My Name Is Hope

Hope is a thing with feathers, that perches in the soul.

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What I Learned about Health
Over dinner, Bernard pointed out to me that half of this year was filled with doctor's visit. He was right. The latest just happened a while ago, when I had to go to the dentist because of the pesky swollen gums. It didn't stop me from eating, but it's definitely quite bothersome. It didn't help that I do have history of swollen gums, especially if we are talking about wisdom teeth. I remembered that the first time I had them, I was in excruciating pain. I got chills and very high fever. I could not eat anything, not even ice cream. I had to settle for glasses of milk to sustain me. The dentists could not help me, unless, of course, I would be willing to have them removed. The best solution they could give me was to gurgle salt and water every 3 hours (which actually proved to be a good pain reliever).

Anyway, it turned out that my third molar is erupting. The dentist--a new one and I'm hoping to stick to her--said that I had two options. First, I could have my third molar removed, but it's not going to be a simple tooth extraction. I had to undergo a surgical operation. I don't know what others who experienced the same predicament as mine before think, but I found the solution too drastic. Besides, I've gone through more tooth pain than this one, and I had successfully got over it. I would not mind just one tooth pain for now.

Her next advice was to give me pain reliever and antibiotics. She also advised me to gurgle a Bactidol-like solution that claimed to be anti-bacterial. I understand. Since the molars are located at the backmost portion of my mouth, it would be very hard to reach with my toothbrush. But it doesn't mean I don't use my tooth there. Food can get stuck therefore and generate bacteria that may cause infection or even oral cavity.

Since I have no other recourse since I can't find a less-toxic way of alleviating myself from the pain, I had to stick with the medications she gave me, never mind if her secretary was hard-selling them to me, telling me how their prices are so much cheaper than those offered by other drugstores.

All the experiences I had with doctors and researches about more ways of taking care of oneself got me into the following realizations:

Juice them.

If you can't eat them, juice them. If you don't want a lot of time wasted munching on hard vegetables and fruits, grab a blender or a juicer. They can save you more than 20 minutes, and you already nourish yourself with nutrients. It is advised that a person eats at least 3 to 5 servings of veggies and fruits every day, but since I am generally a meat eater, I have to settle for at least 1 or 2 servings per day first. I still have to wean myself from pork and chicken.

Get regular check-ups.

Before I started going to doctors, I never had undergone any regular check-ups for so many years. I was proud of that, but then, it just dawned on me that it may not be a wise idea. One has to know what his or her body is undergoing. Just because you don't feel anything, it doesn't mean you are healthy. Some diseases can be asymptomatic, until it would be harder for you to treat them.

Case in point: cancer. One of the reasons why a lot of people will actually succumb to it is because it is usually detected at a later stage, unfortunately, when it has already spread to other vital organs such as the liver, lungs, and even the brain.

There are already a number of laboratories that can give you comprehensive screening examinations. Some of these screening tests include whole abdomen ultrasound, occult blood test, colonoscopy, oral exam, EENT exam, CBC, ESR, PSA (for the guys), as well as mammogram or breast ultrasound, pap smear and cervical exam (for women). You can also coordinate with your own medical doctor to know which examinations will be ideal for you.

Choose a good doctor.

I've dealt with bad ones, those who seem to be in a hurry to talk about your disease or who don't show any compassion with what you're going through. I would just not drop any names here. Get a doctor who listens and someone who doesn't take any chances. He or she may ask you to go through a series of examinations, which would cost you, but it's a lot better than a late or unsure diagnosis. He or she should also respect your decision, since it's your body anyway.

Be open to alternatives.

I don't have anything against conventional medicine. The doctors I have now are the ones I want to help me in taking care of myself and even of my family. However, I would also like to open myself to alternative treatments. There are a lot of them, and so far, most of those I've dealt with worked for me. They also worked for a large number of people. Of course, there's a huge chance that they may not for you, simply because our bodies can react differently to various situations. Nevertheless, know that there are a lot of options available.

Make your own research. If something bothers you, ask opinions to practitioners and even patients who have tried the treatments.

Take your supplements.

David Murdock, the owner of Dole, is very old. He is more than 80 years old, but the condition of his body is equal to that of a 50-year-old. For the last 20 years, he hasn't taken any medication or even supplement. He hasn't gotten ill, and there's a possibility that he may just achieve his goal, which is to reach 125 years old.

Yet not all of us can have access to certain types of food, which are rich in both macro- and micronutrients. One of the best ways to achieve them is through supplements. The good news is that there are so many that you can pick. Examples are Alive and Vita Plus. You can make your own research to know what the choices are. Don't forget to get to know more about the ingredients in each of these supplements and understand how they can improve the condition of your health.

Focus on what's good and positive.

Stress can make you sick. I remembered when I was still suffering from depression, my blood count was not good. I also had an elevated ESR rate (which means my body is fighting inflammation or I could be suffering from an autoimmune disease). Every time I would feel angry, nervous, or agitated, I would become sick. I even experienced constipation.

For me, taking care of myself goes beyond just looking good or dropping weight. It improves my confidence, it makes me appreciate my life more, it gives me more power to do a lot of things I want to do in life.

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