Thursday, April 12, 2018

STRESS AND AGE: Two comforting sentences

Friends in senior housing often say:  Why do people always ask me what I do all day!  I do what I did before! (And from the looks of my file drawer, I do that PLUS endless, sometimes infuriating, health/med paper work. And other stresses like that eye doctor who disappeared.) Too often families, friends, and even nurses or doctors may think we have it easier as we age...until they age themselves.

 So, although I didn't agree with all of a recent e-mail "teaser'' from Harvard Health, I salute them - I thank them for  these two sentences admitting the possibilities for our increased stress;

 "Your stress may also be caused by different factors, which 
could be more complicated than the issues you faced in your younger years. ...
Signs of stress may mimic symptoms of memory loss or dementia  or include 
appetite changes, headaches, anxiety, irritability, or trouble concentrating. ''

This second sentence gives me such relief from popular talk and dangerous magazine articles that love to label stress symptoms as signs of "she's losing it, she probably has..."  etc.

We need the medical world to publish more reminders that too many problems including paper work (and missing med persons) might make us seem "like like she's finally lost it" now and then.

I wish for us that kind of admission and reassurance from the medical world more often.

quote from Harvard Medical School HEALTHbeat

Thursday, March 29, 2018


Judy Graham has done a helpful article on available physical therapy  through Medicare.   It's a Kaiser Health News article.

I may be able to get the phys ther I want for move work on balance, since I haven't mastered all I should yet - can't stand on one foot, can't walk a straight line, and think twice before I step up on the curb when I'm carrying too many groceries.

And okay, I confess I don't dare the two-flights-without- stopping test since allergies got  bad.  Used to do two flights whenever I pleased.

If you can't find the article on FB, try googling Kaiser Health News or Judith Graham..

Sunday, March 11, 2018

SWOLLEN FEET AND... part 2 Midnight special

My primary doctor seemed confused when I said No to a referral to another foot doctor. 
He also seemed to feel that elevating my feet was odd (I had forgotten by then that I got the suggestion from Mayo Clinic and some other places.)

Now I think the first podiatrist I saw in TX was the best, and after searching, I think he's still in the same office. Let's call him Dr. X for the moment.

He had some cream made up for me, which did not help. (I now sometimes use an over the counter one, but not too often.  But, more important, he left me with some important words:  

"Many foot problems start in the legs. " 

I was diagnosed once with peripheral neuropathy.  And let's face it - the more my feet hurt, the less I walk, (and forget the pollen season for walking outside)

Dr. X knew without a demonstration that I couldn't stand on one leg, even standing right by the counter, nor could I walk a straight line.

 He mentioned that the sneakers I was wearing were noticeably more narrow in the toe area than my feet.  Now that I remember his words, I've wasted hours looking for the right shoes and please, not Birkenstocks.  Yes, older women do care how we look.

Also  I will beg my family doctor fore more physical therapy for more balance and gait training.  And any exercises that are good for this osteo arthritis.

 I will still elevate my legs higher than my heart.  (I do my bed-cercises at the same time.)

But it's harder to break the sit-read-sit habit when the world is full of pollen. (When there's no pollen, there's still a mystery novel to encourage sitting') 

One confession - if I get some shoes that don't hurt, I'll have to take one daughter's advice:
 Go to the mall and walk as much as you're supposed to!

I wish you health.

Friday, February 16, 2018

SWOLLEN FEET - IDEAS (not boot camp)

Do balance activities 3 or more days a week.

  • Stand up from a sitting position without using your hands.
When I lived at the beach, I could jog four miles on the hardpack.  Then, bout 4 years ago I was diagnosed with peripheral myopathy.  I passed the arteries-to-my-feet exam with flying colors. Two weeks ago someone who had seen me walking asked if my feet hurt.

Uh, Definitely:  My feet are swollen when I wake and much of the day. I'm overweight, on Prolia, and still on Tamoxifen.  

Then about a week ago I got two very strong reminders about drinking plenty (that's plenty) of water.   Must remember that coffee is not water.  Darn. (Oh, and we're supposed to follow a cup of ethyl with water. Like a whole glass full.  

 I hit the web, and got more hints.  
The swelling may be worse because I'm overweight, and 
Trying to pump fluid from feet back to my heart may be hard on my heart! 

 ( Notation on TW made it hard to tell if this next is from Cleveland Clinic (?)

"You can make small changes to your everyday life to help reduce swelling:
  1. Take a short walk every hour.  
  2. Drink eight to 10 glasses of water daily. Drinking less actually promotes swelling. (First time I ever heard that.)
  3. Limit your salt intake. .

Mayo Clinic said:  
"Mild edema usually goes away on its own, particularly if you help things along by raising the affected limb higher than your heart."  

In my case,GERD, must elevate feet when stomach is empty.  


For four days, I refused to sit anywhere that I could not prop up my feet.  (Okay, not while driving to the grocery store.)

Before I ate today, I lay down on my back and put a giant old sofa pillow under my feet for ten minutes.  Boring, but, YOU CAN READ WHILE YOU DO THIS (INSERT SMILE) OR:  Do your bed-xer-cizes.

I made sure my water glass was full before taking my thyroid and right beside my coffee mug.

I got a short  water bottle that goes in my car and in my purse.

 I write down my weight every morning first thing;

I write on the fridge chart every time I FILL my water glass.

I try not to stand so long when doing the grocery, library, etc., all at once.

I WILL remember that when I'm at Starbucks, I'm NOT eating!

I will remember that sometimes we think we're hungry when we're really thirsty

And (just between us) I seem to  eat less if I eat what I like  as long as it doesn't have sugar and white flour!


Raise your glasses (WATER) to taking care of you!  

Coming soon : SHOE HATRED!

Monday, February 12, 2018

FREE BUS PASS re Reuters article ref'd on TW MIDNIGHT SPECIAL

 Just saw that article ref'd on TW w many theories on free bus pass benefits.

I say: Doesn't matter whom I would visit, talk to, and it's not primarily about avoiding isolation.

A free bus pass (esp one better than the mess I got into in L.A.) is the difference between:
a)  I am in charge of my day and where I choose to go, or:
b)  I am not in charge of my day, and must beg rides even to go to the doctor, much less where to have fun or be refreshed
(Yes, I know, the bus has to be going places I want to go.)
Any other theories?  All I can say is I remember every moment of not driving before and after the lumbar fusion. I had to lend my car to a friend in exchange for being driven to grocery shopping, and HIRE someone to drive and go with me to the doctor, get food..  As a way to spend the rest of my life?  Try it.

 You may find the article by googling Reuters....

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Stand against over-action and ...

Here I am again against over-test;  This from TW

Are liquid biopsies the future of cancer ? Maybe yes, but then what about "cancers" that may never take hold ? Confused ? We all are. This field of early detection badly needs real human trials.

Friday, January 26, 2018

CANCER - LOOKING FOR TROUBLE makes trouble in all the wrong places?

No, I don't subscribe to the ANNALS OF INTERNAL MED.
but I remember 20 years ago at work when doctors were doing test/don't test for prostate cancer.

If you only get to read the first paras:  DO!

Scrutiny-Dependent Cancer and Self-fulfilling Risk Factors

Brought to my attention from Ken Covinsky on TW  @jeri_doc