Brain Brawn & Body
Brain Brawn & Body blogs on health, nutrition/fitness, lifestyle, leisure and finances.
I was recently diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation (AFib). It, like most other illnesses we seem to be contracting these days, comes with outcomes that even the best doctors describe as “unpredictable”. They are uncertain, it seems, why I had this first bout, except to say that given my chronic heart disease it’s not unexpected that I might suffer from Atrial Fibrillation.
Okay, but they can’t say why with any certainty why the attack occurred when it did or as it did. My heart, they say, is fine. No real damage evident despite three heart attacks. The arteries are not what they should be, I get that, but my heart, according to the doctors is pumping just fine.
I remember as a young boy I used to ride in the car with my brother and for some reason I would ask him about car accidents. He always avoided the conversation or forbade me from going too far with the subject. I recall him saying, “If you don’t talk about it, it won’t happen.”
I was young; he was my big brother, so I believed him. Don’t mention it and we’ll always be safe in his car. Sounded reasonable to a seven year old.
I don’t typically find myself giving relationship advice. But an article I read for Brain Brawn & Body (Fight Fairly and Keep the Peace in Your Relationship) led me to think about my own relationship and how my wife and I get along. We do pretty well and I think we can provide others with a beacon to help them through a difficult stretch they may be facing.
With the help of the article and the recommendations it presents, I offer these observations.
It may seem obvious: a healthy relationship could mean a healthier you. That’s right, two people getting along better could mean that you, the individual, will fare better in many ways.
Spring always makes me think of France, and specifically Monet’s beautiful garden at Giverny. I was fortunate enough to be able to travel to Paris twice and take a day trip to Giverny both times. One visit was in the month of May and the second was in June. The gardens were glorious both times.
In the spring months including May, you will find the garden blooming with amazing flowers. Beautifully arranged are daffodils, tulips, poppies, cherry and crabapple trees, wallflowers and pansies, fritillaries, irises and so many more.
She came to town for two days, providing a story so rich, yet, so full of pain that those of us who heard her story were left feeling as if we had to join her in this fight against this dreaded disease.
Sylvia Mackey, wife of NFL Hall of Famer, John Mackey, is a whirlwind. She travels from coast to coast sounding the alarm on dementia. Anyone in her path will be swept up and moved to act by what she has to say. I know I was.
I learned many things in the two days I was fortunate to spend with Sylvia. The most shocking may have been that there is no cure for dementia. Sad. One would think that in this day and age of advanced medical discovery, where there seems to be a pill for everything, that there would be something available that could snap a person back from that dark, cold place their minds have ventured into.
For the past few days I’ve taken my nephew Isaiah to school. He’s a senior at an area high school. Nothing extraordinary about that except I’ve noticed the astounding number of kids carrying backpacks.
Backpacks and more backpacks, that’s all you see in the mornings. At his school you’d be hard pressed to find a kid who isn’t carrying one on his or her way into the building. But it doesn’t stop with high school kids…just blocks away is an elementary school and to see the little boys and girls lugging and laboring with what appears to be the weight of the world over their shoulders and on their backs got me to thinking.
I started running in high school. As kids we always chased each other, but running in a straight line was new to me. I lived out in the country on a long, hilly road. Once I started to run on my own, my normal route was to run to the highway and back – 1 mile out and 1 mile back. To get there, I had to go up a little hill, then go up a really big hill to complete the first ½ mile. It was always a challenge but one that I enjoyed. Now when I run races and see a hill coming, my adrenaline surges. I’m so excited to charge that hill because I’ve been doing it all my life!
The race landscape has changed over the years. There are many 5K runs, some 2 mile fun runs and walks and this year I heard of my first quarter marathon. Whatever your preferred distance, realize that you can run any distance you want. Really you can! The healthy human body is so amazing and is limited only by our mental attitude. We like to ask newbie runners if they can run a mile. Usually they respond yes. Then we tell them that if you can run 1 mile, you can run 3. Then, if you can run 3, you can run 5. If you can run 5, you can run 10. If you can run 10, you can run a half-marathon – 13.1 miles. So, if you can run 1 mile, you can run a half!
I lost a childhood friend today. He was the first of our crew to pass away. At 6:00am my phone buzzed with a text message from another of my old friends, Kevin. The message was short…”Mike passed.”
What a tough way to wake up.
I had been waiting for a call like that for some time. About a month ago I got the news that Mike was sick; really sick. I called him and he said to me with all the courage I remember him having all his life, “My body isn’t doing so well. They sent me home because there wasn’t anything they could do for me…”
His faith was strong even if the doctors had given up. He felt he had done his part to ready himself for whatever was to come. The conversation was difficult for me, but for Mike it was, as he said, “…what it is.” He seemed to have no regrets except that maybe he had cheated his wife and kids by checking out so soon.
I wanted to share a health story with you about autism.
By: Karen Stokes
In 2000, my 3 year old son, Elijah was diagnosed with autism. In retrospect, I guess I realized something was wrong because after he met the typical milestones for a child, at 2 years old he lost his vocabulary, he lost his interest in playing with his brother and other children and he seemed to be living in a world of his own.
Where do we go from here?
Young people today face many challenges, especially ones with Autism. According to Autism Speaks, autism affects 1 in 88 children and 1 in 54 are boys. These numbers are growing. Autism is a cognitive disorder that impairs social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and also can bring about repetitive behaviors. As of now, there is no cure, but there are outlets and information that parents and caregivers can utilize.
I am fortunate to serve both as the editor and publisher of Brain Brawn & Body. I have learned so much since launching this website. In much the same way as I spent two decades prepping for my radio show, reading and researching topics on a regular basis, I have found myself doing that type of prep work for Brain Brawn & Body.
It has been a rewarding experience. This past year has been a whirlwind of activity for the website. We have done workshops and forums, health fairs and seminars, but mostly the enrichment has come from the monthly publishing of articles that enlighten our readers about health and wellness issues.
Lately, it seems I’ve been on both sides of the issue – the bearer of good and bad news as well as the recipient of both. I can tell you, it’s not easy delivering bad news. At the same time I find it difficult to be the recipient of good news from people because it seems that right behind the good news they have for me, they share a sad story with me.
I feel for them and it makes rejoicing in the good news I’ve just received quite difficult.
The conflict of delivering good news and/or bad news first came to mind because of the number of my friends and acquaintances who have been met with some misfortune recently. In some of those situations their anguish has been compounded by multiple incidents.
My sister, the world traveler and scuba diver, shared one of her favorite dive trips so I could share it with you. On the other side of the world in between China and Australia lies Indonesia. The Republic of Indonesia is an archipelago containing more than 13,000 islands. On the way to their scuba diving trip in Wakatobi, they first stopped on the island of Bali.
Their experience in Bali was a very spiritual and peaceful one. They stayed in the southern part of the island called South Kuta because it was near the airport. Dubbed the Detroit of Indonesia , it was crowded, dirty and didn’t make them feel safe.
This holiday season you may find yourself traveling near or far. Whichever it is for you, travel safely. Try to put aside any family discontent and enjoy each other. Be positive, kind and compassionate.
Some of the stories I’ve heard over the last month have saddened me…a man dying unexpectedly at the age of 47; a young mother in our school district passing away. She was only 40. Then yet this week, I heard of another person dying who was only 30. Life is short, so live it with gusto.
There are some of us who love words. Vicarious is one of my favorites. “Living vicariously” allows one to experience things through others without having the experience firsthand. In this case it is witnessing the amazing hippopotamus in Africa.
With her husband, my sister recently took one of her bucket list trips. She went on an African safari. Prior to the trip, she received a new camera with an amazing lens and took photography classes to enhance her picture taking skills. What she did next was wonderful.
With photo sharing on Facebook, friends and family can stay up to date on trips and photos. My sister took over 600 pictures each day on her safari, then each night she would edit them and post her favorites for family members to enjoy. We took a virtual safari with her, thus, experiencing the safari vicariously.
My sister emailed this to me the other day with the subject line: Absolutely priceless.
I’d have to agree. It is simply, priceless. I don’t know who compiled this list, but I am thankful to my sister for sharing it with me. Read it, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it too.
An Elementary School Teacher had twenty-six students in her class. She presented each child in her classroom the 1st half of a well-known proverb and asked them to come up with the remainder of the proverb. It's hard to believe these were actually done by first graders. Their insight may surprise you. While reading, keep in mind that these are first-graders, 6-year-olds, because the last one is a classic!
My wife often asks me to walk with her. She is an avid walker. She gets her day started with a brisk walk through our neighborhood. I admire her commitment to this daily exercise routine.
As a former athlete, a weekend warrior really, I still look at walking as a wimpy way to get your fitness fix. But I must admit, it’s better than nothing and nothing is what I’ve gotten good at.
Wikipedia defines vulnerability this way: Vulnerability refers to the inability to withstand the effects of a hostile environment.
A more spiritual understanding of vulnerability is provided in the Bible in 1 Peter 5:14… Greet one another with a kiss of love. And in Ephesians 4:25… Therefore, each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body.
The other day I watched a popular life class about vulnerability. In essence, the guest, Brene Brown, defined vulnerability as “an act of courage”.
We have been looking forward to this vacation all summer. I always wanted to take a vacation right at the end of summer and have one last big hurrah before the children start school. Then our memories would be fresh, we’d be rested and happy to start the school year. So, this was the vacation!
For some reason, my daughter thinks it is fun(?) to get up super early and go to the airport. That is just what we had to do for our great fare deal out of Chicago’s O’Hare airport to Myrtle Beach. It’s also nice to have friends who will pick us up at 4:00am to get us to the airport in time. I guess if one is trying to get as much fun out of a day as possible, this combination of my daughter’s excitement and the energy of our kind friend is a great way to start.
My greatest wish is for all to have the best health possible. As one who has faced many health challenges over the past 20 years, I know and appreciate the importance of good health.
While I have never asked, “why me”, I have often wondered just how someone who has never been a drinker, nor a smoker could have been hit with such devastating health issues. Obviously, there are many other factors that contribute to or detract from one’s health. But it is clear that these two aforementioned vices, which, when they become habitual, can be detrimental to one’s health.
You may not recognize his face and certainly, his was not a household name like that of James Gandolfini, the star of the hit HBO series the Sopranos. But Christian Benitez’ fate was the same as that of Gandolfini’s in that both men died of a heart attack; both unexpected.
I don’t know much about soccer. I’m not familiar with the stars of the game. I was watching ESPN and saw the story of this young man who had succumbed to an apparent heart attack. The people in the story who knew him were devastated and in shock.