Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Medical Breakthrough

One of the teachers I work with occassionally has a common saying

It's a great day to be alive

Hopefully every day is like that and we can find joy in something small. Today it is from a medical news article that I can agree with and be excited about. So many medical issues treat life has a thing and not so much as something sacred. Refer to my previous post on a news article if you are confused by that statement. However, the article I was shown today completely respects life and instead of using embryonic stem cells uses the patients own cells. I'm not a medical expert, but wouldn't that be better since they are not "foreign" cells but actually from the same person?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

"Potential" is not enough for moral concern

A new czar, a new crazy idea. The below article discusses one appointed leader's belief that an embryo is just a group of cells with potential - no more human than cells with only half the DNA needed for life. It reminds me of the one question I want to ask most people before they make a decision for someone else: When did your life start? A hard question to answer if a group of cells with your complete DNA are "just a handful of cells."

Sunstein: Embryos are 'just a handful of cells'

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Drawn to You

Has there ever been a person, topic or activity you felt drawn to? I think some things we are just meant to do. Some how early in high school I felt drawn to my husband. I can't remember how everything really happened at this point but I know I just felt like I could go to him and open up about some things I didn't tell many people.

The same thing can happen with topics and activities. Some people are drawn to working out and love the experience but for the life of me I can't figure out why that happens. I feel drawn to the pro-life movement and more specifically to educating people on Natural Family Planning. It is natural, safe and empowering. I have so much information and knowledge and freedom to let my body work in its own way and own time.

Finally I read an article that talks about Natural Family Planning in a way that I think will help priests. It talks about understanding the woman and drawing people in by explaining the beauty of the system. The full article comes in response to a recent conference, but there is a great excerpt from when Pope John Paul II was in California. Here is a firsthand account of his discussion on Theology of the Body and NFP:

Holy Father said that in the great and difficult moral issues we should teach in such a way that people would see church teaching as attractive and be drawn to it. A few months later, at lunch with several other bishops during the “ad limina” visit, I reminded him of what he said, and asked, “Holy Father, how do we do this?” The pope became very serious. Philosophical. “It is necessary to understand the soul of the woman. All these things which were meant to liberate her; premarital sex, birth control, abortion. Have they liberated her, or have they enslaved her?” The challenge he gave to the bishops on that lovely sunny day at the old mission in California must be taken up. It seems the beauty and attractiveness of Catholic moral teaching have only now begun to find a serious hearing among many people. We must take up the challenge to share, especially with our young people, the beauty of Catholic moral teaching in the area of sexuality and marital life, and the value of Natural Family Planning which respects the law of God and the dignity of the woman.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Great book

Today I started a six week job in an ASD room. I will have a consistent schedule and paycheck for at least this time period and I'm looking forward to it. It's an interesting situation (I'm not really filling in for a teacher, but being an extra and needed helper) that will keep me nice and busy.

That being said I thought I would just take a few moments to recommend an excellent book. The Atonement Child by Francine Rivers has a sad beginning but a great story. A woman at a small Christian college is raped and decides to keep the child that results from that act. She goes through a lot of trials and it is written beautifully. If you haven't read it yet, it should definitely be put on a list of "must-reads"

Friday, September 18, 2009

New Neighbors

Yesterday I made applesauce with the apples I picked at Cranes. I've been meaning to meet my new neighbors for a while so I put them in a nice jar and went over with my husband. The mystery has officially been solved. Sometime early in July our current neighbors came over to ask about the neighborhood before putting in an offer and now I know they followed through with that. They seem extremely outgoing and I'm glad they joined our neighborhood.

The couple has a 2 year old daughter and expecting one in late March. So that got me thinking about pregnancy again. The thought that came in my head was the different definitions of "pregnancy." Doctors use the date of the beginning of the last cycle because that is the only easy to identify moment for some women - but that is not when the pregnancy began so the weeks are messed up - as my lovely friend in South Bend has told me before - why would doctors want you to feel like you've been pregnant about 2 weeks longer than is actually the case anyway? I just never really thought about it in relation to other definitions. Plan B proponents would claim pregnancy started about a month later when implantation occurs. Maybe that is part of the reason I am so passionate about spreading the word on how great NFP really is. You can have a more accurate due date as well as a better understanding of the true start of pregnancy. Do doctors realize they are giving out two contradicting views of pregnancy? Two views and neither is entirely accurate. I wonder when "modern technology" will catch up to this little snafu

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Faith in Actions

Right now, the Church is looking at excerpts from the letter of St. James and I always love the reminders that brings to my mind. Last Sunday the topic was faith in works. We were reminded that praying without any action is not as comforting actually doing something like providing food, shelter or even a shoulder to cry on to those people you are remembering.

I think that is a great reminder for some of the groups I am in right now. My pro-life group is just starting up so there has been a lot of talking and no doing. It is important to get the group established but it is also important to just get out there and do some good works. We are finally doing that and I am so glad. So many criticisms can arise if you are all talk and I don't want to fall prey to that. One of the biggest complaints among my friends who are pro-choice lies in the lack of resources. If that is a problem, then we need to work to fix that. I hope to do precisely that in the future as we develop a working partnership with a crisis pregnancy center.

In regards to the works we are doing, we picked one service opprotunity and one group building opprotunity (membership drive) to pursue in the next couple months. I also received an invitation to attend the local pregnancy center's banquet and decided to be a table host. If any of my readers in the area are interested in attending let me know!

Friday, September 11, 2009

different viewpoints

Anyone who is involved in promoting a cause must at some point jump the same hurdle: finding a way to help people with very different viewpoints understand your concern about x, y or z. Whether you are promoting environmentally friendly products, humane treatment of animals, or the sanctity of all human life, you will not get very far if you cannot talk to people from other groups.

I have found this idea incredibly striking in the last couple weeks. My husband is always amazed at how often I talk about this interest of mine. Although I do have many other interests - crafting, music, books, and organizing (you read that right - it can be a hobby and not just a chore) to name a few, I don't walk away or remain quiet when an opportunity presents itself.

Recently I talked to someone who comes from a completely different background. I reconnected with an old friend who is definitely enjoying her life but not a certain part which just happened to come out in conversation. Like many women, she is on one version of the pill and is hating the side effects. She is thinking of switching but has already tried a couple versions with the same results - awful side effects. I casually asked if she was on it for medical reasons and she said not really other than helping make her cycles a little more regular.

How many old friends of mine would fit this same story? I'm guessing a lot and hope that helps this friend stay anonymous. I brought up the topic of NFP but in a completely non-religious, non-Catholic way. I talked briefly about some highlights: safe, natural, 99% effective and the little fact that I obviously love it. I put a little information out there and who knows where God will be able to take what was started and potentially change someone's life. I had about a minute to get the point across to someone with a drastically different life than mine and it made me think - do I really know how to talk to people that don't share my beliefs? I hope so!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Armed with knowledge

I was watching the news after the president's speech and I was struck by something the weatherman said of all people. The news got away from the health care debate just long enough to debate global warming. A respected weather expert came on to dispute the whole idea. He showed statistics and gave a convincing argument but none of that competed with what he said next.

I won't quote him because I don't remember his exact words. I will give you his message and put it into my words because I completely agree:

I am not asking that anyone believe me. I'm asking that they take the time to find some facts and decide for themselves. Don't believe the bigger, wealthier side because they are not always right. Take some time to think and use all these amazing resources we have. I say the same thing for my cause although it is sometimes hard to find the information.

I was met with yet another situation today where a woman talked about how she asked her doctor if the pill could prevent a fertilized egg from implanting and was met with "it's not the abortion pill." Hello? She was just looking for yes or no! Why can't we get a simple answer from people that should be resources for us?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Same Commercial, Same Mood

This time I was watching the style network and saw the "Plan B" commercial again. I was surprised at how long it was but had to watch through the end - part of me couldn't believe that it would flat out lie. On the website it does not say anything about how it works other than the fact that it is similar to the pill and not like the abortion pill (didn't even know there was one out there).

That being said, I had to do some extra research and found some answers on another website. Here is the paragraph I think they should have on the commercial:

How does Plan B One-Step work?

Plan B One-Step is one pill with levonorgestrel, a hormone that has been used in many birth control pills for over 35 years. Plan B One-Step contains higher dose of levonorgestrel than pills, but works similar way to prevent pregnancy. It works mainly by stopping the release an egg from the ovary. It is possible that Plan B One-Step may also work preventing fertilization of an egg (the uniting of sperm with the egg) or by preventing attachment (implantation) to the uterus (womb).

And here is what I found earlier in that website:
Plan B One-Step will not work if you are already pregnant and will not affect an existing pregnancy.

I am not the best at science but here is a short lesson for everyone out there.

Step one: egg is fertilized
Step two: zygote (aka your baby) travels down fallopian tube for around a week
Step three: rapidly growing baby implants in the uterus to receive much needed nutrients.

If you take "plan b" less than a week after sex as directed there is no way it could cause a miscarriage from the uterus - the baby hasn't gotten that far yet. It can cause an existing pregnancy to fail because once the egg if fertilized all the DNA is there. In any case, I think that fact that the drug company does not explain how it works on even their website is dishonest and all women should learn a little more about how their reproductive system works before loading their bodies with hormones.

Unfortunately, many doctors, teachers and parents are not helping girls learn the right information. Many don't have it themselves. As a woman that has taken a lot of time trying to figure out what is happening in my body, I hope and pray that I am helping others by finding some sources that explain and reveal what doctors, pharmacists and commercials won't.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Padre Pio

I think one way to show the sanctity of life is to highlight some people that live or lived a life you admire. It gives me strength and courage to face the challenges of each new day and know there were others who struggled through much worse. One person that I have recently started reading about is Padre Pio. He was born in the 1880s and became a monk. He also lived a very different life than most by following strict rules that to me just don't seem like a healthy lifestyle. That did not seem to bother him because through it all he praised God and followed Him the best way he knew how.

Something I found especially intriguing was how he viewed the world and experienced life in general. As a little kid, he saw visions of Mary and Jesus who would talk to him. He didn't take the time to tell others because he thought that happened to everyone. That got me thinking about how I experience the world and if there are some things I just take for granted. Everyone sees with different eyes and in different ways. That is a realization I hope I don't forget soon. I guess I have always known that, but it seems to carry so much more meaning in light of the experiences Padre Pio had.

It's a great book that was recommended by a couple family members. I concur with their recommendation and encourage everyone to put it on their to read list.
Padre Pio: Man of Hope

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Post-Op Visit

Today I went to see my doctor to get more details on how the surgery went. I got to see the pictures of my insides and where the problem was located. I was yet again met with the good and bad scenario:
Good - we found what was causing my pain and got rid of it
Bad - Endometriosis is not a good thing to have and can last until menopause yikes!

I was also given some better than expected news. I have heard many times that it grows back, that no one knows what causes it, and that pregnancy is the best solution/preventative measure. However, when I asked what the likelihood of that happening I was told 4-10%. So my doctor said no rush with the pregnancy idea but he doesn't want me to wait 5 years.

My doctor's advice: take a vitamin everyday, workout and eat healthy. He says it is extra important for me so I can't slack off - too bad I don't have my sister's motivation in that area. Reason? Apparently there are some theories that endometriosis is linked to suppressed immune systems so I have to do my best to stay healthy at all times which is a tough command when you are in a different classroom with different students and different germs everyday.