Living At All Costs

Nearly 2.5 million people in US die each year. Of those, over 60% of people die in hospitals. (Kochanek et al. 2004)

Do you expect to die in a hospital? How long do you expect to live?

Makes me think of the book Little Women. The one sister who has always been sickly finally passes on – she is lieing in bed, holdin onto her sister’s hand. They reminisce of their lives together and she difts softly into sleep and passes on.

If these sisters were here today in 2011, I’m sure the sickly sister would have lived a sicky, long life into her mid 80’s at least, found herself in a nursing home which she received sporactic visits from family now and again. She would be on several different medications that the nurses would be there to help her take.  She would play cards and bingo with other residents. She would be given a bath by a 25 year old girl that could care less about her life and was wondering to herself if she is missing tweets from her BFF.

I have yet to experience someone close to me pass, but I have experienced suffering from family memebers in their old age. From Alzheimers, cancer, quadruple bypass surgery, dependency on pain medication, scary bacterial infections, knee replacements, lung surgery and limb removal…. It makes me want to ask …

When is it enough?

Say I find out I have cancer at the age of 60. I go through chemo and all the procedures that are entailed to get rid of it. Then 5 years later I start having the onset of Alzheimers or I find out that I have to have a kidney removed and live on dialisis for the rest of my life.

Which is worse? Dieing of cancer at age 60 or living with Alzheimers for the next 30 years…

I’m not sure where I am going with this.

I guess I am asking when does a person say, “I am no longer going to intervene with my mortality” ?

When I am going to let myself pass.

Many years ago, people didn’t have that choice. They died in wars, tragic events, or illnesses in which they had no cure for. But today, it seems that we have a medical procedure for everything – I pill or cure surgery that we can choose to take to make us live longer… maybe not better, but longer.

“I am choosing that I will not let AIDS kill me.So, I will take these 15 pills everyday of my life to keep me alive.”

“I am choosing that I will not let cancer kill me. So, I will have my right lung cut out and I will go through radiation until it is gone. I will no longer be able to walk up a flight of stairs, but I fought cancer and won.”

All these choices are empowering and we all have the right to choose to live – but when do we choose to let go? It is when our bodies are completely debilated, or when we no longer have the mental capacity to choose for ourselves?

What message are we sending to the next generation? You must always choose to live and never choose die – there is no reverence for death, only life?

Live at all costs?   

Sunscreen Ingredients to Avoid, and Which Sunscreens are Safe

Overall, there are two basic types of skin cream or lotion protection: sunscreens, which absorb and deflect (or reflect) the sun's rays via a chemical reaction, and "blocks"—zinc oxide and titanium dioxide—which create a physical barrier against rays.

Ingredients to Avoid:

PABA: Though rarely used now in sunscreens, beware of products that contain the ingredient. Forty percent of the population is sensitive to it, experiencing red, itchy skin.

Benzophenone (benzophenone-3), homosalate, and octy-methoxycinnamate (octinoxate): These chemicals are of more concern because they have shown estrogenic activity in lab tests. Dr. Margret Schlumpf of the University of Zurich's Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology says they have been shown to disrupt hormones, affecting the development of the brain (particularly the hypothalamo-pituitary-gonadal system) and reproductive organs in laboratory rats. Because people are exposed simply by eating fish (where benzophenone accumulates in the fat), using sunscreen containing these chemicals unduly increases the exposure. Based on her studies, Dr. Schlumpf advises people avoid products containing benzophenone and the related chemicals above.

Parabens (butyl-, ethyl-, methyl-, and propyl-): Parabens may also mimic estrogen, but because they are common in sunscreens, avoiding them may prove difficult.

Padimate-O and Parsol 1789 (2-ethylhexyl-4-dimethylaminobenzoic acid and avobenzone): These two chemicals have the potential to damage DNA when illuminated with sunlight. On the skin's surface, these chemicals do protect from UV damage; however, once absorbed into the skin, these same chemicals can prove destructive. Dr. Knowland's research indicates that Padimate-O and Parsol 1789 "are excited by the UV energy which they absorb and become reactive, acquiring the potential to attack cellular components, including DNA." Knowland cautions that "DNA damage inflicted by an excited sunscreen is much less capable of being repaired by naturally occurring repair mechanisms than the DNA damage inflicted by UV alone."

Which Sunscreens Are The Safest?

Check out the online database that rates sunscreen safety and effectiveness, here.  

This in-depth analysis of the safety and effectiveness of more than 700 name-brand sunscreens. The new database lists products that offer the best combination of safety and effectiveness: they are formulated with the safest chemicals, are most effective at protecting against sunburn, and help prevent long-term damage caused by the sun’s UVA rays, which are linked to skin aging, wrinkling and, potentially, cancer.


Best Overall Sunscreen goes to Purple Prairie this year for their SPF 30 Sun Stuff.  They just reformulated their SPF 30 lotion and after trying it out I think this one is the best bang for your buck.  It works in every sunny situation, doesn’t leave you looking ghostly and has a great ingredients list.  Plus, your purchase supports small businesses.  A little goes a long way and after testing it out in sun, surf and swimming pools I think it protects great minus the greasy.  Double thumbs up.

Best Ingredients goes to Badger for all their sunscreens.  Every year Badger sets the bar for safe ingredients and this year is no exception.  It’s truly all natural and organic.  They have also gone a step further to up the ante on their sunscreen ingredient and are now using non-nano uncoated Zinc Oxide. Badger’s sunscreen is a top performer in protection especially with rough or lengthy swimming.  It’s the most water resistant sunscreen I’ve used and protects even after hearty swimming.  Badger is always a safe bet.  Totally worth the money, especially if you have swimmers.