Saturday, 23 January 2010

Healthy writing

Another week and already much change. When I last wrote i was finishing up writing my essays for my Nutritional Medicine course. All really interesting but the style of essays I am having to write is SO technical and narrow that you kinda lose sight of the overall picture. I can tell you in detail what influences the diapedesis (moving through) of monocytes (a type of white blood cell) through the endothelial cells of a the vasculature (blood vessels - note the complex language of the scientific/medical community which helps to elevate practitioners above everyone else and obscure the facts). And, as part of the medical/scientific community I am taking part in that but I am also trying to distil that down so that I understand it too. What is evident to me is that it's relatively easy to write that stuff without really understanding it. That takes much more time. That's one of the reason's I decided to start a blog, so I could use this as a forum to dissemininate some of the information I'm gleaning as part of my studies.

For instance, I've just finished writing a piece on inflammation and heart disease. Did you know that inflammation is THE biggest cause of heart disease and that cholesterol is there to help and is not the villain it has been portrayed. Blood cholesterol is actually more like the ambulance that goes to the site of injury to repair the damage. What is causing injury to blood vessels is still open to debate but damaged (trans) fats and high releasing carbohydrates such as the ubiquitious fructose corn syrup are being mooted. That this does not sit well with the food and pharmaceutical industry is why you haven't heard it yet. It cuts into their profit margins too much.

Mm, so much to write, so little time. I would love to enlighten you on ways to cut your risk of cancer, detoxification from household chemicals, and many other things but time is against me. I now have a new role in a new company that a friend of mine has set up. I am their scientific research director and writing some of the content for the web-based holistic health intervention. Can't say too much as we're not launched yet but suffice to say it is taking up a chunk of my time. Current subject is Optimum Nutrition. Most of you will have heard of the term but perhaps don't understand it. I hope to enlighten you in future blogs. It's not about your 5-day though that would help. It's looking at food as medicine and maximising your intake of the good stuff - which may include supplements and superfoods. Something I wouldn't have believed necessary til I did the research. What I found out shocked me. I thought eating a 'healthy' diet would just mean eating a few more fruit and veg. Problem is they are full of chemicals and tragically devoid of nutrients unless organically grown. Maybe that explains why the few carrots I grew last year tasted totally unlike the ones I buy from the supermarket. Quality is everything. Food has become agribusiness, medicine the pharmaceutical industry. We are far, far from enjoying optimum health.

Take care and will update soon


Friday, 15 January 2010

What a difference a day makes

I think the last blog I wrote was a couple of days ago when everything was still very raw, and 2 days later the landscape has shifted again. I had been catapaulted into the realisation that I am not immortal, that I can't take my body for granted and I have to do some real work of clearance and acceptance. I had been drawn to castor oil packing for some reason (soaking a muslin cloth with castor oil and placing it on the body with a heat pack over the top to help absorption). This is a very traditional healing technique for many aches and pains (women it's wonderful for period pain and gynae problems) but I knew nothing about it other than when I've done a liver cleanse a few times they recommend a liver pack when you go to bed to help the liver. No-one told me that castor oil might be helpful for skin cancer but I was drawn to go get the bottle and lie with some on my liver and also to apply it directly to the mole. I can't explain that but 2 days later when I went to a friend's house she lent me a book about castor oil and the second line in the book was about putting it on skin cancer lesions! Astonishing bit of sychronicity that i take for granted now that I allow these little intuitive messages that I get to be listened to... Reader, i have been juicing! i have been alkalising my body with superfoods - spirulina and hemp, cacao mixtures, lemon water and plenty of raw vegetables and no crap. There is nothing like a health problem to wake you up..

And, today I had my appointment with the specialist - a very dischevelled but jolly doctor who took a very quick look with a hand-held electron microscope (yes it's some special equipment he uses) and said 'a typical traumatised squamatous wart'. I exhaled. He didn't say basal cell carcinoma (BCC). I asked what that was - he said he saw a lot of them, particularly on women's backs around the bra strap region. He suspects it's become irritated by something and has bled into itself. The prognosis is it will probably drop off by itself in 4-6 weeks but if it doesn't to come back and he'll remove it for me. Definitely not cancerous.
He took a picture and then proceeded to show me other pictures of BCC's as a comparison (because I asked how did he know, etc). When I was able to prove I worked in health research for theUuniversity of Southampton he was happy to send me a copy of the picture and will probably use it for research purposes. We ended up having quite an interesting conversation about Vitamin D and sunlight (more on that in further blogs) as it is a particular interest of mine. Did you know for instance that Vit D is involved in preventing many cancers and people of darker skins in northern climates are particualrly likely to be deficient. Red hair and fair skin is an adaptation to low sunlight levels (hence i'm not likely to be as deficient for instance as a black person but I will burn in the sun if overexposed - and be more likely to get skin cancer as a result). Did you know black people in the US (African Americans suffer much more cancer than whites? that fact is not well known and they are largely excluded from official statistics - the US does not collect nationwide statistics for cancer - only state by state. See The Secret History of the War on Cancer, Devra Davis for details. Fascinating reading.

I left the surgery within 20 mins a new woman. I'm going to keep on with the castor oil though and the juicing. It is so easy to do once you have the ingredients - I add a banana to the superfood mix, add water and a little soya milk, ground flax seeds (I use a coffee grinder) blend with a hand-held blender and voila! instant breakfast. Tasty too (add a bit of honey or agave syrup for sweetness). No mucking about peeling and chopping fruit, etc. I think i could get quite into this. I do feel this was/is a message and I'm not about to go back to the old habits of thinking I can put anything into my body and it not matter. What we take in literally becomes our tissues so it does matter what quality materials you put in there. Make it the best you can and be the best you can be.

Had my regular massage today which is my gift to myself for ongoing health, a quick snooze (I didn't sleep that well last night!) and off to see Avatar in 3D which I found very moving. Came out of the cinema feeling quite otherwordly, decided to pop into IKEA for a quick meal (best views in Southampton particularly at night) and then home to my blog and an early night. What a difference a day makes, as the song goes. What a lesson.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Perception is everything

Well, back from the doc's - a depressing wait in the surgery for half an hour to be told that I'm going to be referred to a specialist as expected. The GP didn't seem to think I'm at death's door quite yet in fact he seemed quite blase.. I came away feeling, not exactly hopeful, but certainly not as depressed as yesterday. That got me wondering how it is that I can have had two such different days - yesterday I felt quite spacey, disconnected somehow, wandering round PCWorld looking at laptops thinking 'suppose I'm not here this time next year?' It all seemd so pointless somehow. And then today, going into work as normal, having slept quite well, realising that the only difference is the perception - one hopeless and one hopeful. Thus proving once more that not only do beliefs create reality but you can alter the way you feel about things by thinking better thoughts...

So today, determined that I am going to heal and use this as a message rather than a death sentence, I said to a friend 'I want to live to be 100' and I truly do. I want to see old age, in wisdom and health rather than infirmity. One of the best books I've read recently 'Love and Survival' by Dean Ornish, talks about those people who see themselves as reaching 100 as being the ones most likely to achieve it in health. According to him when he asks that question to audiences only about 10% of people usually put their hands up. Unfortunately too many people see ageing as being equated with illness and then it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If this culture supported age as being a positive rather than a negative experience we would celebrate our elders rather than depositing them in old age homes to wither and die. Anyway, that's all for now folks. I hope to reveal a happy, healthy and whole me over many years to come.

Monday, 11 January 2010

Walking the talk

Hi there, this is my first blog but boy is it a big one! For the last year or so I have been up to my eyes in essays, writing and general research on the subject of health and wellbeing. Firstly I am doing a degree in Nutritional Medicine, (following the untimely death of my sister-in-law I just felt i wanted to do something to find out - why she died (of bowel cancer) and how I can prevent it happening to me or my family. I've found out stuff that you wouldn't believe - how the cancer industry works (cancer research and it's associated charities and instutitions), how much of the simple information that would help us is being kept from us by the overuse of the uncertainty principle (if it hasn't been double-blind randomised control tested then we can't be sure of it's efficacy). Now this makes sense if the intervention you are talking about is a drug but it sure as hell makes no sense at all when you are talking about dietary interventions like fish oil (omega-3) and broccoli. Yes, broccoli turns out to be a very powerful anti-cancer food, along with berries and turmeric and other things. This is info everyone should know, not just those with a diagnosis (for whom it is vital) but for those of us who wish to prevent it happening to us. Which, up until yesterday, included me. Then, I found a strange lesion on my back which wasn't there a month ago and appears to be skin cancer. So, here I am - an exponent of self-empowered healing being asked to finally 'walk my talk'. This ain't theoretical anymore...

I am, of course, gonna have it checked out by the doctor tomorrow, and will probably be referred on to the hospital. I know this because I had one 10 years ago which was removed. However, the question is, how come, given my pretty good diet, my understanding of the emotional factors that contribute to disease and all the rest that I have gleaned from my research, HOW did I get this again?? I can only think it is a message from the universe if you will, that I have more work to do. I hope I can find it within myself to take the positive from this, but right now, I have to admit I'm a little scared.
Will update when I know more, but that's all for now
Tricia x