<iframe src="//www.googletagmanager.com/ns.html?id=GTM-P3V3WD" height="0" width="0" style="display:none;visibility:hidden">
Mens Liberty Blog Home Page Banner

Taking Control

Posted by Caleb Bartlett on Dec 8, 2016 11:07:30 AM

DiaAbled_Man.jpg

As with any traumatic injury or debilitating illness it can feel like one has lost control of one’s life. A seemingly endless stream of doctors, therapists, aides, social workers, insurance workers, and more march through your life almost daily. It’s easy to feel vulnerable, at their mercy, and without options, especially if you have lost a job or given up a career.

 

Some of you reading this may have children and find yourself in a situation where you are limited in your ability to physically interact with them. Maybe you depend on government for Medicaid or other programs for assistance and the current uncertainties are causing fear and anxiety. These situations can wear heavy and often result in feelings of hopelessness and depression.

I have been in a wheelchair for 22 years. If you’re reading this and I just described your life, you’re not alone, I know exactly how you feel. I have lived it myself. However, I have also had the privilege of navigating my way through these intense changes and finding a balance in the chaos. You are not powerless. There are ways you can take charge of your life. This month I’ve made a list five things you can put into practice right away that can bring long-term stability.

  1. Take Property Inventory- Get out a piece of paper, use the computer, whatever works. Make a list of the things in your life mentally, emotionally, and physically that have been affected. Now study that list objectively. What can you change with little effort? What can you change, but will take hard work? Write both of those on a second list. Discard the first list. Now take the second list and ask yourself… What can I change by being positive? What can I talk to counselor about? How can I share this with my family or spouse? Work from the inside out. You don’t need a doctor or to go to a gym to work on the mind and heart. When you get to the physical stuff go to the second step.
  2. Explore the Alternatives- What physical issues can you become proactive about? What medications can be changed or substituted with vitamins and supplements. What does changes in your diet do? Fresh air? Activity and exercise? Even just getting out to the park, beach, or a movie can have a huge effect. In pain? Some doctors will prescribe medical massage. Consult a Homeopath or Naturopath. Research new technologies and trends. Even a better cushion or adjusting your chair can do huge things.
  3. Assess Your Skills- What can you do? Can you use a computer? Drive? What do you know? Who do you know? How can you harness these assets into income or starting a business? Consider going back to school or learning something you can do. Everyone can do something!
  4. Build A Network- We live in the information age. Get online, use the forums and discussion groups. Tell your story and get others support and input. Share ideas. Don’t be ashamed to ask for advice or help. Everybody had to start somewhere. Do unto others! If it’s in your power to call in a favor on behalf of someone else, do it. Start putting out a reputation as a helpful, generous person, and see what comes back your way.
  5. Quiet Your Mind- Take a few minutes every day and turn off the TV, the radio, the internet, and the phone. Sit quietly and just relax. Face your fears and dismiss them. The answers will come.

Life is a complex thing, and I sure don’t have all the answers. I do believe with determination, a little effort, and dedication we can turn these tragedies into good.

 

Thanks for reading.

Topics: Caregiving, prostate cancer, Health Literacy

Are Supplement Claims Getting Out of Control? (VIDEO)

Posted by Mens Liberty on Nov 29, 2016 11:04:06 AM

Wendy LaTorre discusses how supplements' safety processes are diametrically opposed to the governing and regulation of prescription drugs controlled by the FDA. It is really a different take on your safety and good to know before you purchase a new supplement. Check it out!

Topics: Video Blogs, Health Literacy

Caregivers Guide – Helping Our Loved Ones with Cancer

Posted by Phoebe Ezell on Nov 18, 2016 12:09:00 PM

631-004_North_Page_4_Image_0001.jpg

It’s no secret that many of our Men’s Liberty clients have suffered from cancer – typically prostate cancer.  And as a result of their treatment, they’ve encountered issues with incontinence.

As we speak with men every day about the solutions and the results that the Men’s Liberty device provides, it’s quite common that we hear the deep appreciation that these men have for their caregivers. 

In fact, probably the most common statement is “I believe it’s been harder on my wife and my family – my caregivers.”

Taking care of our beloved friends and family members can be challenging.  In the process, it will test our patience, our flexibility, our strength, and yes – even our loving heart.  Providing care can also be very rewarding and fulfilling.

We also receive calls from caregivers, and one call stands out in our memory.  She said that taking care of her husband reminded her of her 4-year-old dog.  It seems that for the first 2½ years of having their dog, he just couldn’t master potty training.

Every time she turned around, the puppy had piddled (or worse) on the floor.  But the love and the joy and the happiness that his little smiling face and wagging tail brought to the family overcame all the hundreds of times she considered taking him to the pet adoption center!

In other words, maintaining balance takes finesse.

The social psychologists have broken down the process of caregiving into the 3 stages of the cancer process.

Stage 1 – Diagnosis.

Many times caregivers notice that something is “different” even before their loved ones do.  Typically that begins with encouraging him to get it checked out.

Probably the most difficult day in the process is when the doctor says he has cancer.  That’s when most caregivers jump into action, providing support, asking questions and helping process the news.

And that’s the day that caregivers adjust their days and nights for the responsibilities that lie ahead.

Prepare to:

  • Be present – physically and emotionally
  • Allow him to talk and share that he’s afraid
  • Listen and acknowledge his fears
  • DO NOT say that “everything will be fine”
  • Let him know he is not alone
  • Take notes during medical appointments
  • Listen to the recommendations
  • Don’t hesitate to rely on social workers, spiritual advisors and other professionals

Other considerations:

  • Discuss how you’ll report the news to family, friends, and work
  • Ask family members to pitch in and help
  • TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF TOO!! You’re not going to be much help if you wear yourself into a frazzle
  • Make it a point to ask yourself – who can YOU turn to when you feel overwhelmed or alone

Phase 2 – Treatment

  • Accompany him to chemotherapy and/or radiation treatments
  • Help him feel comfortable while receiving treatments
  • Bring something to keep yourself occupied – a book or your laptop
  • Continue to take notes of anything pertinent to the treatments
  • If you notice any changes in him, report them to your medical team
  • Don’t forget to seek help from friends and family when you need a break
  • Manage all paperwork for medical leave, insurance issues, finances, etc. (know there are community agencies to help – talk to a social worker)
  • Not easy to do, but begin to discuss advance care planning – Discuss his values, goals and wishes and talk through the options
  • Encourage to completion of an advance directive, which ensures that his wishes are clearly documented
  • Again – maintain balance for yourself!

Stage 3 – If Recurrence

If recurrence occurs, it’s normal for most men to feel anger, resentment, sadness and fear.  This is the time to provide as much emotional support as possible

  • Allow time to adjust back into the caregiving role
  • If requested, help him explore potential treatment options, including accompanying him on appointments

Caring for a loved one can really be emotionally and physically exhausting, but as we began this discussion – it can also be tremendously rewarding and fulfilling.  Many people find new meaning and purpose in their lives, as well as great renewal, reconnecting and deepening in their relationships.

You may be surprised to hear, but we actually have a lot of caregivers who call us looking for solutions!  Their hearts are broken seeing their loved ones wearing diapers and pads, getting skin rashes and lesions, and worse yet, wearing catheters, fighting urinary tract infections and hospital visits as a result of infections…

And worse yet, the effects of diapers and pads – men not leaving the home due to odors and leakage.  As a result of all the horrible side effects from other incontinence products, caregivers are searching for the best solutions and attempting to help their loved ones regain their freedom!

That’s exactly what Men’s Liberty does, and it’s easily the number 1 thing we hear from our dedicated and loyal fans – they’ve regained their independence and freedom and they’re back being active with friends and family, and enjoying life to the fullest!

Approaching caregiving with patience, humor, love and humility will most likely give you great pride and honor in the role you played.

We honor your commitment and acknowledge how both challenging and rewarding caregiving can truly be.  We are here for you and with you, and thank you for your tremendous love and commitments!

Topics: Caregiving, prostate cancer, Health Literacy

Some of the Crazy Things We Discover in Health Care (VIDEO)

Posted by Mens Liberty on Nov 10, 2016 11:02:00 AM

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services along with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention released something like 10,000 additional “ICD” codes last year.  We’re now up to 68,000 medical diagnosis codes. Today we're sharing some of the crazier codes in a light-hearted approach to our healthcare system.

Topics: Video Blogs, proactive patients, Health Literacy

Top 5 incontinence memes – updated!

Posted by Mens Liberty on Nov 7, 2016 11:06:20 AM

A while back, we posted the top 5 incontinence memes.  Believe it or not, this post has been one of the most popular posts on our blog. So now we would like to bring you this updated top 5 list!

What are memes? Memes are an internet phenomenon that has exploded with the popularity of Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms. A meme is defined by Webster Dictionary as “a pervasive thought or thought pattern that replicates itself via cultural means”.  In other words, it’s an idea that spreads quickly across the internet. If you surf the internet frequently, you have probably seen countless memes featuring grumpy cat faces, dancing babies and other funny photos. 

While we realize incontinence is a serious issue, we also know that sometimes laughter truly is the best medicine. We got a kick out of this new list and hope you will too!

 

5. I should go...

Meme - cat reading.jpg

 

4. Hurry up!

Meme - hurry up cat.jpg

 

3. Stop stop!

Meme - stop stop baby.jpg

 

2. What are you doing?

Meme - what are you doing.jpg

 

1. To pee or not to pee

Meme_To-pee-Or-not-to-pee.jpg

Topics: incontinence, memes

Finally - Some Good News about Winning the War Against Super-Infections

Posted by Phoebe Ezell on Nov 1, 2016 2:10:39 PM

Shu Lam - courtesy of The Telegraph.jpg

One of the biggest problems for men suffering from incontinence is getting Urinary Tract Infections (“UTI’s).  Now for men who use the Men’s Liberty device, they know that UTI’s are a thing of the past – after millions of Men’s Liberty devices being used, we have yet to receive even the first report of a UTI.  The Men’s Liberty PREVENTS UTI’s.

(UTI’s are a common and sad side effect, misfortune and result from using catheters, pads and diapers and other incontinence products)

For those of us who have suffered from UTI’s, we know that the first line of defense is antibiotics.  And of course, that means our bodies are building up resistance against antibiotics, and with some of us, traditional prescription antibiotics fail to prevent bacteria and infection.  That means hospitalizations and in some cases, daily infusion treatments.

That’s exactly what happened to one of our team member’s husband.  He was hospitalized with an infection, and ended up in a coma, had surgery while in a 25-day coma, and then had over 150 daily infusion chemo “cocktail” treatments to kill the drug-resistant infections ravaging his body.  That was over 3 years ago, and still to this day the infectious disease specialists have not been able to identify the source or the pathogen of his infections.  Crazy huh?

Actually, that’s not all that unusual – in fact, more than 30% of all infections are unidentifiable.  Did you know that “infectious disease” is the fastest growing segment of U.S. medicine?  Yes!  It’s like being a forensic scientist dealing with unknown diseases of the body.

Here’s some GREAT news:  Recently, a young 25-year-old scientist by the name of Shu Lam, a Malaysian PhD student has quite possibly created a treatment to kill “Superbugs” that can no longer be successfully treated with antibiotics.

This is terrific news, as without Ms. Lam’s treatment, it’s been predicted that infectious diseases could end up killing far more people than cancer.  Many experts have reported that it could be our greatest health crisis ever.

Superbugs kill an estimated 700,000 people a year – among them 230,000 newborns.  A recent British study estimates this number rising to a shocking 10 million a year by 2050!

So how does Ms. Lam’s bacteria killer work?  She developed tiny star-shaped molecules built with peptide polymers.  The polymers target the bacteria and kill it in multiple ways.

Scientists throughout the world are calling Ms. Lam’s research a “breakthrough that could change the face of modern medicine!”

Kudos to Shu Lam and her team of scientists!  We can’t wait for update reports to her groundbreaking research!  This could truly be one of the greatest contributions to modern day health and science!

 

Topics: Health Literacy, antibiotics

Encore Careers (VIDEO)

Posted by Mens Liberty on Oct 4, 2016 11:00:00 AM

Many of our friends of Men's Liberty are beginning a second career – or what we call an “encore career,” veering away from the expected routines in life. You have your Men’s Liberty device – and that gives you freedom to do what? To GET ACTIVE and GET INVOLVED! Wendy LaTorre discusses the benefits of Encore Careers and a healthier life.

Topics: Video Blogs, proactive patients, Health Literacy

September – National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

Posted by Phoebe Ezell on Sep 27, 2016 7:28:22 PM

doctor.jpg

If you’ve been following us for a while, you know that we aren’t shy about men’s health, and we openly discuss many aspects of it.  In fact, we’re so used to using words relating to men’s anatomy, that we don’t even think twice about it.  It’s only when we hire a “newbie” (new team member) that we suddenly realize that our vocabulary can be somewhat shocking.  Give them a week or two, and they’re right “in it” with us.

September is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.  For us, that means it’s all about BEING AWARE and BEING INFORMED.

Each year, more than 29,000 men will die of this disease.  Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death of U.S. men.  These statistics really frustrate us here, and it’s because of one simple thing that we just don’t understand:

Why is it that so many men refuse to have their doctors give them a quick 15-second digital exam?!

You see – here’s the thing:  Diagnosed early enough, prostate cancer survival rates are super high!!  At 10-years post diagnosis, 98% of men diagnosed early remain alive!!  98%!!

What’s more, undergoing a 45-minute (relatively painless) colonoscopy procedure can very possibly PREVENT prostate and colon cancer!

There are some things that all of us can do to slow down or PREVENT prostate cancer.  Let’s go through a quick list of Prostate Cancer Prevention Tips, as follows:

7 Prostate Cancer Prevention Tips

  1. Maintaining a healthy diet. Healthy meaning meals high in fruits and vegetables, lien proteins (fish), whole grains (oatmeal, brown or wild rice, popcorn, wheat breads) unsaturated oils (olive or canola oil), and of course staying away from sugars and sodas.

2. Regular exercise – at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.

3. Maintaining a healthy body weight – having a Body Mass Index (“BMI”) between 18.5 to 24.9. If you Google “BMI Calculator”, and type in your height and weight, the calculator will report your BMI. It’s that easy!

4. If you’re a smoker – QUIT! Quitting smoking is one of the most important things you can do to improve your health.

5. Take a half aspirin (81 mg) every day. Easy, huh?!

6. Big surprise with this one – having a colonoscopy every 10 years beginning at age 50. If you’ve never had one, please, please, please – schedule it today!

7. Having an annual checkup with your doctor, and that includes getting a digital prostate exam AND a PSA blood test (Prostate Screening Awareness).

Like we said – BE AWARE and BE INFORMED!  Please – take this blog to heart.  We truly care about your health, and just think…  What if you were able to avoid surgery, all because your doctor was able to remove a few polyps during a colonoscopy?

Or, think of the peace of mind you’d have if your doctor gave you a quick digital exam and told you that your prostate feels normal?  You wouldn’t have to worry, or worse yet – wonder.

So there’s just one more step after becoming aware and becoming informed…  And that’s to take action now!  Call your doctor and make that appointment!  Take action to prevent!!  Do it now!

Topics: prostate cancer, Health Literacy

Health Update - Summary of "The China Study" (VIDEO)

Posted by Mens Liberty on Sep 20, 2016 4:41:12 PM

Wendy LaTorre reviews and summarizes “The China Study.” This amazing research studies is one of those 400-plus page books that may be more talked about than read, and is packed with research statistics and nutrition facts that can help all.  Discover how this long-term study can help you live a longer and healthier life.

Topics: Video Blogs, Health Literacy, incontinence

Medical Journaling – Part 1

Posted by Phoebe Ezell on Sep 15, 2016 2:19:28 PM

Medical_Journal.jpg

Recently a good friend of Men’s Liberty was in the hospital with a life-threatening infection.  As with most hospital visits, it was extremely stressful on his caregiver…  Me.

While he underwent emergency surgery and recovery, I realized – it was left up to me to be his health advocate.  I found myself talking with all the doctors and nurses assigned to him, trying to take notes on what was happening every day; the daily doctor’s instructions, if they changed; what all the machinery was that was connected to him, and what was being poured into his body.

The one additional element I didn’t record was how he was feeling.  And that was only because he couldn’t verbally communicate with a vent tube down his throat!  It was the quietest he has ever been in his lifetime!

For the most part I have all my notes on one notepad, but I also have them jotted on paper napkins, the back of grocery receipts and whatever other loose pieces of paper I would dig from my bag to take notes.

Keeping these notes allowed me to clearly share the majority of each day’s events with all of our family and friends.  Those notes also now act as a mnemonic device for me as I share with him the sequence of events that he was clueless to, as he was in an induced coma.

I became his memory of that time period.  I had often witnessed my father saying that about my mother as they negotiated the V.A. medical system.  She is his memory.  Now I had a lot better understanding.

With today’s healthcare systems so very complicated, I now wonder how people navigate them alone.  And as it keeps getting more and more specialized and intricate, the need for a “memory keeper” is key.

These are my steps for being proactive with your own medical care and keeping a medical journal:

First, start with a notebook or notepad.  Nothing fancy, but simple to utilize, by keeping your notes in one place.  Making it a really bright color makes easier for you or your caregiver to find it in an emergency.  Your medical records and notes should be the only thing you put in this notebook.

There is no right or wrong way in organizing your notebook.  It is all about creating a system that works for you.  You should be able to access the information that is important to you.

Remember that I said I took notes on receipts, napkins, etc.  Instead of transcribing them, I simply taped them into my journal.  In other words – NO RULES.

In addition, if you are incapacitated, the journal allows others to have access to what you are currently experiencing and monitoring with your health.

So that brings us to “What to put in your notebook.”

  • Record your pharmacist. They have an electronic record of all the prescriptions you fill with them. If you have more than one, make a note of their phone numbers and addresses too.
  • Record any information related to all of your doctors. Include their phone numbers and addresses. Make it easy for someone else to know who you are dealing with.

  • Record some of your basic health information as well. Start with simple statistics like your DOB (Date of Birth), weight and height, blood type and your typical blood pressure, if you know it.
  • Record any medications you take on a regular basis. Remember to record if you have any reactions to your medication. When recorded, it’s also easier to remember to discuss it with your doctor on your next visit.
  • Record prior illnesses, surgeries and injuries. These events may play an important role in your long-term health. It’s very easy to forget major medical events when you are directly asked by a doctor. Talk about a brain freeze, or even a “Senior Moment.” OMG - I forgot that I had a car crash that I had with a semi-truck in my youth. That accident may have affected my neck and spinal pain later as an adult. And who forgets getting run over by a semi-truck?!

I use to have migraines and then started a “headache journal.”  I used a simple date book.  I could record the date it happened, the type and level of pain (from 0 to 10), where it was in my head, how long it lasted, and anything else that was happening in my body (nausea, etc.).

I also looked at my life and what was happening in it.  Things like what I was eating and how I was feeling that day.  Eventually, I saw a pattern and could address the source, not just the pain.

Hopefully, this gives you some ideas to begin your own personal medical journal.  And perhaps it will spur some discussions with your spouse, family members and friends.  They need to know you’re being proactive with your health – and by telling them, they’ll know where to look to find your journal in the event of an unfortunate tragedy.

Begin taking the steps to create your medical journal now!!  In a while, I’ll share some more tips related to this subject!

We also want to acknowledge that this month is National Spinal Cord Awareness Month. Men's Liberty has some wonderful blogs on Spinal Cord Injuries, including blog postings from Caleb, so look around and read these wonderful posts!

Topics: spinal cord injury, Health Literacy, Guest Blogs

    Subscribe Today!

    Follow Me

    Subscribe to Our YouTube Channel!