Living with a diagnosis
Thomas J. Shaw, author of “The RX Factor,” knows how difficult it is to live with an incurable disease; he has one. Shaw has hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy, the same condition that causes otherwise healthy athletes to drop dead after exertion.
Shaw offers these tips for dealing with the psychological impact of an incurable disease diagnosis:
Get a second opinion. Often we take a doctor's word as gospel. It doesn't hurt, though, to consult with one or two others. Physicians make mistakes and don't possess the exact same knowledge. Seek out different treatment options.
Gather accurate information. The Internet contains many reliable sources, but there's a lot of rubbish, too. Check out university websites and sites such as WebMD.com.
Use it as a wake-up call. Some people can't change unhealthy habits until they're slapped in the face with the consequences. Use your life-changing diagnosis as an impetus to exercise, eat healthier foods and give up things such as alcohol and tobacco.
Focus on what matters. We're all going to die. Sometimes the only way to deal with that is by focusing on what really matters: family, friends, pets, etc. A positive attitude can help you cope and thrive.
For more, go online to www.jthomasshaw.com.
Nose-blowing season is here
Oklahoma City is a tough place to live if you have allergies. The warm winter allowed allergens to get an earlier start than usual, so Oklahomans have sniffling and sneezing for months.
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America and Puffs tissues offer these tips:
Be aware of triggers and traps. “Stuff nose?” the companies asked in a news release. “You can thank triggers such as dust mites, pollen, pets and mold for your discomfort.” Vacuum carpets regularly, wash area rugs often and use slip covers on furniture.
Closed-door policy. Don't bring allergens into the house. When you get home, slip off your shoes and take a shower. That prevents pollen and other irritants from spreading through the house and onto the furniture.
Treat symptoms. When your nose won't stop running, reach for soft but strong tissues; blow or ball up a small piece to block one drippy nostril, then switch out with the other as needed. Over the counter and prescription allergy medications can help, as can saline nasal sprays.
A news release for Dr. Stephen Apaliski, physician and author of “Beating Asthma: Seven Simple Principles,” mentions certain foods and environmental conditions that can trigger allergy or asthma attacks. Among them:
Rapid weather changes and humidity.
Summer fruits and vegetables, such as melons, apples, peaches and celery.
Insect stings from bees, wasps and fire ants.
Chlorine from pools or hot tubs.
For more information, go online to www.beatingasthma.com.
Grief is, unfortunately, an all too natural part of human existence. Dealing with it is one of the most difficult things we face.
Integris Health is offering a chance to learn from a certified grief counselor. Bob Willis, former bereavement coordinator for the Integris Hospice program, will discuss “Living Beyond Grief.” The talk is part of Integris' fireside chat series.
“Participants will learn about Bob's many talents as a counselor, author and sculptor and benefit from his passion for helping others,” according to a news release. “He will share a brief step-by-step approach on how to cope and give the audience tools to work through grief.”
The talk will be from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. July 10 at the Integris Cancer Institute of Oklahoma, 5911 W. Memorial Rd. The event is free.
For more information or to reserve a spot, call 951-2277.
The Cancer Institute also is hosting its 18th annual “Celebration of Life Art Exhibit: A Celebration of Life.” The exhibit features works by people who have been affected by cancer. The exhibit opened June 15 and will continue until July 26. The art is displayed in the Cancer Institute's grand lobby.
Stay safe on fourth of July
Don't wind up in the hospital on Independence Day. Integris Health offers these firework safety tips:
Professional fireworks displays are safer than home fireworks. Especially if you live in an area with a municipal ban on fireworks.
Use fireworks outside only, and read and follow all warnings and instructions.
Don't drink and play with fire.
The shooter should wear eye protection.
Children shouldn't touch fireworks. Don't let anyone under 12 play with sparklers, and even then, make sure an adult is present.
Light fireworks only on smooth, flat surfaces away from grass, brush, homes and other items that could burn.
Set off one firework at a time. Don't alter fireworks or wind their fuses together.
Don't set them off in metal or glass containers, and never relight a “dud.”
Use common sense; spectators should stand back, and never aim fireworks at other people.
Don't carry fireworks in your pocket.
Keep a bucket of water handy. Soak spent fireworks in the water before throwing them in the garbage.
If a firework damages your eye or if you suffer extensive burns, go straight to the emergency room. If you suffer a small skin burn, cool it with water (not ice) and see your family physician.
COMPILED BY KEN RAYMOND, Staff Writer