I didn’t know her name

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Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.  ~ Mother Teresa

Waiting to hear my name over the intercom. A quiet sense of dread. I don’t want to go.

Across the room sits a dignified elderly woman. She quietly talks to the woman sitting beside her. I catch her glance and she smiles. A soft smile.

I hear her tell her companion this is her initial radiation. She will be taking chemotherapy and radiation treatments at the same time. I personally know it will be an extremely difficult time. I finished my chemo before radiation started. I wasn’t sure I’d make it through chemo at my age, let alone both treatments at the same time.

They call my name. Time for my radiation treatment .

I see her the following day at my next scheduled treatment. She is called to the back before me this day.

After my treatment I walk through the facility exit and see her standing outside. I’m compelled to stop and see how she’s doing.

She takes my breath away as she quietly says there is nothing that can be done for her. Her time here is now very short. No further treatments are scheduled. Time is not her friend.

We stand in the warm sun. She knows I understand her emotion. Quiet acceptance met with her stoic dignity.

I gently but firmly hug her. I don’t want to let go.

I tell her I love her.

She says ‘I know’.

I turn and walk away.

I don’t know her name.

A Young Man

We saw Justin today.

There is something deeper about him now. His personality always lit up a room, but it’s different. A quiet sense of peace and determination surround him.

His beautiful blue eyes still full of life, graced now by the devious looking scar on the side of his head.

“The girls like the scar”, he laughed.

What a spirit he’s been gifted. To carry on his life with an endless smile is an asset from God. Somewhere inside of this young man is an eternal fountain of good. I always thought he was a decent guy, but now, now there is more.

He understands why there are people who simply can’t face him.

He understands the fear of losing life and the fight that’s needed to keep going.

Wise beyond his slender years we gravitate to him even more. In our supporting him through this part of his life journey, he gives us more than he could ever dream. He shows us a window into an eternal soul.

Justin is a brain cancer survivor.

Five habits

Today I heard a news snipit about a subject close to my heart – health.

Dr. David Angus was speaking about how to improve and take control of your health. The doctor’s comments and suggestions mirror what I have been saying most of my adult life.

There have been studies of thousands of people to confirm the benefits of incorporating five key habits to improve the quality of your life.

The first is “regularity”.

Don’t confuse regularity with obsessive compulsive. Understand our body functions best with a rhythm. Design a rhythm to your day. Get up at the same time, have a decent breakfast, lunch and dinner, and go to bed around the same time.

Of course life happens and you need to be flexible with your schedule. But for the most part we need to give our body the luxury of regularity. You will find your body will start to adapt to and thrive on a consistent rhythm.

Next the doctor recommends to “move”.

His explanation was to move ALL day. Society has fallen into a sedentary lifestyle. Even if we go to the gym (or exercise) once a day, we still need to move our body during the day.

Many employment positions today are in an office setting. So we exercise, but sit for the remainder of the day. Not good! We need to get up from our desk and walk or stand.

The doctor referred to a study done on 26,000 transportation workers, comparing the train engineers (who sat most of their day) and the platform workers (who moved most of their day). At the end of the study the engineers had a 60% higher mortality rate. Impressive reason to incorporate movement throughout your day.

One of the main reasons we need to move is to keep our lymphatic system active. A key responsibility of the lymph system is to keep our body from retaining fluids, which aids the immune system and works with the circulatory system to deliver nutrients, oxygen and hormones to our body. So you can see the importance to get up, move and stretch during your day.

The third habit to incorporate into your life is “eat real food”.

This doesn’t mean to stay away from restaurant food necessarily, but to make better choices. Choose foods that are closest to their natural state. Eat more vegetables, nuts, beans, and organic fed meats.

Our society has become accustomed to overcooked and processed vegetables – cooked to moosh. We need to get back to appreciating the flavor of “close to fresh” vegetables. These veggies will make our digestive system function the way it is designed to. We need the roughage in our gut to keep us regular.

I suggest, if at all possible, plan ahead. Take your lunch, which will give you time to plan the quality and also to control the portion (instead of eating your money’s worth at a restaurant). Yes, real food is a little pricier than fast food, but real food choices are well worth the cost.

The last two recommendations go hand in hand: monitor and take charge of your own body.

Get regular blood pressure readings to know how your body is functioning (throughout the day )– to know what your “normal” is.

Monitor your blood sugar levels. Our society is becoming borderline diabetic. Our astronomical sugar and fat consumption are devastating to our bodies.

Blood pressure and blood sugar are easy (you don’t need to go to the dr) ways to start monitoring your health. “Normal” blood pressure is 120/80, so know where you fall into this range. “Normal” blood sugar ranges should stay below 140 mg/dl.

If either blood sugar or pressure consistently rise above the normal guidelines, you need to take charge of examining why. It is your body, it is your sole responsibility to care for it.

In today’s world we have a wealth of available knowledge and information at our disposal. Web sites hosted by medical and holistic professionals have been created to educate those who seek knowledge – use them.

Don’t fall for the fads. Develop sound, realistic habits to keep your body functioning to the best of its ability for many years.

To your health!

Remember Me?

10 Tips For A Better Memory

1. If you want to remember, slow down and pay attention to what you want to

remember. The number one cause of memory problems is lack of focus.

2. Say out loud what you want to remember. Don’t worry about people thinking

you are strange for talking to yourself. Saying something out loud fires

more brain cells and helps in the memory process.

3. Get 30 minutes of physical exercise at least 5 days a week. This helps

promote circulation to the brain and will benefit your heart as well.

4. Eat a portion-controlled, balanced diet.

5. Control your stress; worry less, laugh more.

6. Make sure to drink sufficient amounts of water each day.

7. Get sufficient amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids. Your brain is

approximately 60% fat and 40% water; fuel it with the right kind of fat.

The easiest way to accomplish this is to eat fish 3 times per week.

8. Lighten up; everyone forgets from time to time. Accept that you cannot

remember everything in this highly complex and fast-paced world.

9. Use visualization techniques if they work for you. The more outlandish

the visualization, the higher the likelihood that you will remember.

10. To remember pass codes, license plate numbers, credit card numbers,

telephone numbers, and/or important dates, create a story that links the

individual letters or numbers together.

Lef.org

Sugar drinks…Yuck!

Muscles love sugar in a bad way!

So says a research group from Britain, studying the regular consumption of soft drinks by obese and Type 2 diabetic patients. Regularly drinking these sugar-loaded beverages changed the way muscles use food as fuel, making them prefer to burn sugars over fats.

The study proved their concerns about regularly drinking soft drinks not only changes our body’s metabolism, but makes it more inefficient – in the present, as well as the future. This will lead our body to a reduced ability to burn fat and to fat gain. Yikes!!!

The inefficient metabolic switch was seen in the participants who were lightly active, lean male and females drinking soft drinks for only four weeks, according to the study published in the European Journal of Nutrition.

How do we educate a country addicted to their soft drinks that they will never get their weight problems under control without NOT DRINKING these sabotagers?

Look in the carts at your local grocery store and take stock of how many soft drinks are taken home compared to milk, juice or (Lord forbid!) water.

Sugar is cheap and addictive. 

The sweet addiction is a strong, extremely difficult addiction to control (I know firsthand!).

It’s accepted in our society to let our children drink enormous quantities of this stuff almost from birth. There is a large portion of society that doesn’t understand we are cursing our kids with a path to obesity by choosing this cheap, sugar-filled drink.

What’s the answer… I’m honestly not sure.

Tax the hell out of the drinks, using the funds to educate people about their bodies (similar to alcohol)? Hold the manufacturers accountable for producing a product that is harmful to the health of our nation (hmmm, cigarettes)?

This one appears to be another uphill battle.

Use it or Lose it!

The idea of Alzheimer’s or dementia scares the Hell out of me – not for me, but for my family who will be left with the responsibilities of my care.

So I read everything I can about research, studies, supplements and anything that might impact my “golden years”.

Recently I read about four studies reported at an international conference describing the ability, of particularly, resistance training (my passion!) to improve mental functioning in older adults.

Finally validation to all the harping I’ve been doing for my entire adult life!

Physical activity is essential to healthy aging.

Get off your butts and move! That is exactly what we are designed to do and the 6- and 12-month clinical trials confirmed the beneficial effects of a variety of exercises.

Moderate walking may grow brain region related to memory: increase nerve growth according to Kirk Erickson, PhD, of the University of Pittsburgh. “Our findings suggest that the aging brain remains modifiable, and that sedentary older adults can benefit from starting a moderate walking regimen,” Erickson said.

The EXCEL (EXercise for Cognition and Everyday Living, University of British Columbia) study showed resistance training led to functional changes in three brain regions involved in memory. The study confirmed twice-weekly resistance training is a promising strategy to maintaining our brain function.

Additionally, aerobic exercise improved memory scores in the study, but on different types of memory.

Give yourself a gift for your future and implement a moderate resistance and aerobic program in your life.

There are a variety of exercise programs on the internet, or ask a local trainer (ask me for help!). Find a program that works for YOU. That is the key to continuing to incorporate movement into your everyday life – you have to enjoy or have fun doing your exercise program.

If you simply dread doing your exercises on the scheduled days, you will never stick with it. There are SO MANY different things you can add to your life that classify as “exercise”, you should never get bored.

Have fun! Find a partner to help encourage eachother to keep going on a healthier, more active path.

Or if you are not a social person, keep a journal. It’s a visual aid to help keep you on track.

Promise yourself to move every day – EVERY DAY! Do something….. anything. There are exercises each and every one of us can do, no matter what our limitations.

Read more about the above mentioned studies at : www.alz.org