Tag Archives: Health

We Turn Skeletons Into Goddesses

“We turn skeletons into goddesses and look to them as if they might teach us how not to need.” ~ Marya Hornbacher, Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia ~

bev-at-the-beach-w

The young girl in this grainy image from the past is me. It pains me to look at her/me because I know she is hiding a secret. She’s hiding more than one secret. She’s standing behind this bright red beach float to hide. To hide her secrets – (1) that she thinks she is grossly fat; and (2) she has an eating disorder. She has anorexia and this is not the thinnest she will ever be.

I was officially diagnosed about four years after this picture was taken. Back then I don’t think eating disorders were understood the way they are today. My weight dropped below 100 pounds. My therapist helped me to see that eating disorders can be about control.

I am the oldest child in a family of three girls. My baby sister is a special needs individual and has been all her life. It was sad to see the sorrow of two parents who love their girls the way my parents loved their girls. I know it had to be hard to realize their baby would not have the type of life their oldest two would. It was sad as a sister to see my baby sister have some of the struggles she’s had. They loved us all and taught us we were valuable.

I’m also a perfectionist and OCD. And, I married poorly the first time around. I won’t go into detail, but let’s just say he made Casper Milktoast look like the Man of Steel. So, a naive and somewhat innocent girl was forced into becoming a different person. Well, maybe and maybe it just made me stronger.

What it did do is make me never feel like I was enough.

I bet many of you understand what I’m saying…

So, of course, I became a person in which control had great meaning. I’m not talking the kind of control like mad-scientist-I’m-going-to-rule-the-world-control. I’m talking the kind of control I can have concerning my body and the world around me. Like I can count every calorie, every bite that goes into my mouth. I can choose not to eat for days and days. I can exercise all I want to – like 30 miles on my stationary bike and then go to the track and walk.

And, never, ever be out of control. Never. I have an aversion and fear of becoming addicted to anything. I’ve never been drunk and I am probably the last person on earth who has never – no, never, tried pot, weed, hashish or whatever you want to call it in any form. There, I said it.

Why am I telling you this now? Because I read a story today about a beautiful 18 year old girl named Brandy Vela who committed suicide in front of her parents and grandparents. Why? Because she was being mercilessly bullied by kids at her school who said she was fat.

God in heaven what kind of animals are we raising?

When we have kids driving an 18 year old child to suicide, we have more wrong in our society and more to worry about than BMI. It is that vapid, shallow mentality in our core societal beliefs that is turning us into gladiatorial animals as children.

And, what do you do with children who commit such vile acts? Right now, a Cersei-like  Game of Thrones Walk of Shame seems too good for these little creeps. Shame! Shame! Shame!

It has to stop.

We have to stop idolizing women who are size 0 as if this is some paragon of womanhood. We have to stop allowing momagers (mom/managers) from hawking their daughters like flesh and meat in the public market so they can become filthy rich off of our money. If we allow the selling of our daughters like that, how can we criticize other cultures who violate their daughters and women? We have to stop starving our children and sanctioning it via Federal government programs like lunch programs that leave our kids starving throughout the day.

Am I promoting poor health? Certainly not. Just common sense.

You see when I was struggling with my eating disorder, my best friend at the time weighed more than I did. Considerable more. But, she was far healthier. And, I never saw her as “less than”. She was a talented, wonderful, creative friend who became an oncologist nurse.

It is years later now. I am a terribly sick person – disabled. I’ve battled non-smoking lung cancer twice. I’d never lived with a smoker nor is there a history of it in my family. I have an aneurysm in my heart, autoimmune disorders, fibromyalgia, arthritis, hypothyroidism and other illnesses too many to number. Some of these cluster in my family – like the autoimmune disorders. But, I believe I did irreparable damage to my body and my health by starving myself with my eating disorder. I think I destroyed my metabolism. Just to try and be a skeletal goddess.

I recovered somewhat from my eating disorder and my weight “normalized”. I was always thin. But, as my health continued to fail I began to gain weight. My poor health, the medications and restrictions caused the weight gain – not the other way around. But, you see when people see me they don’t know that and they assume my poor health is due to my weight. Well, you know what they say about assuming. The one great thing about me? My blood sugar. That’s because I do know how to eat healthy.

I do get some bullying now because of my weight – societal bullying. I am not going to let that fall on me and accept it as my burden to carry.

There are some reasons. First, almost 13 years ago I remarried my Tall & Handsome who lets me know every day he loves me and I am beautiful. He lets me know I am enough – not only for him but also for the whole wide world. I am so glad I never gave up.

Take that bullies…

And, I refuse to let people who don’t know me define me. You do not walk in my shoes, you do not know my journey and God forbid you ever, ever have to know my battles.

To the young girls out there like the beautiful Brandy Vela, I say this to you. Prove your tormentors wrong. Sweet, beautiful child, you are so above them. This too will pass and one day you will realize your value and life will be worth your battles. I promise.

Your tormentors are skeletons – hallowed out shells. And, they try to turn other skeletons into goddess. Misery loves company.

But, guess what?  You my child are what we love, want, and need. You are our heart.

Stay with us.

Please.

© 2016 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under Anorexia, Brandy Vela, Bullying, cancer, Child Welfare, Children, Disability, Eating Disorders, Family, Health, Life, Picture of the Day, Quote of the Day, Women's health

Check Out Give Us Our Daily Health

I’ve written many times about the facts of my chronic illnesses and disabilities.  This is something I’ve dealt with a large portion of my life.

In addition, I’ve seen family members deal with some of the same illness, plus my youngest sister is mentally and physically challenged.

As a result health and health related topics are of great interest to me. I decided it might be time to devote some effort to developing content related to health, health related news and medicine.

And, so, Give Us Our Daily Health was born. Stop by and check out the new beginning. And then, read about Red Flags that might be signs you have an autoimmune disorder.

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Filed under Give Us Our Daily Health, Health

Marking an Anniversary – Carcinoid Cancer

Today I’m reblogging this article from the Caring for Carcinoid Foundation.

I thought of this often in January because January marks one of two very similar anniversaries for me. In Jan. 1982 I had my first surgery for non-smoking lung cancer in my right lung. My 31st cancer free anniversary in my right lung just passed. (October will mark 18 cancer free years in my left lung where in 1995 I had 60% of my left lung removed due to a very aggressive cancer.)

I was VERY young in 1982, had an 18 month old son, had never smoked, nor lived with a smoker or exposed to anything more than casual second-hand smoke (mainly from restaurants, which were not smoke free in those days).

The discovery was a fluke. I had actually taken my mom, disabled sister and young son out shopping (in my 5 speed straight shift Toyota that only I could drive) and as I pulled into the parking lot at the mall had a sharp, painful, breath stealing jab fleet across my collar bone. It literally knocked the breath out of me and paralyzed me.

After it passed, I drove on toward a parking space and then, WHAM! It hit again!

This time I knew I had to get back to “my” side of town and the doctor because I knew we’d be stranded if I became incapacitated. I was the only one who could drive my car!

The doc thought maybe my lung was collapsing. He took x-rays and when he did, that’s when the culprit was found…a tumor on the lower lobe of my right lung. That was in Oct. 1982.

It was observed for 3 months and then surgery was set for Jan. 1982.

After my thoracic surgeon did my surgery, he told my family, we could “thank God we found in when we did”.

Carcinoid cancer is rare. 4 to 5 out of 100,000 people a year are diagnosed with it. Although the lungs is a place it can be found, it’s more common to find it in the gastrointestinal system.

Please take time to read this article about carcinoid cancer and carcinoid syndrome. Visit their website, also. It could help someone you love someday.

Carcinoid Cancer | Carcinoid and Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Cancer  Research | CFCF.

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Filed under Anniversaries, cancer, Carcinoid Cancer, Health, Women's health

Could Caffeine Help Dry Eye?

Could Caffeine Help Dry Eye?.

A new article from WebMD suggests there could be some relief for dry eyes in the future from caffeine. This is a promising possibility for those of us that suffer from this chronic condition.

As someone who as battled Sjorgren’s syndrome for over 20 years now, dry eyes is a constant issue for me. My tear film is totally gone and has been for several years. It causes a lot of discomfort and problems with my eyes. Just the past few months I’ve had more sty problems than it seems I have had my entire life.

I use Restasis, a prescription medication for dry eyes, but it is very expensive and unaffordable without insurance. I have found the GenTeal gel drops and ointment a tremendous help and they are OTC.

Give the article a look…hopefully there is some potential relief in the future…

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Filed under Autoimmune Diseases, Disability, Dry Eye Relief, Dry Eyes, GenTeal Gel Drops, Health, Health News, Medical News, Sjogren's Syndrome, WebMD, Women's health

Hair Problems in Fibromyalgia, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Hair Problems in Fibromyalgia.

Here’s yet another interesting article from the About.com people and their Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome department.

This particular article deals with our hair! Gals you know what I’m talking about…days and days and days of bad hair days. Actually, it goes a little further than that. This article goes on to explain those of us that deal with this devastating disease may also deal with hair loss or alopecia. There is a bad news/good news factor to this discovery.

Bad News: Yes, it does appear like other autoimmune disorders, hair loss can be associated with fibromyalgia. It tends to rear its inconvenient head during flare ups or times of stress. Big “duhs” there for those of us with fibro, huh? We kinda already knew this!

I started dealing with this factor 10 or 15 years ago when I realized my hair just wasn’t as full and thick as it use to be. I’ve always worn my hair long (at one time waist length) and my hair was always nice and full and thick. There was one point a few years ago it would come out by the handfuls as I washed it in the shower. I associated that episode to a particular medication, stopped that med, started a new one and no more shedding like a sheep dog in the shower.

Good News: Yes, there is good news. It appears the hair loss from fibromyalgia is temporary and will grow back. So, patience Grasshopper. Remember the sheep dog shedding I was doing in the shower? Well, my hair did grow back.

I can’t promise your hair will ever be as full as it once was (I feel like I’m about to bust out into a Toby Keith song right about now), but it will be better than it once was. Also, if you do have other autoimmune disorders, they will also affect your hair, too.

Here’s one thing I can recommend: Nioxin Shampoo .

I’ve been using this shampoo for over 10 years now and swear by it. It cleanse your hair, helps thicken the hair and helps remove the residual of all the meds we take that end up in our hair.

The other thing I can recommend for healthy hair (and nails) for those of us dealing with hair issues is a daily supplement of Biotin. I take 2000MCGs a day. This has been highly recommended by every stylist I’ve used over the last 10 years or so. Biotin promotes healthy skin, hair and nails.

So, if you’re a fibromyalgia patient, don’t think you’re crazy over the “hair thing”. Yes, it can happen and yes, there can be relief and help. Just hold on and ride it out and it will get better!

 

© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under "Autoimmune disorders", Autoimmune Diseases, Biotin, Fibromyalgia, Hair Loss, Health, Health News, Nioxin Shampoo, Women's health

Autoimmune Disease Overlap Syndromes | Suite101.com

Autoimmune Disease Overlap Syndromes | Suite101.com.

This is a great article to read for all of you who are dealing with autoimmune disorders. I have known for years these diseases/disorders “cluster” or overlap. My body is a prime example of that. If I were to enumerate my laundry list of chronic and disabling health issues, many of you would think I was “joshing” as the old time says.

But, it’s true! Not only do I have overlap within my body, but there is overlap and clustering in my family (on my mother’s side). My very special aunt and I seem to shadow each other.

So, for all of you dealing with these issues, take time to read this article. It might help you to know that (1) you’re not alone in this; and (2) you’re not crazy…yes, your body is doing exactly what you think it is!

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Filed under "Autoimmune disorders", Autoimmune Diseases, Health, Health News, Women's health

Educating Your Doctor (& Others) About Fibromyalgia

How true…how true… Another great article concerning fibromyalgia and dealing with the Neanderthals around us who don’t believe in fibromyalgia or know nothing about it.

Educating Your Doctor (& Others) About Fibromyalgia.

 

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Filed under "Autoimmune disorders", Fibromyalgia, Health, Health News, News, Women's health

Irritable Bowel Syndrome in the Brain – Digestion and Digestive-Related Information on MedicineNet.com

Irritable Bowel Syndrome in the Brain – Digestion and Digestive-Related Information on MedicineNet.com.

IBS is another one of those syndromes I’ve been plagued with for most of my life…even as a child and adolescent. Research and doctors tell me that IBS cluster with a lot of the other syndromes and disorders I have…like fibromyalgia.

If you deal with this aliment you know how fickled a companion it can be and how miserable it can make your life. It can put you flat on your back and just over all make you feel like crud and take the fun out of life.

Yes, depression and anxiety can and does go along with IBS, but according to this latest research there is an organic brain-gut relationship in this syndrome. So, folks, what that mean is…it’s not just “all in your head” but is truly related to you head, or brain function if you will. As I’m known to tell doctors, “I knew I wasn’t crazy!”

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Filed under "Autoimmune disorders", Anxiety, Autoimmune Diseases, Depression, Health, Health News, Irritable Bowl Syndrome (IBS), Women's health

New criteria proposed for diagnosing fibromyalgia

New criteria proposed for diagnosing fibromyalgia.

Years…and I mean years ago I was first diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I think the year was 1990 when the “official” diagnosis was made, but I had been suffering with the symptoms since the early 1980s.

My beloved family physician who has since passed away was very well read and stayed current on many medical trends. He saved my lived twice by discovering lung cancer in a patient with little or no risk factors to give her even a modicum of a chance of even thinking “lung cancer” will afflict my body…but it did anyway and Dr. James S. Davies was smart enough to catch it and save my life…

Anyway, during the 1980s when these “non-specific” symptoms began to rear their ugly head, Dr. Davies said there was a lot of talk about a new kind of illness or syndrome that doctors were having a hard time “pegging” but that a lot of people were showing up with…he said it was kind of like having mono all the time and never getting rid of it…that was the best way to describe it back then…

By 1990 there was a young doctor who was in practice with Dr. Davies for a while and he was pretty sharp, too. He diagnosed my Raynaud’s Syndrome and between him and Dr. Davies they were able to put their finger on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Here is where we begin to see that as far back as 1990 our health care system was “sick” itself. At the time I was insured under the ex’s plan at work which was Blue Cross/Blue Shield. They refused to pay for any of the blood work, tests and visits that were done at the the time because of the diagnosis…”chronic fatigue syndrome”.

Not only was I livid, I was curious…this bill was several hundred dollars…a substantial amount even for those days. I was told by BC/BS they would not pay for anything related to chronic fatigue syndrome because it was a mental disorder and not covered.

Being the bright gal that I am I explained to BC/BS that no indeed, there was enough research done on the subject that suggested several causes for CFS not the least of which could be a retrovirus and that I was certainly not insane, crazy or mentally ill, but I certainly would be after dealing with them…

They were not amused…

The only way BC/BS would pay was if the diagnosis was changed…so the doctors simply took the word “syndrome” off the diagnosis and viola the bill got paid! They would pay for chronic fatigue…period…

Later, fibromyalgia became the talked about subject and I can tell you it clusters in my family making me wonder if there is some kind of genetic link…my momma had FMS and so does her sister, my maternal aunt…

A few years later after being referred to the rheumatologist who diagnosed my Sjogren’s syndrome (1993), he confirmed fibromyalgia…

The debate is this…are CFS and FMS one and the same or two separate issues?

All I know is this…either/or make you very sick, debilitate you, alter your life and change the quality of your life…forever…there is no getting better. It is about more than just the pain…which is indescribable…it is the muscle weakness…the disabling fatigue…the stomach problems…yes, the dizziness…the whole enchilada as they say. The above link to the article and the information therein is, in my opinion, a long time coming when it comes to calling out everything that goes with FMS.

All I can say is…it’s about time!

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Filed under "Autoimmune disorders", Autoimmune Diseases, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Disability, Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, Health, Healthcare, Lung Cancer, Sjogren's Syndrome, Women's health

Primary Sjogren’s Syndrome: Blood deficiencies are strong predictors of poor outcome

Primary Sjogren’s Syndrome: Blood deficiencies are strong predictors of poor outcome.

If you are a Sjogren’s pateint then I highly recommend you read this article. As  a SS patient myself, I knew I had an increased risk for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. This article ties in what I’ve suspected all along…a connection to lung cancer. That would definately explain my two bouts of non-smoking lung cancer!

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Filed under "Autoimmune disorders", Autoimmune Diseases, Health, Women's health