Chronic Illness

The Gentle Art of Convalescing

convalesce (per Merrium-Webster)

verb

con·​va·​lesce | \ ˌkän-və-ˈles  \

Convalescing, resting
Pepper relaxed.

convalescedconvalescing

Definition of convalesce

intransitive verb

to recover health and strength gradually after sickness or weakness. He is convalescing from influenza.

 

The art of convalescing…what is that really? Does it paint a picture in your head of Victorian women, pale and sickly, in their beds? Or perhaps soldiers wrapped in bandages, unconscious in their hospital ward with nurses attending to their many needs? I tell you what it does not paint. It does not paint anything I’ve practiced with ease in this lifetime. I am assuming not you either. Let us backtrack.

I was born prematurely by three months. I assume I used all my coupons for convalescing the first few months in the incubator, because since then life, the world, my parents, school systems, and work rarely granted me permission to slow down.

I am now a grown woman and cannot point my fingers at anyone. It is all on me.  I hate telling people no. I will work often always grateful for the opportunity. Admittedly, I foolishly have gone to the doctor to have a “nodule” removed (totally cancer btw), and promptly returning two hours later; white as a ghost, almost fainting in the hallway. I have literally had two surgeries where I put myself back on the work two days later, sore, peaked and fatigued. A third surgery went all wrong. I found myself incapacitated for several months. These months later turned into over a year with subsequent chemo/ immune therapy treatments. The treatments were rough and made me quite ill. My well-trained brain allotted myself that one single day to be sick. Again, foolish. I felt the need to be productive. I’ve certainly should have been cleaning, organizing, taking online classes, trying to work or something?!?  I think I failed at every attempt at all these things listed above. I could do nothing well or safely.  At the time, I had a remarkable oncology social worker, Dr. Sheridan. She who gave me permission to stay home and watch TV or sleep. I barely listened. I could not I could not accept this fate. This is the statement that finally resonated with me.  “Lorri, unfortunately, we do not live in a society that values the sick or elderly.” She proceeded to tell me I needed this time to heal. It would be a good year after finishing treatment before I felt better, and this disease and treatment does not discriminate. Even a top neurosurgeon would be pigeonholed into the sick and or elderly category during cancer treatments. I was shocked. We, the previously busy and successful, were the modern convalescents.

 

” Lorri, unfortunately, we do not live in a society that values the sick or elderly.”-Dr. Sheridan 

Benito takes time for himself.

 

This shaming of convalescents is not exclusive to the chronically ill.  I have had friends break a limb, patients returned to work weeks after having a baby, a family member retire, a cousin that sleeps a lot, and people that grieve the loss of a loved one. What is the message? It is always, “Get out there and get busy!”

I am not proposing laziness, because that would be counter-intuitive to my Midwest hard-working All-American upbringing… but jeez let us rest! Is there really any shame in that?  My European friends seem to be better accustomed to relaxing and taking “down time.” Also, so does my dog and cat. Those two are collectively awake less than four hours a day and are not stressed about it.

So let us look at the present times. Now, it is not only our loved ones battling illness or disease needing to rest. Like a lightning bolt, Covid-19 struck us down. Globally, we are being forced to convalesce collectively on a multitude of levels we have never endured before.  We are forced to sit and be. I do not know what your experience has been, but I know closing in my office was not an easy decision. However, I was going to be alright because I was going to: clean my house, clean my car, organize my paperwork, design a new website, paint ten paintings, learn a language, learn to play piano, create a garden, get amazing abs and possibly learn salsa alone at home.  The joke was on me. Four days into social distancing I fell off a ladder and hurt my back. I, once again, (thank you God and Universe) am convalescing. But then again, aren’t we all?

We have all been home long enough to spend some time with ourselves and possibly with others. It is true. I have done some my chores as you probably have also.  The truth is, I rested my back, I decompressed, I thought to myself and others, I have reached out to people I’ve meant to do for months if not years, I’m getting to know my neighbors and fellow dog walkers, I’m picking fruit from neighbor’s trees, cooking, sleeping…and reading all of my own pace (which happens to be slow.) So, through years of great illnesses and injuries, through societal expectations and economic needs, I never let myself truly convalesce. Now, through the threat of a global pandemic, I am finally convalescing; physically mentally and spiritually. I cannot imagine this is an easy for anybody out there. Our lives have changed rapidly, but I sincerely hope you have taken the time to nurture yourself. Convalesce the ills of the modern world and get back to who you were before this crazy life got a hold of you.

This too shall pass, and we will all the back to our somewhat normal lives. So please take this time to care for yourself, your family, your needs, and your dreams. May you wrap up in a blanket, bask in the sun or pull out that favorite album that you have not listened to in years. Whatever it takes, take advantage of this rare time in history to properly practice the art of convalescing.  sincerely, Dr.LorriI am a work in progress;)

Why Functional Nutritional Testing Is a Good Idea

Maybe you take vitamins. Maybe you do not.  Or, perhaps, like myself, you diligently take your multivitamin regiment since you are fully aware you do not eat all the fresh veggies and protein you need daily. Maybe nutritional testing is a good idea.

But here is the question… are you absorbing those nutrients?  Are those the right nutrients for your body, genetic make-up, or lifestyle?  After all, we are all metabolically unique. How do we know if what is right for me is right for you?

My big shocker came the day I received my own nutrient test results. I had been spending top dollar on a legitimate all-encompassing liquid vitamin. (I should have been clued in when everyone else felt great on it but me. I still felt tired). My test results came back. I was still severely low in most of my B vitamins. The company isolated a genetic factor called MTHFR that explained why my body wasn’t utilizing the B vitamins I was taking.  Lesson learned!!! I immediately switched to a form that was bioavailable for my body’s genetic constitution. My energy levels increased. I felt great.

Let’s fast forward two years.  I am a cancer “survivor” (I still do not like this label). I know I should not be consuming dairy. But I am eating it; in all forms. I fantasize about yogurt, sour cream, and cheese.  A few slices of goat cheese could constitute a meal. “Why?” I wondered. I was never a dairy lover before.  Once again, I decided to contact Spectra Cell laboratories to find out what was going on. Were my new multivitamins paying off?  Was I missing something?

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Stress, Anxiety, and that Endless Chatter Inside of our Brains-A Discussion with Dr. Liz and Dr. Lorri

Everything is energy and that’s all there is to it. Match the frequency of the reality you want and you cannot help but get that reality. It can be no other way. This is not philosophy. This is physics”.-Albert Einstein

Lately it seems like the subject of words and how we use them has shown up repeatedly in my life. Throughout the past several years I read many books related to the subject. For example; books about water molecules and words, Books like “The Secret” or “You’re a Badass” or anything by Tolle. Recently, I watch Ted Talks on the power of words.  My own mentor continues to advise me to be mindful of  spelling and my choice of words, and a good friend asked me if I would “talk to a stranger the way I talked my own self inside of my head?”  Hmmm. The chatter inside my own brain isn’t always so positive. Interesting, right?

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What’s Your History?

Remember that time you got sick…way back when?

Why your health history is actually much more than those forms you are filling out.

You may come to our doctors’ office or you go to any doctor’s office and you are asked to do it.  You need to fill out that dreaded health history form.  Long, arduous, detailed, and necessary. Name address, height, weight, primary concerns, major medical issues, recent surgeries, procedures, medications, supplements, family health history, etc.  Our office will ask you to fill it out too…and possibly more.  You see, we believe, that those medical forms look for major red flags, health catastrophes, and serious disease. However, if you come to our office, we assume you have came because you have suffered from something chronic such as infertility, pain, or illness of unknown origin.  Something that has not been yet addressed completely. So, our office will look for the nuances listed between those lines.  The possible gray areas in your person health history. Just so you understand, when you come to our office, we will have a long conversation about your history, your real health history. continue reading »