October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Meet Susan Jeremy — Comic, Actress, Playwright, and Teacher — and breast cancer survivor.

She’s also an old friend from my college days. We reminisce about way back when…as well as hear about Susan’s unfortunate experience at a New York medical clinic where she was told, “You’re over 40, it’s a cyst. Take aspirin.” The tumor grew.

Susan’s diagnosis and treatment led her to make life changes. She became one of the 48 teachers in Manhattan working directly with medically-challenged students; 80% of them undergoing chemotherapy.

Eventually, she wrote and starred in her one-woman show, Teacher in the House. While her performance schedule is impacted due to COVID, you can enjoy her dancing and character sketches on Tik Tok.

For additional podcast episodes with breast cancer survivors, visit this page.

This is part 2 of a conversation with Dalia Kinsey, RD, LD, SNS. We talk about becoming our authentic selves, how trauma impacts our physical and emotional health, and the need for inclusivity and intersectionality in public health messages.

This is the most stressful year of our lives. We’ve got the pandemic going. We already knew about police brutality, but never have we been to a point where every time you turn on the television, every time you open Facebook, every time you look anywhere, you’re seeing another black or brown body being abused. The trauma is massive and I don’t see anyone really addressing it. And I feel like racism is what I know, that racism and all kinds of systemic abuse, these are public health crises.

~ Dalia Kinsey

You can find out more about Dalia on her website. To learn more about Black Joy, check out this article or video series.

Dalia Kinsey, RD, LD, SNS, chose to be a dietician because she wanted to help people prevent chronic disease; this was before receiving a diagnosis of Graves Disease, an autoimmune disorder that causes an overactive thyroid.

Dalia Kinsey

In this first of a two-part interview, Dalia shares anecdotes of dealing with a chronic health condition in another country where certain modern conveniences, like continuous running water, are lacking.

Her lived experience and academic training have shown her that many people make the false correlation between weight and health. Dalia believes,

Health is not just determined by one or two factors. Eating is such a social thing and feeling connected to others and happy and not judging yourself when you’re eating, I think also plays a major part as to how your body relates to those calories. And it affects digestion, how you feel about your food, that I think it’s important not to have any strict food rules, but the basics that we all know from our mom or grandma from whenever is that you should eat vegetables and you should eat fruit and you should really, really eat vegetables.

As a healthcare practitioner Dalia views her role is “to be a facilitator and there for whatever the patient wants, not to be like this parental figure telling anyone what to do because you know better.”

You can follow Dalia Kinsey on Instagram @schoolnutritionRD and check out her school nutrition podcast.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this conversation.

If you want to hear another healthcare professional speak about her journey as a physician diagnosed with autoimmune disorders, listen to this previous podcast episode.

Are you feeling stressed out? With all that’s going on in the world — pandemic, civil unrest, job loss, hurricanes, wild fires — it’s difficult to avoid stress.

Laughter therapy, or laughter yoga, might help alleviate some of the stress. It’s free. It offers numerous mental and physical health benefits. And it’s fun.

In the field of psychoneuroimmunology, laughter has been studied and found to lower blood pressure, strengthen cardiovascular function, improve circulation, boost immune function, trigger the release of endorphins, and produce a sense of well-being.

You’ll meet Annie Goglia, a certified Laughter Yoga Leader, who shares her story how laughter transformed her life. You can even join her, virtually, at her Laughter Club.

To delve deeper into your exploration of Laughter Therapy, check out the Comedy Cures Foundation and Association for Applied & Therapeutic Humor.

The University of San Francisco Osher Center for Integrative Medicine offers classes in Laughter Yoga as well as the Founder of Laughter Yoga, Dr. Madan Kataria.

What do you do as a patient with a progressive health condition that renders you unable to do certain tasks? Do you ask for assistance or find a work-around to accommodate for that situation? Once you ask for help, how does your relationship with your helper change?

Empathy word cloud

Learned Helplessness is, according to Wikipedia, “a condition in which a person suffers from a sense of powerlessness, arising from a traumatic event or persistent failure to succeed. It is thought to be one of the underlying causes of depression.”

Psychologist Martin Seligman coined the term, learned helplessness, in early research he did with animals, and eventually humans. This New Yorker article, “Trying to Cure Depression, but Inspiring Torture,” briefly describes different applications of the research.

In this podcast episode, Mike Hamlin, a man with myotonic dystrophy, sets the tone with a friendly rant. Melissa Dixon, Ph.D., a researcher and professor (Psychiatry and Behavioral Health and Pediatric Neurology) at the University of Utah, discusses learned helplessness with children and adults and how it impacts relationships and suggests empathetic communication styles.

Featured are four people — with their own unique health conditions — that are making the best of the quarantine and pandemic.

Luda Gogolushko, who has SMA Type 3 and lives in Southern California, continues to write and publish from the safety of her home.

Lindsey Kizer, in North Carolina, gets to telecommute for her job and tries to maintain self-care routines to avoid narcoleptic flare ups.

Jay Carr, with myotonic dystrophy in Virginia, spends more time with his teenage son during the lockdown. He also cheers others with his humorous Facebook posts and musical interludes.

Peter Slobodnik, outside of Sacramento, keeps himself busy by making masks for friends and family while also planning an advocacy bike ride to draw attention to his rare disease, Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia.

Woman received dental treatment

People with anxiety, autism, blindness or low vision, deaf and hard of hearing, mobility challenges, chemical sensitivities, or PTSD may face unique challenges visiting a dental office. Now with the additional barrier — the COVID-19 pandemic — many people are postponing or cancelling routine dental appointments.

Dr. Helena Caballero, a dentist in Northern California, discusses oral health and hygiene, how COVID-19 has changed dentistry, and modifications for people with disabilities.

For additional information, you can download Creating Disability Friendly Dental Practices from The Independence Center. For those with Parkinson’s Disease, additional information is provided to maintain dental health. For those with neurological disorders, there is an article, “Dental Visits Made Easier” offering helpful tips.

Here is an article that discusses the little dental coverage that Medicare offers.

That is me; I still have my hands, says the 4-year old girl after waking up in the hospital and being told by her mother that she had lost her legs. The little girl grew up to become Rumba with Tina. Tina Verduzco teaches a Saturday morning online dance class for BORP: Bay Area Outreach & Recreation Program.

Tina and Cynthia
Tina Verduzco, Cynthia Noonan & Freckle, Younger Tina

Tina, along with several other online instructors, help this podcaster maintain positive energy and a healthy mind, body, and spirit during the shelter-in-place period.

Cynthia Noonan, one of BORP’s Board of Directors, transitioned the in-person fitness studio in Berkeley, California to the virtual world where participants join in from across the United States and Mexico.

You are invited to join this online community; check out the BORP class schedule as well as other accessible exercise program offerings including Dance For All Bodies and Wheelchair Dancers. If you just want to see what a BORP class looks like, here are a few recorded BORP classes.

We’re not talking about your financial investments. How much of a health risk are you willing to take during the current pandemic? Do you wear a facial mask when you leave your home? Do you maintain six feet of physical distance from people who do not live with you? Are you avoiding crowds? Postponing health appointments?

As our cities and towns gradually open up, will you change your behaviors or wait for a reliable vaccine?

Well, not really. No podcast episodes for the month of May due to a very bad computer. Naughty as heck. She/he could have reminded me of their age (6 years!) and I would have paid attention…treated her/him as a respected elder…gone easier on her/him. But no! Poof!

So, I’m waiting on a new one. And like everything else now, it’s moving slowly…from China, or Japan. Who knows? Not much else I can do but wait.

But for YOU…I’ve got some YouTube videos: Quarantine Life, videos related to Movement & Exercise, or a cooking demonstration for those with swallowing difficulties.

Maintaining a regular exercise routine has been vital for my mental and physical health during quarantine; I put together this list of mostly free or low cost online resources.

I’ve written a few COVID-19 blog posts: How I Cope with COVID-19 and How I Exercise at Home with Myotonic Dystrophy. I’ve even participated in two webinars related to maintaining good nutrition during the pandemic: Food Preparation for the DM Community and Practical Strategies for Eating Well and Keeping Immune System Strong during COVID-19.

If you want some evergreen, relevant podcast episodes, you might consider starting a mindfulness or meditation practice. Or prayer as a healing modality, which I believe can be akin to meditation.

So many things can be therapeutic; you know laughter can be the best medicine? Have you considered Sound Healing? I’ve seen several practitioners taking their work online.

My mental and physical clarity is enhanced by my daily walk through nature. Even if it’s just around the neighborhood. Every day I discover new natural and human-made curiosities.

One of my natural relaxing remedies — and the most downloaded episode of Glass Half Full — is explored here.

I hope you’re taking good care of yourself. Personally, I’m in it for the long haul; I’ll wait for that vaccination. I’ll miss hugging, traveling, and eating in restaurants but…I’d like to be around for awhile. Take care XOXO