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Gastric Bypass Reversals-101

Disclaimer: I’m a medical and mental 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.

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.

For one, I can’t do bariatric surgery or take down of them.

I can only tell people when I think they are necessary and when 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 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.

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.

And that’s where I come in, or my friend Misty, who blogs and vlogs about gastric bypass reversals, as well as my friend Sue (I don’t have the means right now, to link their stuff, I’m only writing this because it’s what’s trending on my stats on WordPress, so forgive me in advance).

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.

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.

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 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 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 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 tool, not a form of torture.

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

Which lastly brings up, the last 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 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.

We 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.

I get that whether or not patients are warned, that a lot of patients when it comes to bariatric surgery, don’t think serious complications could happen to them.

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 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 get undone.

No, because it is risky. No surgeon is willing to do a reversal, unless someone’s health dictates it’s necessary. It won’t guarantee that they will be able to eat normally again.

And lastly, similarly, there are patients who want a reversal, no matter how much (or sadly how little they were prepared for life after gastric bypass)  who cannot accept losing food as a coping mechanism and are despondent and want their surgeries undone, that couldn’t have been forecasted .

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.

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 that a normally much better qualified in any other topic, medically and mentally trained professional, sometimes can’t.

Bariatric surgeons are sometimes like mechanics, they 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 “car repairs” if they keep “crashing their cars”.

But this is a tricky instance, where if you’ve 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.

And/or if you need a gastric bypass reversal.

I 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.

But medically, it took 2 years, to really heal from reversal….But all of us vary, who’ve had them.

I hope this helps. I am putting this out here, knowing it’s 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. Thanks…

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#StigmaKills – The Sexual Predator/Victim Edition….

http://www.rainn.org
http://www.thehotline.org
http://www.suicidepreventionhotline.org 1800-273-8255
http://www.befrienders.org

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.

 

 

Distracted/Impaired Driving: A totally preventable soon to be epidemic, or NOT??

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.

How MANY more people have to DIE, before we have MAJOR Mental Health initiatives in place?

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 People.com, 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 People.com 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.

Another HORRIBLE point that I wish I didn’t have to make, when talking about reducing MURDER/S and gun control….

Important Note: PLEASE, if you or anyone you know, is in any danger of causing harm or fatality, to themselves or others, please seek emergency acute intervention with clinical professionals and law enforcement, right away….

Sigh…

I’m honestly NOT trying to be a jerk, when it comes to the topic of gun control and reducing the murder rate.

It happened to be after this week in feeling heartbroken about the Las Vegas massacre and the many other tragic things going on in the world, I’ve been trying to avoid the news, this weekend.

Unfortunately and horrifically, I just happened to catch a local news story today, where a man in Minneapolis, tried on Friday night to set an apartment building on fire, with the intention of everyone in the building, to be murdered that way.

His exact words were to a witness of him pouring accelerant in the hallways was “I’m about to set this building on fire, y’all better get out because everyone is going to die”.

One innocent person did actually die, in his attempt to jump out of the building, to escape.

And many people were successfully rescued, due to efforts by our amazing Minneapolis Fire Department and Minneapolis Police Department (which I’ve written other blogs in hopes of trying to honor and thank our MPD, MFD, other first responders and Minneapolis 911 operators, not saying that self serving but out of gratitude for what they do for us, locally) where multiple units were involved.

Even though those residents sadly lost most of their belongings and currently their housing, which the Red Cross is helping with the victims. I haven’t been able to find out what happened to the person who tragically died and/or his survivors, at the time of writing and publishing this blog.

Right before starting this blog, I was able to check the record of the murderous arsonist.

He had 2 traffic incidences, in the last 2 1/2 years.

But the bigger deal, that goes along with the point I’m trying to make, is that he also had a felony in 2014 , from a drug related charge that prohibited him from being able to possess a firearm, whether or not he tried to buy one, illegally, no one knows.

This fire happened to occur only 7 blocks from where I live.

It also happens to be, that Mother’s Day weekend in 2015, I had a neighbor in my building, who I didn’t know, pack her stuff, moved it out of her apartment and then set her apartment on fire.

In that case, no one was injured. While extensive damage was done to her unit and the units next to it, it didn’t render my building uninhabitable like it did to the apartment building that was affected this weekend.

I had a heartbreaking conversation, a day or two after, with one of my neighbors who did lose most of his stuff in that fire. He had lost a child, in a previous residence, in addition to most of his belongings, due to a different fire, so he was able to have a much better attitude than most of us who were not affected, given losing a child.

A few days ago, a woman set her 4 year old on fire, killing him in Wisconsin.

This could go on. But it can’t go on. We have to have the dialogue and more resources for prevention of these tragedies.

While all these tragedies involve people who are seriously mentally ill (but please read my last blog by lumping the majority of the mentally ill, with murderers), there is a separation, in addition to the amount of life that’s been lost, that goes beyond MOTIVE.

The difference between the man who set the apartment building on fire and the man who committed the massacre in Las Vegas, the difference was/is MONEY.

This cannot continue to be the norm. We can’t become numb and indifferent, just because we are bombarded by countless tragedies like these, everyday.

Again, I’m not saying let’s not make this about gun control, as it is a major issue and I believe in much stricter gun control. I’ve in my almost 48 years have never touched a gun and I would never own one, because I already know that  I’m NOT even capable of shooting someone in self defense (although I admit, I think I’d be capable if I had to, to shoot someone else, in protection of someone I love, if that was an issue, but it’s not).

My NOT owning a gun, has nothing to do with the fact I have diagnosed mental health issues that’s on record. Because I don’t have a desire to own a firearm, I haven’t even tried to see if I’m eligible for one.

The man who committed the Las Vegas massacre, didn’t have record of mental health issues, though and neither did the man who set that apartment building on fire on Friday, near where I live (at least in Minnesota, where I checked his civil and criminal record).

PLEASE, if we don’t have the dialogue we need to have, as well as comprehensive initiatives to try to find out if these can be prevented, because as I’ve said before, innocent people not just in America, but globally are horrifically murdered, be it one person or almost 5 dozen, by multiple means, not just including guns, we don’t have a chance in reducing these horrible tragedies, that keep going on, over and over again.

Don’t wait until it effects someone you love and care about, we all have to do our part, make our concerned voices heard, in trying to at least do something for prevention.

Please don’t wait until it actually hits home, to say or take action for prevention of all these senseless murders.

Note: Any constructive difference of opinion, I welcome. Any potentially mean or hateful comments will NOT published. Thanks…

Additional note: Edits that I thought took place, prior to publishing blog, didn’t, that did effect very little but important context, that I was trying to make.

I apologize for that.

A gentle but not subtle reminder, in regards of massacres with guns and the mentally ill…

I’m not looking for pity, with what I’m about to say.

I like most people, who was horrified, in regards to the tragic massacre in Las Vegas and felt compelled to act in someway, however small.

After my last blog, I decided to decompress, by watching You Tube.

And I’m honestly not trying to say anything mean, towards Jimmy Kimmel, who I adore for many reasons.

I don’t believe like most people, that any citizen should have ANY access to an automatic weapon. I agreed with almost everything Jimmy Kimmel said in his 10-2-2017 monologue, that I just finished watching, but he was not as careful as he should have been, in trying to make a point about gun control laws and the mentally ill.

And I’m not calling him specifically out, given again, I don’t believe he meant to hurt anyone, only to help. And he’s not the only one. But he is the only one I’ve paid more attention to, than others.

The only reason why I feel compelled, in hopes of trying to bring attention and awareness for mass murders/and/or suicides, over and over again, because of the sanctity and highest regard of human life, that I have.

The only true lack of disregard for anyone’s life, that I have EVER had, is my own.

I wear a hairshirt, for free, on the internet, because my mental health issues, while only potentially fatal to me, did have consequences on the ones I love the most. Which I’ve repeated over and over again, in hopes to help other people.

Not to mention of what I’ve tried to do, with my loved ones who were effected, of them knowing that I never meant to cause them sadness and I never meant to be negligable in any way, to my children who I love the most.

But, PLEASE, I am begging of people, do NOT taint people who have mental illness with someone who had no record but spent the last minutes of his life as a mentally deranged domestic terrorist, killing 59 innocent people and wounding over 500 innocent people.

Most mentally ill people are likely to be a target of a violent crime, than to perpetuate one.

It becomes dangerous, to innocent people, when people don’t choose their words as carefully as they should. I can understand and not be angry when hosts like Jimmy Kimmel make impassioned pleas, in hopes to save people’s lives.

I’m trying as a disabled activist that, too. Save lives, that is. And I have, which I hate to keep repeating, as it’s not meant to be self-serving.

But when people have a large audience and a lot of influence, if they aren’t super careful in how they choose their words, it can cause irrerprable damage to an innocent majority of people, who would never cause harm in another.

Even though it’s not meant, intentionally.

I’ve said it before, and I’ve said it VERY CAREFULLY. Anyone who is capable of causing violent if not fatal harm, to one person, let alone commit a massacre, IS mentally ill.

But it can’t be said enough, I guess, that it must be differentiated that MANY people who live and/or suffer from mental illness, do NOT pose a safety threat to anyone and even accidently promoting that kind of stigma, could cause terrible harm if not be fatal, to someone, just because they have diagnosed mental illness, that doesn’t pose a safety threat to anyone.

Both actions and words, are of the utmost importance when trying to combat violent crime. Please choose with great care, both actions and words.

They both matter, more than hopefully, you’ll ever have to know, if this has not effected someone.

Thank you.

I WON’T BACK DOWN…

And NEITHER should YOU.

It’s easy for the disabled blogger to say, who has more time on their hands, than most people, that while the last 24 hours have been horrific, with the Las Vegas Massacre and now, Tom Petty’s passing, to honor those we love and lose, to find something to believe in and advocate for it.

As well as learn from it.

IF you believe in stricter gun control (if you’ve read previous blogs of mine, it’s NOT that I don’t believe in it, I most definitely do. I just don’t think it’s enough) in murder/and/or suicide prevention,  advocate for that.

IF you believe that we need more medical advocacy and education about cardiac arrest, heart attack and heart disease, learn what’s needed, when there could be warning signs (and sometimes, there isn’t 😦  , to feel less helpless.

Learn and get certified in emergency first aid, if you can. But it’s not you’re fault if someone dies and you didn’t know it.

If you’re like me and have let your certification lapse, you can still learn how to respond in an emergency, as the American Heart Association has videos on CPR and AED, for adult, child and infant emergency response, if you don’t have the money or the time to attend certification classes.

There are samaritan laws that will protect you, for trying in good faith, to save a life. If that’s a fear, in not learning emergency responses.

In my case, where I forgot due to disabilities, on the difference between cardiac arrest and heart attack, educate yourself first, with that, so you can try and respond with the appropriate emergency rescue technique.

The same with other type of first responder emergencies, such as how to help stop bleeding from a gunshot or a stabbing can also be found on You Tube.

As well as choking and many forms of first aid.

As well as there’s many forms of medical/mental health issues that one can be passionate about to bring about awareness, that might save a life.

But realize, it can’t always save a life/lives and sadly it’s no one’s fault.

While in the midst of horrific tragedy, with the Las Vegas Massacre we saw amazing bravery and heroic behavior.

But know that it doesn’t make anyone less of a human being, if they have multiple reasons for not wanting to give  up their life to save another.

It can just help learning proper techniques to save a life, to feel less helpless, in a world that can feel so unsafe and unsettling, at times.

Donate if you have the resources to the less fortunate, in whatever causes you believe in.

But don’t feel bad if you don’t have anything to give and are just trying to get by, whether it be medically, financially and mentally or combination there of.

Ask for help when you need it. But because of above reasons, realize some people may not have it in them, for multiple reasons to give.

Keep trying though. And tell your story,  it could possibly help someone and it’s not at your expense emotionally, financially and/or mentally.

When/If you’re ready to. But it’s okay, if you’re not.

While I started this blog with what I thought was the most unrelatable life story, EVER, I did find people that it help, in my hopes, that it would remove stigma and people would get the help they need.

And it has helped others enormously, as it helped save lives, as well as prove to me, that even though we can be put in awful situations (I’m in NO way comparing myself to anyone who died or lived through yesterday’s horrific tragedy and their loved ones) and greater good can come out of it.

Finding things to believe in and trying to help others, if you can, doesn’t mean you can’t or won’t fall down, yourself.

No one, is superhuman strong all the time.

If there is ANY positive to the last 24 hours, in addition to the heroic and bravery we saw with the victims of the massacre and with Tom Petty’s passing, that they all did what they loved, were amazing human beings and lived life to the fullest, the best they could, until their untimely passing.

Tell people you love and care about them, everyday. You never know when that opportunity will be taken away.

But life can’t be lived in constant fear. We had some have the best people teach us that, today, if not for the last month and years.

So most of us will all fall down, sometime in our lives. You can still live the best life that you’re capable of, by standing up for what you believe in. And what those who you love and care about, believe in.

And not ever backing down, in what is a good fight. And fight but live with light, when you can, not just for yourself, but those you love.

That’s how love triumphs over evil. That’s how love prevails in loss of loved ones, that can’t be prevented.

Every. Single. Time.

In everyone of us that is lit from within. Which all good people, even those who are quite flawed, like me, find positive purpose helps make it to the next day with resiliance. Even when there’s grief and sadness that we as humans, experience.

So don’t ever back down, in what you believe in. Stand your ground. And remember there’s ALWAYS something to believe in, that’s positive, that will get you to the next day, even in our darkest days.

Peace…

Note: Unfortunately with my disability sets, while I can find videos on how to perform live saving techniques, from AHA or and other reputable certified organizations,  I can’t link them, as I’m left to a tablet and can’t copy and paste links, since my laptop battery died.

IF anyone wants to do that in the comment section of this blog, I’d really appreciate it.

I’d also appreciate it, if this blog is not relatable and one doesn’t have constructive advice on how to improve it, to please keep it to yourself.

Thanks!!!

Now, I’m going to find solace, like I have been for decades in Tom Petty’s music, either as a solo artist, with the Heartbreakers and The Traveling Wilburys.

(edit note: I wish this didn’t have to be said. However I was horrified when I went on Twitter to manually link this blog. There’s a fine line in fighting a good fight in what one believes in and becoming a hater and/or bully in the process. Kinda like that ole adage goes, but “lisafied”.

Fighting and hating for peace or a more peaceful resolution, makes about as much sense as “screwing for viginity”)

 

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