babies and mothers.  I like to think that I would have a natural birth because, in general, I am skeptical of western medicine’s philosophy of healing and the idea of having a newborn baby in an environment full of contaminants, like a hospital.

Since I have not actually had a baby, I am not going to say that I won’t have a baby in the hospital, but I am on a quest to get informed about all of my options.  I recently watched Ricki Lake’s documentary “The Business of Being Born” where she details how disappointing of an experience she had with her first child being born in a hospital and goes in depth about the natural birthing process.  The film definitely was eye-opening for me because they actually show several women giving birth without pain medication at home and in birthing centers.  Most of the women had moments when they thought that they couldn’t handle the pain, but kept going anyway and in the end were really happy with the experience.  One of the points made in the film is that women are depriving themselves of an empowering experience that creates a stronger bond with their baby.  While I don’t know if this is true for all women, it was an interesting point.

What I found most important is that the drugs administered in typical hospital births often start a chain reaction of events that can end in C-sections.  For example, Pitocin, is used to mimic Oxytocin which is the natural hormone within the body that causes contractions in the woman’s uterus during childbirth.  Oxytocin is also related to sexual pleasure and love, hence the claims of it creating the strong bond between mother and child since the levels are so high during birth.  The problem according to the film is that Pitocin does not actually create the same effect as Oxytocin.  The contractions brought on by Pitocin are much more intense so they are much more painful for the mother and, worse, they cut of the blood supply to the baby for longer periods which deprives the baby of oxygen and can lead to distress.  So basically, once a woman accepts Pitocin the chain of events has been set in action. With the increased pain from the stronger contractions  she is more likely to choose pain medication. Then if the woman is not able to give birth vaginally and has a C-section, there are other issues such as the fluid that accumulates in the babies lungs which is normally squeezed out during vaginal delivery and can lead to respiratory issues after C-sections.

All of this gives a very strong impression that if your pregnancy is not high-risk, than it is best to not give birth with unnecessary medical interventions.  Yet, it is just really hard to shake the worry of “what if something goes wrong and I’m not at the hospital?!” While I understand intellectually the points against medical interventions during pregnancy, I still find it hard to commit to the idea of not having the “security blanket” of western medicine which is quite effective for emergency situations.  The solution for many women is birthing centers, where you can have a natural birthing process and still have all of the medical personnel and interventions available in case they are needed.

So this brings me to my next point, why are there hardly any birthing centers in Hawaii and none on the Capital island, Oahu?  In my knowledge, the closest thing we have to one is at Castle Hospital where my friend Donna is a head nurse in the birthing center ( http://www.castlemed.com/birth_center.htm ).  I have several friends who have had positive birthing experiences there and at present I would probably also choose this hospital.  They have 4 rooms that have birthing tubs and all rooms are equipped for the baby to be able to stay in the room the entire time the mother is in the hospital.  My question is though, how do you get one of the rooms with the tub?  It would suck to get there and they say that they are all full and then you’re whole plan is just tossed aside!

There are so many things to think about! A woman who works in my building stopped by the office this morning to drop of a time-off request form since she is having her baby soon.  I asked her when she was due and she told me Friday at 11:30 a.m.  because she is having a C-section.  Apparently with her first child she ended up having a C-section after her son was a week late and the Pitocin didn’t work as they had hoped.  So now she has opted to just go straight for a C-section and not try a vaginal birth.  I can understand her situation.

This brings up to mind the issue with C-sections that is taking place in Brazil (and in the U.S. to an extent too); women are choosing to have C-sections out of convenience and to “avoid pain.”  My sister-in-law is due next week Friday in Brazil. In the beginning of her pregnancy her doctor asked her if she wanted to have a vaginal birth or a C-section even though she is not a high-risk pregnancy.  She chose to have a C-section because, as with many of the Brazilian women that I have spoken too, “it is easier and more pleasant.”  To me this is just absurd (And yes I told her this too).  I have studied muscles extensively, and I can tell you that cutting through the abdominal muscles/wall is NOT going to be pain free in the healing process. It will take longer to recover and is gonna HURT! So the whole no pain excuse is totally bogus.  Perhaps it is fear of the process and what it does to our girlie parts, but I still have a very hard time accepting it as something that women should just choose as if they are just choosing to have some cosmetic surgery.

This is all coming from me, a woman who has never experienced it, who can be quite opinionated about certain things and this is one of them.

So what do you think?

Zuuuuumba with Grandma!

23 Jul

If you haven’t heard about Zumba yet, it is the latest workout fad that centers around Latin dance with an interspersing of African and Belly dancing.  It is my kind of workout because it is more like going to a dance party than going to an exercise class. For me working out needs to be a mind-clearing, stress-relieving, enjoyable experience or I will find excuses to avoid it at all costs!

This morning in Zumba Gold class the majority of the class was over 40 and there were quite a few silver haired grandmas rocking out to the Latin beats!  I had so much fun in class with this diverse group of women all moving their bodies to the beat the best they could.  Our instructor Yumi has absolutely no problem getting grandmas to roll their hips like sexy mamas and shimmy across the room! I seriously can’t stop smiling while I’m there, unless of course I am concentrating on trying to get my hips to circle counterclockwise while also doing arm moves at a different pace…talk about mind warping!  But really, how can you not love Grandmas that can shake it like Shakira!   God gave us these wonderful bodies and there is just something about shaking mine that fills my heart with joy 🙂

Above is a video of Shakira dancing to Waka Waka and below is a video of a Zumba class doing the Waka Waka… come on now, how can you not smile??