My name is Jennifer Depew, and I am a Registered Dietitian with fifteen years experience working in public health in a program that has been found to save money on Medicaid costs for every dollar spent on preventative health education and supplementary food vouchers. At the time I felt it should be available to all women who wanted the educational services whether they were income eligible or not, but being busy, limits in life are placed and it was a program to support lower income families who had young children by providing funds for foods and providing health screening education.
This is a story of personal and professional struggle and triumph, success and failure. Priorities are based on values and values are based on what we experienced and learned as a child. I learned many valuable lessons and developed some coping skills that have helped me succeed in many areas of life and fail in others, or a little of both in all areas. I'm still typing, so that is still on the win side of "Staying Alive," - the ultimate and most basic goal for an individual, but also for a group. Mothers may be the people who are most closely connected to that sense of keeping the group alive - keeping the next generation alive. Or maybe its fathers who are most connected to a sense of keeping the group fed and warm and safe. Or maybe it’s both, and teens and retired people, maybe we all have that sense of keeping going, together.
Viktor Frankl was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist and he also was a Holocaust survivor. He taught us that when the going is tough the tough not only keep going, they take notes, so they can share the wisdom that was learned while surviving or trying to survive the rough times. As a health professional and a patient I have benefited from his notes on the effects of starvation on the human body - he took notes while starving in a concentration camp during World War II about the effects of malnutrition on his body and mood. Good news - he survived, and reached old age, and the medical research aided the academic study of malnutrition. (I.Viktor Frankl)
Evidence based medicine is often based on clinical trials of large groups and averages that need to just prove to be better than placebo effect - help more than roughly 40% of the patients. Individualized counseling tries to investigate more precisely what each patient may need for their specific metabolism and level of health. A patient case study can be helpful but is considered "anecdotal" - just one story, not representative of clinical trial group so not as helpful for making recommendations. When a disease is rare however, a patient case study can become more helpful as research studies would be less possible and less likely to be available in prior research
I've been a sickly baby, sickly child, teen, and adult, but never quite sick enough for lab tests and diagnoses . What I heard too often was , so maybe you should see a therapist. Well , therapy can be helpful, it did help, but not at fixing everything and eventually, lack of an accurate diagnosis led to medications for psychiatric problems that I didn't have at the time. The medications did cause side effects and some lasting negative changes. Genetic screening that I've had done on my own since the time of the "you're not sick, you're in need of very strong anti-psychotic drugs with no diagnostic reason other than just to see if they help," they didn't help and the genetic screening showed that I have numerous significant problems with my metabolism which supplements have helped. Isn't that simpler than years and years of lab tests that say, "Go see a therapist, because we don't have a prescription medication for you."
My story is dedicated to Viktor Frankl - he keeps me going. I hope some other patients with physical and mental health symptoms will be able to find help for their physical needs instead of just having their mental health further harmed by inadequate and possibly discriminatory diagnostic procedures and policies. If they have to look for the help on their own, just know, it exists. The answers or kernels of the answers are known in the vast body of research and experience, it just take time to put the answers together for each individual’s specific need. General advice to help guide people to their own improved health do already exist.
This volume or edition, is about the first step in the Stages of Change - recognition that a problem exists. This edition is about policy and procedure and our human instincts. Policy is about how to do things and if we try to write policy that is impossible, implausible or too annoying then it most likely will be a costly problem rather than a solution. Policy is about politics but it is also about employees washing their hands before going back to work and teaching young children to wash their hands before sitting down to eat a meal.
Preventative health education can be a do-it-yourself project, and in fact is always something you have to do yourself. Health insurance is important but so is having a self empowered attitude. Our own choices each day are the ultimate insurance plan for preventing accidents and preventing chronic disease and even for helping prevent an argument at the water cooler. The virtual community makes education easy to share, but having get togethers in community centers where recipes can be demonstrated and sampled can also help share knowledge more quickly and may build a sense of community.
People gain emotional support from social connections that are physically healing - physically helping to repair the damages caused by oxidative stress. Some sections of the site go into more scientific detail and I hope to get academic support and publish them in a peer reviewed journal. In the meantime, if the information can help other patients or researchers I will be glad. The information has helped me with managing my own health issues, so my great appreciation goes to all the authors and academics who labored over their research or their books, articles, and blog-posts - know that a reader appreciated your taking the time to share.