As I picked up the phone, the first words I heard was 'I'm a survivor!' This was a call from my longtime friend, Donna, who I was pleased to hear from but, admittedly, had lost track of the most recent details of her life. In these middle years, she had become actively engaged in fitness training, consumed lots of healthy green things and had no health conditions requiring medical care. She's was always full of fun, an entertaining host and curious about seeing the world. In other words, she had been living life well.
The commanding career of her husband, Dave, often required extensive short notice travel, a feat he'd successfully navigated for more than 20 years, so a quick meeting in Boston was no reason for concern. Except, it was the first of March and just days prior a major tech firm had an international meeting at the same hotel he was checking into, and COVID-19 had been uncovered there. The hotel made every effort to place him in a fully sanitized room, but the hotel had been occupied by nearly 200 conference attendees.
Upon returning home three days later, Dave needed to inform his wife of the unfolding shamble. There were no next steps given to him because there were none available at the time. These were the first COVID-19 cases reported and Boston was the 3rd US state to be affected. He felt confident and somewhat cavalier that he was not infected and therefore had no reason why he should be quarantined to one room, in their 5-bedroom home. Donna felt adamantly different.
Within 24 hours of his return, he complained of a severe headache. 'Yep, you've got it' was her reply. Insisting it was likely a sinus infection and after no relief with the usual home treatment, he reported to the nearest Urgent Care. With the first cases of COVID-19 not reported in his home state until March 6, the Urgent Care provider made a simple diagnosis based on his symptoms, 'Yep, you have a sinus infection' and sent him home with a treatment of antibiotics and nasal spray.
It turns out it was not so simple, especially as his symptoms worsened. In 24 hours, he had become severely lethargic, nearly catatonic, unable to move his limbs and spiking a fever over 100 degrees but not as high as expected for a typical influenza, of 102. It was bad and he knew what his wife has already known. He had COVID-19. Immediately they reached out to his primary physician with whom he had long standing relationship. His physician's instructions were without hesitation, "Do Not Come To This Office." As a practicing physician, these are the exact instructions we had begun giving to our clinic patients in an effort to keep health professionals from being the first to succumb to this unknown disease. Without trained professionals available, the world would be in a world of, even greater, trouble. He was, however, given the best advice available, 'stay hydrated, take Tylenol as needed, report to an emergency room for any shortness of breath' and isolate from any other household members. He also provided him with the nearest COVID-19 testing location.
That advice would have been easily carried out, except once the vomiting began, his weak limbs became weaker and his wife was now becoming ill with intense body aches and chills, abdominal pain and diarrhea. There was no chance of leaving the house for either of them. By day 7, neither had needed to make the dreaded 911 call for hospital transport. They did, however, need to replenish their supply of bottled water, fruits slices and broth which were the only foods they were able to eat over the 10 days of misery.
A facetime call to their oldest son with a list of groceries was their only connection to the outside world aside from the deafening news broadcast of the COVID-19 tragedies. No sooner than their son arrived at the front door with the replenishing supplies, he was already out of the driveway and half-way up the street, by the time they opened the front door. With a weak wave to the empty outdoors, they picked up the groceries, divided what they needed and headed to their respective rooms.
By day 14, still feeling weak by the endless days of lying in bed, Donna decided, as women often do. 'That's it! It's been 14 days.' She forced the two of them out of their rooms, stripped the beds for sanitizing and headed to the kitchen to make green smoothies. 30 pounds lighter, with blankets wrapped around them, they sat outdoors and looked at each other with tears in their eyes, and said aloud, 'We've survived.'
Neither developed a significant cough or shortness of breath during their illness. Donna continues to have lost her sense taste and smell. Six weeks later, Dave still had not returned to his full level of activity. His doctor has recommended serological blood testing when it becomes available. Donna would like to donate plasma and bone marrow to further the advancement of treatment and immunizations. Let this be reassurance that it's possible to survive this "new flu" and most will.
As we say in medicine, "if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it's a duck". In this case, COVID-19. Be aware of the varying symptoms of COVID-19 and call a healthcare provider for immediate instructions.
Be Well in every way! I'll keep showing you how.
If there's something in your life that you feel good about, let your body move about. Listen to Life is Good! If you love it, get it here.
In spite of it all, imagine you have been given a gift. Today, the Earth is thanking you for allowing her to breathe again; applauding you for reducing excessive consumption; praising you for conserving on fuel needed for those short distances between point A and two blocks away, for turning off the torches that burn the forests for the production of denatured food and halting the travel across the globe to simply ‘see and say ‘we've been there.'
Have we neglected the needs of our planet in order to satisfy our short order list of wants and desires? Has our climate-control lives prevented us from opening our windows and doors and embracing one another with equal regard?
As the earth takes a breath, the air becomes cleaner and perhaps we get to see more clearly with a greater vision for ourselves and the future of our planet.
Life after a pandemic won't possibly be the same and it shouldn't. As our first responders, healthcare professionals and other guardians of well-being work tirelessly to save lives, we can heal our lives and the planet by the choices we make. What will you do differently from what you have done.? Wisdom doesn't exist in our future; it lies in our past. With wisdom we must decide. If we don't, how will we inspire our children to be the change agents for a better tomorrow? Undoubtedly, the Earth will continue to remind us.
Honor our planet with your choices for a better world. Celebrate Earth Day, April 22nd.
What new choices will you make? Tell us. We need your inspiration.
Be Well, in every way!
It’s understandable that we may feel gripped by fear as life, as we know it, appears in jeopardy. I recall this from my early career in medicine as a new emergency room doctor. Whether you showed up gasping for air or holding a severed limb, your initial survival depended on my decision-making and care. I know, all too well, how the mind and emotions go into overdrive when the survival of life is at stake. What’s required at this time is FOCUS.
Admittedly, I experienced all of the elements of fear; the rapid heart rate, the pressure in my chest, the quickening of my breathing, a tightness in my throat and the sinking feeling in my stomach. What’s most critical at times like these is FOCUS. Ask yourself: How can I be the most effective, NOW.
Without doubt, as we have a new virus impacting our lives, preservation of health is our primary FOCUS. If your doctor, health care provider, or even health insurer has not given you the next step for the preservation of your health, where do you begin? For all of us, the prevention of disease should be intended for the preservation of health.
What will make you most susceptible to a poor outcome from any disease is your current state of health. My reason for entering medical school was my curiosity, not about disease but, as to “why we get sick.” Even the discoverer of antibiotics, Louis Pasteur, realized before his death that bacteria was not our biggest problem. It is the host (your body) that allows the bacteria in. This also includes viruses.
So, you already have a Winter Wellness Kit which includes plant-based foods, herbs and supplements that help to support your immune system. What can you do next? Support your immunity by becoming free of diseases such as diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease and hypertension is one place to start. Of the all the diets that you may be curious to try, there is one simple remedy for all. Removing SUGAR from your diet reduces your risk for nearly all disease, from colds to cancer. NOW, more than ever, let's FOCUS on your well-being.
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Live Q&A on Zoom
'We can reduce our fear when we redirect our focus'
I get asked this question, often. You usually know when you're feeling too sick to go to work. You may have a fever and a persistent cough, or you're too fatigued to get out of bed. If your symptoms cause you the sudden urge to be near a bathroom, that’s a good enough reason not to report for work. However, on the mind of most workers, is not whether they’re too sick to report to work but whether they can afford not to.
Most employees are filled with fear and guilt when it comes to calling out sick. I know from working in Urgent Care Centers that even when patients don’t feel well, they are reluctant to ask for an absence excuse. Smaller companies seem to have a closer relationship with their employees and a better understanding of their needs. Larger companies with more stringent absenteeism policies have employees with the constant feeling that their jobs may be in jeopardy.
When it comes to employee illness, only the employee knows how unwell they feel. A sick employee poses a risk to the entire company, especially when it involves viral coughs and colds. Respiratory viruses remain active on hard surfaces such as desk, doorknobs and keyboards for up to 48 hours. Cold and flu virus can remain active in the body for 7-14 days. If you are sick, you are a risk to those around you. Sanitize all surfaces that others may encounter and wash your hands frequently. Keep your hands way from your nose and mouth; it's how viruses enter the body. Wait until you are feeling at least fifty-percent well before returning to work. The workplace is healthier and more productive when sick employees remain at home, and that includes you.
Make sure you have your Winter Wellness Kit. And don't forget your Oreganol. If you are not already receiving access to the Inner Circle of Wellness. Stay Connected. Your power begins within.
With the winter virus season on the rise, prevention of illness is your best protection. Be aware of the first signs that your body is requiring extra support, such as increased sleep, a better diet, more or less exercise or time away from work. Don't wait! Immediately create a routine that strengthens you.
Stress can weaken your emotional immune system along with the colder temperatures of winter that allow viruses to linger longer. An aggravating work or family environment can lead to persistent cough, bronchitis or pneumonia. Nurture yourself by breathing in warm steam with essential oils, like eucalyptus. Minimize sugars and dairy. Eat lots of soups with garlic and onion. Surround your work and home with soothing sounds or joyful rhythms.
Feel the peace in the sounds of the Native flute by Ronald Roybal
Affirm: I release the grief that suppresses me. I breathe deeply and freely.
I stand boldly in my power.
Keep building your Winter Wellness Kit. Always check in with your doctor if you're not getting better. Comment here and share your favorite healing solutions. We can all benefit from the wisdom of others.
Thank you, Annette for your comments and questions:
I understand the frustration you may have when approaching your doctor about concerns regarding your condition and, often, not feeling heard. I can respond to your specific questions in a more private setting but I'll give you some general advice that others may also benefit from.
Unfortunately, most physicians are not trained in lifestyle medicine and are uncomfortable in giving you input as to how your life - exposures, diet, stress, work, home setting, relationships etc. - impact your health. There is no separation between your life and your health despite western medicines' paradigm to view the body as separate parts to be manage by appropriated specialists.
Autoimmune Thyroid Conditions can be challenging to many physicians, including specialists. On paper your lab results may appear normal, yet you still feel like "crap." A thyroid out of balance can cause you be hypersensitive to your environment, foods, chemicals, even the drugs used to treat the condition. Considering a less synthetic (bioidentical) supplementation, that may be better absorbed by the body, is a reasonable option.
There are specialists who use bioidentical thyroid supplementation. Your local compounding pharmacist know who they are and can make a recommendation. Changing your diet, healing your gut, minimizing toxic exposures and managing your stress is how this condition is best managed. Here's a book that helps to explain thyroid conditions and provides a proven plan for feeling great again: The Thyroid Connection - Dr. Amy Myers
Stay connected and keep us updated.
Thank you, Cathy, for joining us in the Land of Enchantment! It's an honor to be a part of your healing journey and desire for the absolute best of health. I look forward to your return.
See It for Yourself
Find the beauty in today are the words of Eckhart Tolle that I found myself repeating, over-and -over again, when feeling dissatisfied and frustrated by the circumstances of my work. It didn’t matter that I was proficient or had landed what appeared to be an ideal opportunity. Despite others seeing me in a great position, I felt unsupported. Have you ever felt this?
It turns out that my surroundings were truly the beauty in my day. I was working on the island of Bermuda where the pastel colored homes, blooming azaleas and ocean views could bring awe to anyone’s day. However, when you’re in the midst of disappointment, it’s difficult to experience joy, express gratitude and embrace the beauty that’s around you. But when you do, it will counter-balance your stress-filled days.
I’ve come to realize that under almost any circumstance, you can create your own beauty. Whether it’s the momentums in your office that put a smile on your face or the scenic street on your daily drive home, there’s often beauty around us that we take lightly or fail to see.
I now appreciate the places that I get to travel to and more importantly the events that take place in the Southwest beauty of my home. Let me know your places of beauty. It may be the next place for a One To One event. Share this with a friend who needs to know they are not alone.
There's a Reason for Your Anxiety & Depression
As your feelings of depression and anxiety seem to be more pervasive than ever. I have found those feelings of sadness, anxiousness, fear and uncertainty are often rooted in grief. Grief can arise from the loss of health, job position, relationship or someone you love.
Sharon came into my office stating she simply did not feel well. Although she was performing well in her work, she was always fatigued and lacked energy for social engagements. There was nothing in her life that felt enjoyable. She began to tear up when expressing how unfulfilled she felt. I asked, how long had she been feeling this way? SEVEN YEARS was her response! There was only one question left to ask. What happened in her life seven years ago?
Her mother had died from leukemia during that time. Sharon was anxious and fearful that she, too, had some medical disorder that could be life threatening. She also had not resolved her feelings of sadness from the loss of her mother. During her office visit we uncovered the many ways her life had been enriched by her mother's presence; her good cooking and the recipes that Sharon made equally as well, words of wisdom, and valuable life lessons.
As Sharon was able to see the gifts she had been left by her mother, her sense of loss immediately felt lighter. She was reminded of her own greatness and how her mother had contributed most. A few days later, I revealed to Sharon that all of her medical tests were perfectly normal. This alleviated her unfounded worry. I prescribed specific lifestyle strategies to improve her mood and energy levels.
In addition to the work that I do with patients and health coaching clients, it's important that you are empowered for your continued healing. For Sharon, I recommended Emotional Freedom Technique and Living Beyond Grief.
Denise Deilwart at LivingBeyondGrief.com works with many widows as a grief specialist. I believe her work is equally powerful for anyone who is suffering from the loss of a loved one or has not been able to recreate a life that fully encompasses that which you desire.
There are ways to heal beyond medications. It's important to me that you know how.
Top Five Questions to Ask Your Doctor
Asking for clarification is so important. These questions will help you to get the most information from your provider, if you’re interested in minimizing your use of medications. You’ll be able to take concise notes and gain a better understanding of the cause of your condition. You’ll also be able to make comparisons for the cost of your care.
Knowing your diagnosis and treatment options will allow you to do your own research and learn details that your provider may not have had time to explain fully. If you ask good questions, you’ll be better prepared and empowered to initiate your own healing plan.
Stay connected and let me know how you've been able to improve your health....and your healthcare.
Providing Integrated Pathways to Health
Repeated exposure to the tragic events that we've just experienced remains in our subconscious as a memory of terror, fear, frustration and sorrow. With a simple practice of release and resetting our emotional mindset through Emotional Freedom Technique, we can move beyond our fears for survival and emerge with the greatest expression of our ideal self.
I first encountered EFT, known as Tapping, with the Veteran's Stress Project designed by scientist, author and teacher Dawson Church, PhD. (read: Are You Tapped Out?) Since training with EFT Universe, I’ve continued to use EFT with my patients who have sustained stress from various circumstances and disorders, including debilitating illness to homelessness.
We can benefit from this easy technique that gives us the strength needed to revive our energy and release the fear, anxiety and sadness that we may feel.
Here are your tapping points:
Follow along with Gene Monterstelli's tap along audio, In The Wake of Tragedy.
Let me know how EFT is working for you.
Find ways to show the world you care.
Each One Reach One. It's easy to be healthy, together!
Welcome! Here you get to share your health concerns and seek answers that you may not be getting elsewhere.
I, unlike most physicians, was medically train to provide you options in your care, particularly, a whole life approach. However, I’ll be the first to acknowledge that despite nearly 20 years of practice and additional study with some of the most renown integrative medicine pioneers, such as Dr. Andrew Weil, Dr. Jeffrey Bland, Master Faxiang Hou, Dr. Neal Barnard, Dr. Joe Dispenza and others, I still don't have ALL of the answers. However, my commitment is show you another path or process where you get to improve some aspect of your life and therefore your health. I'll share with you the practices that I am using with others to ensure pain free living and guide you as we work towards better stress and weight management.
Most of you, simply, want good health; and my approach is simple: Nourish the Body. Quiet the Mind. Move with Energy. Delight with Joy. Have Gratitude for all.
How are you creating a plan for your best health? Join in the conversation with the steps that you are taking to achieve the health that you desire and deserve. I look forward to your healthy living.