Latest Event Updates
In 2008, I set my intentions to see the face of my fears. The time was ripe. And the universe presented the fruits of my labors.
In late August, I got an urgent call. My mother-in-law was being taken by ambulance from Santa Maria to Santa Barbara. And she wanted me. Before she allowed the doctors to do anything, she wanted me there. I am her medical agent, the one responsible for following her end of life wishes, yet she was fully cognizant, just scared.
So I drove the 45 miles to the hospital knowing this was it. I would be facing one of my fears. As a nurse practitioner, I had been called upon by the family many times over the years for medical advice. It was assumed by my elders that I would be the one to take care of them. And frankly, after decades of providing care for others I did not want to end my life as a caretaker. Plus being a caretaker is hard physically, mentally and emotionally. I have counseled many suffering from depression, insomnia, anxiety, and utter exhaustion from long spans of care-taking.
I knew that it was time to take in Steve’s grandmother while his mother recuperated. And then we would take her. And I knew my husband would agree to whatever I decided and would do everything he could to help. And I also knew it would be me doing all the work.
So I stepped into the ER and stepped into my fear. The family gratefully released all to me. My mother-in-law only signed the emergency surgery release after I counseled with her. It was clear that Steve’s grandmother was not happy being handed over to his aunt and uncle. So once his mother was taken to the operating room, we offered to take Gran. There was little resistance.
Gran came home with us. She was delight, but not safe with her rickety cane on our hard wood floors. So we got her a four wheel drive walker and at 89 years old Gran became mobile again. My mother-in-law had been living with her for the past six years and slowly Gran lost her ability to be productive…or so we thought. To me she was more than willing, so I put her to work. Gran was delighted to help and we found her much more capable than her daughters had reported.
She helped fold clothes while watching Ellen every afternoon and in the evening helped me with dinner. When Steve finally brought his mother home from the hospital, she was surprised to see Gran cutting veggies. “She can’t use a knife! She’s on Coumadin!”
I smiled. “She’s been very careful and if she cuts herself, luckily I can stitch her up.”
Shortly after she arrived, Gran said, “Since my stroke, I can’t smell very well. So you’ll have to tell me if I need a bath.” A day or two later, I sniffed her and announced it was time. She balked a bit nervous to have me help her in and out of the bath. But I had the perfect set up. Our guest bath had a tiny soaking tub with a seat inside an enclosed shower. So I warmed up the bath, and helped her in. Then she sat down, “Uh, oh!”
“You aren’t going to be able to get me up.” The seat was too low and her arthritic knees were higher than her hips.
“It’s ok, Gran. I’m a nurse. I know how to lift you.”
She shook her head, “You’re too little.”
“I’m strong, Gran, and Steve’s here if we need help…”
“Oh, no. I don’t want Stevie to help.” Great!
Ten minutes later, all parts of Gran were sparkling clean and I was soaked. After a failed attempt to lift her from the edge of the tub. I stripped off my sodden nightgown and climbed in with her. She laughed telling me that’s how her other daughter did it. I placed one knee between hers, squatted down, “one, two, three” and lifted Gran to her feet. She held me tight as I helped her over the edge of the tub and she didn’t let me go.
“It’s so nice to hold you like this,” she whispered. It was nice. “But there’s only three breasts between us!” She had had a mastectomy thirteen years before. I almost dropped her laughing!
That was Gran always finding delight in everything. I know it’s not easy accepting help especially if your role in life is to be of service. I hope I am a gracious patient and not a burden on my loved ones. But the stress of illness and the demeaning role of incapacitation can make the best of us turn sour. Yet Gran was a delight.
My mother-in-law was another story. I have yet to meet a medical professional who is a good let alone gracious patient and my mother-in-law is a retired nurse. She also had become one of those resentful caretakers that I didn’t want to emulate. So although my care-taking load more than doubled when Steve brought her home from the hospital, I was determined not to lose myself and took time every day for me.
Shortly after they arrived I got a call from Steve’s cousin. She had just been diagnosed with breast cancer. When it rains it does pour. So I spent time counseling her, helping her to see the spiritual message of the dis-ease. I find that breast cancer patients are very good at taking care of others, but quite poor at self-care. Their body speaks to them through the dis-ease. “Time to nurse me please.” I think she got it. And so did I.
I was so busy during this time, that I did not record it. There is nearly a month missing in my journals yet it is burnt into my memory. And it happened again the very next year. And the second time, I took care of them both for months instead of weeks. Yet in spite of the incredible stress, I am left with such pleasant memories.
Every afternoon, after Ellen, Gran asked if I was free to have coffee with her. I was still seeing patients three days a week in my office which is on our property. My mother ran my practice and was in charge of keeping an eye on Gran while I was in with a patient. Gran would push her walker out onto the patio overlooking the herb garden and chat with the patients as they admired the flowers. And when the last one left, I would sit and have a cup of coffee with her.
And I learned how to sit and enjoy being. Gran loved the garden, the flowers, the hummingbirds that would visit us, the butterflies, even the jays that shooed the songbirds from the feeders and especially the antics of the squirrels as they scolded the cat and the crows. Gran took delight in being alive. And I took delight in being with her.
My fear of care-taking transformed into joyous service. I had written about joyous service in LoveDance® but for the first time, I got to experience it. The family thought I was a saint. My husband cannot thank me enough. Yet it was I who am ever grateful for the opportunity to serve in love and joy.
Excerpt from My LoveDance
Recently the American Heart Association (AHA) made a statement that coconut oil increases bad cholesterol which causes heart disease.
They got it wrong…
First, the AHA taunts dated information.
Remember not all LDL is created equally. And heart disease as well as stroke are diseases of INFLAMMATION not high LDL cholesterol!
Second, the oils listed by the AHA are not healthier, in fact they induce inflammation.
And frying foods does create transfats which are well researched to cause major inflammation.
Prior to WWII, heart disease was relatively uncommon. Americans ate lots of saturated fats. Then the dairy products were used to support the troops and replaced with vegetable oils, including margarine. Guess what? By 1950s heart disease was the new killer.
Third, eating fat does NOT produce bad cholesterol.
Eating sugar, starches and more carbs than you expend increases small particle LDL and inflammation which causes heart disease.
Here’s the truth about cholesterol.
Cholesterol is manufactured by the liver in response to the body’s need for two things: bandaids and hormones.
Cholesterol is nature’s bandaid, providing the necessary materials to shore up damaged tissues and support cells.
Cholesterol is also at the center of every steroid hormone: estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, cortisol, DHEA, aldosterone. The word steroid comes from “sterol”—the cholesterol molecule at the root of every steroid hormone.
When your body produces less hormones in times of stress or with the natural aging process, the hypothalamus which orchestrates the symphony of hormones alerts the liver “get some cholesterol to the gonads and adrenals, pronto!!” Now the tired, declining glands cannot always use the cholesterol resources so generously provided by the liver, so it floats around in the bloodstream. High cholesterol is not a dis-ease but a symptom of something deeper.
If you keep hormones in Harmony by supporting the ovaries, testes and adrenals, excess cholesterol will be made into necessary steroid hormones. Whenever cholesterol is elevated, I look for steroid hormone imbalances. The liver is not trying to clog up your arteries, but just responding to the hypothalamus’ cry for help.
I recently got an email from one of my readers about cholesterol. She’s menopausal and in spite of a healthy diet and exercise, her cholesterol is rising. Would Genesis Gold® help?
I created Genesis Gold® to balance your hormones and your hypothalamus which helps lower cholesterol. That’s because hormones specifically steroid hormones like estrogen, progesterone and cortisol are made from LDL cholesterol. whenever I see a patient with elevated cholesterol, I start working on balancing their hormones.
Of course I also work with my patients on their diet as insulin resistance will cause an elevation in cholesterol too (it’s not fat but sugar that raises the bad cholesterol).
I explain all this in my book Hormones in Harmony®. Thankfully Genesis Gold® helps reverse insulin resistance.
Now balance takes time, so the effect on your cholesterol will not be seen for at least three months. In the original research it took six months to bring down total cholesterol in the most hormonally challenged patients, but their cholesterol ratio was healthier (with HDL rising to >30% of total cholesterol in the first three months). I measure LDL and HDL particle size and Genesis Gold definitely improves both protective LDL and HDL particles.
Usually after three to six months of using Genesis Gold®, the cholesterol levels normalize as the hormones come into balance.
If you are over fifty and menopausal (or andropausal for aging men), it is normal for cholesterol levels to rise up to 200-250 ng/dl, even if you exercise and eat well. Over 250, I treat with natural cholesterol lowering agents, because statins have the ominous side effect of suppressing protective CoQ10 production leading to neurological damage. I usually do not treat high cholesterol until the endocrine dysfunction is corrected, unless you have a family history of heart disease specifically arteriosclerosis (clogged arteries) causing stroke and heart attacks.
Pharmaceutical cholesterol lowering drugs work by blocking the liver’s production of cholesterol as well as Coenzyme Q10 which is an essential element for cardiac and neurological health. Studies have shown that long term use of lipid lowering drugs can lead to cardiomyopathy (enlarged heart) and neuropathy (ie. Parkinson’s disease). Side effects of lipid lowering agents include, muscle pain, fatigue, depression and liver dysfunction
An alternative to pharmaceutical treatment is Red Rice Yeast, a natural microplant that lowers cholesterol in the same way as the drugs but with little side effects. Co-enzyme Q10 should be taken daily with a fatty meal to enhance absorption whether you choose the conventional medications or the natural therapy.
What about diet? You can’t control your cholesterol levels by eating a low fat diet. The liver does not make cholesterol from excess dietary fat but from excess sugar and starches. When you consume more glucose than you can expend or store as glycogen, the liver converts the glucose into triglycerides (meaning three sugar molecules on a fat) which are taken by VLDL to the adipose (fat) cells for storage. Limit your sugars and starches to help lower triglycerides and cholesterol.
Anything eaten in excess is not good for you.
Americans are into super sizing everything. So if coconut oil is touted as healthy, then why not replace all your fat with it? Wrong! Only one third of your fat intake should come from saturated fats, the rest from unsaturated fats – like olive oil, nuts, seeds and avocados.
So, yes, I think Genesis Gold® will help balance the neuro-immune-endocrine system which in turn will lower the liver’s production of LDL cholesterol.
Since cholesterol is the root of steroid hormones, doesn’t it make sense to treat hormonal imbalances first?
Life seems to be shifting so rapidly now. So many of my patients are presenting with complaints of stress, insomnia, anxiety, depression and fatigue related to major life transitions. Divorce and other significant relationships ending, deaths of friends and family members, loss of jobs and homes, accidents…especially motor vehicle. It’s as is life is pulling the rug out from under us.
Even happy changes like new relationships, weddings and childbirth can bring a sense of unease as you attempt to balance all you’ve been with what you’re becoming.
During times of transitions, life can seem daunting. Your head is in the clouds wondering where you’re going or your feet are stuck in the mud of self doubt.
I always counsel my patients that everything is a blessing, often in disguise as a lesson. The secret to thriving during change is to open to receive the gift of each and every encounter.
Here’s how to stay grounded in gratitude during life’s transitions: Read the rest of this entry »
Have you ever smelled cookies baking and are transported back to grandma’s house? Our sense of smell is key to our memories. In the ancient centers of our brain, our lives are encoded by odors.
Our sense of smell, more so than any other sense, is linked to the part of the brain that processes emotion and associative learning. The olfactory bulb which sorts sensation into perception is part of the limbic system—a system that includes the amygdala and the hippocampus—parts of our brain that are vital to behavior, mood and memory. Read the rest of this entry »
“Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art.”
Gold turns to Silver, Dark becomes Light…
Time shapes us…Here are some tips on how to age gracefully.
Feed your Body Well
- Enjoy Your Food—what we tell our body becomes reality.
- Learn to love Produce. Colorful fruits and vegetables provides many phytonutrients including anti-oxidants that help your body decrease inflammation which ages it rapidly.
- Get adequate protein for your lean body mass. Protein is lost as you age. Amino acids are the building blocks for all life—your muscles, bones, and organs, your hormones, neurotransmitters, and immune factors, and especially all the enzymes that catalyze every bodily function. And essential amino acids come from protein!
- Eat healthy fats. Especially omega 3 fatty fish. Olive oil, nut oils, coconut oil, flax and hemp seed oils, avocados provide good fats for healthy cell function and adequate hormone production.
- Drink red wine. One of the most powerful antioxidants, this super anti-aging food is enjoyed by theMediterranean people who have some of the best ratings of health and longevity in the world.
- Eat only whole grains—go sparingly on the refined grains and flours and especially processed foods which are stripped of nutrients.
- Cleanse your body with Vegies—Stop fasting and start fueling your metabolism.
Exercise your Body Joyfully
- Exercise at least 3-5 times per week. Aerobic exercise (activity that makes you breathe hard) can slow the aging process by stimulating mitochondrial growth and activity. At the cellular level, age is a process of declining energy production. And energy comes form abundant, healthy functioning mitochondria.
- Be active all day to avoid the “sitting disease”. Sitting more than a couple of hours a day is associated with diabetes, heart disease, poor sleep, and cognitive decline.
- Grow a Garden. Gardening is a physical activity that provides exercise, connection with the earth and home grown produce!
- Walk everywhere you can. Depend less on motorized transportation and more on the perfect vehicle of your body.
- Carry your own stuff. Upper body strength can be built and maintained as you age by continuing your daily activities.
Take care of your Brain
- Play games. Cards and other memory games can increase memory and attention.
- Engage with other people. Regular social interaction especially with people of different ages stimulates your brain.
- Take a class. Learning a new skill increases attention, memory, and problem solving abilities.
- Mind over Matter. If you believe you will age poorly, your body will manifest age-related decline.
- Antioxidants to help your cells clean house.
- Omega 3’s to protect against inflammation.
- Digestive aides to help assimilate nutrients form the foods you eat.
- Probiotics to keep your gut healthy.
- Super greens to provide your body with extra phytonutrients.
- Amino acids to provide the building blocks for healthy brain function and rebuild tissues.
- Plant based vitamins and minerals that are activated and easily absorbed.
And to help you simplify your supplement regime, I created Genesis Gold® which has all the anti-aging micronutrients to help you age more gracefully.
To your long healthy life!
As our population lives longer than ever before, many of us are becoming caretakers for our elderly.
As the brain ages, sleep lightens. When enough sleep is missed, the brain can become over stimulated. Then it becomes even more difficult to get needed rest.
In desperation, most of us tend to reach for either pharmaceutical drugs or natural remedies to help us sleep.
Some elderly people get overstimulated by that which should calm them down. It can be the first dose or an over accumulation of medications or supplements that they haven’t completely metabolized. Read the rest of this entry »
By 2012 I had made a drastic change. I was about to embark on a new professional venture and began to have trouble breathing. Here’s my journal entry from then and how I experienced my body symbolizing soul lessons:
Thinking a lot about why my business has whittled down since moving it home. I have envisioned for years this decline to correspond with Steve’s coming retirement. Yet it is taking a toll on my ego.
Had a thought while walking Charlie in our favorite meadow; Steve and I had been texting about me waking up in the middle of the night worrying about my choices. In relinquishing the party line both conventional and alternative that creates dependency, and giving my patients what they need (not necessarily what they want–like high dose BHRT), have I cut off my nose to spite my face? Read the rest of this entry »
We present this excerpt from “My Lovedance”because we believe the methods used to calm a situation down are vital for the now, and we don’t want to wait till Christmas.
Learning to be my truth within my family of origin has taken a very long time. It is our soul work to witness our lessons in the mirror of those we love. And families are magnifying lenses…
Dec 23rd, 2003
Off to Utah for the family holidays. Anxious premonitions of my beloved Santa cup breaking. After 20 years of keeping them safe for my sisters, I tried to pack them carefully, but one tumbled out of the car, so I traded my unscathed cup for the fractured one. This trip is about breaking attachments, perhaps to things, but yet deeper, to what I believed my sisters to be. As I am coming to know myself as joyous passion I shall recognize who they are as love. So many sister dreams lately. Since childhood, I have flown in my dreams stringing them along like Peter Pan, barely able to get them off the ground. Lately in my dreams, I do not hold their hands, but try to teach them to fly on their own, but they resist. I feel tired, saddened. Will my sisters throw me out like Yeshua was thrown out of Nazareth? Strangers can be more accepting than those closest when you change too rapidly. Read the rest of this entry »