Speaking from the Body: Latinas on Health and Culture

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In compelling first-person accounts, Latinas speak freely about dealing with serious health episodes as patients, family caregivers, or friends. They show how the complex interweaving of gender, class, and race impacts the health status of Latinas—and how family, spirituality, and culture affect the experience of illness.

Here are stories of Latinas living with conditions common to many: hypertension, breast cancer, obesity, diabetes, depression, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, dementia, Parkinson’s, lupus, and hyper/hypothyroidism. By bringing these narratives out from the shadows of private lives, they demonstrate how such ailments form part of the larger whole of Latina lives that encompasses family, community, the medical profession, and society. They show how personal identity and community intersect to affect the interpretation of illness, compliance with treatment, and the utilization of allopathic medicine, alternative therapies, and traditional healing practices. The book also includes a retrospective analysis of the narratives and a discussion of Latina health issues and policy recommendations.

These Latina cultural narratives illustrate important aspects of the social contexts and real-world family relationships crucial to understanding illness. Speaking from the Body is a trailblazing collection of personal testimonies that integrates professional and personal perspectives and shows that our understanding of health remains incomplete if Latina cultural narratives are not included.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Contains compelling first hand accounts of Latinas speaking freely about dealing with serious health episodes.” —Diálogo“Chabram-Dernersesian and de la Torre have compiled an excellent collection of Latina personal health narratives that helps readers better understand the insider, emic perspective on Latina worldviews surrounding health, illness and culture.” — CHOICE
From the Publisher

“Contains compelling first hand accounts of Latinas speaking freely about dealing with serious health episodes.” —Diálogo“Chabram-Dernersesian and de la Torre have compiled an excellent collection of Latina personal health narratives that helps readers better understand the insider, emic perspective on Latina worldviews surrounding health, illness and culture.” — CHOICE
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780816526642
  • Publisher: University of Arizona Press
  • Publication date: 11/20/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 264
  • Sales rank: 1,300,866
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Adela de la Torre is Director of Chicana/Chicano Studies at the University of California—Davis.

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Table of Contents

Introduction Narratives of Latina Health Angie Chabram-Dernersesian Chabram-Dernersesian, Angie 3

1 Of Breasts and Baldness: My Life with Cancer Gabriela F. Arredondo Arredondo, Gabriela F. 14

2 Embodying Dementia: Remembrances of Memory Loss Yvette G. Flores Flores, Yvette G. 31

3 Countering the Pain That Never Heals: Platicas That Mend the Soul Adela de ta Torre Torre, Adela de ta 44

4 Letters to Ceci: A Journey from Hyperthyroidism to Hypothyroidism Clara Lomas Lomas, Clara 57

5 Fat in America: A Latina's Personal Journey "Gristi" 71

6 A Language for Healing: Finding Sacred Meaning in Transcending Chronic Lupus Concha Delgado Gaitan Gaitan, Concha Delgado 80

7 Debe ser la reurna / It Must Be Rheumatism Enriqueia Valdez-Curiel Valdez-Curiel, Enriqueia 93

8 My Spirit in Rebellion, My Body with Parkinson's Disease: Soy soldadera rebel de Adaljiza Sosa-Riddell Sosa-Riddell, Adaljiza 103

9 "I Wake Up and Go to Bed with Pills": An Anonymous Latina Speaks about the Not-So-Silent Killer (Hypertension) Angie Chabram-Dernersesian Chabram-Dernersesian, Angie 116

10 A Tapestry of Illness: A Latina Physician's Family Gives Voice to Diabetes and Illness Jessica Nunez de Ybarra de Ybarra, Jessica Nunez 122

11 "Working toward Wholeness": Gloria Anzaldua's Struggles to Live with Diabetes and Chronic Illness Ana Louise Keating Keating, Ana Louise 133

12 When the Joys of Pregnancy Bring a Shocking Discovery: A Latina Epidemiologist Confronts Gestational Diabetes Lorena Garda Garda, Lorena 144

13 A Retrospective on the Narratives of Latina Health: What We Can Learn Angie Chabram-Dernersesian Chabram-Dernersesian, Angie Adela de laTorre Torre, Adela de la 154

14 Latina Health: Empirical Realities, Alternative Interpretations, and Policy Recommendations Adela de la Torre Torre, Adela de la 173

Notes 191

References and Further Reading 207

About the Editors 227

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