Mudslides in India; wild fires in California; hurricanes in Texas, Puerto Rico and Florida; earthquakes in Mexico City — if I didn’t know better I would think that Mother Nature is seriously pissed at us. She’s blowing steam and is rattling the Earth. Who can blame her? And then, Aaron Rodgers, quarterback of the Green Bay Packers broke his collarbone when Vikings player Anthony Barr took (in my opinion) a vicious hit on an unprotected quarterback.
What’s going on in our world today?
News about devastation and cruelty are happening every second. I went away to Portugal for two weeks to escape the insanity. I didn’t want to read the newspapers, listen to radio programs, watch TED talks, or even have conversations with friends. Bad news is everywhere and I just wanted two weeks of peace and relaxation. I did find it in Porto, Lisbon, and Luz, Portugal. There were sunny days, trips to ancient Roman ruins, boat trips down the rivers dividing steep mountains with vineyards growing on the terraces, yummy food, and friendly people. Mother Nature was there, too, enjoying an unusual heat wave. I could feel her presence in the wild ocean currents, the colorful volcanic rock, the strong winds blowing off Cape St. Vincent, and the glorious sunset on the south westernmost point of Portugal — forming the end of the European Coastal Path. (Okay, I got that last part from a description in a brochure I purchased at the Cape’s gift store.) I love to travel and see new sights and experience new cultures.
I came home from all that relaxation with a terrible cold along with jet lag and I was down for 16 days. Hmm, 12 days of vacation followed by 16 days of fevers, chills, nasal distress, and coughing non-stop. But the memories I have of our trip will last with me for a long, long time.
If the world has got you down in the dumps, I recommend a trip to Portugal to unwind and refresh. Their Sangrias are out-of-this world! I found true happiness in this wonderful country.
This past Saturday, August 19th I had the pleasure of volunteering for the Forest Lake Relay For Life event. My wife Rita and I have been Relay volunteers for 10 years since my diagnosis of Stage IV colon cancer — twice! This is an event near and dear to my heart because my mother, many relatives, and friends have fought cancer battles — many have died and many more are still alive today. There’s still no cure(s) for the over 200 types of cancer. Jaelynn Parenteau (first photo) was our guest survivor speaker. She’s 17 years old and has been on a cancer journey for one year now. It breaks my heart that someone so young has to deal with cancer. She’s a super courageous survivor and I was honored to introduce her at the Survivor Celebration (second photo).
Our five teams raised $56,000 this year!
Typical me, I tried to find a survivor poem to share at the Survivor Celebration, but unable to find one, I wrote a poem instead. I’d like to share it with you and all the cancer survivors who are faced with cancer.
Cancer came at me like a monster, and I shook with anger and fear.
I didn’t know where I was headed, but I knew my death was near.
I prayed to the Heavens to heal me, and the sky sent me a beam.
I knew I’d strive to walk again, and reach my cherished dream.
But the journey was difficult, and took away my breath.
I was taught how to live, but knew nothing of fighting death.
My body was weak, my mind a mess, my spirit took a dive.
You helped me confront my fears, and made me feel alive.
I’m proud to be called a survivor, and glad the worst is gone.
Healing is a miracle, like the sunset and early dawn.
Say a prayer for those who walk this day, arm-in-arm with cancer.
Show us how to fight for life, and help us find the answer.
August 16, 2017
If you are fighting a cancer battle, please remember that you have the strength and courage to fight this monster. It’s difficult to want to keep living after all the surgeries, radiation treatments, and chemo sessions, but your desire to live is stronger than cancer. My motto is “Never Give Up” and I believe this should be every cancer survivor’s motto as well.
Have you read the June 2017 AARP article? Find Out Who Voted For The Health Care Bill: AARP opposes act it calls an “age tax” on Older Americans. If you missed it, it was a stunning article that affects ALL the baby boomers. Here’s what it said:
“The U.S. House of Representatives on May 4 passed the American Health Care Act by a razor-thin margin: 217 to 3213. It includes an “age tax” that AARP says would add as much as $13,000 to the cost of insurance for those 50 to 64, and would discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions such as cancer and diabetes. What’s more, we believe it would cause millions of Americans to lose coverage and put Medicare in worse financial shape.”
This isn’t health care — this is death care! Especially for people like me who have diabetes and cancer. I want to thank the 217 representatives who’ve voted for my death! That’s right folks, those Republican representatives who you voted in last year are calling the shots and they want those of us with diabetes and cancer to ill-afford treatment and medications and, ultimately, die. They’re playing “God” with our health care and I can think of no greater sin than taking the lives of others. Doesn’t world history hold numerous stories of the destruction of humans by the millions? Why do we keep making the same mistakes over and over again? I’ve tried to stay out of politics in this blog but, day after day, I’m inundated with news like this that really frightens me. I know many people with diabetes and cancer, some are close friends, and all are at-risk because of our current legislation.
DO YOU CARE THAT THIS IS HAPPENING? If so, I really want to know how you’re really feeling about this American Death Care Act?
Don’t be fooled into thinking this type of health care is great because it isn’t health care at all — history calls it GENOCIDE — the systematic killing of, or a program intended to destroy those of us who are sick and ill!
This article appeared in Psychology Today on May 25, 2017. I’m so sad to see such disrespect for LGBT children. A variety of studies indicate that LGB youth are nearly one and a half to three times more likely to have reported suicidal ideation than non-LGB youth. Research from several sources also revealed that LGB youth are nearly one and a half to seven times more likely than non-LGB youth to have reported attempting suicide. These studies do not include transgender youth. [Source: http://www.sprc.org/sites/default/files/migrate/library/SPRC_LGBT_Youth.pdf]
Betsy DeVos needs to be educated on LGBT issues!
Here’s the article:
Version:1.0 StartHTML:000000272 EndHTML:000056970 StartFragment:000042700 EndFragment:000056926 StartSelection:000042738 EndSelection:000056880 SourceURL:https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/political-minds/201705/betsy-devos-is-okay-schools-banning-lgbt-studentsBetsy DeVos Is Okay With Schools Banning LGBT Students | Psychology Today
Betsy DeVos Is Okay With Schools Banning LGBT Students
DeVos says she will not restrict federal funding for schools that ban LGBT kids.
The U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos also plans to do nothing, when it comes to anti-LGBT policies in schools receiving federal funding. During yesterday’s Congressional testimony, US Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Massachusetts) asked DeVos about Indiana’s Lighthouse Christian Academy. The school receives over $665,000 in school vouchers. The school also states (link is external) in its handbook that if a student is from a home in which a “homosexual lifestyle” or “alternate genderidentity” is practiced, that the student can be denied admission or expelled.
Rep. Clark then asked Secretary DeVos if she would step in and require the school to eliminate its discriminatory policy in order to receive federal funding. After several attempts to avoid the question, DeVos ultimately answered that she would not. A video of her testimony is available here (link is external).
Pediatricians, psychiatrists, and psychologists (with a few extreme exceptions) have been working tirelessly to improve the health of LGBT youth. They have spent countless hours working with schools to make them safer for these students. As school climates improved, we started to see students thrive. One transgender 13-year-old girl (link is external) I worked with has straight A’s, was in her school play, and is already thinking about college. Gay and lesbian students are valedictorians, varsity team captains, and class presidents.
If we’ve learned one thing about LGBT youth, it’s that when we take away the bullying and rejection, these kids succeed. The Lighthouse Academy, by refusing to accept these students, is bullying and rejecting. It is the job of the Secretary of Education to do everything she can to end this bullying so that these students can thrive. Secretary DeVos refuses to accept this responsibility.
Jack Turban’s writing on neuroscience and children’s mental health has appeared in The New York Times, Scientific American, The Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, and Kevin MD among others. Find him on Twitter @jack_turbanÂ or online at jackturban.com.
What happened recently is soooooo Alex! I went in to have my annual mammogram and four weeks later I had a partial mastectomy. WHAT! Yes, and that’s why I’m sending this message to all of you who have not scheduled your mammos. Breast cancer is so sneaky. It can hide in the breast tissue and go undetected for months if not years. In fact, a woman’s risk of breast cancer nearly doubles if she has a first-degree relative (mother, sister, daughter) who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. I lost my mother to breast cancer many years ago. I know Mom was in the operating room with me holding my hand.
Genetics do play a huge role in breast cancer, but environment factors also contribute to the number of breast cancer patients.
For some silly reason I thought that because I had Stage IV colon cancer twice that I would be free from breast cancer. Don’t make this terrible mistake. Another interesting fact says: as of March 2017, there were about 3.1 million women with a history of breast cancer in the U.S. This figure includes women currently being treated and women who have finished treatment. That’s just too many women fighting breast cancer.
A male friend asked me awhile ago to describe a mammogram. My answer was this: mammos are like lying on your garage floor and having the garage door come down on your breasts — one at a time! But like colonoscopies, mammograms are needed to stay healthy. So, if you haven’t had your annual mammogram please schedule it soon. It could save your life.
In my book, Never Give Up: Break the Connection Between Stress and Illness, I make the point that stress from unresolved trauma can make us sick. I admit that the past several months have been highly stressful and I turned to food to medicate me. The result is that I had to have surgery and I’m way overweight. It’s time to follow my own advice and get on a healing journey again.
I’m a 41-year-old mom with six children. I’m like all moms who want their children to be safe from crime and live healthy lives; but unlike other moms, I was lead poisoned at the age of four. I didn’t know this when I had my six children, but now they all have health and behavioral problems because of the high levels of lead that were found in my blood. My lead poisoning is from paint chips on the old run-down house my family lived in for years. As President of the United States, it is your duty to keep children in this country safe from being poisoned from toxic paint and water.
I see that you’re reducing EPA standards to allow factories to continue to pollute our air and water just so they can make more money. Let me tell you something: I am disabled because of the lead poisoning which includes anxiety, depression, joint pain, hearing loss, and anti-social mood swings. I hate the fact that my life has been out-of-control and only recently did I find out the cause of lead poisoning. I’ve been hospitalized four times and my doctors could see my symptoms but didn’t know the cause. When I read a blog about the long-term effects of lead poisoning I got tested. All these years I thought I was crazy but now I find out that I was poisoned. I was poisoned here in the United States of America. This shouldn’t be happening.
My heart breaks knowing that my children are effected by my lead poisoning. They didn’t ask for anemia, ADHD, and learning difficulties. They didn’t ask for their lives to become more complicated because of lead. They didn’t ask to have a sick mommy. I’m angry that it took so long to find out the cause of my medical and health issues and that my children are suffering too. So, I’m telling you to keep EPA laws in place that effect our bodies and our environment. If you’re going to make America great again, maybe you should stop and ask the poor and disabled how to make life great for us because it isn’t happening.
(I had help writing this letter because I was too sick to finish high school and I don’t write so well. But I want you to know that I’m a fighter and I won’t give up until I can control my dysfunctional life. I could sure use your help and protection for me and my children.)
Rosemary Henley (This isn’t my real name because I’m a private person.)
Child abuse has been going on for centuries and the statistics aren’t getting any better. The fact is, as long as men believe their wives and children are their property, domestic and child abuse will never be eliminated. This belief breaks my heart and it goes against all religious and civil principles know to humans.
Abused children are too young to understand why they’re being hurt. Many children, in fact, take on the responsibility for being hurt. We need to put the responsibility where it belongs — on the men and women who abuse and neglect their children.
Here are some chilling stats:
Scope of the Child Abuse Issue
Children are suffering from a hidden epidemic of child abuse and neglect. It’s a widespread war against our children that we have the power to stop, and understanding the issue is the first step. Just how bad is the issue of child abuse in the United States?
Every year more than 3.6 million referrals are made to child protection agencies involving more than 6.6 million children (a referral can include multiple children).
A report of child abuse is made every ten seconds.
Yearly, referrals to state child protective services involve 6.6 million children, and around 3.2 million of those children are subject to an investigated report.
The United States has one of the worst records among industrialized nations – losing on average between four and seven children every day to child abuse and neglect.
How can this be happening in our so-called civilized culture? It happens because it’s a devastating secret that needs to be exposed. AND, let’s not condemn the children who do break the family secret, which is another form of child abuse.
If you are or have been sexually, physically, and emotional abused you need to know two lifesaving things: YOU ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ABUSE! GET HELP IMMEDIATELY!
Let’s eliminate this widespread war against our children. They can’t help themselves so we must. If you know of a child who’s being abused, immediately contact your local police.
Five children die from abuse or neglect every day in the United States.
Help me stop child abuse. April is Child Abuse prevention month. What can you do to help our children?
If you’ve been reading my blogs, you may have come up with an opinion about my health status: Gee Alex, your DNA sucks! And though I’m very willing to agree, I just received new information that puts more light on the influence of stress on my illnesses versus my DNA.
I recently went through oncology genetic testing because of my two journeys with Stage IV colon cancer and my family history of cancer. Genetic analysts have found that in the Comprehensive Cancer Panel, I have NEGATIVE cancer genes! So, if I don’t have the genes how did I get cancer?
As I’ve said for years, the cause of my poor health: years of stress from unresolved trauma! This is great news for me personally, but as an advocate for resolving trauma, this news is exceptional. What it translates to is when you decide to resolve past trauma, you not only strengthen your immune system but you will also reduce your risks of inflammation and, possibly, even cancer.
As I’ve said a million times, stress can kill, but now you can take control of your life by dealing with, and coping from, trauma. You can improve your health starting today!
I’m going to celebrate my “negative” news today!!! What news have you received that you’d like to celebrate today.
I’m creating a healing program for trauma survivors. It’s intense work but I know it will bring lots of healing to those of us who want to live healthier lives. In my research, I can’t believe how often I’m reminded of the No. 1 Abuse Myth: Forgive and Forget. I’m amazed at the number of articles, written by professionals, who state that “survivors should just forget their traumas and go on with their lives.”
If it were only that simple!
Surviving from trauma of all kinds is not easy. Whether the trauma is from abuse, attacks, war, illness, or divorce, traumatic events take up residence in our bones, cells, skin, muscles, and memory. You CAN’T just forget something because it’s awful. In fact, forgetting the trauma is impossible. We remember things that happen to us because it’s our body’s way of reminding us NOT to walk down dark alleys, give a stranger a ride, or trust someone we don’t know. Our bodies do warn us but if we don’t listen we’re apt to find ourselves in trouble – repeatedly.
When it comes to healing from trauma, the first thing to do is to forgive yourself and REMEMBER! Yes, I said forgive yourself. Forgive yourself for trauma you didn’t cause. You didn’t ask a tornado to hit your house, you didn’t ask for a relative to physically harm you, nor did you ask for cancer to take root in your breasts. Trauma like this is not your fault or responsibility. Your only responsibility is to heal from the trauma – trauma you didn’t cause!
When we remember the bad events in our lives, we are less likely to make the same mistake twice. We all make mistakes, it’s human nature, but when we ask survivors to forget we are asking them to be superhuman. Our bodies remember. Our minds remember. Our spirits remember. Healing comes from remembering the trauma and doing what we can to avoid repeat occurrences. We take self-defense courses, we go to therapy, we relocate, and/or we just get out of harm’s way. The words forgetting and repeating have a relationship since forgetting leads to the act of repeating.
So, if anyone asks you why you can’t just forgive and forget, ask them why they ask insensitive, dumb questions.
I so apologize for not updating my blog site for a while. I’ve been in a funk lately — yes, it happens to all of us. I’ve started a new novel and I’m thrilled to be back in the land of fiction. I’m resorting to fiction because, frankly, reality is too scary for me. Every morning I search the newspaper headlines for some hope that our world isn’t going down the drain. But, alas, the news is all about what we can’t do rather then what we can do.
I attended the Women’s March in January in St. Paul, MN. I was there to add my presence to the six million people (my alternate fact) who feel the funk like I do. It was an amazing day! We were surrounded by a peaceful recognition that our country is seriously in trouble. And, our MN legislators know it, too. I found several hours of solidarity with people who believe in hope and not fear. If we want something to change we often must fight for it. I’m a funk fighter.
My calendar today has the quote: “There is so much that [the Divine Spirit] wants to show you, but your fear gets in the way. Give it to [her], right here, right now.” And this is what I’m going to do right here, right now. I understand now that my funk is really fear and I need to find a sense of hope. I’m glad to have my calendar to help me understand my feelings. So here I go . . .
I LOVE my country! I LOVE my freedom! I LOVE my friends and family! I LOVE my life! I LOVE my wife and dog!!! And, I LOVE the Divine Spirit for protecting me from fear!