I don't quite remember when I fell in love with tea but I do remember the most special moments of me drinking tea. I was eighteen years old and I went to live with my biological mother for four months. I had just met her months earlier and it was awkward for both of us. She and her ex-husband lived a very quiet life in Boulder, Colorado. He was a professor at one of the universities and she was a housewife. After years of drug addiction and being in and out of jail, she deserved the break. I was homeless so she and her husband agreed to let me come live with them. Each evening my mother and I would find a spot in the living room with a cup of tea and a book.

Now, years later, I'm a self proclaimed tea expert. I start each day with a wonderful English Breakfast tea to get me going. As the day progresses, who knows what wonderful tea I will crown queen. But for sure, I have at least three cups of tea a day. And yes, when I can, I have tea everyday at about 3:00 P. M. I love to invite my friends over for tea and cupcakes and so far everyone thinks it’s a delightful experience. I am always in search of the best blend of tea. Yes, I’m a tea snob, I prefer loose tea but I do like some bags also. I have learned not to judge a book by it’s cover. Some bags can be quite nice. And yes again, any Diva knows, what you drink your tea out of is very important.

Tea for me is a way of life. It's wellness for the mind body and spirit. Here, I will explore every expect of tea possible, with a high concentration on wellness. I will review the best teas, the best places to have tea, the best ways to brew tea, the best tea accessories, what tea goes best with what foods, and the list goes on and on. I plan to share my passion for tea with you. And I've been told, nothing I do is ever boring so be prepared to go on this tea journey with me.

RLT Collection Tea Ball Frosted Clear Beads!

Mint Medley by The Persimmon Tree Tea Company

About This Tea:

Until recently I had never drank Peppermint Tea made with loose leaves. And Honestly, I will probably never go back. The freshness of loose Peppermint Tea cannot be denied. When I open the can of Mint Medley, From The Persimmon Tree Tea Company, I feel as if I stepped into a garden of peppermint leaves. It is a perfect blend of organic peppermint and spearmint leaves grown in the US.

Mint Medley has become a favorite and I find myself reaching for this tea tin almost everyday. It is great for on-going nausea. The health benefits and endless. It relieves muscle aches, headaches, migraines, stress. And now that it feels like someone is sitting on my chest and I have a mean cough, I'm sure it will help to relieve some of this congestion in my chest. Mint Medley has been in my tea cup more than any tea as of late. It has really helped with my winter cough, congestion related to this bout of pneumonia. You can read my full review on The Persimmon Tree Tea Company Mint Teas.

RLT Collection AIDS Awareness Tea Ball!

Welcome to my world of books! As an pre-teen books changed my world. I fell in love with the writers of the Harlem Renaissance period and the more I read the more I wanted to read. The fiction of this period was powerful and empowering all at the same time. It spoke to my own degradation and gave me hope for a better tomorrow. It gave me purpose for my own life and the courage to fight the good fight and never surrender.

I love to read! Inside a book I escape into someone else's life. There is something wonderful about turning to the next page of a wonderful story. Something intoxicating about the smell of the book and the story it brings to life. Reading brings me joy, and these days with my health in the balance, I find solace in my books.

I spent hours in my bedroom sequestered with the door closed reading the classics from the Harlem Renaissance, Hughes, Larsen, Hurston, Wright and Baldwin. Books became my escape and my salvation. The fiction of this period was powerful and empowering all at the same time. It gave me purpose for my own life and the courage to fight the good fight and never surrender.

Reading is the one thing that the pain of my life could never take away from me. It was the thing that helped to make it better. And even today, living with AIDS, books continue to be the safest place for me. It’s the one thing that belongs to me that AIDS cannot take away from me.The RLTReads book club will be books that I choose. It’s me sharing a part of me with you that has nothing to do with AIDS. It’s actually in spite of AIDS.

The RLTReads book club will be books that I choose. It’s me sharing a part of me with you that has nothing to do with AIDS. It’s actually in spite of AIDS. I have read hundreds of books from many different genres and I will pick the best of my reads over the years. I warn you, it will not be exclusively white or black, male or female, fiction or non fiction, it will be all of them.

I’m so excited and I’m grateful to everyone who wants to be a part of this venture. We already have 110 Book Club Members. You can email me @ RLTReads@raelewisthornton.com. The Twitter hashtag is #RLTReads. We can make this book club as wonderful as we want to make it. Who says that Oprah has to have the only ownership to a wonderful book club?

This Month We are Reading In My Fathers House by E Lynn Harris

Read along and join our discussion July 19th at 7 pm CST

For more Tea with Rae "Vlogs" Click here to visit her youtube channel

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Dilemma: Ethics, AIDS and the Medical Community...

For as good of a country America is, we have some dark patches that are obvious. Slavery is high on the list; But then the disenfranchisement of the freed person in the South that followed from 1876 to 1963 made us liars. I mean it was the United States Supreme Court that declared separate but equal in 1896, after the country fought a war with slavery at the center.

 So I'm not confused when Black folk come to me with conspiracy theories about AIDS. Well, some of it is ridiculous, like when they say, "There's a cure in Africa that our government is suppressing. Huh? If there was a cure in Africa, why wouldn't the African people use it there, to hell with trying save someone else, when you can save yourself. Right?? Right!!!  But then there are some half truths in some of what people are saying too; Really! At the end of the day, there are real reasons to mistrust the American government and all of its departments. The Tuskegee study is case in point. Read about Tuskegee Here!

Just the other day, I was taking to Bechara Choucair, the Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public of Health about this very same topic. I shared with him that the African-American community fear is real and he and his team has to be there every step of the way reassuring us that our best interest is in their heart. But then I got tweeted a link this morning by one of my followers and she said in response, "It reminds me of the syphilis fiasco. Thoughts?," What a way to start the day right back at the Tuskegee Study!

 I grabbed a cup of tea and read the article. You can see the Full Story Here. I'm not gonna recant everything but rather explore the issue at hand. In a nut shell, during the early period of the AIDS epidemic the National Institutes of Health (NIH)  enrolled children who were in foster care into AIDS drug studies.

 No, not without permission, but with the foster care agencies compliance. During this period, there were very few AIDS drugs available to treat anyone! The death rate among children in the United States was high. After the death of parents Foster Care of AIDS children was high and they were left to figure out how to care for these children that no one wanted, not even their families in some cases.

Many of these foster agencies thought that drug studies was the best way to give children with AIDS access to some of the most advance treatments around.

So what's the problem if these were legitimate studies? Well, there is always the overall ethic of whether children should be enrolled in toxic drug studies. All HIV medications are extremely toxic, so the larger question is, do we expose this high level of toxicity to such small bodies?

But on the other side of the coin, if we don't enroll children, then we will never know if these medications will work for them. Clearly we have learned that medications not only work differently for children and adults, but even in some cases for men and women.

Take Hydeia Broadbent for example, a baby born with AIDS and abandoned by her drug addicted mother at birth. She is still alive today because her foster mother, who eventually adopted her enrolled her in NIH studies as a toddler. She had some of the best of the best medical care and now at 27 she is still alive and living well with AIDS.

 The flip side, there is always the potential that these medications will not work for that child and death is inevitable. This is however the case for adults. The overall point, I think is that young people will have to endure side-effects that no little body should have to, but NO little body should have AIDS either.

This is a tough one, especially back then when there was very little treatment available. I think today I would say HELL NO! But I would have that luxury, there are a plethora of HIV medications approved for treatment. So there was no clear cut answer back then. It really depends on how you view the right and wrong of it, if the means justify the end.

Now, there is another issue that must be addressed; And while I cannot give a yes or no if children should be enrolled, I do believe the rights of children should be protected and this is where the study in my opinion went wrong. 

Many states understand that children are powerless and for this reason they put in place a way to protect the rights of children in drug studies. So  if the rule is, "To appoint independent advocates for any foster children enrolled in a narrow class of studies that involved greater than minimal risk and lacked the promise of direct benefit,"; And some agencies require the protection regardless of benefits of the study.

If this is the case, why then was this portion of the study violated? Why is it when there is a chance to be above the board, we take the short cut? This is the very thing that makes what could have been a good thing a bad thing and clouds the entire project.

 Another question that must be asked, why didn't the foster agencies insist that NIH meet its obligations in the study? The study shows, "Illinois believe that none of the 200 foster children-AIDS studies got the independent advocates." New York could only identify 142 of the 465 children enrolled.

There will always be the debate of whether children should be enrolled in studies. Some states have drawn the line, Wisconsin for example states,  "Absolutely never allowed, nor would we even consider, any clinical experiments with the children in out foster care system. "While other states believe it was the best route at the time to help the children.

But for the life of me, I cannot see why two of the wealthiest hospitals  in the country treating children, Chicago's Children's Memorial Hospital and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore didn't comply with the rule.  Furthermore, these studies are funded by the government. Money is typically distributed nationally to the local medical facilities to conduct  the study with oversight from NIH. It seems to me that everyone dropped the ball. It's the dropping of the ball that helps to create distrust for the medical community and the government.

In the Tuskegee Study they just flat out lied about what the men were actually doing; And when a treatment became available, it was deliberately withheld.  My questions are simple, "How do people, who take an oath to do no harm, deliberately do harm and how does our government condone it? Those are ugly questions that no answer will satisfy.

So when we are faced with a headline that say, "Government Tested AIDS Drugs on Foster Kids," And foster care kids are majority black, and  in the back drop of Tuskegee, there is already a belief that AIDS was created to somehow kill people of color,  it reconfirms in the minds of black people what they thought they knew in the beginning;That our health is not valued like white people; And that creates a barrier to getting proper medical treatment early, not just with AIDS, but a whole host of medical conditions.

Yes, some of the lack of care is our privileged medical system,  property and lack of resources but at the core is a mistrust of the medical community and the government. If the government and medical community really want to change this perception, then they must stop cutting corners and follow the freaking rule! There is a saying, liars lie, so if you lie about one thing, how do I know you're not lying about another. How can I trust what you are say to me about my body is true?

Black people have always believed that we have to work twice as hard to prove ourselves no matter where we go. Well, it's time for the medical community and our government institutions to do the very same thing to win our trust. When they do less than their best, they cast shadow over the good that is done and makes it a tad harder to trust the next time around.  Do Better!!!

blog comments powered by Disqus
Clicky Web Analytics