“You mean I really have to start walking?” Selfie, ©Brenda Coffee, 2010
Have I told all of you how wonderful I think you are? How much I value and appreciate you? The kindest, wisest, smartest women in the world read my blog, and I’m so grateful. You leave me such great messages and emails of support, and when you don’t agree with me… Like good girlfriends, you let me know that as well, but you give me alternatives to think about.
For all of these things, I value, appreciate and love each and every one of you.
I remember the exact second I learned I had breast cancer. I’d just come out from under anesthesia and was laying on an operating table in the hospital. My husband and a friend were standing next to my doctor who was telling me I had breast cancer. Everyone looked solemn, sad and shellshocked.
It wasn’t the result any of us were expecting.
Have you ever been faced with a situation where you felt like you’re the only logical person in the room? Yesterday I came across paperwork that reminded me of one of my late mother’s hospital visits. For everyone who’s a caregiver to a family member with dementia or Alzheimer’s… You’ll identify with this. Or… Maybe you just need a good laugh.
Sometimes no one, but you, makes any sense.
PHOTO FROM CNN
Last week a woman who went to my church took her own life and this week designer, Kate Spade, and cultural and culinary journalist, Anthony Bourdain, hung themselves. Like you, I’m stunned and saddened, but the more I learn about suicide, I realize we shouldn’t be surprised.
According to the Center for Disease Control, each year, more people die from suicide than from car accidents. The suicide rate in America has increased 25 percent in the last 20 years.
Many of my patients complain of pain in their knees when they stand up from a sitting position. It’s a COMMON COMPLAINT. It’s often one of the earliest signs of arthritis, and it’s certainly a reminder we’re getting old. When I was a young woman, I could go from lotus position, to a sprint, without thinking one iota about my knees. Now just to get up—after sitting through a rerun of Law & Order—is a stark reminder of my age.
Our aged knees would like nothing better than for us to get in the fetal position and stay there.
I often find myself telling my patients what not to do, instead of what TO DO. Frankly it’s easier to dole out restrictions than recommendations. Here’s an example: Don’t eat sugar. That’s easier than trying to tell a patient under what circumstances it’s okay to eat sugar. But here’s one on the TO DO list:
Do single leg standing exercises! They improve balance and help prevent falls.
My desk faces a large window and I’m blessed with a beautiful view of two large pine trees that are home to dozens of birds. From early spring, through late fall, the birds are loud and active. Staring out at those trees this morning there’s too much wind, too little sun, and I can’t help but wonder if it’s too late for spring.
Recently my doctor, in his most serious tone, told me I tested positive for Celiac Disease, and in the same breath, told me I had symptoms of SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder. If I wasn’t careful, SAD could lead to clinical depression.
I couldn’t help but laugh. Mother Nature has one heck of a sense of humor!
We all need competent, compassionate doctors who listen and then give us thoughtful answers and next steps. Most doctors are great about writing down complicated medical terms or drawing diagrams of things like the hypothalamus, although we’ve all had doctors who, at the very least, were arrogant jerks.
Like the doctor who, before introducing himself, slipped my x-ray into the light box and said, “This will probably result in the amputation of your right foot.”
People always ask whether to use heat or ice, and the honest answer is, for the most part, it really doesn’t matter. Neither is going to ruin the opportunity to heal or have a major effect on the outcome.
For most conditions, it’s about what feels best. Especially when it comes to chronic conditions, like arthritis, bursitis or tendonitis.
Instead of taking advantage of the holiday sales, I spent my “Christmas money” on a trip to the cardiologist for a nuclear stress test. As the treadmill speeded up and the incline became steeper, the goal was to see how long it took my heart to reach 129 beats a minutes. It took 9.8 minutes, which statistically speaking, means I have the stats of a 28-year-old female. That’s incredible because statistically women my age—68—reach a heart rate of 129 beats a minute in only 3.2 minutes.
While that’s great news, I still don’t know what caused me to almost pass out in Neiman Marcus.