The Decline of My Kishkes, or Retroverted Uteruses & Reproductive Health Scares Part I


I have a tipped/tilted/retroverted uterus and it can be annoying, to put it mildly


“Pet Peeve #545:

When ALL your specialists and primary care doctor feel your issues are gynecological, yet your male gyno thinks everyone is wrong and refuses to listen to you OR EVEN TEST YOU until you stick a proverbial foot way up his ass”

This blog started out primarily because of my freakish reproductive system (hint, Maisie).

It is only fitting that I update the trials and tribulations of my nearly 50 year old reproductive organs.

Let me preface this by saying, I am not in menopause and my body doesn’t seem to know it is a-coming. My menstrual cycle is consistently 28-30 days.

I also was born with a retroverted/tilted/ass backwards uterus. Such conditions can worsen over time from childbirth or other uterine issues.

According to Wikipedia, it is defined as:

A retroverted uterus (tilted uterus, tipped uterus) is a uterus that is tilted posteriorly. This is in contrast to the slightly “anteverted” uterus that most women have, which is tipped forward toward the bladder, with the anterior end slightly concave.”

“Tilted posteriorly” means tilted towards your ASS, ie, posterior. Mine is particularly tilted waaaay back, which makes basic bodily functions more difficult over time- more gross details to follow later.

Oddly, I started having some very strange symptoms that became progressively worse in the years after Maisie was born. I went to specialist after specialist to no avail. Gastro docs, urologists, nephrologists, rheumatologists, gynecologists, pain specialists who simply wanted to get me hooked on pain pills, which I refused- nobody could figure out what the hell was wrong with me.

I had lower back pains and kidney infections that did not start out as urinary tract infections- and I’ve never really had bladder infections prior to this, though I’ve had kidney stones before. They kept coming back, no antibiotic seemed to help. My doctor sent me to every specialist she could think of. My bowels stopped working regularly. I had to take massive stool softeners and even that didn’t always help. 

Everything, every test came back normal. I was starting to feel like I was losing my mind, but I KNEW something was wrong.

(for my rant on what I pay for my crazy expensive healthcare insurance, go here)

I KNOW my body and I am pretty much a health nut. I live a Ketogenic lifestyle. I rarely drink and never have been much of a drinker. I don’t ‘party’. I love to cook healthy meals. I work out a lot- I am a FitBit freak and try to get at least 10k-20k steps a day, mostly for the endorphins. The few prescriptions meds I must take, for high blood pressure (another genetic pain in the ass) and GERD, I do religiously. I don’t have depression.

I mean, I HAVE to take care of my health. I had a baby at 45.5 and I want to live to see her grow up. There can be NO room for error at this point. My child needs me to be healthy.

In mid-December 2017, my primary care physician ordered an ultrasound of my pelvic region. The results were complex septated cysts in my left ovary, thickening in my uterus, etc. Complex septated cysts are considered a bit more dangerous than regular ones.

My paternal grandmother died of ovarian cancer at my exact age. Her daughters and one son all carry the BRCA1 mutation. 3 out of the 4 girls had BRCA1 breast cancer. My father was fortunate- he was the only child out of 6 to not have the mutation. Unfortunately, even though I am not a carrier, this still increases my own chances of gynecological cancers.

A MRI was recommended as a follow up. Because we couldn’t get the MRI approved by the insurance company, we had to go with a 6 week follow up ultrasound.

On top of this, I take care of my family- and I mean everyone, including extended family. I am the medical POA for many and the patient advocate for the rest.

I spent months in San Diego this year (and the end of 2017) sleeping in a trauma unit with a family member who was in a catastrophic motorcycle accident- and taking care of them once they were discharged. I only came back to Michigan because of my own health issues.

While in Encinitas, CA, I had my follow up ultrasound at Scripps hospital. It showed no change in the cyst size, but my uterus was getting larger, with new polyps and fibroids and thickening of the uterine walls.

Armed with this info, I sent the ultrasound results to my primary doctor in Michigan. She felt it was urgent that I come home and get this checked out, since my ‘fancy’ insurance didn’t work in the state of California and my pain and symptoms were worsening by the day.

We set up an appointment for March with a gynecologist and I forwarded all of the info from CA to his office a month ahead of time.

I planned for fly back home to MI in March for my scheduled appointments and be back in CA to take care of my family member after the appointments, as they still could not care for themselves.

It didn’t work out this way.

Little did I know, there was going to be a fight on my hands just to get my MRI and to be taken seriously, as his staff did not put the 2nd ultrasound in my chart…

(to be continued in part 2 with the discovery of adenomyosis, cancer biopsies and testing, and my journey towards hysterectomy)





Fact: Having More Friends in Your 20’s Can Make You Live Longer

I had a ton of wonderful friends in my 20s, but most of them have died in the last 5-6 yrs and I find myself making new friends now- who are IN THEIR 20s mostly- SO WEIRD!


2015 Billboard Music AwardsPhoto: WENN

Here’s some good news for Taylor Swift and her squad today: New research reveals that having strong friendships in your 20s can actually help you to live longer.

The 30-year study from the University of Rochester found that having more social interactions throughout your third decade of life is important to health later on, while in your 30s it is the quality of friendship that contributes to a longer life.

Researchers explained that frequent social interactions at age 20 are key to help us to figure out who we are. “It’s often around this age that we meet people from diverse backgrounds, with opinions and values that are different from our own, and we learn how to best manage those differences,” the study’s lead author Cheryl Carmichael said.

MORE: How to Let a Guy Know You Want to Be More Than Friends

However, at age 30, the study participants who had intimate, high-quality friendships reported the highest…

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16 Reasons You Should Be Having More Sex, According to Science

Science lies.

It doesn’t count as exercise unless you’re hanging off a freaking trapeze or jumping on a trampoline while doing it (bahahaha- “TRAMPoline”)


Reason #8: Sex makes you look younger. Reason #8: Sex makes you look younger.

Guys, here’s a little secret: Sex is good for more than your relationship. In fact, according to science, getting busy on the regular can benefit your overall health—and your guy’s, too—in some pretty major ways.

In the spirit of empowering ladies everywhere to get it on as much as they can, we’ve compiled a list of 16 medially-proven reasons you should be having more sex.

MORE: The Best Relationship Advice You’ll Ever Read

1. Moderate sex can cure a cold
Not only does sex make you more content in your relationship, but it also keeps you healthier. In 1999, researchers at Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre Pennsylvania found that college students who had sex once or twice a week had higher levels of a certain antibody that provided a boost to their immune systems, compared to students who had sex less—or more—often.

2. Sex lowers your blood…

View original post 888 more words


Speaking more than one language makes you smarter: Bilingual people have more grey matter than those who only know their mother tongue

Maisie already knows English and Persian and a bit of Tagalog (Filipino).  I have one person in the house who has exclusively spoken Farsi (Persian) to her since she was 4 months old. She can respond/answer in both languages interchangeably. My mother and I add a few Filipino words here and there…

It’s official! Speaking more than one language makes you smarter: Bilingual people have more grey matter than those who only know their mother tongue

  • Being bilingual increases the grey matter in certain parts of the brain
  • This difference is not present if the other language known is sign language
  • Management of two spoken languages leads to cognitive advantages 

People who speak two or more languages have more grey matter in certain parts of their brain, a study has found.

But this difference is not present if the other language known is sign language.

Scientists found that being bilingual increases the size of the part of the brain responsible for attention span and short term memory.

A study by Georgetown University Medical Centre found adults who are polyglots have more grey matter, shown above in blue, but those who used sign language did not (file image)

A study by Georgetown University Medical Centre found adults who are polyglots have more grey matter, shown above in blue, but those who used sign language did not (file image)

In the past it had been thought children who spoke two languages could have been at a disadvantage because the presence of two vocabularies would lead to delayed language development.

But recent research has found they perform better on tasks that require attention, inhibition and short-term memory – collectively termed ‘executive control’ – than their monolingual peers.

Yet controversy still surrounded whether there was a ‘bilingual advantage’, because these differences were not observed in all studies.

Now a study by Georgetown University Medical Centre in Washington DC has found adults who are polyglots have more grey matter, but those who use sign language do not.

The management of two spoken languages, rather than simply a larger vocabulary observed in practitioners of sign language, improved cognitive performance. Above, a mother and child practice signing (file image) 

The management of two spoken languages, rather than simply a larger vocabulary observed in practitioners of sign language, improved cognitive performance. Above, a mother and child practice signing (file image)

It adds to a growing understanding of how long-term experience with a particular skill – in this case management of two languages – changes the brain.

Dr Guinevere Eden said: ‘Inconsistencies in the reports about the bilingual advantage stem primarily from the variety of tasks that are used in attempts to elicit the advantage.

‘Given this concern, we took a different approach and instead compared grey matter volume between adult bilinguals and monolinguals.

‘We reasoned that the experience with two languages and the increased need for cognitive control to use them appropriately would result in brain changes in Spanish-English bilinguals when compared with English-speaking monolinguals.

‘And in fact greater grey matter for bilinguals was observed in frontal and parietal brain regions that are involved in executive control.’

The study, published in the journal Cerebral Cortex, explored why differences in grey matter are based on experiences.

Dr Olumide Olulade said: ‘Our aim was to address whether the constant management of two spoken languages leads to cognitive advantages and the larger grey matter we observed in Spanish-English bilinguals, or whether other aspects of being bilingual, such as the large vocabulary associated with having two languages, could account for this.’

Researchers compared the grey matter in bilinguals of both American Sign Language (ASL) and spoken English, with that of monolingual users of English.

Both ASL-English and Spanish-English bilinguals share qualities associated with bilingualism, such as vocabulary size.

Unlike bilinguals of two spoken languages, ASL-English bilinguals can sign and speak simultaneously, allowing the researchers to test whether the need to inhibit the other language might explain the bilingual advantage.

Dr Olulade added: ‘Unlike the findings for the Spanish-English bilinguals, we found no evidence for greater grey matter in the ASL-English bilinguals.

‘Thus we conclude that the management of two spoken languages in the same modality, rather than simply a larger vocabulary, leads to the differences we observed in the Spanish-English bilinguals.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3164163/It-s-official-Speaking-one-language-makes-smarter-Bilingual-people-grey-matter-know-mother-tongue.html#ixzz3g8SxjWj8


Bacon Flavored Seaweed Is The New Kale

I could totally dig this. When I lived in Canada in my late teens/early 20s, I was introduced to the wonders of dulse by my neighbor, who was from New Brunswick.

Bacon-flavored seaweed is the new kale. Yes, really.

Scientists are currently cultivating a marine plant that’s packed with more nutrients than the trendy green superfood kale. And it naturally tastes like bacon.

Bacon-flavored crackers. Bacon-flavored salad dressing. These are just two of the savory treats that have been created so far using the domesticated strain of dulse (Palmaria palmata), a kind of red algae, or seaweed, that typically grows in the waters along northern Pacific and Atlantic coastlines. [Science You Can Eat: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Food]

Dulse is usually harvested in the wild, dried out and then sold for up to $90 a pound, according to researchers at the Oregon State University (OSU) Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, Oregon, who developed the domesticated strain of the plant.

The OSU researchers are working on making dulse more affordable and more widely available. Their strain of the lettucelike marine plant can be cultivated using hydroponic farming methods in which the plants are grow in water, without any soil. These methods make dulse much easier to grow and harvest, and therefore more affordable. The researchers are currently producing about 20 to 30 lbs. (9 to 14 kilograms) of this fast-growing plant each week in two large, water-filled tanks at the Hatfield Marine Science Center.
However, Chris Langdon, a professor of fisheries at OSU who is leading the seaweed-farming effort, said that he and his colleagues can amp up production of the delicious plant to 100 lbs. (45 kg) a week. Langdon has been growing dulse for 15 years, but he and his fellow researchers only recently patented their novel strain of bacon-flavored seaweed.

The researchers originally started growing the plant as a food for abalone, a kind of large, edible mollusk that’s often raised in commercial “aquaculture” farms. An excellent source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and protein, dulse is the perfect food for farm-raised abalone, Langdon said.

“The original goal was to create a superfood for abalone, because high-quality abalone is treasured, especially in Asia. We were able to grow dulse-fed abalone at rates that exceeded those previously reported in the literature,” Langdon said in a statement.

But the researchers recently shifted their focus from feeding abalone to feeding humans. When Chuck Toombs, an instructor in OSU’s business department, stopped by Langdon’s office for a visit, he saw the tanks of seaweed growing outside Langdon’s door. Toombs had come to ask the fisheries professor if he had any ideas for business projects for students. Clearly, the appeal of a bacon-flavored health food was not lost on Toombs.

read more at http://www.livescience.com/51588-bacon-flavored-seaweed-dulse.html?cmpid=514627_20150716_49284796&adbid=10152875098691761&adbpl=fb&adbpr=30478646760


Why Do Humans Kiss When Most Animals Don’t?


A new study finds that half of human cultures don’t practice romantic lip-on-lip kissing. Animals don’t tend to bother either. So how did it evolve?

 When you think about it, kissing is strange and a bit icky. You share saliva with someone, sometimes for a prolonged period of time. One kiss could pass on 80 million bacteria, not all of them good.

Yet everyone surely remembers their first kiss, in all its embarrassing or delightful detail, and kissing continues to play a big role in new romances.  

At least, it does in some societies. People in western societies may assume that romantic kissing is a universal human behaviour, but a new analysis suggests that less than half of all cultures actually do it. Kissing is also extremely rare in the animal kingdom.

So what’s really behind this odd behaviour? If it is useful, why don’t all animals do it – and all humans too? It turns out that the very fact that most animals don’t kiss helps explain why some do.

Kissing could be quite a recent invention (Credit: Cultura Creative/Alamy)

According to a new study of kissing preferences, which looked at 168 cultures from around the world, only 46% of cultures kiss in the romantic sense.

The study overturns the belief that romantic kissing is a near-universal human behaviour

Previous estimates had put the figure at 90%. The new study excluded parents kissing their children, and focused solely on romantic lip-on-lip action between couples.

Many hunter-gatherer groups showed no evidence of kissing or desire to do so. Some even considered it revolting. The Mehinaku tribe in Brazil reportedly said it was “gross”. Given that hunter-gatherer groups are the closest modern humans get to living our ancestral lifestyle, our ancestors may not have been kissing either.

read more at: http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20150714-why-do-we-kiss


Deep-Diving Dolphins Avoid ‘Bends’ with Powerful Lungs

Deep-Diving Dolphins Avoid ‘Bends’ with Powerful Lungs.

When dolphins dive deep below the water’s surface, they avoid succumbing to decompression sickness, or “the bends,” likely because the massive sea creatures have collapsible lungs, a new study finds. These lungs allow dolphins to inhale and exhale two to three times quicker than humans.

Understanding how dolphinsbreathe rapidly and maintain lung functionality under immense pressure could help scientists keep humans safe when they are in similarly extreme situations, such as under anesthesia duringsurgeries, the researchers said.

Unlike humans, dolphins do not need to be strapped to an oxygen tank to achieve their impressive diving feats. This is because dolphins have compressible lungs that help them withstand high pressures deep in the ocean. [Deep Divers: A Gallery of Dolphins]

“The deeper [dolphins] go into the ocean, the smaller the volume ofgas or air in the lungs gets,” said study lead author Andreas Fahlman, a professor of biology at Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi. Fahlman found that dolphins can replace as much as 95 percent of the air in their lungs in a single breath. For comparison, humans are capable of replacing only as much as 65 percent. Dolphins exhale and then inhale above water before diving back down with lungs filled with air — each breath consumes and releases a certain amount of oxygen that energizes the animals as they swim the ocean.

The researchers studied six male bottlenose dolphins at Dolphin Quest Oahu, a dolphin training facility in Hawaii that is open to the public. The dolphins were free to swim away from the researchers whenever they wished, Fahlman said, though the animals were trained to sit still and breathe into a mask, called a pneumotachometer. This device essentially functioned as a “speedometer for the lungs,” Fahlman said. The mask covered the dolphins’ blowholes at the backs of their necks.

When trainers had dolphins breathe as hard as they could, in breaths researchers called “chuffs,” the animals could inhale 8 gallons (30 liters) of air in one second, and exhale 34 gallons (130 liters) of air per second. A human’s strongest exhale moves at a rate of 4 gallons (15 liters) per second, and human coughs range from about 10 to 16 gallons (40 to 60 liters) per second. In other words, dolphins move air two to three times faster than humans could ever do, Fahlman said.

Clinical applications

Part of the reason dolphins are expert divers is because they cancollapse their alveoli, the little sacks on the lungs that monitor air flow, and then open them up again, “but humans can’t do that,” Fahlman said.

This has implications for humans who are exposed to similarly extreme conditions, such as patients who undergo emergency operations.

“[I]f you’re in the hospital and you’re undergoing surgery, oftentimes what they do is put a tube down your throat and put a positive pressure to prevent a [lung] collapse from happening,” Fahlman said.

Putting positive pressure on the lungs keeps them open, but can also be dangerous, he added. “This is a clinically relevant issue for people inemergency care, for people undergoing surgery, because we cannot as easily open up the alveoli.” [The 10 Most Amazing Animal Abilities]

Fahlman said it’s possible that dolphins’ lungs look completely different from humans’ or that dolphins have a very different biochemical composition in their lungs, which could explain their impressive exhalation abilities. Lungs typically contain a compound called surfactant, or pulmonary surfactant, that helps with breathing. Previous research found that surfactant in some seals and sea lions can keep the alveoli more lubricated so they open up easily.

All mammals use surfactant while breathing; it’s a “way of trying to reduce the number of calories that it costs [to] inhale and exhale,” Fahlman said, adding that animals developed differences in surfactant to adapt to their environments.

Prematurely born babies benefit from surfactant manufactured from cows, Fahlman said, because the babies can’t produce enough of the substance at such a young age.

Surfactant from dolphins and other sea mammals could be beneficial under different circumstances, he added. “We can learn about the structure of the surfactant [that animals] have and replicate it for humans,” Fahlman said.

Looking to the future

Studying animal breathing rhythms and capacities can also help scientists better understand respiratory disease in marine animals, which is a major cause of morbidity and mortality among marine animals in the wild and under human care, Fahlman said.

Humans are exposed to pollen, debris and other airborne pollutants that many dolphins and other mammals are unable to remove from their blowholes. This can make some animals susceptible to certain diseases like lung disease.

Fahlman said he plans to expand his research to beluga whales and porpoises to investigate their breathing patterns. He said there is especially high concern around mammals living in waters near oil rigs. Researchers are planning to travel to Alaska and the Arctic to study the mammals before oil reserves there are exploited, to establish a baseline for animal health, he added.

Oil spills, like the 2010 Deepwater Horizon catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico, can severely hurt dolphins’ health, though the direct effects of the oil spill can be hard to measure without knowing the animals’ health prior to the spill.

“Next time this happens, we will know the health status of the animals in that area, and we can say, ‘Well, this was the health status before and this is the health status after,'” Fahlman said.

The study was published July 8 in The Journal of Experimental Biology.

Elizabeth Goldbaum is on Twitter. Follow Live Science @livescience,Facebook & Google+. Original article on Live Science