Category Archives: Health

Running & Writing: You Have to Be Consistent

I’m not going to be one of those people who blogs or tweets about his incredible athletic achievements. I’m not going to tell you how I’m running a marathon or crushing my 5K time or trying a fancy new workout program. Whatever.

I am getting more exercise lately. But nobody cares about that. Frankly, I’m slow, sad and pokey and no one wants to read updates about my abysmal mile times.

But I have learned one thing from exercising: You have to be consistent.

I started exercising again because it makes me feel good. It’s good stress relief, it feels amazing when I’m done and it’s good for me. But if I slack off for a week and try to get back into it, it sucks. If I don’t run for a week, then go for a run it isn’t fun anymore. Then it sucks. My joints revolt and my legs want to cramp up and my knees hurt. When I finally get home I don’t feel like a million bucks, I feel like I want to die.

Same thing on the bike. If I haven’t been biking then every little rise is a mountain and I have no energy or stamina to make it up. But even a little bit of consistency and I’m cruising up the incline.

It’s about consistency. You have to keep at it. It’s true in exercising, it’s true in writing, it’s true in anything creative, it’s true in much of life.

Keep going. And if you do slack off and get behind, get back up again. That first time will suck. But the second time will feel better. Remember that when you’re tempted to skip a day. Don’t. Save yourself that sucky run and stay consistent.

 

Randomness: Article & Sick

All the best laid plans blow up. Especially when you get sick. For a week. Or two.

That’s my story. I’m going on week number two of being sick. This has to be the third or fourth time I’ve gotten sick this winter. Bleh. I’ll spare you the details (nothing worse than reading about people’s medical symptoms online—unless of course you’re looking for an online diagnosis by strangers, which can be loads of fun), except to say that I think the sinus pressure has blocked the hearing in my left ear. Feels like I went swimming and can’t get the water out. Otherwise I’m actually feeling better. And losing your hearing can have its benefits. Milo has an ear infection and has been pretty crabby—but his tantrums are that much quieter now.

On the plus side, Foursquare.org published an article I wrote yesterday. “Advocate for the Invisible” tells the story of homeless advocate and InvisiblePeople.tv founder Mark Horvath. I talk about him a lot, so it was fun to tell his story. It was also a challenge to do it in under 800 words. That article easily could have been twice as long. When I interviewed Mark for the story we talked for over three hours, so you can imagine the material I have and couldn’t possibly use. Good stuff.

Mark is a constant inspiration. The way he continues doing what he does despite all odds is incredible. As he says, he’s not called, he’s forced. He has no choice but to do this. He has a choice all right, but I’m not sure he could live with himself if he walked away from the homeless people he serves. I could use that kind of heart.

Don’t Give, Don’t Get: Israel’s Organ Donor Law

I heard a very fascinating report on NPR last week about a new organ donor law in Israel. In response to an extreme shortage of organ donors, Israel decided to take drastic action and enacted a law that seeks to encourage organ donation by penalizing those who refuse to donate. It’s nicknamed ‘Don’t give, Don’t get.’ If an organ is available and two people of similar medical conditions are eligible for the donated organ, priority goes to the one who was a registered organ donor.

If you’re not willing to donate your own organs, you get lower priority when you need an organ.

It’s an interesting bit of medical ethics. While I think in general we should be willing to help people regardless of how much they’re willing to help others, this is a unique situation. A extreme situation calls for extreme action?

What’s funny about the story is that they talk with a rabbi who refuses to donate organs for religious reasons. Yet he’s willing to accept a donated organ if he needed one. They summarize his position so I’m not sure how accurate it is, but he basically reasons that in one instance it’s murder and in another instance they were dead anyway. I think it’s complete hypocritical garbage.

This is what happens when the shoe is on the other foot. If you’re not willing to be a part of the system, why should you benefit from the system? In other instances I’m not sure how well this logic works. What if we denied assistance benefits like unemployment or food stamps to people who refused to fund such assistance programs (not that anyone has such a choice)? What if we denied freedom to those who refused military service (interestingly enough, it’s Israel where serving in the armed forces is mandatory)? What if the Red Cross gave priority to disaster victims who had donated?

And at that point it becomes ridiculous. Admittedly I kind of like the idea of sticking it to people who won’t play along. But I think society has to be more benevolent than that. It’s not love if you only love those who love you back.

I Salute You, Mustache Men

Today is the last day of November, which means it’s the end of the Movember charity drive, an event where men agreed to go clean-shaven and then grow mustaches for the month of November in order to raise money for men’s health. Movember specifically fights prostate and testicular cancer and donations go to the Prostate Cancer Foundation and the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Since its inception in 2003, Movember has raised more than $47 million for men’s health. That’s a lot of money for mustaches.

I first heard about this event when I saw my old friend Kyle and my brother Rick participating this year. I really wanted to join them, but my wife said I wouldn’t get kissed for a month if I grew a mustache. That’s a long time to go without getting kissed by your wife, so instead of participating I’ll have to make do with supporting them. Cancer is one of those things that inevitably impacts everyone. My grandpa is a prostate cancer survivor—and it’s through efforts like these that hopefully there can be more survivors.

Despite my wife’s distaste for the mustache fashion statement, I have to say that I love these kinds of charity events. As a culture I think we place entirely too much importance on personal appearance, and anything we can do to thumb our nose at the status quo while supporting a charity is just awesome. (This coming from the guy whose only haircut in the past two years has been shaving his head for a cause.) Maybe next year I’ll forsake getting kissed for a good cause (but don’t bet on it).

So even though I couldn’t join my mustachioed brethren, I salute your Movember efforts and the mighty hair spreading across your upper lip. Every mustache makes a difference. You can support Kyle or Rick by making a donation on their respective pages.

And what’s a post about mustaches without an homage to them in song from none other than the Tick? We could all use a little mustache feelin’:

Taking Milo to the Doctor

Today we dropped Lexi off at a friend’s house and took Milo to the University of Minnesota’s Pediatric Clinic to see a Specialist in International Adoption. That means we took him to his first doctor in the U.S.

We left the parking garage and walked through the long underground tunnel (which inexplicably comes out on the second floor), eventually arriving at the Pediatric Clinic. We avoided getting lost in the campus’ labyrinth, which reminded me why I went to a small school (though ironically, I don’t think I ever consciously decided I wanted to attend a small school).

The high point was perhaps handing over a yogurt container to the receptionist that contained a sample of Milo’s poop. I believe it was blueberry (the yogurt container, that is). We had to collect a stool sample at home and bring it in. It’s kind of like show and tell, but not really. It wasn’t just plopped into the old yogurt container either, it was inside a Ziplock bag. But let’s just say those things aren’t exactly as air-tight as advertised. That yogurt container gave off a distinct odor when I pulled it out of the bag and set it on the counter. And it wasn’t residual blueberry.

Anyway, we eventually had our appointment and several doctors and specialists told us how beautiful Milo is. Not just handsome—beautiful. Despite my lack of any sports-related skills, Milo will at least be raised confident enough in his manhood to be called beautiful.

Continue reading Taking Milo to the Doctor

Shave Your Head to Fight Cancer

St. Baldrick’s Foundation is a volunteer-driven fund raising program where people shave their heads to fight cancer. We’re such an image-based culture that I love the idea of putting our image to work for a cause (I was going to say ‘forsaking your image for a cause,’ but I realized some consider a bald head pretty fashionable). It’s kind of like Locks of Love (for those not eager to go completely bald).

While I love the idea, it’s clear some have more to sacrifice than others. (via DJLitten)

Given in to Sickness

I’ve been battling a sore throat and cough most of the week and by Friday I’d finally given in. Well, I had an important meeting Friday morning that I struggled through, but by Friday afternoon I collapsed in bed while Lexi napped. I waved my white flag.

All higher brain functions have ceased. The uniform of pajamas is official. I’m starting to get better (I am blogging, right?), slowly, finally. But I’m still skipping church and look forward to another day in bed.

I hate being sick. I had several blog entries half-written in my head–now gone. I had a pile of work to catch up on this weekend–not happening. And of course Lexi has been an off-the-wall spazz. She’s completely full of energy and I can barely get off the couch. On the plus side, I have managed to plow through a few books. That counts for something, right?

Update: Apparently I have strep throat. I went to the doctor Friday afternoon to get tested (at my wife’s insistence), and while the initial results came back negative, they just called to tell me the 24 hour test came back positive. This means I get real drugs!

Minnesota Goes Smoke-Free on October 1, 2007

The Minnesota Legislature passed a bill that will ban indoor smoking, including all bars and restaurants, effective October 1, 2007. It’s about time. I think this is a simple public health issue. I just don’t get these kind of complaints:

“I don’t smoke, but I’m a small-business owner and this is a huge violation of personal choice. It is a simple violation of people’s rights,” said Sue Minehart, owner of the Main Street Grill in Alden, Minn.

Personal rights end when they infringe on the rights of others. My right to healthy lungs trumps your right to destroy your lungs. And frankly, I don’t see why we shouldn’t ban smoking entirely. We ban other harmful substances regardless of personal choice, why not cigarettes? It’s not like they offer a shred of benefit or even illusory medicinal value. They just kill people.

Nostalgia, Shelley & Cancer

5th Grade TripI came across a blast from my past yesterday, this lovely photo from a fifth grade class trip. My dorkiness doesn’t so much surprise me. I’m used to that. But it’s the collective dorkiness that’s impressive. At least in hindsight.

While stumbling across the picture, I also came across a story from an old friend. I’ve talked about Shelley before (though reading it now it seems a bit stalkerish–sorry Shelley), but that was before I reconnected with her. She tells the story on her MySpace blog (I think you need to be her friend to read it) of her struggle with cancer. It’s riviting. Nobody my age is supposed to be fighting for their life against cancer. But I guess they are. But Shelley kicked cancer’s ass. And honestly, that doesn’t surprise me. She recently participated in a walk to raise money for cancer, hence the recollection of her experience.

Here’s one small excerpt:

On the drive from my apartment to school for the relay, I started to get teary eyed, reflecting on everything that has happened over the past few years. I was headed to an event that honored and celebrated my survivorship, something that I would gladly give up and never wish upon anyone. Sure, my life is so much more fulfilling after having cancer, but it’s horrible to think that I had to suffer so badly before the good fully entered into my life, or at least into my awareness, as I do believe the good was always present.

As I sit here watching my daughter crush Wheaties with her bottle, such a monumental struggle seems so far away. But it’s not. It always amazes me what people go through, if only we take the time to find out.

Minnesota to Ban Smoking

I hope the state of Minnesota will soon be going smoke free. Ramsey County passed a smoking ban two years ago when St. Paul couldn’t get one passed (thank you very much former Mayor Randy Kelly–I voted against you based on this issue) and I think it’s the right move for public health.

Now that we’re moving out of Ramsey County I’m not eager to return to smoke-filled restaurants, so I hope the state-wide ban is passed. I just e-mailed my state representative urging him to support the bill (find yours and do the same).