Tag Archives: health

Be Your Own Advocate!!

As little as 40 years ago, it was not considered out of the ordinary for a doctor to treat patients as “less than”, woman especially because we had a society that regarded marriage as ownership.  Their voices were ignored and they were treated as though they were mentally damaged and didn’t have the capacity to understand what they were being told, so the husband did the answering and the ordering.

One where the husband was the one making decisions for his wife, rather than what the woman wanted/needed for herself.  Going back a little further you had instructions on how to behave for your husband and how he may discipline you.  Believe it or not, spanking a wife was somewhat commonplace (and it had nothing to do with 50 Shades, for those wondering.)

My mother and my Great Aunt were both overlooked as their husbands were asked for a medical authorization.  Back then a husband could call the doctor and get test results, find out how their office visit went, etc and make decisions for his wife going forward without the slightest bit of input from the one receiving the care.

Another Great Aunt was taken by her husband (because she wasn’t “allowed” to drive, his rules) to the dentist’s office to get a filling in her tooth.  Her husband asked what condition the rest of them were in, then with that information told the dentist to remove all of her teeth and give her dentures because he didn’t want to be dumping a bunch of money on his wife’s dental care.

Can you imagine being in the dentists’ chair waiting for your tooth to be drilled, only for the doctor to come over and just started pulling her teeth!  She was 25 years old and had absolutely no say in the matter, her husband told him what to do and that was the end of the discussion.

That time is gone.  Thank the gods.


Woman With A 50-Pound Ovarian Cyst Was
Initially Told To Just Lose Weight!!


We also used to be a society where doctors weren’t questioned, much less second-guessed because he was seen as the demi-god of treatment and healing.  My grandmother wound up with chemical burns and needed skin grafting due to a definite case of malpractice …but you didn’t pursue that back then. (This was when the nurses still wore white.)  Frankly, if doctors were all that, there’d be no need for medical insurance.

Thankfully, now we encourage second opinions on major issues or procedures, and especially surgery.  You must be your own advocate, no one else will be.  Remember that you are not at the mercy of your doctor.  He works for you and you pay your premiums to the insurance company so they can pay for your assorted medical needs.

They work for you

I saw the article about this poor woman with the cyst and I flashed back to all those terrible stories.  And of course, if a woman appears to be overweight, then she just needs to get off her butt and do some exercise.  This is something that would have been seen on a simple office ultrasound, but no, she needed to go on a diet.  This woman knew something was wrong with her body, but the doctor dismissed it.

There’s a number of different things that can cause weight gain in a centralized area like that, but he didn’t bother to check for any of those either.  Hell, I have a cousin that was used to her weight fluctuating so she just wore bigger baggy clothes.  That is until she was in so much pain that she thought she would die and they ran her to the ER only to find out it wasn’t her appendix bursting, it was that her water needed to break since she was in active labor.  But the whole time she was being told that she needed to exercise more, that she was getting fat.

The next time you know that something’s wrong with your body and it’s a significant issue and your doctor blows you off, tell him that he needs to prove you wrong, he needs to run the test to see if there is an underlying cause and not just chalking it up to overeating and under-exercising.  You have to stand up for yourself, don’t let them “tell you”, have a conversation with them.  Ask them why they feel that their diagnosis is the best for describing your current health.  Ask if there are any tests that can be done that can confirm or rule out things so you’re not waiting until something gets really bad.

I’m looking at having surgery this fall, my best friend is coming down to go with me to the surgeon’s so he can be my extra eyes and ears.  If you’ve got a friend or relative willing to do that for you, great.  I also used to carry a 3-ring binder with test results and whatnot in it.

Even now I have a small notebook in my TN that I am writing in regularly.  Appointment times & dates, recap the appointment, then I add what comments or questions that I want to address with them on the next visit.  Talk to them as peers, not as a subordinate waiting for the crumbs they throw you.

Have a good day and take it easy.

Maggie ॐ 



Spread the Word, Lend a Hand

** Update**  Christion Isaac-Alexander Shaw  6/20/09 – 12/18/14   Please consider helping with this fundraiser to help with the arrangements and passing on this story of Christion and his life.  Thank you – Maggie **


Sorry that I haven’t posted in a while.  I have been experiencing many life changes, most positive… a new relationship, new additions to the family with more on the way, a little travelling with a whole lot of visiting, etc.

Today’s post unfortunately is not so upbeat.

Today we’re stepping up to a window into the life of an incredible single mother and her two sons… a one seven-week old named Cameron and the other a five-year old named Christion who has muscular dystrophy.




This is my friend KaShonda and her boys.  Christion is 5 years old and has Nemaline myopathy Muscular Dystrophy.  He’s a great kid.  He laughs and plays and watches TV… loves Handy Manny and was completely enamored with being able to watch PBS Kids on my iPad and snuggling with me while Mom and I got to spend time together.  In many ways Christion is just like any other 5-year-old.





Then there’s all the special extras that do not surround a typical 5-year-old… oxygen, suction to clear his lungs, a belt that provides air pressure that simulates pounding on his back to loosen the mucus in his lungs, wheelchairs, monitors, pulse oximeters, etc.

While as a country we’re trying to get kids away from the happy meals, Christion has never had one and probably never will.  Christion doesn’t eat, he has a feeding tube directly into his stomach with nutrition that comes in a pouch.




Christion doesn’t have babysitters or daycare, but has home nurses.  In fact KaShonda even went to nursing school just so she could not only be better prepared to take care of her son but so that she would be able to work at home with him.  It doesn’t get anymore incredible than that, truly a devoted mother.

Sadly just a few short weeks ago, Christion’s health once again took a down turn when he developed pneumonia and wound up in the ICU.  Finally improving enough to be moved out of ICU, you can see that spirits were high.


Tickle time!
Tickle time!


Later this very same day, November 28th, Christion coded.  Medical personnel worked on him extensively to revive him but he was down for 12-13 minutes.    This is Christion right now…




Heartbreaking is the only word that applies and yet that word doesn’t go deep enough.  He is 5 years old and should be writing letters to Santa, not hooked to monitors unresponsive.  His Mom should be trying to sneak in presents to surprise him with, not crying bedside in a hospital room, praying for her son.


Then there’s Cameron.  For those who would say that thank God the 7 week-old is “normal”, they are incorrect.  While Cameron is quite healthy he is in no way normal.

Seven week-old babies should be in their mothers arms, not bounced around to relatives so his mom can keep her vigil at Children’s Hospital.  Cameron should have a big brother that can teach him to throw a football, intimidate kids who try to bully him, teach him how to date, how to drive and be his best friend.

UPDATE:   While the CT scan and EEG’s looked promising, an MRI has shown that Christion has suffered massive trauma on his whole brain and the prognosis is not positive and family is preparing for the inevitable.   Prayers are still needed for this family, for strength and courage to help them along their difficult journey.  Any donations would help considerably.  Please consider sharing this post or the fundraiser page to help.

Donations for Christion

Donations for research can be made to:

Muscular Dystrophy Association
National Office
222 S. Riverside Plaza, Suite 1500
Chicago, Illinois 60606


If your children are healthy, give thanks.  Not just once, but every day.  Life is fragile and it can be short.  Please take the time if you can to help a friend or neighbor who may need that extra hand.  Consider donating to research to continue the fight for a cure for this and other diseases and disabilities that hurt children and torment parents.  Even a few dollars a month can do a lot of good.

Have a safe, happy and healthy with your family and please join me in #PrayersforChristion.  Please share this story and allow his story to open hearts and maybe a wallet or two.  We can’t have too many people praying for him or sending positive energy their way.


Smoke Free…. Still

15 years ago today I quit smoking.


It’s amazing.  I was told once that I would never quit smoking until I could envision myself as a non-smoker.  What a load of garbage. I still smoke in my dreams.  It has only  been in the last few years where I actually acknowledge that I had quit and I know I’m cheating by lighting up.  Were a restaurant to ask me if I wanted smoking or non I’d still ask for smoking.

For those of you that haven’t been following me as long, I have COPD.  I can’t complain, I did it to myself.  Smoking was something I took to very quickly and I was a 2-1/2 to 5 pack a day smoker for most of my smoking “career”.  By the time I actually quit, I was on breathing treatments 3 times a day.  The doctors told me that had I continued for another six months and I would have wound up with full-blown emphysema.

I was born with an abdominal hernia and I had damaged it while I was at work.  Truth be told, the muscles were already weakened from all the coughing. I sounded like a 80-year-old with tuberculosis.  I was 33 at the time.  I was very lucky in that the surgeon that was to do my hernia repair refused to do the surgery until I quit smoking.  He was afraid that I would tear open the stitches with coughing. That was the last push needed.  I was in a lot of pain and needed relief.  The final straw was that I had gotten sick and couldn’t breath (or smoke) and was sipping on straight Jack Daniels to keep everything relaxed while keeping the pain to a minimum.

It was 4 years ago that I was finally diagnosed with COPD.  Inevitable really, considering where I came from.  Technically, although we didn’t call it that back then, the diagnosis should have come much earlier since I’d had chronic bronchitis since my early 20’s.

I’m not one of those “reformed smokers” who quit and so the whole world should, but I do want people to realize what can happen. Just as an alcoholic doesn’t stop being one when they get sober, I doubt that I will ever look at myself as a non-smoker.  It bothers me that science has recognized the severely addictive properties of nicotine and the additives that are put in cigarettes, yet smokers are treated horribly while other addicts are pitied and offered rehab.

I can honestly say that I did not truly understand the depth of the word addiction until I tried to quit smoking.  I did not realize what a hold it had over my life.  I stopped going to the movies, complaining of uncomfortable seating, children and noisy patrons, when in truth it was that I couldn’t sit through a movie without a cigarette.  If I went to a restaurant and couldn’t get a seat in smoking, I’d leave and go elsewhere.  I’ve smoked in the shower, smoked while eating and yes, even faked an orgasm to get to a cigarette. Horrible, I know.

So to the recovering smokers like me, congrats.  We’ve made it.  To the current smokers, I hope you get out unscathed.


Blueberry Dreams

We’re looking at what we want to plant in our garden and I’m thinking blueberries!

Of course this means I’m doing the suggesting, Bestie is doing the planting and the growing and then I make wonderful things with them when they’re ripe.  (It’s all about the teamwork.)  But really, who doesn’t love them?
“Clusters of delectable fruit make Duke easy to pick. It’s the earliest blueberry to ripen, yet the blossoms not susceptible to frost damage. An attractive shrub is a good candidate for edible landscaping. Blueberry plants require pollination from at least one other blueberry variety; plant several varieties for improved fruit set and long harvest. “

Did you know…

  • Blueberries have more antioxidants than any other fresh fruit or veggie.
  • Blueberries have been shown to slow vision loss and can lower your risk of age-related macular degeneration by up to 36%
  • Not only are they low in calories but they can break down belly fat and reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome (risk factors that increase chances of developing diabetes and heart disease).
  • They’re high in manganese which is important for bone development
  • They’re high in fiber
  • Blueberries can reduce and even reverse age-related memory loss
  • The phenolic compounds can inhibit colon cancer and reduce ovarian cancer risks
  • Blueberries have a low-glycemic index and can help type 2 diabetics manage and reduce blood sugar
  • Blueberries, like cranberries, contain compounds that prevent bacteria from adhering to bladder walls, preventing urinary tract infections
  • Oh and they taste amazing!

There’s so many ways to love blueberries… pancakes, muffins, waffles… and a few others that I’m going to list here that I think you’ll enjoy.

When I was little, my mom would get blueberries and toss them with raw honey and let them sit overnight.  The honey would breakdown into a syrup.  She’d put them into a bowl by themselves or over a slice of pound cake and top them with a spoonful of sour cream.  It was her favorite dessert!

Blueberry Chai Ice Cream (Dairy Free)

  • 1 (14oz) can coconut milk
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 2 chai tea bags, tea removed from tea bag (discard bag)
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  1. Place all ingredients in a saucepan and place under medium heat. Let cook down and flavors mix for about 10 minutes under some of your blueberries have exploded and you have a deep purple color.
  2. Remove from heat and let cool for 30 minutes.
  3. Place mixture in a food processor or blender and puree until blueberries are broken down.
  4. Pour mixture into ice cream maker
  5. Scoop, eat & enjoy!

A few years ago I discovered my new favorite… a crisp iceberg salad with grilled chicken, hard boiled eggs, blueberries and ranch dressing.  I’d top it then with french fried onions.  Yum!

Monte Cristo Sandwiches

This is one of my absolute favorites.  I was introduced to these when I was about 7 months pregnant and it was locked into mine and my daughter’s DNA after that.  These are easy and amazingly delicious, perfect for breakfast, lunch, brunch, whatever!

Monte Cristo


  • The bread is simply French Toast.  Use your favorite bread, eggs, milk & vanilla.
  • Swiss Cheese
  • Sliced ham (I prefer a Virginia ham or Black Forest, use what you like!)
  • Powdered/Confectioners Sugar (optional)
  • Blueberry compote
  • Sour cream


  • Dip the bread in the egg mixture, and fry.
  • When you flip the bread over in the pan, add a slice of swiss and the ham on to one slice of the French toast.
  • When they are properly browned, add a second slice of French toast on top of the first slice to complete the sandwich.
  • Cut in half and dust with powdered sugar if desired.
  • Serve with warmed blueberry compote* and sour cream.

Compote is another name for pie filling.  You can buy canned, but fresh is so much tastier and so easy to make.

Blueberry Compote & Pie Filling


In a saucepan combine:

  • 1-1/2 cups of blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/3 c water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice (optional)

Simmer over medium heat about 10 minutes till berries burst.  Then add:

  • 1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Simmer an additional 7-8 minutes until compote coats the back  of a spoon.

Can be made up to 3 days in advance, serve warm.  Cover and refrigerate to store or portion in ice cube trays and freeze. Serve with Monte Cristo sandwiches, cheese filled crepes, ice cream, pancakes, waffles, yogurt & granola, you name it!

Other blueberry tips:

  • Freeze blueberries and put them in your glass of white wine to keep it chilled!
  • When making muffins, toss blueberries in a little flour to keep them from sinking in the batter while they bake.
  • When using frozen blueberries in a baking recipe, do not let them thaw or the juice will “bleed” into your batter.

I’ll follow up with more blueberry recipes later (I’m thinking cheesecake and those crepes in particular), but this should be enough to get your creative “juices” flowing.



Blessings for the New Year

New Years Tidings

Now don’t wait for it to happen, make it so!



I’d Rather Keep My Money… and My Health.

Diet cartoon

Find Your Wealth Within

Buddha health quote

Some People Are So Poor All They Have Is Money

Wealth of Trees

“You is kind. You is smart. You is important.”  – Kathryn Stockett, The Help