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Focused Wellness Solutions with Rosie

Stay Well; Stay Healthy; Stay Focused

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The Grieving Process

Posted on April 1, 2018 at 4:37 PM Comments comments ()
 It has been about 6 weeks since the whirlwind of events, cancer diagnosis, surgery, consultations with oncologists and radiation oncologists, as well as physical therapists.  I am one that does not like to go to doctors!  Enough!  But, what I am learning, is that I am going through the grieving process.

You may recall, from years ago, the esteemed Swiss-born doctor Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, identified the five stages of grief in her famous book, “On Death and Dying”.  It was initially relating to the awareness of one’s own pending death, but these concepts have broadened to anyone suffering from a significant loss of something very important to them.    It is important to note that not everyone goes through all five stages and some may go through the stages in a different order, and may go back and forth through the stages.  Grieving is a very individual process.  So, what are the stages of grief?
1.        Denial:  This, by far, is usually the first reaction.  “This can’t be happening to me; no, they are wrong.”  It may be more difficult to accept if the incident was totally unexpected or sudden.  It is not uncommon for people to go from one doctor to another just hoping that the diagnosis was wrong.
2.       Anger/Blame/Guilt:  Once the reality that this is happening becomes clear it is normal to become angry, very angry.  It is also common to look for blame and then self-guilt.  Whose fault is it.  “Why did this happen to me?”  If only, if only, if only……..  Just realize that this is a normal process.
3.       Bargaining:  Some people may find themselves bargaining, bargaining with God, bargaining with their spouse, promising to do better from now on, eating better, stopping smoking, stopping gambling, or whatever they feel may have contributed to the issue at hand.  Once the true reality sets in, the next stage may be depression.
4.       Depression:  This is when things really hit you and the reality of your situation becomes crystal clear.  This is a time when you may cry, shout, withdraw from others, lash out, and feel totally helpless and hopeless.  Suicidal thoughts may arise.  Professional help may be invaluable to those who are struggling with this stage.
5.       Acceptance:  This is the final stage when you accept the loss and what is happening to you and are ready to move on to a more normal functioning and life.  This is not to say that things will be normal again, but a “new” normal. 
There will be times when new issues arise and the feelings will bounce back and forth among the stages.  It is NORMAL, NATURAL, and HEALTHY. 

The key is finding support where you can, from loved ones, friends, clergy, closed support groups dealing specifically with the issue at hand.  You are not alone in this.  Others are going through this as well and can understand the feelings.   So, I remind myself that It’s OK to cry.

Stay well; Stay healthy, Stay focused.

It can happen to you!

Posted on February 27, 2018 at 10:24 AM Comments comments ()
It can happen to you!
I haven’t written in a while, but I have been quite distracted and occupied.  I debated whether to share my personal experience or not, but decided that if one person was helped it was worth it.

I have been in the healthcare field for more than 45 years.  I have always been the provider, on the other side of the desk.  Recently I have found myself on the other side of the desk.  It was an eyeopener, to say the least.  A very humbling experience.

I have always practiced what I preached, taking good care of myself and making certain that I did all the preventive health screening as directed.  I know my body well.  Two years ago I noticed a little lump in my breast, nothing big, no pain, but not right.  My GYN doctor, whom I have been going to for decades, didn’t think much of it. Mammogram was normal.  So, we watched it.  Well, let’s say, I watched it!  The following year I felt that it had gotten a little bigger.  She felt it this time and agreed that it was there, and ordered a 3D mammogram as well as an ultrasound.  Again, normal findings.  Probably just a cyst.  Another year goes by and this time the size had doubled again of this lump and slightly painful.  She acknowledged the increase in size and again ordered a repeat 3D mammogram and ultrasound.  This time she requested that I have the tests done at another location with a highly expert radiologist.  Tests again showed nothing.  But, this time the radiologist came in to speak with me.  He reiterated that there was no change in the x-rays compared to the others.  I insisted that he examine the lump. “Whoa, there is something there.”  Come back in two days for a biopsy.  The biopsy came back positive for cancer.

So, it is now a whirlwind of events, seeing a breast surgeon, having the surgery, and given appointments with an oncologist and radiologist.  A lot of things to digest in a short period of time and decisions to make about treatment. 

There are three key points that I want to stress to you:

1.       Know your body.  Know what is right and what is not right.  Each person is different.

2.       Be assertive if you know something is not right and needs to be evaluated further.

3.       Realize that lab tests and radiology tests are not 100% accurate; there is an error rate.  Healthcare providers rely on these tests to help manage your care.  But, the importance of your history and your physical examination can’t be understated.  It all works together.
My life has been turned upside down.  From now on, my perspective on life has changed.  There is more of an urgency to do what is on my bucket list.  There is also more appreciation for the family and friends that I have.  It’s kind of a life reset, which isn’t all bad.

Will share with you things that I learn along the way.
Until then,

Stay well; Stay healthy, Stay focused.

Change in difficult- What is your "why"?

Posted on December 14, 2017 at 1:52 PM Comments comments ()
Another year is closing in on us and the New Year is around the corner.  One of the most common resolutions for the new year is to lose weight.  Millions of people make it a priority…… year, after year.  The failure rate is high.  Change is difficult and habits are even harder to break.
It is time to reflect on your “why”, the reason for your resolution.  Are you committed?  On a scale of 1-10, how committed are you to making changes?   On a scale of 1-10, do you feel you are capable of making those changes.  If you can honestly answer 8,9, and 10, then you have a good chance of success.  If less, than you may not be ready to make the commitment to succeed.  Positive, steady choices are needed for success.  Your “why” must be powerful.
At this point it is necessary to understand that there are three influences that can either support your goals or derail you. Those influences are: input (what you feed your mind), associations (the people that you spend time with), and environment (your surroundings).  Let’s go through each one by one.
Input:    What are you allowing into your brain?  So much of what we see and read is negative and destructive.   We need to be conscious of what we are consuming in our minds, disciplined and protective.  That means limiting the negative news media, which gives us a very biased, perverted view of the world.    Stay informed, but limit the amount and find an outlet that is fair and balanced (good luck!). 
Associations:  This one may be a little disconcerting.  Who are you associating with?  What are their habits?  The folks that you hang around with are called your “reference group.”  According to Dr. David McClelland of Harvard, your reference group determines as much as 95% of your success or failure in life.  These are the folks that we end of eating much of the same things, read the same things, dress the same, watch the same TV programs, and pretty much believe the same things.  We are unaware of these things.  So, look around to your five best friends and take a good hard look.  Are these folks going to support you in your new goals or would you anticipate that they might sabotage them?  Perhaps associations with those that might not support you need to be reassessed; tough decisions may need to be made if your “why” is strong enough.  Remember, not all friendships are meant to be for a lifetime.
Environment:  Environment does not refer to where you live, it is creating a positive environment to support your success.  Is there clutter in your life, both physical as well as mental.  Set up standards in your life that you expect.  Live in peace, not in chaos and stress.  It will suck the energy out of you.  You are worthy of respect.  You have total control over your environment.
So, with the new year approaching, what are your goals, and is your “why” strong enough for success?
Stay well; Stay healthy, Stay focused.
Happy New Year!

Note:  I highly recommend the book: Hardy, D. The Compound Effect. (2010). Da Capo Press.  The information on this blog was found in this book.

The contents of your grocery cart is a reflection of you

Posted on November 9, 2017 at 10:27 PM Comments comments ()

I was recently caught in a long line in my local grocery store waiting for checkout.  This gave me an opportunity to look around and observe my fellow shoppers and what was in their carts.

The lady in front of me had 4   two liter bottles of soda in the bottom of her cart, along with a 6 pack of Pepsi.  There were 2 bags of chips, two packs of hot dogs along with hotdog buns.  There were several frozen dinners, pizzas, boxed macaroni and cheese, a box of donuts, a loaf of white bread, and some bologna.  She was a person grossly obese, with difficulty breathing, and needed assistance with ambulation by using a cane.

The man waiting in back of me had just a few items, including a bag of organic apples, skinless chicken breasts, some romaine lettuce and a couple of sweet potatoes.   He was a tall, lean, and fit man, and I would guess in his sixties.

These two examples just reinforce that food is a major contributor to our health.  What we eat matters.  The lady in the first example purchased nothing but sugar, salt, and fatty processed items with little nutritional value.  There were no whole foods.

The man purchased all whole foods, lean meats, organic fruit, and lower glycemic index potatoes.  He obviously was interested in eating foods with good nutritional value.  And it showed.

Navigating the grocery store is an art.  There are land mines everywhere you go as they lure you to buy products of questionable value.  The absolute best advice is to work the perimeter of the store.  This is where the fruits and vegetables, meats, dairy, and breads are located.  Everything in between is processed foods, sugary drinks, frozen meals, ice cream, chips, canned goods.  The next best advice is to look for whole foods.  Look at the nutritional labels.  If you can’t pronounce the words or recognize the ingredients, stay away from it.  The more ingredients, the more chemicals and preservatives.

So, what’s in your cart?



Why dietary supplements are necessary.

Posted on October 29, 2017 at 3:04 PM Comments comments ()
Write your post here.
There continues to be a great deal of controversy surrounding dietary supplements.  Many profess that supplements are not necessary if you ingest a balanced diet.  I would say that that might be correct IF one eats a balanced diet.  All one has to do is go to a grocery store and stand in line at the checkout to see what people are eating.  It is anything but balanced!  Most have very little nutritious food in their cart.  It is, however, filled with chips, dips, sodas, frozen dinners, pastries, cakes, and junk! 

There are also several other factors that cause a diminished nutritional value in foods.  One, the produce of today does not contain the same nutritional factors as those of 40-50 years ago. Two, many chemicals including pesticides and fertilizers may increase the yield of the crops, but does upset the ecological balance, disturbing the nutritional content, as well as being poisonous to humans.  Currently there are more than one thousand chemicals used in the food processing industry.  Unless you purchase nothing but organic foods, no amount of washing will eliminate these toxins as they are now within the cellular level of the plant.  Much if not all of the produce is picked before it is ripe causing a deficiency in nutrients.  These fruits and vegetables tend to be more acid in nature, instead of alkaline, making humans more prone to disease.  Bread, a staple in most households, is not the same either as it was 50 years ago. Wheat is the one crops that has exceeded corn in acreage planted.  It is one of the most consumed grains on the face of the earth, constituting 20 percent of all calories consumed.   But due to the enormous demand, it has been hybridized, crossbred and changed in order to gain a higher yield and be resistant to drought and pathogens.  It has come at a price; the human intestine has become more permeable, allowing for substances to pass through, causing us to be more vulnerable to diseases.

So, in my mind, good quality supplements are necessary for optimal health.   They are not drugs, and are not intended to treat, diagnose, prevent or cure disease.  The FDA regulations for dietary supplements are not the same as for prescriptions drugs.  Supplements do not require approval of the FDA.  There are a lot of bad supplements on the market, so it is important that you purchase from a reputable company that is science based, has good manufacturing processes.  But, having said that, work with a knowledgeable health care provider to determine what is best for you, and always include your supplements in your list of medications.  Some supplements will interact with medications, so it is imperative that your health care provider has the full picture of what you are taking.

Let's talk about water and hydration!

Posted on July 9, 2017 at 7:48 PM Comments comments ()
Let’s talk about water and hydration!
I know, this isn’t the most entertaining or fascinating topic to talk about, but is one of the most important for our health.  I am sitting here in the Southwest where heat records have been occurring on a daily basis.  To be blunt, “it’s been hotter than hell here!”  It is imperative that you get enough water daily; if you wait until you are thirsty, it’s too late!

Our bodies are comprised of about 65% water.  Keeping fully hydrated is necessary for a variety of bodily functions, physiological processes and biochemical reactions.  These include:  blood circulation, waste removal and detoxification, metabolism, and body temperature regulation.

What if you are thirsty?  You have already lost approximately 1-2 percent of total water content in your body.  That’s not much.  But this is enough of a decline in your body’s ability to fully function and perform.  So much so that athletes can expect at least a 10% decrease in their performance.

Perhaps you have ignored the initial sensation of thirst, what other symptoms might occur that might give you a wake-up call to drink more water?
-          Dizziness
-          Fatigue and Irritability
-          Infrequent urination and urine that is very dark in color
-          Constipation
-          Headache
-          Bad breath and dry mouth
-          Poor concentration
-          SUGAR cravings!
How do you know if you’ve had enough water?  The answer is two-fold:  looks at the color of your urine.  It should be almost clear the more hydrated you are.  You will also be urinating more frequently.  The other objective measurement is how easily you have a bowel movement.  A constipated stool is a sign of dehydration.

How much water should I drink?  The usual and common recommendation is 6-8 ounces of water/day.  Another good rule of thumb is to take your weight, say 150 pounds, and divide in half, suggesting 75 ounces of water a day.

Many people just don’t like water and are using fruit juices, soft drinks, sports drinks as a substitute.  Let me be perfectly clear- these drinks are NOT substitutes for water.   Your body needs WATER, and water that is clean, clear, and preferably filtered, free of toxins and pollutants.  Even bottled water cannot be trusted for its’ filtration.

If I don’t like water, what can I do?  I am going to confess that I fall into that category.  But, I have found a couple of things that really do help me stay on track and drink more water.  Perhaps these things will work for you:
-          Drinking water with a lot of ice.  I find that water is more palatable if it is cold.
-          Using infused water.  I purchased a jar with an infuser and have experimented with several types of fruits (peaches, pineapple, watermelon) and vegetables (cucumbers).  The hint of flavor from the fruits and vegetables give the water an interesting flavor and one that is acceptable.

The take-a-way from this is to listen to your body and always have water with you, especially in the summer months. 
Until next time.


Things have changed in the past 50 years!

Posted on April 9, 2017 at 5:41 PM Comments comments ()
Things have changed!
For those of you who are older, you know that things “ain’t” what they used to be.  Change can be good, but it also can have deleterious consequences.
I have been a healthcare provider for 45 years and was indoctrinated in the ways of medical profession at that time.  Little questioning was done at the time and we just believed in what was taught.  Well, we now know that many things were not correct.  Here’s a few:

1.        Fat foods are bad for you.  Eat more carbohydrates; many were told to ingest as much as 65% of their diet in carbohydrates.  Along came diet foods, fat free, etc.   With the decrease in fat, that means the foods are made with increased sugars, or more carbohydrates.  Look at the statistics.  We are now a FAT nation.  It is now all the sugars that have become our achilles heel with about 2/3 of our American population overweight or obese.  With this obesity comes a whole host of medical issues, including but not limited to diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and joint problems.  This has to be stopped.  Good fats, such as olive oil and avocados should be included in your everyday diet.

2.       Eggs are bad for you.  It wasn’t very long ago that physicians counseled their patients on limiting eggs to no more than 2 per week because of their cholesterol content.  Hogwash!  Eggs are perhaps one of the most perfect proteins.  And the majority of cholesterol is manufactured in the body, not through external foods. 

3.       The food pyramid from the US Dept. of Agriculture, 2017 show that we should be eating 3-5 servings of grains, breads, and potatoes each day.  That is a heck of a lot of starch and sugar.  Just think about the aisles and rows of cereals in your local supermarket.  Americans are eating 192.3 pounds of flour and cereal per year.  Most of these cereals are laden with SUGAR, compounding the problem.  The other issue is the wheat.  Wheat grown in the 1940’s and 1950’s is NOT the same as the wheat grown today.    We are seeing the results of hybridization of the wheat crops, that have increased yield, but that are digested differently in the human body.  If you are interested, I highly recommend the book “Wheat Belly”, but William Davis, MD (2011).  And, of course, the advertisements on these products are highly endorsed by big Agriculture.  The results are increased metabolic syndrome, diabetes, autoimmune disorders, celiac disease.  Time to question EVERYTHING that comes out as a recommendation from government and research who as the underlying interests.  Certainly  government looking out for OUR best interests.

I think that’s enough to chew on for a little bit.  I’ve learned a lot in the past 50 years and I have to say I am very disappointed in those that are supposed to have our best interests at heart.  Perhaps I was naïve and probably still am, because I want to think the best of the powers that be, but I am now much more skeptical and question everything.  My health is at stake.

Until next time.

Stay well; stay health; stay focused.

Habits- How to change a habit

Posted on March 8, 2017 at 4:55 PM Comments comments ()
Habits- How to change a habit
You have tried and tried and tried to change a habit, such as lose weight.  I would bet that you can name all the different weight loss programs and have tried just about everyone.  Frustrating, isn’t it?  You just want to give up and eat all the pizza or the entire cake, or the whole gallon of ice cream.  Please don’t give up; learn the process of change, if you truly want to change.

It’s time to realize that you can’t really truly extinguish a habit; you have to change and replace it.  Remember, there is a cue, a routine, and then a reward in a habit.  The best way to alter the habit is to keep the same cue and the reward, but change the routine.  That will change the habit.

Let’s take Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) for example.  This organization requires people to take a good look at what their triggers or cues are as well as the rewards; the organization then helps them find new behaviors.  What are the rewards that they achieve when they drink alcohol?  For many, it is an escape, or relaxation; for others, it is companionship or a chance to feel free.  AA then strives to achieve the same feelings or rewards by changing their routine, ie, attending AA meetings, rather than drinking.

Now, do some introspection.  What is one habit that you have had for a very long time and wish to change?  Be honest.  What are the cues for that habit?  What is the reward?  What is your usual routine?  The odds are in your favor for success if you change your routine and you commit to the change.

Oh, there is one other very important piece to the success of the change.  It is belief.  Believe that you can do it; believe that it is worthy of change; believe in yourself.

Remember, if you think you can’t; you won’t.  If you think you can, you will!
Until next time.

Stay well; stay healthy; stay focused.

Habits, The Good, Bad, and Ugly

Posted on February 12, 2017 at 9:07 PM Comments comments ()

I thought I’d start my blog with the topic of habits.  Habits are something that everyone has and begins very early in life.    Just think about a typical day.  You wake up and start your day with habits, how you get up, brush your teeth, eat breakfast, dress, travel to work, when you have your breaks, lunch, location as well as who you eat with, when you leave work, the route you travel home, and then what you like to eat.  Most activities are accomplished almost on automatic pilot.  Why?  Because these routines have rewarded and served you well.  They are nature’s way to allow us to act quickly in response to routine events.  This convenience comes at a price, because we are acting without really, really thinking about what we are doing, we aren’t in full control of our actions.  Habits, once in place, are very difficult to break.

But, as we have good habits, many of us have habits that give immediate pleasure but cause our health to suffer.  Eating too much, drinking too much, taking illicit drugs, smoking, and gambling are the most common habits that plague people.  With more technology, newer “habits” include spending excessive amounts on the computer with games, or being unable to put the cellular phone down.

All of these habits have one thing in common.  Whatever cue is linked to the activity, whether it be a specific food, the smell of smoke, or the co-activity with smoking, such as smoking while in a bar, or the sound of the gambling machine spitting out money, actually activates the dopamine system in the brain.  It is the classical conditioned response, which generated a predictable response.  Each time this cue is stimulated and the reward is given, the strength of the cue becomes harder and harder to break.

The ugly part is that the power of the habit will continue unless there is a conscious effort in overriding the engrained system.  The old adage, “just use your willpower” just doesn’t work.   
In future blogs, I’ll discuss reversing the habits.

Stay well, stay healthy, stay focused.

Staying healthy- transitioning from traditional thought to integration of mind-body

Posted on February 2, 2017 at 11:16 PM Comments comments ()