Sunday, February 26, 2017

Full Mulder

We were sitting in her room, just me and my mom.  Catching up, talking about the new job, this was early December, and the staff dietitian walks in.  She says hello and introduces herself. 
She explains some dietary restrictions and tells my mom that she's on a 2000 calorie diet.  This only perked my attention because it came off like a very generic number, such as the 2000 calorie example we see on all labels in the store.  
So I ask "why 2000 calories?"
She explains that it's the recommendation for someone in her current condition. 
Again, very generic, but now I'm setting her up.  
Because I already know my moms BMR, her health conditions and caloric restrictions.  So now I'm involved like the crocodile in the river and this 55 yr old state licensed, master degree'd, dietitian is Bambi.  
She says "you need to be consuming around 50 grams of protein per day, and the rest in carbs, very low fats."
I intervene "exactly how many carbs and fats?  And is this in her menu?" as I hold up the generic menu that every single person (on a regular diet chooses from) in the entire center. 
"I'm not really sure."

Let's pause for a second.... again, I'm speaking w the dietitian who oversees the menu and nutrition for the patients in the center, and these are very basic questions.  I'm just a guy, and I know 50 grams of protein is only 200 calories.  So shes looking for 1800 calories in mostly carbs... which in this place is going to be a ton of sugar and prepackaged food... which creates more issues and more doctor visits... 
But she's not really sure. 

My mom asks about protein supplements because her appetite is very low, but she knows she can force a drink down to help reach the number. 
Dietitian says "no, they're hire in fats, but I'll give you one that we have here."
I ask "what are the cals, proteins and sugars in yours?"
Guess the answer....
"I'll check on that."
So I say thank you and walk out to the nurses station, requesting the speak w a director.  

Now, you probably know me.  If you've worked w me, you definitely know me.  Have I EVER recommended anything without knowing every bit of information, pros or cons?  Ever.  
No.  But I'm dealing w this.  

Fast fwd... so that above story was December.  
In January, my mom is headed back to UH and into the MICU, battling pneumonia, kidney failure and other issues and while in, cancers are found.  Liver then pancreas then lung. 
Doesn't take very long on google and some medical history to get a solid bearing on a possible root of this.  
But it was MICU, then step down, then MICU then step down, then a rehab center on Harvard, then MICU again then back to heartland, home of the dietitian from the above story.  
Talks of chemo and medical treatments aren't much of an advantage.  Doctors say there isn't much they can do. 
But I disagree.  And I couldnt help but to think of coaching and lessons learned on the fields... no matter the odds... no matter the numbers and records... we're going to prepare and we're going to battle.  Because anything can happen. 

I've always wondered about another way, ever since my friend pointed me towards the "Tree of Life," center in Arizona.  I've read that w a raw diet, meditation and movement, they've cleared cancers, diabetes, ptsd and numerous other diseases that doctors said couldn't be cleared without prescription drugs or damaging therapies.  
I've always said movement is medicine.  
Nutrition is medicine.  
And now here is my mom.... and I have to sell her on this, something new, something she'll see as one of my crazy ass ideas, she's someone who grew up trusting a system.  Trusting doctors.  Trusting what looked like "good food."  

But we're back a heartland... doctors say no more than a year at best.  I say a strong diet, movement, the right supplements and positive thoughts can buy more time.  Can get 1 more garden.  1 more summer.  1 more birthday.  
And I go into her room and find the menu of choices.
All shit.  Ok, 80% shit.  Loaded w sugars and carb loaded meals, very few vegetables, nearly all canned.  Very little protein, no natural fat.
This is the actual menu

So I find the dietitian, because its my understanding that a state licensed dietitian literally writes out a nutritional plan and guidelines w an intent to assist in a healing process, cure or at least not do further damage to someone.  
And I recorded the conversation. 
Me: I 'm wondering who decides what the patients receive.
Dietitian: corporate
Me: gotcha.  So they decide on a handful of items that can be chosen and you create the menu?
Dietitian: yes
Me: ok, I'm wondering why patients have the options of things like.... idk... cheez-its.
Dietitian: (she giggles like its a wild question) why wouldn't they?
Me: um, because it's a rehab center and I've never seen a cheez-it tree.
Dietitian: people need snacks. 

I literally laughed in her face and walked away to find someone hire up. 
"People need snacks."
I want her to quit her job and go do something she's more qualified for. 

So, after being detoured away from two men in administration, I find one of them walking to their car (it's friday around 4:45, time to go home). 
I pose the same exact same questions I did to the dietitian.  
Same.  They blamed corporate.  But they also added "I wouldn't eat the food here."

Ever see a dog or a little kid do something so dumb, so wild, you couldnt respond.  You just kinda sit there like "wow... that just happened."
I asked "then how can you feed this to patients?  To sick people?  To people trying to heal?"
Response:  It's a budget situation.  No one here makes these decisions, they're made in Toledo at the corporate office.  I'll give you their info, I'd love it if someone raised the issue to them.  

I will go to Toledo and meet with who makes these decisions.  I want them to tell me how this menu is suitable for anyone, let alone someone in rehab with digestive cancers.

Moving forward with this... I'm not letting it go.  I think this will be a very productive way for me to exercise my current anger.  
I've said it before and the more I look at it, the more I see it.  It's like that 3d puzzle with directions to stare int he  middle and eventually a face appears... well, I've been staring at this situation, and I see it very clearly.  
The population, society, is flooded with distractions and disinformation.  Distractions to keep you from looking and disinformation to finding the truth and confusing you.  
This entire system is rigged for money.  I know I'm not going down a wild path in context with the rest of the post but follow me for a minute.  
Fat vs carbs?
Low fat?
Low carb?
Which is better?
Sugar free.
is it really?
Grass fed meats vs non?
Walk the aisles and read labels... which is better?  Which is actually healthy?
Now place yourself in the position of a very busy mother or father... 3 kids... sports or extra activities all year around... you're busy, you're stressed, you're both working 40+ hours per week... quick, whats for dinner?  
Why is the information, why is the truth, so hard to find?
Because disease makes money.  
And the more illness, the more jobs.  
You might be thinking I lost my mind, but I invite you to walk with me through a grocery store and then a hospital.  
In the grocery store, you will probably learn all the bullshit on the labels.  
In the hospital, you'll see dollar signs.  
Or invite me... you find how I'm wrong.  You tell me how me how marketing and lies hasn't fooled society for 30 years.  You tell me how we've advanced so much in technology yet some cures seem to still be missing, despite some of the largest research departments and fund raising organizations the world has ever known.  
Ya, I'm mad.... but I'm also happy that I've found the enemy and I plan to do as much as I can to educate and deter the habits that land people in places like Heartland in Mentor.  

Saturday, February 11, 2017

It's a funny thing... we've all played the "what would you do if _____," game, right?
"If you had ____, what would you do?"
"If you could ______, would you?"
That type of thing.  Just weird or fun day dreams.

So I'm playing that game and its still ______.  Blank.

"What would you do if your mom is diagnosed with _____?"

And I cant fill it in...

I've had this thought lately of metabolizing emotions.  I'm sure its a theory out there, I haven't cared to google it, I'm just tinkering with it in my own head.  Pretty straight forward comparison.  Digestion of food = digestion of emotions.  How we use it for energy, what it does to our system, the taste/flavor, absorption, etc.  Do we like it?  Is it good for us?  Do we want more?  Do we need more?  Should we be dieting on this?  On and on.
So this _____ is like that food you saw when you were a kid, where you slammed your mouth closed and refused to eat it.  Wouldn't even try it.  It was just "Nope, not eating that shit."

Except, now I'm an "adult." And sometimes they serve something you don't want, but you have to eat it.
And sometimes you don't have any control.  You cant slip out, you cant dump the food, you cant pass it to someone.

So they fed this thing and I really cant get it down.  I thought I could.  Had I played the ______game, prior to, I would've been real cocky ass and said how I'd swallow it whole.
But this was a few days ago.

My mom has had a series of health issues, from what I know, around 25 years or so.  Pretty consistent doctors visits and scares.  It seems to always have a doctor say "Well, not really sure how it happened but," and then 2 weeks later, shes ok and back home.
And all along, probably as a defense mechanism, I figured any one of these trips, could be thee trip.  I think I started that weird little game back in 1994 when this started.
So when I heard she went in with breathing issues, I wasnt overly concerned.  "She'll be fine."

But this one has gone differently.
Tests and pictures found masses and nodules.  In a few days we were told liver cancer, then I think pancreatic cancer and today she told me "it's in the lungs."

But it just really hit me this week and I cried for the first time.
I'll behave very normal, very stoic, but when I turn the corner or get in my car... it's hard.

The what would I do game?
"Jay, what would you do if your mom was diagnosed with a handful of cancers and you knew time was very limited?
I coach the situation.  In this case, it means that I'll do everything I can to make sure she has fun and laughs and has hope until the end.  I'll keep her thinking about the summer and the garden.  I'll keep her focused on eating right.  I'll keep her thinking about seeing the girls plays or concerts and set them on the calendar, we'll keep planning things.  I'll keep her focused on rehab and getting strong.  I'll keep focused on going home and enjoying the house and upcoming birthdays.  I will not let her feel like she's dying, no matter what any doctor or test or stats say.

This Is Blue Chip