Listen to Your Body, It’s Trying to Tell You Something

Irony, Danny DeVito, and Gargling Glass

Normally, I have a real fascination with irony.  Normally, there are few things that amuse me more than a deliciously ironic situation or occurrence.  I say normally because irony recently smacked me on the backside. Plato Quote About Health

Without my consent.

As you may know, last month I decided to take part in a National Health Blogger’s Challenge.  Each day the blogger was to take the day’s “prompt” and write about something pertaining to health.  I was off to a smashing success and was having  a lot of fun with the process.  I was doing a lot of research about health-related topics, learning a lot of fascinating things, and generally having a great time with the entire process.

Then… what would irony dictate in such a situation? Exactly. I got sick.   Smack to the backside.

I won’t bore you with long details.  Long story, short – I had my thyroid removed in 1990 and, since that day, have had to take a daily supplement (a supplement to give my body what my non-existent thyroid cannot).  My daily medicine recently turned on me – giving me more than my body required.  This threw just about everything in my body off kilter and ultimately led to low iron and a host of other less-than-fun side effects.

For a few months, I haven’t felt totally like myself.  But you know how we wives and mothers are – the same things that would alarm us about our children and husbands.. we tend to overlook in ourselves.

  • Oh, I’m just tired…
  • I guess I haven’t been eating right…
  • Must be allergies…
  • I’ll give it another week…

When I realized that I had “enjoyed” recurring mouth ulcers for two months straight, I broke down and went to the doctor.  I would often have two HUGE mouth sores at once.  These weren’t your normal mouth ulcers, either.  I’ve had those before and, while they’re bad enough, these beasts were far worse. Once, I even got one on my tongue that looked like a small crater.  That dude hurt so bad, this non-drinker would have gotten snookered if it would have made me forget the pain for even 10 minutes.  Each time, in the middle of the night, as I sat on the bathroom counter putting Orajel on these sores, I’d think, “If I had access to hard liquor I’d drink until I thought I could fly.

They were that bad.

Of course, since I have never drunk anything stronger than espresso, I’d probably think I could fly as soon as I opened the bottle.

Every meal hurt to eat, coffee hurt to drink, and life kind of sucked for a while.  I’d wake up in the middle of the night in hideous pain because my mouth would have dried out while sleeping and the sores would feel like salt had been poured into them.

Salt was actually one of the countless “home remedies” I tried – a particularly painful one.

In addition to the personal hell the mouth sores caused, I also had zero energy and – to use a highly technical phrase my daughters and I use when we don’t feel right -  simply felt “poopy” all day and all night.  I’d fall asleep at night right in the middle of favorite prime time television shows.  During the day, when I normally go back and forth between working in my home office and doing my regular housekeeping chores, I found myself not giving a dang about any of it. I normally go ALL OUT with Christmas decorations, but it was all I could do just to put the tree up this year.  And, believe me, that was a day long production.  Put a few limbs on… sit and play solitaire on my iPad… put a few decorations on…. lie down and recover.

I wasn’t ME and I wasn’t at all fond of the person impersonating me.  After all, I’m seldom ever still and this imposter seldom ever moved!

And all of this went down right in the middle of writing about health topics like how important it is to see a doctor regularly, how vital it is to take care of yourself, etc.

Smack. Right on the butt.

Ultimately, it was the mouth sores that led me and my hard head to the doctor.  Nothing like constant pain to break your will, is there?

The doctor was SO impressed with the size of the mouth sore I had at that time. I told him I was kind of lucky at that moment because I only had one. While he was admiring the size, I told him that it was the second largest one I’d experienced – that I’d had another one the size of Danny DeVito. He laughed and said he wished he’d seen that one.

I thought, “Me too.”  Then I probably wouldn’t have had the 3 that followed.

As my body and health begin to get back to normal, I’m realizing how puny I actually felt. How could I not have seen that something was wrong?!

That’s a question most of us ask in these situations, isn’t it?  We swear up and down that things “crept up on us” when the truth is, we knew it all along.  We just looked the other way.

Ladies, I honestly believe we are the worst about this.  It occurred to me when I was sitting in the doctor’s office – if one of my daughters or my husband had been experiencing painful mouth sores like I had, I would have dragged them kicking and screaming to the nearest doctor.  I’d have thought, “Something is wrong, here. This isn’t remotely normal.”

Yet, here I was the one going through it and I had a million reasons why I didn’t need to see the doctor.  Duh.

This would be a good time, in all fairness to my family, to point out that they had no idea I was going through all of this. If they had, they would have become impossible nags!  All they really knew was I’d had a few mouth sores.  They never saw how big they were and I did a great job of hiding the fatigue and weakness from them. Everyone always has a lot going on in their lives and I didn’t want anyone worrying about me.  Besides, I fully expected to start feeling like my old self any time.  After all….

  • Oh, I’m just tired…
  • I guess I haven’t been eating right…
  • Must be allergies…
  • I’ll give it another week…

Listen to Your Body

In addition to my Self Help Daily, a food blog, and a cat blog, I have 9 other websites/blogs which happen to include a a Dream Interpretation Website.   Your’s truly is a dreamologist. Nothing crazy  like “You had a dream about snakes.. so you will be visited by bad luck…”  That’s nonsense.  What I do is “read” dreams – by “listening” to the dream symbols, the dreamer’s emotions during the dream, and other seemingly hidden details.  I can tell what’s behind the dream, as in what’s hidden in the subconscious mind.

Quote about listening to your body And yet I couldn’t read what my own body was trying to tell me!  Or maybe I simply wouldn’t.

Either way, my mistake could have led to real trouble.  That’s why I’m writing all of this for you – on the off-hand chance there are other hard heads out there besides me.

If you find yourself EVER thinking, “I’m just not myself lately..” realize there is a reason for it.  Never allow this situation to continue for any amount of time.  After all, there are a lot of conditions that if (caught and treated early) won’t amount to anything, but if you ignore them, they can lead to something downright hideous.

In fact, because I let myself get so run down, I became an open invitation to a nasty bug that was going around.  I never, never get sick, but here I was – mouth sores, runny nose, bad cough, and the worst sore throat I’ve ever had in my life. It felt like I’d been gargling glass.

If I had gone to the doctor as soon as I realized I wasn’t myself, I’d have spared myself a lot of grief and pain.  It’s my hope that you’ll learn from my mistake and will always go to the doctor at the first sign of trouble.

Even if you find yourself feeling more tired than normal, don’t keep writing it off as something else.  What’s the worst thing that can happen? The doctor’s going to tell you your healthy?! If that were to happen – and I hope you’d swing by Starbucks to celebrate your good health – you still got information you can use.  If you get a clean bill of health, then you know that your lifestyle has to be held accountable. You aren’t getting enough rest, you need more nutrients, protein, and vitamins from food, or you’re running yourself ragged.

The trip to the doctor would have pointed you in the right direction.

Unfortunately, most of us try to weed out all of the things in our lifestyle, THEN go to the doctor.  The problem is, by then, we’ll just be more run down and if there IS a medical problem, it will have only gotten worse during that time.

Never take your health for granted. When it has been compromised, even slightly, you realize what a blessing good health is. Life is too delicious to spend one minute of it feeling less than your best.

Listen to your body. If it begins behaving in a way that’s alien to you, don’t make excuses, make an appointment.

 

13 Ways the Internet Can Improve Your Health!

How Social Media, the Internet, and Online Health Communities Can Be Good for You

Pinterest for Your Health

November is National Health Blog Post Month and I have been honored with an invitation to participate. Each day in November, I’ll post a health-related article or piece of information on Self Help Daily. I’m as excited as I am honored and the reason for the excitement ties in with the subject of today’s post: Top 10 Ways the Internet Can Improve Your Health: Things I Love About social media, the internet, and online health communities.

Why I Write So Much About Improving Your Health and Health-Related Topics

Before I get to the top 13 list, I thought I’d give a quick explanation of why I write so much about health topics such as preventing diabetes, heart health, green smoothies, and so on. There are several reasons, actually, and they each have to do with people I love.

  • A great number of people in my family (including the family I gained when I married my husband) have had diseases that most of us hope and pray we never experience. These diseases include diabetes, heart disease, breast cancer, uterine cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, and Hypertension.  Not only did I watch these diseases steal a lot of the quality of loved one’s lives, I saw these diseases take a great number of them far too soon.
  • Even if I didn’t write and/or run a web publishing business, I’d still research health-related topics for the sake of my husband and daughters. I’d read everything I could get my hands on that’d give me an edge in fighting off diseases that haunt our family.  The information I find helps me decide what meals to cook, what activities to encourage and discourage, etc. Knowing what diseases your family is most prone to (and in our case, we seem to be open to just about anything!) gives you an edge – you know what to try your darnedest to fend off.
  • I not only want to protect my family, I want to help you protect your family.  Yes, I am a bona fide people person. If, when it’s all said and done, I can help prevent just one person  from losing a loved family member as early as we’ve lost some of ours – it has been more than worth it.
  • Not only would I like to help pass along information that could save lives, I want to find and pass along information that could help improve lives.

So. That’s why I write about Health-Related Topics.  I’m trying to save the world here, okay?

13 Ways the Internet Can Improve Your Health

The internet gets a bad rap. Thanks to a lot of disgusting websites and a lot of ridiculous people on certain social media sites, the internet often comes across as a modern day Sodom and Gomorrah.  However, there are a lot of ways the internet can improve your health, help you prevent diseases … and potentially save… your life.  This very fact is the reason I chose the number 13 for this list.  Like the internet, the number 13 gets a bad rap. It’s considered to be an unlucky number, so I wanted to take it and create something positive with it – the same way we can all take the internet and do something positive with it.

  1. Medical Websites. You can go to WebMd.com and research symptoms and diseases any time of day or night.  You’ll find things you can do to make yourself feel better and heal faster and find out when or if you need to see a doctor. There are also countless tips for preventing diseases, improving your health, feeling better, increasing your energy, and living healthy on this site as well as others such as Everyday Health and Mayo Clinic. When it comes to health advice and illnesses, I always advise people to stick with the sites mentioned here. Be very cautious where you take advice from for serious conditions.  If you’re searching for ways to make a mouth ulcer feel better, by all means try whatever relief you can – but when it comes to more serious matters, never get your information from someone on a forum, for example, who goes by the handle IronMan5 or Gr8Grl. Know what I mean?!
  2. Real Age.com.  A website so vital, so cool, and so helpful that it gets its own place in the top 10. Real Age.com is more than a website, it’s a tool. When you (honestly!) fill out the questionnaire, you aren’t just given your “Real Age” (as opposed to the year determined by your birth date ).  However, it doesn’t just leave it at that. You’re given TONS of great tips and advice to help you improve your real age and your health and, thereby, increase your chances for a longer life.
  3. Apps. There are apps that count calories for your, apps that tell you how many calories you’re burning, and even an app that reminds you to take your prescriptions! When you search for specific apps, you’ll be amazed by what you find.  If you have time, search for reviews of the apps you find. Do a little research and find the best ones out there.
  4. Fitness. Prevention.com is one of the best places online for fitness articles and exercises.
  5. YouTube Workouts! If you search YouTube for keywords such as Yoga, Zumba, Pilates, Cardio, Aerobics, exercise video, Kettle Bell Workout, etc.. you’ll find some really cool workout videos to increase your strength, stamina, and fitness level. If you aren’t careful, you may even burn some calories!
  6. Healthy Recipes. You can find the most amazing healthy recipes online. If you’re on Pinterest, a lot of people even have boards devoted entirely to healthy eating.  If you need heart-healthy recipes, gluten free recipes,  or vegan recipes, they’re literally at your fingertips.  No one with an internet has the excuse of not having healthy recipes.
  7. Relax and Unwind. At the end of a hectic day, there’s something kind of relaxing about cruising Pinterest or catching up on Twitter.  If you love cats like me, you’ll find that funny cat pictures and/or cat videos are  fun ways to grab a smile or two at the end of the day.  Here’s a little personal tip of mine when it comes to relaxation. After a long day writing and working online, when I get up from the computer, I want to leave all of that craziness behind and unwind.  I’ll often go to You Tube and search for “Japanese Music” or “Classical Piano Music” and let it fill the house as I make supper, do laundry, or simply crash on the couch. I’m not sure anything in the world is as relaxing as piano music or Japanese music.
  8.  Speaking of Twitter… The world has never known a better place for staying on top of important, life-effecting news. If you “follow” your local weather stations, CNN, the Weather Channel, Fox News and other authoritative agencies, you’ll always know (almost immediately) what’s headed your way.  Twitter is also the first place I usually learn about food recalls too.
  9. Relationships. Social Media Sites don’t just help you relax – and they don’t just keep you informed.  They’re also  a great place for making new friends. Any time you build relationships (online or off), it’s good for you.  Mental fitness experts tell us that the more relationships we have in our life, the better.
  10. Official Health Groups and Agencies. What better place to get information about heart health than the American Heart Association, up to the minute information about diabetes from the American Diabetes Association, or information about preventing cancer from the American Cancer Society? Follow these groups on social media, check them regularly, and (when available) take part in their forums.
  11. Newsletters.  Just about every official health agency has a newsletter you can sign up for. They’ll deliver the latest research, tips, and medical advice right to your inbox!
  12. Overcome Addictions and Find Support.  Whatever your own personal monster under the porch is, you can find wonderful support groups online. People who know what you’re going through and can help you overcome, persevere, and take your life back.
  13. Health Communities.  I saved this one for last because, quite frankly, I think it’s huge.  While doing research for my Self Help Daily, my food blog, and well as my mental fitness blog, I visit a lot of  medial websites. Sometimes I read through their forums or I’ll read the personal stories of individuals who have either survived or are surviving a health issue. The advice these individuals have for one another is almost as vital as the support they provide for one another. Some of the strongest bonds in the world take place in these communities.  Personal tips, stories, and simple words like, “I did this, you can too!” and “You’re going to make it!” can mean the absolute world to someone who needs it.  Menopause, cancer, heart disease, asthma, addictions, diabetes – you name it, there’s a community for it and communities are all about strength.

 

A Hodgepodge of Helpfulness, Hopefully

Live!Every now and again, there are so many things buzzing around my head that I want to post about that I just have to corral them all together in one place.  That would be now. 

Each of the links I’m posting will open in a new window, so you won’t lose the rest.

First of all, I’ve been reading a great deal lately about blood pressure and heart health.  My mom died from heart problems, and a much, much beloved uncle has problems with his heart as well.  High blood pressure  runs in both my husband’s family as well as my own, so I’ve been doing my homework in an effort to compile information that’ll keep both of us, as well as our three daughters, healthy.

The American Heart Association is a great place to start your own research, but don’t limit your education to just one “instructor”.  Collect as much information as possible – you’ll see a trend develop.  If everyone says something is extremely harmful (smoking, salt, being overweight, inactivity….) – get rid of it.  If everyone says something is extremely helpful (activity, losing weight, bananas, orange juice, fruit, vegetables, salmon, tuna…), welcome it into your world.

In all of the countless articles, books, interviews, and magazines I’ve read on Blood Pressure, do you know what enemy number one seems to be?  Before researching, I would have thought caffeine…. maybe stress… possibly red meat.  I would have been totally wrong.  Salt is the culprit that every expert I read mentioned first.  When asked what people could do to lower high blood pressure or maintain a healthy blood pressure, the experts all agree that cutting WAY back on salt is one of our smartest moves.

And it seems so harmless!

I got to thinking about my family’s own diet and my salty jaw hit the floor.  My biggest culprit is diet soda.  I honestly worry that Diet Dr. Pepper may have trouble staying in business now that I’ve switched to tea.  My daughters’ number one problem would be things like chips and fries.  When you’re so young, you just don’t think about things like blood pressure and sodium.  Big mistake.

Love!

The experts agree that adding potassium (white baked potatoes, bananas, orange juice…) to your diet is a great move to make as well.  Needless to say, increasing our activity is another smart thing to do for our heart’s health.

Regardless of the state of our blood pressure or heart health, losing extra weight is one of the most important things we can do for ourselves, our health, and our loved ones.  We’re all familiar with the campaigns that urged smokers to quit, “If not for yourself, for your loved ones…“  Very effective, very true.  However, it’s just as important to take care of ourselves in other areas.  If we want to be around (and be healthy while we are around) for a long time with, and for, our loved ones - we have to get serious about what we eat, what we drink, what we don’t eat, what we don’t drink, how much rest we get, how much we exercise, and how we live our lives.

No food, no drink…NOTHING… is as important as a quality life with those we love.

Laugh!Of course, what I learned about stress in relation to blood pressure and heart problems was pretty expected.  We MUST do everything we can to remove as much stress as possible.  At the risk of sounding like a drama queen, our lives depend on it.

We should first identify what stresses us out, then make moves to cope with it.  If we feel overwhelmed or overworked, we should cut back asap.  Life is to be enjoyed, after all.  So many people lose sight of that.  They get so caught up in the rat race that they fail to realize that they’re a racing rodent until life has breezed right past them and their left worn out and spent.

Not a pretty image.

In that vein, I’d like you to check out: Relax:50+ Simple 30-Second Ways to Bring Tranquility To Your Life - it’s a wonderful compilation of things you can do to bring more relaxation to our days.  If that doesn’t get your attention, nothing will.  This is an amazing list and, I promise, you’ll get a lot from it.

A few more heart-y links:

My motto: 

Laugh as often as possible, Live out loud, and Love everything and everyone around you – including yourself.

 

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