BY: JAMES F. O’NEIL
“Your blood type is the key that unlocks the door to the mysteries of health, disease, longevity, physical vitality, and emotional strength. Your blood type determines your susceptibility to illness, which foods you should eat, and how you should exercise.” — Peter J. D’Adamo, Eat Right for4Your Type (1996).
I remember the first time I donated blood. College. I was 19; it was a warm afternoon there in St. Louis. I was nervous. I didn’t faint. I was lucky. And I was O+.
I received blood transfusions from my mother–at my grandma’s home–when I was very young. I had Scarlet Fever, I was later told, and was very ill. I don’t remember much of that early age, except sleeping alone in grandpa’s front bedroom (Grandma Schuma was an invalid and slept in her own bedroom), eating pork chops that I hallucinated had ants crawling on them, and horrible-burning-going-down pineapple juice. I didn’t ever have much blood trouble growing up, with surgeries or cuts, or needing blood. So my blood donations later were common when I could give.
However, looking back now, I have learned since 10th grade that Type Os have a deficiency in clotting. When I was a sophomore, I had tonsils removed. The surgery and ice-cream follow up went fine. At home, after a few days in the hospital, I had some bleeding. Our doctor came to our home (!) and gave me an injection of Vitamin K. Now it all makes sense: I needed some extra clotting factor.
My wife-to-be is still O-(negative). What did we young-in-lovers know “back then” (in memoriesofatime) of O+ plus O- = risky birth or possible birth defects because of the Rh factor? No one told us those details in pre-Cana, or pre-marriage counseling. The doctor did, after the birth of our first child. For many years, it remained a mystery to doctors why some women who had normal first pregnancies developed complications in their second and later pregnancies, often with a result of miscarriage–or even the death of the mother.
“The Rh factor is an antigen occurring on the red blood cells of many humans (around 85 percent) and some other primates. It is particularly important as a cause of hemolytic disease of the newborn and of incompatibility in blood transfusions.”
[From Mayo Clinic, 14 June 2018]: “During pregnancy, problems can occur if you’re Rh negative and the baby you’re carrying is Rh positive. Usually, your blood doesn’t mix with your baby’s blood during pregnancy. However, a small amount of your baby’s blood could come in contact with your blood during delivery or if you experience bleeding or abdominal trauma during pregnancy. If you’re Rh negative and your baby is Rh positive, your body might produce proteins called Rh antibodies after exposure to the baby’s red blood cells.”
“The antibodies produced aren’t a problem during the first pregnancy. The concern is with your next pregnancy. If your next baby is Rh positive, these Rh antibodies can cross the placenta and damage the baby’s red blood cells. This could lead to life-threatening anemia, a condition in which red blood cells are destroyed faster than the baby’s body can replace them.” And much more at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/rh-factor/about/pac-20394960. . .)
“Better wait two or more years. Then no more children,” the doctor told us. “But we’re Catholics. . . .” Our second child two years later (O+) was born without complications. Our last child. We were lucky. The United States has a high birth mortality rate, due to complications, some of which have to do with poor pre-natal care. We were lucky. In the meantime, we learned that my wife has “gold” in her veins, O-, with some special little good stuff needed and used for prenatal transfusions. Her gift to others. In addition, we continue to be blood donors when we can, when we are healthy, or have not had some funky medication or injection for illness or old age.
In addition, when we grew older (than youngsters), we never knew anything about digestive problems and blood types until one gastro doctor mentioned it after a routine colonoscopy. We began to read, explore, become enlightened, and had our “Ah-ha!” moments. Here we could see ONE “diet solution to staying healthy, living longer, and achieving ideal weight.” Forget the last item. That’s not why we do it. We know now certain foods affect our Type Os–and we can tell, can feel it.
We shall survive. I used to believe that Bar-B-Q was one of the four main food groups. On the contrary, fewer and fewer trips now to Sonny’s Bar-B-Q. However, I can have as much liver and onions as I want . . . or buffalo . . . or rabbit . . . and most seafood. Now that’s not a bad diet, with some salad, avoiding caviar, barracuda, and octopus.
Seriously, it is not all that bad. We have made up some 5 x 8 cards: “GOOD.” “OK.” “NO.” We know now most of the No’s, and we know the good fats and bad fats, good carbs and “really good carbs,” like chocolate peanut butter pie, which is “really bad bad carbs.” Shopping has gotten easier since I am not often allowed in the grocery store, or need to be put into restraints while in the candy aisle. No problems whatsoever in the fruit department (except for those little bags of sugar called “grapes”).
Oh, we don’t go crazy-ill, lapse into anaphylactic shock, or have tremors or spasms. We don’t like to call it a “diet.” It’s a plan, our life style. In the scheme for us, we are meat-eaters, depending on lean chemical-free, grass-fed meats, and poultry and fish. We don’t do well with dairy products and grains. But we will never starve; for we love spinach salads, broccoli, kale, and chicken. Soy “milk” is good, as is feta cheese.
Nevertheless, we still have to watch what we eat, or there will be chemical consequences in our systems. Even though wheat products are no-no’s, I love my happy breakfast cereal, Cheerios!–and Frosted Mini-Wheats (not daily!)–but very limited.
Certain nuts and seeds are “good”; we must avoid others. With a weakness (addiction) towards sweets (sugar), hold me back from Apple Fritters! Or chocolate (of any kind)! Help me avoid anything “white” (hot dog buns? white chocolate, too?)! Can sheer will power enable me to continue my path of sobriety (scotch and bourbon: sugars)? Must the gods help?! Orate pro me! Mythological Apollo, the Bearer of Truth, is my go-to guy. He represents the therapeutic healer of mind and body, among other attributes.
I’ll take any helps I can get. That involves diet, exercise, dietary supplementation, stress control, personal qualities (INFJ?), and weight management.
My understanding of my blood type now makes complete sense to me, though I may not always be doing something positive about, say, the exercise regimen or the weight control. Do I really want to be again that pimply-faced memoriesofatime-kid who went off to college weighing 160 pounds? 180? 210?
How about 225? And so forth. I can never forget I am an evolutionary product, Type O, the oldest and most basic blood type, survivor, hunter, Cro-Magnon, NO FEAR!, meat-eater, mesomorph, Crood!
THE BIG O+:
© JAMES F O’NEIL 2018 OCTOBER