Saturday, December 27, 2008

Reflections of 2008

2008 was quite a year - a year that has had it shares of joy and pain. What makes this year any different than the other years?

Well, I began the New Year in church with my family and made a list of things that I needed to accomplish in 2008. Each day had its own unique feature whether it was a moment of triumph to be followed shortly by a challenge that seemed determined to cause some distress. It was on – never a dull moment.

Family moments were rather emotional from celebrating birthdays, anxiously awaiting medical test results, graduation, traveling, attending various seminars, symposiums, signed on to participate in Cancer Prevention Study/CPS-3 (20years)and many other activities.

Determined to expand on making a difference in the lives of others, I began hosting the Health & Wellness Show which airs each Saturday morning on Blog Talk Radio. The show has featured many wonderful guests from Health Care Professionals, Authors, Presidents of Health Care Organizations, Media Personalities - all sharing great information with the listeners.

In addition to hosting the Health & Wellness Show, I signed on to myspace ( a place I viewed as a ridiculous site where my children would log on and stare at the screen for hours, posting their pictures, finding friends they have not seen in years and meeting new people (yikes!). I hesitated to join the site as I just could not see it being beneficial for my line of work. After all, who wants to talk about health on a social site? I was encouraged to sign on as a method of reaching more potential listeners.

Well, not long after I signed on to myspace, I was all involved with posting photos, catching up with friends (who knew?), posting blog and just when I finally had the hang of it, I was told to join Facebook. Needless to say, I joined Facebook. Next up - twitter. I signed on to twitter and sat there for a while unsure of what I was doing there. As a matter of fact, I noticed the messages in my email that people were following me so I decided to follow them and that's when I saw what it was all about. So I began to Twit along - giving updates on my daily activities.

By the latter part of 2008, I began to work on a CD 'The Day that Changed My Life' a CD that is made for newly diagnosed cancer patients. It is an amazing CD that will serve as a guide - taking the patient and their support system through the various stages - the highs and the lows - the treatment phases and many other great features.

So many great ideas came to my mind and I had to jot them down to add to my list of things to do. My list grows daily and is revised often. What makes this year different from any other year is the productive year that is still a work in progress. The year will end in a few days and my list of things that needed to be accomplished in 2008 is incomplete. I take joy in many of the accomplishments that I have achieved as I never imagined that I would have hosted a weekly Health & Wellness Show;create and actively post on the Health & Wellness Blog;work on CD; network with effective results; develop and designed a logo for the business and have a line of apparel and accessories; increased requests to speak at health related events,etc. I could go on and on with the accomplishments that were made - yet they were not on the to do list of 2008.

I say goodbye almost reluctantly to 2008 as I wish I could go back and make some changes. We lost my father in-law, my buddy to Multiple Myeloma a form of cancer that did not give us much time to share with each other. It was an outstanding blow that knocked the wind out of us.

I look forward to 2009 as I prepare to make my list again - with every intention of working actively on the items. The best part is knowing that I can still work on the things that I have on the 2008 list. I can only imagine what awaits me in 2009.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Special Message for Parents

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Holiday Time! Party Time! How's your Liver?

It's that time of the year where the festivities are at the peak of peaks. The office parties, the celebration of Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa along with the New Years Eve celebration - this is a season that host a streak of partying and drinking. Well, not to be the party pooper - and since this is a Health & Wellness Blog -I must - I have to pull this one out just for you. Your liver.......

Did you know that your liver is the largest internal organ and it is located in the upper right hand part of the abdomen, just behind the lower ribs and weighs about a whopping three pounds in an adult? Yes, that's right - large isn't it? However, do not let that deceive you. It has an important function more than 200 to be specific.

Here are a few functions of your liver:

1. Detoxifying poisonous chemicals which includes alcohol and drugs
2. It removes poisonous gases and chemicals that we are exposed to by inhaling from the air
3. It is responsible for making bile to help digest food
4. Your liver makes clotting factors to help blood clot
5. It is a manufacturer of new proteins
6. It serves as a storage spot for iron reserves, as well as vitamins and minerals
7. Although this does not apply to adults, the liver makes blood
8. Additionally, it stores energy by stockpiling sugar until needed
9. It processes all the food and the majority of drugs we consume

So you heard that you can get a transplant? Well, yes that is possible. However, it is also possible that you may be the jack pot winner of your state's largest lottery. The truth is although having a transplant as an option for those whose liver cannot be saved - it is also difficult finding a donor. In fact, there are many people who have succumbed to liver disease because not even their family members were willing to take the chance of going through the donor process. It is a known fact that the operation for a donor is more severe for the donor as oppose to the recipient. Unfortunately, some donors have died as a result of the procedure and these issues are discussed in advance of the surgery. Of course your family loves you, in fact they are praying for you and hoping that a miracle will come through for you to receive a new liver. Fortunately, most liver donations are from deceased donors.

Based on current research, the waiting list each year is about 17,000. Of the 17,000 on the list, 4,500 are performed each year which means that the waiting list for those who did not receive the transplantation extends for 1 - 2 years. Needless to say, there are deaths (1 of 4) who were waiting for the transplant. Even after having a transplant, the waiting period to see how well the liver functions is also a sensitive period.

Here's the deal, you cannot survive without your liver. So as you go out to celebrate or have a good time ordering your drinks - keep the health of your liver in mind.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Stress & You!

Let's take a moment to acknowledge the reality of stress and how it affects our daily lives. The levels of stress are increased at certain points in our lives and with the state of the economy, our stress levels have increased substantially.
Under normal circumstances, stress can be overwhelming. However, it is important to know that has been linked to various illnesses and diseases.

Your body is on alert at every living moment of your life. Your senses are heightened and it sends messages to the brain about the environment. It knows how you react to the sounds, scents, feel, things you see, and taste. Would you believe that stress and disease can actually change the shape of our blood cells? Yes, it can. In some cases, stressed cells have become distorted in shape. The effects of stress can destroy your cells as a result it weakens your body.

Take note when your cells die and they are not restored, you become a candidate for various infections and illnesses that are stress related. There are many illnesses and diseases that are stress related a few of them are:

1. Rheumatoid arthritis
2. Ulcers
3. Insomnia
4. Stroke
5. Heart Attacks
6. High Blood Pressure
7. Migraine Headaches

In order to deal with the stress, it is important to take the time to use the various resources that are available. How about going to the gym or getting in some form of exercise? It doesn't have to be intense - a light work out will do wonders.
On the other hand, some people pray, while others meditate. Some seek medical or therapeutic intervention seeing a psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker or even going to the spa. Whether you go to your spiritual leader or adviser, family or best friend, it's best to find a way to deal with the stress.

It may seem that this is easier said than done but it is very important that you find a way to alleviate stress. It's for the good of your health.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Influenza and You!

The flu season is upon us and it is heavily promoted during the season. It usually begins as early as September and goes through December. However, the earlier you get the vaccine, the better. The vaccine is offered by the following health related organizations and offices:

  • State Department of Health
  • Hospitals/Clinics
  • Doctors Offices
  • Community Health Centers
  • Schools/Colleges/University Health Centers

What is Influenza?

Influenza is commonly referred to as the flu. It is contagious and can be quite fatal. However, in most cases people who have had the flu were able to avoid the most severe complications.

It is spread from person to person – you may have seen it before – a person sneezes or coughs and you see a burst of spray flying out of their mouths or nose and it grosses you out. Hopefully, you are not the offender. However, the virus can be on the door knob, the handle bar of the shopping cart you push around the store, the different hand contacts that you encounter daily and without thinking you may eat something using your hands to place it in your mouth, you may rub your eyes at some point, you do this automatically without realizing that you did not even wash your hands.

Would you believe that one can infect others even before they are aware of any symptoms?

The symptoms include:

  • headache
  • fever
  • chills
  • fatigue
  • runny nose
  • small children - nausea, vomiting and diarrhea more common than in adults
  • sore throats
  • aches and discomfort in muscles

There are various people who are considered high risk for serious flu complications:

  • People who have a severe allergy to eggs.
  • People who have had a severe reaction to an influenza vaccination in the past.
  • People who are older
  • People who have pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, heart diseases and asthma
  • Young children

Cancer patients who are in treatment must discuss the best possible treatment with their physician. Your immune system is already compromised and it is important that you do not sign up for anything without first clearing it with your physician.

Here are a few pointers that will be most helpful for you:

  • wash your hands
  • cover your mouth when you cough
  • cover your nose when you sneeze
  • be considerate of others - get protected for not only yourself but you will also protect your loved ones who may suffer from an illness/disease
  • stay at home if you have the flu - why pass it on?
  • drink lots of fluids avoid caffeine and alcohol
  • allow your body to rest/relax/recuperate
  • if you do not remember whether or not you did - wash your hands again

It is important to mention that the flu shot may have its share of adverse reactions. If you have recently received the vaccine and you become dizzy, have a high fever, experience difficulty breathing, become disoriented, hoarse or have a rapid heart beat – call your doctor immediately.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Sudden Death - Young Athletes Dying!

Sean Fisher was only 13 years old; Max Gilpin was 15 years old; Douglas Morales a 17 year old high school student; Ereck Plancher a college freshman. These students have all died as a result of participating in football training. Curious? What's going on here?

  • Who is responsible for this?

  • Are students who are physically cleared appropriately tested?

  • Are we listening to their concerns/complaints?

  • Are they being pushed too far during training?

Students who are athletically inclined look forward to participating in their favorite sport. In fact, they prepare and practice hoping to make the team. However, in order to participate in any form of physical activity, most schools require a clearance from a physician. The fact that the students are cleared for physical activities/sports is no longer a reason to feel confident that they are going to be safe while playing their sport.

Keep in mind that your child may feel strongly about being a part of the team, the school pride/spirit, the coaches, trainers, teammates as well as some parents are enthusiastically counting on them to perform. Therefore, they may not be forth coming with any complaints/health concerns. They want to make their school, parents, friends, team mates, classmates - all proud of their ability to play the game.

As the coaches/trainers prepare the team to play the game, they focus on intense drilling. The goal of the coach/trainer is to build endurance mentally and physically. Students may experience shortness of breathing, exhaustion, dizziness and other signs of fatigue – but the coaches/trainers often ignore the complaints as they are focused on building endurance and physical stamina – perhaps it is more in the form of thinking mind over matter – work through the challenges because you most likely wont be able to stop for a drink of water/Gatorade/etc. during an actual game.

There are some things that parents can do:

  • Have your child thoroughly tested - including an EKG that may be able to detect any heart abnormalities during physical activities. If you feel uncertain, go ahead and ask for a stress test/heart ultrasound.

  • Tell your doctors as much information as you can about your family history (has anyone had a sudden cardiac arrest at a young/early age?)

  • Talk to your child - ask him/her about their physical response during activities? Be specific in asking if they have experienced any shortness of breath, chest pains, feeling faint or weak?

  • Do not take anything for granted - a heart murmur is serious.

  • Speak to your school's coach, ask him/her if they have the necessary equipment to assist the students in the event someone collapses on the field/during practice? Have they received the training to operate the equipment?

While the physicians may not be too keen on the idea of the thorough physical testing, keep in mind that this is your child. If your car broke down, you would take it to the mechanic and have it repaired or you may even decide to purchase a new one. On the other hand, if your child collapses, you may not be able to have him/her fixed and there is definitely no replacement for the loss. If the physician is unable to perform the tests due to insurance restrictions then by all means pay for it yourself. You may find that it is actually affordable or perhaps you can ask your physician to work out a payment plan. It's less than the cost of a funeral and the lifelong emotional pain that may cost you in therapy fees.

In getting a thorough examination and in support of your child's team, you have done your best. Now it's time to cheer them on - Go team go!

Saturday, August 23, 2008


Have you ever received an email that warns you or serves as an alert that there is a recall on a medicine? These emails are usually forwarded from a family, friend or colleague who is sharing the information to make you aware of potential danger. What do you do with that information? Do you read quickly through it and then forward it on to others? Do you talk about it with others? Do you even remember?

While you may be concerned for your health, you may find yourself relying on the emails as a guide to what you should avoid. However, it is more important that you get the facts for yourself. You need to know if the information you received through your trusted sources is factually sound. There are those emails that are not necessary true - even though it mentions CNN, Good Morning America, Today Show and the various notable morning news programs.

Here are some solutions:

You may have to go to the specific site search box and type in medical recalls, medical alerts or medical warnings. An example will be on the Johnson and Johnson website there is no visible link to alerts. However, if you use their search box, a list of products that were recalled or had alerts/warnings will appear.

Go ahead - do it - it's for your own knowledge and most importantly - your health.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Children Facing Adult Diseases – Who is Responsible?

The reports and statistics are out. The percentage of children who are overweight has doubled over the past 30 years. It is neither a surprise nor a secret – we see it with our own eyes. As our society has made great progress over the years in many areas of health, our children now face a major set back as they are diagnosed with diseases. These diseases once reserved for adults have moved into the younger generation. This means that our children and their children may lead unhealthy lives – living with diseases.

As a result, new chronic diseases have emerged while others will be prevalent through adulthood:

  • Type 2 diabetes

  • Hypertension

  • Hyperlipidemia

  • Coronary Diseases

  • Stroke

  • Sleep related breathing disruptions
Who is Responsible?

We all are – parents, educators, physicians, nutritionists, family members and friends. The responsibility is upon the adults who play a role in a child’s life. The consumption of junk food, high caloric drinks, chips, cookies, and other snacks at large portions.We are responsible for teaching and leading by example. Do you have any fruits on your table/refrigerator? Are your cupboards filled with potato chips, cookies, candies, popcorn, etc.? Are you giving in to your child's request for fast food/takeout rather than cooking a nutritious meal?

I can recall as a child when we would go out shopping with my parents, we would ask to go to McDonalds, Burger King or Kentucky Fried Chicken. My parents would tell us to wait until we get home where they would then prepare a tuna sandwich or a peanut butter with jelly sandwich and we would enjoy it with a glass of milk. Our snacks would include an apple, pear, peach, plum orange, banana or some other fruit - and we really enjoyed it. Of course we enjoyed a slice of cake, cookies, ice cream or jello from time to time - it was our dessert. We especially looked forward to our Sunday dinners as it would be the treat after our meal.

The key to our intake was that our parents monitored our consumption. We also burned a lot of energy while playing with our family and friends. We would jump rope, play hop scotch, dodge ball, base ball, soft ball, roller skate, tag etc. Our children have computers (my space, facebook, twitter) video games that are also hand held (sitting and playing) hundreds of cable channels (VH1, MTV, BET) just in one position occupied for hours. While they sit around, they snack on chips, soda, cookies, ice cream, etc. As a result, the combination of sitting around and eating creates quite a problem.

Get your child actively involved in some form of physical activity. Do not depend only on the physical educational courses within their schools - get them involved in sports, dancing, jogging, etc.

Their future depends heavily on their present - you want the best for them - including their health. Can we blame the fast food restaurants? I would say no. The businesses are taking care of what they do - business. It's time for us as parents to take care of what we do - parenting - our business.

Monday, June 23, 2008

What's More Important?

Having your own business requires consistent review. Ideas are continuously flowing and ways to improve are being flushed through your mind. Taking it up to the next level is the main goal - not wanting to miss out on being able to provide the services that your competitors are able to deliver. In fact, you want your business to be even better - stand out - completely unique in delivering services that others really need and you can give it to them.

Well, I have a list of questions that I often ask myself

• How am I doing?
• What can I do to improve?
• Am I offering my clients an invaluable service?
• What about my internal clients? Are they feeling appreciated?
• Are my external clients referring me to others?
• How effective is my networking?
• Am I investing enough time into my business?

More questions can be added to the list. However, most important in keeping your business report, be sure to take an honest look at yourself. Your well being - your physical, emotional/mental health are vital in doing business. Your purpose in doing business is not only to be your own boss, be in control but to also enjoy life on your terms. You want to live a prosperous life - well, you also need to live a healthy life. Be sure to take care of the business of your own health.

• Stay hydrated (drink water, 100% fruit juices)
• Make time to get pampered (spa, massage, body rub/scrub)
• Exercise (enjoy a yoga class)
• Meditate (quiet time to center yourself)
• Make healthy eating choices (salad, fruits, vegetables, vitamins, etc.)
• Visit your doctor and follow the standard health screenings
• Travel (plan a vacation - go see other places)
• Spend quality time with your family
• Donate your time, clothes, other items or money to a worthy cause
• Go out for a night on the town (concert, dinner, Broadway show, museum)
• Make time for a social gathering (group of folks who share common interests, friends)
• Play golf, tennis, chess, dominos, basketball, softball, base ball, etc.
• Go to a book store pick up that book you've been meaning to read
• Relax and begin to read your book - even just a chapter or two - then be sure to make some time to continue reading it again - even if you have to take it to the mandatory room (the place we all have to sit for a while).

You are in business with the goal of enjoying life. It's hard to step away especially when you are constantly working on something new or something that requires your attention, or just having to put that time in to see the business grow. It will grow but you will be surprised at the growth you can achieve by taking care of yourself. It builds your confidence - you will feel like a billion bucks, and most of all your business will improve.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Health Priorities for Summer

It is very important that as the summer approaches we ensure that our bodies are properly hydrated. As there are those who take special care to prepare their cars, motorcycles, SUV's, vans, etc. for the specific season, we must prioritize and the most important should be our health.

How else can we enjoy all of the things we love to do?

  • Drink a lot of water even if you are not thirsty. We feel thirsty when we are actually depleted so a drink in advance will keep us in good standing. If exercising heavily in hot weather, aim for two to four glasses of water or 16 to 32 ounces every hour. Limit exercise or strenuous physical activity to the coolest part of the day which is early in the morning or late evening. Avoid alcohol, caffeine or lots of sugar as they will cause you to lose more fluid.
  • Wear loose fitting clothing that's comfortable allowing the material to breathe (cotton) and avoid dark colors as it attracts heat.
  • If you work or play when it is very hot, be sure that you find a shady area to cool down for a few minutes while you hydrate (drink some water).
  • Be sure to wear sunscreen at all times (SPF 30+). Use an umbrella, or wear a hat with a brim to keep the sun off the face and head.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Healthier Choices - Healthier Business Minds

The fact is that we are living longer lives than our forefathers and mothers. However, that does not mean that our lives are healthier. The advances in medicine enables us to live with diseases and illnesses that can lengthen our time giving us a longer life. Have you said to yourself that you have to improve your health? Do you procrastinate in keeping your word to eat right? Exercise more?

Life is filled with challenges. As a business woman or man the challenges are consistently before you. What do you do when you are overwhelmed with the stresses of making decisions, dealing with various immediate sensitive issues, etc.? Do you grab a drink? You know that alcohol affects every organ in the body? Only a small amount of alcohol can be metabolized by the enzymes in the liver - that means that the alcohol has no choice but to circulate througout the body. Red wine is recommended with one glass a day for women and two for men to help in the prevention of heart attacks. There have also been reports that claims that red wine also helps to prevent cancer. The red wine is rich in phytochemicals which acts as antioxidants and it possibly prevents cancer. However, with all things do so in moderation the fact is drinking excessive amounts of alcohol is linked to many types of cancer.

How about your eating habits? Do you eat out or order take out often? It sure is more convenient to grab something quick to eat but at what cost? What are the long term consequences? Will it be worth it? You have choices - they may not be the most appealing meals but how about a salad, steamed vegetables and fish? What I am suggesting is that you make a healthier choice every now and again. You can begin today - have a yogurt as a snack. Drink a glass of water or two when you think of drinking soda. I know when you want soda - you have a taste for soda not water. Well, how about mixing it up - have water when you are thirsty rather than drink soda. When you go to a restaurant have the water, drink it. Start making smalls changes you will soon notice that you can have your cake and eat it too - in moderation.

A healthy body gives you great confidence and with that amazing business mind that you have, you will be beside yourself with glee. You will be even sharper than you ever imagined and your life will be longer and healthier than ever. Let's plan to go skiing at 90?

Now is the best time to take charge of our Health!