Tips for Preventing and Fighting COVID19

I have seen and shared various tips on social media, about ways to minimize your risk of getting COVID19, when it comes to groceries and ordering take out or products online.

It is important to understand how long it lives on surfaces.  This chart helps with that:

How Long Coronavirus Can Live On Surfaces
Source: https://www.businessinsider.com/coronavirus-lifespan-on-surfaces-graphic-2020-3

I recommend following the videos by Dr. Jeffrey VanWingen on YouTube.  He has a channel you can subscribe to: Dr. Jeffrey VanWingen, MD COVID-19 Public Tips Videos

Particularly this video:

If you do have COVID-19, I hope you get better soon.  The following are tips I’ve seen, that I want to get to as many people as possible. My mom is a nurse and a lot of these types of methods of attacking the mucous are really the best way to help push back against the virus.  Breaking up the mucous helps increase your body’s oxygenation level, and that is a huge factor in beating this.

This video by 2 amazing nurses, shows an effective method for breaking up the mucous in a patient’s lungs. This can be done at home, but does require a 2nd person to do the work. That video is in this public post: https://www.facebook.com/1416014940/posts/10222848125497784

If you do not have a person with you, there is also this infographic with methods for getting the mucous out of your lungs:

Tips for Draining Mucous
Source: https://www.facebook.com/610880459/posts/10157951932725460

The reason I hold stock in these methods, is that my mom used techniques like these, when I got sick as a kid. I have found that techniques like these help where medicine sometimes can’t.

I hope these help some people, and if you are looking for help, I hope they can help you.  If you have more tips, let me know and I will add them to this post and update it.

If you don’t have to go out, please don’t. We cannot flatten the curve unless everyone does their part. We need doctors and scientists to be able to get their hands around this and develop effective treatments and a vaccine.  Testing takes time, and not doing that testing will only risk more lives.

Thank you.

To my Representatives in Congress

According to CNN, FEMA and HHS have been found to not be coordinating the delivery of available equipment and supplies from the Pentagon to medical facilities and places that need them. (https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/31/politics/pentagon-ventilators/index.html )

Trump is concerned more about being number 1 on Facebook, than managing this rampant global pandemic that is killing mass amounts of people a day. (https://youtu.be/oMm9cjF1o0Q ) These are not the words of someone who is grasping the gravity of this global health crisis. This is not someone who is even demonstrating a full awareness of what is happening.

According to the CNN article above, the coronavirus task force in the White House is an absolute and complete sham. That is already something that was public knowledge the minute it was announced. Pence is on the record as not believing in science.

We simply cannot afford to allow the people managing this crisis, being people who have no knowledge or experience in science, medicine, or caring for the health of other people.

I ask that you urge your fellow Congressional representatives to immediately determine a way to hold remote hearings and votes, using widely available video technology, and ensuring it can be aired on C-SPAN so that the voters can be witness to their representatives working for them, and so the record can be preserved. We must have a Congressional COVID19 commission now, to ensue the administration doesn’t endanger the lives of Americans, through corruption, negligence, and incompetence.

We must have all the information about what the administration is doing, where the coordination is, where urgently needed supplies are, where the tests are, how effective they are, tracing, and all of it.

We must have transparency and accountability from our government or we will lose countless lives. Please get this done. This is why you are our representatives. We need hearings, documents, testimony, and results. We need our government to be for all of the people.

Thank you,

Courtney Fay

Jillian Needs to Sit Down, Lizzo Can Stand Proud

I’m sure Lizzo is still standing and isn’t going anywhere, and I know she doesn’t need anyone to tell her to stand tall, but I needed to say it. This isn’t a topic that I weigh in on easily (yes, pun intended). I am overweight and have been most of my life. I adore Lizzo, because she has confidence that I have never had. I wish I could love my body the way that it is, but I tend to fall on the side of what Jillian Michaels has said. My body is unhealthy, therefore I should not glorify it. The problem is, Jillian is wrong.

If you are not overweight, you cannot know what our day to day experience is like. There are enough people, particularly in the US, telling overweight people that we are not beautiful and that we are not worthy. Yes heart disease and diabetes and the risks of other illnesses are a problem, but not feeling beautiful is never going to help that get any better. It also should be said that people can be thin and still get heart disease and diabetes, I’m pretty sure Bob Harper can speak to that. 

 The other thing is, Jillian wasn’t just speaking against Lizzo‘s body, but she was speaking out of turn, and disrespecting Lizzo‘s black culture. In black Culture full-figured women are respected and appreciated much more than in white culture. When I was studying in Ghana, the men there would always tell me how beautiful I was, and it was disconcerting because I wasn’t used to it. I was used to the unattainable standard, practically anorexic, airbrushed, impossible measurement of a woman’s beauty. I was used to men yelling at me out of cars that I was a “FAT BITCH”.  I was used to people telling me that if I would just lose weight I would be able to get a man. Doesn’t really help, when you’re gay, but that’s another topic, for another day.

The bottom line is that there is an intersectionality that needs to be part of the discussion, because it is a very white American judgment to say that being thin dictates your worth. I have so much praise for Lizzo, because she is showing young girls all over the world, that beauty comes in all sizes. We absolutely need that to be taught to our kids. They must know that size doesn’t dictate your worth.

 My other problem with what Jillian was saying, is that being overweight isn’t always the problem. Sometimes it’s the side effect. I have lupus and fibromyalgia. I used to be over 100 pounds lighter, going to the gym 5 to 6 days a week. Then one day I couldn’t get out of bed. It got worse and worse, and now it’s an inverted climb, instead of just an uphill battle, trying to lose this weight. As I struggled to get any doctor to pay attention, I had to learn the hard way that doctors can be fat phobic too. They will just say you need to lose weight. Well, losing weight isn’t going to make me absorb iron better.  I am so iron deficient, that I have to get iron infusions. I’ve got a list of doctors a mile long, and it took me a long time to get ones who would take my diseases seriously and stop tagging everything as just a weight problem. There is more going on, and because of it, losing the weight isn’t just a simple proposition.

In the meantime, hating my body is not going to get me anywhere. I am a happy person, who will often sing show tunes around my house, while taking to my cats. I have no use for putting myself down constantly, and I would much prefer to see myself in Lizzo’s reflection than Jillian’s. I may have weight to lose, I may decide at some point that I’m happy where I am, even if that’s not as thin as Jillian would like me to be. Regardless I don’t have use for anyone telling me that I shouldn’t see myself as beautiful and that I shouldn’t metaphorically lift myself up and be happy with who I am.

Thank you Lizzo, for all that you do for girls around the world. Thank you for what you do for me. You make me smile and you make me feel empowered. I wish you had been around when I was growing up. Keep being you and keep doing you. Thanks for your expertise in fitness Jillian, but I think I’m all set with your fat shaming.

Someone Get Me a Damn Map to Mordor

Considering the last post, and now with this one, I might have to rename this blog image ranted.  Yep. This is another rant.

This time it’s about some health care issues I’ve had to tangle with in the last week.  What I am about to lay out isn’t even centered around my physical or mental health issues. It’s entirely because the health care industry, in the United States, is structured against people.  I don’t want to call us patients, because if things worked differently, so many of us wouldn’t be considered active patients.

I have to preface, that I was diagnosed with lupus about 10 years ago, and with fibromyalgia about 7 years ago. I have spent years hitting the high deductible on my insurance, just to keep a status quo. I have been on gabapentin (neurotin), which is a nerve blocker. I was up to 1,500mg a day at the height of my prescription. I have also been on cyclobenzaprine (flexeril), which is a muscle relaxer. Since I was diagnosed, I have been searching and looking for anything that can help me address the pain, so I can get off these pills.  

This year, I made a decision that instead of hitting my deductible, on maintaining this shitty status quo, I would invest in different therapies and methods to attempt to address my chronic pain and fatigue in more natural ways.  I started by going to an upper cervical chiropractor. A friend contacted me on facebook, telling me that one had drastically helped her with pain issues.  I researched the science behind it, and decided to give it a try.  Most ucc’s don’t take insurance because they are such a niche practice and fighting with insurance companies is too costly for them.  I tried to submit a bill, on their recommendation that my insurance might still accept it. I found out that I have an out-of-network deductible, which is independent of my in-network deductible, and it is slightly more. This means I would need to submit expense receipts for that amount, and have them denied, before they might kick something in. I’ve spent $1,300 on this so far.

I started stepping down to gabapentin.  I had previously pulled back from the 1,500mg to 900mg, because it was making me dizzy all the time.  I am now down to 300mg.  I have a massive stash waiting to go to a drug drop off, because they gave me so many. Yes I have more pain, more of the day, but I was in pain no matter what.  I want off these meds.

I also wanted to find a nutritionist. I went to my insurance website, to look up my plan and see if a nutritionist was covered under my plan. It seemed they were, but only for certain things.  I called my insurance and asked them if I could get a pre-estimate. They said no. They said I would need to go to a nutritionist, incur a bill, and then they would see based on the code the nutritionist put in.  I asked which code was covered. Shockingly, they wouldn’t tell me. (yes, that’s sarcasm)

I finally decided to throw the dice and go.  In our first session, she told me I was going to be covered. Apparently, she came prepared and knew the answer.  I liked her already! I would be covered for one, 1 hour visit, once a month for a year. Opioids, they hand out like candy. Nutritionists are what they are stingy on.  Don’t want us too healthy!  This would still be an out of pocket cost, but at the price negotiated by my insurance.

My new nutritionist had gone over my forwarded medical records and found my doctors neglected to order 9 different blood tests that she thought might either rule out or explain some of my issues. She said she would request that my primary doctor submit the order for those tests, and that I should get a pre-estimate, so I know how much they will cost.  We discussed some other things, and planned to reconvene in a month, hopefully after I’ve taken these tests.  

Tuesday morning, I saw in my online medical chart, that the tests had been ordered. I copied out all the names of the tests, and signed into my health insurance website.  I started a chat and asked if they could help me identify an estimate of the cost.  The customer service rep informed me that they could look up a range of the costs, but that it would depend on where I went. I responded that I would appreciate any info they could give.  In the end, they were able to give me a range for 5 of the 9.  They also gave me a link to Fair Health Consumer, a website where I could look up this stuff, and hopefully get some information. 

They also recommended that I contact the lab, so I did that next.  I called the specific lab, within the network of labs that I could go to. The person I spoke with said they couldn’t help me with costs, but gave me 3 different numbers that were the lab network’s billing or billing type departments. I called the first one, and they gave me another number, but also offered to transfer me to them. They informed me that I needed to give them the 5 digit billing codes.

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Do I look like someone who works for your labs? What 5 digit codes? They said I needed to contact my doctor or… my health insurance.  Awesome.  I then message my doctor. “Thanks for ordering the tests. Can you please give me the 5 digit codes? I need them so I can get a pre-estimate for the cost, so that I can budget the expense.”  I always get a response from the Doctor, himself.  Understandably, a nurse or support staff responded.  She told me that I should ask my nutritionist.

I’m getting a little done now. I’ve spent way too long on something that should have been provided without me even asking. I told my boss about all of this, and he likened it to grocery shopping. It’s not like you go through the store, fill up your cart, and then find out the cost when you ring out. You know going in, what the cost will be. It’s actually law, that they have to have the cost listed. This prevents them from charging one person a different price, than another person. Fair pricing. What a novel idea.

Nevertheless, I message my nutritionist, even though I’m guessing she won’t know them.  As I predict, she responds that she doesn’t have any access, and the doctor’s office certainly should.  The nutritionist couldn’t even order the tests. My doctor had to. So I respond back to the nurse or support staff and convey that I confirmed my nutritionist can not help. I mention that since the doctor can order the tests, I would hope they would know what codes they are, and to please help me identify them.

I have not heard back.

I then check out that aforementioned website.  It looks like this site has codes!!!! I start looking up each test.  Problem is some of the don’t match the exact name. They are these super sciency names. If you can’t tell by now, my heart is liberal arts. I love and respect science, but it’s like speaking another language.  I had no way to know which code was the right one, for multiple of the tests. I guess I’m waiting.

This morning, I decided to call my doctor’s office and see if I might get somewhere talking to someone, instead of waiting to see if I would get a response to my 2nd request for the codes. They informed me that this isn’t something they are familiar with either.  They were researching, but said there was another number I could call.  It was one of the extra numbers I was given yesterday, but had been told it was just another lab network billing number.  The person I spoke with, at my doctor’s office, explained that this number was a mailbox. No one would answer the phone. You leave a message with what you want a cost estimate for, and they apparently call you back.

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Yeah, I’m back there again.  You’re telling me, I call this number, leave a long ass message with my name, my phone number, and a list of all 9 tests (at least 1 of which I don’t know how to pronounce) and someone will magically call me with all my info, in some indeterminate amount of time? Seriously?  You sure I don’t need to write a wish on a piece of paper, leave it under a rock, sacrifice a chicken under a full moon, and wait for my cat to tell me the codes, so I can get the keys to the kingdom?

I proceed to google the phone number, because this seemed ridiculous. I end up finding a website explaining that you can call that number or send an email.  I opt to send the email, so I don’t have to wonder if my voice mail was audible or garbled or whatever.  I could copy the exact names of the tests into the email.  I sent that off this morning.

And now I wait.

Let’s be clear. My new nutritionist requested those tests last Friday. It’s now the end of the day on Wednesday, and I still can’t get the codes or a price estimate for these 9 tests. My real frustration is that this system is fighting me. It’s not just against me, or for those profiting off it. They are fighting to keep in the dark, even on being able to budget these expenses.

I have been fighting for my quality of life, and for my health, for a long time.  I am overweight and I have a lot to work on, but that doesn’t mean I don’t deserve quality care. I also should be able to budget for this cost. I shouldn’t have to fight to be able to budget the massively expensive health care, that I’m paying for, out of pocket.

Some might wonder why I’m going through all of this, instead of just going. I need the tests, so “it is what it is”, right?  Yes and no.  Lupus and fibromyalgia comes with an onslaught of symptoms that can come and go. That means seeing different doctors for different reasons.  Years ago, I was having issues where my legs felt like something was biting them or shocking them, particularly late at night when I was trying to sleep. I called my Rheumatologist, and saw the Nurse practitioner.  She wanted me to see a Neurologist.  I already had one.

Once there, they wanted to order some blood tests and do a series of shock tests.  I got the blood tests done, and then went for the shock tests.  When I finished the tests, they told me at check out that the bill for the shock tests (not including the blood tests) would be $1,600. I was floored. No one thought to warn me??!?!?! I had to open a care credit card (I loathe them) as I forgot to bring my bags and bags of money with me. As long as I paid it off in the year, I would have 0% interest. If I went 1 day over the term, all the interest (something like 20%) would be tacked on.

I just want to prevent being caught in a situation like that again. Even if I can’t prevent the cost, I’d rather know up front, so I can prepare as much as possible. I don’t know why the health care industry wouldn’t want me to be able to do that. Oh wait. I do. They don’t work for me. They work for their CEOs and investors.

It’s often said that our health care industry is built to serve the providers. It benefits insurance providers, pharmaceutical companies, private hospitals, and certain areas of medical practice (some more than others).  What we don’t explicitly say, is that they are actively working against the people. They make the process a boondoggle, so there is no transparency, and so that we can’t see the whole picture.  They are working against our health and our quality of life. They are also working against our financial health.

Not for nothing, but this isn’t exactly a stress reliever.

I’ll post back when I get some answers.

Update:

I got a response from the email I found on that site, saying the tests would only cost $140, so I am good to go!  Now, was that so hard?

Let it Be Resolved: Resolutions Have Merit

Since it’s New Year’s Eve, some people will be making New Year’s resolutions. There will also be a number of “think pieces” telling people resolutions are bad. I think those pieces are bad, but that’s just me.  I have no interest in telling people what they “should do”. I also don’t like when these types of articles try to encourage people not to try.  In that vein, I thought I would break down the idea of making New Year’s resolutions, and why I revel in making them.

First off, yes resolutions can be broken. It happens, and it doesn’t make you a failure. New Year’s isn’t the only time resolutions can be made, but it is an opportunity. Resolutions are basically a commitment to change a habit, or to achieve a goal. Putting that into perspective means we can make them, whenever we want. We can do that tonight, or when it makes sense to start them. I love making New Year’s resolutions.  I also set various goals throughout the year. I like taking the opportunity to set resolutions for the New Year, because it’s a way to start the year off on a positive note of working towards positive changes in my life. We can always hope to change, evolve and do better. Why not use every chance we can get, to make that happen?

When I make resolutions or goals, be it for New Years or throughout the year, I do so with a couple of general rules, which I thought I would share:

    1. Don’t be hard on yourself. No resolution will be helpful to you, if all the resolution does is stress you out. It should be defined in a way that motivates you.It should be a positive goal, and one that lifts you up.

 

  • Make the resolution something reasonable. If it’s too steep of a challenge, it will just set you up to fail, and that kind of self-sabotage is not healthy or helpful. If you have a really big goal, break it down into sub-goals, and let each sub-goal be individual resolution/goals. Do one at a time.

 

 

  • Map out a plan. If your plan is to bring lunches into work, but you don’t shop for the groceries, or schedule time to prep those meals, it will be hard to achieve that goal. If your plan is exercise 3 times a week, consider putting 3 times in your calendar. Setting that time aside can help ensure you don’t subconsciously put it off, and end up at the end of the week, with 3 days of exercise still outstanding.

 

 

  • Give a reasonable timeline. If your goal is to lose 50 lbs, 1 month is not a reasonable timeline, and that wouldn’t be healthy. If it’s a health related goal, before your resolution start date (i.e. New Year’s Day), consult with your doctor to determine a healthy timeline. The other end of this, is to say that a timeline should exist. Having one, will encourage making milestones or phases of the goal/resolution, that should take place before the goal will be reached. Maybe that includes making an appointment to see your doctor, going to the appointment, and implementing the plan.

 

Having a deadline, can encourage you to get the ball rolling and keep it rolling. Not having some sort of goal completion date, can encourage procrastination, which I myself, am often having to battle. Just keep in mind, that as long as you are making progress, it’s ok to re-evaluate that goal date, and it’s absolutely ok to adjust it.  If your resolution timeline is 6 months, and at 4 months in, you see it’s going to take another 3 months, set a new completion date and accept that you are still working hard to achieve it.  It’s just a goal date, to encourage completion. That’s all.

 

  • Don’t start too many resolutions/goals at once. Having goals is great, but too many will be like adding ornaments to a Christmas tree. Eventually you weigh down the tree, and it will topple over. You’ll likely find more success with a few small goals, instead of a ton of big ones. A lot of small steps can take you far. Life is a journey, so a lifetime of small steps, can take you around the world. On the other hand, trying to take giant leaps, can result in injuries and set backs, and end up with you going no where.

 

 

  • If you want to be able to reward yourself for hard work, when a resolution or goal is met, make sure the reward is healthy. i.e. if your goal was to lose weight and the reward is cake, that might be a little counterproductive. Lost weight? How about a new piece of clothing? Quit smoking? How about a new piece of workout equipment, or making plans to go on a hike with friends and your cleaned out lungs?

 

 

  • Determine the best level of accountability. Some people think you have to share every time you go to the gym, or every resolution you are planning, with the entire world. Others don’t want to share any of it with anyone, until they succeed at the goal.  Both can be traps. I know, right?

 

Making everything public, can end up making you feel like there are so many people watching, it’s too much pressure. Not telling any one can make it easier to abandon the goal, because there is no accountability. Instead of having to do what those “think piece” articles say “everyone” should do, do what works for you. It’s ok if one way doesn’t work, but be aware of that, as you learn it. There are different levels of helping yourself be accountable.

  1. Journal your journey, from start to finish of your resolution or goal.
    1. This can be a hand written journal, typed, or video journal.
    2. There is no rule that you have to post this online or ever share it with anyone.
    3. Do what feels good, but not what will make you anxious or nervous.
  2. Share the goal/resolution with a therapist
  3. Share it with 1 or more close friends
  4. Share it with your facebook family
  5. Share it with the world, in a public forum of your choosing

The bottom line is this. Any chance to set goals, for bettering your life, is good. Just be sure you make it a positive experience. Set reasonable goals, reasonable timelines, and ensure the resolution, and who you share it with, are being planned in a positive framework, so they will be ones you want to embrace and not something you loath.

Good luck, and may the coming year be one of setting and achieving all you desire.

The Preservation of Life: Protecting Equality in the Great Divide

Last week I saw that Vice President Mike Pence was the tie breaker in a bill to de-fund health clinics.  Yes, there is much more detail, and I will expand on the implications, but let that sink in.  The GOP and our Vice President voted to de-fund a resource for low income people to receive vital health care, which in many cases saves their lives.
Breast cancer screenings, which saves lives.
GYN exams, which saves lives.
General physical exams, which saves lives.
Prenatal checkups, which saves double lives.
All because they offer the constitutionally protected right to choose.  They offer abortions, and they counsel women on all their options, when it comes to pregnancy.
The crux of this issue, is that the pro-life supporters don’t want this to be an option, and I get the sense that they think pro-choice supporters want abortions.  It is so far from the truth.  Abortions have existed for centuries.  They were just way more dangerous, in the past.  What happens when abortions are not legal or accessible, is that those with money can afford to find a private doctor to perform the abortion off the books, and it still happens.  Low income people resort to “back alley” abortions, which are incredibly dangerous. It still happens. Restricting access doesn’t prevent abortions from happening.  It prevents access to safe abortions from happening.
Making them illegal will not help protect life, it will only endanger it.  If pro-life supporters really want to protect life, they need to stop forcing women into back alleys, and attempting to control their bodies.  Controlling people will not sustain as a solution, and it does not respect the equality, that we must strive for, if we will ever have a community built on respect and support of each other.
So I wanted to address some of the dichotomies, that I find exist in the stance of being pro-life, and how we can really protect life.  It doesn’t start with outlawing or restrict access to health clinics, where abortions are provided.  It can result in the lessening of women seeking abortions, and that should be the true goal.  Preventing people from being able to have a safe abortion won’t solve this.  Vilifying women who seek abortions won’t solve this.  Protecting women, absolutely will.
Understanding the Reasons
There are many reasons a woman may find herself in the situation of becoming pregnant and seeking an abortion.  Out of the many reasons a woman could seek an abortion, many of those are situations where they have suffered trauma, are in an abusive situation, or do not have full control over decisions affecting their body and the decisions that would surround a pregnancy.
As long as women are not equal to men, in the value of their lives, they will always have the potential to have their body forced into a pregnancy, and could then feel forced into no other choice but an abortion.  The interesting part of this debate, is that men are fundamentally making these laws, which govern the rights of women.  They always have.  Women are not proportional in their representation in government.  At no point in a man’s life, does any law intervene and say what he can do with his body.  At no point, does he need permission to control the body.
People argue, that when a woman becomes pregnant it is no longer just her body.  Well, it still is her body.  We wouldn’t tell a woman how to raise a child, and we shouldn’t be controlling her choice to have a child.  We also shouldn’t be forcing her to submit to a hospital clergy, before she can abort an ectopic pregnancy, threatening her own life and/or even when a pregnancy is no longer viable.  It’s hard to grapple with the concept that we must value the woman in equal measure, that her right to control her own body must be an imperative.
While we can argue the merits of that again and again, we have many ways to lessen the need and demand a woman might have for seeking an abortion.  If we can fix some of the socio-economic divides, which can increase the demand for abortions, we can save many lives. Of women, and potentially lives that might not be aborted. We can provide better resources and options for women.
Welfare and the True Adoption Case
Many believe it should be as simple as giving the child up for adoption.  I encourage Mike Pence, to visit Child Protective Services, and meet with some social workers, particularly those working with kids in the welfare system.  Spend a couple of days learning about how many cases they have, and how strapped they are for funding and how much red tape leaves kids neglected and often abused. Work to fix that system, so the choice to give a kid up for adoption can become a more community strong choice, that is a better option than abortion.  It won’t completely negate any need for a woman to ever seek an abortion, but I guarantee you it would decrease the demand.
Too Young to Learn
I know pro-life supporters don’t want to have condoms in the schools, or to teach kids about protected sex, but there is math.  Statistics show a direct correlation to teaching kids sex education, with a decrease in teen pregnancy.  Do this, and encourage parents to talk to their kids, and you will have educated teenagers, who will be less likely to get pregnant. I get that it’s uncomfortable, but it’s the reality of life.
You can tell a kid to not go in the water.
If they know how to swim, and they disobey you, they won’t drown.
If they weren’t taught how to swim, just in case, they will drown.
That’s the flaw in trying to not teach kids the truth.  Teaching sex ed has the added bonus of preventing STDs, like HIV and AIDS. We must be brave, and have the uncomfortable conversation with our kids, so that they are armed with the best asenal possible.  The truth.  The truth about protected sex. The truth about rape and date rape.  The truth about mental health counseling.  They truth about options, and choices.
Those with Power Must Give it Back
It’s the struggle for equality.  Feminism, social resistance, etc.  The struggle is rooted in a group with more power, than that which they are entitled to. The social imperative of equality, is founded in no one group having more power than another.  Any social construct where a group of people are denied power, and those with more are able to abuse that excess, will never be sustainable.  It will always result in a struggle, for a redistribution of power.
If pro-life supporters really want to prevent pregnancies from rape, they need to start championing every effort for preventing and punishing sexual assault and rape.  Get rape kits tested, enforce strict penalties for rape and assault, and remove statutes of limitations.  The statutes vary from state to state, and I don’t get why they even exist, let alone why they vary.  Why does a rapist get to walk, because the victim wasn’t able to come forward in time?  What if it happened as a child, and because of the trauma they blocked it out? What if they don’t remember until decades later?  What if they are in an abusive relationship? What if they are being threatened?  What if the rape happened in one state, where the limitation is less than another? Darn the luck? Really?
Why is a woman being faulted, for not coming forth in a timely manner, when it comes to having to muster up the strength to fight through a court case? To fight a court case over the rape she already had to muster up the strength to survive and recover from?  No one was protecting the woman, when that happened.  And the woman still isn’t being protected, in the judicial system.  The accused rapist is protected, and in Congress if the woman becomes pregnant, the pregnancy is more protected than the woman.  Congress is voting to cut the funding that would directly help the victims of sexual assault.  The woman is abused, injured, used as a host and discarded.  That is not equality, and that is not valuing the life of the woman.
In preventing rape and assault, sex education programs should also include curriculum aimed at teaching boys how to be men, and how to respect women.  No means no. Only yes means yes.  It’s not all on the woman, to dress a certain way, drink only a certain amount, only stay out to a certain time, because she can still be raped.  It’s not about any of those things, but that’s what women get told, and it’s missing the point entirely.
Men must stand up to other men, who objectify and attempt to dominate women.  They need to call them out, when they brag about assaulting or raping women. If a girl or woman is raped, the last thing she will ever need, is a doctor lying to her, a Congressman or anyone else attempting to control her body.  It will just be like another kind of rape. A possession over the control of her autonomy and her body.  You can support funding for mental health resources, for rape and assault victims.  That might possibly help some to feel that adoption is something they could handle, and that abortion might not be necessary. I can’t promise that, but as a woman I can only imagine it would help, rather than exacerbate the situation.
I can’t ever promise that women won’t seek abortions, even if you support all the above.
You can help increase the amount and quality of options and alternative choices a woman has, to unintentionally becoming pregnant, and to seeking an abortion.  At the end of the day, if she feels that her only option is an abortion, she will seek one.  Making it unavailable or illegal will only make it more dangerous for her.  If you are ok with that, because you disapprove of her decision, you can’t truly claim to value life. You fail to value and protect hers. You would have championed protecting her life, while she was in the woom. You must continue to protect that life and it’s equality through her life.
The pro-life supporters, including Vice President Mike Pence, believe that funding clinics, which also provide abortions, is wrong.  Either they don’t know, or don’t care, that the funding isn’t used to fund abortions.  They don’t want to allow abortions to occur, or be able to happen, even though Roe v. Wade has been ruled before the Supreme Court, making it unconstitutional to outlaw a woman’s right to abortion access.
Right there.
I wonder how de-funding clinics, or cutting off foreign aid to clinics, where abortions are discussed and available, isn’t in direct violation of that constitutional ruling.  What is the purpose of having a constitutional amendment, protecting a right, if Congress can pass laws and deny funding for any entity practicing something under the protection of that amendment? I’m not a lawyer, so I’m sure someone can tell me why it’s not that simple, but it seems like it should be.
Regardless of those legal and political battles, the reality remains.  Making them illegal or unavailable won’t stop that need.  It just makes it more dangerous.
If pro-life supporters truly value life, they must value the woman as equal to the life they are trying to protect, in her woom.  By attacking a woman’s right to the privacy and control of her own body and health care, the value of her life has become less, and not equal.  The unborn life is being protected, and the woman is not.  Once that life is born, it runs the risk of ending up in cycles of abuse, in the foster and welfare system of our country.
If pro-life supporters truly want to help decrease the need and demand for abortions, I wish they would start championing the efforts that truly will help to lessen the need for a woman to seek an abortion.
Instead of protesting outside clinics, adopt and foster.  Take care of the kids in our welfare system.  Instead of cutting welfare funding, increase it.
Instead of refusing to have comprehensive education for our kids, to teach them protection and how to prevent a pregnancy too soon in their young lives, be brave.  Be willing to educate our kids, and prepare them, so that if they do go in the water, they don’t drown.
Instead of protecting the rights of an alleged attacker, protect the victim.  Make testing rape kits a priority.  Increase funding for clinics, including Planned Parenthood.  Including mental health funding, particularly for rape victims.
Instead of leading with your religion, as why women should do as they are told, decide what you really want.  Do you want to force your faith on others, or do you want to preserve and protect as many lives as possible?
We can help protect women, and pregnancies.  We can prevent the need for so many abortions, not by limiting access, but by preventing the situations that result in a woman becoming pregnant under conditions that are not conducive to her carrying a pregnancy.  Whatever the reason, it is her reason.  It always will be her’s to make. The best of what you can do is support her.  Or you can fight her, though I will never understand how you can bring yourself to do that.  She is not the enemy.
The situations, which result in women ending up with an unintentional pregnancy, are not caused by her alone.  They won’t be solved by her alone, either, but let’s start by not attacking her.  Let’s start by ensuring she is protected, supported and given as many options as possible.  If you support all the best resources, she may just be that much less likely to see the option of abortion.  As least, if it is accessible, we are protecting the woman, and at some point that needs to be enough.  After all, she was a life you would have protected, and you still should now.

Stuffed Peppers a la Me

Here is my promised blog on my first ever stuffed peppers recipe.  I liked how they turned out.  I am a fan of using veggies as a base, rather than as a side or part of the recipe. It is a way of making my recipes healthy and still hearty. That is what Weight Watchers has taught me.

So here is the recipe, as I made it on the WW site.

MY WW Stuffed Pepper Recipe   – It appears Weight Watchers gets rid of recipes, if the members leave.  Opps! Good thing I put it below.

The following are the ingredients.  I don’t list things like seasoning, because that is generally up to your tastes, but I will mention them here.

Ingredients:

Instructions…

Set the rice to cook, so you can be prepping everything else in the mean time.
If you don’t add any oil or butter, then make sure to stir once in a while, to ensure it doesn’t over-cook or stick to the pot.  I used brown rice, so it looks dryer. It does also take longer too cook.
Set the chicken to bake in the oven at 350, or until baked (leave oven on for the peppers).
You can use any kind of chicken, marinated or not.  I used Wegman’s mojo, because I had it.  I use my bread pan for baking chicken…
Dice up all ingredients into a bowl.
I use the Vidalia Chopper and it saves so much time! Makes everything perfect size.
Shred the chicken, using 2 forks, pulling in opposite directions.
Mix cooked rice and shredded chicken with rest of diced veggies.
Mix in seasoning such as black pepper, garlic powder, minced garlic, chalula sauce (or any kind of hot sauce), etc.  This is important, because this will decide the over-all flavor of the mix inside your peppers.  You can go sweet, hot, tangy.  I went for a little kick, with some good garlic undertones.
Cut the tops off the peppers and hollow out.
Place in a foil lined pan. (notice I used a spring form pan – yep resourceful!)
Fill the peppers with the filling mix from the bowl.
Top each pepper with 1 Tbsp of feta cheese.
Bake until browned on the top.
Enjoy!

You can obviously add more or less of stuff, and use different kinds of rice, veggies etc.  Changing ingredients or amounts of them may change the WW points.  Each stuffed pepper is only 3 PP, but still feels like a good lunch.  2 would be 7, but I don’t know if I could eat 2.  I do think the seasonings and hot sauce really give the dish needed flavor, but everyone likes different flavors, so some experimentation may be in order.

If you try the recipe, let me know what you think!

Journaling The Art of Psyching Yourself Out

Last week I had lofty plans to transition from going to the gym 4 days a week to training on the road.  I am running a 10K this Sunday, and riding 40 miles in the Tour de Cure in June.  Not to mention some 5Ks in between the two.

As we cannot control the timing of extraneous circumstances, I am in the middle of a sleeping study.  I have insomnia, and I take melatonin and a sleep aid to get “some” sleep at night.  It’s not fantastic, but better than what I call counting tiles on the ceiling all night.  This study is not the kind where I go into a facility, and sleep while people watch me through a glass window.  “She keeps picking a wedgie.  Maybe she should get boxers…”

I have learned that when it comes to sleep centers, the rule is that if you have insomnia, there isn’t much to watch.  Even though I am on meds that help me to fall asleep, they can’t do a sleep study (through insurance) unless they think I have sleep apnea, which they do not think I have.  This study is more psychological.  I keep a journal chronicling my energy levels, stress, pain, activity (minutes), napping (minutes), alcoholic drinks, time I go to bed and time I wake up.  Once I wake up, I log how many times I woke up (best recollection), how long it took to get back to sleep (total for all times woken up), time spent out of bed, etc.

Then we go over how to modify my behavior to try to make the window of sleep I get, better. This week, we went over my first 2 week journal.  My doctor believes (and I agree) that I am drifting in and out of consciousness, and not getting “restful” sleep.  Unfortunately insurance won’t cover an in facility sleep study for us to confirm that.  So we are continuing with this behavioral one.  I may sound a bit of an open book, disclosing all this.

My father was a psychologist.  I grew up with the understanding of the mental and emotional effect on the physical.  I do therefore, abhor the concept of being psychoanalyzed, put into a box and reduced to a series of diagnoses based on your actions.  “Well, when she put down that cup, her head was tilted.  Ahah!  She has blah blah blah disorder.”  Ummm, thanks, but no thanks.  Despite my resistance to that particular aspect of psychology, I do have a great appreciation for ruling out the mental and emotional factors that can effect our physical well-being. If I really want to better my situation, it is on me to be open about anything that could be affecting my sleep and my health. 

Over the years a lot of my physical diagnoses have been auto-immune related.  Anyone who has experience with auto-immune disorders will be familiar with the results that there are not many cures.  Many of the treatments are behavioral.  We can either resent this and be stubborn, not fixing anything, or we can be pro-active and go after everything we can to better our situation.  I am trying to do the latter, despite how addressing mental and emotional issues is annoying and carries a stigma in society.

Back to this last week, and the results of my first journal.  One thing we agreed on is that my sleep medicine is affecting our results.  Because my sleep doctor is not an MD, she needed me to discuss weening off the medicine, with my prescribing doctor. She was concerned that my doctor might just say to stop it completely.  He of course did.  Because I want to get to the bottom of this, so I can actually get some sleep at night, I went with it and stopped the meds.  The sleep doctor said I could keep the melatonin.  To be honest, I was more concerned about stopping that, because it’s the only thing that helps me to fall asleep.  The other stuff just keeps me from constantly waking back up (somewhat).

So of course, I am trying to get myself to wake up at 5:00 AM, and not go to the gym like I have gotten myself into the discipline of doing. Instead I wanted to go out for a run on the road, so that I can be in the practice of running out on the streets, vs on a treadmill.  I also wanted to practice on my new hybrid, as opposed to my spinning classes.  The differences are extremely significant.

What happened was that I ended up getting really crappy sleep most of the week.  It was to be expected.  The best  I can describe, it is like I am resting in my bed, close to being asleep.  I have loose dreams, but I am aware that I am in my bed the whole time.  I drift in and out of getting to that point of sleep.  It’s almost like the minute I am going to fall asleep, I wake myself up and drift off again.  This leads to my alarm going off, and me feeling like I got a really bad nap, as opposed to a night of restful sleep. As a result, I snooze and snooze and snooze, not getting out of bed to go for a run or a ride.  I reset my alarm and over sleep, having wasted my morning. 

On Wednesday night, I went out to dinner with my brother.  He wanted to go out for my birthday.  Since we haven’t gone out in years, just the two of us, I was pretty excited to get to see him.  He mentioned that I motivated him to start running again and that he has been getting up early and going for runs outside. That was pretty cool.  I love hearing that I motivate people, and my brother is definitely someone who I am glad to have a positive influence on.

I started to realize, after I got home, that I needed my motivation on others to get back to having that effect on me.  I needed to re-motivate myself and despite the bad sleep I was getting, I needed to get out there.  I had to look at my snoozing and not getting up as more than just not getting decent sleep.  What else could it be?  I started to consider what would make me not want to go outside for a run, or a ride.  I am fine with going to the gym.  Then I started to think, I am scared of it.  I don’t know why, but then I do.  The minute I allowed myself to consider that there could be fear over doing it, I was able to see where it might come from.

What if I hurt myself (pot holes, bad knees, anything that might happen out on those dangerous roads)?  What if I can’t run as far as I need to for the 10K?  What if I can’t ride the 40 miles and I can’t keep my commitment?  What if it’s dangerous out there and I get hit by a car or something?

OK, I let myself go through those fears.  That’s enough.  I just wish I had let myself go through those earlier.   Thursday morning I got up, despite the bad sleep.  I went for a run, and ended up completing 6.3 miles.

I don’t see a way to post a run from mapmyrun to my blog, so here is a pic.  
Pretty cool!
Friday I didn’t get up again, which may have been residual fear of riding a bike so early in the morning, on top of the bad sleep.  Saturday I did get out for a ride.  Last year at the Tour de Cure, I had my mountain bike and committed to riding 25 miles.  Since I went to spinning twice a week, I didn’t think it would be that bad.  The course was all hills, I had to walk most, and I was so sore by the end that I was fighting the tears.  I found out that my mountain bike, weighing about 50 lbs and with big thick tires was a huge problem.  So I bought a hybrid this year.
But concern still remained.  What if  the hybrid didn’t help all that much?  What if riding out on the road, as opposed to a blocked off course without traffic, really was dangerous?
OK, that’s enough time on those external factors, which I can’t control or predetermine.  I wanted to ride to my brother and sister-in-law’s place (hereto referred as my sil…). My sil and I had talked about going for a ride together from her place.   I didn’t tell them I was coming in case it was too hard for me to make the complete trip, or if for some reason I just didn’t make it.  This would be a dry run of sorts.  I did end up making it there. Said hi, refilled the water, and went back towards my place.

I was hoping to go to the market, but it would close just about when I got there.  I was close to 20 miles and since that would be 1/2 the tour, I thought it would be great to make it that far in this training ride.  Made the decision to ride there anyway, even if the market would be closed.  It ended up that places were still open.  I got to grab perogies from the perogie guy, red peppers (plan to make stuffed peppers tonight), blueberries, strawberries, tomatoes and green beans.  I so love the market!  

I rode back home, and as I got there I was into 18 miles.  I rode around the block (enjoying the silliness of passing my house, with my market goods on my back) and ended up getting myself to 20 miles.

I also love mapmyrun for giving me those markers, so I would knew where I was, distance wise.
I felt great when I got back.  I still had energy, so I mowed my lawn.  Afterwards, I realized that one concern had been overlooked.
Forgot the suntan lotion.  Got an iphone strap, anyone???
I used it as a warning to my nieces and nephews, not to fight mommy and daddy when they go to put sun tan lotion on.  They were feeling the heat off my arms all weekend.
Hey, after all this talk of the Tour de Cure, I would be remiss if I didn’t ask for donations.  Please consider sponsoring me, and passing along my page to friends and family.  I really appreciate it.  It’s a total motivator! 😉
Click that link right there to go to my sponsor page!  If you would rather send me a check, that is fine too!