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In this episode, you’ll learn…

  • How 3 little words can change your entire outlook on life — especially during uncertain times (3:41)
  • The insidious reason the media creates panic and fear (even if it isn’t true) (4:20)
  • Why everyone is wrong to worry about the virus (straight out of an OB/GYN’s mouth) (6:34)
  • How fear tricks your brain and causes symptoms to appear out of thin air (7:43)
  • The single biggest problem with quarantines that sabotages your immune system more than the virus (10:56)
  • The absolute worst health crisis we face in modern society that is completely avoidable (13:08)
  • A proven way to cut mortality rates in half from respiratory diseases (15:53)
  • The mysterious way to make life better (even if you have a deadly disease) (17:49)

If you have questions for Suzanne or want to follow what she’s doing, like her Facebook page at Ob-Gyn Associates of Lancaster and send her a message.

If you have zero energy to focus on yourself and need extra support and accountability from women who know what it’s like to juggle a crazy busy life, then go to https://befitandfierce.com and become unstoppable with us.

Or, if you want to join a sisterhood dedicated to growing our faith, join our Just Breathe Facebook Group.

Read Full Transcript

Hi there. I'm Jill Allen and this is find your fierce, the show designed for women to discover your fierce, unlock and unstoppable mindset. Build unbreakable courage and completely transform how you show up every single day. Each week I will bring ideas, methods and strategies that will inspire you to step into your greatness and live life on purpose. Let's be fit, fierce and unstoppable.

(00:33): Hey, there. Welcome to episode 29 of find your fierce. So glad that you're with us again today. Continuing are mini series, tough topics, tough questions, real talk, and how we can show up in the world to make a difference, no matter what is going on all around us. I know we've been talking about the past few weeks on the fact that there's so much going on in the world with pandemics, the division, the fear, the chaos, and that is why we are talking about these things in a positive light on how we can do our part, how we can show up without falling victim or getting caught up in this chaotic trap. And one of the insight and wisdom of my friends and experts in their field. So today we are going to continue the series with one amazing woman. Dear friend of mine, we met like 10 years ago at a cookout.

(01:14): Hit it off, just so happy that dr. Suzanne Barnhart, OB GYN leader in women's health and our community is here with us today. How are you friend? Good, Jill, how are you? Good. Thanks so much for being here. I, I, I love that we're going to be able to get the insight and wisdom from you that you can share and your perspective on how we can do our part. Tell us a little bit about yourself first though. What's a day in the life of a doctor. Oh, my day is never the same. Each day is very different. I'm a wife, I'm a mother, but more importantly, I'm an OBGYN here in this town. And so it comes with lots of roles and responsibilities and a crazy schedule sometimes. And it's really important that I make sure that I take time for myself and my family too.

(01:57): Otherwise it would be exceptionally overwhelming, but we run an office here in town with doc, from indexer and Tino. And we are the longest or the oldest, I should say, OB GYN practice in this community in Fairfield County. So we have a great responsibility to care for the people of this town, as well as surrounding counties. I have people that drive two hours to see me sometimes all the way down from Marietta, all the way up to Pataskala over to Washington courthouse and down to the river. So I enjoy what I do every day and I enjoy this community. That is awesome. Well, and that speaks volumes. If people are willing to drive so far for their doctor's visit the connection that you have. And I think that's so important to be able to, I have people that have moved from this community up to the Lake and they come down every year just to see me.

(02:40): So I take that with a great honor. So, well then that just is even more important why you are here today. So thank you. I know you're busy. So to take time out of here to share with all of our listeners, we're talking about these, we'll just dive right into it. Cause I know your time is precious, but we talk about this crazy time and there's much negativity. And I think people know that I'm all about showing up and shining our light and being positive. You know, how can we manage this chaos that is always going to be surrounding us? How can we manage the fear and how can we take care of ourselves?

(03:16): Well, I think one of the mantras that I have stuck with throughout this time, and I, I think it's not just during this time, but it's just the way that I have lived my life throughout and both from an educational standpoint. And, you know, as a, as a family standpoint here, and I'm going to borrow one of the things that one of my other OB GYN friends, she's actually in Oklahoma, we grew up together and you know, we didn't go to school together, but we grew up together as, as young people here in Ohio. And one of the things that she's been doing is saying facts over fear, facts, over fear, because I think if you can understand what's being presented, look into it yourself rather than what the media is saying, it, then doesn't become so fearful anymore. And you know, for the general population, this is not something that you need to be afraid about to be responsible. You take the precautions that you need to take, but it doesn't need to wreck us. It doesn't need to drive us. It does not need to inhibit us from being productive from having a wonderful family life job, so on and so forth because it is a short period of time. And, you know, throughout life, you're always going to face something in life. This just happens to be overwhelming, obviously because of the news media.

(04:25): Well, I mean, even in scripture truth, over fear, that's true. Over fear, the facts. Okay. So because of the media and the mainstream and the numbers that are being thrown at us, the, you know, I'm not going to say, well, we know that media sells, okay. And so we become glued to this and we become overwhelmed. How can we interpret? How can we really take a step back and say, okay, what is it that they're telling us? What is that truth?

(04:56): I think that's hard. I think that's hard to do for people who don't understand how things are reported, things are being placed. I think that you can find people that are clear in what's being reported, just placing the facts rather than the interpretation of those facts. Those numbers are all things, things in regards, I guess we're talking about the coronavirus obviously, but things that are reported on the news may not necessarily represent what is actually being reported like officially. So you can go to the high department health, you can go to the CDC website. I would caution. I would just caution to make sure that you understand how things are getting reported, what is being reported and not all States are doing things equally. So sometimes that can be a little conflicting, some break things out. Others do not. Some people count antibody tests as positive cases, and may report that as such other people are reporting a clinically diagnosed, no test and those into those numbers too. So I think that's been a little bit of an issue just nationally. I can't speak internationally cause I don't know what other countries do, but just historically here, but those have not always been as specific I should say. So understanding what's being reported would probably be the best thing rather than the lay noobs media that tends to be more shocked value. I think personally

(06:19): I use the word spike, so what's spiking in the numbers and I, and I do, I mean, even, you know, with our, you know, family and friends and we talk about that, we see it on Facebook and it's just being able to interpret it

(06:30): On that. Let me just, just point out that, even with that there, I think the majority of the population needs to understand that they are not at risk for serious disease. Can some people get serious disease that are not elderly or have other issues. Yes, but that majority is low. And so for the general population, I don't think you need to live in fear that you're going to die from this. Obviously if you take care of people in your home that have other comorbidities that increases their risk, that becomes an issue. But the fear I've seen, even people in my office during this pandemic that have a fear that if they go outside or if their children go outside of the house, they're going to die. I even had one family who has not had their children out of their home for two full months, not even out into the sunshine, in their own yard because of fear that they were going to die. I think that fear is crippling and not productive and certainly not medically sound well.

(07:24): Let's dive into the mental health from that aspect.

(07:28): There are so many systems in the body. There's so many systems and we all, they all talk, you know, they're all important. You know, you have your cardiovascular system, you have your digestive system, you have your neurology system and they all talk. And when people have fear that can actually manifest as other kinds of symptoms, fatigue, chest pain, body aches, abdominal pain. And, and I've seen it before. There's some monetized complaints that come in and really, they have no other medical reason for those complaints, but it's all psychological and mental, and it drives depression. It drives anxiety even to the point where now the American college of OB GYN, we are to screen every woman, no matter of age, when they come into their visits to the office for anxiety and depression, because it has become such a problem in our society. And it can cause so much illness strictly from how you're thinking, how you're feeling, that depression, that anxiety, that fear gripping to direct how you live your life.

(08:28): So what do you suggest when women come to you with these ailments, with these symptoms, wanting something to be maybe wrong with them because they just want that test to maybe move on and be solved. But if you're thinking it's the mental aspect and is driving on some situations, what do you suggest? How do we look at this?

Well, I've even seen people within this last four months. People that I've known cared for, you know, delivered their children, did their annual exams. They have come to me for a visit under one guys. And by the time the visit is over, they're in tears. And these are people that even never had any problems with postpartum depression never had any problems. You know, as long as I have known them with any kind of issues that are sitting there, just crying in my exam room because of isolation, because of lack of routine, because they've been thought that they had to be kept in their house with their three small children and not be allowed to come out or visit with anybody else. And so, you know, in this particular situation, having known that patient for so long, we were able to sit down there and kind of piecemeal, what was she feeling?

(09:37): Because she thought she needed medication. And I'm like, no, no, no, no, no, you don't even need medication. This is, this is something that is short-lived, this is situational. And let's work through that. And that gives me the ability when I can see people on a regular basis and know them and really share in their life and understanding because when you see somebody for a long time and deliver their children multiple times, you really have a glimpse into their life a lot of times because you see them so frequently, you get to know them and they almost become like your friend and family as well. So you have a lot more leeway and ability to talk about those particular situations with them, just as you would speak with your husband or your sister or your brother about things I'm able to do that too, because I've been led into their family. I've been led into their life in order to do that. And that's where we sit down and we talk about, okay, this is what we need to do. This is what's going on. How can we fix this? But how can we fix this situation that you're in right now? And then there are people that do need medication for other situations, but that's not always the case. And I'd much rather do something without medication, if possible.

(10:47): I think that is what sets. This is why I love you. This is why you are set apart because it goes again back to the connection with people. And I know we all need,

(10:56): Yeah, that's part of the issue with this whole problem going on right now with the quarantine and isolation and the felt, the feeling that you can not be out with people at all. That's, what's driving so much illness and sickness in and things like that. I have talked to so many teachers also in the last couple of months, who've had very little interaction with children and I can only imagine when school comes back in session, what they're going to hear, what has gone on, what kind of mental state are these children going to be in? And even like the people, the older people in the nursing homes, I can't even imagine, you know, that are used to having people there having that connection, because it is so much a part of human nature to have connection with people. There are a lot of people that want to be isolated and don't want any of that. But most people thrive on that interaction and it drives wellness and wellbeing and mental health and emotional health. And even spiritual health is driven so much by the connection that you have with people and those interactions. And that's, what's been such a problem in this, this timeframe, because people have had such fear of interaction with people and they've had the detriment of the health problems that come with it.

(12:07): I totally agree. I think back to my grandma, 90, 91 and the times that she had said I'm lonely because we were, you know, keeping our distance from her, especially at the beginning because of the fear. And I'll be honest, I bought into the fear there at the beginning, like, Oh my goodness. You know, and that's kind of where I dove into my faith and try to take a step back. I did shut the media off just because it was sucking the life out of us. So I think I thank you for sharing that perspective in terms of maybe our physical, I mean, you're on a fitness journey yourself, so I know you've lost how many pounds now? Almost 40. Okay. That is awesome. So let's talk about the physical side of being healthy because you know, the diabetes or the high risk or the obesity that we have in our nation and how that's driving, what is it that you suggest or how, how do you talk to your patients to step them through leading that healthy lifestyle and the importance?

(13:07): That's the worst health crises that we are facing as a modern society? Hundreds of years ago, we were worried about novel diseases and obviously no reason no way to fix them, no way to cure them prior to antibiotics and vaccines and so on and so forth. But I think the lack of health and the chronic disease problem that we have now really drives, drives our health in general. And the reason I say that is that while there are diseases that can affect young people, communicable diseases, flu malaria, you know, those sorts of things can affect young people. The majority of times, severe disease does not drastically cause a high mortality in young people that are healthy or even people that are in good nutrition. You know, those sorts of things, problems come when the system that was created doesn't work properly. So I see that in my own practice from a women's health standpoint, in people that have metabolic disease and polycystic ovarian disease who are morbidly obese, they tend to have lipids.

(14:14): They tend to have a BMI of 40 to 50 as a young person, they have prediabetes and some resistance. And so therefore then they don't function appropriately. Their hormones don't function appropriately. They don't cycle appropriately. And that all stems, while some can be genetic and some can be thin. And particularly for that disease, the majority of it stems because of obesity or they have a family history of obesity and diabetes. I saw a girl earlier this month, that was 18 with a BMI of 40 wondering why she didn't have regular periods and already is prediabetic at 18. This is what causes inflammation in the body. This is what causes increase in cytokines, which causes disease process and cell degradation, all these sorts of things cause problems. So if you have all these problems, you don't have a system that's working appropriately. We're hearing a lot about coronavirus antibodies and vaccines, and, you know, vaccines have worked in the past for other types of things.

(15:08): But I think people fail to realize that they have different types of immune systems in their body. You have a cell-mediated immune system, you have an innate, you know, robust immune system to fight things off, recognize it at the get, go before you even get to a point where you make an antibody. And so if that system is not working appropriately, then you've lost your first line of defense. And so therefore then it becomes easier, becomes more able to get in and cause disease and cause worsening disease because your cells, your system are not working appropriately. There's one of before I went to med school, I was a molecular biologist and studying viruses. So we were sending a virus that causes a kind of mosquito borne virus, and then our other lab was studying coronavirus. So there is a chapter in one of my textbooks back from the 1990s and the last paragraph in that chapter on respiratory viral infections, because there's a variety of different viruses that cause respiratory infections, some mild, some severe, it says hundreds of thousands of people die annually from respiratory viral infections.

(16:12): Not all are elderly, but most have a comorbid condition, including obesity, hypertension, or diabetes. We fix that problem in our society. We're going to cut down on that morbidity that comes along with it. And that's, I think that's the problem that people don't want, that they want easy. They want, they, social media, all this stuff is right at their hands. And so that aspect of health, they want a pill. They want something. And I see a lot of people come to my office for that. They want something to fix it, but you got to fix the problem at the root or else. You're just going to be taking medication for the rest of your life. And I think that's where health nutrition exercise causes your body to work the way that it's supposed to. Then you don't have to use those things. I've seen that in my own life.

(16:53): I was diagnosed with a rheumatological disease when I was 46 years ago and had a horrible amount of joint pain fatigue. It didn't feel well. You know, I came home from running a half marathon and I felt like crap. And in the last six years of this course, I've been looking a lot about how your body responds, how you form antibodies, how you become an autoimmune type of thing and how you can reduce the amount of inflammation in your body. And that is through diet. That's through exercise, that's through healthy li living through supplementations. If, if you need to. And I mean, I don't take medication anymore and I feel wonderful, crazy. And just from the reverse of that,

(17:30): On where we're masking the problem though, like no pun intended, but we're masking it versus, and it also goes back again to what you had said prior in terms of the mental health, with the mindset and where our heart is and what we're thinking even about that preventative

(17:46): Aspect of, it's not always about get away. People waste away from mental disease, not necessarily like schizophrenia, those sorts of things, but just the idea of no hope of no hope. I've seen them waste away from that with multiple issues where they don't want to move, they don't want to get out. And the people that have a good aspect at life have a good support system have, are strong emotionally, spiritually, mentally. It doesn't matter what they have. They can have, they could be dying of cancer and horrific pain, but their joy is not taken away. Their positivity is not taken away and they do so much better. That could be an entire episode right there when it comes to the vicious, it's a cycle, you know, are we healthy because we have a good mindset or the vice versa, right? Or do you get what I'm saying?

(18:30): It's so intertwined. I believe wholeheartedly that you can face whatever you are given in life, whatever you, whether that's illness, whether that's losing a job, whether that's losing a child, a parent, any of those sorts of things. If you have the right mindset, you have the hope. If you're right where you're supposed to be for emotionally and spiritually, it doesn't matter if your joy is gone. It doesn't matter what you do in life. You'll suffer, finding that piece. We do. Probably I knew that piece. I believe we created remarkably a remarkable system. I see that as an OB GYN, I've seen little nine week hands through a tube from an ectopic pregnancy that I had to take care of, that we are created wonderfully and created in such a way that, you know, our bodies should work appropriately. Otherwise we wouldn't have been around for 2000 plus odd years or more depending on your belief, but we were created to do something.

(19:21): And if our bodies are working appropriately to do that, then you don't need a lot of the other stuff. I don't think. Wow. Yeah, this is good. Okay. So let me recap here. This is what I heard from you. We need to be healthy, be smart. We need to be engaged, be joyful, be kind and certainly over facts over fear. Is there anything else that you want to add? I would just say in this timeframe, this area of life and life going forward, because we have no idea what we're going to be faced with. Obviously, cause things have changed so much in the last four months, even five months, is those particular points be healthy, be emotionally healthy, physically healthy, mentally healthy, spiritually healthy because they all intertwine. If you don't have tires on your car, your car, can't go. If you're not mentally engaged, you're not mentally healthy.

(20:08): The rest of your body's going to fail as well. And any of those systems, they all work together. So they've got to be there, be healthy, be kind there's so much that needs to be done right now in the community. Be kind, be kind to those. You have no idea if somebody's been in their home for four months alone and what kind of mental state they're going to be in, be kind to those people. If you haven't seen them do something for them, show kindness to others, you will reap the benefits in return. Be engaged, know what's going on. Be smart about things, check it out. If you're not sure, try and delve in find somebody who might be able to lead you into those particular pathways. I do that for my patients. When they come and see me, I try and direct them to reputable places, to look for information, do that. Don't just regurgitate what you see on Facebook. You're not necessarily going to always be in the right. And also what was the last piece? Have joy have joy without joy. You can't live and you have no peace. And then you have no hope how we can serve a signer light. That's right. Where can people find you and reach you for those who have further questions? Well, we have a office fake Facebook page, OB GYN, associates, Lancaster. We just got on Twitter this week. I don't know. Yeah.

(21:18): I don't know what that is, but that's probably the easiest way to get ahold. You can direct message me through Facebook and through the office web page. Obviously we have that as well, but I don't think you can send messages through that. So we do have a Facebook page that can take direct messages and our office manager actually takes care of that. And any messages that come through there can obviously be sent to me for questions. Obviously, if people are watching their patients of their myself, dr. Santina or dr. Froman, if they have questions about a variety of things, they have a patient portal. If they're a patient of ours, obviously, and messages can go through there. I talked to a lot of patients through the patient portal and actually even had a patient who was out of country pregnant at the time and sent me things back and forth and we would talk back and forth through that.

(22:02): So I have a really dear patient going through breast cancer right now. And we talk back and forth through the portal as she is at the James. So it's a good way to communicate. And again, it goes back to the connection and the way that you stand out and take care of your patients. And I'm just so glad that you were here with us today. Yeah, this is perfect. We are always on a mission here on the find your fierce podcast to be the best version of ourselves to be better today than we were yesterday and to always be working on ourselves. So if you have zero energy to focus on yourself and need extra support and accountability from women who know what it's like to juggle a crazy busy life, head on over to beef it and fierce.com and become unstoppable with us.

(22:39): Or if you want to join a sisterhood dedicated to growing your faith, join our just brief Facebook group heads up on the next episode, we are going to walk you through how you can show up as the most true and most authentic self it's going to be so good. Thanks so much for joining us today. Please subscribe, share this episode, link on your social media. As we all know, someone that can benefit and I would love it if you would give some feedback and a review as well. Thanks so much dr. Barnhart for joining us. Talk with you next time. Be fierce, be unstoppable. See ya.

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