Furthering the Fact: The Correlation Between Stress & Illness

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.

Here are some suggestions on how to celebrate:

  1. Have a healthy dinner at your favorite restaurant.
  2. Do a “Happy” dance in your kitchen.
  3. Hug your spouse.
  4. Go for a quiet walk in the park.
  5. Say a prayer of “thanks.”
  6. Never Give Up!!!
  7. Never Give Up!!!
  8. Never Give Up!!!

Color your world today!

The No. 1 Abuse Myth

Forget Me Not Flowers

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.

Remember to NEVER GIVE UP!!!

I’m in a Funk!

Hi Never Give Up Institute Blog Readers:

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!

Okay, I feel so much better. I hope you do, too.


Reviving My Soul

Okay, I admit I lost my soul after last year’s election day. We didn’t reach the outcomes I wanted, and I didn’t see how I could possibly live in a country where misogyny and predator behavior is lauded. I even stopped praying. I gave up the hope that our world was being watched over and protected, and that right is always right. Dark clouds seemed to be everywhere and I knew I wasn’t alone in my feelings and fears.

Then I opened a 2017 calendar I got for Christmas. The quote for the day read, “Don’t be afraid. The Great Spirit loves you. And she has heard your prayer.” 

WOW! Was my prayer really heard? The quote prodded my soul and I began to feel love trickle into my being. I spent 40 days and 40 nights in terror and now I  was told to be unafraid. What am I afraid of? Of course, it’s always the things I have no control over, like hatred, abuse, and ignorance. I only have control over me! So, it’s time for me to stop being afraid and to start living again. I need to start today and take small steps in reviving my soul.

I hope you will take today and revive your soul, too. Fear can’t exist where love does. Choose to love yourself and others — even if they don’t have the same beliefs as you. Maybe they are trying to teach us something new. If we turn away we may never see the true miracle.

It’s a new year — zoom, zoom your soul!

And, never give up!


Why I Lied

angel-1807726_1280As a child I made snow angels below my bedroom window to keep me protected. I needed to do this because Dad would sometimes come into my bedroom and do bad things to me. When morning came I was always comforted to see my snow angel right where I made her.

But one winter morning, I looked out the window and my snow angel was gone.

Dad had come into the bedroom the night before and hurt me. I so needed the comfort of my snow angel but there was no sign of her. “I’m a bad girl,” I remembered saying to myself. I must have failed my snow angel because she left.

Children sexually and physically abused by a parent think they are responsible for what they believe is punishment for “being bad.” Their minds are too young to call it “sex” — or, more correctly, “rape.” The only reason I could think of when my Dad abused me was that I was bad. I told lies because he threatened to hurt my Mom if I revealed “our secret.” As I grew, I told a lot of lies to cover up the truth. The simple truth was that I didn’t want my Dad to hurt my Mom. I loved her so much and the thought of her being hurt — deeply and horribly haunted me.

I told lies to protect myself never imagining I was harming myself more by lying. It was a cruel cycle and it continued for decades. At one point I realized that nobody believed my lies BUT, they didn’t want to believe the truth either. 

I had to learn to forgive myself for the lies and this in no way was easy. I now know that telling the truth is healthier than telling lies. I continue to tell the truth in all my relationships.

My snow angel didn’t fail me. The wind whisked her off to protect other children in my town.

Snow angels never give up!

If you have a comment about this blog, please do so in the space provided. Healing from child abuse is one of the best ways to strengthen your immune system. Don’t let secrets make you sick!!!

Guest Blogger: The Spirit of Making Love

[Damiian Mario Lang is in my writer’s group. He shared this writing with us and I was so moved I asked him for permission to reprint it here. He thankfully agreed. I ask that you read his words with the love he wrote them with and with an open soul.]

Damiian's Car
Damiian’s Car

The spirit of Making Love is in the heart of the human being. There are so many more of us now, aching, reaching out, speaking up, connecting, and expressing this spirit of our hearts. It’s an evolutionary surge, a revolution of emotional exuberance. This emotional awakening is a rapids flowing into a massive integrity of loving kindness.  

One of the beautiful things about this emotional exuberance is that it is pushing the old traditional beliefs up to the surface, exposing them for the no longer functional ways of relating. Take Donald Trump, please, somebody take him and love him into loving himself. He represents the old crusty painfully wrong dysfunctional way of relating — the dying patriarchy. People have moved on from this abusive dark age mentality. It’s clear we are seeing him for what he is, a misguided, deeply wounded, reptilian brain dominated human. The collective consciousness will not allow this kind of perspective to live much longer. This is beautiful! This is a natural course of evolution. We evolve involuntarily. Our hearts are the center of our spiritual connection to the larger mystery of the cosmos. Mental power without heart tends to strengthen the ego. We are becoming more emotionally aware, braver than before, less tolerant of abuses that are clearly not progress. It is this surge, this bravery, this awakening emotionally that is happening across this country that is at the core of Making Love!  

Your ability to choose to open your heart is the healing we all need. Your inner world is a priority over the outer world. When that awareness hits you, you begin to know and understand how the universe operates within the human being. When you start to accept your feelings as meaningful ingredients rather than scary unwanted disturbances, your heart grows. By putting attention on your heart, which is your emotional field of play, you start a habit of feeling and feeling leads to knowing. We have been taught that our mental powers are the best — #1. When we start learning how to live with our opening hearts, we come to realize that being the best or #1 is not as important as a strong courageous integrity of love. By integrity I mean a container, we are containers of love. We have been taught that love is soft, squishy, girly, pie in the sky, undefinable and basically just a fleeting feeling. The premise was that Love happens in fairy tales, movies, books, poems but not in the real world. Love is real. Love is real in the world because it’s real in me. And because I have come to have faith in love I see it and feel it and experience it out in the world.  Love lives inside your heart. Love is so strong and constant it’s like a raging waterfall endlessly pouring forth, constantly beating against our hearts…our fearful, scared, hurt, wounded, tired, abused, lonely hearts. I’ve come to know that the saying is true, we are either choosing fear or love in any given moment.  

Love is expansive, it grows and blossoms, it’s gloriously beautiful, radiantly warm, overwhelmingly powerful. What’s in our hearts causes us to surrender in a puddle of utter release. In those moments we feel the oneness, the integrity that all of us are connected by. Love is our essential being. If your heart is hardened it’s really difficult to initiate heartfelt anything, including valuing human life. Healing needs to happen. Love heals.  

The littlest gesture of kindness and friendliness in public is healing. Wearing colorful friendly clothing in public is a kind gesture. Being fully present out in public is a revolutionary act of loving your self. People love people who are fully present. It shows they care.  Caring is love in motion. People all over this country are opening their hearts and starting to care. The emotional world of humans is just beginning to be explored and comprehended. It’s powerful beyond our knowing but it is not a power to be afraid of. We do know that this thing we call our heart has shown us consistent kindness and caring. Trust your heart. Trust the essence of love that you are.   

Although I am male by definition of my body, I see myself as a fluctuating, persistently balancing, emotional field of energy, intelligently conscious field of energy, contained in a physical form of energy, governed by an essentially invisible mysterious life source, with the capacity to make real what’s imagined. It’s my belief that my heart, my emotional field of power is my true north.  

I am a feeler and I play on the feeling team and we are undefeated, there’s no contest. Go team Go!! Love, love, love!!! 

In gratitude and honor of all loving human beings, 

Damiian Mario Lang

Who is Damiian Mario Lang?

Damiian Mario Lang lives in Minneapolis. He has a loving history of theatre, creative writing, and leadership experience. He loves mountain biking at Theodore Wirth Parkway, hanging out with friends, strangers, dogs, and wild places where nature is abundant. Damiian is currently finishing a book and exploring the urban scene of connection. Truth be told he’s been daydreaming about cross-country skiing since May, which is when he arrived here from Grass Valley California.  Damiian is a native of Dinkytown and would happily blow your mind with stories of the 1970s if you so inquire.  His door is open to all depths of connecting, playing, learning, and growing.   Contact him at:  damiianmario@gmail.com.

Thanks, Damiian, for sharing your feelings and for never giving up on love.

Life-Long Effects of Poisoning on Adults – Part 2

pills-575765_1280In Part 1 of my blog, Life-long Effects of Lead Poisoning on Adults, I explained the side effects I have due to lead poisoning as a child. I have many auto-immune diseases and I wondered if the lead affected my immune system. I’m a walking medical petri dish and I want to know if there’s a correlation between lead poisoning as a child and my ill health as an adult. I’m not looking for something or someone to blame – I just want answers to the cause of my many health conditions.

First, let me give you a list of all the health issues I have (no sympathy required): Type 1 diabetes, kidney infection, hypertension, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, Graves’ disease (overactive thyroid), clinical depression, cataracts, sleep apnea, and Stage 4 colon cancer – twice! When I asked my primary physician why I have so many health problems, he basically told me I had a bad gene pool. I accepted his answer with no further questions — until now!

Does lead poisoning in children cause damage to the immune system?

“The simple answer is yes,” says Elizabeth O’Brien from the Lead Education and Abatement Design Group in Australia. She adds, “but the problem is that many other things can cause problems with the immune system, so the only way to determine if lead is the cause is to ask the doctor to do a blood lead test.” She further states that, “Heavy metal exposure may develop autoimmunity as well as immunotoxicity. Autoimmune diseases are those in which an individual’s own immune system attacks one or more tissues or organs resulting in functional impairment, inflammation and sometimes-permanent tissue damage….” This is exactly how diabetes Type 1 is explained in medical journals.

In his work, K.P. Mishra, M.D. wrote an abstract on Lead exposure and its impact on the immune system: a review. He states:

Metal toxicants which affect the immune system may contribute to an increased incidence of autoimmune diseases, infectious diseases and cancer. In the recent past, there has been a growing concern among health and environmental scientists on the impact of environmental exposure to heavy metal lead on human health. In some instances, the immune system appears to be exquisitely sensitive to the toxic heavy metal lead as compared to other toxicological parameters.

In their abstract, Lead and Immune Function, authors R.R. Dietert and M.S. Piepenbrink stated,

The heavy metal lead is a widely deposited environmental toxicant known to impact numerous physiological systems, including the reproductive, neurological, hepatic, renal, and immune systems. Studies illustrating the capacity of lead to impair immune function and/or host resistance to disease date back to at least the 1960s.

Dietert and Piepenbrink also found “…lead exposure can produce a stark shift in immune functional capacity with a skewing predicted to elevate the risk of atopic and certain autoimmune diseases. Age-based exposure studies also suggest that levels of blood lead previously thought as safe, that is, below 10 microg/dl, may be associated with later life immune alterations.”

Hundreds of studies have found links between lead poisoning and: auditory and visual system alterations, behavioral impairment, renal function damage, Parkinson’s Disease, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s, neurological disturbances, autism, osteoporosis, asthma, and peripheral artery disease.

What can we do?

The medical conditions above lead me to ask what can we do to prevent all of these health and behavioral effects. Here’s a list:

  1. Don’t panic! Never give up!
  2. Prevent lead poisoning from happening in the first place.
  3. Check the windows and paint in your home for lead if your house was built before 1978.
  4. Remediate all sources of lead in the environment and in your homes.
  5. Give immediate medical attention to children suspected of being lead poisoned.
  6. Require a lead blood test for all adults exhibiting the health problems listed in this blog.
  7. Recommend more research studies in repairing the immune system from lead poisoning.
  8. Provide federal grants to extend all researchers who have a vested interest in the correlation between lead poisoning and the immune system.
  9. Tell us your stories of how lead poisoning has impacted your health as an adult.

This is a HUGE task but a very crucial one. If we want to enhance the quality of life for children and adults with lead poisoning, lower medical costs, and expand current research, we must raise the awareness of life-long effects of lead and find solutions – today!

How to Vote Without Vomiting

think-1704831_1280I’ve stayed away from using my website as a political venue due to the ugliness in the 2016 presidential campaign. In fact, I can’t believe I’m being forced to admit that I’ve had enough! I’ve had enough of the fear-mongers, the liars, and the pundits (those who believe they know everything). I’m a good American citizen and I can’t believe what’s being showcased in our media. Whatever happened to decency and respect? As a victim of sexual, emotional, and psychological abuse — because I’m a woman — when someone talks about my p_ _ sy  (in a bad way) I say ENOUGH!!!!!!!!!!

Donald Trump needs to have his mouth washed out with soap! Doesn’t he realize that he is an abuser by saying and doing evil things to all of us? Saying that it’s okay to grope women because he’s a star is so unreal and evil I can hardly prevent myself from throwing up. Words can hurt so many people AND can trigger nightmares for abuse and trauma survivors. Does he care that his speeches make us sick? The man has no clue.

Here’s a list of red flags Donald Trump has that makes him a sociopath:

  • He has an inflated, oversized ego.
  • He lies to see if he can trick people.
  • He has no sense of empathy.
  • He shows no remorse or shame.
  • He behaves irresponsibly and impulsively.
  • He has no friends unless he needs them.
  • He breaks laws because he doesn’t believe society’s rules apply to him.

He makes me sick — and I HATE to vomit. These are just a few of the reasons I can’t and won’t vote for him.

Think wisely before you vote during this election. But DO VOTE! Let’s show the world that we will not be intimidated by a sociopathic bully.

I’ll never give up the belief that good conquers evil!

Building Resilience Against Trauma

I recentlcrime-scene-30112_1280y attended a conference on “Building Resilience.” It was an awesome day as I gained new insight into how we survive trauma. Those in attendance were social workers, Minnesota Department of Health crisis staff, psychologists, non-profits dealing with the homeless and sex trafficking victims, women’s group facilitator, medical professionals, and wellness advocates like me. It was a delightful day of meeting new people and learning new information.

I’m excited  to learn that the information I present in my blogs is both timely and accurate. Some of the new insights I learned are amazing as we live with acute trauma and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Here are some of the things I know or learned:

  1. An estimated two-thirds of American adults have experienced one or more potentially traumatic exposures in their lifetime.
  2. Stemming from events or circumstances experienced as physically or emotionally harmful or life threatening, trauma can result in significantly diminished mental, physical, social, emotional, and spiritual well-being; leading to lost productivity, function and social participation.-George Family Foundation Catalyst Initiative
  3. Trauma doesn’t define who we are.
  4. The most intimate relationship is between you and the Divine.
  5. The Divine isn’t outside of us — the Divine is within us.
  6. When we internalize our own inner Divine we can connect and extend the Divine to others — this is the power of love.
  7. Creating circles of people dispenses hierarchy.
  8. You can meditate with your eyes open. This technique is especially great for those of us who have experienced trauma and are afraid to close our eyes. It’s okay — you can still meditate — with your eyes open!
  9. We can’t connect with others if we’re not connected to ourselves first.
  10. Margaret Mitchell said, “Every problem has two handles. You can grab it by the handle of fear or the handle of hope.”
  11. Depression is the #1 cause of disability in the U.S.
  12. Sleep is the missing link in recovering from depression.
  13. The first arrow causes us physical pain, which we can’t ignore. The second arrow is the mental pain and suffering we add on top of the physical pain. -Buddhist Teaching
  14. The first thought you have in the morning is what you worship.

Trauma impacts a large toll on us and those around us — and society as a whole. According to the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention, “In 2014 (latest available data), there were 42,773 reported suicide deaths.” The inability to copy with trauma and increased depression affect us all. Isn’t it time we eliminate the trauma in our homes and society, and the resulting depression and illness, and find ways to connect with trauma survivors to build a better quality of Life?

I think so! And I’ll never give up!