Natural Foreskin Retraction in Intact Children and Teens

Guidance for healthcare providers by Doctors Opposing Circumcision and Medical Professionals for Genital Autonomy.


Photo by David Burnett

Introduction.

There is much uncertainty among health care workers about when the foreskin of a boy should become retractable.1 This has caused many false diagnoses of phimosis, followed by unnecessary circumcision, when, in fact, the foreskin is developmentally normal.

History. 

The first data on development of retractile foreskin were provided in 1949 by the famous British paediatrician, Douglas Gairdner. (2) His data have been incorporated into many textbooks and still is repeated in the medical literature today. Gairdner said that 80 percent of boys should have a retractable foreskin by the age of two years, and 90 percent of boys should have a retractable prepuce by the age of three years. (2) Unfortunately, Gairdner’s data are inaccurate, (3-4) so most healthcare providers have been taught inaccurate data. (4) Retractability usually occurs much later than previously believed. (3) This page provides accurate data, derived from newer and better studies, for healthcare providers.

Current View.

Almost all boys are born with the foreskin fused with the underlying glans penis. Most also have a narrow foreskin that cannot retract. Non-retractile foreskin is normal at birth and remains common until after puberty (age 18). Some boys develop retractile foreskin earlier, and about 2 percent of males have a non-retractile foreskin throughout life. Non-retractile foreskin is not a disease and does not require treatment.

There are three possible conditions that cause non-retractile foreskin:

  • Fusion of the foreskin with the glans penis
  • Tightness of the foreskin orifice
  • Frenulum breve (which is rare and cannot be diagnosed until the previous two reasons have been eliminated)

The first two reasons are normal in childhood and are not pathological in children. The third can be treated conservatively, retaining the foreskin.

Infants and pre-school. 

Kayaba et al. (1996) reported that before six months of age, no boy had a retractable prepuce; 16.5 percent of boys aged 3-4 had a fully retractable prepuce. (5) Imamura (1997) examined 4521 infants and young boys. He re-ported that the foreskin is retractile in 3 percent of infants aged one to three months, 19.9 percent of those aged ten to twelve months, and 38.4 percent of three-year-old boys. (6) Ishikawa & Kawakita (2004) reported no retractability at age one, (but increasing to 77 percent at age 11-15). (7) Non-retractile foreskin is the more common condition in this age group. Compare these data with Gairdner’s data!


Øster graph
Percentage of boys with fused foreskin by age according to Øster

School-age and adolescence. 

Jakob Øster, a Danish physician who conducted school examinations, reported his findings on the examination of school-boys in Denmark, where circumcision is rare.8 Øster (1968) found that the incidence of fusion of the foreskin with the glans penis steadily declines with increasing age and foreskin retractability increases with age.8 Kayaba et al. (1996) also investigated the development of foreskin retraction in boys from age 0 to age 15.5 Kayaba et al. also reported increasing retractability with increasing age. Kayaba et al. reported that about only 42 percent of boys aged 8-10 have fully retractile foreskin, but the percentage increases to 62.9 percent in boys aged 11-15.5 Imamura (1997) reported that 77 percent of boys aged 11-15 had retractile foreskin. (6) Thorvaldsen & Meyhoff (2005) conducted a survey of 4000 young men in Denmark. (9) They report that the mean age of first foreskin retraction is 10.4 years in Denmark. (9) Non-retractile foreskin is the more common condition until about 10-11 years of age.

Kayaba graph
Percentage of boys with tight ring totally non-retractile foreskin according to Kayaba et al.

Discussion. 

Boys usually are born with a non-retractile foreskin. The foreskin gradually becomes retractable over a variable period of time ranging from birth to 18 years or more. (8,9) There is no “right” age for the foreskin to become retractable. Non-retractile foreskin does not threaten health in childhood and no intervention is necessary. Many boys only develop a retractable foreskin after puberty. Education of concerned parents usually is the only action required. (10)

Avoidance of premature retraction. 

Care-givers and healthcare providers must be careful to avoid premature retraction of the foreskin, which is contrary to medical recommendations, painful, traumatic, tears the attachment points (synechiae), may cause infection, is likely to generate medico-legal problems, and may cause paraphimosis, with the tight foreskin acting like a tourniquet. The first person to retract the boy’s foreskin should be the boy himself. (3)

Making the foreskin retractable. 

Occasionally a male reaches adulthood with a non-retractile foreskin. Some men with a non-retractile foreskin happily go through life and father children. Other men, however, may want to make their foreskin retractile.

The foreskin can be made retractable by:

  • Manual stretching (11-12) 
  • Application of topical steroid ointment (13-14)

Male circumcision is outmoded as a treatment for non-retractile foreskin, but it is still recommended by many urologists because of lack of adequate information, and perhaps because of the fees associated with circumcision. Nevertheless, circumcision should be avoided because of pain, trauma, cost, (15,16) complications, (15) difficult recovery, permanent injury to the appearance of the penis, loss of pleasurable erogenous sensation, (17) and impairment of erectile and ejaculatory functions. (18-20)

A website exists here where knowledable individuals give free advice to adults and teens on stretching one's foreskin to make it retractble.

References:
  1. Simpson ET, Barraclough P. The management of the paediatric foreskin. Aust Fam Physician 1998;27(5):381-3. [Full Text]
  2. Gairdner D. The fate of the foreskin: a study of circumcision. Br Med J 1949;2:1433-7. [Full Text]
  3. Wright JE. Further to the "Further Fate of the Foreskin." Med J Aust 1994;160:134-5. [Full Text]
  4. Hill G. Circumcision for phimosis and other medical indications in Western Australian boys. Med J Aust 2003;178(11):587. [Full Text]
  5. Kayaba H, Tamura H, Kitajima S, et al. Analysis of shape and retractability of the prepuce in 603 Japanese boys. J Urol 1996;156(5):1813-5. [Full Text]
  6. Imamura E. Phimosis of infants and young children in Japan. Acta Paediatr Jpn 1997;39(4):403-5. [Abstract]
  7. Ishikawa E, Kawakita M. [Preputial development in Japanese boys]. Hinyokika Kiyo 2004;50(5):305-8. [Abstract]
  8. Øster J. Further fate of the foreskin: incidence of preputial adhesions, phimosis, and smegma among Danish schoolboys. Arch Dis Child 1968;43:200-3. [Full Text]
  9. Thorvaldsen MA, Meyhoff H. Patologisk eller fysiologisk fimose? Ugeskr Læger 2005;167(17):1858-62. [Full Text]
  10. Spilsbury K, Semmens JB, Wisniewski ZS. et al. Circumcision for phimosis and other medical indications in Western Australian boys. Med J Aust 2003 178 (4):155-8. [Full Text]
  11. Dunn HP. Non-surgical management of phimosis. Aust N Z J Surg 1989;59(12):963. [Full Text]
  12. Beaugé M. The causes of adolescent phimosis. Br J Sex Med 1997; Sept/Oct: 26. [Full Text]
  13. Orsola A, Caffaratti J, Garat JM. Conservative treatment of phimosis in children using a topical steroid. Urology 2000;56(2):307-10. [Full Text]
  14. Ashfield JE, Nickel KR, Siemens DR, et al. Treatment of phimosis with topical steroids in 194 children. J Urol 2003;169(3):1106-8. [Abstract]
  15. Van Howe RS. Cost-effective treatment of phimosis. Pediatrics 1998; 102(4)/e43. [Full Text]
  16. Berdeu D, Sauze L, Ha-Vinh P. Blum-Boisgard C. Cost-effectiveness analysis of treatments for phimosis: a comparison of surgical and medicinal approaches and their economic effect. BJU Int2001;87(3):239-44. [Full Text]
  17. Williams N, Kapila L. Complications of circumcision. Brit J Surg 1993;80:1231-6. [Full Text]
  18. Denniston GC, Hill G. Circumcision in adults: effect on sexual function. Urology 2004;64(6);1267. [Full Text]
  19. Shen Z, Chen S, Zhu C, et al. [Erectile function evaluation after adult circumcision]. Zhonghua Nan Ke Xue 2004;10(1):18-9. [Abstract]
  20. Masood S, Patel HRH, Himpson RC, et al. Penile sensitivity and sexual satisfaction after circumcision: Are we informing men correctly? Urol Int 2005;75(1):62-5. [Full Text]

Related Reading on Intact Care: 




How to care for your son if he is retracting pre-puberty.
Foreskin Facts postcards available at Etsy

Breastfeeding Latch Trick

By Danelle Day, PhD © 2010




Preface: The information on this page is meant to help breastfeeding mothers who need latch assistance for their nursing baby. Photos and videos are for education and may not be suitable for all work environments.


Nipple Twist Latch Steps:

1) Pinch the areola right next to your nipple so the nipple can be moved (it may take a second for the nipple to evert if it was otherwise flat). You can use your thumb and first finger, or 2 fingers - whichever is easier for that side and the shape of your breasts. If you have 'puffy' breasts, you can also position the rest of your hand under your breast to lift it up slightly and away from your chest.

2) Turn the nipple up so it is pointing at your face. Do not be shocked if some milk exits. This is normal as you are putting very slight pressure on the milk ducts. There is no need to wipe off the milk as the scent will only help to encourage baby to nurse.

3) Position baby's mouth at the bottom of your upturned nipple, so baby's mouth is open over your nipple/finger and onto the above areola.

4) When you let go, the nipple will land deep into baby's mouth - where it is meant to be for comfortable latch and sucking.

Thank you to Bronwyn Millar for sharing her technique with DrMomma readers via video examples below. [Note: Millar's videos are not currently working due to online bullying of the Peaceful Parenting account and Google losses.]

Helpful items for breastfeeding mothers in the Breastfeeding Group: FB.com/groups/Breastfed.








How to compress the nipple upward to allow it to fall into baby's mouth for a good latch: 


Fetal Ejection Reflex


Meme by Christine Murray  

The fetal ejection reflex is real -- and it is amazing! Gloria Lemay writes in her excellent article, Pushing for First Time Moms:

Dr. Michel Odent [repeats] over and over, "Zee most important thing is: do NOT disturb zee birthing woman." We think we know what this means. The more births I attend, the more I realize how much I disturb the birthing woman. Disturbing often comes disguised in the form of "helping." Asking the mother questions, constant verbal coaching, side conversations in the room, clicking cameras—there are so many ways to draw the mother from her ancient brain trance (necessary for a smooth expulsion of the baby) into the present-time world (using the neocortex which interferes with smooth birth). This must be avoided. [...] Recognizing ways in which we can support the mother to enter that deep trance brain wave state that leads to smooth birth is imperative. I find it very helpful to have new language and concepts for explaining the process to practitioners. Dr. Odent has taught me to wait for the "fetus ejection reflex." This is a reflex like a sneeze. Once it is there you can't stop it, but if you don't have it, you can't force it. While waiting for the "fetus ejection reflex," I imagine the mother dilating to "eleven centimeters." This concept reminds me there may be dilation out of the reach of gloved fingers that we don't know about, but that some women have to do in order to begin the ejection of the baby. I also find it valuable to view birth as an "elimination process" like other elimination processes-coughing, pooping, peeing, crying and sweating. All are valuable (like giving birth is) for maintaining the health of the body. They all require removing the thinking mind and changing one's "state." My friend Leilah is fond of saying, "Birth is a no brainer." After all "elimination processes" are finished, we feel a lot better until the next time. Each individual is competent to handle her bodily elimination functions without a lot of input from others. Birth complications, especially in the first-time mother, are often the result of helpful tampering with something that simply needs time and privacy to unfold as intended.

The fetal ejection reflex is one that happens for most birthing women -- when they are fully safe, supported, and allowed to birth in peace. This, unfortunately, rarely happens in today's modern, North American birth world -- and is especially hard to come by in induction/pitocin-filled labor and delivery rooms. However, this primal state of birth still exists, and is waiting for us, as human mammals, to return to it: to make birth better, for babies and for mothers.

Related reading:

Pushing for First Time Moms: https://www.midwiferytoday.com/articles/pushing.asp

Do not disturb: The importance of privacy in labor: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1595201

What is the Fetal Ejection Reflex? http://www.spiritualbirth.net/what-is-the-fetus-ejection-reflex

Optimal Use of Language for Creating Birth Outcomes: http://wisewomanwayofbirth.com/optimal-use-of-language-for-creating-birth-outcomes

Birth from the baby's perspective: https://midwifethinking.com/2010/08/07/birth-from-the-babys-perspective

Excellent birth books: http://astore.amazon.com/peacefparent-20?_encoding=UTF8&node=3





Newborn Nursing: Frequent, Lengthy, and Normal


I really wish that all new mothers were told that the majority of newborns want to breastfeed much more frequently than every few hours. And many even want to stay latched on, suckling for extended periods of time. This can understandably shake a new mother’s confidence and make her second guess if she’s producing enough milk to keep her nursling satisfied. Women are usually just told that their baby should nurse 'every 2-3 hours,' but frequent (and lengthy) nursing is a totally normal thing for newborns to do! It helps keep them close to mama while regulating her milk supply.

Often babies won’t have these longer stretches between feeds until they’re a little older. Even then, there are several things that could make them want to nurse more, including (but not limited to) teething, sickness, unfamiliar surroundings, or feeling tired. I can’t imagine how miserable it would be to have a fussy baby in your arms but feel like you shouldn’t breastfeed again because it’s "not time yet." ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

This isn’t discussed often enough and new mothers need to be reassured. If baby is gaining weight, then there’s absolutely nothing wrong with breastfeeding more often than what you’ve been told is 'normal.' The postpartum period is all about surrendering, so cozy up with your babe and forget the clock.

--Oh Baby Nutrition

*******

Breastfeeding Community

Peaceful Parenting Community




Healing Hubby

Additional information and updates can be found at the Healing Hubby Facebook page.


It's been 90 days today since my husband was pulled from sea (finally) and we learned my fear was accurate - he had colon cancer.

The SHORT update is: Nick is doing great! He is healing and deeply immersed in a new anticancer lifestyle.

The LONG update is below and is not meant to hurt, offend, or tell anyone what they personally should or should not do, so it may be something you don't wish to read. But it is the real, raw, authentic full update of where we've been, and where we are at, told from my perspective, with Nick's input and blessing, and because we are tossing around the idea of sharing further what we've been learning with those who are interested/may benefit, the full story is bound to come out in one way or another at some point.

Cancer is a *very* personal topic, and I fully believe each individual has to decide for themselves what they believe, what they desire, and what actions they feel best taking - this could look very different from one person to the next, and it could change along the way for any one individual, and that's okay.

*******

90 days ago today Nick learned he had Stage 3 Colon Cancer, on the eve of Colon Cancer Awareness Month. This came with a 90% blockage from a very large tumor that had grown through his sigmoid colon wall and entered into the lymphatic system. Hearing the news -- each of us in different rooms, apart from each other (the Navy is never very good at presentation of sensitive information) -- was shell-shocking, despite the fact that I was expecting it, based on previous knowledge of colon cancer and experiences with those who'd been through this before. Still, it was a numbing, spinning, stand-still time to have a surgical and oncology team say it out loud to me. Due to the size of the tumor, there were oncologists, gastroenterologists, and surgeons all coming together immediately to discuss Nick's case and see how quickly they could get him into an OR. None of these individuals typically worked on the same floor, but they just happened to be there between their own patients this day, at this time, when this was found. When they spoke, my ears buzzed; my tired, worried head was fuzzy; the room kept spinning.

A kind Navy (male) nurse put his hand on my shoulder. He didn't say anything, but I could read the words he wasn't saying - "I am so sorry." It was the closest thing to a hug either of us would get that day, but his kindness mattered to me. "Cancer. Did they say cancer to you, too?" Nick asked as soon as anesthesia wore off enough that they brought us back to a room together.

Oncology is one floor directly under gastro at the Naval hospital here, and because they are SO busy with cancer cases these days they only treat those who have cancer and are active duty. If you're a family member, regardless of Tricare coverage, you will not be seen here. It is estimated 1 in 3 people will get some form of cancer now, and this is occurring at younger and younger ages. Cancer among active duty military personnel is also skyrocketing. And so is colon cancer among those younger than 50 -- 1 in 23 Americans will have colon cancer at some point, and it is becoming a "young person's cancer." We were certainly not the only ones there with such issues, but the teams shifted things around, and Nick became their top priority case. The gastro and surgical teams we had were fantastic. They explained everything in detail, they included me in each step of the way -- going beyond hospital protocol to allow me to be by Nick's side through everything.

Colon cancer is something I am not unfamiliar with... My first real and raw experience with its devastation was in college. My then-boyfriend's mother was an absolute sunshine in my life. She was grace and kindness, love and support, laughter and encouragement, all wrapped up in the beauty of one woman named Barb. I was so ignorant at that time -- despite watching my own grandfather die of cancer, and knowing how very prevalent it is on one side of my family, especially. I stood by while Barb underwent conventional cancer treatments of chemo and radiation that destroyed her body, her livelihood, her ability to truly LIVE. And I knew nothing about how I could help. I assumed there was nothing any of us could do. Pray. And let chemo do its thing. We would go to her house for dinners -- meats and pastas and sweets and tasty things. To the end she was an amazing cook. Her dog, Maggie, got the scraps, and was my furry buddy soaking up the tears when she left this earth. Maggie would pass away also from colon cancer months after Barb. At the time we all thought this was so strange...but assumed they must have been 'connected' in some way.

Still to this day, I cannot fathom the heartache of losing your mom SO young. I would do anything to go back and share what I now know with her. Knowing she would be leaving her kids is what destroyed her the most. The last evening before she flew free from this earth I was beside her bed in the hospital. She had greeted me with as much JOY and excitement as she had every single time before -- "Dannnnelle!!! Hello!!! It is so good to see you..." As if I was the very person she wanted to see -- she had a way like that - making you feel so special and wanted and cherished.

I told her that night that she was an amazing mom, and that her sons are forever blessed because of everything she has done. They will live incredible lives because of her steadfast love, influence, and wisdom imparted. She held my hand as we talked, and I sensed it would be the last time.

Before she left there were a few things she gave to me -- a sailboat chime that has always hung above my kitchen sink, and still does to this day. A butterfly vase that I use for special occasions. A butterfly candle holder that sits on our counter, and a small succulent plant that still grows in my living room window 15 years later. I still feel her here. And if I am honest, I still miss Barb, too. She was the unconditional love of a mother I so dearly needed -- one who would wrap arms around me no matter what, and offer advice and wisdom drenched in big-hearted compassion. I hope I am some of this with my own children as they grow.

When Barb passed away I began experiencing some of my own (auto-immune) health issues. This was likely due to the stress of multiple grad school programs I was completing, and 30 years of ignorant living (and eating)... 20-somethings can eat anything, right?! Pre-30s you're indestructible. Ah, so naive. It was commingled with what I ignorantly allowed to be injected into my body (vaccines are NOT without side effects), and the onslaught of toxins from every angle of the Standard American Lifestyle. In my quest to heal I found the books "Spontaneous Healing" (https://amzn.to/2HM2L5d) and "Patient, Heal Thyself" (https://amzn.to/2HKX5s0). Much of what Jordan Rubin presented spoke to me. If we eat in a way that the human body was designed to eat, it has miraculous abilities to heal. If we treat the body in a way that it is meant to be treated, renewal can come. God doesn't make mistakes with this perfect design and GOOD plan...

Fast forward to the fall of 2012 and my first official "cancer scare" came. There was a 5-inch mass on my thymus that thoracic surgeons and oncology said was "likely 1 of 3 types of cancer and needed to be removed." It could not be biopsied without removal, and to do so would require collapsing my lung, going through my chest, and a pretty hefty hospital stay to recover. It did not sound fun. At that juncture I dove head first into what I would come to know as anticancer research. I found Chris Wark's (https://amzn.to/2QzBA0l / www.chrisbeatcancer.com) compilations of research he had done -- his Stage 3 Colon Cancer having been found the same year Barb passed away from colon cancer/treatments... I decided that for at least the first 6 months I would make radical changes, pour anticancer things into my daily life, and "wait and watch" the mass on my thymus. As I went into the following year, there was not even close to the amount of material available today, but I sought out everything I could, and saved my pennies to implement every single thing possible while we lived in a small 2-room apartment. I bought a rebounder, a Vitamix, Nick bought a juicer (though in hindsight it was *not* a good one ;) ), and I did my best with the information I had at the time.

I read Kris Carr's materials ("Crazy Sexy Cancer Survivor" and others https://amzn.to/2HOlP2U). And I was thrilled to find Dr. David Servan-Schreiber's compiled research in his aptly titled book, "AntiCancer: A New Way of Life" (https://amzn.to/2JQ4mcv). Every study Chris Wark found, I was on it -- going back to the original to investigate the methodology, results, and see what I could learn. There are over 100,000 peer reviewed studies published annually on nutritional/healing/health research. A LOT have to do with anticancer eating. But only a minuscule fraction of these end up in our mainstream media or oncology offices because there simply is no money to be made in eating plants and focusing on individual behavior modification and radical lifestyle change. Plus, humans don't like to be told they played a role in cancer cell growth. At least not at first. Doctors know it is "nicer" in the short-term to tell someone there is nothing they did or did not do to cause this -- just crappy "bad luck." The reality is most cancer cases are absolutely things we do, or are exposed to, or eat, or take part in, or don't do, or a combination of all of the above, that feed cancer cells and support their longevity, growth, and blood supply. The awesome, empowering reality is that when we know how and why and what we do that causes cancer cells to grow, we can then make the radical changes necessary to STOP growing these same cells. If my lifestyle (or my eating) is resulting in cancer cell growth, then a dramatic change to my lifestyle (and eating) can result in cancer cell destruction.

Taking ownership is empowering. 

By summer 2013 the mass on my thymus had all but disappeared, and it was deemed to not be a threat.

Fast forward to 2017. Another "cancer scare" for me -- this time, with my thyroid. I knew something was really wrong in this regard (thyroid, adrenal gland, auto-immunity) because although I eat impeccably well most of the time since 2012, and I'm always active outdoors with my kids with every waking/free moment we can squeeze in, I am also considered "obese" by BMI standards (and have been shamed by physicians, random strangers at the store, family members, and society at large). People make assumptions when they see a fat person, and these assumptions are usually pretty brutal. Plus, the cold hard reality is that excess fat on the body is a perfect breeding ground for cancer cell growth. No matter the positive steps and healthy lifestyle practices taken, thyroid issues and extreme adrenal fatigue are real and powerful in not so great ways, and this has played out in my own body. With Hashimoto's, PCOS, early-onset-extreme-arthritis, and cold urticaria, there are obviously some major things wrong. As I began to learn more about healing in this capacity (thyroid, adrenal, auto-immune), my endocrinologist told me a mass on my thyroid was "solid, dark, and resembled what is usually thyroid cancer."

One VERY painful biopsy later, it was found to be benign. Praise Jesus! But I never want to go through that again, and I desperately want to be able to run with my children again; to be outside with them when it is below 70-degrees and not have hives from cold urticaria reactions to cool air, water, and surfaces; to play with them and not have my knees snap and give out in horrific painful agony at any given moment. I do not want to die of cancer, or any other preventable disease. I love my kids too much, love life too much, and just want to be here to adventure along the way with them.

SO my research continued. And while it broke my heart to see how Nick was choosing to live and eat, I made the decision the summer of 2017 that no matter what, I would take responsibility for myself - even if it had to be without the support of a partner - and that I would keep moving in a direction of healing for the sake of our kids and their mom. I do not want them to lose me as Barb's kids lost her. 50 is way too young to die. I want to see my children grow up, and to know and play with my grandkids, should that be in the plans for their lives...

2017 was tough. I was often sad and bitter that I didn't have a supportive partner in it all. Nick would say the right things, but bring home pizza, soda, cookies, donuts, ice cream, pancakes, pasta, and meats for him and the kids. He said that he wanted to "eat healthy," but he had no clue what "eating healthy" meant, and couldn't wrap his head (or desire) around eating plants. It was so foreign to him and everything he grew up with. I would have to suck it up and keep silent (watching my loved ones slowly poison themselves), finding my own things to eat, or I'd have to be the "bad guy" and try to get everyone to nourish their bodies with what I knew they needed. I would try banning certain things from the house (if you eat it at work, just don't bring it home)... and then be heartbroken all over again to find boxes, containers, and bottles from junk food in the trash or in Nick's car.

I shed quite a few tears, and I prayed massive amounts.

In Feb 2018 God shifted something inside me. I know it was divine intervention because while nothing changed in the way Nick was living (or eating) or the poor influence this was having on our kids, my HEART toward him and these things was altered overnight. The bitterness and anger and sadness and frustration and loneliness and hopelessness was all lifted away.

"It is WELL with my soul." "I know the plans I have for you ... plans for GOOD and not destruction..." Promises were repeatedly spoken to me. I could not see the plan, or how it would work out, but I knew I would be held, and loved, and healed. So would my children. So would Nick.

Most of 2018 Nick was away for very long days and weeks with the Navy. We saw little of each other due to military life, and the day after my birthday in October came another dreaded long-term separation. He would be gone until the end of December, home for 10 days, and then back to sea Jan-March 2019. He was expected to be back and forth to sea, and then overseas for most of 2019, all the way to March 2020. I was fearful of this, not because I hadn't been through deployments and underways before, but because this time something didn't feel right to me. I was overwhelmed with this intense, pressing feeling that Nick was not meant to be at sea, and across the globe for the next year-and-a-half. During this time, as I was having all these feelings, and Nick was gone, he started bleeding... and it didn't stop.

I knew something was wrong right away when I saw photos (that Nick took) and he told me more of what had been going on while he was away. However, the Navy kept writing it off as something minor. He was too valuable in his position with the submarine fleet to let go for testing -- and even when he was checked for this or that while at sea, it was dismissed and not taken as seriously as it would be if he had been a less vital part of the command. At one point he was even told, "If you were anyone else, you'd be off this boat..." but he was too important to "clean up" one of the worst-functioning submarines in the U.S. Navy, and get its crew ready for deployment.

Despite not being able to get messages through (so many problems with transmission, and not being able to speak as freely as you otherwise can when someone isn't reading all your email between the boat and home, with "trigger words" like 'blood' and 'cancer' not allowed), I kept pushing him to say things - to speak up and get the testing he NEEDED. They kept putting it off. Finally, after intensive tears and praying over it all, Nick was off the boat the next day, and in for testing.

We would find out on the very eve of Barb's passing 15 years earlier, that Nick had Stage 3 colon cancer. This came with a 60% chance of making it 5 years. We were shown images of the 90% blockage, and Nick was placed into emergency surgery that was expected to last 2-3 hours. It ended up taking 7.5 hours in the OR that day. His entire sigmoid colon was removed, in addition to surrounding tissues, supportive ligaments, blood vessels, and lymph nodes.

I asked every. single. doctor. involved in Nick's case about potential risk factors for this (not so much because I didn't know myself, but because I wanted to see what they would tell me). Surprisingly, they would all say, "heavy meat consumption" and "the standard American diet..." ALL that is, except the lead oncologist, whose job it was to push chemo as the only option and tell us there was nothing Nick did that caused this, and nothing that he could do to heal. "If you don't start chemo within 3 weeks, you are crazy, and your likelihood of survival goes down significantly." We were given every standard line in the chemo book.

Trust me - if you're thinking it yourself right now, we have already heard it. Save your breath and know that we've gotten the spiel already.

But here's the thing:

Everyone we've known personally, or have read their stories of, who has had colon cancer and opted for standard chemo treatments either died, or got much worse. Everyone we've known personally, or have read their stories of, who has had colon cancer and opted for radical anticancer life and eating change is alive and well and thriving. And research - if you look deeper than the surface drug reports and big pharma and oncology brochures - supports healing through life-change too.

Nick made his decision (at least for the first 90 days), and thanks in BIG part to friends who stepped in when we were at our weakest, to make sure we would be off to a good start and have what we needed to get going, we were able to fully dive in to anticancer eating and detoxing the moment we walked out of that initial diagnosis.

You've seen our posts (and if not, you can ask ;) ). We have made efforts to get every known anticancer substance into Nick's body in massive amounts (with the exception of THC containing CBD oil due to his active duty position and the Navy testing that comes with that --- which, for the record, I think should have exceptions in medical cases where THC containing CBD oil will aid in healing). We are overdosing in anticancer nutrition, and praying circles around these matters (see "The Circle Maker" https://amzn.to/2I8Jzxn and "The Healing Code" https://amzn.to/2YZuQvG).

We've eliminated everything from toxic bug spray to sunscreens to cleaning products. I've tossed all the alcohol and perfumes and anything that could be carcinogenic. We've ditched processed foods, animal products (with the exception of occasional eggs), simple sugars, etc. We have Air Doctors cleaning the air on both floors of our home, and a Berkey filtering all the water we drink.

Overnight, Nick went from being a junk-food loving carnivore to being a plants-eating herbivore. He now makes his own cashew milks, grows broccoli sprouts, juices 40+ ounces of carrot/beet/celery/turmeric juice daily, takes (almost) every supplement I put in front of him, jumps on the rebounder and plays outside with the boys to get his lymphatic system moving. I still need to get him doing daily DDP yoga, and consuming more garlic, onions, lemons, aloe, and greens... But as of the night that I cried, telling him that he HAS to be the one to decide for himself if he really wants to LIVE or not (and that I do want him to, and the kids need their dad), he has chosen to make massive, radical, dramatic changes for healing.

Side Bonuses: At 2 weeks post life-change Nick was able to stop all medications for blood pressure and cholesterol that he had been on for the past 5 years. It was on this day of celebration in March that we took this photo (above). He also noticed after several more weeks that the back pain he has experienced for years is gone! Nick has continued to gain health and energy, and says that he feels better than he has in his entire life. Let me say that again: post-Stage-3-cancer-diagnosis he feels better than he has in his entire life! Because he is finally fueling his body with what it needs to THRIVE. He is eating to live, and using real food (plants) as medicine.

At 10 weeks -- two weeks earlier than follow up testing is supposed to be done, which I admittedly grumbled about -- Nick was brought in for scans and bloodwork. I suspect, given what oncology told us, that they thought Nick's cancer would be spreading and they wanted to 'catch it' and get chemo started.





Instead, the scans last week are 100% clear. There is NOT ONE SIGN OF CANCER in his body.

The bloodwork that came back this week is the same: NOT ONE SIGN OF CANCER CELLS in his body.





These results stumped oncology so significantly that they called last night to tell us this is "unheard of" and that they would like Nick to return to the hospital to repeat the tests "just in case they are wrong..." "This has never happened before" we were told. "It is impossible for someone with Stage 3 colon cancer in the lymph nodes to be 100% clear with CEA levels this low 10 weeks later without chemo..." Nick asked what the likelihood of the tests being inaccurate is. "Not likely." He asked if it would make a difference If he just waits to have the tests repeated in Aug (at the next 3 month mark) instead of now. "No, it wouldn't make a difference." So he is declining the repeat, and we will celebrate this miraculous, fast healing and move forward!

God is good. Prayer is powerful. Our bodies are designed to heal. And plants from the earth that we are meant to consume MATTER and make a real difference.

*******

Update: At the encouragement of friends, because we’ve faced a significant reduction in pay ($853 less/monthly) during this next 24 month treatment period, during which Nick cannot complete full duties of his position, and while Tricare will not cover any cancer treatment options beyond routine scans and bloodwork (about $930 more in expenses we need to cover monthly), we have created an Amazon list for some of the healing needs Nick has: https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/B7Y1VC90MRIJ?ref_=wl_share

If you wish to help us make ends meet during this time, friends helped to set up a GFM here: GoFundMe.com/f/healing-hubby

♥ Sincere thank you for your kindness, love, and support. 

#AntiCancer #EatToLive #Healing #Nutrition #FoodMatters #ColonCancer #Stage3 #HealingHubby

10 Year Old with Autism Composes "I AM" - Wowing Teachers and Parents


As part of a multi-grade understudy, Benjamin Giroux was given a school assignment to compose a ballad. His specific project was to write the lyrics to a title of "I Am." The initial two words in each sentence were given, and it was up to Benjamin to write the rest. What resulted is a finished product that he poured his heart into.

Benjamin is a 10-year-old child from Plattsburgh, New York, who has been diagnosed with Asperger syndrome. He does not express much emotion with others, but was excited for this assignment. At work on the project at home, Benjamin's family said he didn't look up from his paper until he was finished.

When he showed his poem to his parents and his teacher, each adult was overwhelmed with emotion. 

Benjamin had always felt different because of autism, and at times said it made him stand out from the other children. Through his completed poem, the real, raw, reflection of living as himself comes through in a bold and beautiful way.

I Am

I am odd, I am new
I wonder if you are too
I hear voices in the air
I see you don’t, and that’s not fair
I want to not feel blue
I am odd, I am new
I pretend that you are too
I feel like a boy in outer space
I touch the stars and feel out of place
I worry what others might think
I cry when people laugh, it makes me shrink
I am odd, I am new
I understand now that so are you
I say I, “feel like a castaway”
I dream of a day that that’s okay
I try to fit in
I hope that someday I do
I am odd, I am new.

-Benjamin Giroux






Cry It Out: What is the 'It'?

What is the 'it' in cry-it-out?

When we give babies no choice but to 'cry it out' we need to ask ourselves, what is the 'it'?

The 'it' is safety.
The 'it' is connection.
The 'it' is us - their parents.
They are crying for us.

-Tracy Gillett 

Sleep training: a review of research: http://www.DrMomma.org/2009/12/sleep-training-review-of-research.html 

Healthy baby sleep resources: http://www.DrMomma.org/2009/06/truth-about-co-sleeping-how-stats.html

Making More Milk: Breastfeeding, Supply and the Feedback Inhibitor of Lactation

By Danelle Day, PhD © 2013


A common concern among new nursing mothers is milk supply. And while it is the case that very rarely does a mother carry a baby to term without also producing the milk this baby needs to thrive post-birth, the worry, "Am I making enough for my baby...?" is ubiquitous.

To maintain a full supply of human milk (and not much is needed in the early weeks or months of babyhood) a mother must drain her breasts often to create a demand. As simple and non-complex as it sounds, that is the very basic, fundamental rule of milk production: increased demand = increased supply.

This basic component of milk production in mammals is termed the Feedback Inhibitor of Lactation (FIL). In Breastfeeding Management for the Clinician: Using the Evidence, Marsha Walker explains, "FIL is an active whey protein that inhibits milk secretion as alveoli become distended and milk is not removed. Its concentration increases with longer periods of milk accumulation, down regulating milk production in a chemical feedback loop."

Unfortunately, when we decrease the demand from the body for milk production by supplementing or putting baby on a time clock (not as much milk is needed to feed baby when s/he is being filled with something else, or when longer intervals pass between feeds) then supply follows the drop in demand and decreases as well. A supplementing mom, or a mother who has been told she should only feed her baby every x number of hours, quickly finds that her milk supply dwindles, and she becomes frustrated and/or sad that breastfeeding "just isn't working out" for her and her baby.

Because of the FIL principle, when products are marketed specifically to mothers who are already breastfeeding their babies, or those who plan to nurse and wish to succeed in doing so, it is an irresponsible and hurtful move to push such items on women already concerned about their babies' wellbeing and their milk supply. Instead, we would empower the next generation of nursing (and pumping) moms, and see more happy, healthy, well-fed babies by understanding and appreciating the FIL process, and encouraging mothers to always listen to their little ones and feed on cue. And in cases where we wish to increase or build milk supply, we must make moves to nurse (and/or pump with a hospital grade pump) completely to empty, at frequent intervals.

When women elect to birth and breastfeed their babies, the female body is a powerfully wonderful, working organism - one which overcomes all kinds of roadblocks along the way. Yet we must provide our bodies with the feedback they need to fulfill what they were designed to do; and in the case of breastfeeding and milk supply, it is all about demand.


Reference:

1) Walker M: Influence of the maternal anatomy and physiology on lactation. In Breastfeeding Management for the Clinician: Using the Evidence. Sudbury, Massachusetts: Jones and Bartlett Publishers; 2006:51-82.


Related Reading:

Breastfeeding Made Simple (book)

The Baby Bond (book with excellent research on breastfeeding, among other topics)

Your Baby's Signs of Hunger (article)

Lactation Cookies: Increasing Milk Supply (article)

Nursing Mother, Working Mother (book)

Balancing Breastfeeding (article)

Making More Milk (book)

The Politics of Breastfeeding: When Breasts are Bad for Business (book)

Formula For Disaster (film)

Using Formula Like 'Similac for Supplementation' Decreases Milk Supply (article)

Breastfeeding Advocacy and Formula Feeding Guilt (article)

Helpful Breastfeeding Books

Breastfeeding Resource Page

~~~~

Home Learning Resources and Things to Do During Coronavirus School Closing


Businesses are offering free subscriptions, and learning opportunities abound during this time of school closings during the coronavirus social distancing and quarantines. Below are some of the opportunities that have been shared with Peaceful Parenting. We will add more as they come in. Contact us any time at PeacefulParentingOrg(at)gmail.com

• Free Educational Resources during school closing: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1NUKLZN7hGSu1Hzm70kfzBKs-lsSELaEMggS60Bi2O2I/htmlview?usp=embed_facebook&sle=true&pru=AAABcPe22BE%2AnPzlwaKU76E7xyX22h-7OA&fbclid=IwAR2ojtxrWhsWoPLgwLcPDHBh4YtCrAH_ecBhvXixTZGpgQULWgRxLBOvNzw

• Ideas to do at home with kids during social distancing: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1o6kEgCKLn3cyIm2hehhhSTIk7yRTd0C3zx49JS4wwCI/mobilebasic?fbclid=IwAR0BIKgzRwQXMgO-2TLbg0i6f8ZmM6A6Uo3iX7-wN9GUQ7IYVE9jRLiym_4

• Free, easy science for remote learning of all ages: https://mysteryscience.com/school-closure-planning?fbclid=IwAR2ET7f-60T_9ZLPMXz5LyNEDEd8uiFv3B52_mU81AHFWUABAqWqGDJQloU

• Using Purple Mash when School is Closed: https://2simple.com/blog/using-purple-mash-when-school-closed/

Best Gifts for Single Mothers


Single mums are the unsung superheroes. They do a round-the-clock job of single-handedly nurturing homes, raising kids, managing finances and everything else in their personal and professional lives. Thinking of picking out an appropriate gift for someone that awesome? You need to look beyond the mundane here. That said, here are great gift ideas for these wonder women.

Offer responsible child-care -
Irrespective of her current stage of life, a single mother would always consider stress-free childcare as a sensible gift. Let her enjoy a guilt-free break and recharge by offering to babysit a night or more.

Encourage a bit of pampering -
Take her out for a spa day or some quality time with friends, away from her daily schedule. Or just arrange for a lone-time breather. You can also merge this with your offer of free babysitting for a deeper impact.

Present her strength through books and media -
There are various books, shows, songs and other media available to make a single mum’s struggles more bearable. Pick out one for the single mother in your life and let her know of your solidarity. You can also get her a journal to purge memories and vent out without fears of judgement.

Help out with household chores -
Grocery shopping, planning and preparing meals, laundry, housecleaning – a single mother spends her energy on so many fronts daily! Gift her subscription vouchers for groceries, meal preparation services etc. Else, go for outsourcing her household chores like yard-work, housecleaning, laundry services etc., if you’re sure that she’d welcome your contribution.

Adore her with floral sentiments -
No matter the occasion, you can never go wrong with flowers. A nicely put-together gift hamper combining flowers, wine, chocolates and card can fill any single mum’s heart with appreciation and joy. For the professional touch of experts in the industry, check out the exquisite hampers at Pearsons Gifting.

Help her with finances -
Managing finances can be tricky for many single mothers. Help her plan it better with sound financial roadmaps if you’re capable or seek out professional counsel with her. You can also introduce her to work-from-home job opportunities, if she’s looking for a better balance through her professional life or an additional side-income.

Send Practical Gifts -
Thinking of sending tangible and useful gifts while you’re away? Choose practical gifts like – a fitness tracker gift cards for her favourite online or retail store or restaurants subscription vouchers for craft supplies ticket to her favourite artists’ shows

Make it personal -
Make her something special – a portrait, a poster or home décor item with a meaningful thought, pair of socks or even a DIY closet organiser. Or, help her kids create or shop for a gift with a video message for her, teach them a household chore etc.

Gift companionship -
This is perhaps the best gift ever – your time. Be with her to listen, to hug and hold, to cherish or create memories, to show her the silver linings in life.

Whichever you choose, remember it’s the thought that counts more. Don’t sweat over it, be genuine, and you’ll manage to successfully convey your heartfelt sentiments.

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