Chronic Illness increases vulnerability to Climate Change

Featured
Melting Iceburg. Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Climate change- in the long term and present moment (Hurricane Dorian) threatens my ability to access state of the art medical care – without which I am not sure how I would survive. This is a major issue for any person suffering with a chronic illness. For example, during a major Hurricane I may be unable to leave my home and access emergency care or medical treatment(s).

Having days to think about Hurricane Dorian and the potential life threatening impact of this major storm has reminded me about research I worked on earlier in my life while going to college for my Bachelor’s Degree. I worked on a research project to inquire if a deforested area of rainforest could be replanted and regrown in a tropical area and what kind of life would return. I witnessed the return of life to the Gaunacaste National Park in Costa Rica!

Today my mind turns to climate change and as it turns out my alma mater published a research article this month called:

The case for strategic and managed climate retreat:

https://science.sciencemag.org/content/365/6455/761

Please visit Science Magazine and read!

I know this Hurricane may become a major burden on my health and that of others with a chronic illness. Climate change and the impact on chronic illness is the bigger issue at hand!

It is very easy for my condition to worsen and flare up if I were to lose power and the conveniences of A/C and fresh food along with the poor sleep, stress, and fear of needing to get to a hospital but being stuck at home!

I repeat, the threat to our modern world by climate change threatens my ability to access state of the art medical care – without which I am not sure how I would survive.

The article from Science Magazine about a strategy to mitigate against damage from climate change and major associated problems such as larger and larger Hurricanes. I am posting this article because 1) There is #HurricaneDorian heading straight toward USA and 2) My undergraduate university published this article and I had a very positive experience working on research at UDEL myself in a related field.

Stay safe during the Hurricane and best regards, Isaac Levinsky

Hurricane Preparedness with a Chronic Illness

Featured
NOAA Hurricane Dorian, 08/30/2019 5am Update.
https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/refresh/graphics_at5+shtml/090144.shtml?cone#contents

It is important for everyone to take hurricane preparedness seriously. Please visit this website to learn more information including disaster supplies kit from NOAA:

https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/prepare/ready.php

Right now the news is talking about Hurricane Dorian, so please keep up to date. What is not mentioned on the news is how to prepare for your chronic health condition when you have a hurricane projected to land where you live. Each condition is different in terms of medications and other treatments so I will speak specifically to Crohn’s Disease and what are some good general ideas in a list below so I am prepared:

  • Make sure you have enough medication to treat your condition, especially considering you might be stuck at home and unable to access a pharmacy.
  • Considering Crohn’s Disease is a disease of the Digestive System, make sure you not only have survival foods, but foods that you can eat. Check with your doctor.
  • Crohn’s friendly foods: this is quite variable and your doctor might recommend a specific diet. An example is the Low Residue Diet – see link to learn more:

https://www.webmd.com/ibd-crohns-disease/low-residue-diet-foods#1

  • Stay ahead of dehydration, have electrolytes ready. Make sure to have plenty of clean drinking water available and you can add Gatorade powder for example to instantly have the electrolytes needed to recover when you have diarrhea from Crohn’s Disease.
  • Share your concerns with your family and ask for help if needed
  • Reduce your stress level and try to relax by reading or listening to music

Stay safe and listen to the news for Hurricane Preparedness and tips for safety.

-Isaac Levinsky

Tracks of all Atlantic tropical cyclones from 1851-2005
by Nilfanion on 2006-08-05. Background image from File:Whole world – land and oceans.jpg

Starbucks- Denied Man with Crohn’s Bathroom Access

Featured

STARKBUCKS MAKES ANOTHER MISTAKE…

Starbucks in Washington DC
by: Elvert Barnes
date: 29.11.2005
source: https://flickr.com/photos/perspective/68320063

Starbucks has made another mistake, this time it was a man with Crohn’s Disease who was denied access to the bathroom. Per state law, this man was supposed to be able to access the bathroom as he was having an emergency situation that led to an accident because he was denied bathroom access. To make matters worse for Starbucks, the man is also a lawyer, so we might hear more about this in the news. Here is the link to the article:

https://finance.yahoo.com/amphtml/news/lawyer-crohns-says-denied-access-201746701.html

As it states in the article a total of 15 states have passed laws allowing people with certain medical conditions access to employee bathrooms. This is a move in the right direction. For those who do not know, Crohn’s Disease can cause accidents otherwise known as bowel incontinence. This is both embarrasing and also can be prevented sometimes, such as in the situation at Starbucks.

In fact one of the “superpowers” of having Crohn’s Disease is that I have to plan my whole life about where there are bathrooms so I can go #2 when needed. In fact, once you have Crohn’s, it becomes apparent that the world is not designed for people with Crohn’s Disease or Colitis. Imagine never being able to predict when you will need to use the bathroom and only having a minute or two to be able to use the bathroom before it is too late. This is a reality for me and for others out there. I hope that all states pass a similar law and it would be great to get a “bathroom pass” from your doctor if you had Crohn’s Disease.

In the meantime I will be working on a “bathroom pass” that you can print out if you have Crohn’s Disease that explains your need to use the bathroom -should the situation arise where you are denied access and about to have an accident. The bathroom pass will be wallet sized, printable, and helpful!

-By Isaac Levinsky

Think You’re A Tough Guy?

I’m a tough guy… (By my father Bruce)

Not afraid to do what has to be done. During my working life I put in long and challenging hours at the job doing both physical and mental tasks. I was blessed with good health for the most part, so I could handle the workload. Occasionally, a cold, bad knee, or back would challenge me on the job; but it wasn’t that bad…Until I experienced a bout of intestinal flu! It stopped me in my tracks. As “Kramer” of Seinfeld once said: “Stick in a fork in me, I’m done!”

All I could do was lie in bed and suffer. The pain, diarrhea, nausea, dehydration, fever, chills and fatigue were devastating. No work for me!

I guess I’m not so tough after all.

My son, Isaac Levinsky, has these intestinal flu symptoms every day and worse. He has Crohn’s Disease, has had it since the age 19. Has it stopped him? No way!

Isaac is the bravest and toughest person I know. Despite the ravages of Crohn’s, the daily struggle to survive with this cruel disease, Isaac has battled on. Not just surviving, but excelling, first as a student achieving his Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.), and then becoming a world-class psychologist!

Watching the Crohn’s Disease progress, unable to stop it as his father, I realized I am not as tough as I thought.

-Contributed by my father Bruce

Featured

Gratitude: Defined- the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

Graditude

“Gratitude is best and most effective when it does not evaporate itself in empty phrases” – Foundation and Empire, Isaac Asimov

I am reading a wonderful series called Foundation by Isaac Asimov. He is writing about 50,000 years in the future yet the books were written starting in 1951. Isaac Asimov is a must read for any person interested in human interaction, science fiction, or science in general along with humanity.

A lesson that is quoted above is about gratitude and I know personally that being grateful is important to my positive outlook and daily survival and beyond survival actual living.

So try this exercise that I do: When I feel the most pain from Crohn’s or I feel the worst or just not my best in any sense I make myself focus on:

  • What I am thankful for?
  • Being thankful for me is a way of life.
  • It is “polite” to say thank you, but it is showing gratitude when you actually follow-up that up with help for some form of paying attention. For that is truly showing gratitude.
  • If there is someone in my life that I can help – I do! It is the small things that help in life, we have to learn to see the opportunities.

I am grateful to have life and to be able to look outside at nature and enjoy being a part of the natural world today! How do I give back today? I write this blog and encourage myself and those whom read it to try and be appreciative of the fact that we are alive – what a gift!

-Isaac Levinsky

Medication Side Effects – Chemotherapy and Infusions

Featured
Photo by Dan Meyers on Unsplash

Today I feel sick this is nothing new. In fact each week I take a chemotherapy drug for my Crohn’s Disease. I also go to a cancer center and receive an infusion for my Crohn’s Disease and that medication is very powerful. The upside is that the medications weakens my immune system so that in theory my immune system attacks my own digestive system less. In my observation, I notice the side effects short-term. I get chills and fevers, severe nausea, loss of appetite, malaise and fatigue, and this ends up with my taking naps and then waking up more tired than when I went to sleep!

I chose the image above because I love the message and I tell myself this each day it seems. Do not give up, I am not alone, and I matter. Taken literally, I am made of matter, there are billions of plants and animals all around – life is everywhere, and defeat is not an option. The deeper meaning is that being positive helps to reduce the negative thinking that gets in the way of making the best out of each day. Also, social support is essential to reducing the isolation caused by illness and medication side effects like fatigue and fevers and chills etc. So instead of covering up in blankets and spending the day in bed if I have severe chills I will wear my winter coat inside with two pairs of pants and this is a normal thing for me to better cope with how I feel.

Right now I feel just awful – what might be described as chemo sick – but I tell myself that this means the medication is working and I know the alternative – no chemo medicine and that road only leads to more surgeries, pain, and worsening of my Crohn’s Disease. So when I do not have a choice in life such as needing to take these powerful immuno-modulators and infusion medication I try to embrace them and be thankful they exist – for I surely would be worse off without them 🙂 So to my readers, keep your head up, do what you need to feel your best today, and listen to your body – if you need to rest then rest, if you just feel sick – try to feel sick and read or watch TV – it beats just staring at the ceiling 🙂

Best, Isaac Levinsky

On the Waterfront (1954) Marlon Brando Classic Film

Featured
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBiewQrpBBA

“I coulda been a contender” Quote by Marlon Brando in: On The Waterfront w (1954). A great film in all respects. This film and line is relevant to anyone with dreams about what could have been in life! Whether it’s throwing a boxing match as in the film due to mob pressure; a sport’s injury, chronic illness – like me, or other circumstances that got in the way – you will relate!

A must watch film for sure! You will find this movie periodically on TCM – it was on yesterday. This movie shows that even beyond your “prime” you can still make decisions that will make positive changes in your world and help those around. We all have value even if you do not feel as well as you did before or if you are older, you are still a contender in my book!

By the way- the famous scene shown (picture and link to YouTube) were mostly improvised because Marlon Brando was a method actor – the feelings are real 🙂

Picture credits: Photo by Yucel Moran on Unsplash and On The Waterfront (1954) can be purchased or viewed on TCM or by visiting RottenTomatoes https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/on_the_waterfront

Featured

NASA Announces Industry Partnerships to Advance Moon, Mars Technology


Illustration of a human landing system and crew on the lunar surface with Earth near the horizon.
Credits: NASA Source: NASA Announces Industry Partnerships to Advance Moon, Mars Technology

As NASA prepares to land humans on the Moon by 2024 with the Artemis program, commercial companies are developing new technologies, working toward space ventures of their own, and looking to NASA for assistance.

Source: NASA Announces Industry Partnerships to Advance Moon, Mars Technology

“What a perspective it must be to look back at Earth from Space or the Moon and beyond! How small we each are in the grand scheme of the Universe and yet we can all make our impact each day! What you control the most is your thought process and trying to be positive. So right now I am telling myself that today will be an excellent day!” – Isaac Levinsky