Tag Archives | health

taking stock #013

hello, curve ball

Life has thrown yet another series of them at our family.  Nothing we can’t handle, but it’s put us off-kilter a little.
No blanks in this edition of taking stock.  Instead, I’ve left this page open the entire day and come back to this post multiple times.  No pressure to answer. More time to think through what has been influencing my life of late.

So here’s the lucky #013 of taking stock.  It’s a mixed bag!

Making: condensed milk, lemon and gingernut puddings – a little bit of comfort food for the soul (thanks, Simon, for the recipe!)
Cooking: up a plan for a weekend away with the girls
Drinking: kefir water – still on it and still loving it
ReadingThe Plant Paradox by Steven R. Gundry, MD – how ‘healthy’ food  can actually be harming you
Wanting: to do so much more, but pacing myself – life is a journey, not a destination
Looking: up and reading journal articles on Ankylosing Spondylitis
Playing: Imagine Dragons album Evolve on repeat
Deciding: on a Sunday afternoon what is on the dinner menu for the coming week – makes life so much easier
Wishing: that I lived closer to my brothers and sister…
Enjoying: moments in the sunshine
Waiting: for the results from the Boys MRI
Liking: only working 1 day a week now
Wondering: why it took me so long to make the decision to only work 1 day a week
Loving: my new role as the publicity and promotions manager at school
Pondering: ‘be the change’ – and how it is applicable to me at this point in my life
Considering: getting my nose pierced – something I’ve always wanted to do, but keep chickening out on
WatchingBuffy, the Vampire Slayer – still! The kids are still loving it, and still having a blast bagging it out each episode
Hoping: that all goes well for my Beautiful Girl as she prepares to leave the nest again
Marveling: at how warm our day times temperatures have been lately
Needing: to stop and stretch more
Smelling: immune booster oil – still having it burning, because the Boy can’t manage to shake his cough
Wearing: my new Peruvian alpaca wool knitted jumper – soooooo warm
Following: up on blood tests to see if my iron levels have increased
Noticing: how I feel when I do a yoga session – my mind and body loves it
Knowing: that I will be able to help my Boy on his journey with Ankylosing Spondylitis
Thinking: about getting a medicinal tattoo – anyone knows of a reputable tattoo artist who only uses natural inks?
Feeling: pleased with myself at what I have achieved over the last couple of days
Admiring: the colours of a sunset
Sorting: through all sorts of shit in my house – it’s time to go Minimalist
Buying: as little as possible
Getting: all of my affairs in order, so that if I do drop off the planet, it’s all organized for my family (& no, I’m not about to drop off the planet)
Bookmarking: medical journal articles on Ankylosing Spondylitis – trying to read enough to understand, but not overwhelm me
Disliking: unanswered emails….
Opening: mail… bills… why do they all seem to come at once?
Giggling: do I really giggle?  I don’t think I do!
Snacking: on crystallized ginger
Coveting: nothing – it’s the Minimalist in me coming out
Wishing: that the Boy didn’t have to deal with Ankylosing Spondylitis
Hearing: the whir of my computer fan

In the comments, I’d love to hear:

What has been happening in your life?  And more specifically, do you have any experience with Ankylosing Spondylitis?

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taking stock #012

It has been a rough couple of months with health issues on multiple fronts… all of which has taken their toll on me.

While I usually look forward to a taking stock, I’m dreading the thought of thinking about what has happened and what is to come over the next couple of months, so forgive me if there are a lot of blanks this time round….

Making: water kefir to help with my gut health, and loving it!
Cooking: from the Stone soup weekly meal plans.  We’ve only just started, but I’m thinking that it’s going to make organising dinners so much simpler.
Drinking: more of that kefir water.
Reading: nothing.  Not a thing.  Nothing is of interest at the moment.
Wanting: good health for all the family.
Waiting: for our holiday… not long to go now.
Loving: the way my family has looked after me these last couple of weeks… “We don’t do it because we have to, Mum.  We do it because we love you.”
Pondering: if all this clean living is really working.
Watching: Buffy, the Vampire Slayer.  Have introduced the kids to her and while they laugh and criticise, they still ask when we’re going to watch the next episode!
Marvelling: at the change in season.  The colours are stunning.
Needing: time on a beach.
Smelling: the immune booster essential oils I’m burning in bulk at the moment… trying to rid the house of all things germy.
Wearing: comfortable clothes.
Feeling: really run down… and over it.
Admiring: the colours of the leaves in Autumn.
Disliking: coughing.
Giggling: at the Boy when he predicts what will happen in Buffy.
Hearing: the dog groan with old age whenever she moves.

Not too bad, considering.

Hope to see you all sooner rather than later, because I know that the blog has been very quiet of late.  Apologies there, but I been prioritising and unfortunately for the blog, she’s a fair way down the list.

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why i still turn my computer off at 7 p.m.

boy with ipod

it has been 4 years since I started turning my computer off at 7 p.m.

When I first wrote about turning off my computer, my motivation was to spend more time with my family.  Add to that I was exhausted and in need of some necessary me-time of an evening, these two factors helped me to sustain the practice.

Today, my motivations remain the same. And since reading about the impact of blue light on sleep patterns, I’ve become all the more determined to continue.

A (very) brief look at the science behind sleep…

Melatonin is one of the hormones that influences sleep. It is released into your body by the pineal gland, a pea-sized organ found in the brain. Melatonin helps control your sleep and wake cycles. And we all know how important sleep is for your physical (and mental) health.

what does this have to do with blue light?

Blue light can keep the pineal gland from releasing melatonin, thus warding off sleepiness.

Studies have shown that exposure to blue light at night can be linked to several types of cancer (breast, prostate) diabetes, heart disease, obesity and an increased risk for depression. (Blue Light Exposed)

now, I’m the first to admit that technology has its benefits

I use it most days myself.  But, I also know I’m a bear if I don’t get enough sleep (from 7-9 hours is recommended for my age group).

And having a teenage, game-addicted boy in the house strengthens my resolve.

I turn my computer and i-devices off at 7 p.m. It’s good for my health, plus I’m also modeling a positive behaviour for my Little Man (8 1/2 – 9 1/2 hours sleep is needed by him).

There are other factors as well.  Time spent on social media is adding to feelings of jealousy, fear and loneliness in people.  We experience FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and are finding it harder to be still and silent. And while it’s been wonderful making connections online, nothing beats an eye-to-eye conversation with someone you know and love.

learning to power down is an important life skill

And while it may take some time to learn the discipline, your life will be richer (and healthier) because of it.

In the comments, I’d love to hear:

Do you power down your devices daily, or are you guilty of leaving your computer on all night?

Have you engaged in a digital sabbatical before?  Would you do it again?


And finally, some additional resources that you might find interesting:

Scientific American – Q&A: Why Is Blue Light before Bedtime Bad for Sleep?

Harvard Health Publications – Blue light has a dark side

The Sabbath Manifesto – a creative project designed to slow down lives in an increasingly hectic world.

f.lux – makes the color of your computer’s display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day.

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Why I Won’t Vaccinate My Children

Let me preface this post with this statement:  this post is based on my personal opinion and experience.  I am in no way advocating pro- or anti-vaccination, and respect the choices that parents make when it comes time to vaccinate their children.

This is a post that has been weighing on my mind over the last couple of weeks.

It won’t be a post full of statistics.  It won’t be a post that says you should, or you shouldn’t, immunise your children.  It will simply be a post expressing why I have chosen to not continue with vaccinations for my children.

My hope is that it will encourage others to make an informed choice on whether or not to vaccinate their children, based on reputable and evidence-based research.

My story is as follows…

my children have been vaccinated up to their 4 years immunisations

I vaccinated my children in their infancy because I believed it was the right thing to do.  It was what was expected of a responsible parent – to protect your child from childhood diseases – and to protect those in the community who were at risk from those diseases.

The visits to the doctor for those needles were ones that I dreaded.  My kids would scream (whose didn’t…!?) and I would feel terrible because I was causing them pain in that present moment.  But we still went through with it, because it was the right thing to do.

They had no major adverse effects.  Lumps and bumps at the site of the injection, the odd raised temperature and irritability, but otherwise immunisations passed without event.

then at 33 year of age I got chickenpox

Husband was away at a 2-day course for Uni.  I thought I had a sty on my eyelid, but by the time 48 hours had passed and I was picking up Husband from the bus, I knew I had chickenpox.  After the original pox on my eyelid, they started in my hair, and after 2 weeks had finally finished their pustule-advance at my feet.  I had chickenpox where ladies shouldn’t ever get chickenpox, and I still thank my Husband for his attentive administration of paracetemol and Phenergan that kept me comfortable, and sedated, until the worst of it had passed.

i passed the chickenpox on to my children – they were aged 6 and 2 at the time

Both of them had Husband and I had chosen not to have them vaccinated for chickenpox, as we believed the risks involved in contracting this particular disease were minimal.  Both of them had a mild dose and they pulled through with a minimum of fuss, and we felt confident in our decision to not vaccinate them.

fast forward to Daughter aged 12

She got sick.  Really sick.  It was a scary time for us.  But it was the initial diagnosis of mumps that set me on my journey of evidence-based research about vaccinations.

I questioned how it was that my Daughter – who was fully vaccinated – was able to contract mumps and get so very, very sick?

All of the literature I’d read when I’d had my babies vaccinated had led me to believe that vaccinations were the cure-all for these diseases.

It was around this time too, that she was offered the Gardasil vaccine.

Now this one scared me.  It was new.  There were news reports of serious side-effects and deaths among girls who had received it.  I followed up my concern with a lot of reading of studies and reports that helped me to make the choice not to vaccinate Daughter with this one.

Her immune system was already compromised with what we later came to call ‘Patrick’ – a virus similar to glandular fever, but one for which there is no test (and interestingly no vaccine…) – so not having her immunised at this point in her life was a no-brainer for us. Why put her system through an addition stress when it was already stressed enough?

Which made me start thinking about when they were babies, and the stresses that having their developing bodies injected with vaccines had put them through.

With the Little Man being in Year 7 this year, he is being offered several vaccinations.  And interestingly, Daughter is being offered the MMR vaccine this year – her final year at school.

neither of my children will receive an immunisation this year

I’m still not convinced – from the readings and research that I have done – that Gardasil is safe for boys or girls.

And I’m curious why the MMR vaccines aren’t on the  New South Wales vaccination schedule.

I’m not going to go into the statistics on vaccinations.  With some careful research, you can learn all about the pros, cons, safety and side-effects yourself.

I am going to say though, that both of my children are healthy.

We are firm believers that your body’s natural state of health is good health, and with a good diet, enough sunshine and exercise, good sanitation and methods of dealing with the stresses of life, you can keep yourself in good health.  If you are in good health, then you’re going to be less likely to get the diseases that children are routinely vaccinated for.

i know that this is a simplified and idealized way of putting it and many would shake their heads at me at this point

Only time will tell if our decisions were the right ones.  The fact that my children are in robust health, while children in our community – who are only recently vaccinated against – are contracting these diseases, reinforces my belief that I am doing the right thing.

Immunisations are something that we’ve spoken openly about with the kids – letting them know why we’ve made the choices we have.  Daughter was the only one in her cohort who didn’t receive them, and I have a feeling that the Little Man will also be.  We share the research with them.  We explain why good health is so important.  And we know that if our circumstances change, then we will have to re-assess our situation.

Until then, my children will not receive vaccinations.

As I stated at the beginning of this post, this is simply my story and I am in no way advocating for or against you immunising your own children.

Each of our kids is special and precious and unique – and as a parent, we do what we believe is best for them.

I would love to hear the stories of others though – whatever the reason, choice or outcome.

please share your story here – and be assured that it will be read with compassion and acceptance

Much love, Txo

Photo credit: Foter / Public Domain Mark 1.0

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Diary of my Left Breast: Results. Coffee. Breathe.


Breathe by Lauren on Flickr

Monday (28/10/13) was results day.

All is good.  A cluster of cysts, no malignant cells.

Now I can breathe.

Both my Doctor and my Naturopath have indicated that fibrocystic breast changes are what’s happening with me at the moment.  Not all that uncommon, but I’m to keep a careful eye on myself and head back asap if I find lumps that I don’t like the feel of.

Also my costochondritis – an inflammation of the cartilage that connects the ribs to the breastbone – has flared up again, which accounts for why I’ve been so sore.  Pain meds, heat and gentle stretching are the treatment here.

Another breath of relief.

I want to thank everyone who sent me love, well wishes and support over this last week.  It is so very much appreciated, and helped me through the week.  There will be more check-ups to come, but unless anything life-changing comes about, I think I’ll put this issue to rest.

Just keep an eye on yourself.  If you find a lump in your breast, get it checked out.  Better to err on the side of caution, and quiet those demons dancing through your brain.  And if you need a friend, let me know.

With love, Txo

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