The Healthy Side Of Coffee
by Dennis Townsend, Contributing Writer
There are 165 million coffee drinkers in the United States alone, and sometimes we wonder how many cups a day can we drink without worry. The worry is a conditioned response because the caffeine in coffee has been blamed over the years for everything from heart disease to cancer.
I myself sometimes wonder about this because without my "cup of Joe" in the morning, I don’t feel motivated to get my day started. I’ve been a truck driver for the past 29 years, and I dread to think of how many cups I’ve had over that period of time. But after doing some research, I found out that coffee can actually be good for you,....imagine that.
There have been over 19,000 studies over the past decade that has looked into the dangers and benefits of coffee and research has shown that drinking moderate amounts can cut the risk of cancer and other diseases, and is a popular source of antioxidants. The next question you may ask is what is considered "moderate."
For most people, drinking 3 cups a day does more good than harm but remember however that our tolerance to caffeine varies from person to person, and for some, even a small amount can make them nervous and irritable. This is especially true if you are consuming additional caffeine, found in certain energy drinks, colas, tea, chocolate, and various cold and headache remedies. Research has found that most of coffee’s side effects occur when we consume "massive quantities".
In addition to antioxidants, coffee contains a host of antibacterial compounds that protect against infections and other ingredients that may reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Just remember to check with your doctor and get his take on how much you can safely drink if you have any health problems.
The benefits of coffee has affects throughout the entire body from preventing gallstones, to reducing the symptoms of Parkinson‘s disease, and even preserving cognitive functions. Also doctors at John Hopkins Hospital even found that 5 cups a day will not raise the blood pressure in a healthy person. I must say that if your doctor tells you that you must switch to decaffeinated coffee, then in my opinion, you lose the main reason people love to drink it, the caffeine.
So here’s the bottom line for you coffee lovers, most side effects occur at high doses and people with heart disease, cardiac rhythm problems, high blood pressure, active gout, or stomach ulcers, should reduce or eliminate their intake based on the advice of their physician. As for the rest of us who look forward to our morning cup of coffee, we should have no qualms about drinking it. Moderation is the key and for some of us, moderation means to the point where we couldn't thread a needle if our life depended on it.
by Dennis Townsend, Contributing Writer
Well, we all know the damage common cigarettes can do to the human body, but now comes the debate over e-cigarettes. E-Cigarettes are battery operated products that look like real cigarettes but turn liquid nicotine into a vapor inhaled by the user. They came onto the market a decade ago and are said to be a less harmful alternative to the real thing. Not only that, they come in flavors like cinnamon, vanilla, and cherry... yummy!
In a recent study, the e-cigarette was said to be just as effective as the nicotine patch in helping smokers "kick the habit." Among smokers who hadn’t managed to quit on their own, 60% of those using e-cigarettes had cut down on the number of real cigarettes smoked by at least half versus 41% of those using nicotine patches. While the e-cigarette is touted as a safer alternative, it still has one thing in common with real cigarette: giving the user breathing problems.
The European Union and Britain are planning to regulate e-cigarettes as medical devices, which has provoked criticism from some scientists that say that would limit their availability to help chronic smokers to quit. It is the tar and other toxins in real cigarettes which is deadly, not the nicotine. This is the main reason that everyone is jumping on the e-cigarette band wagon. For those who are hopelessly addicted to nicotine, everyone agrees that we’ve got to provide them with a safer alternative. They say this is it.
Here in the United States, there is another problem that concerns the masses: the number of teens using the e-cigarettes. The number of middle and high school students who are using e-cigarettes doubled in 2012 from the previous year. In total, 1.8 million middle and high school students say they smoked the e-cigarettes in 2012.
Twelve states have laws preventing the sale to minors, but that leaves a lot of states with the go ahead to sell them to students. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said they were going to regulate e-cigarettes two years ago, but have yet to do it.
Another big concern among health officials is that the e-cigarette may become a path to smoking the real thing among the younger set, who may not have even thought about smoking at all if they didn't have the e-cigarette to experiment with. Among high school students, 7 percent who had tried e-cigarettes said they never smoked a traditional cigarette prior to that.
The hope is that once the FDA sees the increasing numbers of students using e-cigarettes, they will move quickly to regulate them. Let’s hope so, because something has to be done to protect the children and teens who are risking a lifetime addiction to "look cool" and it has yet to be determined if e-cigarettes are safe or not.
"Won't your baby develop abnormally without meat?" "How can a vegetarian diet keep a pregnant woman full?" "Wouldn't that be considered malnutrition?" Those are some of the questions people may be asking you. You may also be concerned about this yourself once pregnant or as you move along in your pregnancy.
Whether you’ve always been a vegetarian or are choosing to become a vegetarian while pregnant, the health of doing so is an important factor. During one of my pregnancies, most meats would upset my stomach, so I mainly ate vegetarian meals. I studied many references, as well as learned a great deal about being a pregnant vegetarian from my ob-gyn.
Is a Vegetarian Diet Safe During Pregnancy?
The short answer is yes. However, keep in mind that it has to be done right in order to be healthy. As long as the diet is balanced, as far as nutrition, and includes all the essential vitamins and nutrients required for pregnancy, it should be safe for a pregnant woman.
There have been concerns about consuming too much soy while pregnant. In fact, according to the Mayo Clinic, a birth defect in male offspring, known as hypospadia, may occur more frequently when the mother consumes a large amount of soy during pregnancy. Be sure to check with your doctor to determine the right amount for a pregnant woman, and more specifically, your body.
Many pre-packaged vegetarian foods, such as imitation meat products and tofu contain or are made entirely of soy. Because of this, when you are trying to limit soy while pregnant, it is best to prepare your own food from scratch, rather than buy pre-made vegetarian foods.
Proper Nutrition for Pregnant Vegetarians
Each person is different, so it is essential to check with your doctor about your personal nutritional needs while pregnant and how to properly maintain a vegetarian diet during your pregnancy. Your ob-gyn or other qualified pregnancy specialist may also recommend a medical nutritionist. Some vitamins that are important during pregnancy include Vitamin B12, Folic Acid, Vitamin D, and Vitamin A.
Vegetarian Weight Gain Concerns
It is often assumed that a pregnant woman cannot gain weight on a vegetarian diet That simply is not true, as long as the diet is a healthy and balanced one. If you are having trouble gaining weight while pregnant, it may or may not be related to your vegetarian diet. Always talk to your doctor throughout your pregnancy to ensure your diet is healthy for a pregnant woman, as well as to find the cause and solution for any weight issues you may have during the pregnancy.
Vegetarian Foods that are Filling
Some people have the false assumption that meat is the only food capable of creating a full stomach. That is not true. There are many foods that can be filling for a pregnant vegetarian. Foods do not have to contain meat to be filling. Here are just some of them.
Adapting Hospital Food to the Vegetarian Diet
Hospital meals are often centered around a diet that involves meat as the main course. If you are a pregnant vegetarian, you may want to check with the hospital before the delivery date. Even if the hospital does not have vegetarian options on their menu, they may still allow you to personalize your meal if you let them know your preferences in advance, while you are pregnant.
Some hospitals have pre-registration forms that you might fill out during the pregnancy. That is a good place to include personal preferences, such as diet and other health information. If you did not have time to check with the hospital while pregnant and you find yourself glancing at an all "meat-eaters" menu, talk to your nurse about your vegetarian diet. The nurse may be able to have the dietary staff prepare you a personalized meal, based on your vegetarian preference.
If not, the hospital cafeteria should have a few vegetarian options, such as salad, macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches, french fries, cheese pizza, etc. If not, you may need your partner, a family member, or a friend to bring you some food during your hospital stay.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
Miscarriage can be a devastating event. A woman or her partner could be feeling pain from experiencing one. A woman's pain from a miscarriage can be emotional, physical, or both. Some couples might even be hesitant to try to get pregnant again after a miscarriage. Here's what you should know about dealing with miscarriages, common misconceptions, and why you may be able to try to get pregnant again after having one.
Coping With Miscarriages
While the emotional and physical pain of a miscarriage can be debilitating, you don't have to hold onto that pain forever. Stress relief techniques can be very beneficial in this situation.
Having a support network that may include friends and family, as well as doctors and therapists can really help you get through this rough time. Having a small funeral service or planting a garden in memory of the lost child can help as well, as can naming the lost child.
If you are experiencing emotional side effects due to miscarriage, do not be afraid to ask for help. If you have a friend that you trust, talking it out can be a great help.
You can also seek a therapist or psychiatrist. Doing so does not mean you are crazy. It simply means that you need help dealing with your emotions. The professional may suggest counseling, therapy, or prescription relief.
Be sure that you understand which treatment is best in your situation and what side effects, if any, might arise. If you take a medication and still plan on getting pregnant, be sure it has no effects on fertility or reproduction and will not interfere with your unborn child, should you get pregnant while on the medication.
In most cases, the fetus is miscarried by the body because the body recognizes that the fetus would not have developed normally. Certain operations and medically invasive procedures can also cause a miscarriage, as can stress or taking certain drugs and medications. Sometimes your doctor may be able to tell you the possible cause and other times, it isn't possible.
Some people believe it is their fault when they miscarry, which is generally not the case. As mentioned above, most miscarriages are caused by underdevelopment or non-development of the fetus. There is nothing a mother can do about this natural occurrence.
There is also the misconception that if a woman has one miscarriage, then she cannot get pregnant. This is untrue, unless the woman has certain health conditions. In most cases, women who miscarry go on to have another child or even more than one. Miscarrying is not a cause of infertility or inability to have a normal pregnancy.
When To Try Again
There is no specific time recommendation as to the right time to try for conception after a miscarriage. It will differ in each individual case, depending on physical and emotional stability. However, 6 weeks is usually ample time for the body to heal. If you are emotionally and physically ready after 6 weeks, go ahead and try again (as long as your doctor has okayed this). If not, wait until you are.
*Please note that the author is not a licensed medical professional. The information above is based on personal experience. Always speak with a qualified health professional for your medical and health needs.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
Breast milk has long been the best way to nourish an infant. However, can it also play a role in providing nutrition and guarding against disease in adults as well? It would seem that if it prevents breastfed infants from contracting certain diseases and illness that it just may do the same for others as well. In fact, there are people who are using this controversial form of nourishment to help guard against certain illnesses and even to help fight certain diseases and conditions, like Cancer and Crohn's Disease. So, is there a real benefit?
While there is no documented evidence specifically on using breast milk in adults, there is however, a real possibility that breast milk compounds could cure cancer. In 1995, scientists at Lund University used a compound found in breast milk called human alpha-lactalbumin to kill brain tumor cells in a test tube. It seemed to have worked. The same research team, in 2004, used the breast milk compound to destroy many warts caused by HPV, creating the possibility that it could be used to treat cancer caused by HPV.
Howard Cohen, diagnosed with prostate cancer, drinks breastmilk in smoothies and believes that it has helped put his cancer into remission. A woman named Patty uses breast milk to help treat her 15 year old son for Crohn's disease. She claims that using the breastmilk has helped to control her son's dietary habits and other symptoms, so that he could again return to a normal weight. Many Crohn's patients suffer weight loss from frequent bowel movements and other dietary symptoms.
Many believe breast milk can heal or help conditions such as cancer, Crohn's disease, infections, rashes, and more. Breast milk is already used by many as a topical agent for many different skin ailments, however drinking it beyond the infant stage is not widely discussed.
The main risk that comes to mind for the use of breast milk by adults is that if the milk was used from an unknown source, there might be a risk of catching a disease if the woman who supplied the milk had a disease. There could be other risks, but since little to no scientific study has been done on adults using breast milk, it would be impossible to say for sure what other risks may be present.
Another problem lies in the fact that even if an adult has the need for breast milk and knows someone who is lactating, they may not be comfortable asking that person and if they do ask that person, she may not always be willing to donate her milk for that purpose. That's when the adult has to seek out alternatives like milk banks, which may or not provide breastmilk to an adult with or without a prescription. Also, if they do get the breast milk from a milk bank, they do not know the source or whether she had diseases or not. Milk banks will screen their donors. However, as with any test, there is risk of inaccuracies.
That said, the main possible risks regarding health is the fact that risks are unknown, coupled with the fact that some diseases might be undetected and be spread through the breast milk.
Why Not Try It?
Some people might be hesitant to do this for many reasons. Fear of ridicule could cause a hindrance for many people. Fear of the unknown could be another possible reason for people not wanting to try this. Still others might just be grossed out even by the thought of it. They may think it is either unsanitary or just eerie. There could be many reasons a person might not want to try this. Also, there is the lack of convenience, as there are very few breast milk banks willing to provide breast milk for adults with prescriptions. Most breast milk banks supply only to preemies or infants with otherwise weakened immune systems.
When deciding whether or not this is an option for you, all factors must be considered. Think about whether this will gross you out, whether what your family and friends think will matter to you, and weigh all the risks associated with doing this. Also, a medical professional should always be consulted in your decision. Not only will the medical professional tell you if it's needed and whether it's right for you or not, but in most instances, you cannot be supplied with the breastmilk without a prescription. Whatever decision you choose, be sure you are comfortable with it and any situation that may arise from the choice you have made.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
Exercise Guide for High-Risk Pregnancies: Exercises, Options, Risks, and Warning Signs
Exercise during any pregnancy requires extra care. That is especially true in high-risk pregnancies. Having experienced this type of pregnancy condition more than once, I have learned quite a bit about what works, what is risky, and what the doctors may recommend. Along with the info I discovered and experienced, there are certain exercises that were approved by my doctor and worked well for my high-risk pregnancy.
Should Women With High-Risk Pregnancies Exercise?
It is important to remember that each woman's case is different. Your OB-Gyn (or other prenatal care specialist) will be your best source of information for what is right and what is not. There are some precautions all pregnant women should take, especially those who are considered high-risk, due to certain conditions or complications. If you exercised before pregnancy, doctors may recommend that you keep up the same routine, but tone it down to avoid rapid or jerky movements.
Some high-risk pregnancies may require bed rest, which means little to no exercise is allowed. An example of some who may not be allowed much exercise are those at risk of or diagnosed with preterm labor, cardiac disease, seizures, anemia, and other restricting conditions. However, according toNewswise, women with high-risk pregnancies due to pre-eclampsia may benefit greatly from stretching exercises. Always consult a physician before starting any exercise regimen during pregnancy. This is especially true for women at risk.
Exercises for High-Risk Pregnancies
Kegels - Most pregnant women know what kegels are. However, if you do not, kegels are tightening and releasing of the vaginal muscles for a set number of seconds, generally performed in sets. Since kegels do not require very much physical exertion, they are generally safe for high-risk pregnancies. Kegels can help to prepare the body for the birth, as well as prevent tearing during the labor.
Yoga Plank Pose - The Yoga Plank Pose is just like the pose you would get in to begin doing push-ups. This is generally a pretty safe pose, but with high-risk pregnancies, you'll want to be careful not to strain the abdominal muscles during this one. Also, be careful that you balance well. If your arm strength is not good, you may want to avoid this pose, so that you do not accidentally fall onto your stomach.
Yoga Sukhasana (Easy) Pose - The Sukhasana, or Easy Pose, is a seated yoga pose. To create this pose, sit in a cross-legged position, creating a triangle shape in between the thighs and ankles. The ankles should not be tucked close to the sitting bone in this position, as they sometimes are in other yoga positions like this. Place the hands atop the knees with the palms facing up and lengthen the tail bone to the floor, while sitting up tall. This position can be done for most any desired amount of time. In high-risk pregnancies, or any other pregnancy, caution against stretching the abdomen too much.
Yoga Padmasana (Lotus) Pose - The Lotus Pose, or Padmasana, is done quite similar to the Sukhasana Pose above. However, in the lotus pose, the feet should be pulled tighter to the body and placed across the opposite thigh with the soles facing up. As with in the Easy Pose exercise, be careful not to pull the abdominal muscles too tightly.
The Bridge Pose - For this exercise position, you will want to get on the floor (or a yoga mat) on all fours. Arch the back up toward the ceiling slowly. Then, lower it slowly. Repeat several times. Be careful of your abdominal muscles during this one. Normally, you will tighten them a great deal during this pose, but during pregnancy, you may want to do this more loosely.
Leg Stretches - If you are on bed rest during your pregnancy, your legs may not get the movement or exercise required for good circulation. Lie on your side with the legs extended. Slowly lift one leg up toward your head as far as it will go. Slowly release it back down. Repeat this several times. Then do the same with the other side. This exercise will help keep circulation going and help avoid bed sores and varicose veins.
Neck Rolls - Much like the legs, the neck may get sore and stiff and receive poor circulation if you are ordered on bed rest during pregnancy. Even if you are not on bed rest, neck soreness can still occur. You can do a few successions of neck rolls 2 or 3 times per day. This exercise should generally not be a threat to high-risk pregnancies.
Lengthening Stretch - This pose is done while lying flat in the bed. Place the arms over the head, reaching back as far as possible. Normally, you would want to stretch the entire body as hard and far as possible. However, during high-risk pregnancies, you will want to modify this slightly. Still stretch the entire body, but be careful not to pull too hard at the abdominal muscles.
Walking - Good old-fashioned walking is great for pregnancy, sometimes even high-risk pregnancies. Of course, as with all of the exercises, you will need to check with a medical professional familiar with your background, but many times, walking is the best exercise for pregnant women.
Pregnancy Squat - This exercise is good for labor preparation, even in some high risk pregnancies. Your prenatal specialist may suggest that this one is saved for the labor and delivery room. To do this exercise, first get in a standing position. If you cannot balance well, hold onto a chair or other piece of furniture. Turn the knees outward and bend them down until you can no longer go down any further. Stay in that position for several seconds. Then, come back up. Repeat a few more times. Precautions for this position may include induction of preterm labor or abdominal stretching.
Things to Watch for During Exercise in High-Risk Pregnancies
Exercise can go smoothly, but sometimes things can also go wrong. Here are just some of the warning signs to look for. Consult your regular prenatal medical professional for information specific to you.
***Note: The author is not a medical professional, but is simply sharing her personal experience and studies. Always consult with a medical professional before doing any exercises during a high-risk pregnancy and even in general. Each person's body and situation is different.
Thousands of women are diagnosed with Cervical Cancer every year. Some may live to tell their stories. Others may not. I dealt with this frightening condition twice and I feel grateful that I was able to move on and remain healthy and alive for my children.
The Struggle Begins
It all started out on a good day that would eventually turn bad. My (then) husband and I were going about our normal weekend routine. He was watching television and I was playing with the kids. All of a sudden I felt this excruciating pain in my lower abdomen. It was so horrible that I could not stand straight.
I was pregnant, so I thought it was related to the pregnancy. Boy, was I in for a shocker. The pain just would not subside after resting and other attempts at relief. It did fade away some, but by nightfall, I realized it wasn't going anywhere, so we headed to the ER, leaving the kids with my mom.
Receiving The News From The ER
At the ER, I explained that I was pregnant, but not too far along. I hadn't even seen an OB/GYN yet because we just found about the pregnancy not even a week earlier. After numerous blood tests, an IV drip (in case I was just dehydrated), and the dreaded pap smear test (an uncomfortable vaginal swab test given to women routinely in detecting abnormalities and STD's), I expected the results to reflect something about the pregnancy. It didn't happen.
The doctors came back to reveal my results and I instantly knew something was wrong. The look on their faces said everything. The male doctor revealed my results to my husband and I. He said that the pap test came back abnormal. "What does that mean?", I asked with concern. Well, basically he told me it meant that some of my blood cells could be either precancerous or cancerous, but further tests would need to be done.
I had to schedule an appointment with my regular physician for that. I asked what this meant for the baby and he gave me a vague answer, only telling me that depending on the outcome of any future tests, my doctor and I would have to discuss it. He wouldn't go any further than that. I had a feeling it wasn't going to be good, but still I pressed on, awaiting the day I saw my doctor.
The Doctor Visit and Colposcopy
During the visit with my doctor, he explained to me about the colposcopy, the procedure they would be doing on me that day. Basically, they use an instrument called the colposcope to look at the cervix and detect any abnormalities. This procedure can cause a miscarriage, being that it is slightly invasive. I went on with the procedure anyway, knowing I needed to have it done.
Unfortunately for me, it didn't take long before they saw it. They commented that the mass of pre-cancerous cells they found was so large and so pronounced that even when they looked at my cervix without the colposcopy magnification, they could see it easily. I was scared to death, but being a mom and a master at holding in feelings to mask them from others (mainly children) in hard times, I did not show my fear.
Instead, I asked the doctor to explain to me everything about the next step to be taken and to be honest with me about the predicted outcome. I told him he didn't have to leave out the medical jargon. I was very interested in hearing it in its entirety. Medicine has always been a subject I studied up on regularly, so I wanted the honest, clear, naked truth, with nothing missing.
The doctor proceeded to tell me that this mass must be removed at the soonest possible appointment availability in the cancer clinic upstairs. If it was not removed, it could spread and become much worse, possibly threatening my life. He put it into much more technical words, as I had requested, and let me know all the risks and why I should have it done.
Of course, I scheduled the appointment that day from my doctor's office. The doctor also told me that the baby I was carrying was at risk of being lost by the procedure and may even have been lost due to the colposcopy procedure, which I had a feeling about from the beginning.
Being the curious person that I am, I had already looked up all this information in my medical books and also on medical websites. I pretty much knew what was coming, but I still felt the need to hear it straight from my doctor. Maybe some part of me had hoped what I read was wrong. It wasn't.
Getting The Pre-Cancerous Mass Removed Via LEEP
Once it got to appointment day to have the mass removed, I thought I was prepared for what awaited me, no matter how horrible it might me. I was more concerned about the baby inside of me, if it was even still there. I had some minor cramps and a small amount of spotting shortly after the colposcopy and hoped it was nothing.
As I walked into the cancer clinic, all I could think about was this poor baby inside of me that had to endure all of this, as well as what my other kids would do without me, should something go wrong and the procedure failed. Something was telling me either my baby wouldn't make it or I wouldn't make it. I'm not sure where the thoughts were coming from. I just knew something was going to happen.
So, fast forward to the procedure, and there I was, lying uncomfortably, with a hospital gown on and three doctors working on burning a pre-cancerous mass out of my cervix.
The procedure was called a LEEP, or Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure. The instrument used is a wire device with a loop at one end that is called a wire loop electrode. It is attached to a generator used for this and other surgical procedures. This causes the wire to transmit an electric current that when placed on the affected area, it cuts quickly to remove the affected tissue. This procedure is very invasive, so there is a high risk of losing a baby if you are pregnant.
The area is numbed beforehand, however, I did feel a sharp pinching on the inside, as it was doing its duty. My affected area was a rather large area, so someone with a smaller affected area may not have such pain, or the pain may be short-lived.
The doctors talked to me throughout the procedure, explaining all the medical terms, as well as discussing other medical-related themes. This is not what they normally do, however, I initiated the medical discussions, as I am highly interested in medical matters.
Anyhow, aside from the pinching, the procedure was not as bad as I expected. It was fairly quick. I seemed to be finished in no time at all. The doctors then, once again, warned me of the things that might occur as a result of the procedure. I might be having some slight bleeding, so I was directed to wear a sanitary pad home, just in case.
Tampons are not allowed after a procedure such as this, due to the risk of infection. Also, my baby might be lost, which would cause abnormally heavy bleeding (heavier than my menstrual cycle). Since the pregnancy was in the early stages, bleeding may be the only symptom I'd experience and I would likely not notice anything else releasing, as the baby might be too small to see at that stage in development.
There were other risks rattled off as well, such as hemorrhaging and a myriad of other complications. I left the clinic with an information packet in hand, should I forget anything they had warned me about more than once. I was relieved that the cancer was likely gone, and that a follow-up appointment would determine that for sure. However, I was overly stressed about my poor baby growing inside me.
The Following Days
Over the next few days (or maybe even a week or so), I experienced heavy cramping and bleeding. The first two days were the worst, as far as the cramps and bleeding went. After those first couple days, I felt somewhat drained inside, energy-wise as well as physically.
To make this horrible part of the story short and less painful, as you might have guessed, I lost my baby. That was likely the cause for the drained feeling. Something (or someone) was no longer there.
I knew somehow that this would happen, however, no matter how much I prepared for this, I still was very upset. It wasn't fair for this poor baby. My follow-up appointment not only determined that my baby was gone, but that the pre-cancerous cells were gone as well.
Moving On To The Happy
There was a positive side to all this. I went on a whole 3 years without any further pre-cancerous or cancerous developments. I got pregnant again and had a happy healthy little girl. One year later, I gave birth to her little brother.
Cervical Cancer Strikes Again
Following her little brother, I felt extremely tired, but chalked it up to having a baby and thought nothing of it. When my youngest son was merely 5 months old, I again found out I had pre-cancerous cells in my cervix. But, the worst part was that I was pregnant again, as well.
I know by now you've got to be thinking that I must have the worst birth control method out there. The truth is, I have tried many different methods (and all good ones) and nothing seems to work for me. The doctors say I'm just extremely fertile - lucky me. Anyhow, here I was in the exact same boat as before, only now it was worse because I knew what to expect.
A Different Method For Destroying The Mass
This time the doctor suggested I go through a different method of ridding the pre-cancerous cells. He was to freeze them, which would kill them off. The basics were about the same as before. I laid onto the gurney in stirrups. The freezing probe was placed onto the affected area.
The difference between this method and the other is that instead of a sharp, pinching pain, I felt a horrible cramping pain. Recovery from this procedure was worse than the last one. The symptoms were the same, but for the first couple of days, I could barely move.
The Outcome and Accompanying Feelings
As you likely predicted, I lost that baby as well. But, I have had no pre-cancerous or cancerous cells since, so I still feel lucky. I do still think of the poor innocent babies, but I feel comfort in knowing that they are at peace and that had the pregnancies come to term, these babies may have suffered health issues or been born too early.
That last bout was about two and one half years ago, so that's two and one half years free of cancerous cells.
My current husband also had a run-in with another form of cancer. Read our story and a little bit about that here:
"Stay Positive - Someone Special is Out There for You"
2017 UPDATE: It has been about twelve years and still no more recurring issues with cervical cancer. I am glad to be here for my children. I've also given birth to another healthy girl (in 2016) and have another on the way. So, for those wondering if kids are possible after cervical cancer, yes they most certainly are.
2018 UPDATE: I'm still free of pre-cancerous and cancerous cells and it has not yet returned and I gave birth to another beautiful girl who was a preemie (but is no longer) in 2017 and one year later, she is thriving, as is our whole family. Though the cause is unknown, we do not think her being a preemie had anything at all to do with the prior run-ins with cervical cancer.
NOTE TO THOSE DEALING WITH CERVICAL CANCER: You are not alone and it is very possible to go on living your life afterward and even to have children afterward. You are strong and you can get through it. Tell cancer that it will not win.
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
There are several different types of FDA-approved birth control. Do not be afraid to discuss birth control effectiveness with a licensed medical professional. To get you started, here is a brief overview of the types of birth control on the market today.
The first and most important thing to remember is that abstinence is the only form of birth control that is 100 percent effective. However, if used properly, there are forms of birth control that are nearly that effective.
Will You Get Pregnant While Using Birth Control?
This can never be answered with 100% accuracy. Even with very effective forms of birth control, it is possible to get pregnant. Anyone who is sexually active should keep this in mind and be prepared in case that does happen. Choosing which form of birth control is right for you should involve personal preferences as well as doctor recommendations. Birth control effectiveness is different for each person, depending upon usage, accuracy, efficacy, and other factors.
Effectiveness of Surgical Birth Control
According to the FDA, female sterilization surgery shows the highest instance of birth control effectiveness next to abstinence. Second in line for birth control effectiveness is female sterilization by implant. Next is sterilization surgery for men. The implantable rod, the IUD, and the hormonal injection shot follow.
The implantable rod is most commonly referred to as Norplant. There are several different types of IUD. Birth control effectiveness in the IUD seems to be about the same for each type. Which type is used may depend on different medical issues such as cervical cancer history, family medical history and other important factors. Only a doctor can properly determine the appropriate IUD type.
Hormonal Birth Control’s Effectiveness
The hormonal injection shot is better known as Depo-Provera. This consists of female hormonal shots that are given every 3 months. Birth control effectiveness with those methods depends on whether the woman is sure to follow up regularly and on time. A woman who follows the doctor's recommendations will get more birth control effectiveness from Depo-Provera than one who misses scheduled doses.
All of these methods are reported by the FDA to have instances of 1 in 100 women getting pregnant when using them properly. It is important also to note that while condoms are not 100 percent effective as a birth control method (11-16 in 100 women whose male partners use condoms will get pregnant), male condoms are still the most effective protection available against HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs.
How Effective Are Methods Like the Pill and Contraceptive Ring?
Various types of birth control pill, patch and the vaginal contraceptive ring also are very effective. The FDA reports that 5 in 100 women get pregnant when using these methods as instructed. That is more than the most effective methods, but still a relatively low number compared with no form of birth control. In 100 women who engage in sexual intercourse without the use of any form of contraceptive, 85 will become pregnant.
The Effectiveness of Combining Birth Control Methods
Combining more than one form of birth control can give greater chances of birth control effectiveness. For instance, a condom alone is not the best protection against pregnancy. However, using a male condom along with birth control pills is more effective than using just the condom alone. Plus, birth control pills do not have any effectiveness against STDs.
Birth control effectiveness is the highest when a patient heeds the advice of her doctor and uses her chosen form of birth control properly. If there are doses to take, they should always be taken on time to retain birth control effectiveness. If a dose is missed, follow the doctor's directions on the best way to regain birth control effectiveness.
What About Plan B?
While this form of birth control isn't for regular use, it is a good option for some after an unplanned encounter. This form of emergency contraceptive can be used up to around 3 to 5 days after unprotected sex to prevent an unplanned pregnancy. The sooner you take it, the more effective it is likely to be. It can be obtained over the counter at many pharmacies and even retailers, such as Amazon.
There are also other birth control methods such as female condoms, spermicide, the cervical cap, and many more.
*Please discuss with your doctor which method or combination of contraception methods is best for you, personally. Everyone has different needs and results.
* I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
UPDATED 8/13/2018 to include emergency contraceptive info.
Life can get busy at times, leaving little to no time for exercise, or so you think. If you would love to utilize your TreadClimber more often, but simply don't have the time, you need these tips for your workout.
Use TV Time
One solution to using the TreadClimber is simple. If you really do not wish to sacrifice your TV show, consider working out during the show. The TreadClimber can be strategically placed within viewing distance of the television set, so that there is no excuse to miss out on needed exercise. Exercise can be done at any convenient time throughout the day.
A 25- or 30-minute window is one that could be used with the TreadClimber. Many people likely spend at least that just sitting in front of the television. Because the TreadClimber is a cross between an elliptical machine and a stair-climbing machine, both results can be had from just one workout, which is great for someone who has only the time to use the TreadClimber.
Multitask Your Workout
Whether someone is a busy business owner, a working mother or father, a pro-golfer or any other type of person, the fact remains that a good routine workout is needed. Finding time to use a TreadClimber can be as simple as multitasking. Use your workout machine in between household chores. Just a few minutes at a time throughout the day can be more beneficial than you think.
TreadClimber Workout Tip For Busy Parents
Getting in shape from working out at home with the TreadClimber can be done in virtually any room of the house. After having kids, getting back in shape can be difficult, not only due to pregnancy weight gain but due to limited free time. This is true for both moms and dads.
Since the TreadClimber has a compact-size option that can fit into any room, working out could be easier for busy moms and dads. Simply place the TreadClimber in the nursery or playroom and enjoy a workout while supervising the kids during a nap or independent play.
Living in Two Places?
Perhaps a person has a home in two different locales. Why not purchase a TreadClimber for each place of residence? This way, that much-needed workout is achieved no matter where a person may be. With the TreadClimber, the gym is at home and can be accessed at any time. This is a good option for those in a busy career. Home gyms, like the TreadClimber, are very convenient to use in such situations, as they are readily accessible whenever is convenient.
Between work, household errands and taking care of the family, there seems to hardly be time in a day to fit in exercise. However, for health purposes, exercise is necessary. There are ways to make time for a TreadClimber workout without sacrificing other important things in life.
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
Established in 1997, Anusara yoga now is one of the most popular forms of yoga being practiced today. It is also often referred to as heart-centered yoga. Its popularity may have something to do with the positivism it espouses.
By definition, Anusara specifically means to go with the flow of nature, the flow of grace, or to follow your heart - hence the alternate title of Heart-Centered Yoga. In Anusara yoga, the "asana" poses, when combined with the "universal principles of alignment," allow a connection with the divine goodness of nature. This connection is referred to as "supreme consciousness." To achieve that, Anusara yoga practitioners must exercise the principles and go with the flow.
For some, simply hearing the words "go with the flow" can be very relaxing. But Anusara yoga does not end there. It holds a much deeper meaning. The feeling obtained also is much more intense. It is an overwhelming feeling of joy, love, peace, enlightenment, happiness, oneness and connection with nature. In this type of yoga, your heart is centered and in tune with nature, as well as yourself.
Energy from the Heart
The energy that is tapped for Anusara yoga comes from within the body, rather than the outside. Specifically, the energy is deeply rooted in a natural state of inner feelings from the heart. To tap these feelings, Heart-Centered yoga participants use the universal principles of alignment.
In the words of Dr. Douglas Brooks, a leading scholar of Hindu Tantrism, "Flowing with Grace, anusarena, we experience our inner worth, we align our bodies, our minds and hearts in the current of the Divine flowing through us, we celebrate life itself as we touch the Divinity who pulsates within us as our every thought, feeling, and experience."
One With Nature and Heart-Centered
Anusara yoga celebrates the heart as well as nature. It is not a domination of nature, but rather a harmony and participation with the natural flow of things. "Inner body bright" is a secondary principle and is the term for the energy flow achieved through the first main principle of Anusara yoga. That first principle is called "opening to grace" and is an essential starting point for every pose. In opening to grace, the goal is to align with supreme consciousness.
In Anusara yoga, the main focus is a spiritual connection to innate goodness as well as the freedom of expression related to that goodness. While there are strict principles involved, creativity and self-expression are greatly encouraged.
Anusara (Heart-Centered) Yoga as a Way of Life
The philosophy behind Anusara yoga is not left behind on the mat for participants. It often is a big part of the way they live. Anusara yoga is not just practiced a few times a week like simple exercises. In fact, it is not actually considered an exercise at all, but rather a spiritual connection and a way of life.
With Anusara yoga comes the realization that life, as experienced through one's true nature, is perfect. It is not something that needs to be corrected, but rather should be embraced for what it is. There is beauty in everything and nature is as it was intended to be when created. That said, the spiritual awakening, or supreme consciousness, achieved through Anusara yoga is also intended to allow the discernment between things that are of nature and are good for us, and those that are material and may not be. While not all material is bad, some may be.
An Inviting Community
Anusara yoga is rapidly growing in popularity and has a large community base. Those involved in the Heart-Centered yoga community are said to be friendly, inviting and have open minds. All expressions stemming from Anusara yoga are positive in nature. They stem from the heart and are all about experiencing and expressing love, peace and happiness from the inside out. Because its roots involve love, participants from all backgrounds and religions are welcome to join the community. The philosophy can be learned and practiced by attending classes and seminars.
Anusara Yoga Techniques
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
by Lyn Lomasi; Owner of Intent-sive Nature & the Brand Shamans network
The definition of Anusara is to flow with grace, or "go with the flow." In Anusara yoga, often called heart-centered yoga, certain principles are followed. But participants are also encouraged to be creative and to go where their heart takes them.
Philosophy and Meaning of Anusara or Heart-Centered Yoga
Anusara yoga has a philosophy that is Tantric in nature, inspiring participants to go where their hearts lead them. It is not a form of exercise, but rather a series of yoga poses that are meant to lead to a deeper spiritual meaning and connection. It is a way of finding the good in everything, including yourself. Basically, you follow the principles to properly achieve the energy, enlightenment and state of awareness required. Then you let natural creativity take over and go with the natural flow of nature.
Universal Principles of Alignment
There are five main principles in Anusara yoga, which are called the universal principles of alignment. Anusara originator John Friend defines alignment as "mindful awareness of how various parts of ourselves are integrated and interconnected." There also are secondary principles involved.
For heart-centered yoga to be effective, each principle must be followed in succession with each pose, while still holding to the preceding principle. For instance, before starting any pose, "opening to grace" must be achieved. Then throughout the pose, each of the alignment principles must be adhered to without interrupting the others.
The Five Principles of Anusara (Heart-Centered) Yoga in Detail
Opening to Grace - Opening to grace is the act of going with the flow to align yourself with supreme consciousness. This is achieved by practicing the poses with an open heart and mind. During this first main principle, "inner body bright," a secondary principle, is achieved. Inner body bright is a feeling and energy that flows from within to the outer body. This energy should create a feeling of fullness and buoyancy in the outer body.
Muscular Energy - Muscular energy is that which is drawn into the focal point. This action causes the pose to be stronger, more stable and more effective. The focal point is a secondary principle in Anusara yoga involving the pelvis core, the heart and the palate. In Anusara yoga, the muscular energy is drawn through the focal point, while the organic energy is extended outward from it.
Inner Spiral - The inner spiral is the energy felt throughout the core, starting at the feet and running up into the waistline. It is the energy that enables inward rotations of the legs to allow for widening of the pelvis and thighs.
Outer Spiral - The outer spiral is basically the opposite of the inner spiral. The outer spiral allows outward rotations of the thighs. This spiral runs outward from the waistline and down and out through the feet. This is the spiral that draws the pelvis and thighs inward, rather than widening them.
Organic Energy - Organic energy is that which extends outward, starting at the focal point and extending throughout the core of the body. This allows for increased flexibility in poses during Anusara yoga.
Applying Principles of Anusara (Heart-Centered) Yoga to Life
Anusara yoga is more than an activity, it is a way of life. The Anusara yoga community consider themselves to be very organized. Yet at the same time, there is much room for individual creativity. Those who practice Anusara yoga often apply some of the things they learn to their lives, such as appreciation for the good in everything. Those interested in learning more about it can learn the principles and techniques from a certified Anusara teacher through seminars and classes offered at many yoga centers.
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by Lyn Lomasi; Owner of Intent-sive Nature & the Brand Shamans network
This fundraiser has ended. However, the post is being left up to remember the good that happens when friends come together.
Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Not the three words you want to hear when a friend of yours is in the hospital undergoing tests. This is the diagnosis Rissa Watkins was faced with on Dec 29, 2010.
Thinking about and praying for Rissa, her child and husband, and all who care for her, family and friends had been waiting about a week to hear the news on her test results. Obviously a diagnosis of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia is not what they had all been hoping for.
Shortly after hearing the news, her online friends (many from the Yahoo! Contributor Network) began organizing to figure out how to help Rissa. Word spread quickly on social networks and other outlets.
Hospital bills for this type of medical condition can be quite expensive. Therefore, one idea has been to read and share her articles with others. Articles displayed at certain sites, like Associated Content from Yahoo!, can generate revenue for writers each time someone reads them.
But the generosity did not stop at reading her work. Friends and family, both online and off began immediately donating money to Rissa to help with her medical expenses and anything else she may need along the way.
Because of the nature of this type of cancer, Rissa cannot work during the treatment. That's why it is so crucial for people to help. In addition to whatever her normal expenses are, there will be plenty of hospital bills and other medical services and treatments to pay for. Insurance will not cover the entire cost of this.
Family and friends are not the only ones who can help Rissa.
You too can help!
Ways to help Rissa:
1) Donate via GiveForward
2) Donate via PayPal (see below)
3) Read her articles on AC/Y!CN
4) Share this link, her article links, and the GiveForward page.
5) Make a purchase from Twin Trinity Media. They are donating to Rissa $1 for every physical book sold and .25 cents for every digital download. They will make daily payments to her as sales come in. Plus, she's building royalties on sales of three of those books.
6) Purchase a Leukemia awareness shirt from teeBarefoot. The shop owner is donating all proceeds from Leukemia awareness designs to Rissa.
7) Place a bid on this beautiful blue sodalite rosary (ends Jan 17). Full proceeds will be donated to Rissa.
More on Rissa's story:
Watch Rissa's YouTube vlogs
Help Me Help Rissa
Rissa is Featured Writer of the Month (Jan 2011) on AskSan.com
If you have written about Rissa, please share your link in the comment section and we'll add it here.
100% of PayPal donations will be forwarded directly to Rissa Watkins.
(minus any PayPal fees)
Whole Body Health, Healing, & Medicine Journal
Lyn Lomasi is founder and owner of the Brand Shamans Content Community. Services include ordained soul therapy and healing ministry, business success coaching, business success services, handcrafted healing jewelry, ethereal and anointing oils, altar and spiritual supplies and services, handcrafted healing beauty products, and more!
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