Monday, February 25, 2013

Choosing Who Takes Care Of You

Choosing Who Takes Care Of You!

Most people don't think of this but after my experience it's the first thing that comes to my mind. When picking a health care professional most of us look to creditials. Where did they graduate from? What school? What is their experience? Do they take insurance? Do they take my insurance? Those things are important. But have you ever thought about do they take care of themselves? In fact, I would go as far to say that this is the most important question. After all, how can they take care of me if they can't or don't take care of themselves? My next most important question is how do they treat their co-workers? If they don't treat their colleagues with respect they will certainly not treat me with respect.

People will argue with me that the health care's personal life has absolutely nothing to do with how they are able to perform their job. That even if they treat their staff with total indifference they can still be a great health care professional. I beg to differ. And here is my example.

Scenario 1: Let's look at how our first Healthcare Professional would feel in the following scenerio.  He is having a sleepless night. The stress of work has gotten to him.  He tosses and turns all night. Finally, after hours of frustration, he gives in to a sleeping pill. He awakens in the morning only to find that the insomnia he suffered combined with the sleeping pill has made him sluggish. He reaches for a large coffee with cream and sugar. He is hoping to wake up. After all he has to go to work.  With no time for food since he was slow to get out of bed, he runs out the door with an empty stomach. On the way he hits traffic. He is strung out on sugar and caffeine. The driver in back of him is tailgating and he feels his blood pressure begin to rise. The car passes him but not before the other driver gives him "the finger". His blood pressure rises more and he flips them back. Upon arrival to work he finds himself thirsty but he has no time to grab water. His first patient is waiting in the exam room. He decides to nurse the rest of the cold coffee he brought with him. His day begins and at around 10 am he finds his energy level is dropping. He snaps at his co-worker to get him some more coffee. Offended the co-worker pretty much throws him his mug. It isn't even 11 am. He is running on no sleep, two cups of coffee, is completely dehydrated and has remnants of a sleeping pill in his body. This is the healthcare professional you have waited 2 months to see. He is going to examine you and try to diagnose your problem. This is the professional who is the "expert" in the field. How would you feel knowing this is how he started his day?

Scenario 2: She meditates each night before going to bed at 10 pm. She has a big day tomorrow and wants to insure rest. She wakes up at 4:30 am to do yoga stretches for 15 minutes. She then takes her dogs for a 1 hour walk. Upon her return she tends to her garden. She picks freshly grown greens to juice. After her green drink she meditates for 45 minutes. She then eats a light breakfast of greens and beans. She slowly sips her green tea as she watches the sun rise. She rides her bike to her office. Upon arrival she greets her co-workers with a smile and a pitcher of her fresh green juice. She enters her office to prepare for her first patient. She takes 15 minutes to breathe, look over some outstanding work and clears her mind. She is ready to start her day with the intention of writing no prescriptions for medication but rather to help heal her patients.

Who would you rather have care for you? Do you see why this matters? Anger makes people stupid. Pain makes people angry. If we are being treated by people who are angry and in pain and ill themselves how can we heal. If the healthcare professionals are they themselves ill how can they ever heal us. Next time you go to see a healthcare professional look around. Look into their eyes. Notice how they treat the staff. Notice how they greet you. Notice if they breath and finally...ask them what they had for breakfast. It matters.

Note: Scenario two is based on a real life physician who does this every day!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Breaking the Chain

     Maybe you've noticed the enormous amount of chain stores that have popped up in your town. Towns are beginning to look more and more alike. I just took a 4 hour drive to visit my daughter at college. We stopped along the way. I swear I was still in my hometown. The plaza looked exactly like ours. Obviously we, Americans, are taking the bait. Otherwise, the companies wouldn't open up in every town along the I95. This morning I'm taking a moment to write about what sells in my home town, which I assume is like many towns in the U.S. Let's take a drive down Main Street, USA.

What is the first thing many Americans do in the morning? The reach for their coffee. They go buy it at a Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts or some other chain coffee shop. Did you know that there are about 11,000 Starbucks in the U.S? There are over 5800 Dunkin Donuts in the U.S.. The average American consumes over 3 cups of coffee a day. Can anyone say "addiction"? Not to mention the sugary food that they buy along with the coffee. Can anyone say "another addiction"? This is how over 50% of the US population start their day. High on caffeine and sugar.  From here it is all downhill. How can we make smart choices when we start the day in a sugar induced caffeine driven brain fog?

Where there used to be small family owned businesses there are now large corporately own Drug stores. There are more than 10,000 Walgreens in the U.S.. CVS and Rite-aid are not far behind. Why are there so many drug stores? Because we are on so many drugs. Nancy Reagan's campaign "Just say no" to drugs is long forgotten. Now we can't say no to drugs. If we do we are looked at as "granola", "alternative" or "risky". We wash our drugs down with our coffee (caffeine =drug) and follow that with a sweet treat (drug). This is how we begin to lose the ability to think clearly about our choices. From here on in we are lulled in by sexy ad campaigns and flashy marketing. All reasoning flies out the window.

As we head down Main Street it is hard not to notice the ridiculous amount of cell phone stores. Verizon, Sprint and At&t are just a few. There must be 10 in my town alone. We CAN'T live without our cell phone (addiction).  In fact, more and more of us have more than one cellular device. Holy crap! Land lines are a thing of the past. Many people don't even have home phone lines. And if you try someone's home phone number no one will answer. I guess if you want to reach a person they can't be home.  Some of us remember the days when we couldn't see who was calling. We can screen our calls to see if we want to "deal" with whomever is trying to reach us. Can anyone say avoidance? Sometimes I wonder if we have cell phones so we can keep track of who we are avoiding. This can't be healthy? I am not suggesting to get rid of our cell phones but perhaps we should be more aware of just how we are using them. Are we using them to communicate or to avoid communicating? I hear stories of people breaking up with people or getting fired via txt message. Really? This is NOT communicating. I guess we have so many cell phone stores because we have a lot of people we want to avoid!

As we travel along the street we find McDonald's, Burger King, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Pizza Hut. Aren't these all owned by the same company. The look alike. They smell alike. They sell similar food-like substances. I know it is cheap. I feel like it is the same crappy food in a different colored container. And yet, Americans can't get enough of it because there is at least one of these chain stores in almost every town. One year ago there were 13,381 McDonald's in the US alone. There are over 32,000 locations internationally! There are 6000 Pizza Huts. Burger King has 7233 stores. The biggest fast food chain in the US is Subway with a whopping 23,336 locations in the U.S. That's a lot of meat. To make matters worse, these fast food chains tell us how we feel and what we want. McDonald's tells us "I'm lovin' it!" Pizza Hut says "It's your hut!" Burger King is still "Have it your way".  KFC changed to just abbreviated letters because of the word "Fried" in their name. And who can ignore "America runs on Dunkin'"!

Finally, as I head down the street I see a bunch of corporate gas stations. Each trying to be a penny less than the other. But now gas stations don't just sell us gas. They want to sell us Mega-Soda and Old-fashioned hot dogs. They sell Krispy Kreme donuts, some sell Dunkin Donuts.  I wonder if that counts towards their over 5800 stores.  You can also get COFFEE-Gourmet Coffee in a gas station. You can even buy a cellular device and rent dvd's. Hmmm...I wonder if the gas station realizes that the more stuff they offer the less I have to drive. Then the less gas I need.

How can we be healthy when we are given so many 'chances' to make ourselves sick? It all starts first thing in the morning. Waking up to use drugs to get us going is a big red flag. Then we avoid uncomfortable situations with other people. Finally, big fast food companies, chose our food. What is a person to do if you live in a town with Main Street, USA and you want to be healthier?

I don't have any easy answers. I can only account for myself. I can make the best possible choices for myself and my family. I will say that if I can avoid big chain stores, I do. I try to patronize small family owned businesses whenever I can. Of course, the cell phone thing is impossible. I try to txt when I really don't need to communicate any important feelings. I grab a green drink in the morning at my friendly neighborhood natural foods store. I try to start my day with healthy choices so that I can make smart food choices and smart relationship choices for the rest of the day.  It is the best way for me to insure I have a sharper brain and I am able to deal with uncomfortable situations better. Then I know that I'm am really lovin' it, I had it my way and I'm runnin' on what ever I decide to run on!

Blessings all!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Why I Got Vulvodynia..

I was leading what I thought was a healthy life. I was into working out. I had watched my weight. I was in pretty decent physical condition. When the Vulvodynia hit I thought it came out of nowhere. Looking back now I see it was staring me right in the face.

When I turned 40 I developed bad acid reflux. Being a Pilates instructor, I was feeling it all day because I was exercising lying down a lot. Of course, I did what we are told to do-go see your doctor. My doctor gave me a month prescription for Nexium. He told me it should work and I should be healed in a month. No such luck. One month later, it was back. The doctor sent me to a gastro doctor. The gastro dr.  put me on Nexium for 4 months. I was better until I finished the prescription. Meanwhile, I had developed a yeast infection. The first one in 7 years. I went to the gynecologist. He put me on Diflucan. The gastro doctor suggested I have a scope procedure to make sure my esophagus looked ok. It did. He put me back on Nexium. The yeast infection seemed to still be lingering. I went to multiple doctors for help. They all said there was no yeast. But I felt burning, stinging and sometimes itching. I was in constant uncomfortable pain. Life as I knew it was gone. Each doctor kept trying different creams or pills. Nothing worked. Why does all this matter?

I NEVER stopped to put this all together. I forgot that I was one body. I was treating myself part by part. No doctor ever mentioned the acid reflux when I was at a gyno or the yeast when I was at the gastro. I wrote it down on many in take forms but no one connected any dots. Not even me.

Looking back really is 20/20. Now I see why I got Vulvodynia. The Nexium masked the acid reflux. I believe I had yeast overgrowth that caused the acid reflux. By masking the symptoms the yeast continued to grow. Yeast love warm moist places. The vaginal canal makes a perfect hide-a-way for this annoying fungus. The candida overgrowth depleted my body of essential minerals and vitamins. My body was extremely acidic from: the candida itself, the Nexium, all the anti-fungul meds, the diet I was eating, the over exercising I was indulging in, the stress of life and just by the body's processes. With this acidic overload and lack of neutralizing minerals I was getting burned from the inside out.

Now that I am healed, I never take my body for granted. I try to respect it. Sure, I cheat from time to time. But now I try to provide the proper nutrients so my body can handle the occasional cheat, the vacations and the bi-weekly chocolate craving. I found my way out of this mess by climbing out of a pill bottle and into my grocers produce aisle. It's cheaper, safer and a whole lot more enjoyable.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


“STOP focusing on your disease, and START focusing on Creating Powerful Health! Your disease is not a curse, it is a GIFT, a BLESSING, It is what brought you to this new beginning of the greatest adventure in your life, to discover and create a new life, a much better life, and to Create a NEW YOU!”-Dr. Richard Schulze
 Recently I was confronted with a horrible illness. It truly wiped me out. I was in so much pain and fatigue I could barely function. The pain was unlike anything my body had experienced. I resorted to serious pain killers. I took one dose. That is all I needed. It gave me the clarity to see what it was I had to do.

I am so thankful for having this experience. I changed again. I honored myself and loved myself up for a month. How amazing is that? I can honestly say it was necessary. 

I believe anyone can heal themselves when they STOP doing the very thing that is making them sick. Ahhh, that is challenging but amazing too.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Yeasty Beasty Wars....

I have suffered from my share of yeast infections! As anyone can tell you they are no fun! I have also done the knee jerk reaction to yeast infections. I either gotten a prescription from my Gyno or run into the drug store and tried the OTC (over-the-counter) creams. Problem was that my last yeast infection did not respond to these drugs. I thought I was getting better only to find myself with the same re-curing infection.

This can be a sign of a more serious condition-namely diabetes.  Of course, you will want to see your doctor to rule any serious illness out. I don't have diabetes. You will also want to go to the doctor to confirm your diagnosis. There are other infection that mimic yeast.

I had to find another way. I did some Internet research and discovered that DIET plays a huge role in the overgrowth of yeast specifically sugar.  I reluctantly took out as much sugar as I could. I immediately started to feel relief. I also noticed that when I ate fruit there was a flare in my symptoms. I took at fruit.

I also read about the benefits of yogurt.  I started eating 2 serving of plain non-fat yogurt a day. I didn't see any increased benefit. In fact, I got terribly constipated. There are also some testimonials online of women who use yogurt vaginally. I took a tampon applicator, removed the actual tampon and filled the applicator with plain yogurt. Then I inserted and wow!!! Loads of relief. Messy-yes-but I didn't care.

So between my new low sugar fruit free diet and yogurt injections I was able to find a lot of relief. I also started juicing vegetables. This really accelerated my healing. Finally I found some amazing herbal remedies that seemed to help. They were Pau D'arco and Oregano Oil.

One word of caution, I had to try eat new treatment separately for at least 3 days. Otherwise, the waters get too muddy and I couldn't tell what was helping and what was hurting.

I also must add that I noticed when I ate FERMENTED foods I had a flare in my symptoms too. So I got rid of those too. Please note that there are many people who have healed from using fermented foods. That shows that we are all different. It is vital to take stock of your dietary intake. Note how you feel after you consume foods. If you flare your symptoms it may be best to stay away from the offending food. Yogurt is fermented which is why my body doesn't like it!

Some medicines are highly effective at attacking and killing yeast, at least temporarily. Diflucan and Nystatin are two popular drugs. Diflucan can be hard on the liver. Studies show that 1 out of 100 people taking Diflucan suffer liver damage. It also kills all candida which does not do much for BALANCING the intestinal flora. This leads to that same imbalance that give people an infection in the first place. So if poor diet (high sugar and carbs) and stress don't change the infection can come back. Nystatin is safer because it is poorly absorbed in the digestive tract. This however, makes it less effective for stubborn yeast in the intestines. Again, symptoms may be relieved but without significant lifestyle change, they can come back. Some people find these drugs to be extremely helpful. I am not addressing those people. I am speaking to those who have struggled with recurrent infections OR those looking for a natural way to heal.

There is several other causes of yeast infections. They are anti-biotic use, contraceptive use, anti-inflammatory drugs, and antibiotic in our food supply. So before you run to get drugs or eat meat/fowl consider what effect it can have on your overall systemic balance.

Finally, the use of pro biotics has been shown to help the digestive tract. Having at least one bowel movement a day has been incredibly helpful in healing my yeast overgrowth. Constipation is often a symptom of yeast overgrowth. Pro biotics can help repopulate the intestines. It must be noted that controlling the yeast overgrowth needs to happen simultaneously with the pro biotic therapy. Check out the research being done on probiotic usage for many conditions. It's really promising stuff!

My hard work and lifestyle change has paid off. It has been almost 4 years since my last yeast infection. I did take Diflucan for a month 4 years ago. I found it helpful but I was still experience symptoms of a Candida overgrowth. I am not perfect and I must still be attentive to my diet, take my herbs and juice my greens. When I cheat the yeastie beasties flare up a bit. I go back to a regimen for a few days and I find relief.

None of this information is meant to take the place of a doctor or Naturopath. You must first get properly diagnosed. This is an account of my experience and my research. We are all different and we digest  differently. Just know that if you are challenged by yeast you are not alone. It is estimated that 40 million people suffer from Candida Overgrowth.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Coffee Conspiracy

Coffee could have killed me. Seriously, I was drinking two large coffees a day. Usually decaf which we all know still contains caffeine. Needless to say it took a while for me to see it. I mean coffee is all over the place. People walk around holding various name brand disposable cups of it. It is  part of the morning routine only to be trumped by brushing your teeth. How many times have you heard or said "It's too early to talk about that. Wait until I have my coffee"? That was me. 

I was all set to write this blog on various biased research studies. I was going to use coffee as an example. I thought I could easily find research that supported both sides of the coffee argument. Is it good for you or is it bad for you? Well, guess what, I had no problem finding studies that report on the positive effects of coffee consumption.  But finding a study that speaks negatively on the effects of coffee-no where! Maybe if you are drinking 4 cups a day you might find  some research for negative effects, but most of those reported minor side effects. I was shocked. Really? I had to be drinking 4 cups a day before I started feeling badly?  Well, I only drank 2 cups and I was feeling pretty crappy but research suggest it isn't the coffee. I did find a study that stated coffee could KILL you....if you used it as an enema. 

According to studies I found out coffee can do amazing things for us. It can prevent various cancers, specifically liver and colon. It can slow down the progression of Alzheimer's disease, is rich in antioxidants, aids in weight loss and it can help with type 2 diabetes and blood sugar levels. Wow! That coffee is pretty amazing stuff! I was still feeling crappy!

I didn't suspect that coffee was part of the problem because the media and science supported my addiction. Yes, I am going to say it was an addiction. It was a socially acceptable addiction. Studies can prove it is good for me even though the my body was saying something different. I believed the studies rather than my own body. 

Because of this distorted take on coffee it took me a long time to realize that coffee played role in 

my illness. I are walking around in a coffee cloud. Floating on half and half,  high on

sugar (or Nutra-Sweet). Everything is hunky dory in coffeeland. In fact, it was 

apparently helping me concentrate. Maybe I was concentrating on all my ailments and that 

was the problem!

When I quit coffee I started to feel better, sleep better, taste better. In fact, my mood was better, my skin was better and my hair was better. I made other major changes in my overall diet too. But this was a big one. This was the one that made the biggest difference.

I am now part of a minority of non-coffee drinkers. It feels strange being an outcast.  I feel left out. I do like to be part of the in crowd. It gets easier as time goes by. I can now walk by a Dunkin' Donuts and not wimper. I can pass by a Gloria's Coffee Beans and not long for a large decaf, light with half & half.  Now I would rather feel good than be intravenously feeding myself coffee from Starbucks and setting my insides on fire. Even though the science doesn't back up my findings I can safely say coffee is dangerous.......for me!