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October 26, 2021

[EP.301] Lean Back: 6 Empowering Ways To Take Charge of Your health

In this episode of The Parenting Cipher, Genie takes you on a reflective journey of her health issues and how to improve your own health advocate. While discussing the disparities and bias in health care that adds to the fact African Americans are 50 percent more likely to die of a stroke, cancer, and COVID as compared to their white adult counterparts. A healthy body is a healthy mind. So, it is important that you take care of both aspects equally and not neglect one for the other. Tune in for Genie’s six tips to taking charge of your health.

Genie Dawkins

Host of The Parenting Cipher, Genie Dawkins is a single mother of four and has over 25 years of being a parent advocate of special needs children. In addition to obtaining her Certification in Integrative Health Coaching, Lateefa holds an M.S. in Non-Profit Management and a B.S. in Social Sciences. Genie is the best-selling author of two books “Not My Child: Navigating Your Child’s Learning Difficulties with IEP’s and Education Resources” and a recent release “The Joyful Family Planner”. As an educational advocacy specialist, her mission is to help parents achieve a balanced life and overcome inevitable challenges both at school and home in a way that empowers parents and children.

Insights From This Episode

  • Advocate for yourself: One of the most powerful things we can do is advocate for ourselves - whether it's during an illness, a difficult time at work, or a confrontation with someone we know.

  • Develop a holistic health plan: It's important to create and stick to a health plan that addresses both physical and emotional needs.

  • Journal: Keeping a journal is one way to keep track of your thoughts and feelings, while also giving you an emotional outlet.

  • Establish a support system: When we feel like we're struggling or need help, it can be helpful to establish (or join!) an online or in-person support system. This way you don't have all the pressure on yourself!

Links and Resources

Register for a free session with me to design a health plan that works. Or purchase the Mental Health Tracker to take empower your health journey. To gain more support on taking charge of your health listen to “ Buy Back The Block: How to Create a Self-Care Regimen The Works and “ Stressed Out : The Secret Of How Sleep Helps You To Be A Better Parent” when my guest and I talk about self-care and the importance of sleep.


Genie 00:07

Welcome to The Parenting Cipher, where each episode will give you the tools and resources to help your child thrive in school and in life. Please rate and review this podcast. I'd love to hear your feedback also hit that subscribe so you don't miss any upcoming episode.

Genie 00:34

Welcome back to the Parenting Cipher and most importantly, welcome back to season three. The theme of this season is leaning in. Why is it leaning in? Because at this point in time, guys, we're back in school. And let's just say 2020, we had to lean in a whole lot, and now our kids are back in school. Hopefully everyone who's listening, your kids are back in school in person, and we have a tendency of people to kind of like, we want to get back in our grind, into our regular lives and we lean out, right? We got to lean back. But I wanted to talk about this season is all the different ways that we can take what we learned and lean in, I am not asking for some extra work, but just take what you know and lean in a little bit. So with that being said, why I'm so excited to be back this season is because at the end of season two, guys, sis was sick. I was sick, and I didn't know if I was even going to make it to a season three.

Genie 01:40

The reason being is I was sick. No, it's not COVID. I was diagnosed with Lyme disease back in 2017, and they put me on these hard antibiotics and antibiotics, it doesn't just kill the bacteria that's causing you to be sick. It kills, like all the healthy bacteria, the bad bacteria and it usually takes, like, a year to come back from that. So with that being said, I was diagnosed with Lyme, but it's the reoccurring time, so the same with Lyme disease is that you can have it, it could be active. You could take an antibiotic, or sometimes you may not even know that you have it, and then it will kick back in. It kicks back in when your body is under stress. If your body is not optimal, like, you don't have enough vitamin D, vitamin C, your immune system is low. It can kick in. And like I said, I was diagnosed in 2017. It's something that I knew, and I'm the type of person whenever a doctor says I have a thing, whatever it may be, I do research, so I researched it.

Genie 02:48

I found out that Lyme is considered an autoimmune disease, which means that the virus itself can cause your body to basically, your immune system goes up, and it's not just attacking the virus. It's attacking other parts of your body inside. So one of the key things about autoimmune diseases is that it causes mass inflammation of the cells. So when I did my research, I found out that it was an autoimmune disease I read books talking about, oh, well, you should kind of, like, delete some things out of your daily life because it may cause inflammation and yeah, for real, though, some of the things they wanted me to get rid of, like, I wasn't ready.

Genie 03:31

So I was like, yeah, but I will do what I can. So what happens is I will have, like, onsets of Lyme, which is the main thing for me was fatigue. I would get really tired. But this time in 2020, towards the end of the year, it wasn't just a tired. I wasn't just tired. Consciously, I started to short up energy. So whenever I had a guest on the show, I would like, sleep for long periods of time before I would get on the show to make sure I had enough energy.

Genie 04:02

I'm a type of person as I'm entrepreneur. So I'm in a lot of groups. I started to kind of pull out some of the groups. I wasn't just tired or exhausted. I also had gained like 20 lbs. It was like it didn't even make sense. I was like, well, I gave me 20 lbs. My Eczema had flared up, and I was just like, this has to be more than lyme and I could have lived back to my regular doctor. When I say regular doctor, I'm just talking about your internal physician. But I was like, they will just give me some antibiotics. And instead, what I'm going to do is I'm going to go to a naturopathic doctor, and that's the doctor that sometimes they have a traditional medical degree, but they also have a degree in natural medicine. So I went to a natural holistic doctor and one of the things that I love about them is that you have to go to a regular doctor, your regular internist, and you're like, "Oh, I'm not feeling well and I'm really tired."

Genie 05:00

And they'll say, "Well, how many hours of sleep do you get?" And if you say anything less than six to eight, they're like, "Oh, well, probably you're just tired because you're not getting enough sleep." It's always sometimes like this assumption that they already know what's wrong with you. Now, what I did like about my experience with the natural holistic doctor was that she says, "Well, I treat people with Lyme, but sometimes they have other cofactors on the fact that you have a bunch of inflammation that you gain this weight must be concerned that you may have allergies." So we did the lab work and came back and I have Lyme, of course, I have a virus called Epstein Barr and one called Michael Plasma. And she's like, out of the three microplastics, that is the most important one and let's tackle that one first. But also, let's deal with these allergies like, let's do allergy serums. So look, here's the thing with the allergies. I know I'm allergic to wheat. I forgot, though. I'm allergic to wheat, beef, bananas. That's my top one. But I'm allergic to a lot of things, guys, it's ridiculous. And she's like, well, if you take these allergy serums, it will make it better. I'm like, "Okay, you know, it's not a shot. I'll give it a shot." Right? So I started protocols, and it's like, I'm getting better but my eyes are itching crazy. I'm having eye issues. I have to go to an optometrist, and I'm starting to rethink like, oh, dude, is this a good look? This allergies serum and stuff, and I'm like, okay, maybe I need to rethink this, not saying I want to stop everything, but just kind of rethink it.

Genie 06:46

And while I'm going through the protocols and getting diagnosed, one of the main reasons why I knew something was wrong with me was I couldn't think. I could not think. I could not reach the vocabulary words. I couldn't get my thoughts together. And for me, that's like, a big deal not to be able to verbally express myself or to sit there and write something. My concentration was shot, and I'm not going to say I was scared, but I was concerned. It's not who I am. So anything that she was willing to help me with, I was fine with.

Genie 07:19

But as I started to come back online, I did something I usually don't do. This is fine. And what that means is things are going on in my life. I could be sick, and people will say, how are you doing? And I'll be like, You're not fine. And this time I wasn't fine. I wasn't owning being sick because that's one of the reasons why I will always be fine is just to not sit in the negative, and manifest something positively. But I realize in doing that I'm not acknowledging that I need to heal. We all have moments of time that we need to heal, and we're not helping ourselves by putting S on our chest. Like, we're invincible, especially when you're a parent of special needs children, they need us. When COVID hit, I kept saying, I can't get sick because I'm the captain of the ship, and I got sick. Luckily for me, my boys, like how sick I was like, I would sleep for hours because I would take allergy serums between that and being fatigued, I would literally be sleeping all weekend, just getting up periodically to make sure my kids are eating.

Genie 08:29

And I made changes. Unconsciously, I let my body lead me, and I made some changes like I was short of energy. I stepped back from a lot of positions, a lot of groups, and I started to journal about like if I ate certain things, how does it affect my body? I actually started to talk to people about being sick, not like this mysterious thing, but I really talked to them. I was like, this is what I have. I never had actually come out to anybody. I was like, I have Lyme disease and I'm telling people like, well, this is my diagnosis. This is what I have. These are the things that I have to do and people are asking, like, "How can I help you?" Usually, I'll be like, no, I need no help. This time, I was like, okay, thank you and that's been helping me heal. I had a call with another holistic doctor, and I tell him what I have, and he's like, "Baby girl," because that's how he talk. He was like, "You're sick." He was like, you don't even know how sick you are. He was like, most people who have these three viruses in their body at one time, they're laid up somewhere. The fact that you're still moving around, like, you're so strong, like, you're so strong and I left that call, and I did not feel good. Back in the day, I would have felt like, oh, I got this S on my chest. I'm the bomb but that's not how I felt. I felt like, in that moment, I didn't necessarily want to be strong. I wanted to be healed.

Genie 09:52

And what's the difference? The difference is, you can be strong. But you could be killing yourself, right? Not acknowledging that you need to heal and I realized in that moment that I needed to really lean back a little bit and by doing that, I'm here today, right? I'm here. I'm thinking, I'm popping. I might not be 100, but I'm here and the way that I did that was, I have steps that I had to take to do that. So I wanted to take the time on this show to talk about how you can be an advocate for your own health.

Genie 10:28

When it comes to our kids, we are 100. We're 100 plus everything but when it comes to ourselves because we are the captain of the ship, we're kind of like, I can't go down like, if I go down, oh something's wrong, but you can't pull from an empty cup, right? It's something that we have to acknowledge. So with that being said, of course, you know what that steps. First thing you need to do. Do your own research. If you go to a doctor and they tell you, you have whatever the diagnosis is, do your own research. Do traditional. Also, do holistic. What I learned is a lot of things that we eat aggravates, certain diagnosis, certain viruses that are in our bodies. I've learned so much about Epstein Barr. I'm like, Whoa. So literally, sounds like the majority of us are walking around with it but we don't know, and because we live in a society that treats disease, so that means it has to be at the far end to be considered serious. But in my research, I learned more about it as well as what things I can take to help boost my immune system and actually fight it. Do your own research and trust, there's going to be some research, you're going to be like, "What?" No, I'm not ready for it. If you're not ready for it, that's okay. But just empower yourself with knowledge, so that when you are talking to your doctor or you decide to look for another holistic doctor or a specialist, you actually have a base to hold a conversation, right? Because it's important as an advocate for yourself that you know what's going on and you're not depending on someone else to tell you what's going on.

Genie 12:10

It's your body. You can have a plethora of diseases, but they look different in everybody's body, right? So next thing, check your own labs, peeps. Check your own labs. And why am I telling you this? Because sometimes, your doctor's level of acceptance of what's good may not be good for you. I went to the doctor at one time, and somehow I decided I wanted to get my labs. I just wanted my labs. So I signed up on Lapcorp, so whenever the labs are finished, I automatically get the report and it's really funny how it works, because my doctor talks to me maybe almost a week after I'm actually looking at the lab and I looked at my labs and literally my A1C, which is what you test for to see if you're pre-diabetic, if you're diabetic or if you're diabetic at all and my number is like, 5.6. You're pre-diabetic at 5.8, and I get to my doctor’s, and I'm talking to her. She's like, oh, you're doing so well. I would just really like, if you lost some weight, try to do 30 minutes exercise and that's it.

Genie 13:13

But for me, because I read my lab, I was like, no, I'm too close to diabetic numbers. This ain't good for me and I came up with my own plan. I'm not saying that she doesn't see what's happening, right? But sometimes, especially as a person of color, they have a bias. They have a body of information that indicates, well, if you're black like us, getting diabetes is a given. It's just a given so they're just working to help us stay pre-diabetic at most. But for them, it's a given and that's just the way we're going. And so it may not be as serious to them, right? I'm not going to get into my whole rhetoric about the drug community, okay. And what I feel about that at this point. I'm just saying that what's important to you may not be as important to your doctor so check your labs. Keep a journal list to your body. That's something that I started towards the middle of my journey. When you go to doctors and they say, how much sleep are you getting?

Genie 14:12

Are you having body aches? For women, are your periods regular? All those questions. Keep a journal, keep a journal so you can truly know what's going on with yourself. I have allergies, as I've said, it's a lot of allergies guys. It's like, so crazy but does that mean I stopped eating those things now. But what I do now is I'll eat it and then I'll see what happens. So, I can eat some wheat, yes, I know. I'm not supposed to have it. I can eat some wheat, and immediately I will break out like, I'll have bumps that I'll be scratching all on my back and my arms immediately.

Genie 14:50

So I know this is going to be the reaction, as well as that's, like, one of the actions. The other reaction is like after maybe like 24 hours, my stomach starts to hurt, but I started to write those things down just so I know how to live my life, how to control myself, also keep a journal about how you're sleeping. If you're fatigued if you having brain fog, like all those little things that in our busy lives, we don't necessarily pay attention to. Tell your family, gain support. With that being said, here's the thing. You're being strong and you're supporting everybody else but you deserve support as well. So in telling people, that's how you garnish support, as well as it takes the weight off of you and when people are willing to help you, take it. One of my biggest takeaways on this particular event in my life is my ex-husband has been trying to support me and the kids the best way he can and I'm on my superwoman stuff, and I wasn't really letting him support me.

Genie 15:49

And my mom left. My mom was my support system, and it was a real eye-opening experience to realize, like, he's been trying to support us and I haven't been letting him because I had S on my chest. My mom, I was like, I got to S on my chest, I'm going to do all these things so now I let him support, but not only him, I let other people support. I let my friend support me, check up on me and say, "Hey, how are you doing?" Give me suggestions. I'm actually seeing me, and it helped me in this process. Another thing I've learned, manage your stress. Manage your stress and I know we've heard that a lot, but what I've learned throughout this journey and really delving into the holistic world is this. Stress actually the trigger for so many different viruses that are existing in your body and I was like, Well, get the hell out of here with this. Who knew? I didn't know. We all know stresses. Stress leads to high blood pressure.

Genie 16:52

Stress is a killer, all the regular things, but I didn't know it did that. So try to figure out how to manage your stress. Is it meditation? Is it mindfulness? Is it taking a break? Having a lot of time that you are actually chilling. For some of us who are drinking, is it getting a drink? For some of us who are to CBD, is that it? If you are to THC, hey, good for you too. But the point is, try to figure out how you want to manage your stress. Working out is a way to manage your stress and do your best to interweave it into your life where it's something that you can do daily. I mean, we are all creatures of habit. We can put something in place in our lives to help us because, like, oh, I need to manage my stress, but then something can happen, and then you stop doing it and you can't remember why you started. Everything's always with purpose. We start something because something's awful. We want more. We want better.

Genie 17:47

And then life is happening. We fall off track, and then we don't go back to it but most definitely, manage your stress. We have to figure out some way to do that and my last one is give your body and mind some love. And when I say that, oh, my goodness. One of the things I started to do was tell my body thank you. Thank you so much for putting up with me. When I'm putting things in you, that's not necessarily for you. It doesn't heal. You take away from you but I am still functioning. Thank you very much, legs that back in the day, I would be like, you too chubby or fat. I'm like, thank you, legs for holding my body upright. You see what I'm saying? Show your body some love, even if imperfection is perfect because your body is a biocomputer, its always trying to go back to default, the way that it came into existence when it came into the world. With that being said, constantly trying to get rid of the toxins that we're putting in our bodies through the air, through food, what we're drinking. It’s always trying to do that for us. And we just keep on living our lives, doing what we're doing, not being necessarily mindful of it, but even more so than that, some of us have body issues so we're like, "Oh, I'm so fat." Dude and girls/women, you are not fat. You show your body some love. Thank you so much arms for still functioning. Thank you legs for still functioning. Thank you mind for still functioning. Thank you for trying to heal me even though I'm on the struggle bus.

Genie 19:18

Show your body some love. Show your mind some love. Love yourself. Your body is doing the best it can for you, even when we're not even aware of it so take some time. Like, thank you, body. I'm in my 40s and me and my friend’s joke and we're like, yeah, you know, in your 30s, your body is like, oh, wait, hold up. Yeah, I'm tired. I'm in a large dress, and I'm tired and that's when everybody talks about the pres, pre-diabetes, and pre that. It's like, you either in the zone where you have something fall out or still coming and then next you know, you're in the 50s to by is like, Yo, I'm done. I'm good. I'm tired. I've been rolling with you for 40 something years but look at how many hours, right? How many days that they equate to that your body has been trying to keep you 100, right? So show your body some love and it's so ironic but because this is the Parenting Cipher, and I always talk about, like, the song that this episode is dedicated to, even though I say that this is the season of leaning in, the song that I love the most is Lean Back by the Terror Squad.

Genie 20:33

 Right? What I like the best about Lean Back is I just like when they be like, `we don't dance, we just pull up our pants and do the rock away. Lean back, lean back, lean back.' With that being said, sometimes for you to lean in, you got to lean back. So lean back into your health. All right, guys, till next time!

Genie 21:04

Did you know that there are developmental-behavioral pediatricians? And their main role is to evaluate kids who aren't developing learning or behaving the typical way. Kids may be referred to them through an early intervention program or their regular doctors.

Genie 21:21

Now, we all know sometimes our doctors think that they can do all the things, but they can't. If your child already has a diagnosis, consider taking into a developmental pediatrician and if you think that they may need one, same thing, take it to a developmental pediatrician. Now, here's the thing I love the most. They also have holistic developmental behavior pediatricians, and they use a combination of Western medicine and holistic ideologies to provide the child with the whole person health and as I was talking about my story, that's most definitely something that's needed so thank you for listening to the Did You Know segments and if you need support with navigating your child's education, medical and home life, get on a discovery call with me. It's free.

Genie 22:18

 Thank you so much for listening. If this content is delivering value to you, please subscribe and go to wherever you listen to your podcast and give us a five-star review. That helps us build this community and that's what we're all about. Building this community as big as we can to deliver as much value as we can. The Parenting Cipher Podcast is produced by the Podcast Laundry Production Company and the executive producer myself, Genie Dawkins. Until next time, remember to be patient with yourself and your child. Bye.

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