Feeling ‘Hangry?’ – Hypoglycemia, Mental Health, and the Importance of Diet

By Barbara Leonhard | Featured Contributor


Depression is a complex weave, and I have explored it in various articles on Phoebe, MD. The grief of watching my mom decline with Alzheimer’s and the grief of infertility. However, did you know that some symptoms of depression can also result from a diet high in sugar and simple carbohydrates, which in some people can lead to postprandial hypoglycemia (extremely low blood sugar after a meal)? This has been another life challenge for me.

Continue reading “Feeling ‘Hangry?’ – Hypoglycemia, Mental Health, and the Importance of Diet”

Broken Womb, Shattered Soul: Living with Infertility (part 2)

By Barbara Leonhard | Featured Contributor


[Click here for Part 1]

Depression developed and flourished because I grieved so much over loss of fertility.

Women who are childless miss out on a great deal. They never feel what it is like to have a life growing, kicking and wiggling inside of them; to cry out during the birth of a baby (a rite of passage to celebrate with girlfriends); to watch over and even to grow with a child through sickness and health, all the milestones of birthdays, graduations, marriage, and the births of grandchildren. I have even grieved not being able to be the tooth fairy, help my kids find Easter eggs, read them bedtime stories, take them to the zoo.

Feeling apart from and not a part of the tribe still saddens me. I find I am left out of conversations about all those life passages women around me have. I feel I have little to contribute. I have attended and hosted many baby showers, but my mind always wanders to my losses, making it difficult to be fully present to the joy young mothers feel. Women form strong bonds with each other and share in all the rituals around birthing and raising children. I feel like an outsider at times, like I am more an observer than a participant in these sacred passages.

Continue reading “Broken Womb, Shattered Soul: Living with Infertility (part 2)”

Just a Man

By Colin Chappell | Featured Author


He listened;
He understood;
He befriended;
He cared.

All the courage he gave me,
By just being there,
Made me feel like
I wanted to live.
He gave me so much
Yet… had so little to give…
But his time.

I realized later
There was so much more.
I was indebted to that man
And… what’s more,
To experience the caring
of someone unknown

made me wonder.
Who else was out there alone?

Continue reading “Just a Man”

Broken Womb, Shattered Soul: Living with Infertility (part 1)

By Barbara Leonhard | Featured Contributor


As we grow and develop, we learn how to identify with many labels or roles, such as daughter/son, aunt/uncle, mother/father, and grandmother/grandfather, to name a few. It seems as though our stories are written before we are born to conform to these labels. In a way, these roles become rituals that comfort us as we agree to them and even expect our lives to go “as planned” based on our social codes and blueprints for survival.

I know I certainly expected my life to unfold much like my mother’s life did with marriage and family. She had seven children, and being the second oldest and oldest girl, I was able to help with all the babies she had. It never occurred to me that I would never be able to have my own children. Little did I know that my helping her at the ages of 9 and 10 with my youngest siblings would be my only times to experience at least part of what a mother does for her kids. I am not sure I appreciated this time because as much as I loved playing mommy, I also wanted to be with my friends.

Continue reading “Broken Womb, Shattered Soul: Living with Infertility (part 1)”

Spinal Con-fusion: A Poem by a Survivor

By John Gregory Evans | Featured Author


There remains
a deadened,
freezing,
almost an anesthetizing
sense of dread
upon my fingertips and hands,
reaching deep into my leg’s nerves,
shattered spinal cord,
peeled away
as one peels an orange.

Walking,
now a challenge,
con-fusion of the fusion,
cervical cord,
Ruptured and bruised,
arrogance of the humanity factor.

Pain
within the eyes
like lightning fingers
to the crown
of God.

Continue reading “Spinal Con-fusion: A Poem by a Survivor”

Respite from a Pandemic

By Cynthia Cady Stanton | Featured Author


When in isolation,
and the feeling overwhelms,
remember the love within you.
Look to your heart
and the fullness there,
the fullness that swells
with your sweet attention to it.

You are not alone.

You are the branch
which stretches and shades
from every tree you have sat under.
You are the sea spray
that has kissed your face
from every stroll on the beach.
You are the joy
of your beloved pet
who always blesses you
with pure affection.
You are the song
that the morning bird sings.
You are even the touch
of every hand held
and every embrace shared.

Continue reading “Respite from a Pandemic”

Avoiding the Tragedy: A Look into Disease Prevention

By Barbara Leonhard | Featured Contributor


Part 1 – Hope Was Not a Loss: A Story About Measles Encephalitis
Part 2 – Learning How to Walk Again: Barbara’s Story


Back in 1957, the year I almost died from the measles, my parents—unlike the parents of today—did not have to face the choice of vaccination, because there was no vaccine in existence (it wasn’t introduced until several years later, in 1963).

Therefore, it was important for me to share my experience with this condition because of the great controversy that currently exists over vaccines in general, and particularly the measles vaccine. Far too many children are not getting vaccinated against measles and other diseases owing to perceived risks, so now measles has returned as a virulent threat worldwide.

Continue reading “Avoiding the Tragedy: A Look into Disease Prevention”

Rise Up and Live

Life isn’t about
Hunting happiness,
Hiding sadness,
Mountain of moments,
Treasure of breaths.

It’s about
Rising up the sun,

For others
and

For yourself.

Navnidhi

Thank you, Navnidhi, for this beautiful reminder.
Wishing all a lovely day.
💚

Learning How to Walk Again: Barbara’s Story

By Barbara Leonhard | Featured Contributor


[Part 1 – Hope Was Not a Loss: A Story About Measles Encephalitis]

My experience with measles encephalitis taught me a great deal. The greatest realization was that I could change my destiny. I had every reason to remain in the wheelchair because of the attention, sympathy, and love that not only I but also my parents received because of their poor little girl. But the attention from others could not offset the loneliness, the feelings of being diminutive and helpless, and the boredom.

Continue reading “Learning How to Walk Again: Barbara’s Story”

Mind Over Body: Catarina’s Path to Health

By Catarina Rodrigues, Featured Health Story


Three and a half years ago, I was diagnosed with a hiatal hernia. A hiatal hernia is what happens when the upper portion of your stomach slides up into your chest because there is an opening (a “hiatus”) in your diaphragm. This causes the person to experience severe acid reflux and discomfort, among other symptoms. When my doctor explained this to me, as—you may imagine—it all sounded quite frightening. He told me that this was essentially an incurable condition and that surgery was not recommended at my age.

Continue reading “Mind Over Body: Catarina’s Path to Health”

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