Vertical Ill Health, Prescription drugs and Primum non nocere

“Doctors are confronted daily with patients suffering from illnesses for which conventional medicine offers only superficial treatment of symptoms. The magic of antibiotics is vanishing as a host of resistant infections emerge. Diseases such as AIDS and chronic fatigue syndrome have shown us clearly that our present treatments are simply not effective and hint at new health problems that may lie ahead. The metaphor of a modern plague may be appropriate. Growing numbers of people lack vitality and suffer from a host of complaints difficult to define. Most adults, and many children, today suffer from complaints including allergies, headaches, lack of energy, excessive fatigue, and various digestive and respiratory disorders, along with a variety of emotional states ranging from mild depression to mood swings and anxiety.
They are manifesting what Jeffrey Bland, Ph.D., of Gig Harbor, Washington, calls a state of “vertical ill health.” “They are not sick enough to lie down (in which case they would become ‘horizontally ill’) and yet consider themselves ‘normal’ because most of the people they know are equally unhealthy,” explains Leon Chaitow, N.D., D.O., of London, England. “They derive only limited benefit from the flood of tranquilizers, antidepressants, analgesics, and anti-inflammatory drugs[…]”
Excerpt From: Larry Trivieri. “Alternative Medicine.”
I’m reading this awesomely swell book lately.  As a naturopathic premedical student, I find it interesting to cycle between the safety and established concreteness of my Anatomy & Physiology textbook, to my alternative medicine texts, and then to the way out there psychotherapy of the audiobook, Advanced Energy Anatomy by Catherine Myss.  I really feel like its best to look at the whole spectrum of modalities to treat the body, mind and spirit.  Primum non nocere or “Do no harm” is the first principle of naturopathic medicine.  I had an interesting conversation yesterday with an admissions counselor for the National College of National Medicine about naturopathy’s relationship to allopathic medicine.  These ideas were sparked by an interview I saw from Paul Mittman, ND discussing naturopathic supplements to aid chemotherapy.  Yet, every bone in my body resists the idea that chemotherapy can be anything but toxic to the human body.  If the chemicals used spill on the ground they are treated as biohazards materials, yet it is normal and considered therapy if they are pumped into the body via IV.  The statistics on chemotherapy’s effectiveness show that cancer patients who choose no treatment at all have longer survival rates than those who follow doctors orders of receiving chemo.  
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Mittman’s view was one of using naturopathic medicine as being used complementary to allopathic.  But can naturopathic medicine stand alone?  The admissions counselor’s opinion was that in order to follow “Do no harm” if an allopathic treatment could temporarily resolve the painful symptoms of a patient while the root cause is sill being determined, then it must be recommended or they must be referred.  The judgment of the doctor becomes especially important here.  You may be doing harm not referring them to an allopathic treatment.  However, it must be seen as a temporary bandaid and not a lifelong crutch of dependency.  Whether or not I will prescribe drugs as a part of my practice is an important decision that will be made based on future knowledge and experience.  
Yes, the current state of medicine is corrupt and revolves around making money for expensive and invasive tests, pharmaceutical drugs and using treatments that have been proven useless.  Innovation is discouraged and allopathic doctors seem to live in constant fear of being seen as experimental by their peers.  Yet, MDs and NDs must cooperate because we must work within the system to change it.  While the intention of holistic health is pure, we cannot sugarcoat the reality we exist in or kid ourselves with idealistic values when the world exists in the state it does currently.  This applies to both medicine and politics.  Idealistic ideas must be translated into realistic action that will make a difference today.

Radical self love is the best medicine.

I need feminism because I’m done holding back my anger because it isn’t pretty.  I need feminism because I’m done telling myself to shut up when other women need to hear my voice.  I need feminism because I’m afraid to leave the house if I’m bloated from PMS or have a bad skin day and my outlook on life shouldn’t be dictated by the way I look today.  I need feminism because fuck the fact that when a homeless man tells me “Smile, pretty girl” I am trained so obediently that my facial muscles react before my mind does.  I need feminism because I feel unsafe riding public transit and always have.  Today a man with apparent mental handicaps started talking to me on the bus.  Our conversation was going great and he was talking about how he gathered walnuts to feed the squirrels in the winter and something about that seemed so endearingly kind.  Then when we got to main street he started pointing out all the “hot blondes” on main street.  Then he kept staring at me and told me the reason he hadn’t talked to me at the bus stop was because my boyfriend was standing with me.  I began to feel unsafe so I pulled out a book and started reading.  I felt like a line had been crossed where instead of being a friend I had turned into an object to this otherwise gentle person.  It says something that even those whom we are instructed by society to give the benefit of the doubt to or pity, such as homeless men and men with mental handicaps can make women feel unsafe at the drop of a hat.

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Meeting People Online

Okcupid (Internet Noun) is a place where people with severe emotional problems and/or sexual/love addictions can interact and thus pay out certain dramas that correspond to their disfunctions.  It is a breeding paradise for low vibrations.
Good luck on okcupid.

I’ve met some very interesting people online.  There’s Steve who currently resides in a prison, who I remember sitting at the table of the Wilmington library fidgeting and drinking a Rockstar energy drink while showing me an album comprised completely of the bad photos that people throw away.  He found them dumpster diving.  Or, there’s Blake, whose Myspace page was ‘The Void,’ and instead of being a bunch of angled seflies and ‘surveys’ (Why did people take those anyway?) it was an archive of occult information and beautiful psychedelic paintings.  I didn’t even know what he looked like until I met him in person during a mewithoutYou show.  Beautiful blue eyes and instant connection.  Luckily for me, he is now my boyfriend.  But sometimes you fall in love with someone’s online persona and things in person become a bit hairy.  Once, I flew halfway across the country for a man who now would be unlikely to lift a finger for me.  He was utterly convinced of a mode of alternative healing called Ayurveda which I have since incorporated into my life.  Ayurveda, for those unaware, is an ancient method of healing revolving mainly around constitution types- Pitta (motivated but angry control freaks), Vata (skinny creative neurotics) and Kapha (lazy-but-lovable.  Santa?)  As well as the concept of agni (“digestive fire” or hutzpa if you will) and ama or “mucoid plaque” buildup, which according to Ayurveda, is the root of all disease.  And if you eat past 9 PM, you’re getting ama-ed up, and cancer will be in your life forecast.  Not really according to Ayurveda, but those were some of the rules this Milwaukee man lived by.  I believe now that he was very much a reaction to his past.  He woke up at 5 am to use the bathroom outside because a book told him to, yet he worked at a toilet factory which, even now, in my bitterness, I find poetically just.  He lived completely according to the Aghora trilogy, which if you are unfamiliar with, speaks in bizarre parables and helps to shed light on the path of enlightenment through Tantra.  Overcoming your fears through extremes until your are impenetrable to life.  Surrounding yourself by death until it no longer phases you.  Beautiful spiritual concepts, though whether or not the stories within these texts are to be taken literally is very up in the air.  To this day I am flabbergasted to the lengths this man went to convince himself and everyone around him that this was of living was the only one.  But for some reason, I loved him, in perhaps the way one loves a flesh eating bacteria that has gained them some pity and attention.  I put my copy of Aghora at the Left Hand of God down at the sink of the Milwaukee airport, in the women’s bathroom shortly after landing.  Here I nervously stared in the mirror, at my impeccably lovely outfit I had spent way too much time and money preparing.  I was about to meet this person for the first time, after exchanging emails and snail mail for months.  It was in this same bathroom that I met another girl with the same name as me who was also meeting a man she had met online (This was one of those scenarios where fate brings an instant friend into your life, perhaps to keep you from dying from an anxiety attack).  I can only hope that a bored soccer mom has found my Aghora book and discovered the wonders of meditating on corpses and eating your firstborn son for Shiva.


Reflections on Homeopathy

Today, at the co-op I was looking through homeopathic treatments.  I tried to pull one out and all of them came crashing down in on the ground.  I cleaned them up, purchased the GABA I came for, (An excellent yet controversial anti-anxiety neurotransmitter suplement that blocks nerve impulses and slows neuronal transmission) and on my way home realized some Phosphorus 30 had fallen into my cowboy boot.  Seeing this as a ‘sign from the universe’ as I often do, I decided to take some.  Tonight I find myself completely fascinated by homeopathic constitution types.  I took a quiz on mine, and Phosphorus came up on the top.  I realize how controversial homeopathy is, among most alternative treatments.  I had written it off as pseudoscience, and then I met a woman in Arizona who told me a homeopathic snake venom treatment, Lachesis, had cured her cancer.  I remember the feeling of well-being and balance I had after receiving acupuncture and a personalized bachus flower remedy after visting a naturopathic student clinic.  I’m excited to be opened up to learning more about homeopathy and bachus flower remedies.  My mind feels comparatively still tonight.  The anxiety that has been my constant companion this week has settled and I can finally think clearly.  It also may very well be the GABA finally taking effect.  Things like these truly inspire me to study alternative and natural medicine further.  I’d like to someday help people to heal themselves as I have on my own journey towards wholeness.

A Profile of the Phospherian Constitution, from The British Homeopathic Association:

The constitutional picture of Phosphorus was described by Kent in the 19th century. Many authors have elaborated on this model and added a psychological profile of the Phosphoric type.

The Phosphoric individual is pale, anaemic, with full red lips, thin with a narrow high arched chest: the appearance typical of someone suffering with tuberculosis.

Romantic literature of the 19th century is full of Phosphoric heroines. Dumas’ La Dame aux Camelias is a notable example. Greta Garbo gave a brilliant portrayal of the consumptive heroine, Marguerite Gautier, in the Hollywood film and brought Phosphorus to life for homeopaths.

The constitutional Phosphorus is extrovert, bright, lively, with sparkling eyes and a charismatic nature. One feels invigorated in her company. She is intensely sympathetic and acutely sensitive to mood, atmosphere and all sensory impressions. She is impressionable and clairvoyant. She is imaginative and bubbly, the typical “bright young thing”.

Mia Farrow as Daisy in the film of Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby demonstrates the shadow side of Phosphorus. Daisy is a social butterfly, narcissistic and highly-strung. Although she probably loves Gatsby in her way, self-preservation and self-interest take precedence. Her character is shallow and emotionally immature; she is incapable of the intensity of love that Gatsby feels. In difficult situations, she falls apart, descends into histrionics and demands intense sympathy and support from others. She needs protection from the harsh realities of life. After the drama of Gatsby’s tragic death, Daisy continues her life as though nothing had happened; the ugly events do not fit into her idealistic view of the world. It is as though Gatsby never existed.

Just as with the element there is a darker side to the personality. Being so open, the Phosphorus type is prone to fears, anxieties and the result of a vivid imagination. There is a great fear of the dark, the supernatural, fire, storms, disease and death. The element Phosphorus is unstable; it rapidly turns into the gaseous form when exposed to air. Likewise, the Phosphorus archetype lacks boundaries on every level. The intense sensitivity to “other worlds” and the fears are one expression of this lack of personal boundaries.

This tendency extends on a physical level too. There is a bleeding tendency leading to nosebleeds, bleeding gums, heavy periods, bruising, and clotting disorders, which can result in anaemia.

Just like a match, the Phosphorus personality is prone to burn out. This may be emotional, leading to depression or nervous exhaustion, or physical illness may result. A dose of Phosphorus rapidly restores the spark.

As a tubercular remedy, there is a tendency to upper respiratory complaints: sore throat, hoarseness, bronchitis, asthma and chest infections. The bleeding tendency leads to blood streaked sputum, and the pains are burning in nature. There is a deterioration of the condition as dusk approaches, and the patient becomes fearful, craving company and sympathy.

In expert medical hands Phosphorus may be used to treat serious disease, such as epilepsy, liver conditions, including hepatitis, arthritis and destructive bone diseases. Phosphorus is an immensely important remedy in homeopathy, one of our desert island remedies. It is full of contradictions, as gentle and loving as an affectionate kitten yet as dangerous and destructive as the deadliest of poisons.

 I enjoy homeopathy’s personification of the mineral and its aim to treat the emotional root of the problem.

Aim of religion, method of science….

With phosphorescent smiles,

Lorelei Swank


Wilm-a-gogo Rockabilly Car Show

Dude, why is WordPress only letting me post 4 photos in a gallery?  I mean, this isn’t life or death but there’s a chemistry test I’m seriously trying to procrastinate studying for, so this is of upmost importance to me at this moment in time.

Anyway, these are some photos from the Wilm-a-gogo Car Show from last month.  Joyfully narrowed down to a measly 4 photos.


Edited:  Figger’d it out.  Hu-hu hyuck. :B

Double Edit:  It now appears that a polar bear from outer space appears above each post.  I enjoy and approve of this.

The Enchanted Forest

A very important milestone in my life.  The visitation to the Enchanted Forest, a legendary abandoned amusement park behind Safeway in Ellicott City.  To brace ourselves for this grand tour, we began by visiting a fairy store.


What a strange place Ellicott City is.  And then, we find the legendary park in a strip mall.  We sneak through behind a gate, behind the castle walls into the woods.




A love affair with my flaws and adventures in non porn compliance.



New study shows makeup is not optional.

The Beauty Bias:  The injustice of appearance in life and law

Still a relevant topic, no?  Beyonce is applauded for her bravery in the lyrics of “Pretty Hurts” but she perpetuates every stereotype she speaks out against.  This is the strength of the cage.  Several funny, yet home hitting things I have read on various feminist blogs have hit a resonant chord with me, as I have failed to pay my ‘lady tax’ this week.  I have displayed a non porn-compliant face.  This week, my ‘invisible without mascara’ eyelashes were allowed to disappear into obscurity.  I have embraced the constellation of adult acne that kisses my face like rainbow jimmies on an ice-cream cone.  I did not use foundation so my skin might have the texture of a powdered donut.  Today I shirked my social responsibility to style my bangs so that I could be recognized as a ‘manic pixie dream girl’ to some lonely & misunderstood bastard in vintage Adidas sneakers.  I just let the suckers be absorbed into the homogenized grease ball of mouse colored thin hair that whispers across my scalp.  At Victoria’s Secret they promised that I was a 32 C.  But I know I’m a glorified A.  I have hairy toes and an outie belly button.  When I’m tired I have fine lines under my eyes from smiling so much.  My under arm body odor competes with any man’s as I have discovered from a week of avoiding deodorant.  A noted lack of compliments has resulted.  I paraphrase, “They say I am letting myself go, but that’s okay, because I have been captive for too long.”  The drive to ‘be pretty’ is so innate and internalized that I have found myself in the past giving other naked faced women ‘mental makeovers.’  I dart my eyes around nervously at work as I wonder if other women are doing this to me.  While deep in activity my self consciousness is lost for rare fleeting moments, especially in nature or during exercise or prayer.  I think about Einstein’s hair and how much time he must have awarded himself from not worrying about vanity.  I think about the skull under my bones and my body slowly decaying and I find peace.  Yet, at work this is a rare solace, as a small mirror sits behind the front desk belonging to my coworker.  It sits like a cruel reminder at all times that my job is to be friendly and pretty and docile.  I hide it behind the computer.  I wonder if I am not doing my job to greet the mostly male clientele and “be pretty.”  I am still greeting everybody, still being friendly yet feeling inconsolably neurotic over a lack of mascara.  This week I am teased on several occasions for my eating and studying habits.  Of course, it must be because of the lack of makeup!  My mind projects.  My vulnerability attracts energy vultures.

Are these things real or projections?  I have no concrete proof.

What other conclusions may be drawn from this adventure will be charted.  Will I go back to makeup, deodorant and pushup bras?  Stay tuned.