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My Turn: Personal stories by Health section readers

My Turn: A woman and a girl, united by cancer and courage

A writer's young niece and longtime friend both face their diseases bravely, inspiring others and bringing people together.

My Turn: Body dysmorphic disorder takes quiet toll

Karyn Foley goes through life avoiding her own gaze, unhappy with her self image due to body dysmorphic disorder. She has spent years camouflaging her symptoms.

My Turn: Make the call — to your doctor

A patient's dire melanoma diagnosis sits in her file for a year, prompting her to vow to be more proactive.

Music keeps minds active and memories alive

A patient uses lyrics and melodies to ease the boredom of a long hospital stay.

My Turn: Carrying on in the wake of tragedy

A teenage boy plunges to his death. What do we tell our kids? And how do we carry on ourselves?

My Turn: Ready to celebrate a new hope for cystic fibrosis

When the cystic fibrosis gene was identified in 1989, a photo of its discoverer gained a spot on a family's refrigerator door. Now there's new promise for a mother to grasp for her now-adult daughter.

My Turn: Hearing-impaired people need friends and some patience

The hearing-impaired hover between the hearing and deaf world but fear feeling like outsiders.

My Turn: Love formed in Alzheimer's crucible

Alzheimer's disease brought us together. The illness resulted in a relationship of greater intimacy and closeness than I ever could have imagined. However, when I first met Dorothy I had no idea that she would be responsible for both the happiest and saddest periods of my life.

My Turn: A penny for your walks

Walking has more value than just exercise for a man who keeps his eyes peeled for fallen coins.

Sweet revenge on cancer treatment

Faced with a diagnosis of cancer and more than six weeks of radiation, one patient made it through to better days, with her baked creations becoming the icing on the cake.

My Turn: Oh, the ho-ho-horror

Parents shouldn't force children to sit in Santa Claus' lap. The best gift is to be in tune with your child's emotions.

My Turn: PSA scare prompts reflection and education

When panic ensues after news of rising PSA levels, one man decides to get a grip, get better informed about prostate cancer and screening, and live life sensibly.

My Turn: A teen's brush with death

A teen is diagnosed with cancer, much as in '50/50.'

My Turn: A husband's 'muddle through' song

When his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, a husband found Martina McBride's song about it a bit too finely tuned.

My Turn: Radiation patients share a survivor's song

While in the waiting room before their treatment, the silence is often broken by music, even a dance step or two. It's all good medicine for people thrown together by fate, bonded by hope.

My Turn: A mother's descent into Alzheimer's disease

Her mother loved politics, debates and poetry. But Alzheimer's disease caused dramatic changes in the once-contrarian woman.

My Turn: Friends shine after physical therapy

Despite tales of the 'torture' involved, two friends show obvious new joy and engagement in life because of physical therapy.

My Turn: Her father's perfect death

Hospice, loving family and friends, control over final wishes. All can combine to make a rough time as smooth as it can be.

My Turn: She ditched the boyfriend but not the exercise habit

A boyfriend suggested taking an exercise class at Skyline College in San Bruno. Once a person who loathed working out, she now has a 28-year habit.

My Turn: Response to husband's eye patch? Argh!

An eye patch worn after surgery provokes a lot of pirate talk from friends and strangers.

My Turn: Lung cancer's reality sharpens focus on her life's journey

With a diagnosis of Stage 3B non-small cell lung cancer, a woman's thought's turn to getting ready: for pleasures, routines, and endings.

My Turn: Losing Lauren, but not the strong cord of connection

Grief over the loss of a beautiful daughter leads to thoughts of the cord that binds a mother to her child forever.

My Turn: Husband hangs up his mountain biking pedals

She eventually came to appreciate the role mountain biking played in her husband's life. But now, it's time to mourn: My Turn

My Turn: The academic debate over the causes of autism hits home for this family

Autism: Does genetics or environment cause autism? One family who loves their autistic child hopes scientists can figure it out.

My Turn: iPhone as OCD treatment

A woman's OCD-afflicted daughter finds an iPhone useful in managing her concerns.

My Turn: Bustin' more than a move

Dance Central for Xbox 360 proves quite the workout for a mom pushing 60 who's still a 16-year-old dancer at heart.

My Turn: The baby was fine, the reactions weren't

When walking in L.A. with her child, hooked up to oxygen and a feeding tube, one mother found that the whispers and stares were too much. But other children often were the ones to break the ice.

My Turn: Her war on belly fat

A diet of vegetables and whole grains helps dissolve subcutaneous and visceral fat.

My Turn: With age, the wisdom to fight cancer

As Lillian Hawthorne battles breast cancer, she finds that her age is an asset, in helping her keep her fight, her journey and her life in perspective.

My Turn: The pup who saved my life

She thanks her dog for leading her to a more healthful lifestyle. It could have turned out tragically.

My Turn: Bill Hillman thanks chest compressions for helping to save his wife

Bill Hillman remembers it clearly: "It was 4:05 a.m. on Oct. 29, 2009. I heard my wife, Dianne, say, 'I think I'm having a heart attack.' I opened my eyes and I saw her standing in the bathroom doorway. She grabbed her chest, took one step and collapsed on the bed."

My Turn: Touched by another human's touch

After his cancer diagnosis, a doctor learns the effects the human, caring touch can have on a patient.

A little white lie to a beloved neighbor

When the 94-year-old widow fell in her home, the author reluctantly broke a promise.

Here's the veggies. Now create.

An obsessive recipe follower learns to open up when she joins a CSA and starts getting baskets of produce from local farmers.

My Turn: What to expect when we're not yet expecting

When two people are having trouble conceiving, they don't want to hear the old clichés.

In diet studies, big question goes unexplored

After losing weight and keeping it off on the Atkins diet, it seems odd that researchers don't try to find out why this higher-calorie option appears to be more effective.

My Turn: Finding a church that goes with the grain

"When I attend Sunday services, often my soul is refreshed; balance is restored. I need equilibrium because, ahem, as my daughters will aver, I tend to go a bit overboard on nutritional matters and require intervention."

My Turn: 'Little old lady' chalks up a marathon

Faye Woo writes: I completed the Pasadena Marathon six months ago. I am 68 years old, 5 feet tall and have short, chunky legs. A stranger would consider me to be a "little old lady," as in the song, "the little old lady from Pasadena." But looks can be deceiving.

Sometimes it's not about the swift

When I stood on the starting line of the Los Angeles Marathon this spring, my main objective was to beat my husband.

My Turn: The hand that rocks the cradle can shake up the diet

A personal trainer sees the children of his clients flirting with the habits that lead to obesity and diabetes. "We discussed changing their main meals, one step at a time."

Poetry in motion

How an aging professor got on the weight-loss track with Shakespeare as his drill instructor.

My Turn: A new cause with every breath he takes

A diagnosis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a scarring of the lungs, carries with it some sobering realities. But also new challenges.

He's got religion, set on frappe

My husband, whose idea of a nutritious lunch is grilled cheese, chips and candy, has experienced a conversion: He is swallowing large green smoothies for his midday meal.

Today, he can run

Chided by his doctor for being woefully out of shape, he started running, and now does everything from 5Ks to marathons.

Nutritionist teaches this old dog some healthy new tricks

A sunset hike two days before a full moon

It’s when the light is just right. A moon riding high above a Southern California valley trail.

A chronic fatigue syndrome sufferer reconnects with the world

An episode of 'The Closer' sparks a personal turnaround.

Do's, not don'ts

Focus on what you should do, not what you shouldn't do.

The reluctant athlete

At age 58, I became William's personal-training slave. He showed up punctually with a notebook, timer, Fat-O-Meter and a big smile. Whatever he said, I did — no questions, no complaints, no excuses.

A future without a baby is just fate, after all

As human beings, we seem unable to accept final diagnoses about our health. We have to find someone or something to blame. But finding a reason wouldn't change my diagnosis of infertility. And so, for the sake of my continued health and sanity, I had to let it go.

Little lady, big biceps

Retired grandma, 66, finds weightlifting battles flab and old age.

Her husband's heart quit on him, but she didn't

Mental health is a luxury for the uninsured

The agonizing mind games of Alzheimer's

My father's confusion was the consequence of his battle with Alzheimer's disease. One day he recognized me, the next, maybe not. Though my brain could process that, my heart could not.

Runner found little tricks that made a big difference

A longtime vegetarian gets a high cholesterol count

One life lost, another changed

It took the death of her spouse before a woman began taking sun protection seriously, but now she hopes to get others motivated less painfully.

Exercise is a life stage, at any stage

Diabetes may create a chasm between patient, doctor

Food allergies are answer to medical mystery

After a series of tests and misdiagnosises, he discovered his symptoms of weakness and nausea were caused by allergic reactions to cow’s milk, wheat and other foods.

Avoid the sun -- but not a biopsy

One side effect of an illness can be a loss of friends

A reality check on skis

A cross-country ski trip with my daughter ends with a burst bubble.

Born to run? No, but this former 'Butterball' does now

What it's like to 'wear oxygen'

Yoga: Not as soothing as she'd imagined

Hearing loss is frustrating, but family and friends can help

After a scary finding: Love is all around

Parent of child with Asperger's syndrome learns the power of compassion

A Weighty Reality Check

Broken ankle, heal so I can wear heels

Soft landing after double mastectomy, thanks to her husband

The joy of not being employed

Dependent on, not addicted to, Oxycontin

The first doctor was wrong: It is rheumatoid arthritis

As mom faces renal cell cancer, a daughter learns patience

Meditation on my mind

Living with Parkinson's disease

The truth about colonoscopy prep

Frank talk about cancer connects loved ones

Diving face first into 'safe cosmetics'

Which is a stronger health indicator: genetics or lifestyle?

DVD-driven home workout gets the job done

Get out of my bike lane

When animal dander attacks

Nurses: the good, the bad and the difference between them

A diabetic turns to the tattoo as medical I.D.

Walking the Avon Walk for her mom

A young mother draws strength from her struggles with MS

Smaller gyms help exercise social skills

Treatment policy seems to write off seniors

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