ellenkushner: (Bessie McNicol)
Got my annual mammogram yesterday - and this year it really lived up to our nickname of "tit-squish" - yeowch! It really hurt! I would keep this info to myself, but 24 hours later I'm still quite sore ETA on both sides - feels like a bad bruise - no visible marks, but tender to the touch.  I am, ah, not a large woman.  But I've had a quite a few of these over the years, and oh my darling it's never felt like this.

Did they do something wrong?  Did I? Is there something I can do next time to prevent this?

Full disclosure:  For years, it never hurt at all, and I couldn't figure out what all the fuss was about.  In the last few years (when I have gained more body fat - more for them to seize hold of? or am I still so small that they need to get a good handful of muscle as well into the machine?) it's been kinda unpleasant, but not hurt afterwards.... What gives?

And let me just sternly add that if you have not had yours yet this year, don't use this as an excuse to avoid it!  Because (a) It probably won't hurt at all, and (b) even if it does, you just have to be brave for, like, 11 seconds.  And you can do that.

Just make someone take you for ice cream, after.  You can do that if you're brave.
ellenkushner: (Thomas the Rhymer)
Oh, yeah - and one more thing:

8/26  A friend recommended these, and to our astonishment they seem to work! Homeopathic tablets from New Zealand, where everything's a long flight away... NO-JET-LAG(R) Feeling less awful on Day #3 in Australia than we did on our last trip to Europe . . . go figure! You take them on the plane at takeoff, landing, and every 2 hours in between


Jul. 28th, 2010 09:38 am
ellenkushner: (Default)
 For our adventures in Finland so far, I cannot do better than to refer you to [livejournal.com profile] deliasherman  's gorgeous narratives (as Huck said, "She told the truth, mainly" -- and when she didn't,  I gently correct her in Comments). - meanwhile, found this over in Justine Larbalestier's blog in the Comments section of her post on her RSI, and offer it to all:

Just to clarify, in case this will be helpful to anybody reading this who has RSI that is not responding well to physical therapy…

The reason PT did not work for me is that while it was my wrists and forearms that were sore, the real problem was in my shoulders. My physical therapists did all kinds of work on my wrists and hands. It accomplished nothing. Then I went to a massage therapist who found significant tightness in my lats, pecs, triceps, deltoids, and the rotator cuff (especially subscapularis). Once those muscles were released, my wrist pain, which had been unrelenting for years, disappeared.

I’ve heard that the reason it works this way is that tight muscles in the upper body restrict circulation to the extremities. With impeded circulation, your body is not able to do the microrepair it needs to do on the small muscles and tendons of the forearm as you type. I’m not a doctor and I have no idea if that’s actually true. But I do know that if I keep my shoulder muscles stretched and loose, I do not have wrist pain.

If you go to a massage therapist, make sure it’s the right kind. “Feel good” massage will do nothing–you need therapeutic, deep-tissue massage. It is extremely painful. Whenever the therapist finds a tight spot, ask him/her which muscle it is. Then go home and google stretches for that muscle, so you can put together an at-home stretching program that targets your trouble spots. Pecs seem to be particularly important. I know one woman with chronic, severe RSI whose problems were almost entirely resolved just by doing pec stretches several times a day. For me, subscapularis is the biggest trouble-maker (in part because it is difficult to stretch), but I stretch everything to cover my bases.

It was not written by Justine, but by a Gentle Reader - and there are a few other comments there along these lines, as well.
ellenkushner: (NYC: RSD)

1) Got really scrupulous about washing hands, esp. after riding the subway

2) Taking 1000 mg Vitamin D every day 

3) Got giant pack of boxes of soft tissues from Costco, still sitting in utility closet blocking access to everything
ellenkushner: (Default)
....that is not the [livejournal.com profile] debsliverlovers auction, where I've just added more cool stuff,

* The National Women's Health Network (which [livejournal.com profile] debsliverlovers & I are proud to support) warns, in their excellent monthly newsletter , against Rosuvastatin:  
When you see those ads encouraging you to “know your number”, just say no to the CRP test, unless you already know that you’re at increased risk of heart attack and stroke. I
f you’re like many women whose only risk factor is age, following sensible guidelines for a heart-healthy lifestyle will do more to improve your health than taking a test that will likely lead to being prescribed a drug that probably won’t help you — and might cause new problems.

This is of particular interest to me, as my dad is the research physician who "discovered" CRP (well, as he would say, "Aw, that's a load of cr*p" - but it's still what he has on his license plates!).  I'll ask him about this, too.

* Ben Rosenbaum has posted about economics, kids, being paid for short stories, and blogging a sequel.

* And thanks to [livejournal.com profile] p_zeitgeist for the link to J.K. Rowling's A Single Mother's Manifesto.  ("J. K. Rowling is a natural political/opinion essayist: lucid, witty, pointed without being shrill: a grown-up in all the best ways. I don't imagine there's any chance we could trade Maureen Dowd for her on the pages of the New York Times, but how much happier we would be if only we could.")
ellenkushner: (SWORDSPINT)
I had an MRI of my right foot today (ongoing annoyance, no biggie - anyone else out there suffering from Cuboid Syndrome? and, no, both my eyes are still on either side of my nose, thank you!). I had no idea what this entailed; I thought it would just be a fancy X-ray. Imagine my surprise when I learned I would be immobile in a room where all extraneous metal was banned ("Take off your jewelry," he intoned . . . and then he took my f**ing glasses!) - and the process would take at least half an hour!

I said, "Can I read?" He didn't think so. It would be very loud in there. "Look," I said; "will my head be in the machine?" No. "Will my hands be free?"

- Yes.
- So I can read.
- You can't read.
- Why not?
- It's too loud.

I assured him that I could read no matter what, and that in fact I would go mad with nothing to do for an hour. I ran to the waiting room and fetched a magazine - a light one, with lots of text (unfortunately the only New Yorker they had was the sole issue I've read from cover-to-cover this year, so I had to settle for Newsweek), and beguiled the time with my earplugs & headphone noise-blockers reading up on current events. The hardest part was keeping my arms raised above my nose (supine).

ellenkushner: (Default)
Wash your hands.

May 3, 2009

I know this sounds silly, but it is far more effective at preventing flu than having a dose-pack of Tamiflu in the medicine chest. Take it from a doctor, mother and reporter who covered SARS as well as bird flu where they were most virulent.

In 2003, as SARS was spreading across Asia, I was posted in Beijing. Many families fled. My children’s school — the International School of Beijing — was one of the very few in the city to stay open... the school instituted strict policies — the ones that schools promote all the time but never really enforce. For parents, the first was: Don’t send your child to school sick. For students, it was: Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly during the day — before meals, after recess. No one got SARS. But more than that, the stomach bugs and common colds that are the bane of elementary schools all over the world disappeared as well.

...Masks, the symbol of protection, are only rarely useful. And enjoy being outside; it’s not where you will get the flu.

Here's the rest of the article, in the NYTimes.

I'm a big hand-washer. I live in a city where I'm always in contact with other people and things they have touched. I'm always touching my eyes, nose & mouth, and rather than give up bad habits, I'll wash a little extra.

A couple of years ago, I was impressed with an article that mentioned that in some crappy little village in India where the poorest didn't even have soap or a clean rag to dry their hands on, they still managed to cut disease by a significant percentage simply by running water over their hands "before meals and after defecation." So I always try at least to show my hands a little water when necessary.

So if you're prone to infection, if you want to avoid flu and colds year 'round - or keep from spreading them yourself - soap & water. I'm tellin' ya.

Vitamin D

Jun. 24th, 2008 09:19 am
ellenkushner: (Default)
My dad, a research physician, has been telling me about this study. Now it's out and in the news: 'low levels of vitamin D [are] "always significantly associated" with a higher risk of death' and 'people with higher vitamin D levels tended to be healthier and more fit.' According to dad, nobody gets all the Vitamin D they need from sunlight - even people in Hawaii were tested and found deficient! What age to start taking it? "Oh, 11 or 12." How much? This article is more conservative, but I'm sticking with dad: "The studies suggest 500 mg/day, but the researchers themselves are taking 1000 mg!"
ellenkushner: (Default)
I am so moved and impressed with all the suggestions people have put up at my request and in response to [livejournal.com profile] wild_irises's query (regarding a teen) on how to be genuinely helpful to the seriously or chronically ill. Laurie Marks, who's not even on LJ, still came and pitched in with special advice on taking care of the caregiver in a longterm chronic illness, which is very useful and insightful (and makes me wish I had been able to do more for her & Deb when I was living in Boston. . .).

Thank you all for your generosity. May you rejoice in giving the help when you can, and in getting it when you need it.
ellenkushner: (Default)
Know someone who's in the hospital or going through a long illness? We all want to help, but we often feel like helpless dorks when faced with such trauma. I'm impressed with [livejournal.com profile] vylar_kaftan's suggestions here.

Do you have any others to add?
ellenkushner: (Default)
Boy, howdy! Captive in the Mammogram Waiting Room of Eternal Rest, I read this week's entire Tuesday NYTimes "Science Times" section - and there's something for everyone:

• Smoking can make you bald!
• Walruses are incredibly cool!
• Boil broccoli; steam carrots (or is it the other way 'round?)
• Mozart's music may heal tissues & reduce pain
• Hookahs are actually as bad ("Each puff has as much as 100 times the smoke as a puff from a cigarette...And smokers are also inhaling fumes from the charcoal.") for you as cigarettes. . .
• . . . which are incredibly addictive; willpower alone can't do it if your genes are against you there.
• Your genes may also determine how badly you crave sweet things
which brings us to my fascinating favorite:
• Stressed-out by low-status primates crave sweet and/or fatty food more - as the article says, "The female monkeys weren’t dieters who tasted one forbidden food and then couldn’t stop themselves from binging. They were not rebelling against the thin mandate from tyrannical fashion magazines. They weren’t choosing junk food because they couldn’t find healthier fare . . .They get some sort of comfort that is particularly appealing to the subordinate monkeys. One possibility is that the fatty foods help block the monkeys’ stress responses . . . Another possible explanation. . . is that the snacks activated the reward pathways in the brain."

Wow. So go read up on all this; you may have to Log In to the NYTimes Online, but (a) it's free and (b) it is then Yours Forever!

I'll be thinking of those monkeys for a long time.

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