Season Three: Episode Seven

FEBRUARY 27, 2022

So far this nothing to report. I have a PCP appointment next week to refill my prescriptions and then an eye appointment later in March to check my visual field.

I have noticed my left eye’s periphery is starting to decrease but I’m still able to see okay. My left eye is definitely my concern as I notice my eyesight getting blurrier as time goes on. I’ve had to depend on my glasses more and more now when they used to be when I drive at night, now I need them during the day too.

My eye pressure has been elevated for the last couple of years and I’m sure that has to do with my diabetes. I have to get my diabetes under better control so the pressure in my eye hopefully can go down without the need of prescription eye drops.

Let’s see what else is there? I have a WordPress blog goal! I want to reach 300 followers with WordPress or email. Hopefully if I reach that goal, I’ll be able to set up a Patreon that way I have the ability to create even more content and reach even more people. I’d love to offer exclusive things to my patrons, including the freedom to choose what you want to read about as well as vote what sticker designs come next and I would love to send you folks stickers every month. Something to think about.

I have a 2022 reading goal of 50 books. Not going to lie, I think I’m going to reach that goal way before the end of the year. I read ten books in January and almost ten in February. I forgot how much I love sitting on my bed and reading a really awesome book. Of course, I also forgot about how it feels to come across BAD books. Like this one I just finished. I’m not even going to bother doing a review on the blog for it, it’s so bad.

My weight loss goal is to make it to 150 pounds by the end of the year. So far the first two months haven’t gone the way I want. I gained some weight, but this week I was able to get down to what I started at at the beginning of the year. So hopefully it keeps going down.

I’m on my last pen of Ozempic from my old insurance. I don’t think my new one covers Ozempic as far as I know. I still hate needles. Not looking forward to insulin that’s for sure.

I’m thinking I want to add something else to my physical activity besides just walking. I’m thinking about skateboarding. I like the idea of cruising down the road. My sisters used to have skateboards in school and they hardly used it so I’d go out and try them out. I didn’t know much and stayed on flat roads for safety reasons especially since I didn’t have a helmet or anything because I didn’t like their heads. But it’s been something I’ve been wanting to do since then.

The days are getting hotter in Hawaii and the nights are also getting warmer. I’m going to have to put away the thick blankets and sweatpants pajamas now. It’s going to be a hot summer.

Otherwise that’s pretty much it. I don’t think there will be much to report next week. Tuesday is Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, or in Hawaii, Malasada Day! My husband and I will be in Kona on Tuesday so I’m looking forward to getting malasadas from somewhere. Thursday is World Book Day and I will celebrate by reading. Check out my Twitter to see what I’m currently reading.

Hope you all had a great February and I hope you all have a BETTER March. Mahalo! 🌺

Sundown Towns

Sundown towns are cities or towns that are all-white on purpose. They use informal and formal means to keep African Americans or other people of color out of the city.

The name derives from the posted and verbal warnings issued to Blacks that although they might be allowed to work or travel in a community during the daytime, they must leave by sundown or risk threats, injury, and maybe even death.

African Americans were not the only minority group to be prohibited in sundown towns, it affected Jews, Native Americans, Chinese, Japanese, and others.

History

Sundown towns didn’t exist before the Civil War, but precedents existed for the exclusion of free African Americans. Predominantly existing between 1890 and 1968, thousands of towns across the US drove out their black populations or took steps to forbid African Americans from living in them.

As early as 1843, Arkansas denied free African Americans entry into the state and in 1859, Arkansas required such persons to leave the state by January 1, 1860 or be sold in to slavery.

White mobs would actively attack black prisoners, dragging them from their prison cells. These actions would cause the black community to flee in fear of their own lives, often leaving their belongings behind.

Or the white mobs would actively go through the black neighborhoods, tie men to trees and whip them, burn several homes, and warn all African Americans to leave that night.

In 1930, the lynching of 2 black teens by a white mob in Marion, Indiana resulted in the town’s 200 black residents moving away never to return.

Recent History

Most sundown towns exist from the Mid-West to the West in many predominantly white communities. Even California had sundown towns, Glendale being one until as late as the 1990s.

A city that is less than 2% African American may indicate that there may have been a history of sundown town laws.

Black motorists have to be extra cautious when traveling long distances. Some towns and cities may not be very welcoming to them on their travels and they may find some businesses and hotels won’t service them. Even to this day.

Can you imagine being in a town and fearing for your life? You have to leave town before the sunsets or you’re no longer safe and welcome there. Most women today can relate to this sentiment. Not every city is safe for all Americans and that’s a terrifying thought.


References

Encyclopedia of Arkansas
FOX LA
Black Past

Other Information

BuzzFeed News

It Ends With Us

Author: Colleen Hoover
Publisher: Atria
Genre: contemporary romance
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5


Trigger Warnings: Sexual and domestic abuse


I really had no idea what I thought when I finished the story. I was confused, happy, sad, and really frustrated by everything that happened to Lily. Everything was going great and then everything wasn’t. I absolutely loved the story and I love how she had Lily handle her life as it came at her.

I would definitely recommend this book. This was my very first Colleen Hoover book and it was really great. However, if domestic abuse and sexual abuse are triggers for you, please avoid this story. Yes it ends all well and good but man I got really emotional reading those parts so I can only imagine how someone would feel if this is triggering for them.

One monumental life-changing thing at a time.

Ryle Kincaid, It Ends With Us

I would definitely reread this book. I’m not too thrilled by how easily Lily and Ryle got together and everything, but it’s still a really great story.

With that said, Lily really has like everything going for her and everything. It was kind of annoying but then of course, if there are big highs, there are big lows too and man were they big. So that’s why I felt kind of confused, not by the story, but just how I felt about it in general.

It stops here. With me and you. It ends with us.

Lily Kincaid, It Ends With Us

I don’t think I’ve ever actually read a story that went so completely well for the MC and then all of a sudden took a turn for the absolute worse. It was like whiplash and took me a second to process what had happened. I had to reread the switch a second time just to try and process it.

I couldn’t put the book down at all. At this point, I had read several books that started off really slow. This one was a jump at the gun from the start with the first time Lily and Ryle meet. I kind of like when authors jump right in to the story without having to build everything up. You can build things up as you’re going through the story, I feel.

You can stop swimming now, Lily. We finally reached the shore.

Atlas Corrigan, It Ends With Us

I don’t think Lily and Ryle or even Atlas were very relatable for me in general. All of them kind of have the life of their dreams and they’re all doing what they love. Life hasn’t been nearly as good and fair for me, but that’s why it’s a story. Totally unrealistic but the most realistic parts are the abuse scenes so again, if you’re triggered by abuse, don’t read this book.

It was a really great book besides how everything was so easy for the characters to get and they’re basically living my dreams. It hurts when you read about fictional characters living your dream. But it’s definitely still a great story and I WILL be reading another Colleen Hoover book soon!


2022 Reading Goal

Book #7 out of 50

2022 Reading Challenge

Famous author you’ve never read

What Everybody Ought to Know About Too Much Stress and Your Body

What is stress? Stress is the body’s reaction to harmful situations. When you feel threatened, a chemical reaction occurs in your body that allows you to act in a way to prevent injury, also known as the “fight-or-flight” or stress response. This can manifest as an increase in heart rate, quickened breath, muscle tightness, and rise in blood pressure. (WebMD)

Occasional stress is a part of everyone’s life. Working through and processing stressful events is key to keeping chronic stress at bay. (Healthline)

Some common effects of stress can manifest in different facets of your being. They can be physical, mental, behavioral, or mood based.

Physical symptoms include:

  • Headache
  • Muscle tension/pain
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Change in sex drive
  • Upset stomach
  • Sleep problems
  • Low energy
  • Frequent colds/infections
  • Nervousness/shaking
  • Dry mouth/difficulty swallowing
  • Clenched jaw/grinding teeth

Symptoms that can impact your mood include:

  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Lack of motivation/focus
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Increased irritability/anger
  • Sadness/depression
  • Difficulty relaxing/quieting your mind
  • Low self-esteem

Behavioral symptoms include:

  • Overeating or undereating
  • Angry outbursts
  • Drug or alcohol misuse
  • Tobacco use
  • Social withdrawal
  • Exercising less often
  • Procrastination

Some cognitive symptoms include:

  • Constant worrying
  • Racing thoughts
  • Forgetfulness
  • Disorganization
  • Inability to focus
  • Poor judgement
  • Pessimism

The key to managing stress is also to find active management strategies. Inactive strategies such as watching tv or scrolling social media on your phone may seem relaxing at the time but can lead to more stress in the long term. (Mayo Clinic & WebMD)

Some stress management strategies:

  • Get regular physical activity
  • Practice relaxation techniques, like deep breathing exercises
  • Set aside time for hobbies
  • Keep a sense of humor
  • Spend time with family and friends
  • Take breaks from the news
  • Take breaks from your devices
  • Get adequate sleep
  • Talk to a professional, either your doctor or therapist/counselor
  • Meditation
  • Avoid excess substance use
  • Building community through faith-based organization and activities (MayoClinic & Healthline)

Consequences of ongoing, chronic stress can cause or exacerbate:

  • Mental health problems – depression, anxiety, etc
  • Cardiovascular disease – heart disease, hypertension, stroke, etc
  • Obesity and other eating disorders
  • Menstrual problems
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Skin and hair problems – acne, eczema, etc
  • Gastrointestinal problems – gastritis, irritable colon, etc

Too much stress on your body can cause some serious health issues. My sister would get so stressed out she would break out in acne for weeks. One time she was so stressed she gave herself an extra period. Imagine that, being so stressed about whatever it is and giving yourself an extra period in between periods. Three periods in a two month timeframe.

Stress management is so important. It affects your health, your quality of life and can make you so miserable that it causes more stress.

Finding healthy ways to manage and to cope will help lessen the amount of stress in your life. Finding the cause and dealing with it will also lessen the amount of stress in your life.

If you are expressing high amounts of stress and any symptoms listed above, please try to utilize some of the management strategies listed above. If you still feel high amounts of stress, please seek help from a medical professional, there may be underlying medical issues that may be causing your stress.


References

Mayo Clinic
WebMD
Healthline


Related Posts

Ways to Manage Stress

They Both Die At The End

Author: Adam Silvera
Publisher: HarperCollins
Genre: Young Adult, Adventure
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5


When I finally finished this book, it was like a sigh of relief. I felt a bit of mixed feelings because at least they lived their last day as fully as possible but death was literally staring them all in the face all day. There’s one character who was supposed to have gotten the call and I don’t know if she died at the end. Hers was the only story that didn’t finish and that kind of upset me at the end, but everything else resolved.

I would recommend this book to a friend. It’s a reminder to live every day as if you were going to die tomorrow. Unlike in the story, we don’t have someone calling us to let us know that we could die in the next 24 hours. We don’t know when we will die and we shouldn’t wait until we’re about to die to live our life. And also it reminds us to find people who make us feel like we’re living every day of our life.

I keep my photos in black and white because my life lost color after they died.

Rufus, They Both Die At The End

I don’t know if I would put this on my reread pile. But if I was say bored, I would reread it and pass the time. It definitely has low re-readability for me.

It started off a bit slow in the morning. But I guess that’s a theme with a lot of these books, start off slow and slowly build the environment and meet the necessary characters and then blast off in to the story. Sometimes, that’s where the author can lose me. If it takes too long to get a move on, I will walk away and DNF a book. But when it did pick up, it was a great story.

I was on the edge of my seat throughout the story. There were other Deckers stories being told that tied in with our two main characters, Mateo and Rufus. I kept thinking like oh man is this it, is this how they die. No, it’s not, they live. Maybe they will live beyond all odds. But then they don’t and I find a bit of peace from that.

No matter how we choose to live, we both die at the end.

They Both Die At The End

I think Mateo is really relatable as far as his fear of going out in to the world that could kill him and not wanting to do anything that could expedite that. But he slowly comes out of his shell and finally lives. Rufus was a little less relatable for me but his story and his character was still very intriguing. I think the characters could be relatable to people.

It’s a great story and a great reminder to live every day as if you are going to die tomorrow. Don’t live a life you’ll regret not having lived it the way you wanted. Tomorrow is never promised, so live for today.


2022 Reading Goal

Book #6 of 50

Season Three: Episode Six

FEBRUARY 21, 2022

Today is my dad’s birthday. He would have been 51. He died eight years ago now. We don’t know what took him from us but we found him in the morning and it was the hardest day of my life thus far. He had diabetes, kidney failure, heart disease, and probably a number of other things that we were just too naive to know about. He’s the reason why I’m doing this. I didn’t know anything about diabetes until I was diagnosed with it myself. If I had known then half the things I know now, maybe we could have helped my dad better with his diseases.

I miss him every day and there’s always something going on that I wish he could have been here to see. He was supposed to be at my wedding and at my sister’s wedding. He was supposed to be here to help my mom, she needs someone to share life with. He was supposed to be here.

There’s no excuse today to not know what diabetes can do to you. The kind of complications that come along with it. There are so many resources out there and my blog is a way for me to combine the information I find in one place, not just for myself but also for everyone who can benefit from this.

I want so badly for a cure to be found, if there’s one to be found, that I will donate to diabetes research and to organizations that help to educate and manage diabetes. It’s so important for us to know what diabetes is and can do. I thoroughly believe in that.


So far, I’ve got an appointment with my endocrinologist in April, that was the earliest he could take me. I think more and more people are going to see the doctors and since a lot of doctors moved away or retired here in Hawaii, whatever doctors are left are being overwhelmed with patients. We need better healthcare and access to healthcare in Hawaii. We need more doctors here.

Next month, I have another appointment with my PCP for refill of my prescriptions and an eye appointment to test my visual field. In April, I have another eye appointment to go over the test results. I also have my endocrinologist appointment to discuss insulin options and I also have an appointment with a dentist for the first time in years.

I’m getting my healthcare in order this year now since I have my own health insurance. I really need to get it together because I think I need insulin again. I’m both looking forward to it and dreading it. I hate needles. Hopefully things get better from here.

Henrietta Lacks

Our next topic of discussion is the immortal life of Henrietta Lacks. Specifically about tissue samples that were taken without her consent in 1951 and how they have advanced medical research for us today. A story of consent and righting a medical wrong.

Henrietta Lacks (born Loretta Pleasant) was born on August 1, 1920 in Roanoke, VA. She married David Lacks in 1941 and in the ten years they were married, they had five children. Their family lived in Baltimore, Maryland.

In January 1951, Henrietta went to the John Hopkins Hospital, one of the only medical facilities in the area that treated African Americans, for vaginal bleeding and abdominal pain. She was reported saying she felt like there was a knot in her womb. While in the hospital, Dr. Howard Jones, a gynecologist, discovered a large malignant tumor on Henrietta’s cervix.

Henrietta underwent radium treatments, the standard of the day, which involved stitching glass tubes of radium secured in fabric pouches to the cervix. During the procedure, the doctor took a couple tissue samples without Henrietta’s knowledge or consent, which at the time was an okay practice.

These tissue samples were sent to a lab run by physician George Gey, who was studying cancer tissue samples. Usually tissue samples didn’t last for a long duration of time, they normally deteriorated before significant tests could be run. However, not only had Henrietta’s cells survived the first day, they had nearly doubled within 24 hours. This meant that Henrietta’s cells were virtually immortal. They could survive on their own and duplicate every 20 to 24 hours.

Her cells were nicknamed HeLa cells for the first two letters of her first name and last name. Her cells went on to be used in medical and scientific research all over the world. They were even used to help the development of the polio and COVID-19 vaccines. There are over 10,000 patents are registered involving her cells.

The tragedy is that Henrietta Lacks died on October 4, 1951 after a couple months in the John Hopkins Hospital. Her autopsy showed that the cancer had spread to her entire body. Her legacy lives on in the cells that were taken and used in the medical field.

For almost twenty years, her family didn’t know of the existence of the HeLa cells until a batch of them were contaminated by other samples and the children of Henrietta were getting phone calls about giving blood samples for further research. Her family found out that not only were the cells taken without anyone’s knowledge or consent, but they were being shared all around the world, along with Henrietta’s personal information.

There was no compensation to the family for the use of the cells. I’m not even sure if that was exactly an issue for them other than the fact that these cells from their dead mother were just treated as a scientific commodity. As if they didn’t come from a living, breathing human with a family and a love for cooking.

To learn more about Henrietta Lacks and the legacy she left behind, there is a book called The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. There is a film based on Skloot’s book by the same name on HBO Max if you have access.


Henrietta Lacks Foundation

The Henrietta Lacks Foundation was established in 2010 by Rebecca Skloot and seeks to provide assistance to individuals and their families who have been directly impacted by research studies that were conducted on individuals without their knowledge or consent.


References

Biography
Britannica
Hopkins Medicine
Nature

All The Bright Places

Author: Jennifer Niven
Publisher: Ember
Genre: young adult, novel, contemporary romance
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5/5


I thought this book was so great. It took me back to high school and it wasn’t really something I wanted to bring back. I went to a different school for my sophomore year and life got a lot better for me there. But my freshman year was really difficult. I couldn’t understand who I was and my friends didn’t really feel like my friends. I relate so much to Finch that I kept reinventing myself in that one year. I could really relate.

It’s a high school story but if your high school experience was like Violet or Finch, you can really relate. Violet lost her sister and everyone was tiptoeing around her. She didn’t feel like she could go back out in to the world. She didn’t even life riding in cars almost a year later. Finch was struggling with mental health and finding himself and his place while also struggling to stay in the present. Unfortunately, he was labeled as a freak.

Lovely is a lovely word that should be used more often.

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

I would definitely reread this book. I even watched the Netflix movie. The movie wasn’t as great, they cut a lot out from the book but it was still kind of nice to see it play out. I would put this one in my reread pile.

I enjoyed the writing style. It’s two different points of view, switching between Violet and Finch. It kind of starts off a bit slow, but picks up in about 100 pages or so.

Once it started picking up, I really got in to the story and it actually made me want to do a wandering adventure of my own hometown. I’m happy to say that I have wandered a bit since reading this book and I discovered some gems in my hometown so far that I didn’t know were out there and I look forward to finding more.

When you consider things like the stars, our affairs don’t seem to matter very much, do they?

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

There is talk about suicide in this book. If you’re not okay with that, I think you should avoid this read. But it’s very much a wanderlust and finding yourself after losing so much and rebuilding from the ashes kind of thing. Definitely a good read.


2022 Reading Goal

Book #5 out of 50