Welcome to my monthly (or so) collection of exceptional posts from around the web, a good book or two, and practical resources to help you live the best possible life. Enjoy!
Editor’s Note: This post responds to requests made by readers who asked me to write about accepting chronic illness like fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue and facing cancer as well as other physical challenges.
Like a bolt of lightning out of the blue, my health unexpectedly took a plunge 10 years ago. Muscle, joint, and neurological pain, gut distress, sleepless nights, fatigue, and multiple intolerances became my new companions. At my low point, I weighed 84 pounds.
I wish I could say I embraced this change gracefully. But, actually I fought it. My Virgo disposition turned on my obsessive solution-seeker. I spent most of my time in my head pouring over information in order to “fix it” instead of being present with the new me. A tough nut, it took me considerable time – years – to accept the unacceptable. And, I can’t even say that I’ve fully accepted it now, but I feel more at peace with it.
There will come a time in your life when the unacceptable arrives, too. That’s just how life is. The unwanted might appear as a serious illness, cheating spouse, job termination, death of a loved one, or in one of countless other possible ways. As much as you might try – like me – you cannot escape undesirable changes. But, if you’re willing to work consciously with whatever comes, the pain will gradually soften and you can find great strength in your vulnerability.
Here are some of my hard-won insights from living with chronic illness, which may also be relevant to other types of unexpected change that occurs. Let me warn you, none of what I share will be easy. You’ll probably want to cling to the past or a better future. I fully understand. But, I have every confidence that with time you’ll embrace the journey – your journey – that has been placed in front of you.
“My destiny is in my own hands.” Mary Burmeister
According to the ancient art of Jin Shin Jyutsu, you can harmonize your emotions and nourish your body by holding each of your fingers in sequence. This is a subtle yet powerful self-help approach I’ve personally used to great effect for several years.
Each finger is associated with an attitude that can imbalance a corresponding function and organ system via the subtle energy channels that invisibly course through your body.
A styrene metabolite in my pee?
Recently, I took a urine organic acids test, which measures metabolites – the end breakdown of various chemical substances – in the urine.
The test is not intended to measure levels of environmental toxins in the body. It just happens to measure mandelic acid, a metabolite from the breakdown of styrene. High mandelic acid usually occurs from exposure to styrene.
I was surprised to find that my level of mandelic acid was slightly elevated. This might be due to the normal metabolism of the neurotransmitters phenylalanine or tyrosine since the levels were not extremely high, but it got me wondering.
What Is Styrene and Why Is It a Problem?
Styrene (vinyl benzene) is commonly found in plastic and, of course, Styrofoam. On June 10, 2011, the US National Toxicology Program described styrene as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen“.
US EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) studies on Americans have shown that 100% of human fat samples contain styrene. Once in the body, there’s no mechanism for getting all of the styrene out.