Saturday, November 19, 2016

I Want The Women In My Family To Know This


Women and Heart Disease: The Real Story
Author: Jacqueline A. Eubany, MD, FACC, FHRS
Self-Published in: Mission Viejo, California, 2016


Dr. Jacqueline Eubany, an American cardiologist, starts out to write a straight-forward, easy to understand, comprehensive, all you need to know “before you have a heart attack” book for women. And she succeeds with honors. In the process, I am sure she has helped hundreds of men.
With well-placed simple diagrams and short sections on key topics, this book is very well organized. And she gives us facts that are easy to remember such as “Heart disease is the number one killer of American women”. She explains why women often get misdiagnosed or diagnosed late, reducing the chance of full recovery. Her bottom line messages to each of us are: 1. Unhealthy lifestyles contribute to heart disease bigtime and 2. Time is tissue which she explains fully. She taught me, very effectively, about four different categories of heart disease and their risks and the symptoms to look for in myself and the women I love.
Then she deals with each of the lifestyles (using real examples from her practice) and showing us how these contribute to the disease.  She addresses: cigarette smoking, physical inactivity [simple lesson here: duration beats intensity and frequency], diet [here she tells you what’s good, what’s not so good, and then she discusses four modern diet plans including the Mediterranean, the DASH, the TLC, and the low carbohydrate], alcohol, weight, hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, and the metabolic syndrome. From there she discusses hormone replacement therapy, aspirin as preventative measure, and antioxidants (sorry, supplements won’t cut it).
Highly recommended for women, and for the men that love them. In fact, I hope the author finds a cardiologist of like mind that can follow her formula and write a book for men. (In fact, if there is one, please let me know.)
When I finished reading her book, I felt much more informed than I was two years ago when my own wife had a heart attack. And I even felt better about recognizing one in myself.
Whenever Christmas rolls around again, this book makes a great stocking stuffer.

Ken B. Godevenos, President, Accord Resolutions Services Inc., Toronto, Ontario, November 19, 2016. www.accordconsulting.com


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Also, I’ve read some good books and make some great recommendations for you at http://astore.amazon.com/accorconsu-20 which you can purchase right from there.

Check our firm out at Accord Consulting.

Finally, if you like what you read here, you may want to donate to my favourite charity, SCA International, by clicking on the logo below. Ken.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Why Did She Jump? Looking For Answers To Suicide Questions Can Be Devastating


Why Did She Jump? My Daughter’s Battle with Bipolar Disorder
Author: Joan E. Childs, LCSW
Published by: Health Communications, Inc., Deerfield Beach, Florida, 2014



Looking For Answers To Suicide Questions Can Be Devastating
I wanted to learn more about suicide, especially, suicide resulting from a bipolar disorder. I also wanted to read a detailed account of what a parent felt like burying their child when, all else being equal, we expect things to turn out the other way around – a child burying an older parent. I also had skin in this, as just over three years ago we buried our infant grandson.
This book provided what I was looking for, but I must admit that this review was one of the hardest for me to write. So, let me come clean. To accomplish my task, I had to separate in my mind Joan Childs the author of this book (who was easily liked and even admired) from Joan Childs, the mother of Pamela, who committed suicide by jumping out of a 15-storey window at age 34. The latter Joan was more difficult for me to embrace.
The title of the book is a misnomer. While we learn a lot about Pam and her life and death, we learn as much, if not more about her mother’s life. Joan Childs intended very much to focus on Pam, and perhaps she has. She certainly gives us some food for thought as we read helpful gems like, “Perhaps the best we can do is to remember what we had and not what we lost.” I am not so sure those two are mutually exclusive but I get her point. But then time and time again the focus returns to her (or us, as readers – and maybe that’s the saving grace in her style) when she writes, “The emotional scars stay forever. As time passes, we must make a choice between being a victim or being a survivor. The decision may determine how you live the rest of your life.
Like a loving mother searching for answers Joan blames many others (and to be fair that includes herself) for Pam’s death – but clearly the number one culprit in her mind is the “ineffective, dysfunctional health system”. A close second is Pam’s father who refused to believe she was sick until it was too late and who pushed her to get her Ph.D.
Childs has taken great pain to educate us about the statistics regarding mental health suicides in our society. But she has also given us lots of ‘stats’ with respect to her own life – perhaps stats we didn’t really need to know. She talks about her four husbands and others who never were officially given the title with great details about their relationship, the places they bought and lived in together, their tenure, their fights, and how they died or why they left. One can only ask “Why Joan? Were all these details necessary in telling us about your daughter’s death?”
There is no doubt in this reader’s mind that Joan, the mother, tried her very best to be all that she could be for Pamela and her other children. One gets the feeling though she may have been trying too hard in some areas. Or not hard enough in others. While she made all the sacrifices she felt necessary – there were areas where she chose to put herself first. These included her education and her love life. She sees others as being “too-dependent and complaining” (her son’s wife) and fails to see how some of her own choices may have impacted Pamela. And while one could say I’m being too hard on her for “look at her other four children, they all turned out just fine, thank you”, I could only respond in the way she responds to the topic of medication. Childs writes:
“. . . some medications will work effectively with some of the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time, but not all of the people all of the time.”
Likewise, some of the choices Joan may have made may have had no impact on four of the children, but may well have impacted Pamela in ways we will never know. But then again as a single-mom with five children, who could blame her. However, at one point in the book, Joan writes,
“Nearly twenty-four years after my daughter Pam was born, I started to realize how much closeness she was inadvertently denied.” And later, “I always wanted a healthy relationship [in reference to her own love life]. My history is not good. I experienced many painful breakups, many disappointments.”
Those are major admissions. And Childs has to be given full marks plus for them. Although she never comes to grips with how she lived and in the very end tells us, in reference to a dream piece of property she once had,
“Giving up that cabin is perhaps the only regret in my life.”
Throughout the book, one can see the many parallels between mother and daughter, not only in their dysfunctional relationships with men, but also in their education (both were successful therapists and even worked together). One wonders how much their own profession impacted how they viewed what was going on with each of them. As strange as it may sound, sometimes those outside the profession have a better chance of surviving mental disorders because they know so much less and thus aren’t impacted by that knowledge.
Joan and her family are Jewish and in many respects, most aware of God’s role in their lives. Combine that knowledge though with the field of social work or clinical psychotherapy and you get anger towards the Almighty and questions like “Where was God?” which leads to some very candid comments on her feelings towards Him. Unfortunately, in her search for answers, she augments her talks with God by dabbling in the occult, seeking messages from her departed loved one.
Perhaps I’ve been too hard on Joan Childs, but I felt that to be honest was what she would have expected of me. Having said that, this is a book I would strongly recommend to anyone who believes a loved one may have now, or is beginning to show, the signs of a mental illness called bipolar disorder. The author has poured herself out unreservedly in writing it and while she would be happy with just one person being helped, I am convinced her efforts will help hundreds.

-- Ken B. Godevenos, President, Accord Resolutions Services Inc., Toronto, Ontario, November 17, 2016. www.accordconsulting.com


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Also, I’ve read some good books and make some great recommendations for you at http://astore.amazon.com/accorconsu-20 which you can purchase right from there.

Check our firm out at Accord Consulting.

Finally, if you like what you read here, you may want to donate to my favourite charity, SCA International, by clicking on the logo below. Ken.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Remember the 2004-12 TV Series Called “House”? Well, here we go again – only reality makes room for miracles


Miracles We Have Seen:
America’s Leading Physicians Share Stories They Can’t Forget
Editor: Harley A. Rotbart, MD
Published by: Health Communications, Inc., Deerfield Beach, Florida, 2016

                                          


I could not help but think of the TV show starring Hugh Laurie as Dr. Gregory House as I read this book. But this time, these real doctors share stories of miraculous events that can’t be explained by medical science.  And they admit it. Some of them even attribute the outcomes to faith and God – often when nothing else can be credited with the interventions.
Seventy-five different medical professionals share their unforgettable stories. The editor almost always provides the reader the information and sources needed to follow up on these real cases. This is not only helpful but makes each story (most within our lifetime) even more real for the fact-checking, research-hungry, web-browsing enthusiast.
There is a big difference, as the book’s contributors point out, between declining proven medical treatments that are available and beneficial, choosing instead to wait for a miracle, and allowing doctors to do all they can to help save a loved one. The former approach often ends up in disappointment, while the latter allows room for miracles to occur when the science alone cannot.  That’s a major lesson we can draw from this book.
A number of stories hinge on the coincidences of location, timing, and/or the availability of the expertise. To the purpose of faith, the probability of such occurring together in any given case is too much to leave to chance, but that’s a decision each reader will have to make for themselves. Based on how these doctors write about the ‘miracle’ they share, I often wonder how many of them are ‘hidden believers’ in the Creator, but just won’t or can’t say it openly here. In this book, we seem to be getting the message, both doctors and family members, “Do your job and God (or miracles) will take care of the rest.” These doctors have learned that “beyond the limits of (their) medical knowledge and skill, there is also always the power of hope.”
One story that sticks in my mind is that told by Debra Gussman, MD, entitled “An Impossible Pregnancy”. That one alone will challenge your ‘unbeliefs’.
Miracles We Have Seen is also invaluable for teaching the non-medical reader so much about medicine and how our bodies work. What makes it particularly good in this way is that the editor(s) have made sure that the stories these professionals share are explained in ways that the average man and woman can understand.  I learned a lot. Here are but a few examples:
·      In one story entitled, It’s Alive! By Robert J. Buys, MD, we learn about an “embolus” (the term for any kind of substance that shouldn’t be there traveling through the bloodstream) and how doctors attempt to deal with one that is in the eye. Fascinating insight (no pun intended).
·      White blood cells being a sign of inflammation, the body’s response to infection and other foreign substances.
·      What doctors mean by the term “failure to thrive” when referring to children, that is, a condition in which growth and body weight are far below normal.
·      Transplanted hearts (or any organ for that matter) come with great challenges – nothing is better than the organs we were born with if we can keep them working well.
·      An ‘obtunded’ patient is one who is losing consciousness or difficult to arose.
·      As a general rule, “people who fall three stories. . . have about a fifty-fifty chance of survival.”
·      And many more things and terms and practices and discouragements. For example, the realization by doctors working in Africa that healing cannot be just “medical”, it is often economic, as one patient stares them in the eye and says, “Cure my poverty, and you will cure me.”
The stories in this book are divided into major chapters entitled: Spectacular Serendipity; Impossible Cures; Breathtaking Resuscitations (my favorite); Extraordinary Awakenings (my second favorite); Unimaginable Disasters; Mysterious Presence; Global Miracles (dealing with epidemics); Miracles In Their Own Time (a modern historical perspective); Paying It Forward; Difficult Decisions (my third favorite); Silver Linings; and Back To The Beginning (transforming doctors into professionals – a great piece of writing).
We learn how doctors, pediatricians in particular, have a hard time as they often project their own children onto their patients, sometimes “identifying so strongly that it’s difficult to stay objective”. Then there are the times when doctors feel, “Yes, we have saved a life, but to what end?” That’s the often haunting question when one knows the patient will live but not as one would have preferred.
And if that’s not enough, in the Epilogue we are told that 100% of the author proceeds are divided among 75 different charities designated by the contributors and listed in that section.
I had occasion to be in the hospital right after I read this book. It greatly enhanced my appreciation of the wonderful doctor that took care of me.  Very highly recommended by anyone who is a doctor or ever needs to see one.
·      Ken B. Godevenos, President, Accord Resolutions Services Inc., Toronto, Ontario, November 13, 2016. www.accordconsulting.com


Sign up (on the right) to receive free updates. We bring you relevant information from all sorts of sources. Subscribe for free to this blog or follow us by clicking on the appropriate link in the right side bar. And please share this blog with your friends and while you’re here, why not check out some more of our recent blogs shown in the right hand column.

Also, I’ve read some good books and make some great recommendations for you at http://astore.amazon.com/accorconsu-20 which you can purchase right from there.

Check our firm out at Accord Consulting.

Finally, if you like what you read here, you may want to donate to my favourite charity, SCA International, by clicking on the logo below. Ken.