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“Prostate- what omy”?

Posted by Mens Liberty on Jan 19, 2017 4:04:25 PM

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We thought we would introduce a new voice to the Men's Liberty blog.  Meet Men's Liberty's very own Nurse Nicole.  Some of you may have already spoken to her on the phone at our offices. On the "Nurse Hotline" as she calls it.  We think she's great!

We have asked her to break down some of the basic questions we get asked, as well as some of the more common medical issues that men face. We know she is the right person to give simple, clear explainations to some, often confusing, health subject matters. So, look for more blogs and some new videos from her too!

This week she'll cover “Prostate- what omy”? 

Everyone has different reasons for incontinence, and learning to cope with the changes our bodies go through isn’t an easy task. Educating yourself, being prepared, and having the ability to laugh at life situations can work wonders with coping. A large portion of patients who need to use urinary devices have had a prostatectomy. Even though some of you are a pro on the topic now, I am willing to bet there was at least ONE point in time when you were unsure on what the procedure was, what to expect, or maybe what the next steps would be.

For those who are just learning about the procedure and would like to learn more information- you’ve come to the right place! In this article we will be learning about a prostatectomy and what it means for you and your health.

Prostatectomy is the removal of the prostate, which is located below the bladder. Many times, this procedure is done to make sure cancer cells will not remain in the body. There are different ways to perform a prostatectomy, and most are robotically assisted due to our advanced technology. The different approaches include, but are not limited to:

  1. Suprapubic: an incision is made in the abdomen below the belly button to remove the prostate.
  2. Perineal: an incision is made in the perineum to remove the prostate.
  3. Laparoscopic (Robotically assisted) : a few small holes are made across the abdomen for the removal of the prostate.  

Your physician will choose which approach is best suited for you, your body, and your health. Make sure to ask as many questions as you need to be informed- I usually recommend making a list….and checkin’ it twice!  (Makes me think of Christmastime!)

Instructions after your procedure may vary depending on the type of procedure you had, your physician, and the facility’s protocols. The hospital will give you discharge instructions on how your activity must be limited. Usually they want you to take it easy for about 6 weeks- that means no whiskey or late night clubbing! You will be sent home with an internal catheter (Foley catheter). Do not pull on the catheter, as there is an inflated balloon inside.

Unfortunately, this seems to be the most irritating part of the entire process. The good news is- it is TEMPORARY (for 1 week). It may be a nuisance, but it is necessary for your healing and will be removed when you visit your urologist.  

If you have already had a prostatectomy, you’re probably now aware of the typical side effects of the procedure. For those who don’t know, the side effects of the procedure may include erectile dysfunction or incontinence.

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The good news is Men’s Liberty is here to help you successfully address the incontinence. Combine that with additional medications, vacuums, or therapies and you’ll have conquered the procedure and be on the road to a healthier you!

                                                                                                                                                        ~Nurse Nicole


 

Topics: prostate cancer, Health Literacy

A Great Fitness Jump Start for the New Year! (VIDEO)

Posted by Mens Liberty on Jan 13, 2017 1:11:24 PM

What a great way to start our day – with a workout that is simple, easy-to-follow, and a fabulous way to get us into our new healthy habit – exercising and getting our bodies moving! Wendy LaTorre has been exercising her whole life, and she shares a terrific starter exercise program for you!

Here is ML's simple plan on an easy to follow handout: Men's Liberty 15-Minute Workout


Topics: Video Blogs, Health Literacy

The HIGH PRICE of Not Getting Enough Sleep

Posted by Phoebe Ezell on Jan 5, 2017 10:46:09 AM

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Okay…  I admit it.  I know I’m not getting enough sleep.  Sometimes I jokingly call it “The 444 Curse” – I wake up every morning at 4:44.

I also have read enough newspaper and magazine articles about the horrible health effects of not getting enough sleep.  So I began my research…

Here’s some quick facts:  In 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declared lack of quality sleep “a public health problem.”  They report that “80 million American adults aren’t getting enough sleep.”

Researchers at the National Institute of Health (NIH) report that “more than 70 million American adults suffer from sleep difficulties.”

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine reports that of all patient’s health complaints, lack of sleep is number 2.  And just a few short years ago, that complaint wasn’t even in the top 5.

So what’s causing this?  Experts say that the top 3 culprits are the rising obesity rate, the unprecedented number of adults taking anti-depressant medications, and all of our electronic screens emitting a high intensity “Blue Light” which scrambles our circadian rhythms. 

Apparently, this high intensity “Blue Light” strongly emulates sunlight, thus throwing our brains off kilter, making them believe it’s actually still daytime.  Our brains have thousands of years of “pre-programming” to think that we stay awake during daylight, and sleep when it’s dark out. 

Sleep researchers report that on average, we’re using devices emitting “Blue Light” 11 hours a day.  And if you’re like me, you have a TV in your bedroom emitting that same light as we try and fall asleep… 

Brain researchers have a unique way of describing what happens to us if we don’t get enough quality sleep.  They say that sleep is the brain’s overnight “rinse cycle”, and it’s important for our brains to “flush cellular debris generated by metabolic activity.”  In other words, “the brain has to go offline during that process.” 

As many of us have experienced a bad night’s sleep, the following day results in a sluggish and diminished function – kind of like being in a fog.  That effects our memory and our mental acuity.  And as adults, many nights of bad sleep can speed up the development of cognitive impairments. 

Here’s where sleep can really affect our health:  It’s reported that some 40 million Americans have “Sleep Apnea”.  Get this – apparently 25% of all middle-aged men have Apnea, yet the majority of them have never been diagnosed. 

The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine did a study that revealed the high cost.  Those with severe apnea are: 

  • 4 times more likely to have a stroke
  • Twice as likely to develop depression
  • 5 times more likely to die from cancer

Another study found that apnea sufferers

  • Develop Alzheimer’s disease 5 years earlier than those who sleep soundly; and
  • Mildly cognitive impairments come a decade earlier

Okay…  enough of the bad news.  Let’s talk about what we can do to IMPROVE our sleep and prevent apnea and other sleep disorders.  It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the same things we recommend to prevent other diseases are the same for apnea, such as:

  • Limit your use of “Blue Light” emitting devices to less than 8 hours a day
  • Turn off all “Blue Light” emitting devices at least 2 hours prior to going to bed for the night
  • Get 30 minutes of exercise 5 times a week
  • No foods for at least 4 hours prior to going to bed – especially sweets or chocolates
  • No caffeine after 4:00 p.m.
  • No more than 1 cocktail or glass of wine, and no later than 7:00 in the evening
  • Do your best not to think about stressful things when you awake in the middle of the night
  • Maintain a healthy weight and keep your Body Mass Index (BMI) between 18.5 to 24.9

And know this – do your best to get a minimum of 7 solid hours of sleep each night.

Hopefully this will give you some guidance on how truly valuable a consistent good night’s sleep for your health!

Sweet dreams!

Topics: Health Literacy

10 Health Tips – Men Age 55+ Part 2 (VIDEO)

Posted by Mens Liberty on Dec 27, 2016 11:15:00 AM

Wendy LaTorre of Men's Liberty continues sharing ideas and health tips to prevent heart disease, strokes, diabetes, obesity, colon cancer, depression and cognitive decline. It's a great wrap-up for the year's end and an even greater way to start a New Healthy Year!

Topics: Video Blogs, Health Literacy

A Holiday Message...

Posted by Caleb Bartlett on Dec 22, 2016 1:45:08 PM

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Well where did that year go? I think 2016 will go down in history as one of the strangest years in history. I hope all of you made it through unscathed and positive about the future. In these uncertain times it can be difficult for many, especially those of us in chairs who often depend on caregivers for help. Life in a chair can often make us feel marginalized or different, adding the holiday mayhem and social madness to the mix can trigger sadness, depression, and sometimes feeling alone… even among family.

I have been blessed with a close, caring family, others not as much, and many somewhere in the middle. I don’t really have anything to complain about, but emotions are complex and funny things. I know what it is to feel lonely even in a crowded room full of loved ones. If I can instill one thought of the minds of my readers this season, and that is, if you are alone or feeling alone during this happy season take a few things to heart.

You are not alone. Life is a difficult thing. We are all on this journey, learning and growing. Each of us has something, some may be worse than others, but we share the same feelings and joys and fears. Take the time to look around. Count your blessings. That may sound trite, but it works.

Take time to tell the ones you love that you love them. You get what you give. Feeling alone? Show someone else they matter. Thank them for something, anything. Channeling your emotions in another direction can be a powerful tool for changing your mood.

Forgive somebody. Never underestimate the power of forgiveness, even if it’s yourself. Oftentimes we feel alone because we’re holding on to past hurts, misunderstandings, and times when people have done us harm. This time of year, despite all the consumerism, media hype, and modern noise we endure it really is a time when people feel empathy towards others. The act of giving gifts alone causes us to value the relationships we share with our fellow man. While we’re in this mindset we can take advantage of this time to mend the past and right a few wrongs. Remember, the high road is always best. Extending the hand of forgiveness doesn’t always mean it will be returned, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is you. The peace of knowing you have done the right thing will help you beat the loneliness blues.

I know that this blog is often about living with a disability, but all the healthy living tips, how-tos, and personal anecdotes don’t mean a thing if we don’t have the peace and contentment inside ourselves. Life is more than the physical and these experiences we go through can trigger complex emotions that affect our health, daily decisions, and more. This holiday season take time to be a better person. Reach out and use the spirit of good will to bring healing and happiness to yourself and others.

May this season of peace bring peace to others through you. Thanks for reading.

Topics: family, Spinal Cord Injury with Caleb, compassion

The Wonderful Results of Keeping Track of Our Health

Posted by Mens Liberty on Dec 22, 2016 11:08:00 AM

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Have you ever noticed how much our responsibility and our discipline increases when we have someone to share our activities with?  It’s proven!

Researchers’ report that our commitment level more than doubles when we have “Accountability Partners” keeping us accountable.  It makes sense that we do much better – even when it’s for things we enjoy!

A perfect example is my Wednesday afternoon board game group.  We all do our best to follow our commitments and be there for each other.  In fact, we start calling our members around 10 minutes before we’re supposed to start – just to make sure they’re on their way!

So let’s admit it…  For most of us, exercise is something that would be a lot more enjoyable, and certainly we’d probably be much more consistent when we have accountability partners.

Did you know that many of us may already have that “accountability partner” and we’re carrying that partner in our pockets or purses?  Yes – we do!  And there are other “accountability partners” called “wearables” – you know, those fitness bracelets we see people wearing.

Back to the ones we’re carrying in our pockets and handbags…  They’re our smart phones!  There are literally hundreds and hundreds of “apps” (programs we run on our smartphones) to help us stay motivated and to achieve better fitness and health.  They’re set up to keep track of measurements, such as the number of steps we take in a day, the total distance we’ve walked, our body weight, caloric intake and nutritional information, and much more information.  What differs is how each app displays our data, and how it keeps us motivated.

So today, we have 6 recommendations to help you stay on track with your health.

Recommendation #1 is to start with an achievable goal.  We always say that if it’s believable, then it’s achievable.  As an example, a few months ago I started swimming laps.  On my first day, I said to myself “just see what you can do without over-exerting yourself.”  I swam 4 separate 50-yard intervals in 30 minutes.  200 yards.

So I started swimming 3 times a week, and that became my baseline to build upon.  Here it is several months later, and I’m swimming 8 separate 150-yard intervals in 60 minutes, and I’ve upped my frequency to 5 times a week – quite an improvement.  From 200 yards to 1,200 yards 5 times a week.

I use my smart phone app to record and track my results, and it’s also tremendously motivating to see my progress!  And that keeps me motivated.  Now I will admit, there’s something else that keeps me motivated, and that’s the group of people I see at the lap pool.  We all encourage each other to achieve our goals!

Recommendation #2 is to create something that will keep us motivated and give us positive feedback.  I called a few friends and asked them to join my “4,000 steps-a-day challenge.”  So now we all have a healthy group competition, and since we’re using the same app, we’re sharing our results with each other!

In this case, we’re all gaining 2 forms of feedback from the challenge – first, we’re gaining more and more steps each week, and second, all of us are seeing our clothing getting looser and looser – we’re losing weight!

The better our results, the more motivated we are to keep going!

Recommendation #3 is probably obvious – we are doing a much better job understanding what we eat and drink.  I’ll admit it – counting calories can be an inconvenience.  That’s where these apps really help out. 

I made a commitment to myself to record everything I ate and drank for a week!  Are you thinking I was shocked at the end of the week?!  You bet I was!  After having it all in front of me on the app, it was easy to see where some of my choices weren’t very healthy, and I knew exactly what I’d need to cut back on.

This one recommendation has made a tremendous impact on my health, and while I don’t keep detailed records each week – I might do it for 1 week every 6 to 8 weeks, I’m getting great results.  Bottom line – I’m choosing healthier options!

Recommendation #4 – “Externalization.”  Behavioral scientists have overwhelmingly proven that when we share our goals with our respected colleagues, friends and family, we are much more likely to achieve our goals!  Well no wonder – we don’t want to be “marked absent” now, do we?  No!

Just for an idea, I’ve taken my externalization one step further (forgive the pun) – I put together a walking group, and we all walk together 5 days a week.  That way we’ve not only externalized our goals, but we’re holding each other accountable by being there with each other – a double win!  Plus – we seem to have some enjoyable discussions!

Recommendation #6 is something we understand – that healthy habits take time to lock in and take hold.  That’s why these health apps and wrist bands help us stay accountable.

And let’s face it – it took us years to get out of our former healthy state, so it’s probably unreasonable to expect for our old habits to magically disappear.  The best advice I can give is to BE PATIENT.

Finally, a bonus recommendation:  Share your data with your doctors.  If there’s one thing our doctors LOVE to hear, it’s that we’re taking measures to be our best and healthiest!  So just get an app or a fitness bracelet, and KEEP MOVING – one step at a time!

Topics: Caregiving, Health Literacy

10 Health Tips – Men Age 55+ Part 1 (VIDEO)

Posted by Mens Liberty on Dec 13, 2016 11:02:00 AM

Wendy LaTorre of Men's Liberty shares some ideas and health tips to prevent heart disease, strokes, diabetes, obesity, colon cancer, depression and cognitive decline, in men, and women too. Bonus, these tips work for keeping a healthy bladder as well.

Topics: Video Blogs, Health Literacy

Taking Control

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

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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

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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

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