Go ahead and dig in the garden

Dear Gentle Reader,

With the strains of Vivaldi’s 4 Seasons setting the tone, spring has finally come to Seattle. While so many of you are enjoying unseasonably warm weather, we have seen snow flurries, much rain and the thermometer has not climbed into the upper 50’s. Until the last couple of days.  The parking lots at the nurseries were full this weekend.  I came home with 11 bags of top soil and 6 roses.  Getting these in the ground usually means an aching body.  My friend, after a day of digging, complained that she couldn’t bend down to tie her shoes.  What’s a person to do who nurses osteoarthritis and spinal stenosis?

Here are some suggestions:

On your hands and knees.  Perhaps you, like me, are most comfortable crawling around on your hands and knees.  My friend, catching sight of my knee pads hanging from the wall, asked what sort of art object that was.  Those are my knee pads.  I have them hung right by the back door so I grab them when I head outside to do a gardening chore, however small or brief. If they are hidden away in some garden shed, you won’t put them on.  You’ll be in the garden and you’ll bend over to pull a weed and there goes the back.

A garden stool  I love my garden stool made of sturdy plastic. Upright I can sit on it to work in the barrels and containers, harvest pool beans and fava beans.  Inverted, I can kneel on it and use the legs as handles to lift me up.

Stretching i didn’t mention this first because I stretch everyday first thing in the morning, first on the Back2Life machine and then a few Feldenkrais hip opener moves followed by yoga down dog, runner’s lunge and plank.  Then while the oatmeal cooks, the seated routine with Jennifer Kreis. I blogged about Jennifer’s seating wake up exercises last Feb. 12, Yoga and Arthritis. I just checked her website: The DVD I love so much is now part of a set of 4 and they are currently discounted to $29.95.

Time limit  Don’t over do it.  The minute I sense a strain, I stop.  Manana es otro dia.  Tomorrow is another day.

I found this delightful forum on gardening which I’d like to share with you.  Enjoy the comments of these women as they share how they keep their bodies moving. http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/accessible/msg091943101715.html  Together we will achieve more, and more comfortably.

Thanks for reading, and please send your suggestions so we can learn from your techniques.

Be well, Do Well and Keep Moving,

Betsy

Betsy Bell’s Health4U

206 933 1889

www.HiHohealth.com

I enthusiastically forster a person’s business development in the health and wellness field.

It comes down to what we eat

Gentle Reader,

A friend sent me a TED talk by Dr.Terry Wahls  on MS this past week.  In the 5 minute screening she recounts her productive life as a research scientist up to the debilitating onset of MS.  Seeking the best care medical professionals had to offer, her condition worsened.  Driven by her inquiring mind to know as much as she could about her disease, she began to experiment with different foods and supplements.  As her condition improved, she increased her dependence on whole plant foods, greens, reds, yellows, blues, purples and lessened or stopped eating altogether all refined foods, meats, dairy, sugars, grains.  Exercise became possible.  Brain function and mobility returned to better than normal.  All drug intake stopped.  Take a minute to watch. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLjgBLwH3Wc

Arthritis caused by spinal stenosis and osteoarthritis is not Multiple Sclerosis.  I realize this. I would challenge anyone suffering from the pain and loss of mobility caused by arthritis to eat the diet Dr. Wahls describes and discover how much this pain lessens and mobility increases.  Every other system in the body improves with this diet.

Now, most people will not be able to eat this way day in and day out.  I don’t. For instance, yesterday I ate 1 meal on the run, getting off for choir practice with a protein shake in my car.  The next two meals I ate in the company of church members, lunch with a homeless community meal; dinner with the group of people I traveled with to Nicaragua in February.  My defense is supplementation.  The Carotanoids, Flavonoids, the Liver Cleanse, the pre and pro biotic do their best to take the place of the diet Dr. Wahls recommends.  When I am home, like today, I will eat this way.

You may have decided this blog is becoming too much of a harangue about diet and lose interest in following my Monday posts.  Before you go, just think outside the box, if you will, and consider the value to your health of a diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, natural oils and proteins from plant sources.  Think of the future you dream of with your children and grandchildren, of travel and gardening, of skiing and hiking, of knitting and sewing without pain well into your 80’s and even your 90’s.  What is the price you are willing to pay for a pain free future?  We pay for our health sooner or later.  A wholesome diet and supplementation put the money up front and could lessen the cost of healthcare in our later years.  Think about it.

I am too harsh and unforgiving.  I love you just the way you are and would gladly listen to your stories about ways you have found to alleviate your arthritis pain.  If you do experiment with the Dr. Wahls diet, let me know how it goes.  If you want to fill in the gaps with “foodlet” supplements that are guaranteed to make you feel better or your money back, let me know that, too.

Be well, Do Well and Keep Moving.

Betsy

BetsyBell’s Health4U

206 933-1889

Seattle, WA 98116

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But I have to have an operation!

Gentle Reader,

I was talking with a guy last night who had to have an operation for his hip.  The osteoarthritis had become so advanced into the hip joint that various movements were impeded.  A long time supplement user, he fortified himself with various supplements in order to tolerate the operation well and heal quickly.  He is a little disappointed with how long it has taken to get back to a range of motion he hoped for.  He is apprehensive about the operation waiting for his other hip.

As a wellness advisor, I have counseled many people about steps they might take to prepare for surgery, all kinds of surgery, whether for cancer or for arthritis and bone issues.  I thought I would share with you the document I have developed over the years.  Please add your own thoughts if you have had surgery and found alternative supplementation and actions that have helped with healing.

Before Surgery:

Soy protein 2 x daily  (if taking chemo, increase to 3-4 x daily)

Vita-Lea 3-4/daily  (Shaklee’s multivitamin-mineral supplement)

Fiber Tablets or Mix:  Soluble fiber (bloodstream), insoluble fiber (gut)

Herb Lax:  Cleanses gut, blood

Vita. C Sustained Release w/bioflavinoids:  anti-inflammatory, new cells grow faster, immune system support, helps w/pain.  Take a minimum of 3-4 of 500 mg./da – up to 10,000 mg.  (gradually decrease since body has to adjust to excreting excess)

B-Complex:  aids in good digestion.  Depleted by stress.  Take 8/da – space out

Zinc:  Helps w/pain, healing, no more than 50-60 mg./day except when there is trauma like a cut or incision (up to 120 mg./da until healed).  Body can’t make new cells w/o zinc, protein, & C.

Immunity Formula I:  2-8/da (A proprietary Shaklee supplement to enhance the immune response.)

Carotomax:  Cleanses cells, reduces inflammation (swelling), makes mucous membranes healthy.  Especially helpful if using breathing machine.

Vitamin E:  Oxygenates cells, gets rid of toxins of anesthesia.

DO NOT take GLA, E, OmegaGuard (fish oil), Garlic or lecithin before surgery. Stop 1 week prior.

Alfalfa (vitamin K):  10-20/da to reduce bleeding during & after surgery.

Garlic:  Helps flora, antibacterial agent. Not before surgery as is a blood thinner.

NutriFeron:  Take 4 for 2 weeks. (A proprietary herbal blend that stimulates interferon production.)

OsteoMatrix:  Coats nerve endings, helps repair them quicker, helps you relax so you can sleep deeper (can take w/Gentle Sleep Complex). (This is Shaklee’s calcium product.)

Iron:  Need blood test to know if needed. (Shaklee’s comes with vitamin c to help absorption.)

After Surgery:

Performance:  Dilute more than usual, make ice chips out of it, & start taking slowly as soon as feel like it. (Shaklee’s rehydrating drink, perfectly balanced for absorption.)

Protein:  Take as soon as can drink but don’t feel nauseated.  Alternate with Physique. (Physique is Shaklee after workout maximize, excellent for healing sore muscles.)

Liver DTX: 2 at night (Shaklee’s detox milk thistle product to help restore normalcy after the medications of surgery.)

Stomach Soothing complex:  Helps calm digestive system if feeling queezy.  Made with peppermint and ginger, can be taken as a tablet or dissolved into hot water for tea.

Vita-Cal:  Helps reduce gas bubbles. (A chewable Shaklee calcium product)

Fiber:  Start w/very small amounts to start cleansing.  A Fiber Blend tablet or ¼ tsp. Fiber Blend.

Vitamin E 400+:  4-6/da.  Prevents blood clots, oxygenates.  Start slowly if high blood pressure is an issue.

Lecithin:  Helps build sheath around nerve endings which helps reduce pain. 6 daily

GLA:  Up to 6/da, anti-inflammatory. (Shaklee makes their GLA from borage oil for best absorption and least contamination)

Omega Guard (fish oil):  If you digest it well.

Alfalfa:  Diuretic, liver cleanser, reduces swelling, helps kidneys, etc. start working again. 20 daily

Herb-Lax:  Start slowly. Very helpful after surgery as elimination slows down so much from the anesthetic.  Take to the hospital.  From personal experience, this is super important.

Purified Water:  very important

B-Complex:  Promotes healing, increases energy level.

Ginseng:  Helps energy & supports adrenal glands.  (Shaklee’s CorEnergy)

Dandelion leaf:  Swelling & inflammation. (Not a Shaklee product)

Optiflora pills and powder is strongly recommended to rebuild the flora. 1 serving daily of this pre and pro biotic made by Shaklee

This is a tall order when you may not be used to taking so much stuff.

The minimum pre-op is Energizing Soy Protein,  Vita C, Optiflora, Vita lea Gold and Alfalfa

Post op:  Physique, Vita C, Vita E, Optiflora, Vita Lea Gold, Alfalfa, Herb lax, Lecithin.

I have gleaned this information primarily from Carol Dalton, a nurse practitioner in Colorado who, during her long practice, has found the Shaklee supplements to work best for her patients.  People who have followed this protocol have had remarkable healing and suffered the least from the trauma of surgery.

Be Well, Do Well and Keep Moving,

Betsy

BetsyBell’s Health4u

206 933 1889

http://www.HiHoHealth dot com

 

The Fat Trap

Dear Reader,

I have been thinking a lot about weight and arthritis, about weight loss and how challenging it is to begin and maintain a healthier relationship to food.  In my last post, I talked about the study that found our hypothalamus may be running the show.  If this regulating organ has been damaged by a long term diet of too rich food, is it possible to ever heal it and establish a new normal for ourselves?

Perhaps you saw this article in the New York Times on January 1, written by Tana Parker Pope.  I recommend it to you.  She has struggled with extra weight for years and takes heart and hope from the understanding she has about the hypothalamus and the possibility of actually changing its messaging system.

I am going to leave you with this long article from the NYTimes.  I would love to hear your reaction to it.  Please share.

Are you engaging in any winter sport?  I enjoyed my first day on cross country skis this past Wednesday and managed a pain free day with 2 Aleve at breakfast.  Thursday morning wasn’t bad either, maybe because I took a protein sports recovery drink with me and drank it on the bus coming home and again before bed.  The one I use is called Physique and is made by Shaklee.  It repairs torn muscle with the proteins, vitamins and minerals in it.  Thursday night I could feel a stiffening up and did some of my Pilates floor exercises before hottub and bed and this morning did a big routine of Feldenkrais, Pilates, weight lifting and other stretching and then took a long walk including a stair case with 190 treads.  All this helped keep me from arthritis pain.

What is your routine after a work out?  BTW when you climb stairs try walking up sideways, facing the railing, right shoulder toward to top.  Lift the left leg and place it on the step above crossing the right.  Then, weight on the left foot, step up with the right still  facing the railing.  Next step with the left foot, swing it behind and up.  You are going up the stairs with the left foot traveling in front and then in back and then in front.  Then turn to face the left shoulder to the top and do the weave with the right leg. This strengthens the sides of the knees.  We girls hurt our knees by always walking straight up the stairs because we are just slightly (sometimes more than slightly) knock kneed.  This stair climbing (and descending) greatly strengthens the muscles and tendons along the sides.  Do this slowly, planting your foot solidly and lifting with the thigh engaged instead of heaving the body up with the shoulders.  Make the legs and side knees work for you.  I may have described this in an earlier blog when I was talking about my training program for climbing Mt. Shasta.   If you try this, let me know how it goes.

Good luck and keep moving.

Betsy

206 933 1889

www.TiredNoMore. com

 

Speaking of weight

Dear Reader,

Have  you sat with your plans for the New Year and included weight management?  If you are suffering from arthritis pain and stiffness, and you are even 15 pounds over-weight, your plans will turn out better if they include weight management.  The bloggers are full of advice on this topic.  I would like to share some new research with you that may help you realize just how challenging it is to establish a new “normal” weight.  You may forgive yourself for all that struggle without permanent results.  You may decide to figure out what you must do to change your own future, a daunting but not impossible task.

Take heart.  There may be an explanation for why we get stuck at certain weight.

In a recent study, scientists discovered a change in the appetite regulator in the brain that interferes with our internal conversation

about what to eat when.  Apparently the hypothalamus gets inflammed when a person eats a fatty meal (fried clams, fudge, ice cream, cheese cake, sugar cookies, onion rings, you know, fried foods and buttery sweets).  It takes a few days for the repair mechanism of a normal healthy body to quiet down this inflammation and restore the hypothalamus to its regulating job.  Repeatedly eating a high fat diet day after day interferes with the body’s ability to repair the organ that helps us say ‘no’ to weight gaining foods.  If we do manage to stop eating them as we try to lose all the weight we put on while the hypothalamus wasn’t helping, it is extremely difficult.  We just can not hit the re-set button.  The mechanism is broken.The study is reported here.  http://www.gpb.org/news/2011/12/28/could

-obesity-change-the-brain

The actual published abstract is here http://www.jci.org/articles/view/59660?search%5barticle_text%5d=obesity+&search%5bauthors_text%5d=schwartz

You may have seen Carol Ostrom’s report in the Seattle Times on 12/30. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2017122171_brain30m.html

Scientific discoveries like this tend to make the obese shake their heads grimly and say “no wonder it is so hard to loss 10 lbs. and have that be my new ‘high'”.  Their brain is urging them toward the old higher set point.  More research needs to be done.  An MRI scan of the brains of 34 obese individuals tells us there is inflammation there, but leaves a lot of questions.  While they are rare, some people who drop 15 to 100 pounds are able to maintain their weight loss for years.  In my own case, I spent eight years with a psychotherapist dealing with childhood issues, and at the end of that time I was no longer uncontrollably tempted by cookies in the house.  I’ve been at my healthy body weight for a while now after many years of yo-yo diet struggle. There was a time when I couldn’t bring a box of cookies in the house and I certainly never baked them.  I would plan my behavior carefully before attending a stand up party with hors d’oeuvres and deserts. I still eat a healthy protein snack before going to a stand up party.  If I put on 3 to 4 pounds during the vacation, I drop it easily.  Did my hypothalamus recover and establish a new, lower set-point?  Could yours do the same thing?

When I first went into business as a wellness adviser, I held weight management classes in my home.  The attendees came at lunch time for 8 weeks.  I prepared healthy food, taught them about the way our body handles sugars, how the pancreas reacts to coffee/black tea/cola drinks all day long and how to recover from exercise so they could get up and do it again the next day.  I taught them how to prepare and carry healthy snacks, introduced them to thin slices of jicama, Jerusalem artichokes, turnips, and bean sprouts.  They learned about alternatives to wheat flour: rice bread, soba and rice noodles, rye breads, breakfast cereal of cooked rye, barley and oat flakes.  Today the stores are full of gluten free foods.

My students fell into two groups:  people whose metabolism had slowed down as they aged and one day they realized they had gained 15 pounds and needed some help to change their eating and exercise habits; people who had put on a lot of weight over the years and developed a real love/hate relationship with food. Learning these tools helped this second group, but did not guarantee permanent weight loss.  Both groups found the extra weight caused creaky joins and discomfort.  The first group relieved their arthritis pain considerably by following the dietary suggestions and moving more.  The second group were discouraged.  I was discouraged that I couldn’t seem to help them.

If you are in this second group and suffer from a chronic over-weight dieting cycle and you feel this weight is causing or increasing your arthritis pain, take heart from this new study. Inflammation is real.  It is present whenever there is disease.  The immune system can repair inflammation and does so every moment of every day.  Perhaps, with careful healthy eating, even the hypothalamus can be repaired.
I take a lot of food supplements manufactured by the Shaklee Corporation.  They have helped my body repair tissue damaged by inflammation.  Food alone could not do the job for me.  After reading this study, I wonder if 10 years of daily intake of extra nutrients provided by the Shaklee Wellness Program actually repaired the hypothalamus. I don’t think it can be done in 6 months or even 2 years.  A long term approach is necessary.  Perhaps you need the help of a top quality line of food supplements to pour massive amounts of nutrients into your damaged body.  If you would like to learn more about the weight management program Shaklee has to offer, please email or call me.  betsy@HiHoHealth.com or 206 933 1889.  Wordpress doesn’t allow me to put an active link to my shopping website.  I prefer to discuss these nutritional issues with you first anyway. So be in touch.

Be Well, Do Well, and Keep Moving.

Betsy

Watch for a review of an independent study showing how resveratrol and polyphenols can literally stop this inflammation process at the cellular level.  I will present this information in my next blog.

BTW here is an interesting blog on weight management.  I pass it along to you.  http://kirbsfitness.wordpress.com/

The 2nd most popular New Year’s resolution and the power of excuses: guess writer Lisa Stubing

Dear Reader,  I have mentioned this energetic trainer, Lisa Stuebing in a former blog post. She and I walked the 3 miles around Greenlake at a quick pace.  I was impressed with Lisa’s own story of sitting at a desk most of her professional life and slowed putting on weight and losing mobility.  You should see her now.  She’s slim and agile.  I asked her to write a post to share with all my readers.  Here it is:

The Second Most Popular New Year’s Resolution and the Positive Power of Excuses

Adapted from a speech given at the 12th Annual World Arthritis Day in Redmond, WA.  October 2011.

Lisa Stuebing, Certified Personal Trainer and Senior Fitness Specialist, Owner, Mud Puddle Fitness, LLC

Did you know that the Second-Most-Popular -New-Year’s-Resolution-Of-All-Time is to become more fit?  And yet, we often make the same resolution the following year.  If you have arthritis, you have an extra challenge to keeping this resolution.  Fortunately, you also have ready access to a powerful resource to ensure your success.

This essay is about the positive power of making excuses.  Excuses are important.  Now is the time to recognize that your excuses have strength and depth and validity.

Researchers find that three barriers to success recur over and over. 1.) Embarrassment, 2.) Procrastination,  and 3.) Fear of injury.  These well-funded longitudinal studies have included thousands of participants who in turn represent millions of excuse makers.  They were conducted by reputable institutions like the Mayo Clinic, the American College of Sports Medicine, the National Institute of Health.

  1. EMBARASSMENT

Do you put off going to the pool until after you look good?  Have you walked into a gym tried out some equipment and goose-stepped out of there because you didn’t want people you didn’t really know how to use it?  Discouragement is a powerful inhibitor.  Which leads us to the second big excuse honest people have for not getting regular exercise.

 

  1. PROCRASTINATION

“Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday.”
– Don Marquis

 

What keeps you inside?

In a London study, 64% of the participants simply did not know what a good work out was supposed to feel like.  So, they avoided it.  Learning what is normal and what’s not normal takes time.    It takes practice.  When you are getting the right amount of exercise, during the best part of your day – you will build up your stamina.  You will feel better and even energized at some level.  And, yes, you will feel a little tired.

Finally, there is another big reason people tend to stay away from exercise.

 

  1. FEAR OF INJURY

People worry that because they are not athletes already that they will hurt themselves. 

If you have arthritis, be a careful consumer of information.  There is still a lot of bad information out there.  You can still find literature that will tell you that exercise is not good for you.  The old thinking is that physical activity will damage joints and make arthritis worse.

In reality, multiple studies have clearly shown that appropriate exercise for people with arthritis leads to better flexibility, strength and endurance.  It also leads to less pain, fatigue and depression.

ACKNOWLEGE YOUR EXCUSES AND THEN TACKLE THEM ONE BY ONE

Find people who are doing fun stuff and do it with them.   Laughing together is the best antidote for embarrassment.

Build up your knowledge and stamina one day at a time.  The key is to start small and pace yourself — If you are going to take up cross country skiing – start with a small country.

Finally, if you have arthritis, know that hurt does not always equal harm.  Take an Arthritis Foundation “Walk with Ease” class and learn to reduce your pain while getting fit.

Enroll in an Arthritis Foundation, “Walk with Ease” class

Take an Arthritis Foundation “Walk with Ease” class and you will learn how to set realistic goals.  You will learn how to measure your progress.  You will feel more energized because you will know the best time to exercise and how much exercise is right for you.  You’ll meet new people and have tons of fun.

The Walk with Ease Course was developed by the Stanford University Patient Education Research Center.

The efficacy of the program was tested, studied and reviewed by the University of North Carolina in collaboration with the Thurston Arthritis Research Center and the University’s Institute on Aging.

The program’s published materials were made possible, in part, with funds from the Center for Disease Control.

In my professional opinion, the most important thing the Walk with Ease program teaches is an understanding of your pain.  Hurt does not always equal harm.  Sometimes, moving when you didn’t really want to, results in actually feeling better.  This isn’t all hocus pocus – this is about focus.  Focusing on you, testing yourself and then understanding the result.  I think this takes the entire six weeks to learn and apply the program.  And the bonus is, by the end of all 18 class sessions – you will have made a pleasant habit of joining friends for a little fun exercise.  Some classmates get together long after the class had ended.

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, there are three steps to take.  1.)  Work with yourself, understand your reluctance to plunge into a planned exercise routine and give yourself a break.  Your concerns are real and based on a lifetime of personal observations.  Be honest with yourself and then take the next step.  2.)  Educate yourself; take the Arthritis Foundation’s “Walk with Ease”. Learn when exercise will reduce your pain and how to make that happen.  Finally,  3.) Include yourself – join others for group activities.  Invite friends out for a walk.  Having fun with friends is your best chance of sticking with and enjoying a lifelong habit of exercise.

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” – Johann Wolfgang van Goethe

Let me know how you do!  Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Coach Lisa

Lisa Stuebing
Owner, Mud Puddle Fitness, LLC
Nationally Certified Personal Trainer and Senior Fitness Specialist

www.MudPuddleFitness.com

CoachLisa@MudPuddleFitness.com

206-524-6788

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diet, Medicine and Supplements for Arthritis, the back story

Gentle Reader,

Before going into dietary suggestions, I want to share how I came to hold the beliefs and attitudes I have about allopathic medicine.

My father was an Orthopedist.  My mother was a nurse.  They believed in the miracles of medicine.  Mother worked for a General Practitioner during a New York City outbreak of the flu in the 30’s.  It was nothing like the great Pandemic that swallowed up between 20 and 40 million people, but she and her doctor never saw their whole list of patients in a day’s work.  When my parents met at the still new Morrisania Hospital complex in the Highbridge section of the Bronx, he was an intern, she a nurse.  Beginning married life in the Great Depression, theirs was a youthful enthusiasm for life, for medicine as a burgeoning panacea, for a future for any hard working person.

By the invasion of Normandy, recently discovered penicillin would save thousands who might otherwise have died of infection.  He would have had penicillin in his kit on board the USS Boise in the South Pacific where he was a navy doctor from 1942-45.  Before the war, practicing from his office in our home in West Chester County, NY my father became involved in the debilitating and wide spread polio epidemics of the late 1930s, early pre-war and on into the 50s years.  I remember his lecturing to parent groups and civic leaders about good diet and rest.  He encouraged people to continue to mingle in public places, but not large crowded movie theaters or swimming pools.  He felt isolation prevented the buildup of immunity.  He took me and my brother on home visits to polio patients, mostly children, expecting us to get exposed and build immunity.  Imagine his excitement when the poliovirus vaccine against polio wiped out this disease in the later 50s.  Much of his work in New York and later in Oklahoma beginning in 1947 was with polio victims and their rehabilitation through therapies and prosthetics.

I recount this history to get a better understanding myself of the enthusiastic embrace of pharmaceutical breakthroughs on the part of my parents.  Unfortunately my father’s excitement over each new drug led to indiscriminant experimentation with himself and his children. The largest drawer in the bathroom cabinet was filled with physician’s samples.  At the slightest sniffle, I would be offered the latest anti-biotic.  One such drug caused my first arthritis.

I was in high school, a competitive swimmer and when I came down with a serious sinus infection and was unable to continue swim practice, he gave me several doses of a new drug.  Unfortunately it settled in the synovial fluid of my knees causing pain especially when sitting in the back seat of a 2 door car or balcony seats in the theater.  Folding my legs tight was extremely painful.   I used aspirin for relief, carrying a bottle in my purse and often eating several tablets without benefit of water.

I deviate to tell you a little story about drugs and the Johnson family.  My brother Eric and I raised white Leghorn chickens for a 4H project.  The county extension agent recommended growth hormones.  This is the 50s when better living through chemistry was heralded on every side.  My brother decided he could hurry his growth by drinking one of the vials himself.  He was about 12 at the time.

Sometime during college my knee pain subsided somewhat, but residual creaking persisted.  Nothing stopped me from an active life of biking, swimming, walking, dancing and anything else where movement was involved.  There was always a bottle of aspirin in my purse.

Winters were tough on me.  I often had colds that descended to the chest, became bronchitis and required antibiotics.  A typical winter saw three rounds of colds, bronchitis and antibiotics.  Following my father’s model, at the first sign of the sniffles, I started taking Coricidin, drying up the natural response to a cold virus.

This cycle happened year after year until my senior year in high school, my sinus condition became so severe, and I begged my father to take me to a specialist in Oklahoma City.  It was a 4 ½ hour drive and a full day away from his own medical practice.  I remember sitting next to him in the front seat of our Nash station wagon, feeling special that he would make this effort on my behalf.  I am sure I had been a willing user of all the drugs he had offered me over the years.  After the office visit and some diagnostic procedure like today’s nasal endoscopy, the specialist told me there was nothing that could be done surgically.  I should give up swimming and certainly never dive into the water.

Medicine could not perform the magic I wanted.  My disappointment was profound.  I would not give up swimming.  I would wear ear plugs and a nose clamp, taking precautions.  Within three inactive winter months, I had gained 25 pounds.  No one noticed until one day a Doncaster clothing representative had set up his wares in our living room for my mother and several of her friends.  Mother urged me to try on several stylish slim fitting long skirts from his model size 12.  When I could not close the zipper, standing there in my bra and panties, she all but shrieked at the sight of me, belly too large with angry stretch marks running diagonally in two tracks down each side.  Now that I was the object of close inspection, further stretch marks were discovered on my breasts, buttocks and thighs.

This humiliation was reported dramatically at the breakfast table the next morning.  My father laid down the gauntlet, my two younger brothers cheering him on.  I would lose this weight.  Mother, who had slowly put on a few extra pounds, challenged me to a contest to see who could lose the most by summer.  Drugs to the rescue.  We bought boxes of those little chocolate and caramel chews laced with phenylpropanolamine – a substance the FDA has now ruled “not recognized as safe”.

What were we doing?  Lose weight without dieting.  Miracles through chemistry.

When I married Don Bell after my sophomore year in college, I was still a round person, strong, athletic, but carrying 25 extra pounds.  He gladly took over my father’s task of counting my calories and checking my weight every day.  But I needed to flex my independence from this tyranny and did so by eating a delicious double dip ice cream cone every afternoon from the shop on the University of California Berkeley campus.  After months of this indulgence, I experienced a humiliating episode of uncontrolled bowels.  I was paralyzed with cramps and loose stool as I trying to walk home from campus.  Finding a pay phone, dialing through tears, Don came to pick me up.  Tenderly sympathetic, he helped me to the bathroom where I cleaned myself up.  At an appointment with a proctologist the next week, I had to confess to the daily intake of rich creamy cones which had caused this mess.  Ice cream is not my friend.

In January of 1971, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and wheeled into the operating theater on the day my oldest of four daughters turned 10.  I made a pact that day with God that I would do everything in my power to lead a healthy life so no cancer would return.  Making sense of cancer at age 34 led me to believe all those antibiotics and other medications over the years had destroyed my own immune system’s ability to respond.  Perhaps irrational but nonetheless compelling, I decided against allopathic intervention for any illness I might develop until I had tried everything else.

Now that you have the back story for my crusade to heal the body without medicine, I will tell you what I have discovered to be helpful dietary choices and supplements.  Stay tuned.

I’d be interested in your story around medicine and medical intervention.  How do you feel about drugs?  How did you develop the attitudes you have?  Please share.

Be Well, Do Well and Keep Moving.

Betsy

Betsy Bell’s Health4U

http://www.HiHoHealth.com