It's not what you are eating, it's what's eating you…

I’m not writing about this to bring attention to myself.

Nor is this blog about me.

I know in past blogs, I’ve gone in greater detail, of why I still occasionally donate to The Zach Sobiech Osteosarcoma Fund at Children’s Cancer Research Fund.

I don’t write much about him and/or how much his family inspired me, that much anymore, that to me would feel and be kinda creepy.

But in 4 months (this is being written on 1/3/2018)  he should’ve been able to turn 23. 17 days after, on 5/20/2018, will be the 5th anniversary of his passing, I’m still compelled to try and do some minute thing, where something so tragic, there was love and hope and positivity among that, which is so hard to see, when you think of children’s cancer but you see a young man, who was so inspiring and so was his family.

And they inspired with honesty and grace, so many countless others, including me.

It wouldn’t be good for me, as I spread the type of activism I do, around, so to speak, nor am I best suited to this kind of activism, to do it all the time.

But I do think about Zach, living so close to U.S. Bank Stadium for almost the last 5 years. I thought about him, when I first saw the stadium last year.

I’ve thought about him and his family, with the Super Bowl being there, in a little over a month and I’m so sad, as inspired that I’ve been by him and his family, that he never got to live to see that.

So I guess what I’m saying, and because of being technically limited, I’m only limited to posting the link for the fund, not his videos that are linked in previous blogs that I’ve written about Zach, if you’re feeling helpless about so many things, as sad and tragic as children’s cancers are, there’s still something to still be inspired about, when it comes to Zach Sobiech and his family.

And while it was good to see that the fund had reached almost $1,500,000, it’s not enough.

It’s not enough, though, until there’s a cure for Osteosarcoma.



Gastric Bypass Reversals-101

Disclaimer: I’m a medical and mental health activist, NOT a clinically trained medical or mental health professional. When in medical and/or mental health crisis, please seek medical/mental health treatment, in acute care facility, immediately.

However, the nature of this topic which is gastric bypass reversals, while it’s not something I’m concentrating my activism as a blogger, on, as of late, it’s something I’m always “on call” for, because I’m probably the most public person out there, who’s farthest away from my reversal, being almost 7 1/2 years status post open roux-en-y gastric bypass reversal and over 16 years status post laparoscopic roux-en-y gastric bypass.

While nothing I ever say, SHOULD EVER be taken in lieu of professional medical or mental health issues, I have a little more leeway in this topic and credibility, as far as giving my opinion, at least about reversals of when they should be done and when they shouldn’t be.

For one, I can’t do ANY of the  bariatric surgeries or a take down of them.

I can only tell people when I think they are necessary and when I think they are NOT.

Or agree and/or disagree and give my opinions when the topic of gastric bypass reversals come up, that’s it.

Gastric bypass reversal outcomes, if you use a search engine, there is clinical medical data out there, but it’s VERY limited.

The nature of a reversal being needed, makes it the outcome pretty difficult to predict, other than that it will usually save a person’s life and/or now, when they are being done, when the quality of life of a gastric bypass patient, is so reduced, more so than the potential that any of the co-morbidities of Obesity and Super Morbid Obesity, could ever present to a patient, that it will improve their quality of life and or at least arrest certain complications, like long term nutritional deficiencies that can cause serious and irreversible complications from getting worse (I’m not talking about patients who don’t take their vitamins, I’ve addressed this topic in other blogs).

With some caveats, which I will explain as I go along.

Most people are surprised to find out that I am bariatric surgery “positive”, without serious promotion of it.

I am a medical activist and advocate, I do believe that bariatric surgery, up to and including gastric bypass, are the Obese and Super Morbidly Obese patients best chance of losing a lot of weight and keeping it off, long term.

I am not digressing when I say the same, with Opiates, I believe they for those who have severe chronic pain, have exhausted all other treatment options for pain.

That being said, I obviously, like most medical providers and medical activists , believe that to be true, both with bariatric surgery and opiates, ONLY as a last resort, because of complications and things that can go wrong, even when the most qualified medical professionals are involved, with the most compliant patients.

There are many reasons why a bariatric surgeon will tell a patient that they need a reversal, the reasons are varied and that should NORMALLY be between a surgeon and/or another medical professional and a patient.

Because those reasons are complex and too numerous for me to list, I’m not going to bother putting all the reasons why a reversal is sometimes needed.

However, when it comes to a patient wanting a reversal for medical reasons (I’m about to make another point, bear with me) but a surgeon NOT wanting to do a reversal, there are cases, which I get contacted about, because a surgeon doesn’t want to do a reversal, not necessarily for the right reasons.

Meaning, I will get bariatric patients who find me, are going to die from their complications and the ONLY reason they are given for a reversal not being done, is because of a surgeon’s fear of of a patient gaining all their weight back.

My surgeon wisely told me, as he did both my gastric bypass (2001) and reversal (2010) that my complications which I would’ve died from, posed a greater threat than the co-morbidities of Obesity ever could present to me and for how much sicker I got drastically (I had complications from 2002, 1st hospitalization in 2004, many from 2006 to 2010, especially in 2010) I wouldn’t have lived long enough to gain all my weight back, like I actually did, in my super unusual case for a patient who had long term severe complications from late 2007 to late 2009 due to meds, even though I couldn’t eat very much and projectile vomited anything and nothing I ate due to those pesky ulcer bleeds.

Usually, when patients find me who are are super sick from their complications, have had many complications and are in and out of the hospital most of the time, quite a few have feeding tubes, chances are, they are NOT going to live long enough to have to worry about co-morbidities that are typical of Obesity.

I usually tell them to find another surgeon. Because usually in these cases, their lives depend upon that.

And usually they do find a surgeon, where if a reversal is the best option, who perform them, successfully.

I also have to deal with gastric bypass patients who are TOLD to have a reversal, but don’t want one, because they are afraid of getting fat again.

I don’t take that personally, even being unusual, being heavier of needing a reversal to save my life.

It usually goes beyond the scope of most bariatric patients that if they have gastric bypass or any other weight loss surgery to lose weight and become healthier, that it’s inconceivable to them, they could possibly become sicker and/or die, than the co-morbidities of Obesity, could ever present, like I said before, quoting my surgeon.

Those patients, I can usually only take so far.

While I help quite a few of them, because I’m quite blunt in saying, that they are going to DIE, usually in their cases, they won’t live long enough to get fat again and I urge them, like I urge anyone that I help to get both medical and mental health help that goes beyond acute care.

Although acute medical and mental health professional help, is needed in most of those patients.

Also,  I have to explain to a lot of patients, whether they had an ideal outcome, but especially in catastrophic ones, they aren’t (on rare occasion, there is extreme self sabotage or they weren’t ideal candidates and should’ve never made it through the pre-operative bariatric surgical process) to blame for their complications, moderate to severe.

Bariatric surgery, all of them, is a supposed to be a tool, not a form of torture.

While it’s not meant to be comfortable, it’s not meant to be agonizing, either.

Which brings up, the last few populations of bariatric patients (or their families) I get queries from, who want and or need help.

Those who don’t have complications that aren’t anything that’s considered abnormal in the realm of having bariatric surgery, in the first year, that any competent surgeon (which I realize, there are some bad surgeons, but there are a lot of good ethical ones, too) and their teams would’ve warned them from the start.

Such as how little one person can eat after a gastric bypass and while I know most patients are warned and are prepared, some can’t deal with it, after the fact.

Or there are a few who weren’t actually warned.

We were warned 16 years ago of what to expect, as far as having to re-learn how to eat again, in my pre-surgery process and it’s way more extensive now, as far as preparing a potential bariatric surgical patient of what to expect and the fact that complications including death, can happen.

But a reversal isn’t done, in cases where patients are truly devastated about how little they can eat, right after surgery.

Lastly, here’s a few other major things people need to know about gastric bypass reversals:

NO pre-operative gastric bypass patient should think that they can easily be reversed.

They can’t easily be reversed and they aren’t reversed, due to “buyer’s remorse”.

I get pre-ops who find me, who want that as an emotional insurance policy, that if they change their mind, after the fact, that they can just  “get it undone” .

No, gastric bypass pre-operatives should NOT assume that a reversal can be done, in cases of bariatric surgical regret (without complications) , because it IS risky (but needed as I’ve tried to explain in this and other blogs).

No bariatric surgeon, for that reason, among many, is willing to do a reversal, unless someone’s health or life, dictates it’s necessary, as a last resort for reasons, that I’ve stated and that a surgeon can elaborate on, should the topic come up between patient and provider.

I try to help anyone, who’s receptive and honest with me about their circumstances, again, with urging them, if it’s necessary, to be under the care of multiple clinical professionals, other than a surgeon and their team.

I do in these cases, because for one, not only do I know people who’ve done well long term after gastric bypass, I’m actually biologically related to one.

I also know that usually with time, when people have “bariatric surgery remorse” that isn’t complication driven, they usually get over it, in time, when they start to experience all the good things that their gastric bypasses will bring them (i.e. the positives of major weight loss)  and usually they get past devastating regret.

Which requires above, 2 separate support systems, truthfully as far as peers, as most people don’t understand initially, that bariatric buyer’s remorse does happen and aren’t as supportive as they could be.

On the flip side, when patients do accept their surgeries and what’s good about it, it’s still life changing, in under the most optimal circumstances, so that’s where the peers of the weight loss surgery community can help, life long, for those people.

Sadly, the very hardest population of people that I have to help, are people who’ve had such catastrophic complications, they couldn’t be reversed and either have died, or are in long term care facilities, and their families contact me, in wondering if a reversal would’ve or could’ve helped saved their loved one’s life.

Or there are a few patients, where either due to a bad surgeon or a good surgeon’s bad judgement, or just plain horrible luck, they had either such catastrophic complications and multiple revisions and can’t be reversed and are waiting for a stomach transplant or some other extremely rarer intervention than a reversal, and they are spending the rest of their lives in acute care setting (usually a hospital) because they are too medically complex and fragile, to be anywhere else.

Again, not being a clinically trained professional, but after having some idea of being exposed to so many people’s stories (thousands, in the last 7 years!!!) , I have to usually go by what patients tell me what happened, what their surgeons (if it’s the original surgeon or someone else who’s cleaning up another’s surgeon’s mess or if someone had unexpected complications and the surgeon retired, i.e.) said, but I don’t believe all bariatric surgeons are bad or negligent.

Most bariatric surgeons are good and intend to do good, with the medical and mental health long term outcomes of their patients.

And I do defend bariatric surgeon’s judgements on a individual basis, whether they recommend or NOT  recommend a reversal, depending on the individual circumstances, all the time.

Unfortunately, initially, that does put me in a unique position. I get where so many people when they need or want a reversal come up, either for medical reasons or mental health ones, where I can say things (very,very, VERY carefully!!!),  that a normally much better qualified in any other topic, medically and mentally trained clinically professional, sometimes can’t for the reasons I explained in this blog.

Bariatric surgeons are sometimes can be likened to  mechanics, they  can possibly fix medical problems, if we are equating a body (which is a lot more complicated) than a car, if we use a car analogy.

Psychologists are like the emotional mechanics, of why people need help with “car repairs” if they keep “crashing their cars”, that can beyond the physical.

But this is a tricky instance, where if  patients have had mental or medical health issues due to being fat, have unresolved eating disordered issues, where medical and mental health interventions AND peer support with people who’ve been in a similar situation, can really only help when it comes to the bariatric community, with obviously a lot of clinically trained medical and mental health support, too.

And/or if you need a gastric bypass reversal, where our particular community is limited on what we can predict as a reversal outcome, but extremely peer supportive, given the unique circumstances that require our surgeries being reversed.

I have touched upon the things people need to know about themselves, the limitations of both patients and providers, as well as the fact, that most people, their lives are saved, when a surgeon says they need a gastric bypass reversal, or they do have a better quality of life.

It’s usually though not right away, especially for those who live and nearly die longer (i.e usually within 3 years status post rny) than those of us, who had a reversal, later.

I did have a better outcome than a lot of people, but NOT right away, it took years. And all of us who I know who had straight takedowns (there is a trend of surgeons now reversing and then doing a vertical sleeve gastrectomy, that’s not weight related) but had complications longer, usually have something.

In my case, I have gastroparesis, like most, but not bad. It took years for my labs to come back to a low side of normal. I can eat without getting sick, usually. I have though severe heartburn, the second I eat or drink anything.

I never regained a sense of hunger, even though I did regain a sense of satiation. I can eat quite a bit. But not often and not for like 4-6 hours at the very earliest, from waking up.

But there are still foods I can’t eat (hamburgers or meatballs, cruciferous veggies) without getting sick. My severe reactive hypoglycemia does come back  and I do start blacking out, if I forget to eat (which does happen) and/or wait too long. Or calorically go too low, which is like 1200 calories or under.

So while I can eat a lot, it’s usually infrequent, that I do so, because it’s uncomfortable to have too much food in a sluggish digestive system.

But medically, it took at least 2 years, to really heal from reversal….

But all of us vary, who’ve had a gastric bypass reversal, in both what our short term and long term outcomes were.

I hope this helps. I am putting this out here, knowing that this blog is really wordy and while my blogging activism, as well as having personal issues, not within the realm of my control, didn’t make writing this NOW, an ideal time, as far as being concise.

But apparently is needed, now, for what people are searching for in on search engines, the realm of what to expect and when a reversal is needed and why bariatric surgeons, medical professionals and seasoned reversal patients can’t forecast another’s outcome post-reversal.

I can be contacted here or my private email address or on Facebook, as Lisa Kasen (not on social media much, here is better) as well as there is a gastric bypass reversal group on Facebook, for those looking for more information, from a peer perspective regarding a gastric bypass reversal.

Note: PLEASE don’t make defend both my advocating for those who have had complications, bariatric surgery regret, as well as defending those who are happy who had weight loss surgery whether they had an ideal outcome or not.

In my case, I have to ethically do what I feel is right, as a non clinically trained medical and mental activist,  knowing people who died waiting for a surgical intervention for their Obesity and died of Obesity related co-morbidities, but also knowing people who’ve died as a result of catastrophic complications, post bariatric surgery from their gastric bypass complications.


I’m not trying to digress or gain sympathy, just establish context.

This has not been an easy year for me, as a poor complex disabled person, let alone as an activist.

And I know that times have been way tougher  for a lot of people, regardless of socio-economics.

I do come though from a conservative Republican family, even though I’m more of a “centralist democrat”.

I also do manage to catch the show “The View”, when it gets posted on You Tube.

December 13th, 2017’s episode with Joe Biden, is NO exception, I saw that yesterday morning.

Including the segment with Joe Biden and Meghan McCain that made me cry, when discussing glioblastoma  and I’m sure I’m NOT  the only person, to see that exchange, as well as other things that they both talked about, who was extremely moved by it.

And truthfully, I didn’t realize the longstanding relationship between Joe Biden and John McCain, until yesterday morning, which I’m kind of embarrassed to admit.

And truthfully, I’ve wanted to, but didn’t have the right words, for awhile, this year, to write a blog about the gratitude that a man like John McCain exists.

While I talk about extremely serious topics in my blog, that the type of activism I do, puts me in the middle of stigmatized topics or topics regarding issues that put people in crisis, this kind of blog, is so way out of my comfort zone.

I seriously doubt that any McCain or anyone in public office, a celebrity of any kind, will read my blog.

I don’t have that kind of reach or social media influence, nor would I ever want to.

But if I had a chance to thank John McCain (and the McCain family for sharing him with America for so long I would) for his selfless sacrifice, devotion and  public service, for his decency, kindness, intelligence, sense of humor and grace, that’s not just lacking in a lot of politicians regardless of party affiliation, but in human beings, in general, I would, so I’m doing it, in the only way I know how, as a blogger.

That he’s proved in politics, people don’t have to agree on anything, to be decent about it, that doesn’t mean they aren’t going to fight for what they truly believe in, in fighting a good fight.

I do this, again, extremely uncomfortable, knowing this is not something that I’m looking for attention in what I’m writing.

As well as I don’t think John McCain does what he does for adulation. He does what he does for great good, for his constituents and the United States of America.

But because of that and his life being dedicated to serving and protecting our country, with such grace, is what makes him, such a lifelong HERO, to me.

And I couldn’t NOT say it, any longer.

Again, I’m only putting this out there for others, who might feel the same way as me, but don’t have the means to express it, to know they aren’t alone.

The only thing I’m not totally sorry for, in writing this, other than, that I wanted to say to this earlier this year, is that I didn’t want, once John McCain’s diagnosis of terminal glioblastoma was made known, to write this after his death, which I hope is not for a long time.

But he’s in the hospital right now (this blog is being written and published early Thursday morning 12/14/2017)  and I feel for his family and friends and others, whether it be constituents or anyone, where they’re like me, and they’ve been so moved and inspired by John McCain and his family (and while I think the Bidens are an amazing inspiration, too, they will be a positive subject of another blog) and need a safe place to talk about it, is catalyst for this blog.

And I’m praying, based upon that inspirational exchange between Joe Biden and Meghan McCain, this will only lead at this point to a hopeful conversation or a conversation about inspiration and honor, as it applies to John McCain, his family and Joe Biden and his family, too, if you want to include, which while I don’t think they want some blogger talking about this, so many other people are doing so, but with some kind of bias.

To honor them all, should there be a discussion, lets take the bias and politics, out of the discussion and concentrate on all of them being such a good, decent and inspirational people.

Because honestly, because of people like John McCain and the exchange I saw between Joe Biden and Meghan McCain, I, for the first time, since 11-8-2016, saw some kind of potential small glimmer hope of that the country can find common ground, even though I voted for 44 in 2008 and last year, it was for HRC.

Thank you.

Note: Any comments that are NOT constructive, will NOT be posted.

Also note: While my intentions are to start a dialogue without partisan politics being discussed, if it can be helpful, who I voted for, is somewhat relevant.

I can have an enormous amount of respect and reverence for John McCain, as exhibited above, want to show gratitude, but it would be disingenuous, in some manner for me to give the impression I voted for him, when I didn’t. 1800-273-8255

What I’m about to have to say, is bad enough…It’s actually tragic…

The current social climate I have to say it in, is ALMOST as bad.

In multiple ways, for multiple reasons. Let me explain…

Very, very, very carefully.

Because the nature of the activism that I do, is usually suicide prevention, oriented, while I blog about all things mental health, including rape and sexual harassment (especially this year!!!), I had worried and wondered when, not if, someone either an accuser or the accused would die as a result of this, either in the form of murder or suicide.

Well, let me clarify that. I’m already know that people have gotten murdered for raping someone else’s loved one, people have died in domestic rape and assault situations both victims and perpetrators and people who have been accused and or convicted or people who’ve been violently raped have died by suicide.

And maybe somebody has already died this year (either a victim or a perpetrator) but it’s been buried in the news, we are constantly bombarded with, even for someone like me, who’s rarely on social media and on limited platforms.

I hate to say this, as it’s of personal nature and it’s honestly NOT meant to be self serving and it can be potentially hazardous to someone’s emotional health, if I don’t choose my words carefully AND if someone doesn’t read them just as carefully.

I’ve already discussed about my own rape in 1996, talking about it in greater detail than I would’ve already liked (as I really would’ve not liked to have to talk about it at all) and I made my peace with it, in my own ways, a LONG time ago.

Only going public about it, in hopes to help others.

I would NEVER want to hinder the progress that the #MeToo movement has made, which was WAY long overdue, nor they or anyone is to blame for the nature of this particular blog, and that I need to make CRYSTAL clear.

But I’ve had to relive my rape way more in 2017, than I ever did in 1996, when it actually happened.

Over and Over again. Due to the nature of social media.

Okay, I can live with that.  And not die from it, either. And I’m not being glib.

But I’m only saying this, while the #MeToo movement was SO necessary, I can’t be the only one, where I’m glad that it’s occurred, but it’s also been a trigger, that I can be okay with, but be sensitive to the fact or just aware, that while those of us, who’ve had to survive trauma like that, want all stories to be told, but it’s causing some of us to have to relive traumatic events, over and over again, as a result.

I’ve done all the soul searching in my case, where other than it being a VERY traumatic life event, it hasn’t played into any kind of self destructive behavior, like it can for other victims of rape and physical assault, as I had the same vices going out of my rape, that I did going into it, that’s the only reason why I’m mentioning it, in this particular blog.

And again, I’m trying to choose my words carefully.

As I strongly believe everyone’s (victims) stories need to be told. And while my blogs, won’t ever lead to a national dialogue (which to me, is kind of scary to me, as I really have no desire to go “viral”) it does help people talk about things that are strongly stigmatized, which is my goal, even if it’s private or helps them get the help they need.

HOWEVER, as I said in a MAJOR blog that I wrote about Harvey Weinstein and victims of rape and sexual harassment, there needs to be a dialogue on how we can best all help ALL people.

Including the predators themselves. Whether it’s in prevention or rehabilitation initiatives, for those who ARE willing to get help.

IF you do the math, most women know another women, if not a man, who’s been a victim of sexual harassment and/or rape.

In my case, where I am an activist who deals with body diversity issues and while I’m not a a clinically trained professional, I’m already fully aware of that both people of weight and anorexics, it stems from trauma caused by rape, assault and harassment, regardless of gender, socio-economics, in every age group, relationship (i.e. familial,professional or stranger) and in every religion.

So, if most, if not all of us know, someone who’s been a victim of these crimes, we obviously know someone who’s possibly done this.

Even if we DO NOT know, that they’ve actually done this.

Or sometimes people do know someone who’s done this, that they love now, who has this in their past (or present), and they can’t tell due to stigma, nor can offenders talk about what they might have done in the past, that could currently come back to haunt both them and their victims.

And that could be a deterrent on why they don’t seek professional help, either for preventative or rehabilitation purposes, due to the potential consequences.

And I’m not even going to elaborate in detail, the conversations we aren’t having about those who are victims and predators, not in the public eye, where more discussion is needed to help eliminate if not reduce rape, assault and harassment, for those who don’t have anything to lose, like the people of power, who are celebrities, as well as that there needs to be more discussion on the fact that assault victims aren’t always women abused by men. Females can be predators of either gender, and at any age.

But the above paragraph, is another in blog in itself.

I was already thinking about the potential for both victims and perpetrators might already be prone to the potential of suicide, in the last couple of months and ironically had wondered this, as this morning, when I got a phone call from a friend.

My friend had a friend, someone I had met briefly, a few years ago, for like 2 minutes.

While my friend and I had talked about unusual behavior of this friend (i.e. no-show on a job of over 2 decades) a few days ago, I was extremely  concerned.

My friend had found out today, that their friend had died last week, due to suicide, due to concerns of a past sexual assault allegation, allegedly.

Now, I’m going way out of my way to protect everyone’s identity, as they didn’t ask for me to write this blog.

I’m only writing it, because now I know someone who’s died this year, from a perp perspective and I’m sure he’s not the only one who has contemplated or will do this.

But, because  I have a serious responsibility as an activist, to not only have a voice for those who don’t have one, but to make sure I don’t cause further harm, in this case, with this topic, to those who’ve been victims of a sexual harassment or rape, too.

We need to talk about this.

We need to have support services in place. That serve and help EVERYONE.

That it hurts people, whether you care about this, based upon whether or not you like or care about the outcome of the victim and/or of the accused and/or perpetrator of these crimes.

We can’t continue to try people in the court of social media, especially in cases for people who either are victims that come forward or perpetrators who are terrified of something like this going public, so they commit suicide because they can’t or they actually DO NOT see another way out.

I’m not saying that those who’ve committed sexual harassment or rape, shouldn’t have consequences, like people in power, who are in the public eye, or any perpetrator,like we’ve seen, such as losing their careers.

Or that they shouldn’t face further consequences, in a court of law.

But it shouldn’t be okay, that people are okay with someone dying for a grope, they did a long time ago, and felt so much shame, that they would rather die, than face their family, when being scared that it was going to come out, either.

And again, it bears repeating,  I’m NOT trying to do, in any way, any kind of sexual harassment and/or rape victim shaming, which I find repugnant.

But there’s a very good reason that sexual harassment and even more heinously, the crime of  rape, usually doesn’t come with the death penalty.

We need to talk about this more so that more people, even if they aren’t so innocent, don’t die as a result, while remaining respectful to their victims.

(I do need to say, when talking about the above, I’m not talking about predators/perpetrators  who have no remorse for crimes they commit and/or who are violent and/or habitual offenders, but it’s not for me, as an activist, to say what they are due as a punishment, either)

Otherwise, there are going to be more families, blindsided, like this particular family, who now has to deal with the aftermath of a loved one who tried and convicted himself and then killed himself.

And there will be also sadly, victims of rape and sexual assault, who due to the nature of social media bullying having to be buried, too.

Note: Please ask for clarification, if one is a victim of sexual harassment or rape, before making any negative assumptions about this blog.

Also, comments that are not constructive in nature, will NOT be posted.

IMPORTANT Addendum: There are things I need to say, a little over 36 hours after publishing this blog, that I can’t go back in, without “muddying” it, even more.

One thing that I’ve tried to make clear not just in my activism in talking about rape and sexual harassment, but other mental health issues, is about the possibility, if it’s possible, with initiatives and open dialogue for PREVENTION.

Prevention of suicide. Prevention of rape and sexual harassment, as it applies to this blog.

As we have taught kids, from the time they are young,  how to describe and identify a “a good touch” versus a “a bad touch”.

But we haven’t done nearly enough in both kids and adults is talk about more means on how to prevent in the first place, so it doesn’t start at home, doesn’t  end up in schools or on the grounds, in a park, places of worship and in the workplace, to name a few.

I knew when I wrote this, it’s too soon to discuss this, though even though a couple of hours ago, a Kentucky congressman died due to suicide among allegations of molestation of a minor child.

And while I feel sad for the family and friends of both the victim and the congressman, as well as more victims that will come out and truthfully, more accused and/or perpetrators might die, so I stand by what I say, there is something else I have to say, that I would’ve rather not.

Most of my blogs, sometimes talk about the issues I’ve been up against, because I’m limited in what I can say about those I love the most.

But because it has relevance, I’m hoping that I will be forgiven, but I want it understood from the victim perspective, I get the enormous amount of damage and pain this topic causes victims.

My 14 1/2 year old daughter has been a victim of sexual harassment, groping by a peer and bullying.

And while I was a suburban kid, while I was bullied anywhere I went at her age, by words, I could take the bus, to lets say, where I live now, in Downtown Minneapolis, because then it was fun and less physically unsafe thing to do for an unaccompanied teenage minor, like it is now.

While my daughter lives in a upscale neighborhood though and she can be trusted, we live in a society, that many cannot be trusted and for that reason,she is very RARELY left or allowed to be alone, in a public setting, because of what she’s been through, as it applies to the bullying and harassment.

So if there was any doubt from a victim’s perspective of my not being extremely sensitive and empathetic, I hope there isn’t now, because I don’t think of just my daughter and son, I think everyone who’s been a victim.



Important Disclaimer: PLEASE, if anyone you know, is capable of hurting themselves and/or has the potential to hurt or kill themselves or others, PLEASE seek immediate emergency assistance from law enforcement and/or medical/mental health professionals. IF you’re not sure, but just suspect someone is capable of causing harm to another/many, contact local emergency authorities i.e 911, who have staff that are properly trained in these potential crises to engage EMS/Crisis Intervention Teams and various Law Enforcement department/agencies,  if necessary…

samhsa-disaster-distress-helpline2  1-800-273-9255

“Babe, I shot the kids'”…

I wasn’t going to talk or blog about  the above quote or tragedy, when a few days ago, a young mother in Texas, fatally shot her 2 daughters.

I wasn’t going to blog about the NYC terrorist attack, on Halloween.

Not because they don’t matter. All these tragic multiple fatalities whether they origin from human or other natural disasters, they ALL matter.

But here I go again, or more like here we go again, as a society, not even a month has gone by, not even a week has gone by, another tragic massacre occurred today, where a man shot and killed over 26 people and another 20+ were wounded, in a church, in a small town outside of San Antonio, Texas.

Is this just going to be our new normal? Not just nationally but globally? People will be randomly massacred, in their workplaces, schools, social gatherings, hospitals and places of worship to name of few, with NO end in sight?

I’m heartbroken for the victims and survivors of all these tragedies. I’m heartbroken for those who have to worry that it’s becoming a more clear and present danger that more innocent people will die, including those we love and ourselves, that this will become an epidemic.

I, obviously,  lack the qualifications necessary to take this on, other than hoping to start a dialogue by blogging about these tragedies and I don’t have it in me, to address each and every single one of them, even though they matter to me, like they matter to so many and they really should matter to everyone.

But the one thing that I actually CAN do and hopefully by saying what I have, when discussing repeatedly about mental health/domestic terror  issues that cause fatalities in others, is to be very CLEAR that we cannot become numb or apathetic, because it’s too scary to have to think about it happening to so many innocent lives being lost for so many different reasons.

Because it’s too scary to think, that the reality is, it’s becoming more apparent that this could happen to someone we love, where they are murdered in a massacre of any kind.

Or in a domestic situation. Or due to road rage. Or the many reasons that factor into these tragedies, that seem like they are not within the realm of our control.

Apathy can work wonders when hatred leads to hateful words that harm others.

Apathy cannot help, when it comes to hatred that causes someone to ACT in a manner that causes harm or death.

My sympathies and prayers go out to all the victims and their families and friends so tragically effected by all these tragedies and the tragic massacre that took place, today at First Baptist.

Note: At the time this blog is being published, the mass murderer/domestic terrorist, has just been identified, although his motives are unknown.

I’m kindly asking, if a dialogue should take place, as a result of this blog, I realize that he used guns to commit this horrific tragedy, but I choose to identify him a different way, not just the “Texas Church Shooter”.

As I believe that it’s getting people NO WHERE, where if the only dialogue people are capable are having is ONLY based upon gun control when it comes to these heinous acts.

And instead of talking about the victims, people are digitally verbally eviscerating one another based upon weapons and too much attention is placed on the murderers, and NOT the victims themselves or the need to talk about WHY people are commiting these tragedies versus HOW, let alone on prevention, IF they are preventable.

So if that’s the only type of dialogue people choose to have with this blog, please do so, somewhere else. Thanks.

Editorial note: Blog published on 11-5-2017


Disclaimer: I am not a clinically trained professional nor do I pretend to be one on the internet. Furthermore, I’m not a professionally trained public safety official, which is I’m sure a good thing, because if I WAS, people would probably have to do the equivalent of continual education regarding driving safely, ANNUALLY,  for everyone to maintain their driver’s license, which I’m kind of convinced is not such a bad idea.

Also note, IF anyone knows someone who is a danger behind the wheel, please contact the appropriate authorities, when it’s  safe to do so, in regards to both their safety and that of others.


I’ll also admit that I am not eligible for a driver’s license due to the cognitive disabilities that I have, due the irreversible neurological damage sustained due to long term nutritional deficiencies from my gastric bypass.

And I’ll further admit, after not driving for over 9 years now, I’m not totally sorry, in today’s world, that I can’t drive any longer. I get an enormous amount of anxiety most of the time being in a car.

Before anyone holds that against me, for what I’m about to say, and I’ve said this before, when blogging about this topic, I see all the time, everytime I leave my house, the reckless things that people do behind the wheel. I see no less than a minimum of a dozen potential drivers who are public safety hazards, in a 30 minute bus ride, every time I take public transportation.

The catalyst though of this blog, which I’ve blogged about this before, is when having a conversation with my oldest tonight, when he was on his way home from his girlfriend’s house, where she lives 2 1/2 hours away from his home.

While there is more of an immediacy of my writing about this again, I would’ve done so, regardless of what happened to him tonight, as again, I see unsafe behaviors by both drivers and pedestrians, all the time.

Because I am a a blogger who believes in full transparency and it’s related both to my medical and mental health, there are positive things that have merit, for the reasons why I blog about,  such as public safety.

While I have a lot of things that I know my son should be proud of himself for, one of them is, taking the responsibility of driving, super seriously. While he will on a long drive, talk to me via bluetooth, he knows to keep his eyes and his focus on the road.

Incident #1, that happened tonight within the first 5 minutes of our conversation. An impaired driver was driving down the wrong side of the road, nearly broadsiding him, it was a road that wasn’t well lit, but because it was dark, my son between flashing his headlights and swerving was able to both avoid an accident and the driver by some miracle was able to turn around.

We got off the phone, shortly after that happened, which part of me was both relieved and terrified. And I waited an hour to call him back, knowing he hopefully would’ve cleared that stretch of highway, by then.

When I used to drive, I’ve been on that particular highway, I know how poorly lit it is, as well as there usually isn’t much in the way of police or highway patrol.

When I called him back an hour later, hoping to feel relief which I did, he was about 40 minutes away from home. He knows the anxiety I have with him driving, so about 3 minutes before he was to arrive at home, he gave me an update.

About 90 seconds later, he was very shaken, as when exiting less than a mile away from home (his last 40 miles of that drive, is in a well lit, busy highway that does have a lot of police patrol,  the last  exit has was on has 2 lanes, one exit to the  left of him, to make a left, the other exit to make a right(the lane he was in) and a driver behind him went to the right of him, nearly broadsiding the passenger side of his car, on a very narrow shoulder.

My son was probably 2 seconds from getting in a major car accident, if that car had to be so reckless to pass him that way, it’s almost a blessing the careless/distracted/impaired was speeding, because there was no where for my son to go, as there was a car to the left him, which he would’ve had to hit on his side to avoid being broadsided on the right.

My son, being fairly mild mannered, just took  it with a grain of salt. Which probably was the safest thing for him to do, which I will elaborate on, but hopefully it will warrant more discussion as well as input for ideas how to safely experience that.

I,  on the other hand, am now a stressed out wreck. I had felt such a sense of relief, knowing he was so close to home, that even though I know that major car accidents, including fatal ones, can happen within 2 miles of someone’s residence, no one wants to think about that, when it applies to their own loved one.

Even though I was terrifyingly reminded that happens all the time, tonight.

I have spent the last 90 minutes researching, as I’ve done before on both statistics for fatalities as impaired/road rage/distracted driving accident inducing fatalities and defensive driving tactics regarding impaired/road rage /careless/distracted drivers.

In being fully transparent, I do have to admit that while I have tried to instill safe driving habits in my son, which I have, unfortunately my son also learned what not to do, behind the wheel, as a result of the last year I drove, when I was cognitively disabled and my children lived with me and I wasn’t a good driver, then.

While I was ashamed about that then and tried to keep my driving to a bare minimum, both with and without my children in a car that I was driving, I admit that even if I wasn’t intentionally impaired by distraction or medication, I still was medically, due to the disabilities, that I should’ve known better but didn’t.

I’m saying all of this, to remove stigma. While I have more blogs in the works, about chemical dependency and internet/social media/smartphone addiction, in general, as well as road rage, motor vehicles, as I’ve said in the past, even no matter how unintentional (and intentional with road rage), become a weapon, that harm and KILL people daily, due impaired and distracted driving.

While we need more resources and we need that NOW, to combat  addiction, I think it would HELP enormously, to increase the criminal responsibility, liability and consequences as NOT using addiction or impairment of any kind or origin, as an excuse of any kind, once an addict or impaired driver of any kind gets behind the wheel and hurts someone, if not kills them.

The BIGGEST OBSTACLE that I face as an advocate/activist, is the “it can’t happen to me” mindset. I also understand that people are busy and multi-tasking is a way of life, for so many.

I guess the best but not easily understood to the masses analogy I can use for “food for thought” in trying to prevent these senseless deaths would be the following….

If one would NOT try to save someone’s life, whether it be a stranger or a loved one, with any kind of impairment or distraction, why would they do something that could endanger another, if they are distracted?

As capable as the most smartest, multi-talented individual that could be out there, NO ONE should think they are too smart to operate a motor vehicle, distracted or impaired in any way. If one wouldn’t think for a second of getting into a vehicle or even a non moving space with an impaired and/or distracted individual, why would they think it’s okay to do this, themselves,  behind the wheel?

It’s NEVER worth the risk.  So maybe we can ALL  agree and vow not to repeat, as I’m sure I’m not the only one who has done that before, going forward, not to EVER engage in activity that could bring harm if not fatalities, intentionally or not, in ourselves or another human being when operating a motor vehicle.

So, in addition, to pleading to start a dialogue for further prevention initiatives in combating vehicular fatalities and what plays a part in them, is to acknowledge it happens everyday. And that we have to do something about it. NOW.

Children go to school and don’t come back home, because they get ran over, when getting off of a bus, and getting hit by a car. Adults go to work and either don’t make it there or don’t make it home, because they get killed in a motor vehicle accident.

Plus all the various scenarios that people die in vehicular and/or traffic fatalities.

We were reminded on Friday, here in Minnesota, where snow is NOT a foreign substance that drivers usually aren’t familiar driving in, 4 people died, when we got the first snow of the season.

The only thing I can think of, that could help, in addition to more initiatives, is for people when NOT behind the wheel, practice mentally, of how to respond and NOT respond when facing an impaired driver of any kind.

Don’t retaliate, try to to keep calm, even though it’s an anxiety and adrenaline inducing  situation, which can hopefully try and help reduce how scary this can be, when going through a close call, by mentally practicing scenarios when at home, so that doesn’t potentially cause a vehicular accident of it’s own accord, somewhat understandably as nearly being in a car accident due to another’s unsafe driving, obviously is a scary thing to have to go through.

In my son’s case, I feel bad, I couldn’t in good conscience both then or in similar circumstances for prevention of this happening to someone else, of encouraging him try  to get information about the driver and/or vehicles that put him the situations TWICE, to call 911, as it would be unsafe for him and potentially make himself a distracted driver, as the road he was on, especially close to home, is a busy road with no shoulder to pull over and him concentrating on getting identifying information, could’ve been risking causing a car accident of his own accord, by doing that.

Hopefully this will lead to discussion on prevention initiatives and possible ideas for deterrents and much harsher repercussions for impaired/distracted driving.

In 2015, between impaired/distracted driving, over 15,000 people died and over 400,000 people were injured. According  to the CDC, 9 people a DAY, die to distracted driving and according to MADD, 28 people die a day due to impaired driving.

Note: I will only post constructive feedback. Again, nothing I do on the internet is monetized in any way. I put myself out there, in hopes to help people and if something can’t be said constructively or is possibly triggering to myself or another, it will NOT posted, as I am haunted every day for the mistakes I’ve made, even though I’m grateful that it didn’t lead to irrevocable harm in another, but that’s only because of both lack of intention AND luck.

I’m not saying I’m above criticism. But I no longer  drive, so I’m really NOT an issue, as far as this is concerned, so nothing constructive can come from misdirected anger, just because I touch a nerve, with the subject matter. It’s another if I misspoke and I welcome any kind of further direction,input  or advice, as well as if there are already major initiatives in place, but in my research, just didn’t find them.

Also note, in discussing impaired drivers, I’m talking about drivers who have some idea that they could potentially cause an accident. Meaning, for example, someone who has a form of of epilepsy, that isn’t well managed with medications, should know not to drive. Especially if they’ve been in motor vehicle accidents while having a seizure (sadly I know more than one person, where that has been the case, hence this is why I’m using it as an example) Someone though who doesn’t have a health history and suddenly has a heart attack or a stroke, some impairments CANNOT be forecasted and truly are tragedies that sadly can’t necessarily be prevented.

Edit/Clarification note: Sigh… Edits when proofing before publishing did NOT go through, I did have to edit (which I realize may be hard to believe, due to the length of blog) but that unfortunately require this clarification, as in it’s original published state, the few words that were corrected, TOTALLY changed the context of the point I was trying to make.

It’s been a quiet weekend, on purpose.

For the type of activism that I do, for the sake of my well being, I don’t read the news very much, on weekends.

I just happened to check out, about 10 minutes ago, when I saw the headline, that a young beautiful, brilliant and kind woman died, when another even younger person, a 12 year old child, tried to commit suicide, yesterday.

The 22 year old Maryland woman, her name was Marisa Harris, died in Virginia, yesterday, when a 12 year old boy jumped off an overpass and landed on her vehicle and the young boy is listed in critical condition with life threatening injuries.

Marisa, according the and The Washington Post article, was getting her masters in clinical counseling, who loved working with children, at the time of her death.

Her heartbroken family could sadly see the irony in that.

I decided to write yet another blog, about this issue, because we can’t as a society become numb to this.

A young woman, who had already enriched so many people’s lives and could’ve saved countless  other people’s lives, was robbed at such a young age, of living life to the fullest because a young 12 year old boy, couldn’t see the value in his own life.

I wish there was more I could do, to not only bring attention to the seriousness and the acute need to have more comprehensive mental health initiatives funded by government, in schools (from the time children are young), to the workplace and in facilities and in the media, to help people from the time they are young, until they are very old.

To give all human beings, the opportunity to get help when in crisis, as well to try and  prevent traumas that can play into crisis and for evaluation, treatment and rehabilitation for any human being who’s at risk of taking their own life, as well as other lives.

My thoughts and prayers are with both the families and friends of Marisa Harris and with the young 12 year old boy, where I hope that he should survive, but I can’t even imagine what both families are now facing.

No one should have to know of that and none of us should wait any longer before advocating for more comprehensive awareness and treatment options for those who are at risk of their mental health issues being fatal to them or another person/people.

Rest In Peace, Marisa………………

Note: I didn’t think it was fitting, to put in the body of the blog, about the young father who was tragically killed, a few weeks ago, when teens through a rock on an overpass. I think it’s noteworthy, even though they are two separate tragedies.

One innocent person died as a result of a youth, not realizing the consequences of their actions, could hurt another person. The other was by teens that should’ve been old enough to know that their actions could result in a fatality, and just didn’t care what the potential consequences could be, in their victim.

Also note, due to the nature of THIS particular blog, I didn’t put my normal disclaimer of people seeking acute clinically trained help, when in an acute mental health crisis, as in this case, it wouldn’t have helped.

Editorial note/update: Blog was written and published on 10-29-2017.

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