Unknown Author: Who Wrote this Book Review on: Archives of the Vagina: A Journey through Time?
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by Unknown Author
Here is the book review that got me to appreciate the huge impact that one book review has on a book.
“Archives of the Vagina, a journey through time by Margaret Aranda MD. Although Dr Margaret Aranda’s book is a serious book written about serious issues it is often funny, she “threw her panties out the window.” But why would any young lady want to do that? And sometimes it’s rather like a detective story with unusual facts, such as, “Some women have died using a tampon.” And there is good practical advice concerning putting in your first tampon and when best to do so that it goes in easier.
Dr Aranda brings up the subject of sex openly; and encourages women to do the same and to talk with their doctor or close friend about it. Body language can play a major role here; and the use of innuendo and imagination is found to be equally important as well. There are serious health warnings; that “sex before marriage or with a person you don’t know can be fatal.” Sex talk becomes more intimate, “if she has an orgasm she desires you. It is sexy to a woman that you care more about her than yourself… You care how she feels… Care enough to use a condom… Most women do not experience orgasm with a penis. It is mainly down to the male, he must make her comfortable. That she is not being abandoned. If she is relaxed, only then might she have an orgasm.”
Basically there are 3 holes to look out for in the vagina. There are diagrams to aid the reader and health research charts. And many good tips, for example, if women go to the toilet before having sex it may help to prevent Unitary Tract Infection (UTI). Every abbreviation is made clear. There are also healthy suggestions when making love. For instance, rectal sex is dangerous; women can get bacteria E coli. Keep your fingers away from her urethra (pee hole) located between the vagina and clitoris. Instead lubricate her with love… and how to find the G Spot. That there are two kinds of orgasm; in fact, a woman can have several orgasms following each other.
Other health conditions are also mentioned such as, Anorexia nervosa and bulimia. Dr Aranda gives detailed explanation of the difference between these two conditions. That both conditions can lead to death. Also included are, cancer, diabetes, and postnatal depression and many more, and offers practical advice concerning these conditions and how to avoid them where possible.
I particularly found the chapter THE MOTHER fascinating and some of it is very witty. At the end of most chapters there is a quote of wisdom, here is one of them; “No matter what you do, someone will not be happy, someone will not agree, someone will criticize you. Make sure that person is not you!”
Some historical characters are mentioned and their achievements and contributions to society, such as; William Thomas Stead who made great contributions against child abuse. And Jacqueline Cochrane (1938) who won the Bendix Air Race; at this time it was widely believed by men that menstruation would hinder women’s performances in whatever work they did. Therefore her achievements proved that women could perform and function equally as well while on their monthly cycle.
The Normal Changes of Ageing in Women this chapter I found enthused with medical terminology. There are also many radical ideas untypical of today’s society. One Spoon at a Time, “Being on a diet implies suffering, withholding quality of life and deprivation… Exercise is not a chore. It’s an accomplishment.” Basically makes you happy, and there is a reason given why this is. There is an excellent table chart to aid the reader, and GI value list. And book recommendations such as, Jen Zerling – Breaking the Chains of Obesity.
How many of us knew that, “Too much urine production can lead to dehydration.” Nonetheless, it’s good to drink plenty of fluids, helps “fight off infections”.
Most of us have learnt to trust other bodies and organisations to keep us healthy and strong whether TV adds, health professionals and so on. But Dr Aranda (P.184) says it’s a mistake. “You cannot count on the government or insurance company to keep you healthy. You can only count on yourself.” (P.186) “Immunonutrition is cutting – edge for you right now, and I want you to know. Morcellation of the uterus and Essure ® nickel coils are 2014 issues that need to simply end and not get passed on to the next generation.” Another chapter that ends with a quaint short quote, “I alone am responsible for the quality of my life.” – Susan Barbara Apollon
MENOPAUSE AND QOL (p. 187) begins with brief introduction to the French physiologist and neurologist Charles-Édouard Brown-Séquard who “used animal ovary extracts for treating menopausal women”. So what better way to begin than with simple definition of menopause?
1) The ovaries no longer function
2) The monthly menstrual periods have stopped
Also discussed at some length throughout is “hormone-replacement therapy” (HRT) “To alleviate symptoms, most especially hot flashes and vaginal dryness,” which “the FDA approves” (HRT) “because the QoL issues are so important.”
Other definitions are also given for the following;
1) Premature Menopause
3) Surgical Menopause
5) Male Menopause
And (p.194) “Menopause occurs when the ovaries cease to function and there has been no menstruation for one calendar year. Now she is postmenopausal.”
There is also a relatively simple “quality of life” (QoL) self-tests provided, well worth setting aside some quite time to take this self test.
PAIN ON INTERCOURSE
I especially like the quote at the end of this chapter; “You were never created to feel depressed, defeated, guilty, condemned, ashamed, or unworthy. You were created to be victorious. “- unknown
although this is aimed at women, it is useful for men to know as well so they may point women in right direction. As there are given a whole heap of reasons a woman may get pain with intercourse. Apart from the obvious that she and her partner may no longer love one another.
SURICAL MENOPAUSE AND TESTOSTERONE THERAPY
This chapter provides detailed explanation of the following; hysterectomy, and several ways it can be performed. And also types of hysterectomy there are. And short paragraph on how it has developed through the ages. (P. 238) provides some astounding statistics, for example, “In 1988, the American Medical Association analyzed 700,000 hysterectomies per year, finding that 50% were “unnecessary.” If the ovaries are normal yet removed during a hysterectomy, menopause will instantly occur after surgery. This is known as surgical menopause. And (p.240) there is a Table 1. Risk and Benefits of Several Hysterectomy Procedures and (p.242) there is discussion concerning the risks involved with having hysterectomy. And (p.243) explains why you need your ovaries and the importance of keeping them. This is further endorsed on (p.244) “If your ovaries are normal, their estrogen, progesterone and testosterone production may serve to protect you from heart disease, bad moods, insomnia, vaginal dryness, fatigue, losses in bone density, and hot flashes, to name a few.”
Concerned whether you should keep your ovaries or have them removed (p.245) Dr Arana says, “Keep your ovaries unless you are at increased risk of ovarian or breast cancer.” And she provides a number of reasons of “How do you know that you are at increased risk?”
There is also a further chapter (p.246) on THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF HYSTERECTOMIES with some very interesting statistics, such as, Table 1. A Hysterectomy is a Major Surgical Procedure. In a 2004 study by the Hysterectomy Education and Resource Services wherein a second opinion and counselling were sought before hysterectomy, 98% of the hysterectomies were determined to be unnecessary.” Included is an in-depth discussion on anesthesia. Women are advised before singing the Consent Form, to make sure they understand what they are agreeing to have done. Because “once your uterus and ovaries are gone, you can never get them back.” Dr Aranda, says, “I have spoken with many women who had no idea that their ovaries would be removed, and that they would suffer afterwards.”
OVARIAN CONSERVATION, ETHICS, AND INFORMED CONSENT (P.252) Dr Aranda makes a very bold statement that according with medical practice is precise, “Ovarian conservation” refers to the practice of keeping the ovaries at the time of surgical menopause, or hysterectomy, for a benign cause. Specifically, in this case, to “conserve” the ovaries, one does not take the ovaries out at the same time as a hysterectomy for a non cancerous uterus or ovary. Please bear in mind that removing the normal ovaries equates to castration of the female. While this may seem to be a severe word, it is nonetheless a word that would be equally applied if we were talking about surgically removing the testes out of a man.”
MEN, MENSTRATION, AND MENOPAUSE (P.260) Begins with very endearing paragraph. A romantic notion passed on from father to his young daughter about menstruation. When Dr Aranda, was a child she had asked her father in all innocence what “rape” meant. A word she had read in a book. His answer though silent was sufficient to let her know what it might mean. It’s rather a long quote so suffice to say one must read it in context to appreciate it as it was between father and daughter, a very bright young daughter that was quick to learn what he meant.
However, (see p.262) it wouldn’t be unusual if men notice this more than women, that while most men do not like talking about women’s periods at all as Dr Aranda points out, “Other men have observed that they can pick up on the pheromones their woman excrete when she is on her period, stimulating the man to have increased sexual desires or libido.” The rest of this paragraph is extremely interesting and the findings of which most fascinating. However, it’s a rather long paragraph to quote and again one would need to read it in its entirety to appreciate its meaning.
Nonetheless, over the page is a funny quote “For a man’s insight on menstruation blood,” in this particular instance a young man talking with his “teenage sister”, who had “explained” to him “that she had become a woman.” and though I will not include the entire paragraph as this review or critic is already rather long, he concludes his understanding by saying, “So, largely, I did what my older sister told me, because it was obvious that she was a werewolf.”
There is a list to follow concerning men and menstruation and their notions about it. Basically some men act in a positive and sensitive way about it that women appreciate while other men are a complete and utter “jerk”.
Naturally I’m having to skip a lot as this is a 501 page book, but the aim and hope of my writing this review is at least to present and gave some idea of what it contains and how it is written.
FROM THE INSIDE OUT (p.267) immediately I wondered what on earth does this mean, nevertheless, Margaret Aranda, MD begins this chapter by asking and answering this very question. She never writes to confuse her reader with pent up jargon or intellectualism, though this is an intellectual book, she makes things perfectly clear: she says, “What does that mean, “From the Inside out”? It means that the inner beauty of a woman is not commensurate with her nose, her lips, her breasts, or her waist line. Inner beauty only comes from within.”
DIVORCE (p.270) Dr Aranda, is speaking from personal experience. She arrives home to a quiet empty house, “too quiet” her husband is gone and he has taken many items with him but above all, he has taken their little boy as well. She is faced with the dilemma of what to do and who to turn to for emotional support and advice. Some of her friends and family criticize her harshly for pursuing medical career when she has a young boy to take care of, but the rest of her friends and family gave her encouragement to continue with medical school. She uses a drove of superfluous words to describe her situation and how she felt. But nothing was going to deter her. She was going to come out on top. 15 years pass-by when she makes up her mind to get married again. But everything would be different this time and she would have a romantic wedding. In due course another child comes along, this time a baby girl. But 7 more years pass and then to her horror she discovers her husband is not the family guy she thought she had married. And once again, she is faced with prospects of another divorce and what to do for the best.
The following chapter Immunonutrition and Fish Oil although is relatively short it is full of content. Traditionally we are taught “we are what we eat”, but Dr Aranda, takes it a step further by introducing a new concept; she explains how some foods can purify the body because certain foods we eat can “tear down the bad”. Food that can be digested before and after surgery are also discussed, “should you take fish oil before surgery?” I would say, “Yes, after you ask your doctor.” And a diagram of Plasma Membrane Structure can be found on (p.277) showing benefit of, “Omega 3 fatty acids”. Several types of fatty acids are mentioned in this chapter and list of benefits they have on one’s health.
Raising Women (p.282) is partly about child development. Dr Aranda says, Firstly we learned that we were different from boys. We were “missing” something, you know. It was funny for many of us to the point of giggles…Later, we learned that we get our periods and we have to wear a bra. And she includes many other things women do and desire all part of growing up. The material and the physical; from having babies, sharing with other mothers rearing children or not having babies, to postmenopausal years. This chapter also includes a discussion on Immunization, for girls and boys ages from about 9-26, that the Federal Advisory Committee and the American Cancer Society endorsed, for example; the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine preventing cervical cancer.
However she goes onto say, one of every 914 girls vaccinated by Merck during their own trials with Gardasil ® have died. Leaving a big question mark…She therefore advises, to do your own research before subjecting your daughter to something you don’t know about. That is the message from the mothers whose daughters have died. (See p.283) There is a list of interesting statistics on (p. 284) and rest of the chapter gives good sound advice, such as; why can’t we teach our daughters to get their annual Pap smears (which they will need, even if they get the vaccines that can cause death)? Our daughters need annual Pap smears. That is the answer. Period.
INVISIBLE ILLNESSES (p.288 – 296) is precisely what this chapter title suggests. That begins with a suitable definition, an “invisible disease” is not visually apparent. There are no glasses worn, no wheelchair, and no contraptions. The person looks “fine” to everyone and may act fine or be ok when lying down in bed, for example. But before Dr Aranda, goes on to talk about her own situation and experiences (as she suffers from an invisible illness called Dysautonomia), she mentions how it came about as a direct result of a serious motor vehicle accident. That she and her daughter was involved in 2006. Their Ford Expedition was hit by a lady driver that drove her BMW without due care and attention. The lady was probably coming from Chinese takeaway as she was reaching over to pick up Chinese food from the floor had stepped on the gas instead of the brakes; the speed upon impact was about 90mph that span Dr Aran’s vehicle around to face oncoming traffic. And of the many on-lookers, only one stepped into offer her assistance. Although Dr Aranda suffered no obvious physical injuries it was not long afterwards she experience many symptoms that she was unable to diagnose. Even the doctors she saw shortly afterwards looked blank faced in disbelief. She compares them with the drivers of the oncoming vehicles and onlookers that just walked on by. However, her own cardiologist, Dr. David Cannom, did believe in her, tested for imbalance, found abnormalities and admitted her directly to hospital.
One particular doctor while putting her through subsequent of tests had let her fall to the floor. He didn’t believe in her. He thought she was only pretending.
Dr Aranda tells her story because she knows it has happened to countless others that have had genuine severe health condition but are treated as though it is all in their head. Invisible Illnesses can nonetheless be deceiving not only to the doctor but also the patient suffering from a severe health condition; as the patient might feel perfectly fine one moment but the next in total agony. Therefore there is need for proper examination and diagnoses and only then can one receive correct treatment and hopefully be on the right road to recovery or at least learn the best way to cope with that condition whatever it may be.
THE COST OF ILLNESS FOR WOMEN provides good practical advice for both men and women. But mainly women; (p.298) for example, “women are advised to eat an anti-inflammatory diet, use HIIT, consume fish oil, and keep your ovaries if you need a hysterectomy and don’t get cancer. That case managers have limited impact on such things that we care about… Even if we are disabled we can exercise in bed or in a wheelchair. Remember also to write down any contact information.
Bear in mind, Doctors don’t prescribe preventative medicine that would ward of heart disease. Three preventable causes of death, obesity, alcohol and cigarettes. If you smoke then your heart disease will cause blockages faster. Heart disease is major cause of death – manage stress, and go to the doctor and take your medications.”
(p.302) Dr Aranda says; “spend your future health-care dollars on vacation and time with your family, instead of purchasing needles and meters for diabetes… The main killers of American women include; heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure… Smoking increases the risk of these cancers; breast, nasal, lip, mouth, throat, lung, esophagus, pancreas, cervix (hence the need for the annual Pap Smear), ovary, kidney, bladder, colon, rectum, stomach, and also increase risk of leukemia.”
Included are some astounding health facts; for example; “the death rate for Alzheimer’s disease is on the rise. That is yet another reason why women need to conserve their ovaries if hysterectomy is completed before menopause. Ovarian removal before menopause leads to an increase risk of osteoporosis, hip fracture, depression, dementia, Parkinson’s, cognitive impairment, anxiety, increased risk of coronary artery disease, lung cancer, and all except for ovarian cancer.” And most importantly, she says, “The preservation of cognitive function is most especially important to a woman’s quality of life and to living independently as we age.”
ACTIVITIES OF DAILY LIFE In this chapter Dr Aranda discusses various methods of assessments used by occupational therapists, nurses, doctors, and health professionals “to quantify whether a patient is able to live independently”. It is important to find out what a patient can or cannot do (to prevent causing the patient more harm than good) before deciding on what activities are possible. This is because, “The activities of daily living (ADLs) are necessary for human survival”…(p.309) “For patients having Dysautonomia, EDS, mastocytosis, POTS, or other diagnoses that render one to be bed ridden, there is a need to improve quality of life. For example, if the patient is unable to walk or incapable of doing laundry, it is reasonable that improved mobility and transportation via wheelchair can be implemented for the patient to provide herself with clean clothes”. This chapter is also important because if a person is not correctly assessed great harm can be done. Therefore this book is about many things concerning life of women in general and it includes men.
When I first read the title Archives of the Vagina, a journey through time, I was baffled as to what this could mean. Was it just a human biology text book, I surmised? Well it is a medical book after all, but it’s far more than just a medical book, it’s a book of life. That we can all relate to and understand, some of which we may already have known but most of it may never have known. It brings controversial issues to our attention, call it radical, urgently challenging, daring if you like but whatever we may like to call it, it is an important book for human kind. It’s also about being successful, when the odds are stacked high against us.”