Monday, December 31, 2007

What Does Fish Oil Have to do With Neck Pain, or Sarcoid, or even M.S.?

I’ve had a chronic illness, called Sarcoid (Sarcoidosis, or Beck’s Sarcoid), for many years. Mine manifests in the lungs, although sarcoid can affect people in different ways. For me it’s a real energy zapper, and it also greatly affects my breathing. (I'm on oxygen at night.) Since I’m rather partial to breathing, having sarcoid has sent me on a quest over paths that I normally would not have chosen to travel. In fact it has pretty much affected my whole adult life and that of my family. I must say that all those paths are not necessarily a bad thing, because all of us have learned much and experienced things that ordinarily would not have come our way. But, more about that at some future time.

New Adventures

Because of all the health challenges, I’ve chosen several new adventures lately. Several months ago I started going to Merek Ramirez D.O.M. at the Harmony Centre of Integrative Medicine, in Springfield, Ohio for acupuncture treatments, and Chinese herbs. I am VERY impressed with him and his treatments. (Jim has also started going to him for leg pain that has bothered him ever since he totaled a rented pick-up truck 6 years ago.)

My next adventure is that of seeing a Holistic Health Counselor, Robin Gentry McGee. I’ve known for a long time that my health, energy and breathing are greatly affected by what I eat, and even though I’ve used different diets and many supplements over the years, I could tell that I needed more help. Robin’s website Just Great Foods asks an interesting question: How alive are you willing to be? Well, I’m not only partial to breathing, I’m also very partial to living, and being and doing. OK, count me in.

Something that has really impressed me is how much what Robin shares with me matches what Merek says and vice-versa, even though they have never met. This helps me a great deal because the areas I’m treading in now I’ve not been to before.

Robin has had very extensive training. Recently, she shared some things about FISH OIL that she learned from Dr. Barry Sears who was one of her instructors from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City. Fish oil is wonderful for inflammation and pain. Robin knows someone who had a chronic neck problem for years who has been helped dramatically by fish oil. Chronic illnesses, such as sarcoid may also be helped by using fish oil.

Dr. Barry Sears says that chronic diseases are caused by inflammation. He has had good results with using fish oil for inflammation. He says that fish oil even helps to regenerate the myelin sheath of M.S. patients. Here's a quote from his website:
There are two types of inflammation. The first is classic inflammation that is associated with pain, swelling, and redness. This can be characterized as screaming pain since it is very obvious and calls for immediate intervention. The other type of inflammation is silent inflammation or silent pain that is far more insidious. It doesn't generate the pain associated with classic inflammation and therefore goes untreated for years. We now know that this silent inflammation is the underlying cause of heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer's disease. Virtually every type of chronic disease has a significant inflammatory component as its underlying cause. A primary focus of modern medical research remains the reduction of both classic and silent inflammation.
My stomach doesn’t seem to like taking a lot of pills, so I elected to use the Carlson brand of liquid, lemon-flavored fish oil. So far I’ve used the liquid fish oil on various vegetables, fish, baked potatoes, aduki beans and lentils. It has good lemon flavoring and actually tastes pretty good. I can see that it would be good on salads. I’ve not been using many salads lately because Merek told me that I should stay away from raw foods right now.

Raw Foods Aggravate the Spleen

I thought it was strange that Merek said to stay away from raw foods because so many people advocate raw foods as being totally good for you. Merek explained that according to Chinese Medicine, raw foods aggravate the spleen. An aggravated spleen then causes dampness in the lungs, which is very bad for me. I’d never heard of such a thing so I told Robin what he said, and she totally agreed with Merek. I found that fascinating! Merek also told me that there is new research coming out of China about sarcoid, which he will be investigating. I'm very interested to find out what he learns. It's great to have Merek and Robin in my corner.

So 2008 will be an adventurous year of cutting down on raw foods, and using fish oil and doing whatever else lies ahead…

Saturday, December 29, 2007

In Which We "MADE IT!"

Barbie and Kyle came on the 21st and left this afternoon. We all went along to take them to the airport in Columbus. We were sleepy on the way up and sleepy on the way back. Jim kept insisting that he was awake. At one point he blinked a bit longer than Betsey thought he should so she exclaimed "Dad! Wake up!" He did, and we did. We were pretty much all awake after that, but with HEAVY eyelids. (Too much visiting during this last week.)

We kept reassuring him, and ourselves that we were gonna make it. "There's 675! We're gonna make it!" "There's the high school, we're gonna make it!"

Then when we pulled into our plat someone said, "now we're really gonna make it." SO Jim asked if he could fall asleep yet. We told him that if he did, some of the local mailboxes might not survive, but at least we wouldn't die.

Then, there we were at long last pulling into our driveway. As the last sounds of the engine were fading away Betsey said, softly yet dramatically "When I die I want it to be peacefully in my sleep like grandma…" (I thought, "what on earth is she talking about?") "…Rather than screaming like the passengers in her car…"

What a great ending! We laughed and laughed. We had heard that joke before, but the timing this time was really perfect.--K

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Anniversary of a Memorable Event

42 years ago today Jim proposed to me.

I wrote that in an e-mail I sent to the kids. Helena's response was
Awww! You should blog about it. :)

And Peter said: Wow! That's cool! I love having both of you as parents. Thank you, Dad and Mom! Love, Peter

And Barbie said: Awww. That just makes another consecutive special "odd" day in December. I think that Elizabeth will be born on the 29th. Love, Barb

(I think it’s interesting that Helena and Barbie spelled “Awww” the same way. It must be a genetic thing. Barbie had not seen Helena’s response.)

OK, so here's the rest of the story: Jim and I met in our dorm cafeteria at the University of Illinois in January 1965, the first day of classes that semester. The Illinois Street Residence Hall where we lived had a men’s tower and a women’s tower, which shared a common cafeteria. We both attended Wesley Methodist Church there on campus, and I recognized him from church. That day when he and his roommate came and joined my roommate and me and some other friends, for dinner, I remember thinking that his roommate, Steve, was kinda cute.

Fast-forward almost a year. On December 19, Jim and I went to the Sunday Night Supper club at Wesley. (The dorms didn’t serve meals on Sunday nights.) Afterwards Jim said he wanted to show me something so we walked down to the chapel. I don’t remember if I had ever seen it at night before. It was a lovely place with a special ambiance in the evening. There was a soft glow from the lights that illuminated the stained glass at the front of the church. It still catches my breath to think of it.

He led me to the second pew from the front on the left-hand side of the aisle. We sat and soaked in the ambiance for awhile, and then he turned to me (we already were holding hands) and took hold of my other hand and said, “Katherine, my love, will you marry me?” I don’t for the life of me remember what I said! Jim said I most likely just got teary-eyed and nodded my head, and he’s probably right.

If I had it to do over, I would copy a friend of ours and exclaim “Oh that would be fun!” (Her poor husband-to-be didn’t know for awhile if she had said yes or not!)

I must have said "yes" because on 25 June 1966 we were married. :-)

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Other Blog

I've been spending time this week putting together a blog for Helen who is terminally ill. The objective was to make things easier for her family by having a place where people could go to find out how she is doing without having to call the family. I was also hoping that people would leave messages of encouragement and share their memories with her.

I am so grateful. The blog is working. We're starting to get some wonderful messages from people. Just a few minutes ago a "second generation" message came in. It was from someone I don't know, so they got the blog address from someone else. That's what I was hoping for. This whole thing boggles my mind, because just a few days ago I didn't have a clue I could even do this. "Life's funny sometimes. You never know where a new road will take you."

Love, Kathey

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Wheel of Time and Brandon Sanderson

For Science Fiction/Fantasy fans who may read this, I'm enclosing a message from our daughter-in-law.

"A few months ago, I mentioned that our author friend Brandon had a new book out, and that he had some exciting news that I wasn't allowed to share. Well, it's official now. He's going to be finishing Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. Here's a link to his blog with the press release.

"This is really great news for him because it'll get his name out there to the millions of Jordan fans and probably boost sales of his current books while they wait with bated breath for the final book to get finished. He'll be working from Jordan's copious notes and outlines and promises to follow them slavishly, but still allow his own writing style to come through a little." -Karen

A fun side bit of information for Jeopardy fans: Brandon Sanderson and Ken Jennings were roommates at BYU.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Stress Anyone?

Here are a couple of suggestions that might be helpful for those less-than-perfect days.

I could have been stressed before I even got out of bed this morning! (Ever been there? Something about this time of year perhaps?) As I was thinking, my list of things to do just kept getting bigger and bigger. And then I remembered something Elisabeth Elliot once said on one of her “Gateway to Joy” radio broadcasts. She was talking about being overwhelmed with life and mothers having too much to do. Her advice was to sincerely go to the Lord, tell him about your day and ask for guidance. Then, and this is the HARD part, let it go and just do the next thing. Just do the next thing—all day long.

Don’t get distracted and overwhelmed by everything on your plate. Trust that if you keep a prayer in your heart, Heavenly Father will guide you and tell you the next thing to do. It will be obvious and you will feel good about it, even if it seems strange at the time. If at the end of the day everything on the list is not done, you will have done what the Lord wants you to do, and therefore you will have done the most important things.

It reminds me of the scripture: “This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark…” (Philippians 3:13 &14)

So hopefully starting the day with prayer and doing the next thing will help our days to run more smoothly and relieve some of the stress. Something else to keep in mind is TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. How often to women just run over the top of themselves to try to get everything done, and how many women end up sick or depressed after it’s all done? Been there. Done That. Not worth it! It’s not worth the lasting effects on you, and it’s not worth the effects on your family.

Here’s a great Korean proverb that sums it up beautifully: “Before we climb the mountain, Let’s Eat First!” (Helena learned that in Korea when she was there as a missionary.)

What mountains are you climbing today? Have you adequately prepared? And are you taking care of yourself? See you at the Top!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Why Have A Blog?

When Jill suggested that I start a blog my reaction was “why?” My life is not very exciting, and my day-to-day doings are not really all that interesting. I have lunch with Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury in "Murder She Wrote") just about every day, and that’s because I already have most of the "Matlock" episodes memorized, and "Magnum P.I." is no longer on the air! Because of health challenges I don’t go out much. I do read a lot and I spend some time each day gazing into my back yard from my window in the kitchen.

What do I see from my window? Birds, squirrels, a completed deck (which only took 8 years to finish and has a hint of a golden glow in sunlight), a little red shed with white lattice trim, lots of grass, a square foot garden, a little house-shaped gazebo (its golden stain matches our deck) complete with a double glider swing. We also have a variety of textures and shades of green trees and bushes that form a privacy screen between us and the street, and depending on the time of year-a few lovely roses and other flowers.

The smaller trees all flower in the spring in cascades or mounds of pink, purple or white. It’s a lovely scene for contemplating and reflecting. It’s amazing how many ideas come that way.

I remember someone on the radio telling about a trip he once made to a third-world country, with a group of ordinary people who went over there for a short time to help however they could. When he got over there he was asked to help teach some people how to use their computer. (I think they were trying to set up an office in a new hospital, but I really don’t remember.) He had very limited computer skills, but the people in the office didn’t even know how to turn theirs on! He did the best he could with what he knew how to do and the people were extremely grateful. They thought he was a genius. He realized that “In the Land of the Blind the one eyed-man is King!"

Jill told me I should start a blog because I have so much to share. Upon reflecting, I realized she’s right. Even though I don’t feel like an “expert” in anything, I do have a lot I can share, and if it can help someone else in some way, it’s worth it.

In the words of Edward Everett Hale: “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. What I can do, I ought to do. What I ought to do, by the grace of God, I will do.”

And that is why I am starting this blog. --K

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Here It Is!

My friend Jill said I should create a blog. I've realized that there were quite a few things I could have shared in the last week, so OK Jill, HERE IT IS! Actually I think this will be great fun.