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Posts Tagged ‘MAP’

Gout

Abortion not associated with Gout

My doctor just told me that I have gout – and I am disgusted with myself.

Let me first say that I have never experienced more pain in my entire life.  The pain is focused on my left toe and there is no escaping it.  All I keep thinking about is how Ben Franklin, who had gout for years, could have accomplished all that he did because, aside from writing this post, I cannot focus on anything other than the pain.  Fortunately, at night I overdose on Nyquil so I’m sleeping okay.  But the fact that the gout will probably go away in a week or so is no consolation.

There are many causes of gout.  If you eat a lot of rich foods, like shellfish, if you don’t drink enough water, if you don’t exercise, etc.   You can also get gout if you drink “heavily.”   Let’s talk about that one for a second.

My mother was an alcoholic, a mean, nasty one.  I didn’t drink until I got to college, then I went nuts.    To this day, I do not know how I am alive because there were many times when I drove home from a bar totally inebriated.  I don’t remember the rides home.  I’m also lucky I never killed anyone.

Over the years, I continued to drink.  I became what my father used to call his father – a “weekend drunk.”   I would play or work all Friday and Saturday but then around 5 o’clock I’d open up the bottle of Vodka or Rum and start making some sweet drinks.   Every Saturday and Sunday morning was a nightmare, as my head was one giant hangover.

I am now 60 years old and about two years ago – after a gout attack – I vowed to get off the hard stuff.  Since then, I haven’t had any more serious alcohol, the only exception being when I visit my good friend Scott in Del Ray Beach and we share a bottle of Southern Comfort as we sit on the shore, talking about life.  These days, I “only” drink Amaretto, which is not as alcoholic as the hard stuff.   On Friday night at about the same time, I pour a small glass and quietly watch TV.   I have about three glasses, which gives me a nice buzz.  I wake up the next day with no hangover, I’m ready to go.  Then, that Saturday night I do the same.  I just sit there quietly and don’t disturb anybody.  My two older boys know I drink and at times they have found the hidden bottles and they just throw them out.  I don’t say a word to them, but I certainly appreciate their sentiment.

I don’t believe I am an alcoholic.  I don’t crave alcohol in the mornings and it doesn’t affect my work.  It’s just that once I get through the week, I’m ready for my weekend buzz.  Maybe I’m in denial.  Perhaps if I went to a counselor, he would determine I am technically an alcoholic.  I continue to insist that I am not, that I am stronger than those folks who desperately crave a drink.    I really don’t know and I don’t care to find out if I am an alcoholic.

But this gout has really got me to thinking.  I am totally paralyzed and cannot imagine going through this again.

For the sake of my kids, my spouse and myself, I gotta stop.

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Emergency Contraception Abortion

Emergency Contraception Abortion

In keeping with my promise to keep you informed of issues in the U.S. Congress, I wanted to bring to your attention legislation that was recently introduced by Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Congresswoman Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) that will raise the public’s understanding and awareness of Emergency Contraception (EC).

The bill is called the “EC Education Act” and it would fund public-education campaigns about this medication, letting people know that it is available, safe, and effective at preventing pregnancy. The bill would allow states to fund outreach programs to doctors, pharmacists, and women to increase their awareness about EC.  This effort comes at a good time because some studies indicated that many women do not use EC because they underestimate their chances of becoming pregnant. Improving public education and awareness could help reduce the estimated three million unintended pregnancies that occur in the U.S. every year.  In the U.S., emergency contraception is now available over the counter for adults and by prescription for those under age 17.

Of course, we expect the radical anti-abortion groups to come out in opposition to these bills.  As they have always done, they will try to confuse the public about EC by comparing it to abortion.

So, what can you do today to help this bill become law?

If your Senators and Congressman are pro-choice (contact me if you’re not sure), send them a simple email asking them to “cosponsor this legislation.”   After a bill is introduced, it – along with thousands of other bills – is referred to a committee.  That committee will not consider the bill unless they have an idea that there is support for it.  So, a Member of Congress can indicate that support by “co-sponsoring” the bill.

If your Senators and Congress are anti-abortion, tell them they should support the bill because Emergency Contraception is one way to prevent abortions!   And don’t let them tell you that 72 hours after unprotected sex, there is a “baby” in the woman’s uterus.  Gimme a break!

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Abortion HPV

Abortion HPV

Genital human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection.  There are more than 40 types of HPV that can infect the genital areas of females and males, as well as the mouth and throat.  HPV is not the same as herpes and it can be acquired not just during sexual intercourse, but during any form of sexual activity that entails genital contact.

Most people with HPV do not develop symptoms or health problems because, in 90% of cases, the body’s immune system clears HPV naturally within two years.  However, there are certain types of HPV that can cause genital warts in males and females. More important, however, is the fact that HPV is the leading cause of cervical cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 10,000 women will get cervical cancer this year and over 3,500 of those women will die.

Let’s talk about the symptoms for a second.

Genital warts usually appear as a small bump or groups of bumps in the genital area. They can be small or large, raised or flat, or shaped like a cauliflower. These warts can appear within weeks or months after sexual contact with an infected partner—even if the infected partner has no signs of genital warts. If left untreated, genital warts might go away, remain unchanged, or increase in size or number. They will not turn into cancer.

The problem with cervical cancer is that there are usually no symptoms until it is quite advanced. That is why women should get regular screenings for cervical cancer.  Taking these tests can help you find the early signs of the disease so the problem can be treated early before it turns into cancer.

Now, let’s talk about preventative measures that you can take.

There is a vaccine that can help prevent HPV.  It is called Gardasil.

Gardasil protects you against Squamous Intraepithelial Lesions which are pre-cancerous lesions of the cervix. Specifically, the vaccine prevents diseases caused by HPV types 16 and 18, which are associated with about 70 percent of cervical cancers, and types 6 and 11, which are associated with genital warts.

The vaccine is given in three separate injections over a six-month period. You must complete the entire series of shots. It’s believed that immunity is achieved one month after the last shot and that it remains effective for at least five years.

If you are a woman between 11 and 26, you should get the vaccine.  If you receive the vaccine before becoming sexually active, the vaccine offers the most protection because, if you have had even one sexual partner, you may have already been exposed to HPV.

If you have been sexually active for a while and are under the age of 26, the vaccine may still offer cancer protection.  Even if you have been exposed to HPV, research shows that you may not have been exposed to all four types “covered” by the vaccine. So even if you’ve been exposed to and infected with one, two, or even three types of HPV, you can benefit from the vaccine.

If you have a young daughter, you should begin your daughter’s reproductive health care before she becomes sexually active. This is a wonderful time to talk frankly about issues of puberty and growing up female.  The first reproductive health visit is an ideal time to discuss the benefits of the vaccine and to offer it as a protective vaccination against cancer.

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