Huffington Post LGBT Wellness

LGBT Wellness Roundup: October 5

As published on Huffington Post’s new LGBT Wellness blog, see original at: http://ow.ly/DhVNO

Each week HuffPost Gay Voices, in a partnership with bloggers Liz Margolies and Scout, brings you a round up of some of the biggest LGBT wellness stories from the past seven days. For more LGBT Wellness, visit our page dedicated to the topic here. The weekly LGBT Wellness Roundup can also now be experienced as a video — check it out above.

Huffington Post LGBT Wellness

LGBT Wellness Roundup: September 26

As published on Huffington Post’s new LGBT Wellness blog, see original at: http://huff.to/1mGRTXs

Each week HuffPost Gay Voices, in a partnership with bloggers Liz Margolies and Scout, brings you a round up of some of the biggest LGBT wellness stories from the past seven days. For more LGBT Wellness, visit our page dedicated to the topic here. The weekly LGBT Wellness Roundup can also now be experienced as a video — check it out above.

Just A Little Prick

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The HPV vaccine, used to prevent HPV-related cancers, is not being utilized as much as public health professionals would like. LGBT health advocates in the UK are hoping to get the recommendations changed to include young gay and bisexual menin order to reduce rates of cancer.

Not So Minty Fresh

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Menthol flavoring, which can “mask the harshness” of cigarettes and has come under criticism for not being banned by the FDA like all other flavorings, is preferred by about ⅓ of smokers. In a first ever study, we find evidence that LGBT smokers also prefer menthol cigarettes more than others: LGBT smokers were found to smoke menthol flavored cigarettes a quarter more than others, while female LGBT smokers were found to smoke menthols 45% more than all current smokers.

What Did You Just Ask Me?

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The Williams Institute has released a report on the “Best Practices for Asking Questions to Identify Transgender and Other Gender Minority Respondents on Population-Based Surveys.” This report fills a critical gap so advocates have best questions to recommend for LGB and T inclusion in health surveys.

Come Out Come Out Wherever You Are. Please!

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Kaiser Family Foundation came out with a new report showing over half of gay and bisexual men had never been advised to take an HIV test by their doctors, this could be because 47% of the men never came out to their providers. It just shows us how critical coming out can be for your health.

Bisexual Awareness

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This week, Bisexual Visibility Day, sought to increase knowledge and reduce stigma against bisexuals, who suffer high rates of violence and discrimination from both inside and outside the LGBT communities. Huffington Post reporter does a great job at looking at how bisexual research has perpetuated stigma and Charles Blow writes a compelling piece about the issue in New York Times.

Tending To Teens for Healthier Young Adults?

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One new study that LGBT young adults have higher risk of physical and mental health disparities, at the same time another study reports doctors don’t know how to communicate with LGBT teens. How much would increasing doctors abilities to talk to LGBT youth reduce health disparities?

Queer Ethics

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In a special issue focused on LGBT health and bioethics, the Hastings Center Report contains essays on topics including reducing health disparities and improving research conduct with LGBT youth, “reparative” therapies, LGBT veterans and the VA, LGBT access to health care and LGBT elder health disparities, just to name a few!

Free PrEP?

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If all goes as one local politician hopes, San Francisco may become the first U.S. city to offer PrEP for free. In a city with high HIV transmission rates, this program seeks to remove the barrier of the high cost of PrEP which may prevent many from accessing the medication.

Oh, Daddy!

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A new article which reviews studies of gay men’s parenting issues, including surrogacy, adoption and a host of other topics, highlights both discrimination faced by gay fathers, as well as positive relationships of gay fathers and adopted children.

Huffington Post LGBT Wellness

LGBT Wellness Roundup: September 19

As published on Huffington Post’s new LGBT Wellness blog, see original at: http://huff.to/1qnjiJ1

Each week HuffPost Gay Voices, in a partnership with bloggers Liz Margolies and Scout, brings you a round up of some of the biggest LGBT wellness stories from the past seven days. For more LGBT Wellness, visit our page dedicated to the topic here. The weekly LGBT Wellness Roundup can also now be experienced as a video — check it out above.

Delaying Puberty

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Transgender youth who receive hormone suppression were found to have increased levels of happiness and decreased mental health burden.

How We Age

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There’s a cluster of studies out this week on older LGBT people. In one quality of life was found to be negatively impacted by discrimination, while mental health was improved if people accepted their sexuality but negatively impacted by disclosure of that sexuality, authors note the differences has a large impact on the oldest of the old. Another study showed almost 1/3 of midlife and older people had some fear of disclosing their sexuality and were less comfort accessing care services. A needs assessment in Minnesota explored how most LGBT seniors had a primary caregiver who was not a legal relation. Yet another study showed loneliness was also found to be an issue for many LGBT seniors. Luckily the William Way Center in Philadelphia is pioneering housing for low-income LGBT seniors, which may help alleviate some burdens faced by this population.

From The Trenches

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A doctor in LA is requesting the CDC prioritize investigation of meningitis, a vaccine-preventable disease, among gay men after 11 new cases and 3 deaths have been reported.

Transitioning As Parents

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A study of relationship between transgender parents and their children found that almost all had good relationships with their children, but that being a parent often delays the gender transition process.

Proving Things We Understand

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Abuse due to transgender identity and depression among trans women were found to relate to substance abuse in a study that also called for better substance abuse treatment program for transgender people.

Canadians Recommending Campaign Aimed At Bisexual Stigma

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A study in Canada again highlights worse health outcomes, increased sexual risk taking, and more abuse among non-monosexual women than lesbians or heterosexual women. The authors call for a campaign aimed at bisexual stigma or a sexual education campaign aimed at vulnerable women.

 

Huffington Post LGBT Wellness

LGBT Wellness Roundup: September 12

As published on Huffington Post’s new LGBT Wellness blog, see original at: http://huff.to/1tWFZLB

Each week HuffPost Gay Voices, in a partnership with bloggers Liz Margolies and Scout, brings you a round up of some of the biggest LGBT wellness stories from the past seven days. For more LGBT Wellness, visit our page dedicated to the topic here. The weekly LGBT Wellness Roundup can also now be experienced as a video — check it out above.

LGBT Youth & College Student Substance Use

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LGB college students were found to have higher alcohol, tobacco and other drug use, compared to their heterosexual peers, with bisexual women reporting the highest use. While another study found LGBT high school students who lived in neighborhoods with higher rates of anti-LGBT hate crimes had significantly higher reported marijuana use than their peers.

For The Record

 

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A new study found that patients will generally accept sexual orientation and gender identity questions on medical intake forms, which the IOM and many advocates are pushing for so we can better collect data on LGBT health outcomes.

 

Across The Pond: More Of The Same

 

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In findings that mirror research in the U.S.A., a new journal article reports that LGB people in England have “poorer health and worse health care experiences” including depression and other poor mental health outcomes.

 

Trans, Global

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Denmark’s new law is lauded for allowing trans people to only fill out paperwork to change gender, without the need for permission by medical or psychological professionals; although criticism is reserved for the 18-years-old age requirement. While across the globe, Eliana Rubashkyn, writes about her experiences withtransgender discrimination and immigration laws in Hong Kong. U.S. researchers explain that trans women are over-represented in prison populations and have higher levels of victimization while incarcerated, numbers that are even higher for trans women of color.

 

GLMA Honors Sebelius

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The Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA) is presenting former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius with an award, for promoting LGBT inclusive policies.

 

NYC PSA: LGBT Kids Are OK

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An NYC HIV prevention organization, CAMBA, has rolled out bus advertisements urging parents, guardians and families to accept their LGBT child, offering links to resources. The campaign is part of Project Accept LGBT Youth which hopes to reduce mental health, substance abuse and HIV rates among young LGBT people.

Huffington Post LGBT Wellness · Uncategorized

LGBT Wellness Roundup: September 5

As published on Huffington Post’s new LGBT Wellness blog, see original at: http://huff.to/1lRbvIm

Each week HuffPost Gay Voices, in a partnership with bloggers Liz Margolies and Scout, brings you a round up of some of the biggest LGBT wellness stories from the past seven days. For more LGBT Wellness, visit our page dedicated to the topic here. The weekly LGBT Wellness Roundup can also now be experienced as a video — check it out above.

Incarcerated and Unemployed: Confronting Trans Discrimination

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A new review of research and current policies regarding incarcerated transgender people discusses mental health needs, and the status of trans healthcare in prisons, also sites the overrepresentation of trans people in prison. Ontario’s cool community based participatory trans research project, TransPULSE, has come out with a new report showing trans people in Ontario have high rates of unemployment and underemployment, citing discrimination as a core reason. The links between unemployment and incarceration are not lost on us.

In Memory

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Andrew Cray, LGBT health advocate who worked for the Center for American Progress passed away from oral cancer last week. We all thank him for years of work, particularly his recent role in securing bulletins prohibiting insurance exclusions for trans care in DC and nine states. He’s memorialized elegantly by his friend, and coworker, Kellan Baker.

CVS Serving US Better

In March we blogged about the pending CVS changes to stop selling tobacco and what that means for the LGBT communities. Since then CVS has changed it’s name, ceased selling tobacco products (saying they can’t justify selling medicine and tobacco in the same location), and to top it off is now marketing themselves withLGBT inclusive advertisements.

When the Feds Fund LGBT Health The Right Wing Calls It Waste

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A federally funded study on sexual orientation and obesity is making headlines in right wing papers for wasteful spending. The Washington Post tries some basic support of the study, noting obesity is a major public health concern. We say kudos that NIH is making sure to include at least one study on us for one of the top public health crises today.

Lesbian? Out? Depressed?

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In a new study measuring the relationship between how “out” lesbians are and depression over 50% of participants reported lifetime history of depression at baseline and disclosure effects on depression varied by ethnic/racial identity, the authors urged more study of racial/ethnic variations.

Not So Safe At Home

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Two new studies show that LGBT people experience higher rates of domestic violence than the general population: triple the rate for men, and 75% more for women cohabitating with same sex partners, while 34.6 % of trans people reported history of domestic violence.

 

Huffington Post LGBT Wellness

LGBT Wellness Roundup: August 22

As published on Huffington Post’s new LGBT Wellness blog, see original at: http://huff.to/1qGP0BG

BAD JOURNALISTS

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This week’s awards for awful journalism goes to an awful story trying to panic us into thinking the LGBT community is at risk from TB carried by undocumented immigrant minors. Meanwhile a FOX news host calls parents that affirm their child’s trans identity “child abusers,” which was condemned not only by LGBT rights groups, but medical professionals from psychologists, psychiatrists and pediatricians.

 

QUEERING YOUTH MEDICINE

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This week several academic medicine articles worked to inform pediatricians about medical and mental health needs of LGBT youth, outlining guidelineshormone therapies and gynecological care for transgender youth.

 

LGB MED STUDENTS STRUGGLE

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A large survey at medical schools found that LGB med students (none identified as transgender) were more depressed, had less social support than heterosexual med students, reported discomfort in coming out at school, and rated their campuses noninclusive. This comes a month after we reported LGB surgery residents had similar experiences.

KILLER STRESS

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A review of data from a the National Longitudinal Study for Adolescent Health showed that stressful life events from childhood to young adulthood increased cardiometabolic risk (diabetes and cardiovascular disease) for LGB people; the same risks did not occur for straight people with stressful life events.

 

OH, COME ON!

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Research of orgasms by sexual identity found that lesbians orgasm more frequently during sex than heterosexual or bisexual women; there was little variation of orgasm frequency in men by sexual orientation.

 

ORGAN REJECTION

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A tragic suicide by a gay teen was made even more sad when his organs were rejected for transplant due to FDA policy on organ donations by gay and bisexual men; his mother is campaigning to end the ban. This comes only weeks after theNational Gay Blood Drive, a protest organized to question the FDA ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men.

 

YOUTH OF COLOR TALK GAY AGENDA

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The Black Youth Project surveyed 1,500 young people about the LGBT agenda found major differences by racial groups, with black and latino youth believing that LGBT groups spend too much effort on marriage equality, and that HIV, violence, bullying, and services for homeless LGBT youth were more important issues.

Cross-posting · Huffington Post LGBT Wellness

I Did It: Forgiveness

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Liz Margolies, L.C.S.W. 

Founder and Executive Director

National LGBT Cancer Network

Forgiveness

As published on Huffington Post’s new LGBT Wellness blog, see original at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/liz-margolies-lcsw/i-did-it-forgiveness_b_4982515.html?utm_hp_ref=lgbt-wellness

When someone suggested I try forgiveness as my next “I Did It” challenge, my first thought was a silent and loud NO. Why should I forgive that evil ex-lover who stole my money and tried to damage my relationship with my child? I was startled to realize how much venom I still carried for a person I broke up with eight years ago. This stale resentment is surely not harming her because we have absolutely no contact. It is all mine. “Resentment is like drinking poison and then waiting for it to kill your enemies.” (Nelson Mandela).

We all have that ex, the one we fell for hard and trusted with our every thought and dollar. Our love was like a lightning bolt and six months later, she moved to New York City to live with me and my young son. She had never lived anywhere but her small hometown, and it was not an easy adjustment for either of us. New York is a humbling place with bad parking options, making previously big fish feel very small in this gigantic pond. I felt personally responsible for all the ways she struggled here and she agreed it was my fault, as it was my city and I didn’t want to leave it.

I brought her into my social life and my family and together we made new friends, got a slew of pets and shared home renovation projects. We made a life together for over nine years, during which our finances became more entangled and our compromises more entrenched.

It fell apart as quickly as it began, starting with a stupid fight that got uglier than usual. She became way too angry with me that day and then we never quite stopped. We fought for seven months straight, even as we realized we were screaming all the love out of each other. When the last shred of love was gone (or buried), I initiated the break-up talk. She didn’t resist.

Then things got really unpleasant — financially, romantically and with my son. There were lawyers, lots of them. It was hideous.

That was eight years ago. She ultimately moved out of the state and out of my life. My son and I made it through and I have found true love; I am now married to my passionate soulmate. So, if living well is the best revenge, this bitterness should be over. It’s not, though.

Resentment isn’t good for our health. Each time we go over the list of their crimes against us, our blood pressure and heart rate spike. Clutching our grudges stresses the immune system, making us more vulnerable to illness. “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one getting burned.” (Buddha). Ouch.

Why would I hold onto a blazing piece of coal? Because it keeps me labeled as the innocent burned party, leaving her as the only bad guy. If I drop the coal, I suddenly see how singed she was also. Breaking up is simply painful. For everyone. And few of us behave well in that pain.

The Internet is filled with lists of the five or seven or 12 steps to reach forgiveness, but for me, it always comes down to one straightforward task: finding compassion for the other person, despite my urge to demonize them for their crimes.

Oh, suddenly it is seems so obvious to me: only someone so terribly unhappy would behave so poorly. When I stop counting all the compromises I made to try to make her happy, I see the too-high price she paid for our relationship. Living in New York with me was a daily struggle for her — one I could not fix and was unwilling to end. After nine years, she snapped. She had to leave me and she had to leave New York to find herself again. Today, I want to allow her to have recovered herself, no matter what it took. Heaven knows I wasn’t perfect either.

To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” (Lewis B. Smedes).

Follow Liz Margolies, L.C.S.W. on Twitter: www.twitter.com/cancerlgbt

Huffington Post LGBT Wellness

Honestly, Signing up for Obamacare Was Hard but Worth It

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 It’s a bit embarrassing to admit how difficult it was to sign up for health insurance on the new exchanges. As a public health professional who’s trying hard to spread the word that people need to #GetCovered, I was trying to studiously ignore how every time I called there was some problem in signing up. Ultimately, it seemed to be related to my name change. Maybe it was more complicated because I only have a single name? I just hope every trans person doesn’t have to go through some of the hoops I did in proving they are U.S. citizens, because I know it delayed my enrollment by months.

One of the myths about these health insurance exchanges is they are only for the uninsured among us, or only for low-income folk. Actually the exchanges offer a chance of better health insurance for many of us. For example, I was already enrolled in health insurance, but to my dismay it didn’t cover any testosterone, which left me skipping some months then finally shelling out $400/month through clenched teeth. Plus, my health insurance didn’t include dental coverage, so I carefully unclenched those teeth again.

To be honest, I had to call the Rhode Island health insurance exchange probably eight times. First there was the complication of not living in the same state as my partner. While some private insurance plans would cover us both, the exchanges wouldn’t. Then they asked me to send in my drivers license and social security card to prove I was a citizen. So I scanned and uploaded them to the site then I waited for some notice it was ok to proceed… and crickets. It’s easy to put off enrolling like it’s easy to put off writing a will. Nothing bad is going on now, right? With three teenagers and a busy job, I had lots of other things competing for my attention. But once a month, as I shelled out that $400 for hormones, I kept remembering that maybe that insurance exchange could do this better?

So I called back and filled out more of the application with the friendly person on the line. But now they needed to know how much my kids’ health insurance premiums were. Really? I am not the parent who pays them, so why did it matter? It stopped me again, until that $400 payment came again and I was motivated to track down the info and called back. This time, they needed even more information about my name change. I was definitely trying hard not to curse the insurance exchanges at this point. Remember, the party line is #GetCovered. Repeat until you believe it. Or better yet, go back and watch the hilarious SNL skit on the early website problems. I’ve watched it so many times now I can do a fair impersonation of their Sebelius impersonator.

Ultimately, it was the coming deadline which moved me off my duff again. If people don’t get enrolled by March 31st, it’s see ya later until next year’s open enrollment period. So, I found my birth certificate, my legal name change document and uploaded them to the site. And voila — they finally admitted I was a U.S. citizen. I could choose a plan!

But wait, the runaround stop didn’t stop there. I wasn’t going to sign up for another plan that didn’t include hormones. Plus, I needed to make sure my trans-friendly doc was in their plan. That took four more confusing calls, this time to Blue Cross. But everything was included. And I was going to get sweet dental coverage for the whole family too, including 50 percent of my kids’ braces costs. I signed up like lightning.

I can’t lie; it was a total hassle for me to sign up and it could be for you too, but trust me it’s worth the hassle. I was cursing the insurance exchanges before but now I say bring on the new coverage as fast as it can come. Remember, we’ve only got until March 31st to sign up so spread the word. Visit Out2Enroll for more information and find more social media friendly images on the CenterLink Network for LGBT Health Equity blog here.

——

Dr. Scout, Director

The Network for LGBT Health Equity

As published on Huffington Post’s new LGBT Wellness blog, see original at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/scout-phd/obamacare-enroll-health-insurance-exchange_b_4961096.html?utm_hp_ref=lgbt-wellness

 
Follow Scout, Ph.D. on Twitter: www.twitter.com/scoutout
Cross-posting · Feature · Huffington Post LGBT Wellness · Uncategorized

I Did It! A Colonoscopy

 

 

 

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As the founder and executive director of the National LGBT Cancer Network, I know full well how important it is to keep up with my own cancer screenings. Early detection saves lives. Yet, like many other LGBT people, I resist and postpone it.

Getting regular checkups and colon cancerscreening is the best way to prevent colorectal cancer. Finding and removing colon polyps helps prevent colon cancer, and if they’re found early, a cure is far more likely. Colonoscopies are recommendedevery 10 years, beginning at age 50, or sooner if you have a family history of colorectal cancer.

Most studies show that LGBT people have significantly lower colorectal cancer screening rates, especially transgender people and people of color. All our usual barriers to care (stigma, lack of health insurance, etc.) make it difficult, but really, who ever wants a camera up their butt? In the interest of getting more of us to do this, why don’t you follow me through the process?

Two months before the procedure: It wasn’t hard to get an appointment, but it took me two months to gather my resolve to call and set it up. I have had two colonoscopies in the past, both decent experiences with two perfectly nice gastroenterologists, so I don’t fully know what my barrier was this time around, but after my best friend recommended her doctor, I finally got myself to call. The point is: Do whatever it takes to get over the resistance.

One week before the procedure: I can’t believe how much time I am spending thinking about this, preoccupied with “preparation” day, a Sunday, during which I may eat absolutely nothing, drink only clear (not red or purple) liquids and take two rounds of laxatives, guaranteeing an evening seated on the toilet.

Several days in advance, I load up on all the interesting clear liquids I can find in my local market, sparing no expense. I buy fancy artisanal juices I usually scoff at. Variety also seems essential, and I purchase three boxes of blue Jell-O, which I plan to cube and eat with a fork, and a broth that means I can use a spoon. I decide to save the broth for “dinner.”

I make no plans for Sunday, even turning down an afternoon party invitation, as though being hungry is going to be a very time-consuming activity. (Did I just say “consuming”?) Yes, I am obsessing about food all week, interspersing it with anticipatory self-pity for my promised hunger.

Preparation day:

7:30 AM: With total defiance, I put 2 teaspoons of milk in my morning coffee. No, coffee was not on the “approved” list, but neither did I find it on the “forbidden” list, and I was not going to suffer a caffeine-withdrawal headache in addition to my starvation. I shower and weigh myself for a later post-fasting comparison.

9:17 AM: I make a huge bottle of herbal tea. I am feeling triumphantly not hungry, although my entire consciousness is on my stomach. I can beat this!

9:51 AM: I’m hungry! Uh, oh.

Noon: How can this be? I am simultaneously incredibly full (of tea) and still hungry. My body clearly knows the difference between liquids and solids, and it is not fooled. I must crave nutrients. I have downed 32 ounces of tea and one bottle of fancy lemonade while waiting for the Jell-O to solidify. I invent some errands and leave the house. I need some distance from the refrigerator.

1:00 PM: The blue Jell-O is gross yet oddly satisfying. I devour it, shoving my spoon directly in the large bowl, forgoing the civilized plan of cubing and forking. Within half an hour, I am myself again, sated, living a typical Sunday afternoon where I happen to not be eating anything. I read The New York Times.

6:00 PM: Having taking the first dose of laxatives (and having no dinner to prepare), I distract myself by binge-watching Scandal, waiting for the urge to purge. I take my second dose at 8 PM, never leaving my seat at the TV. This is a breeze!

9:30 PM: I begin my trips to the bathroom, pausing the show when I go. Unlike when I’ve had a stomach flu or food poisoning, there are no cramps. Easy and painless.

Midnight: I go to bed. Triumphant. Empty.

Procedure day:

7:30 AM: No coffee today; not even a sip of water permitted. I feel a bit weak and definitely thirsty. I shower and weigh myself. I lost only 2 pounds since yesterday. Only now do I begin to worry about what the colonoscopy might find. I hope I’m OK.

11:30 AM: It’s done! The sweet gastroenterologist (this field attracts the nicest clinicians!) introduced himself by apologizing for my hard night. In all, I tell him, it wasn’t even that bad. They wrapped me in blankets to keep me warm, and the anesthesiologist sent me into a lovely sleep before anyone laid a hand on my butt. By the way, their forms never asked about marital status but simply asked the name of anyone I designated to receive medical information about me.

12:30 PM: A friend met me (escorts are required), and we went to the closest diner for a huge omelet. I am perfectly healthy and can put off a repeat performance for another 10 years. Today I don’t even dread it.

For information on where you can find LGBT-welcoming free or low-cost cancer screening facilities near you, check out the directory of the National LGBT Cancer Network.

———

Liz Margolies, L.C.S.W.Founder and Executive Director
The Nation LGBT Cancer Network
As published on Huffington Post’s new LGBT Wellness blog, see original at:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/liz-margolies-lcsw/i-did-it-a-colonoscopy_b_4810656.html?utm_hp_ref=lgbt-wellness
Follow Liz Margolies, L.C.S.W. on Twitter: www.twitter.com/cancerlgbt
 
Huffington Post LGBT Wellness · Uncategorized

LGBT Wellness Roundup: Keepin’ you in the loop!

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Have you ever wished there was one place you could go to stay up-to-date with current, important LGBT health news? Well….(drum roll please)…now there is! The Network for LGBT Health Equity and the National LGBT Cancer Network have started a weekly collaboration on the “Weekly Roundup”- a compilation of the five to ten biggest, most important, current LGBT health and wellness news. Remember a few months ago, when Huffington Post began an LGBT Wellness page at our urging? Well, the Weekly Roundup will be posted on there every Saturday!

Check out the first three Weekly Roundups:

LGBT Health Roundup: February 28, 2014

LGBT Wellness Roundup: March 7, 2014

LGBT Wellness Roundup: March 14, 2014

Is there something you think we need to include? send us an email at healthequity@lgbtcenters.org with subject heading “Weekly Roundup”!

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