Archives for the month of: March, 2010

so, you know how you learned that it’s really rude to talk about politics and religion in polite company?  you know you’re going to offend somebody, you know it’s going to get ugly, so you just don’t.  or if you’re in DC, you choose carefully who you’re going to offend and just start a fight.  whatever.  well, i’d like to assert that these two topics should be joined by a third: healthcare.

not the current political healthcare debate (although that is touchy!) but rather asserting what one should or shouldn’t do to take care of one’s health.  we’ll start with vaccinations.  go ahead and tell someone they should (or shouldn’t) vaccinate their one-year old.  you’ll have a brawl on your hands.  one side will say that mercury is a known neurotoxin and immunizations given to children are a barbaric practice sure to cause autism.  the other side will scream that modern medicine has brought us to this point in history where we don’t have to have our kids die of polio and as a parent you are irresponsible and certain to contribute to the demise of civilization.  trust your doctor, you idiot.

sigh.

i don’t talk about immunizations very often.  it’s too touchy.  but when someone genuinely asks how i’m doing and i am asked to give an update on my treatment, i often encounter a barrage of criticism.  it’s never a judgement-free exchange of information; instead, i am often talked down to for my choice to pursue alternative medicine.  never mind that my doctor is regarded as an expert in her field, practices with a legit medical license and follows all protocols for the highest standards of care–and actually spends time listening to me.  never mind that i’ve done a ton of research about my illness and seek to treat the causes instead of the symptoms.  never mind that i’m feeling better.  never mind all that.

i have a few friends who are medical professionals who I can trust with my real health news.  for the others, I have to shroud what i’m doing.  I get responses like, “what are homeopathics?  is that, like, herbs?”  “you mean you didn’t take what your first doctor prescribed?  do you think you know better than your doctor?”  “take your meds!  that’s the only way you can get better!”  “do you really think that changing what you eat will make any difference in a chronic illness?  that’s cute!”

it makes me so irate.  I want to shake these people.  people who choose alternative care do so for a reason–standard medical practices have failed.  my friends have been laughed at by doctors who assume that their illness is psychosomatic or have been given several pharmaceuticals that have been harmful.  So you’re sick and want to get well, so you go to another kind of a doctor who practices holistic medicine.  doesn’t seem too crazy to me.  why all the anger?

i think that like politics and religion, health is a matter of deep personal values that you were raised with.  you don’t change your politics or religion unless something jarring happens where you realize it isn’t working for you on a very deep level.

so, i say this in conclusion.  if you believe your body is a machine and is the sum of a series of chemical reactions, if you’ve been able to treat it as such and feel well, keep doing what works for you.  if you’ve had doctors who spend 15 mins with you give you the care you need or you’ve only needed critical care, then stick with that.  if, however, you meet someone who has been failed by the current medical system and has found help outside your bell curve of normal, be compassionate.  and ask questions.  you might learn something.

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Urbana is an important place for me.  My dad went in ’70, my sister in 2000, I attended in 03 and was on staff in 06.  This year when ’09 rolled around, I enjoyed seeing the graphics as they were developed and seeing my friend’s feverish status messages about staying up all night creating graphics. It was a great thing to be a part of three years ago and I enjoyed cheering from the sidelines.

This year I wasn’t there, I was here, doing life as usual.  I just listened to one of the speakers, though, and I thought you might like to listen as well.  His name’s Sunder Krishnan and he spoked for 25 mins on Intercession with Creativity.  It really sparked me thinking about praying in new ways.  Check it out: 12.30PM-SunderKrishnan.mp3

i’ve been realizing lately that i like more low-key friday night activities.  sure it’s fun to go out, but it’s more fun to do something relaxing with a smaller group.  last week i drank wine and chatted with a few women i’m just starting to get to know.  we laughed about single girl registries and told camping stories and recounted he woes of online dating.  this week i got takeout with a dear friend and then we watched the next movie on my netflix queue.

it was the namesake.


i saw this trailer about a week ago and audibly gasped, moved by just a minute or two of imagery and dialogue.  the colors and patterns of india juxtaposed with a coming of age story.  yes please.  i loved it.  it was beautiful, nuanced, at times painful and at the end worth it.  worthy, weighty, good.  i’d highly recommend it.

it is a story about finding one’s identity in the past and forging ahead with that into the future.  stories like this resonate with me.  although i’m a farm girl from the midwest, i find that cross-cultural love stories are among my favorite.

my parents have a bit of a cross-cultural marriage.  he, a quiet protestant german farmer from 10 generations, grandfather homesteaded a mile square of rich farmland in ohio.  she, a fiery catholic italian with freshly immigrated parents who valued music and the culture of their homeland above all else.  they met at a school with a good engineering program and a great conservatory and all the sudden she’s helping butcher chickens.  a great story.  my mom always told us, “there’s more to life than this county” and we believed her, spreading our wings and flying thousands of miles away.  we’re still far, but all of us are back on the same continent–mostly.

i like cross-cultural people.  they understand richness and nuance better.  i was talking with my friend who has grown up in a few cultures and is now living in her fourth.  she told me for the first time that a mutual acquaintance of ours had grown up overseas.  “ah,” i said “so that’s why i like her so much!” we laughed.  80 acres in ohio is my home, my parents never moved and probably never will.  my dad worked in a nearby city and drove 40 miles to work and back home each night.  we didn’t fit with the other farmers in our community or his coworkers who lived in suburbia and would visit on sunday afternoons, remarking about how sweet the tomatoes tasted and how we must be such responsible children with our farm chores.  my bare feet seemed strange to these kids who grew up with sidewalks and asphalt, but the other farm kids didn’t understand me either.  i’m facebook friends with most of them now, they are married and have a few kids and still live in ohio.

there are other reasons why i feel cross cultural.  my sister lived abroad and my brother lives somewhere else entirely and i feel tied to them both even as i pursue life here.  i feel odd sometimes when i take stock of my life at this moment.  i get my hair cut at a mall where i can’t afford anything, i wear heels 6 days a week, i work with a group of highly competent people that advise the government how to spend its money, i live in an affluent area and organic produce has to travel miles to get to me.  it’s all so strange and so far from where i started.

i think the movie resonated because i really want to understand my identity rooted in my past and bring that into my present and future with grace.

thanks for reading.

1) remember how i talked about mycoplasma in my last post?  one of my coinfections?  an atypical bacteria that lacks a cell wall?  the one i did the killer treatment for?  well, my antibodies are down to the normal range for mycoplasma!  so, that’s one thing my doc is going to stop treating.  woot!

2) grooveshark.  it has officially eclipsed pandora for the best way to listen to music online.  build playlists, listen as many times as you want,  no audible ads.  pretty amazing.  and it has some song titles spelled wrong.  i don’t know about you, but i miss that napster charm.

3) the healing prayer class at the falls church is rocking my face off

more to come