Archive for the ‘Health’ Category
Aniel Botha se biografiese boek, ‘n Dans met die dood, vertel van haar stryd met anoreksie en haar obsessie met hongerte – vir kos, maar ook vir liefde, aanvaarding en die dood. Joan Hambidge het op RSG met Botha oor die boek en ook oor haar digkuns gesels. Luister na die potgooi:
Joan Hambidge gesels met Aniel Botha oor 'n Dans met die dood: Play Now
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Dr Marius Barnard is probably best known for the role he played in the world’s first human-to-human heart transplant, but there are many more facets to this 83 year old’s long, full life. His autobiography, Defining Moments, is split into four parts, dealing with his heritage, his medical career, his life in politics and his “crusade to create and promote critical illness insurance”.
Edward Murray spoke to Barnard about his pioneering work regarding “medical and financial health through insurance”:
Recovering from recent major surgery and having struggled against prostate cancer since before the turn of the millennium, Dr Marius Barnard is taking life a little slower these days.
However his brain still bubbles with ways of improving people’s quality of life and strengthening the fragile marriage that exists between their medical and financial health.
Image courtesy the Cape Argus
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“Most doctors don’t know much about Klinefelter’s syndrome,” said novelist and GP Dawn Garisch at the launch of Stephen Malherbe’s Living with My X, the True Story of One Man and a Rogue Chromosome. She herself has never diagnosed it and no patient of hers has ever presented with it.
The condition, however, is less rare than might be thought: it affects 1 in 1000 human males, and it has left Malherbe with an extra X sex chromosome. “This has many implications for the individual in terms of their physiology and psychology,” said Garisch. “A lot of people don’t know they have it, although it is typically detected in adolescence when the secondary sex characteristics don’t develop.”
Malherbe wrote the book to make parents and teachers aware of the condition. He said that boys going through problems might be labelled “lazy”, as he was, without knowing what is going on.
For Malherbe, when faced with a multiple choice test, he does well, but writing an essay, he battles to form an argument on the page and struggles with short term memory. “If this had been picked earlier, my life path would have been very different.” As is typical of XXY boys, Malherbe was subject to schoolyard bullying. He recalled his diagnosis at 17. “That was a different time in this country, 30 years ago, when boys did military service. We lived in a very macho society. At 17, I had body of 10 year old. When I enlisted in the Air Force, I was told, ‘You’re at the wrong place, you should be at primary school.’”
Garisch said, “The remarkable thing about this story is that he never comes across as a victim, despite the difficult beginning. He’s taken the situation and turned it around; he’s taken it on and ridden it.”
While at a retreat for healers at Findhorn in Scotland, he had a major realisation: “In order to heal fully I’d have to mend myself. Before I could practise as a healer I had to be whole.” This was what led him to undertake the healing work of telling his story.
Garisch said, “Many people stop themselves from writing their own story, fearful of appearing narcissistic; or their inner critic makes them shut up. But if you’ve had a really difficult time, you have to go back to it with an eye of compassion. Stephen went back to his childhood with compassion for that child he was in order to write the experience. He’s saying: Here I am; have compassion for me, for what I went through. That’s part of the healing, taking your life and making a creative artefact out of it.”
Garisch advocated early detection and treatment. “People don’t realise how common it is. As a parent, this is the last thing you think of. You realise your child is different, and maybe this needs investigation, or treatment. But it puts you in an uncomfortable zone. We tend to reject the over-pathologising and overtreating of normal conditions, for example, the reclassification of shyness as ‘social phobia’. But with Klinefelter’s, you have a situation you need to pick up early.”
Garisch raised an important question: “What is ‘normal’? We all have something to deal with. Yours is overt. You have an XXY configuration, whereas the rest of us have XY. You’ve taken that difference and made it an important part of your life; you haven’t gone under because of it. We can all extrapolate from your story to our own lives. Your book is a great inspiration for us to deal with limitations and difficulties.”
Co-author Christina Coates said stories were as important to humanity as food. “A story makes you live.” She said that in the hero’s journey, the model was the ordinary person who is called to take on a challenge. “Stephen did this. He could have given up and lived invisibly. But he rose to the challenge, and undertook an amazing journey.”
Garisch said that Malherbe was a role model in a macho time when the army, braaivleis-and-Chevrolet amplified the difficulty and meaning of manhood.
In conclusion she referred to a recent psychiatry conference she attend where she noticed her medical colleagues are changing their tune. “They are no longer talking about a ‘cure’ for mental illness, but about ‘managing our conditions’. It’s pie in the sky to talk about a cure. Steven has absolutely lived with what he’s got.”
The audience listened enrapt. One couple, whose son was recently diagnosed, shared a part of their moving story in the question and answer session. An expert from Groote Schuur offered insight into the challenges people faced. Another medical professional raised the difficulty that parents face when antenatal testing for chromosomal abnormalities reveals Klinefelter’s syndrome.
In true Book Lounge style, the snacks were designed with Verushka Louw’s supreme attention to detail. Cucumber slices with cut-away Xs on tuna mayonnaise, asparagus spears crossed on brie, cheese straws lovingly shaped to represent Malherbe’s extra chromosome.
Understanding Klinefelter Syndrome
Klinefelter Support and Information
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Om oor haar stryd met anoreksie te skryf, was vir Aniel Botha “soos om ‘n pleister van ‘n seerplek af te trek”. Dit was pynlik, maar iets wat sy moes doen.
“Daar is beslis heling in die skryfproses,” het Botha gisteraand by die bekendstelling van haar boek ‘n Dans met die dood aan digter Joan Hambidge gesê. Botha het die afgelope drie jaar onder Hambidge se leiding Skeppende Skryfkunde aan die Universiteit van Kaapstad studeer.
Botha het ‘n Dans met die dood geskryf nadat sy ses weke in ‘n eetsteurniskliniek in die Suidelike voorstede van Kaapstad deurgebring het. ‘n Obsessie met ballet, die liggaam, kos, en die dood word in die boek ondersoek. Sy skryf dat dit eers maklik was om by die streng “dieet” te hou wat sy vir haarself uitgewerk het, maar uiteindelik was dit onmoontlik om enigsins daarvan af te wyk.
‘n Dans met die dood neem die vorm van ‘n joernaal aan en ‘n eerstepersoonsverteller is aan die woord. “As ek ‘n derdepersoonsverteller gebruik het, sou dit seker makliker gewees het om te skryf. Dit sou voel asof ek oor iemand anders se lewe skryf.” Tog is Botha bly dat sy by die “ek”-verteller gehou het. “Ek dink die intimiteit is belangrik, want dit is ‘n baie persoonlike onderwerp.”
Die eetsteurniskliniek was volgens Botha grootliks ‘n “Engelse” ruimte. Daarom het sy die boek oorspronklik in Engels geskryf. Sy het dit later in Afrikaans vertaal en meen dit was “’n verrykende proses”. Met hierdie tweede deurwerk van die boek het sy ook dele herskryf.
Botha het ‘n Dans met die dood geskryf om haar eie ondervindings te verwerk, maar as iemand anders daar by kan baat vind, sal sy baie bly wees.
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As a young boy, Stephen always felt different from his friends – he was smaller, less self-assured and often sickly. He struggled with classroom learning and school sports. Only as a shy, embarrassed ‘sixteen-year-old with the body of a boy of ten’ was Stephen diagnosed with Klinefelter’s Syndrome, a medical disorder resulting from his cells having one X chromosome more than is normal for males. Symptoms of the condition include small testicles, resulting in sterility; gynaecomastia, the enlargement of the breasts; low energy levels and self-esteem; communication and learning difficulties; developmental delays; and decreased libido, among many others.
With appropriate treatment, Stephen’s body began to develop into that of a man and he felt able to embark on a ‘normal’ life, one that included girlfriends, marriage and a career. Many uphill battles later, Stephen reached a point of spiritual strength from which he could begin to tell his story.
Living with my X is a unique and deeply personal account of a man living in the shadow of a genetic condition that is less rare than one thinks. Between 1 in 500 and 1 in 1 000 men are born with an ‘extra’ X chromosome. The symptoms associated with this vary widely. Although many men remain entirely unaware of their additional X chromosome, and few boys who have it go on to develop Klinefelter’s syndrome, Stephen was one of those who did.
About the author
Stephen Malherbe has worked in the printing and exhibition industries for most of his working life. In his forties he went on to study shiatsu and other alternative therapies. His interests are reading non-fiction stories and cycling four times a week to stay fit. He and his partner, Tina, live in Cape Town.
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Diabetes is one of those scary words that make you break out in a cold sweat and leave you fearful of being dependent on medications and treatments. But there is life with a chronic illness like diabetes. Just ask author Bridget McNulty, who’s been living with diabetes since 2007 – and living it to the full, as Catherine Price discovered:
Bridget McNulty is a South African writer and journalist, and a Type 1 diabetic. Her first novel, Strange Nervous Laughter, was published in South Africa in 2007 and released in the USA in May 2009. She has written articles for a number of South African magazines, including ELLE, Real Simple, the Oprah magazine, Psychologies and Woman & Home, and frequently writes about diabetes. In 2008 she was voted one of Cosmopolitan magazine’s Awesome Women, an award extended to 30 South African women who are making a difference in their chosen field and inspiring other women to live their best lives.
Bridget is also a frequent blogger, both on her personal blog which was shortlisted for a South African Blog Award in 2008, and on ThoughtLeader, the Mail and Guardian’s exclusive blogging platform (www.thoughtleader.co.za/bridgetmcnulty).
She was diagnosed with diabetes in 2007 (at the age of 25) and, thanks to Apidra and Lantus insulin, has had excellent control ever since (her HbA1c results for the last year were 5.6 and 5.9). She also works as a champion for diabetes awareness in South Africa.
Bridget is a passionate writer intent on living the truth that people with diabetes can do anything they want to.
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Marlene Wasserman, of te wel Dr Eve, is sekerlik Suid-Afrika se mees bekende seksterapeut. Derduisende aanhangers se sy het hulle huwelike en verstand gered met haar raad en goeie wenke. Sy het glo ook hul lewenstyle verbeter met boeke soos The Pillowbook en Ageing and Sexuality.
Wie dan beter om vir Tiger Woods deur sy troebel toestand te help? Dr Eve het die afgelope naweek ‘n ope aanbod van hulp aan Woods gemaak in Rapport:
“Tiger, indien jy in Afrika is… kom na vore, gesels oor alles waardeur jy gaan. Gebruik die geleentheid om mense op te voed oor jou toestand en word ’n rolmodel vir mans.”
Dít is die ope uitnodiging wat dr. Marlene Wasserman aan die bekende gholfspeler rig. Sy is ook bekend as dr. Eve, een van die land se bekendste seksterapeute.
Wasserman sê sy kan nie voorbly met navrae oor seksverslawing nie sedert gerugte die ronde begin doen het dat die sportster in Montrose Place in Bischopscourt, Kaapstad, behandel word.
Foto te dank aan Mediaswirl
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Dr Eve blogs about an experience that could have come straight as an object lesson out of her book, Ageing and Sexuality:
Her name was Joy. She wore a red dress. I was in a red dress. The other women wore black. It was New Year’s Eve, Miami. An evening of oysters, champagne and a burning desire to get home. I danced the night away. I met Joy over our red dresses and prawns. We exchanged names and the fact that we both have a love for dancing in that nameless, senseless place in which you know you can share a profound time together and will never see each other ever again. We danced together, we danced with our partners, but kept returning to dance together, two ageing women in their red dresses.
After we dutifully kissed our partners, with an understanding and few words, we both simultaneously slipped off our shoes and walked into the warm swimming pool in our red dresses – and swam and laughed. I felt the exhiliration, the freedom to express myself as I choose, to feel the joy in my body. With no words I kissed Joy farewell, knowing we had shared a special and unique evening and that was good enough. Dripping wet I jumped on the bus to return to the condo, pack and catch my plane home.
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Sometimes it seems that children instinctively gravitate to food that’s bad for them – you never have to beg them to eat ice cream or chocolate or chips. Vegetables are a different story entirely. Cari Corbet-Owen has good news for desperate parents in her book Mom, Pass the Broccoli: How to Empower Your Child with Healthy Eating Habits for Life.
The holidays are especially tempting times – they can devolve into a month of pure sugar overload! So how to cope?
On her blog, Corbet-Owen shares some of her tips from the book:
If you’re looking for idea on children eating healthy, you’ve come to the right place. It’s a subject close to my heart.
No matter where I’ve done workshops, the most common question I get from parents revolves around concerns about their childrens eating. Everywhere I go I hear about finicky eaters, obese children or children who are underweight and I sense the desperation of parents wishing they knew what was best for their children.
Image courtesy Ditch Diets Live Light
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How many times have you heard your child say, “Mom, pass the broccoli?”
Many parents find it a great challenge to encourage healthy eating in their children. In Mom Pass the Broccoli: How to Empower Your Child with Healthy Eating Habits for Life clinical psychologist Cari Corbett-Owen empowers parents to develop healthy eating habits in their families.
The book explodes the myths surrounding children’s food choices, explores scientific research into food preferences and the growing problem of childhood obesity, and exposes marketing methods that encourage unhealthy eating.
Packed with practical tips, Mom, Pass the Broccoli provides parents with the tools to tackle food challenges confidently and effectively. Essential reading for all parents.
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