Should Moms Feel Guilt When Considering A Mommy Makeover?

There are many things that women tell themselves and more importantly what they tell other women. When it comes to pregnancy and how it changes a woman’s body, many tell them that the stretch marks, the weight gain, the saggy breasts and all the other issues are just part of the game, part of the sacrifice, and part of the gift of giving childbirth. This is told to themselves and other women as much as a mental reframe as it is something that is true. The problem is when women are told to think less of themselves when they want to improve these things, when they want to have cosmetic surgery, when they want to have what is now known as mommy makeover surgery to improve these issues that pregnancy has caused.

Just like angry feminism that started to attack women who made different choices than what mainstream feminists thought was right, there are women who attack others who decide to improve their physical appearance due to the damage pregnancy has caused. What many are learning in both of these examples is that true feminism is about making any chores that a woman feels fit to make. That can mean being a stay-at-home mom or being a rocket scientist. When it comes to wanting a fit and attractive body, mitigating the damage that pregnancy has done to a woman’s body, having a mommy makeover surgery is fine too. It is all about personal choices, and guilt should never be involved in that. We all want to look good, we all want to look great, and there’s no reason why having a child, giving birth, having been pregnant should be something that physically and cosmetically holds back a woman’s physical beauty. That is why mommy makeover surgery, pregnancy without all of the physical damage, without the things that it does to the body exists.

Also, it should not be about anyone else but you. If this is what you want, then it is what you want. Thoughts of other people should not matter at all. After all, it is your body it is your choice. It means that you also have to take responsibility for wanting what you want. Often times when a person asks about if they should feel guilty it is as much about society telling these things as it is about what they tell themselves. It is about them buying into a false program that says that you have to look this way after you have kids which we now know is not true at all. You can look like a supermodel after having a kid, you have cosmetic surgery to improve the way that you look, it is all up to you.

So no, guilt should never be a part of making this decision, it is about what is best for you, what gives you the best and most self-confidence and self-esteem. What will make you happy and it is about how beauty, physical beauty is just as important as any other form of beauty.

New Drug-Free Treatment for Depressed Teens

There are many students who use drugs to improve their level of focus and to get out of the depression or anxiety. This may work for the time being but if you continue to take these kinds of drugs for a couple of months, then you will start to experience the serious side effects.

One famous drug to improve the level of focus is Adrafinil, and this may work for people who work on the night shifts, but the side effects are not worth the risks of taking these. You can read the Adrafinil reviews here to know more about the damages that can cause on your body. Whatever may be the side effects, it’s still not a good idea to fall into the trap of addiction. If you think that you will take the drug once a week, and there will be no problem whatsoever then think again!

It is easy to get attracted to these kinds of magic pills especially during teenage but depending on the drug will make you lose the will power and you may feel like that you can not achieve anything worthwhile without using the drug. It’s always better to listen to your parents or doctor if you planning to use any kind of drug.

All teens get to feeling down occasionally. But, when the sadness or anxiety doesn’t go away, it is time to seek help. Medications currently being used to combat depression can have serious side effects, though.

This study about helping depressed teens improve their mood is a breath of fresh air–no drugs and non-invasive. The teen learns to train her brain to improve mood.

The study is currently being conducted in Providence, RI and Cambridge, MA at the NeuroDevelopment Center. Do you know a high school or college student who could benefit from this?

If you think anyone would benefit from this post then please feel free to send this article’s link to them.

Personalized Medicine for Cancer-Analyzing the Genome of a Tumor

doctor-on-computerDr. Crusher was stunned. She was comparing the Captain’s DNA before his problem had developed with a current sample she had just taken. She discovered that certain genome sequences were missing from the “after” sample.

How did that happen?

More importantly, what could she do to reverse it?

If you are a fan of Star Trek: The Next Generation, you will recognize this story. Genomic profiling is commonplace in the 24th century.  In this episode of the popular TV show, Dr. Crusher uses the transporter to reverse the change to his DNA and return Captain Picard to his original self.  This was science fiction circa 1990.

While we still don’t have transporters in 2011 to let us travel from one location to another or repair DNA, what was science fiction 20 years ago IS becoming today’s reality of personalized medicine for cancer.

President Richard Nixon declared war on cancer in 1971 and, while we have made many strides in that war, we haven’t wiped out this disease because cancer is not one disease–it is many diseases.

Your Cancer Is Unique to You

Traditional medical research identifies a group of patients with the same illness and tests a single biological pathway with one therapy for effectiveness. This works well when the illness is caused by a single strain of bacteria that can be recognized in many individuals with a microscope.

Cancer is unique to each individual. We now know that many cancers are caused by problems occurring in multiple biological pathways, not just one. Researchers are rapidly reaching the limits of traditional research methodologies to study these complexities.

Fortunately, there is a group of forward thinking scientists who have begun to approach this problem from a different direction. I recently had the good fortune to meet Raphael Lehrer, Ph. D. whose company, GeneKey Corporation, is on the leading edge of personalized cancer medicine.

What he told me was eye opening!

Imagine for a moment that someone you know is battling cancer. The primary care physician is working with the oncologist to administer treatment. The oncologist may look for an individual genetic marker for a certain type of cancer to select the right drug.

If the selected treatment works, everyone cheers. But if it doesn’t, the oncologist may need to resort to trial and error to find another treatment that does work. This is particularly true for late-stage cancer patients.

Meanwhile, the patient is on a roller coaster ride of hope followed by despair if the next treatment fails or only partially works. If a working cancer treatment isn’t found right away, the patient may just give up.

A Personal Research Team to Identify the Best Treatment Options

What if the patient had his own research team composed of some of the smartest scientists in molecular therapies?  And they used state-of-the-art technologies to study the genetic information from his cancer? The team would study the entire genome of the tumor and provide the oncologist with an in-depth analysis pointing to the therapies that best match this patient’s situation. They might even find a clinical trial that the patient can join.

The sooner the patient is on the right treatment, the better the outcome is likely to be.  The patient also gains peace of mind knowing that all possible treatments were identified. And, the research team can add these results to a growing base of information that can help others in the future.

This is the leading edge—cancer treatment and research combined. Medicine has become a team effort with doctors and researchers working together. The concept has actually been around for awhile in other areas of medicine.

By late 2006, my father had been seriously anemic for several years. The usual tests came back negative. His doctors were puzzled and wondered if there was a problem with the combination of medications Dad was taking. So the doctor’s asked a consultant pharmacist, an expert in geriatric medication management, to review my father’s situation for something the doctor might have missed.

The consultant pharmacist identified four possible issues. And, yes, one of them proved to be the problem. I was impressed with the meticulous analysis of my father’s symptoms and medications. I had no idea that this type of service was available for patients.

GeneKey Corporation goes into even more depth in the research it performs for each patient.  As Raphael Lehrer Ph.D., the company’s chief scientist, described it to me, they look at the entire genome of a person’s tumor to identify the biological pathways that are sustaining the tumor. Cancer is optimal for this type of research because tumor samples are available. “Often we identify a drug that is typically used for another type of cancer, or a drug not normally used for cancer treatment that could prove helpful for a particular patient.  Oncologists may not think to try these treatments without data like ours pointing to these additional options,” said Lehrer.

Right now, this personalized research is limited to those who can pay for it themselves. Health insurance doesn’t cover it. While costs are coming down, they are still relatively high… about the price of a luxury car.

While only a limited number of late-stage cancer patients can take advantage of GeneKey’s services, I felt it was important to let readers know about this latest development in personalized medicine for cancer.

Do you know someone who needs to know about this?

Nielsen Confirms Teens Text Most

Do you know what age group sends the most number of text messages in the US?

SMS_Sent_by_teens-Jan2011

From the above graph (of a research), you can clearly see that the age group of 13-17 send the most number of messages. If you are a parent you should already be knowing it!

This research done by The Nielsen Company suggests that:

  • Parents need to check how their teens are using the phone and should periodically review their phones. This ensures that they do any sexting. Also guide them when to use and when not to use the phone. Most of the teens use their phone even during class and while eating dinner. Parents should teach them how to use the phone in a healthy way without scolding or making them feel bad.
  • In case of getting in touch with your teens, text messages are the best way as 97% of text messages get read.
  • Unlimited text plans are absolutely necessary for the families having a teen.

Any other thoughts for helping your son or daughter use that cell phone responsibly?

Count Your Blessings

I  finally walked into the front door of my home after 6 p.m. yesterday. It had been a marathon gift and food shopping excursion. 12 bags of groceries, 6 bottles of water, 1 last Christmas gift…

A woman in a radio ad was trying to return a partridge in a pear tree to the store but was turned down by the salesperson because the gift had been bought more than 90 days ago. That got me to musing about how easy it is to miss the spirit of the holidays.

Caregiving for family members can be all consuming. It is so easy to lose perspective when you are knee-deep in the details. The stress is very real and can hurt your health.

It sounds trite, but when I get to feeling overwhelmed I sit down with a cup of tea, take some deep breaths and count my blessings. My ritual started a number of years ago when everything looked so bleak. I focused on just one blessing.

Oddly enough, changing my perspective caused the blessings to start to multiply. It has been magical to watch as the events and people around me became more positive. Of course, this is easier to do looking back at past events than when your umbrella has turned inside out by the gale force winds of a major storm!

So my holiday gift to you is a reminder: Count your blessings and let the people around you know that you treasure them as one of  your blessings.

And, if you are having a tough time getting started, the video above has a wonderful (tongue-in-cheek) song to get you rolling.

Wishing you a thousand blessings…

Merry Christmas!

Power Naps Are Better Than Coffee

My secret is out…

A few months ago, I was interviewed by Jen Soong, who was writing an article for WebMD magazine. I confessed my secret for staying healthy and sane when my long days catch up with me.

What’s my secret?

It’s all here in the article: The Secret (and Surprising) Power of Naps

I discovered this secret when my children were babies. I used to take naps when they did. It was the best way for a 38 year old mom (42 when the second boy was born)  to survive having a baby in the house.

How Long Should You Nap?

I usually nap for about 25 minutes. And I set a timer to make sure I don’t oversleep. For me, sleeping too long means waking up groggy and less able to function.

Sleep researchers have discovered that how long you nap determines which mental functions are enhanced. In fact, it is all described in a book by Sara C. Mednick, PhD titled Take a Nap! Change Your Life.

Short naps of about 20 minutes are good for metal alertness. Longer naps benefit creativity and problem solving.

Naps may also be good for your heart. A study by the Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Athens (Greece) Medical School followed 23,600 men and women living in Greece for an average of 6.3 years.

The results showed that people who regularly took siestas, defined by the researchers as napping at least three times per week for an average of at least 30 minutes, had a 37% lower coronary mortality than those not taking siestas. Occasional nappers showed a statistically non-significant 12% reduction in coronary mortality. The apparent protective effect of siestas was particularly strong among working men and weaker among those not working, mainly retirees. Among working women, there were too few deaths to allow inferences.

The researchers believe that regular naps reduce stress which results in fewer instances of coronary mortality.

When Should You Nap?

Are you a “morning person” (sometimes called a lark) or a night owl? The ideal time to take your nap depends on your body’s normal rhythm. I’m a lark in a family of night owls. At 10 p.m., my eyelids are getting heavy. I am ready to get to sleep. But, my husband and sons are just getting rolling on work.

Here is an easy, one-page description of how to pick your most beneficial time to nap and other helpful tips from The Boston Globe.

As the old saying goes, “Try it, you’ll like it!”

Low Salt Diet Saves Lives

salt-crystlsWorking for a small company that does most of its business online means that we don’t have the seasonal celebrations that most bigger companies hold. No company picnics…  no three legged races…  no sunburned co-workers.

So when the building owner for our office invited the entire building to a barbecue on Wednesday, I thought it would be a great way to meet some of the others who work in the building for other companies. There was a great turnout—the building owner made sure of that by holding an emergency drill for the building right at noon!

So, everyone was milling around in the open patio near the parking lot. There was plenty of barbecue chicken and steak, caesar salad, potato salad, corn, beans, soda, iced tea, water, and cookies and brownies for dessert.

A typical menu for this type of American event.

But, I had forgotten just how much salt food like this could have. My stomach was happy when I left the barbecue but it didn’t take long for an overwhelming thirst to set in.

After multiple cups of water and green tea, I finally began to feel normal again. Sigh… too much salt in that food. I made a mental note to drink water and mingle rather than eat at the next event.

Since my Dad died, I have spent time pondering what I could do differently to prevent getting the multiple illnesses that plagued him—diabetes, heart disease, stroke, prostate cancer and kidney failure.

Skipping the beer  and hard alcohol was an easy one. Cutting back on fat was not so hard to do. Ditto the sugar and empty refined carbs. (Ok, I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t sometimes miss delectable crumb cake,  raised donuts and New York cheesecake.)

But, kicking the salt habit took a lot longer. I had great motivation—my husband needs to keep his blood pressure under control. So we began a journey together to a low salt diet.

Out went the chips and crackers. I modified each home-cooked recipe to remove as much salt as possible.

Surprise! Our taste buds adjusted to like unsalted foods.

But going out to dinner is like walking in a field full of mines. Can I find the right items that don’t have much salt in them? Sadly, not at the barbecue.

If each American cut salt intake by 1 teaspoon (3g) a day, there would be 120,000 fewer strokes, 99,000 fewer heart attacks and 92,000 fewer deaths in the next year. –Spry Magazine, May 2010.

Salt is essential for life. But, most Americans are fooled into eating far too much. It is hidden in prepared foods and snacks.

Want to prove it? Keep track of what you eat for a day. Record the amount of salt in the food you eat and the recipes you prepare.

Unless you prepare all of your food from scratch and omit salt in every recipe, you’ll be shocked to discover that you get waaaay more salt than the 1500 -2400 milligrams recommended as healthy.

Bread, donuts, breakfast cereal, cheese, lunch meat, tomato sauce, salad dressings, salsa, corn chips, potato chips, canned vegetables, packaged meals and restaurant meals all have added amounts of salt that can tip you over your daily allowance well before your lunch is over.

My Dad would skip the mayo (78 mg of sodium) on his ham (286 mg of sodium) sandwich but then eat cottage cheese (300 mg of sodium) and canned pineapple. Overall, he did cut down on his sodium intake but never as much as he really needed.

When you are 83 years old, giving up favorite foods is exceedingly difficult to do. And, it’s not much easier for a 50 something daughter.

I’ve tackled this puzzle by buying less packaged food and cooking more at home. I purchase chicken broth,  tomato sauce and salsa with no added salt. For regular snacks, I get unsalted almonds.

But, sometimes even I forget to glance at the label. The other day I bought plain cottage cheese made by a dairy that specializes in “healthy foods” (300 mg of sodium per half cup) when I should have gotten plain yogurt (125 mg of sodium per half cup) for a between-meal calcium boost.

It takes perseverance to lower the salt in your regular meals because extra salt is everywhere. But, saving 120,000 people from strokes and 99,000 from heart attacks is a really important reason to do it.

And, you may just save the life of your spouse, your children, or your own.

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