Trauma and Health in a World of COVID-19

I was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer in 2007. I truly believed that the cancer was caused by childhood trauma I had experienced. I began writing my book, Never Give Up: Break the Connection Between Stress and Illness, and made the bold statement that: Unresolved Childhood Trauma Causes Health Conditions in Adults. Several medical people said my statement had no statistics to support my belief. Still, I continued to work on my book to explain how I survived cancer. In 2014, when my book was published, I continued to get feedback from people saying there was no evidence to support my belief.

I never wavered in my belief that adults can resolve childhood trauma, and survive it without becoming ill.

In a May 2020 article in TIME Magazine, I found this amazing information: According to a 1998 landmark study, conducted by Kaiser Permanente and the CDC, childhood trauma is strongly correlated with a person’s health as an adult. The study explored Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACEs, surveying more than 9,500 adults insured by Kaiser Permanente about ACEs they may have faced as children. These included ‘psychological, physical or sexual abuse,’ ‘violence against mother,’ and ‘living with household members who were substance abusers, mentally ill or suicidal, or ever imprisoned.’

These study findings were from 1998 – that’s nine years before my diagnosis with cancer. I wish I had known about this study earlier. Nonetheless, my belief that childhood trauma affects adult’s health IS very accurate. (Note: Even one ACE in childhood increases adult health risks.)

Luckily, a company like Kaiser Permanente is investing in efforts aimed at reducing the number of ACEs in our communities.

It’s Time for TRUTH!

I would like to invite the people at Kaiser Permanente to consider my T.R.U.T.H. Program. (The Road to Unresolved Trauma Healing.) The T.R.U.T.H. mission provides trauma survivors with the opportunity to resolve issues to achieve a healthy mind, body, and spirit.

All over the world, we’re trying to eradicate the coronavirus. Why not end adverse childhood trauma, too, since over 60 percent of adults in the U.S. experienced at least one ACE in childhood, while 1 in 6 experienced four or more.

To find more information on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) please click on this link: https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/childabuseandneglect/acestudy

Life-Long Effects of Lead Poisoning on Adults – Part 1

Life-Long Effects of Lead Poisoning on Adults – Part 1

If you asked my family to describe me in one word they would immediately respond by saying, “dramatic” or “odd.” I’ve been accused of this most of my life and I won’t say I necessarily disagree. You see, when I was growing up in a family of nine children, if you needed attention you had to be dramatic about it. There was too much noise to meekly say, “Hey, I need some help here.” The help would never come unless you got peoples’ attention. So, yes, I grew up in a dramatic family, however, being dramatic isn’t a good tool to resolve trauma, or as I refer to it as, “Trauma Drama.”

I remembered this term last week when I was told by my client, Sue Gunderson, executive director of CLEARCorps (CCUSA), that there was a high probability that I was lead poisoned as a child.

“WHAT???????” my inner child screams. “I was lead poisoned!” Okay, before I get dramatic I must do diligent research and review the long-term effects of lead poisoning. And, I must face the facts:

EFFECTS* FACTS
· Delayed neurodevelopment [e.g. in sitting up, walking, talking] · I didn’t start walking until I was 15 months old – my relatives thought this was odd
· Decreased reading, math, non-verbal reasoning ability & short term memory, (even at blood lead levels less than 10µg/dL) · I suck at math and computer technology
· Impaired pituitary-thyroid endocrine system · I was diagnosed with an overactive thyroid in my 30’s and had radiation to destroy my thyroid. I also have had two pituitary tumors
· Osteoporosis in later years · I have osteoporosis and have had it for 20 years
·  Attention problems; distractibility, restlessness · I have difficulty concentrating — all of my life
· Irritability · Me and all of my siblings are extremely irritable
· Lead-based paint was legally use until 1978 · My childhood home was built in the 1940’s in a community with a large industrial factory
·  Tremors · My siblings and I all have tremors in our hands and extremities
·  Learning difficulties · In kindergarten I registered as retarded on the Iowa Basics test
· Chronic lead nephropathy [kidney disease] · I was diagnosed with a severe kidney infection at the age of 5
· Hypertension, elevated blood pressure · Many of my siblings and I take high blood pressure medication
· Depression · I’m on an anti-depression medication since I was 22
· Anxiety · I’m on a prescribed anti-anxiety medication and have been for 10 years
· Headaches · I suffer from headaches / migraines — most of my life
*Vance Vella et al., Health Impacts of Lead Poisoning. The Lead Education and Abatement Design Group. (Updated March 2011) For more information go to http://www.lead.org.au/.

industry-1149888_1280I could go on but my point is — out of the possible 121 effects of lead poisoning for a woman my age, I count more than 30 effects  that’s approx. 25 percent! If you had anything at 25 percent, you’d be diagnosed with diabetes and cancer (which I have). The authors of the cited article state, “… remember that most people who are lead poisoned present no symptoms at all.”

I didn’t write this blog for sympathy – no way! In my search to understand my ill health I wanted to find out the possible sources for so much illness. I wasn’t born a sick child but at the age of five I started what would be a life-long quest for answers. And, thanks to Sue Gunderson’s comment to me, I found another piece to my health puzzle. Does this understanding make me angry? Sure, but I don’t want to spend my energy on something I can’t change, because I can’t go back and “fix” where I lived as a child. Literally, it’s lead under the bridge! (I’m sure a bad sense of humor is an additional effect.)

Rather than asking “Why me,” or “Why us,” I like to put myself back in the driver’s seat and ask instead, “Now that I have this information, what am I going to do about it?” My answer is simple: I’m going to educate my friends and family!

Lead poisoning makes you “dramatic and odd!”

 

[IMPORTANT NOTE: Do you have unexplained medical conditions? Do you currently live in a house built before 1978 or near industrial sites? Do you remember tasting paint chips from peeling windows as a child? (I do.) If so, I recommend that you look deeper into lead poisoning.]