Category Archives: Health

Site Update: “About Me” Page and Others edited, moved

An earlier me during an archaeological survey.
An earlier me during an archaeological survey.

I’ve changed pages and updated With Christian Eyes in the past, but there’ve been more changes lately and I also wish to better connect with my followers.  I edited and updated my biographical information in  the About the Author page (formerly “About Me”), and moved a bit of what was in the “Let Me Write for You” page to there and deleted the rest.   I added two table of contents pages for ease of finding articles; there are two instead of one in order to keep the number of links on each page down.

In case you didn’t know, there is a second blog run by my husband here,  Lingering Trees, although I’m going to see about how to transfer it to him to make it separate (for his ease and distinct online presence).  He is trying to promote his and my son’s YouTube account so as to eventually make some money off of it.  This is not to get rich, by any means, but only to make extra money since he is ill so much.  Eventually, unless God chooses to heal him, he’s not going to be able to work a regular job.  It’s too bad Christians don’t support other Christians in this way as much as the worldly folk do–if you don’t know about people making a living off of YouTube, just know that some do extremely well.  We’re not expecting to live off of YouTube income (!), but are working at it with the hope of earning money to go toward living expenses and gifts.

I’ve appreciated the likes and follows so much!  Thanks for the time you’ve spent here.  As we prepare to end homeschooling and move across the country, we’ll still be here!  After that’s all done, we’ll see how God guides us, but I may be able to write more.  I should have more time and ability to focus–maybe I’ll even work on a book or two.  The Lord hold you and smile at you.

Contemplating.  Author photo.
Contemplating. Author photo.

 

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Escape from Internet Savagery; Heal and Laugh

Hello!  We (my family and I) started a new forums board for the internet weary, and we’d love to have you visit and join if you like.

It’s a fun place, a place to find encouragement and stories showing the amazing goodness possible in the human being.  Ordinary conversation can be had, too, and we even have a shout box (live chatting).  It does not have the same domain name as here since we wanted it open to all people, and if any non-Christians there want to know more about Christ, all the better.  We had a forums board associated with “withchristianeyes” and it just didn’t get much traffic.  There are other Christian boards on the internet and sadly, there is a lot of aggression there.  Ours was to be aggression-free, but people just didn’t like that!

So, why am I doing another board that is also a save haven from aggressive trolls and the like?  Well, I want a place like that, so it seems very likely that others want that too.  I’m on
Twitter and it’s sad how many absolutely unpleasant people there are on there.  I don’t try to follow such people, but even many everyday tweets by people are mean-spirited.  Christ calls us to love and respect people, not hammer morality* into them or tell them they’re stupid simply for being in another political party (!).  There are incredibly close-minded and vicious people in whatever party.

So, the forum is called Nice World, A Narcissist-Free Environment.  As you might surmise, we like things a bit tongue-in cheek, and the language isn’t all proper there.  We hope you enjoy being at the place!  Here is an image of what a small part of it looks like right now.  We made it only a couple of days ago, so more boards (thread groups, not necessarily sections) are sure to come.  Thanks for checking it out!

Nice World Forums

* When someone accepts Christ and is reborn, the Holy Spirit will change them to be more in alignment with God’s will.  Christ and rebirth comes first, then change.

Ulcerative Colitis: An (Often Misunderstood) Autoimmune Disease

I was inspired to write this piece since my husband suffers from the disease himself and has additional disorders because of it. This is not a Christian article particularly (though it’s obvious from internet comments that Christians can be just as unsympathetic in their ignorance of the disease as anyone else), but one that many found useful at the now defunct Yahoo! Voices, where it had been published.  It was my most viewed and used article, by far, there.  So, instead of trying to republish it elsewhere, I’m posting it here.  I hope you find it informative and of value to pass on!  We hope that a cure may be found some day.

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UC is not a disease with localized symptoms only, as many believe

Ulcerative Colitis is not just ulcers in the colon due to stress or eating habits, as many people mistakenly believe. It is an autoimmune disease that is controlled through medication, if possible, and the removal of the colon if medications fail.

My husband has moderately severe ulcerative colitis (UC) and, despite being on medication, has frequent symptoms. Difficult for him, then, is his encounters with people who think this disease is no big deal or it can be self-cured. While some people with UC respond so favorably to medication that they remain in remission for very extended periods, for many this is not the case, and, there is no such thing as curing yourself of UC.

It seems hard to lead people to understand that UC is an autoimmune disease that has very little to do with controllable factors in a person’s life. About 500,000 people in the U.S. have UC, and about 50% of these have milder cases that respond well to medicines. The other 50% have more symptoms, have to go through difficult treatments, and may even have to have their colon removed.

The white areas are ulcers (image is from author's husband's colonoscopy).
The white areas are ulcers (image is from author’s husband’s colonoscopy).

What is Ulcerative Colitis?

Ulcerative colitis is a single disease, but it does vary significantly in its manifestation. It can be quite mild if found and treated early, or it can be deadly if not treated. The colon is an upside-down U-shaped organ, and UC can affect just the lower part of it (“proctitus”), the left side of it (“distal colitis”), or all of it (“pancolitis”). My husband has pancolitis, and no doubt this is partly due to a late diagnosis.

What happens with UC is that, for reasons currently unknown, the body attacks things in a person’s colon–and the colon itself–because it mistakenly views these things as infections. The colon becomes chronically inflamed, and this in turn further damages the colon. Left untreated the colon can become completely nonfunctional (called “toxic megacolon”), swell significantly, perforate, and cause death.

Ulcerative Colitis Symptoms

All of the symptoms listed below can range from mild to severe, and keep in mind that not everyone experiences all of these symptoms.

  • In children, a slowed growth rate
  • Abdominal pain and cramping; diarrhea
  • Blood and pus in stool
  • Weight loss; loss of appetite
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Swelling and pain in joints
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Lumps in skin that become ulcerated and then spread; mouth sores
  • Swelling of the iris of the eye

Complications from Ulcerative Colitis

  • Malnutrition, caused by malabsorption and/or medications
  • Bone loss and low bone density, caused by medications. (My husband had a foot break from only exerting normal pressure on it, and at a later point was found to have basically no vitamin D in his system.)
  • Anemia, and in some cases, massive internal bleeding
  • Colorectal cancer; cancer risk significantly increases each decade
  • Blood clots (especially in the legs, and clots formed there may travel to the lungs)
  • Kidney stones and liver abnormalities
  • Weight gain from certain medications, and emotional distress
  • Toxic megacolon, which leads to death if the colon is not removed

How is Ulcerative Colitis treated?

There are varying treatments, depending on the severity of the disease. They include proper nutrition relative to UC, prescribing “aminosalicylates” for mild to moderate UC, “immunosuppresents” for more severe levels of UC, and more difficult to handle drugs for emergencies or very nonresponsive cases. Please see Ulcerative Colitis: Medications for a detailed overview.

The ultimate treatment is the removal of the colon, or proctocolectomy. There are two different surgeries relating to proctocolectomy: the outcome of one is having an exterior bag that collect stool; the outcome of the more difficult procedure is that stool is expelled through the anus, made possible by a surgeon forming an interior “bag” from the small intestine. To read more about these procedures, see Removing the Colon: Surgical Options and Opportunities.

The CCFA: An Advocacy and Support Group

The CCFA, or Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, is a nonprofit organization that funds research into inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) and publishes the scientific journal “Inflammatory Bowel Diseases.” The group not only has local chapters, but all kinds of information for coping with UC and other IBDs, research information (including clinical trials needing participants), leads to support groups and doctors, and an online community. If you want to find out more about UC and IBDs, or if you want to help find a cure through giving, the CCFA would be a great place to start.

 

Additional Sources

Ulcerative Colitis – PubMed Health/A.D.A.M. Encyclopedia

Survival and cause-specific mortality in ulcerative colitis: follow-up of a population-based cohort in Copenhagen County – NCBI/PubMed.gov

Varied and Odd Happenings; brains, kidneys, and the kitchen sink

Hi wonderful readers.  I’ve been neglecting my Christian posts of late but I’ll tell you of the odd happenings and other reasons why (besides my previous post regarding CafePress).

First, let me mention what has been unfortunately happening with my husband.  My hubby has been ill all his life, and was finally diagnosed a while back with moderately-severe ulcerative colitis, an auto-immune disease.  They try to keep it under control with a drug that is for milder cases, and it doesn’t really make him disease-free.  So he has had those issues, but, something new came up.  He passed out just before work one day – prior to that he was very fatigued and had other symptoms for some time, too, but he kept working (it’s hard to tell if some symptoms are from UC or from something else).

That was about four weeks ago and the doctors still don’t know what is wrong with him.

Though not too clear, this was the view of Catalina Island from my husbands first hospital room. Amazing.
Though not too clear, this was the view of Catalina Island from my husband’s first hospital room. Amazing.

They had done an MRI of his head and found that he has a large group of brain cysts that are very odd.  They said at Kaiser that they had never seen anything like it (perhaps that’s because they don’t do as many tests on people as they should – seriously), but that those cysts would not be causing his symptoms.  So they apparently will be testing him more to try and figure out what is going on (this had been a slow and agonizing process with Kaiser – another healthcare provider is recommended).

In the meantime, if you can believe this, he developed extreme pain where a kidney is and he went to the ER.  They assumed the basic and normal thing – first time kidney stone victim.  But, as he needed more pain medication than normal and his heart rate was elevated for a very long time, he was admitted to the hospital.  I could write a whole long essay about his incident relative to our insurance, but right now I’ll ignore that.  In the end, what they found was that he had a large “kidney stone” that isn’t a “stone” blocking the tube from kidney to bladder.  He has stabilized but we’re waiting for the thing to come out to determine what it is, since it’s not made of calcium.

English: A kidney stone with associated hydron...
A kidney stone with associated hydronephrosis mid ureter (Photo credit: Wikipedia).

Otherwise, as we simply need more income, I’ve been trying to garner more freelance work and have been checking out the possibility of  another part-time job (haven’t looked into temp agencies yet, but if you have opinions of any agencies I’d be interested to hear of your experiences).  I’ve had two* assignments published at Yahoo! and am waiting–for what seems like an eternity, they are so slow–for other submissions to be accepted or rejected.  So, the time I used to spend writing posts here, I’ve been investigating where I might publish, obtaining writing gigs, and writing articles/essays.  One of my poems, one that is posted at this blog, is to be included in a Korean anthology of Christian poems.

I haven’t forgotten about this blog, however–no way.  I had studied much for writing a nice post on the book of Jonah and how it relates to Christ and God’s plan for mankind, but got distracted and overly annoyed about an explanation I saw by Calvin regarding why/why not God “changed his mind” about destroying Nineveh.  I thought it so absurd that I was preparing to write an essay about that only, but, I stopped myself (rage posts aren’t a good idea).  I then lost interest in writing up the Jonah piece, but I do plan on getting that done sometime soon.  It is one of my favorite prophetic sections in the Bible.

* I posted about my first one involving appendicitis, and if anyone is interested in my second one on preventing strokes, well, I’d be happy to know that you enjoyed it!

Update (May 18, 2014):  My husband became extremely pained again and we went to urgent care.  While kidney stones indeed cause a level of pain that is compared the child-birth, we just weren’t sure what to do.  What is “normal” when dealing with kidney stones?  Should you have to miss one to six weeks of work because of constant excruciating pain and/or nausea?  We now know that a big part of my husbands health problems are related to becoming dehydrated, which is being caused by his ulcerative colitis.  This was causing more problems with his kidney/kidney stones.

But to get to the point, he had surgery to remove the stone, which was found to be lodged in his ureter somehow.  I wish I knew more – I was at the pharmacy when my husband woke up and the nurses told him about the unwelcome lodger.  Regarding the weird non-calcification issue, the surgeon did speak to me briefly and said that the stone WAS calcified, so it is currently a mystery to us why were told differently earlier.  Thanks for reading and any prayers; if you have questions, feel free to ask!  We don’t mind, and maybe we’ll learn more from the question and in the effort to answer.

 

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Appendicitis Symptoms are not always “Typical”

Appendicitis isn’t a big killer in the US, but knowing more about it could save your life.  Having an unusual case of appendicitis myself, I wrote about it at Yahoo! Voices:  Appendicitis Symptoms Are Not Always “Typical.”  Since Yahoo! Voice shut down, I’m posting the full (but short) piece below.  Under it is a bit of additional appendicitis-related information that I find interesting and helpful.  I  hope this post helps with whatever you came here for.  Since my word-count for Yahoo!’s post short by requirement, not everything that I would have liked to have written is included; feel free to comment with questions if you have any.

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Appendicitis Symptoms are not always “Typical”

I have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) so when I noticed a small but different feeling in my abdomen, I wasn’t sure if it was anything to worry about. The next day it was still there, but I didn’t know what “it” was. On the third day, I knew that what I was feeling couldn’t be OK; appendicitis came to mind, but I wasn’t experiencing the typical symptoms.

My symptoms were not average

I did not experience the pain—which is often severe–near the belly-button that then travels down to the lower right abdomen.   I didn’t have nausea, nor did I ever vomit. One common symptom is a change in digestive behavior, having either diarrhea or constipation, but these are normal with IBS. I did have a low fever, however.

Having symptoms of something, I went to an urgent care center. The blood tests ordered by the doctor revealed that my white blood cell count was elevated, but not as much as is “normal” with appendicitis. My fever was also lower than it should’ve been. Nevertheless, thinking I might have appendicitis, the doctor told me to get to the emergency room (ER) while he called ahead so I’d be examined quickly. His call seemed to be ignored by the ER intake nurse, however, and I stressfully waited minute by ticking minute to be seen. Because I wasn’t writhing in pain, vomiting, or running a high fever, I felt a bit invisible to the staff–but significantly, my abdomen became more and more tender.

The long awaited diagnosis and surgery

Hours later, after being granted entrance to the bowels of the ER, my symptoms confused the staff. (This is not necessarily surprising since every year up to a third of child-bearing age women are misdiagnosed; AHRQ 2013.) The area affected was not the right place, they told me. Then there were delays: a gunshot victim was admitted and drew the doctors away, and, though a CT scan was ordered the scanner needed repair (!). So I waited, again.

Once the CT scanner became available appendicitis was solidly confirmed, and not something like an ectopic pregnancy. The lead doctor was very kind and acknowledged to me that a high degree of tenderness in that area can be just as indicative of appendicitis as much pain. I never did have much pain.

I was immediately attached to an IV with antibiotics and admitted to the hospital. Though my appendix had already perforated and I had a very long wait for the typical laparoscopic surgery, it went well. Due to modern medicine, I feel very fortunate to be alive. By sharing my experience, I hope that readers won’t ignore this potentially life-threatening condition simply because they don’t have typical symptoms. To learn more, go to the NDDIC’s Appendicitis page or the pediatric Appendicitis/Appendectomy page of CHOPS.

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Age-standardised disability-adjusted life year...
Age-standardised disability-adjusted life year (DALY) rates from Appendicitis by country (per 100,000 inhabitants). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Deaths from appendicitis in the USA are at about 400 per year.  This hard-to-get figure is from the latest WHO statistics, which aren’t all that recent (2008 data published in 2011).  I assume that this statistic includes deaths from people who didn’t go to the doctor in time, as well as deaths from post-operation complications.  There are over 250,000 appendectomies done in the US each year (about 8% – 10% of all people will develop appendicitis in their life times).

Besides my story of not being sure when and if I should see a doctor about the abdominal pain I was having, here is another story about a father-to-be who wasn’t so fortunate.  I am glad to be able to share this article about (partially) Paul Hannum, who lost his life due to appendicitis and lack of insurance.  He deserves to be remembered, and I wish his daughter had been able to know him.  In case you’re interested, here is a wiki list that might lead you to more anecdotal information:  Deaths from Appendicitis (list).

 

Christians are Called to Heal (Not Hurt)

Nazareth Hospital (Christian), in Nazareth, Israel
Nazareth Hospital (Christian), in Nazareth, Israel

. . . the crowds followed him on foot from the towns.  When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick (Matthew 13b-14).

Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.  When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.  Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.  Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”  Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.  As you go, proclaim this message:  ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’  Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons.  Freely you have received; freely give (Matthew 9:35-38, 10:1,7-8).

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed (Isaiah 53:5).

“Freely you have received: freely give,” Jesus told his disciples.  Are we not also his disciples?

Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.  News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them (Matthew 4:23-24).

Jesus healed everyone.  In the passages above (and in many others), people came to Jesus because of his good news and the healing he did to back up his claims.  Jesus also commanded his disciples to go and heal, right along with his command to proclaim the good news.  We may not all have the gift of healing, or perhaps we, in reality, don’t have the faith for it.  But . . . instead of people coming to us, why are they repulsed?

Is it only because we haven’t healed someone through faith?  Why, in this country (the USA), would anyone come to us when so many “Christians” are out there loudly proclaiming that the poor don’t deserve health care (can you imagine Jesus saying that after reading all the verses about him healing the poor, the sinners)?  Why would anyone come to our churches when so many loudly proclaim that the poor shouldn’t receive health care from the government, when they can’t get it from anywhere else?  Did Jesus give us the story of the Good Samaritan (provided below as well) so we can only nod in admiration, instead of actually living it (or at least trying to)?   Did he ever say, or even hint, that a Christian’s business is somehow separate from his spiritual life (of course not – our faith and obedience come first–in fact, they are all)?

Below are many bible excerpts, but by no means all (I did not provide much cross-referencing of verses here, either), on healing.  It seems to me that Christians often gloss over these as they read.  Certainly, most don’t take them to heart like the early church did, or the later church that set up hospitals.  A forthcoming post will address the healings in Acts and how earlier Christians tended the sick who were poor, and set up hospitals.  There are still some hospitals around that are owned and operated by Christians, but cries for all those who have no health care in the USA to somehow pay today’s hospital bills on their own muffle out – like cattle stampeding over feathers – the small, quiet, and steady work of the Christians who still obey Christ’s call to heal.

Luke 10 (The Parable of the Good Samaritan)

25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

26 “What is written in the Law?”  he replied. “How do you read it?”

27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

Matthew 8

When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”

Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy. Then Jesus said to him, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”

When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.”

Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?”

The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. . . .”  13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment.

14 When Jesus came into Peter’s house, he saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. 15 He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him.

16 When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah [53:4]:  “He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases.”

Matthew 15:30-31.   Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them.  The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.

Matthew 19:1-2.  When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went into the region of Judea to the other side of the Jordan.  Large crowds followed him, and he healed them there.

Luke 13:10-13.   On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all.  When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.”  When he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.

Luke 18

35 As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. 36 When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. 37 They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.”

38 He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

39 Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

40 Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?”

“Lord, I want to see,” he replied.

42 Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” 43 Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God.

Matthew 21:14-15.  The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them.  But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple courts, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant.

Matthew 12

. . . he went into their synagogue, 10 and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to bring charges against Jesus, they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”

11 He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? 12 How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”

13 Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other. 14 But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus.

15 Aware of this, Jesus withdrew from that place. A large crowd followed him, and he healed all who were ill. 16 He warned them not to tell others about him. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:

18 “Here is my servant whom I have chosen,
the one I love, in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
and he will proclaim justice to the nations.
19 He will not quarrel or cry out;
no one will hear his voice in the streets.
20 A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out,
till he has brought justice through to victory.
21 In his name the nations will put their hope.”

22 Then they brought him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, and Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see.

Mark 5 (see also Matthew 9 and Luke 8)

21When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake. 22 Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. 23 He pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” 24 So Jesus went with him.

A large crowd followed and pressed around him. 25 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26 She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” 29 Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.

30 At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”

31 “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ”

32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. 33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

35 While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?”

36 Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

37 He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. 38 When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. 39 He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” 40 But they laughed at him.

After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. 41 He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). 42 Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. 43 He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.

Luke 7

11Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. 12 As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. 13 When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.”

14 Then he went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” 15 The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.

16 They were all filled with awe and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help his people.”

Mark 6:4-6.  Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.”  He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them.  He was amazed at their lack of faith.

John 9

1As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.

His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, “Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?” Some claimed that he was.

Others said, “No, he only looks like him.”

But he himself insisted, “I am the man.”

10 “How then were your eyes opened?” they asked.

11 He replied, “The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.”

12 “Where is this man?” they asked him.

“I don’t know,” he said.

13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind. 14 Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man’s eyes was a Sabbath. 15 Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. “He put mud on my eyes,” the man replied, “and I washed, and now I see.”

16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.”

But others asked, “How can a sinner perform such signs?” So they were divided.

17 Then they turned again to the blind man, “What have you to say about him? It was your eyes he opened.”

The man replied, “He is a prophet.”

18 They still did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they sent for the man’s parents. 19 “Is this your son?” they asked. “Is this the one you say was born blind? How is it that now he can see?”

20 “We know he is our son,” the parents answered, “and we know he was born blind. 21 But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don’t know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself.” 22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who already had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. 23 That was why his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”

24 A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. “Give glory to God by telling the truth,” they said. “We know this man is a sinner.”

25 He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”

26 Then they asked him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?”

27 He answered, “I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?”

28 Then they hurled insults at him and said, “You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses! 29 We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.”

30 The man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will. 32 Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”

34 To this they replied, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out.

35 Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”

36 “Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.”

37 Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.”

38 Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.

39 Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”

Matthew 13:5.  For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’

2 Kings 5

1Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the Lord had given victory to Aram. He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy.

Now bands of raiders from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”

Naaman went to his master and told him what the girl from Israel had said. “By all means, go,” the king of Aram replied. “I will send a letter to the king of Israel.” So Naaman left, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekelsof gold and ten sets of clothing. The letter that he took to the king of Israel read: “With this letter I am sending my servant Naaman to you so that you may cure him of his leprosy.”

As soon as the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his robes and said, “Am I God? Can I kill and bring back to life? Why does this fellow send someone to me to be cured of his leprosy? See how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me!”

When Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his robes, he sent him this message: “Why have you torn your robes? Have the man come to me and he will know that there is a prophet in Israel.” So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. 10 Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.”

11 But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. 12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage.

13 Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!” 14 So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.

15 Then Naaman and all his attendants went back to the man of God. He stood before him and said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel. So please accept a gift from your servant.”

16 The prophet answered, “As surely as the Lord lives, whom I serve, I will not accept a thing.” And even though Naaman urged him, he refused.

17 “If you will not,” said Naaman, “please let me, your servant, be given as much earth as a pair of mules can carry, for your servant will never again make burnt offerings and sacrifices to any other god but the Lord. 18 But may the Lord forgive your servant for this one thing: When my master enters the temple of Rimmon to bow down and he is leaning on my arm and I have to bow there also—when I bow down in the temple of Rimmon, may the Lord forgive your servant for this.”

19 “Go in peace,” Elisha said.

___

(all passages are from the NIV 1984)

Why, Oh WHY, do Asian noodles have so many calories?

Chow Mein pack with hand to show scale (it's not a big pack).
Chow Mein pack with hand to show scale. It’s not a large pack, but bigger than the Indo Mie brand.
This article was updated on May 14, 2014.

One thing I love (one of the only things I love) about living in Southern California is that there are many Asian stores around (restaurants, too, of course).  They are the best places for buying fresh fish, and usually for fresh produce, too (by “best” I mean they have both good selections and good prices).  I recently made a clear broth-based soup with fresh salmon in it after visiting a new Asian market, and it was awesome; good nutritionally and inexpensive (the store I had visited sold bags of salmon “scraps” that yielded a whole plate of salmon after I deboned and skinned it).

IndoMie brand noodle, this one Mi Goreng (there are other yummy flavors, too).
IndoMie brand noodle, this one Mi Goreng (there are other yummy flavors, too).

Besides all the fresh produce, the Asian stores also sell a great array of sauces and cooking aids, teas, and instant foods – like instant noodles – and these can be purchased by the box (if desired).  I don’t mean the cheap cup-o-noodles that can be found anywhere, but more substantial fare.  Some of these instant noodles can be quite expensive, too, but I just leave those on the shelf.  One of my favorites, and my family’s favorites, is Sapporo Ichiban Chow Mein noodles.  They’re not expensive (usually $.68 – $.98 each), but they’re good!  IndoMei varieties, like Goreng, are excellent (and pretty cheap).  Maruchan (and Nissin) instant Yakisoba’s are easily found now in many stores and are pretty good too, and since they don’t require a pan to prepare them they are tempting to us instant-fix sort of people (they range in price a lot, from $.78 [interestingly, at Target] – to twice that much, depending on the store).

Instant (microwavable) Yakisoba.
Instant (microwavable) Yakisoba.

So now to the point.  My son and I are looking to lose some weight and so started investigating calorie counts and all that, and what I’ve discovered surprised even me (I used to do all that diet stuff a lot when I was younger).  The surprising thing I found was that there are fewer calories in many Hungry Man frozen meals than in many instant noodle packs.  Eating a Hungry Man frozen meal also provides more variety of food types, so more nutrients (but, on the down side, more cholesterol, too).  And what’s actually quite annoying is that the manufacturers of the the noodle packs will not admit that one pack is one serving.  The Sapporo Chow Mein, for instance, actually claims to have three servings in it!  When it is cooked it fits in a small bowl . . . yet when you go to an Asian restaurant, you will be served far more than that with an individual order of chow mein.

So why, really, do instant noodles have so many calories?  Well, because they’re FRIED into that brick or cup shape.  They don’t look like they’re fried, to me, so all the more shocking to find that that is where many of the calories come from.  Nippon actually has a page on the process – how it’s done and why.  Nongshim, a Korean manufacturer, claims to produce healthier, non-fried instant noodles.

I hope the table below—providing a comparison of noodle meals with some Hungry Man frozen entrees—helps you out.

Instant Noodles vs Hungry Man.  Chart by author.
Instant Noodles vs Hungry Man. Chart by author.

dinner_bourbon_steak_strips

If you’re into noodles . . . and seasonings, check out this blog (if you haven’t already):  How I Eat My Noodles.  If you would like more information on real ramen, see Kobi’s Kitchen: Types of Ramen, Styles of Ramen.

“Health-care price gouging is a scandal . . . “

Link:  Health-care price gouging is a scandal, but there are solutions

This article was an eye-opener.  I mean, I KNOW there are big big problems with the health care system, but from what I know (or what I thought I knew) of non-profit organizations, it had no idea it was possible for non-profit hospitals and agencies to do what they’re doing.  How is this happening?  We need to ask our government this, which regulates non-profits.  I started to look into this issue today after my boss told me that health insurance is going up 30% AGAIN, for individuals.  People, can we please do something for our brothers and sisters in this country?  Many people that are homeless ended up that way over health costs!!  Anyway, these are excerpts from the article.  Go to the link to read the whole thing, and the author provides a name and place to get more detailed and highly informed information.  Thanks.

I once tried getting an answer from officials at Bayfront Medical Center about why they billed a breast biopsy at more than $12,000, not including fees charged by the radiologist and lab. All I got were vague answers, and no one would break down the cost.

In nonprofit hospitals, where top executives often are paid lavish compensation of $1 million or more, Brill [from Time magazine] documents how patients are gouged, charged hundreds of dollars for services that Medicare would have reimbursed at little more than $20. In one typical case, a dose of life-saving cancer medicine, already expensive at $4,000, was marked up by the hospital to $13,700 — with no explanation given. . . .  We overspend on health care by $750 billion a year, Brill asserts, more than the gross domestic product of Saudi Arabia.

. . . transparency in medical billing is an essential consumer-protection reform. And . . . we need to put limits on pharmaceutical pricing to bring down U.S. drug charges in line with other developed countries. That reform alone would save Medicare $25 billion a year.

The uninsured, who are powerless to negotiate a better deal, can pay tenfold for the exact same services.

For even-better ideas, read Princeton economics professor Uwe Reinhardt’s posts at the NYTimes.com blog Economix. An expert in the funding of health-care systems . . .

The author of the piece, Robyn Blumner, believes that a single-payer system would be best, as does my CPA boss.  I agree.  We are still being killed softly by insurance company policies, even if they are keeping prices from hospitals down.  What underwriter should deserve health insurance themselves when they deny a dying (or simply overweight!!) person any?  This more than amazes me.  This is inhuman.  But from what people have been taught in schools, there’s nothing special to being human – it’s survival of the fittest (and somehow all other countries and humans are better than Americans . . . ).  People are losing their critical thinking skills, their compassion, and the appreciation and desire for beauty.  God help us!

*      *      *

America, the home of the free . . . to screw and be screwed.

Ginger & Honey for Sore Throat; Hose for Plantars Warts!?

Ok, so I’m suffering through a very . . . bad . . . cold right now.  I’m quite fuzzy in the head, tired, have a very bad soar throat (off and on), am stuffed up, etc., etc.  I’m typing this because, I guess, I’m so tired of sitting around doing nothing.  This cold was coming on for a while, and the last couple of days were unpleasant, but this is the worst.  Still, I feel like doing SOMETHING, and, this tea I’ve been making and drinking is great and I wanted to share it with you.

Let me also say, first off, that I was using one of those sore throat sprays and it was doing nothing for my throat this time.  Nothing.  I don’t think I have strep throat, either, just a nasty sore throat.  But this tea has helped.  With a small mug, I used about one teaspoon of fresh ginger (well, grated ginger in a jar that you can get in some stores), one heaping teaspoon of honey, and a bag of Good Earth Lemon Grass Green tea.  (I put the ginger in a metal tea holder so that it’s not all loose in the liquid.)  By the way, honey has been clinically tested and found to control a cough better than cough syrups can (“10 Home Remedies that Work, AARP Bulletin, November 2011), and ginger seems to be somewhat of an anti-inflammatory.

The second part of this post’s  title speaks of hose and plantar warts.  For some time I’ve wondered if I should write about my experience with plantars warts.  It’s weird and embarrassing, and I don’t actually know if it would help anyone or not (!).  I praise God that my plantars warts had finally been cured, and if God is the one who did it, then prayer is what is needed.  In any case, I’ll let you know how mine went away and perhaps you might try it if nothing else has worked.

After I got married, many many years ago, I had developed a plantars wart on the bottom of my foot, though I didn’t know what it was.  I mention my marriage because my husband had plantars warts – I found out – and so did his family.  They can be spread by sharing moist environments.  Anyway, so I didn’t do anything about it, since it was small and I thought it would just go away.  But it didn’t, and eventually another one formed next to it.  I tried the over the counter liquids and patches, but they didn’t do much (tip: the liquid for corns is the same acid, but stronger and more effective).  The patches never stayed on my moist feet, though there’s one made with 40% acid that can be prescribed, and they stick better.

I finally had to go to a podiatrist.  He did the freezing treatment for about 9 months, I think, and it was hell.  He used the dry ice on the warts until they would bleed a little, which he said was what would actually get my body to fight the virus that causes them.   I couldn’t walk on that foot for a couple of days, really, after treatment.  But that didn’t work either, and the only other option, which he seemed loathe to do, was surgery.  I can understand not wanting to do that surgery, since it is by no means 100% effective and there are always risks.  After my doctor moved, I just stopped treatments.  Eventually I asked again about surgery, but my doctor at the time prescribed me the strong patches instead (mentioned above).  These helped a little, but did not make the warts go away.  At this point, I had the warts for about 10 years.

What cured me of my plantars warts, however, was getting a temporary part-time job where I wore hose, both the whole leg type and the knee high type.  (I live in Southern California and wear hiking/walking sandals most of the time.)  I actually was concerned when I took the job because I thought, based on my research into plantars warts, that having my feet in shoes with hose would only make the warts worse (heat + moisture = growth), and they can be pretty painful.  However, counter to all that I had read, after the four months of working like that, my warts were gone.  Praise God!  And they have not come back.

Thanks for reading . . . need some more of that tea now . . .