How to Heal Relationships: What’s Love and Communication Got to Do With It? Part Two

GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
How to Heal Relationships: What’s Love and Communication Got to Do With It? Part Two
When our relationships fail it is because we have made choices that are destructive and self-defeating. So caught up in our ego and our need to be right, we are blinded to the truth that love flourishes when we are compassionate, accepting, and forgiving.

So what can we do about it?

STOP YELLING AND DISENGAGE

When we are yelling at each other we are not effectively communicating. We are not listening to the other person’s point of view. There is no true dialogue. No meeting of the minds. No desire for a meeting of the minds. We are just trying to continually drive home our own point, our own grievance, our own sense of righteousness and our need for retribution.

This behavior is not merely a pointless waste of time. It is incredibly destructive to the relationship because basically all we’re doing is attacking and abusing each other. More to the point, we usually end up saying hurtful things we wish we hadn’t said, which turn into resentments, which get lodged in our partner’s heart, where it can be very difficult to remove.

Consequently, the best thing to do when we’re yelling at each other is to stop yelling and disengage. We agree that we’re not being productive, that we should table the argument for a while, go our separate ways for a while, give each other some space for a while. We agree to re-engage in the disagreement at a later time when we’ve both cooled off, have had a chance to think about all the issues involved, and are prepared to calmly discuss, mediate and negotiate a peaceful resolution of the problem where both party’s needs will be taken into consideration.

VALIDATE, SOOTHE AND COUNTERPOINT

When we are engaged in an argument we oftentimes respond to what we perceive as an attack with an attack. Out partner accuses us of some wrongdoing. We feel it is unjustified and not true. But usually the first thing that comes out of our mouth is: “That’s ridiculous!” “You’re crazy!” “There you go again!” “Calm down!” “You’re being hysterical!” “Did you forget to take your medicine?!” “Are you having your period?!”

We engage in all sorts of name-calling, shaming and blaming. It is all extremely invalidating to the other person. And it usually leads to them being infuriated, them responding with anger, aggression and name calling of their own, and an escalation from a potentially minor issue to World War III.

So here’s what we do: When we feel someone is unfairly accusing us of something, rather than immediately going to the default mode of “the best defense is a good offense,” we take a moment to think before we speak. And then we validate their feelings. We let them know we have listened to what they said. We have heard their complaint. We understand why they perceived the situation the way in which they did.

And then we soothe them as well. We take the time to remind them that we love them. We care about them. It is not our intention to hurt them in any way. Their feelings matter to us.

And then we counterpoint. We express our position, our perspective on what happened.

Here’s an example of the three-part process: When our partner accuses us of doing something unloving, we might say, “I can understand why you thought I was being inconsiderate. I want you to know that I care about you and am concerned about your needs and your feelings. In this situation, when I said ________, what you heard was ________, but what I meant was ________.”

By first taking the time to validate and soothe them, they feel respected, they feel they have been heard, and they are much more likely to not get defensive and angry when we challenge their perceptions, and they are much more likely to be in a frame of mind where they can hear our position and calmly discuss and resolve the conflict.

By using these two techniques, a great deal of time once spent in emotionally exhausting and physically draining arguments can be redirected into enjoyable and nurturing experiences, which reaffirm our love and our commitment to our partner.

For more by Walter E. Jacobson, M.D., click here.

For more on relationships, click here.

Postcards From Lebanon: Part 7 in a Series of Cancer-Related Commentary
“I’m not gonna let them catch me, no…” — The Allman Brothers

With September came, cycle two, which began with blood analysis reflecting that I was “good to go for chemo:” white blood cells and neutrophils in normal range with red blood cells, hemoglobins and platelets slightly low yet acceptable. It should be noted that the “dirty” lymphocytes were still in single digits at 2.6 (2,600) which is wonderful — when I ruled the world.

During my meeting with the medical staff prior to infusion we discussed my “20 questions,” including:

Will I need to take Zofran (nausea med) and Ativan (anxiety med) during the cycle, or only after? I’ll be given these meds during chemo so no need to take them. After chemo the Ativan may be used to supplement the Zofran for nausea in helping alleviate Zofran’s side effects (constipation).

What can I expect in terms of my blood counts after this round of chemo (and, if applicable, after future rounds)? For the white and red blood cells, they will drop some, but since we are starting higher they shouldn’t drop as far as they did during cycle one, The neutrophils dropping to zero will be addressed by adding medicine on day four (see below for details). The hemoglobins and platelets will most likely respond as previously, but if there is any bleeding (nose, gums), bruises or pinpoint rash on the front of the legs or arms, let the hospital know.

Will the side effects from the drugs become more prevalent with successive cycles? Generally what I have experienced will continue (except the neutropenic fever will be prevented), however, after the third or fourth cycle of chemotherapy I should start to become progressively more fatigued.

Is there anything I can do to help with constipation? Yes, take an over-the-counter stool softener. Drinking Miralax powder helps and doesn’t result in diarrhea.

How long after chemo day three should I continue to take Zofran for nausea? Since I only took it proactively through Friday and didn’t have any nausea after that time, it should be the same going forward. Also, Ativan can be substituted for Zofran at night.

What can’t I do? Unfortunately, the same things I’ve been told (see Part Four).

What can I do? Use my judgement, based on how I feel over the course of the four weeks for each cycle.

Are my past immunizations still effective? Yes, and they are only lost through a bone marrow transplant, but that is so far in the future — I’m not gonna let it catch me, no…

We also discussed cycle three of chemotherapy scheduled to begin on October 7. My blood will be analyzed to again, ensure the counts are within acceptable levels to begin the third cycle. I also need to bear in mind that the remaining cycles may not happen as planned, as my various blood components will need to be in “safe ranges” (as described in Part Six) before each cycle can begin.

Once in the infusion room, my nurse for cycle two, day one, came over and asked if I was John Stark. After reading my name on the treatment protocol sheet she thought I was the namesake of the John Stark Highway in Newport, New Hampshire. Between figuring out who I was and after administering the pre-meds, karma intervened. I qualified for a faster infusion of the Rituxan. They gave me 900 mg (an increase of 200 mg over the total Rituxan received during cycle one) and decreased the infusion time from five to 1.5 hours so I could speed down the chemo super highway — chrome wheeled, fuel injected! Of course, had I felt anything funky (rash, itching, fever or something out of the ordinary) I was to let them know so they could slow it down — “slow down, man in the mirror slow down,” (Chris Ledoux). But we kept the pedal to the medal and my day finished early.

When on cycle two, day two, I told my nurse she was joining my angels here on earth, she told me that one of her previous patients had claimed coming into the infusion room was like going to hell — now I have a Hell’s Angel by my side.

Cycle two, day three ran a little long since I arrived a tad late, but my nurse got things underway in reasonable time. The only out of the ordinary thing was a volunteer came and gave me Reiki — which was calming. All in all, these three days involved my caretakers listening to my steroid-driven discussions or letting me sleep.

And then came cycle two, day four. I received a shot of Neulasta (Pegfilgrastim) to prevent my neutrophils from dropping to zero (see Part Six for why this is now part of my protocol). While it was a quickie, in and out, it landed me on my ass. By the evening I was feeling as if I was coming down with the flu, a typical side effect. I ran a low-grade fever, aches all over (predominately the lower back and legs), extreme exhaustion, nausea and headache. I didn’t get out of bed until late Saturday night. While I was miserable, these side effects meant the Neulasta was doing its job — “Working in a coal mine, going down, down, down… ” (Allen Toussaint)

The dizziness I’ve been experiencing when I stand up continues and is most likely due to orthostatic hypotension which is when the blood in the body shifts upon sitting or standing. I have a mild case of this, and it could also be as a result of having low blood pressure from chemotherapy. And yes, my fingers and toes still tingle, but much less now. The fatigue, which will be with me for the duration, wasn’t as evident until the fourth day when I began feeling this cycle’s effects in force — I’m in a chemo state of mind….

Timing: October 7 through October 10, cycle three of chemotherapy.

Oh, and Lynne Cannon, Karen Carmichael, Becky Greenan, Barry and Elyn and Macie Rosenthal, Renee Epler, JoAnn Onacki, Chris Perry, Judy Stutt and Sue Tomberg have been added to my list of angels here on earth. Who knew so many angels walked amongst us?

I’m not gonna let ’em catch me, no…

Postcards From Lebanon: Part 1

Postcards From Lebanon: Part 2

Postcards From Lebanon: Part 3

Postcards From Lebanon: Part 4

Postcards From Lebanon: Part 5

Postcards From Lebanon: Part 6

Healthy Living – The Huffington Post
Healthy Lifestyle Changes Could Lengthen Your Telomeres
Eat whole foods. Exercise. Meditate. Rely on supportive family and friends. All of these things have been linked, whether independently or together, with better health. And now, a new study shows it’s never too late to start reaping the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

The study, published in the journal The Lancet Oncology, shows that healthy lifestyle changes can have an impact on aging and age-related diseases on a cellular level, by increasing the length of telomeres. Telomeres are the “caps” that protect the ends of chromosomes, similar to how shoelaces have plastic caps to stop them from fraying.

Shorter telomeres have been linked in previous research with cell aging and increased risks of age-related diseases like cancer and dementia, as well as premature death.

“We know from earlier studies that eating an unhealthy diet, smoking cigarettes, being under chronic emotional stress, loneliness and depression may shorten telomeres. But this is the first one we can actually increase the length of them,” study researcher Dean Ornish, M.D., told HuffPost. Ornish is the founder and president of the Preventive Medical Research Institute, clinical professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and medical editor at HuffPost. He’s also conducted extensive research throughout his career evaluating the effects of lifestyle changes on coronary heart disease.

For the study, Ornish and colleagues assigned 35 men with low-risk prostate cancer, who were not being treated for their cancers but were undergoing active surveillance, to one of two groups. One group of 10 men was instructed to make lifestyle changes — including eating a plant-based, vegan diet of whole foods, exercising moderately, receiving social support, and practicing stress-management strategies such as mindfulness and yoga — for five years, while the other group of 25 men was not instructed to make any lifestyle changes. All of the study participants’ telomeres were measured at the start of the study.

Ornish explained that these men with prostate cancer were used because they were able to give samples of their tissue throughout the study for testing. And while more research is, of course, needed, he said he expects the results to apply even to people without cancer.

Researchers followed up with the men after the study period, when they again measured their telomeres. They found that telomere length actually increased among the men who were assigned to undergo the lifestyle intervention, by an average of 10 percent. Meanwhile, telomere length decreased by an average of 3 percent among the men not assigned to a lifestyle intervention.

They also found that the amount telomeres lengthened was linked with the degree to which the men implemented the healthy lifestyle changes, with those making more changes experiencing greater lengthening of their telomeres.

Telomere research is still young, and more research is needed to understand what exactly a 10 percent average increase in telomere length translates to in terms of disease and death risk. But the findings do tell us that “our genes are predisposition, but not our fate,” Ornish said. “To the extent we’re wiling to make changes to diet and lifestyle, we can change things that were once thought to be impossible.”

#alkalinity #alkalinitymovement #7.2 #sevenpointtwo

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