Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2010 a New Year, a New Decade- May it bring 'real' hope and change, because miracles DO happen!

2009 was a rough year and, admittedly, I will be happy when it's finally over. When I lived in Ecuador (for 2 years during high school), on New Year's eve they had a major block party on one of the major drags. Up and down Amazonas boulevard, live bands played music and effigies representing the old year were burned. I haven't thought about that in a long time, but this year I might do something similar as a symbolic gesture for out with the old, because it really sucked.

The economy has taken its toll on many, including me. Arts funding is usually the first to go in challenging economic times, so many theatres have shut down, the work has dwindled, and it might be time to search for another career. I also battled health problems for the best part of the year, and am only just starting to feel normal again, if that's possible when you have 2 chronic ailments. I have been sick since March, but since the beginning of May (when I finally decided to go to a doctor) I have been trekking to MDs and acupuncturists anywhere from 2 to 4 times a week. Because of lack of work, I did not get enough weeks to qualify for my union health insurance, so I will be paying over $2,000 per quarter in Cobra payments. At least I have that option. But 2010 is a new year and the start of a new decade, and I am ever hopeful- because miracles happen.

On the national level, we saw the election of our first black president, which would have been wonderful had it been the "right" black president. I blogged about what a disaster it would be to vote for Obama, and how a no vote or a vote for a 3rd party candidate was essentially a vote for Obama. People did anyway, and now many regret the decision. I'd like to say I told you so, but what would I gain from that. I just hope people remember, and vote the right way in 2010 and 2012. And though it seems that Obama could lay waste to this precious country in 4 short years, 2010 is a new year and the start of a new decade, and I am ever hopeful that things can change, for the better. And not Obama's vacuous claims of "hope and change." Real hope and change- because miracles happen.

We've seen more violence and more craziness around the world, with an increase in radical Islam (and the ultimate goal of global domination by extremists), but on the other hand we've also seen Muslims against terrorism and shariah become more vocal in their condemnation, both here and abroad. We are also witnessing that there are those in the Middle East who truly want democracy and will fight to achieve that goal, and so we need to pray for the Iranian people who are fighting on their own for freedom. All they want is moral support. Let's give it to them. Maybe more will follow suit, though that's highly unlikely. So, in spite of the mess our sad little world is in, 2010 is a new year and the start of a new decade, and I am ever hopeful that 'good' will win over 'evil'- because the good guys always win, and miracles do happen.

And if you don't believe in miracles watch this

Wishing everyone a blessed, prosperous and Happy New year. May it bring many miracles into all of our lives.
GOD bless this country and all freedom-loving people of the world.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Stop Bleeding Naturally With Traditional Chinese Medicine- Yunnan Baiyao

There is nothing more panic-inducing than seeing blood where it shouldn't be; that is - anywhere other than coursing through your veins. Women are used to seeing blood monthly during their menses, but other than that, blood belongs inside one's body. Cuts can usually be dealt with easily, if you haven't chopped off a limb, but when you see blood in your stools it can send one's cortisol levels into overdrive.

Blood in your stool is an indication that something is definitely not right with your innards. Those of us with Ulcerative Colitis (U.C.) are intimate friends with rectal bleeding- it is part and parcel of IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) and invokes a certain sense of fear when it first appears. It can mean 1 of 2 things, the U.C. has returned, or worse yet, the possibility of colon cancer, since U.C. increases the potential for colon cancer. For those without U.C. it could mean other things.

There are a myriad of reasons you might find blood in your stool or on your toilet paper ranging from relatively harmless hemorrhoids to stomach ulcers to colon cancer. Bright red is an indication that it is closer to the anorectal cavity- hemorrhoids, rectal fissures, IBD. Stools are dark red or maroon with Diverticulosis. Stools can be both bright or dark red with Colon Cancer, but usually dark and "tarry". The darker the color usually indicates blood loss is higher up the digestive tract. There are various allopathic methods of diagnosing blood loss from colonoscopies to capsule endoscopies, which you will definitely need to avail yourself of, if the bleeding continues.

With Ulcerative Colitis, if there is profuse bleeding, high doses of prednisone are often prescribed. I had a terrible time with corticosteroids, so will never take prednisone again, particularly after my amazing experience with a Chinese herb called Yunnan Baiyao, prescribed by my acupuncturist.

Yunnan Baiyao aka Yunnan Paiyao, yunnan pai yao, yun nan bai-yao, yunan bai yao, yunan paiyao, yunnan pai-yao, hunnan baiyao, yuhnahn pie yow or "White Medicine from Yunnan", as it is known in English, comes from southern Yunnan province in China and is a popular formula used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for both internal and external bleeding, among other things. It is truly a miracle herbal medicine, at least for internal bleeding. In my case, it stopped the U.C. bleeding almost immediately on various occasions, and ultimately for good.

HISTORY: It was formulated in China by TCM doctor Qu Huanzhang in 1902 and became an instant success when, after 30,000 bottles were donated to the Chinese Army during the 1937 battle of Taierzhuang, many lives were saved. The formula was later donated to the Chinese government which still manufactures it today. I've been told that it was used by Viet Cong soldiers during the Vietnam War, and that the dead were usually found with an empty vial . Apparently, they would use it to help stop bleeding wounds while they waited for help.

LIST OF INGREDIENTS: From what I understand there are different companies that manufacture Yunnan Baiyao in China. The original formula was and still remains a secret, other than some common ingredients. Although the formula has a proprietary secret blend of who knows what, most of the brands contain Pseudoginseng root (san qi), Chinese yam root ( shan yao), wild yam root (chuan shan long), sweet geranium ( lao guan cao) and lesser galangal root (gao liang jiang). Other substances can include ox gall bladder (bai niu dan), borneol (bing pian) herb of clarke (san yu cao).

USES: Stops bleeding internally and externally. Can be used internally for heavy menstruation, bleeding ulcers, Ulcerative Colitis, and topically on wounds, including gun shot wounds. There are many other uses listed for Yunnan Baiyao including, but not limited to, carbuncles and arthritic pain. Although I am not endorsing any of the following sites (that also happen to sell the product since I prefer to purchase mine through my licensed acupuncturist) they give more detailed information on the variety of uses: Chinese Medecine Herb , Help Of Chinese Medecine.

HOW TO USE: It would be best to consult with your alternative health practitioner for dosing information and/or follow directions on the box. It's available in powder form, capsule, tincture, plaster and spray. With each vial or packet of capsules comes a small red pill. This should only be used in very severe cases of bleeding where there is the possibility of shock.

For external wounds apply directly to the wound, after cleaning. If the wound is deep, squeeze the wound together, place the powder on top of the wound and release after several minutes.

For internal bleeding take as directed. Usually, 2 capsules 4 times a day for adults. 1 capsule 4 times a day for children ages 5 to 12. (Check with your practitioner for how long you should use this product).

Although I have never used it topically, I can personally attest to the fact that it works in amazing ways to stop internal bleeding. The first time I used the product for a week, and the bleeding stopped very soon after using the product. A few times thereafter, I would notice a small amount of blood, but within a day, it would be gone. It has been over a month and I have not seen any recurrence of bleeding. I do know, that if I do see any, one dose will take care of it.

Normally I am very careful about what I ingest, and the fact that not all the ingredients are listed isn't very appealing, but when one is anemic stopping blood loss is of tantamount importance. I suppose, in this case, what I don't know won't harm me.

WARNINGS: Should not be used if pregnant. Keep out of reach of children. Some brands recommend avoiding broad beans, fish, sour or cold foods for 24 hours after taking.

Manufacturer Disclaimer

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Side Effects- Why I prefer herbals over pharmaceuticals

Sometimes the side effects of pharmaceutical drugs are far worse than the actual disease, or at least equally horrendous. If you listen to any of those pharma ads on television or read the massive list of potential side effects on the insert with your drugs, it's enough to scare you half to death. And there are particular ones that can actually cause one's demise. Even some of the commercials add that disclaimer. So, if the disease doesn't kill you (even if it's a non-life-threatening one) the drugs you are given just might. Or cause something worse than what you already have. Some of the biologic drugs given for Rheumatoid Arthritis (like Enbrel, Humira etc) can actually cause serious infection or lymphoma or tuberculosis, so not only will you have to suffer the pain of R.A. you can add the possibility of cancer, and T.B. to the equation. No thank you; and that's why I declined when my rheumatologist initially insisted I take Enbrel.

I have been struggling with anemia since my flare-up of Ulcerative Colitis this past spring, even though I have had no bleeding in a very long while. So my hematologist has been giving me Iron infusions (to boost my ferritin levels), and Procrit shots to boost my hemoglobin, which doesn't seem to want to rise above 9.7. Procrit most often is given to cancer patients to increase red blood cell production, but on the front page of their website it states

So, in other words, if you have cancer it could make it worse, or recur. That's encouraging. As for my experience with Procrit, I noticed shortly after my first shot that all my joints were suddenly aching again. I had my R.A. pretty much under control with herbs and supplements for well over 3 years, so I wondered what might have set off what appeared to be an R.A. flare. I then realized that the pain would start to subside towards the end of the 2 week waiting period between shots, and rear its ugly head after each shot. I checked with the hematologist and sure enough, one of the many other side effects of Procrit is joints and muscle aches. Bingo. So now I have to endure the pain of R.A. to get my blood back in order.

For some reason, I seem to be very susceptible to adverse side effects with pharma drugs. When I was prescribed heavy doses of prednisone for the Ulcerative Colitis flare this year, I got all the miserable side effects: from Cushings Syndrome (the chipmunk, moon face) and blurred vision to edema and hair loss. Even though I started bleeding again once I tapered off, I refused to go back on prednisone. Just as well I didn't listen to my Gastro because my acupuncturist put me temporarily on some Chinese Herbs for bleeding, Yunnan Bai Yao (spelled many different ways) and the bleeding stopped immediately. No side-effects.

I have also had major troubles with the Mesalamine Drugs for the Ulcerative Colitis. Lialda gave me major abdominal pain. Apriso, did not help, so was switched to Pentasa, all of which have caused (in addition to the prednisone) major hair loss. Thankfully I had very thick hair, but I have lost well more than half, as a result of taking the drugs. Even though the drugs all have disclaimers about
Mild hair loss characterized by "more hair in the comb"
Mine has been more than mild. There is more hair on my floors, carpets and hair brush than on my head. Clumps of hair come out when washing my hair, not a pleasant sight. Since I finally seem to be in remission with the Ulcerative Colitis after 9 long months- thanks mostly to herbs, homeopathy and acupuncture- I am weaning myself off of the Pentasa. I am now taking 2 per day (down from 8) and will continue with 2 for a little while longer, and then be done with it. Am hoping the hair will grow back once I am off it altogether.

Granted, there can be side effects with certain herbs (though virtually none with homeopathics), but certainly not as many as with pharmaceutical drugs. I will always opt for the natural route over the allopathic since it works far better with far less side effects.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks On Thanksgiving And Every Day

"Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others." Cicero

Food usually becomes the centerpiece for most of our celebrated holidays, and we forget about the true meaning of these occasions. Though there is no consensus about the actual history behind the Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving, we do know it was a day to give thanks to God and the bounties of the harvest. They had gone through challenging times, losing half the Pilgrims during the first harsh winter, but eventually prospered. But even through the hard times, they gave thanks for God's blessings.

We too are going through difficult times, and as challenging as it might be to find something positive to be grateful for, we should be thankful for what we do have, even if it's not much. If you look close enough at your life, you can always find something to be grateful for.

But Thanksgiving shouldn't be the only day to give thanks for our blessings, we should find things to be grateful for every day. In fact, there have been studies proving that gratitude and giving thanks brings health and happiness to those who do so on an ongoing basis.


Journaling is one way to to take stock of our daily blessings. Before you go to bed, make a list of all the positive things that occurred, that you can give thanks for. Even if it's finding that one last parking spot in the mall parking lot. Or the fact that you didn't get angry at the slowpoke in the fast lane.

Thank someone if they have been helpful or kind and then return the favor.

In spite of the current political climate, we have much to be thankful for. We still have our freedom and the ability to fight to maintain it. We have people willing to join the military to protect those hard won freedoms. There are still good people in this world who are willing to help those who are less fortunate and to stand up for what's right, even at their own peril.

A very Happy Thanksgiving, and God bless you all!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Little Noah Biorkman, Michigan boy who had requested Christmas cards passed away November 23

Little Noah Biorkman, the 5 year-old boy who was battling cancer and had requested Christmas cards for an early Christmas celebration, passed away on Monday, November 23rd. He received more than 1 million cards from all over the world and the family is extremely grateful for "the outpouring of love and compassion .."

They have requested the following:

In lieu of cards and flowers, the family is asking that donations be made in Noah's name to either of the following:

Department of Pediatrics and Oncology
University of Michigan
1500 East Medical Center Drive D4202MPB
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-5718

Checks payable to: The University of Michigan -- Noah's Pediatric Oncology Fund

or to
Make-A-Wish Foundation of Michigan
230 Huron View Blvd.
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48103

Checks payable to: Make-A-Wish Foundation of Michigan -- Memo: Noah Biorkman

Rest in peace, little one.

Crossposted on Confessions of a Closet Republican

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Keys to happiness: Perspective is what makes a life worth living

As annoying as some of the forwards that inundate our email inboxes are, there are some gems that put everything into perspective and have to be shared. They come as little reminders.

This one is about how having the right perspective can make a huge difference in the way we view our lives. We can choose to see the glass half empty or the glass half full. We can choose to be happy or not. Happiness is not predicated on how much we have, but on how much we appreciate what we have.

I remember working on a project in Nicaragua as an on-camera spokesperson for an international charitable organization. We filmed at various locations including the local garbage dump in Managua. People lived on site and made their meager living collecting scrap metal etc. that fetched a few córdoba. And even though these people were living in abject poverty, in makeshift shacks in the middle of a filthy landfill, they were happy with what little they had.

Appreciate what you have, even if it's not much, because it could be more than you imagine.

One day , the father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the express purpose of showing him how poor people live.

They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family.

On their return from their trip , the father asked his son , "How was the trip?"

"It was great, Dad.."

"Did you see how poor people live?" the father asked.

"Oh yeah , " said the son.

"So , tell me , what did you learn from the trip?" asked the father.

The son answered:

"I saw that we have one dog and they had four."

"We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end."

"We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night.."

"Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon."

"We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight."

"We have servants who serve us, but they serve others."

"We buy our food , but they grow theirs.."

"We have walls around our property to protect us , they have friends to protect them."

The boy's father was speechless..

Then his son added , "Thanks Dad for showing me how poor we are."

Author Unknown

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

URGENT: Christmas Card Request For Dying Boy

UPDATE: On November 23rd, little Noah Biorkman passed away. He received more than a million cards. Please do not sent any more. See my other post if you want to donate to charity in his name.

5 year-old Noah Biorkman is dying of Neuroblastoma cancer. He has been battling it for almost half his young life. He loves Christmas cards and since they don't think he has much longer to live, his mum is celebrating Christmas early, and has requested cards or letters for her little boy.

This has been checked on Snopes, and it is for real! It's something one needs to act upon now, before it's too late. Mrs. Biorkman is friends with the a.m. DJ on Michigan radio station WKSR and sent an email with the request.

Christmas Cards Requested
Posted on November 04, 2009

Christmas will come early for a five year old Michigan boy this year. Noah Biorkman is battling cancer and is not expected to live much longer.

Noah’s mother and WKSR morning personality Ed Carter went to school together years ago. They keep in touch by email. She mentioned the early Christmas for her son in an email to Ed today.

Mrs. Biorkman is asking for Christmas cards for her son. If you would like to take time to send a card or letter, send it to:

Noah Biorkman
1141 Fountain View Circle

South Lyon , Michigan, 48178.

Crossposted on

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

"What Is That?" (Τι είναι αυτό) - Patience and the circle of life

This is a beautiful short film by Greek filmmaker Constantin Pilavios. A wonderful reminder of the circle of life, and the importance of patience and kindness particularly with the older generation. Well worth the 5 minutes.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wally Amos' Watermelon Credo

It's interesting how life works. I have been craving raw fruit, which is a no-no when you are in the midst of an Ulcerative Colitis flare-up. Yes, bananas are okay but most of the lists of low-residue foods say to stay away from raw fruits, although several mentioned ripe honeydew, cantaloupe and watermelon as kosher to eat during a flare. So I decided, a few days ago, to try watermelon and see if it would sit well with me, and I'm happy to say it did! I savored the sweet, juicy fruit with great relish, thankful there's at least one raw fruit I can enjoy.

You might be wondering what all this has to do with Wally Amos's Watermelon Credo. Well, I have been struggling with remaining positive throughout my 7 month ordeal, frustrated that there has been no resolution and nothing seems to be working, though I was recently diagnosed with a protozoan parasite and am hoping that resolves my issues (but that will be another post). So, in the midst of my struggles I came across an old Costco Connection magazine, and there was Wally "Famous" Amos sharing his words of wisdom to help make it through hard times.

It's so interesting how we are often led to what we need to help us progress. His words were a wonderful reminder that we create our own reality. It's so important to remember that whatever challenges we face, there are reasons, and that God is in charge, and things evolve and resolve in His time, not ours. For whatever reason I am meant to go through what I am going through, and that my attitude towards this experience can make it either tolerable or unbearable. It IS all about attitude. Enjoy these pearls of wisdom, I certainly did.

Watermelon Credo
by Wally Amos

W – Whatever you believe creates your reality. Believe that life is a
positive experience and it will be.
A –
Attitude is the magic word. Your greatest asset is your attitude. Be positive regardless.
T – Together everyone achieves more. There are no limits to what we can accomplish together. I am more than I am but less than we are.
E -Enthusiasm is the wellspring of life. There is no limit to what can be accomplished with enough enthusiasm.
R – Respect yourself, as well as others. When you begin to respect yourself, your whole world changes.
M – Make commitments, not excuses. There is overwhelming power in the words “Yes I will!”
E – Everyday can be a fun day. Fun is the lubricant that keeps life moving forward. Laugh a lot.
L –
Love is the answer. Whatever the question, Love is the answer. It is the greatest force in the Universe.
O – One day at a time. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. All of life happens in increments of one.
N- Never give up or become a victim. You are guaranteed to lose if you give up. Winston Churchill was right, “Never, never, never give up.” It works if you work it.
Watermelon is FUN, inspirational and a great reminder for us to always live life from our highest self. Do not allow yourself to be overwhelmed by events. Let watermelon remind you that you are larger than events. You have the power to create and change events by what you believe. –

In case you want to buy his book on, click on the book.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Making The Most With What Life Deals You- Amazing pianist Heeah Lee, The 4 Finger Pianist

Some in this world are blessed with an easy life, others face what might seem to be insurmountable challenges. For those with challenges, some complain about their lot in life, while others take what is put on their plate and make the most of it- the proverbial making lemonade out of lemons. It's all about our attitude towards what is dished out to us that makes it either a negative or positive experience.

Though I had some wonderful epiphanies during that first year I was so sick with the Rheumatoid Arthritis, I am still looking for the lessons to be learned from my current battle to get myself back into remission with the Ulcerative Colitis. But as sick as I was over the summer, and how frustrated I can get with the fact that I am still having problems, it's important to note that I am blessed that everything else is fine, including the R.A. I have my sight, my hearing and all my limbs are functional. Not so with Heeah Lee, who will amaze you with her talent and joie de vivre, in spite of her physical challenges.

Heeah is a 20 -year-old Korean girl who was born with pincer-like hands and had to have her legs removed at the knees, but who plays piano like an angel wowing audiences worldwide. What impressed me most while watching this video was the incredible devotion of the young woman's mother, who taught her piano, and Heeah's total lack of self-pity. These are people who looked past what life dealt them, making the most of everything.

This 10 minute video is worth every minute.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

UPDATE: My Ulcerative Colitis and Acupuncture

I thought I would update everyone on my progress since my last post on alternative treatments for Ulcerative Colitis.


When I last wrote, I had just started on the herbal and homeopathic protocol prescribed by the medical intuitive, which turned out to be a huge mistake. Perhaps it was mere coincidence, but I took a major turn for the worse a short while after starting the regimen. Whereas I had no problems with urgency to go, beforehand, I suddenly had a terrible time controlling my bowel movements. I also became very nauseous, so I decided not to continue. My visit to the gastroenterologist was also disastrous. Had I not needed to have my health back on track by the beginning of June, when I was scheduled to start rehearsals for a play I had committed to last year, I would have said "bye-bye" and found another gastro; but pressed for time I opted to deal with him, anyway. He prescribed a new mesalamine drug called Lialda, and Canasa medicated suppositories, and scheduled my colonoscopy a week before I was due to start rehearsals. With no other choice, I waited the 3 weeks for the test. In the meantime, after taking the first Lialda, I suddenly developed a terrible pain in my left side. At first I thought it might be gas, but it got worse, and after 10 days, upon the docs approval, we switched to Apriso, another mesalamine drug. Miraculously, the pain ceased. Although the doctor was sceptical about the pain being caused by Lialda, I am convinced it was.


In the meantime, because of the nausea, I started losing weight. Food became totally unappetizing to me, so I started seeing an acupuncturist, twice a week. It helped quite a bit, until my dreaded colonoscopy, which set me back even further. The doctor had prescribed MoviPrep, and as anyone who has ever had a colonoscopy knows, the prep is worse than the test itself. I've had colonoscopies before, but have never experienced anything like this. Because of the nausea I was having a very difficult time with the liquid. Scheduled to start drinking 4 - 8 ounce glasses (plus an additional 16 ounces of liquid) at 5 p.m. the day before the procedure, and then again at 5 a.m. the following morning, I was able to down all but the last 1/3 of my 4th glass, when I proceeded to vomit most of the liquid up. Several hours later, I was vomiting blood, so a call to the doctor saved me the torture of drinking another 4 glasses the following morning, but I was told to use fleet enemas (which were too painful to use) and Dulcolax which did nothing. So when I dragged myself to the facility, the following morning, I had to have a warm water enema, which took 3 times to finally be done with, since I was in such pain.


As expected, I was diagnosed with severe Ulcerative Colitis, and this time it was all the way up the left colon. I was also told I had mild gastritis, and the doctor prescribed 40 mg of prednisone, and Rowasa enemas, in addition to the Apriso. Again, had I not been had a show to rehearse, I would have refused the prednisone. I was to take it for 10 days and then decrease by 5 mg every week. Since I was to be out of town for 6 weeks, we also arranged to have a followup with a doctor in that city.


I was able to arrange an appointment with the doctor a week after I arrived at my destination, but in the meantime I had a call from my gastro that my hemoglobin was 9.4 and that he wanted me to take 150 mg of iron a day, along with 500 mg of Vitamin C, and to have my blood monitored weekly. I decided I would continue with acupuncture and made appointments with 2 different acupuncturists. One was from China, the other was western trained. At first I wasn't sure which I preferred, but both had different techniques and the western AP utilized different modalities, so I chose to see them both. So for the first 3 weeks I was there, I went 4 times a week, before my 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. rehearsals.

By now, the nausea was terrible and I had to force myself to eat. Even a few bites of food was a challenge, and I was dropping pounds very rapidly. I actually wound up losing almost 30 pounds, during this whole episode, which was great for the play, since the description of the character is a slim, plain woman, but this was not the way I would have wanted to lose the weight, and I was starting to look anorexic.

When I finally had my appointment with the new gastro I was told I was one step from the hospital and that he would do his best to keep me out, but no guarantees. He upped the dosage of Apriso to 6 per day, for 4 weeks, extended the prednisone for another 10 days at 40 milligrams. I was to continue with the enemas for 4 weeks (or until I was done with the boxes I had). He also told me to take Reglan for 2 weeks (for the nausea- although I stopped after 1 week, because it made me dizzy) and also prescribed Kapidex for the gastritis, to be taken for 12 weeks.


It took a tremendous effort to get through the rehearsal day, some days worse than others, but the acupuncture was my saving grace. If I had a stomach ache in the morning, it would be gone after an AP session, and finally by the Friday before we opened, the nausea had gone, I had my appetite back, and day by day I felt better and stronger. 1 1/2 weeks before I left, after an acupuncture session, I finally started having formed stools. Even though my hemoglobin kept getting lower (a blood test on June 30th indicated it was 7.7), I felt strong, and I attribute that to the acupuncture. Both acupuncturists were dealing with the U.C., the anemia and stress. The Chinese acupuncturist prescribe some Chinese herbs, but on the two occasions I took them I got very sick, so decided it would be best to wait until I am done with at least the prednisone, before I start taking them again.

I am back home now, and have set up an appointment with another acupuncturist because I had a bit of a set back, due to some stress, but I'm sure he will have me back on track again.

I saw my gastro here last week and took another blood test. The other doctor had upped my iron to 300 mg a day, and it seems it might be finally kicking in as my hemoglobin is up to 9.4. This doctor wants me to get an iron infusion, but I think I would like to wait another few weeks to see if it continues to rise. I am ever hopeful.

UPDATE 9/27/2104: I have been in remission since 2010

My U.C. story and what helped back then.

Help for U.C. bleeding with Chinese herb Yunnan Baiyao.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Ulcerative Colitis- Natural Alternatives To Healing

Other than a great way to lose weight, there is NOTHING about Ulcerative Colitis (UC) that is fun.

I was diagnosed with UC back in 1990, or so, when I was living in Minnesota. I had just gone through a very stressful period of time, and after several weeks of profuse rectal bleeding I reluctantly made my way to a gastroenterologist. I have never been fond of, nor had any faith in allopathic medicine. In fact, it had been years since I had even taken any vitamin or herbal remedy, let alone an aspirin; but a toilet bowl full of blood and other nasty looking liquids was enough to scare me into seeing a doctor.

I was treated to my first humiliating (and painful) sigmoidoscopy, and was told I had severe Ulcerative Colitis. The doc was actually amazed that I wasn't in more pain, considering the severity, but I knew the healthy, high fiber diet I had been on for years had held me in good stead. I went on western meds, and after a while went into remission. Since then I have had quite a few flare-ups, but long periods of remission. In fact, my last flareup (until a month or so ago) was in 2001.

Although most doctors will tell you it has nothing to do with diet, they are WRONG. Yes, stress is a huge factor but diet plays a major role in UC, at least in mine. Every single flare-up I have had has been a combination of stress and diet. I just can't eat cheese. A little cream cheese isn't problematic, but any kind of hard cheese from swiss to parmesan, from cow to goat, has contributed to a flare-up. I have learned the hard way that dairy is not my friend. Prior to one flare-up I had read that goat's cheese did not have lactose. Not true. I used a little goat cheese to add a little zest to my tasteless soy cheese, and within a short time, there I was bleeding again. Needless to say I stopped using dairy cheese altogether, because I realized that it was a major source of my UC. But, I didn't stop dairy altogether. I used a little parmesan very occasionally, and didn't worry about eating something that had milk in it, like a pudding, once in a while, but that was an enormous mistake. While my sister was visiting at the end of December last year, and then again in Feb, I overindulged in dairy-based desserts and used parmesan cheese too often, and after 8 years in remission, it came back with a vengeance.

Although I have used western meds in the past, for flare-ups, I have had much success, at times, with various herbal protocols, which I am going to share with you here. Although, please note, I am not giving medical advice, just sharing what has helped me in the past.


During one flare-up, I was able to go into remission after a few months of juicing. Juice fresh carrot and spinach, about half and half and drink 3 times daily. Sip slowly. I was not on allopathic meds, at the time. However, I did try this the following flare-up, and it didn't seem to help. But it's worth a try.


During my last flare-up, after 9 months of zero relief from the western medicine I was on (Asacol and Rowasa Suppositories) and my gastro basically giving up on me, I decided to experiment with some herbal protocols. I did some research on the Internet, and read a great book by Jini Patel Thompson entitled "Listen To Your Gut" that gives some great advice regarding a holistic approach to dealing with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). I chose the following 3 products:

George's Road Runner Aloe Vera Juice - 1/3 cup, 3 times daily. Has great healing and antiviral properties and helps with the inflammation. Tastes like distilled water. Thompson recommends this particular brand because it has no additives, and the Aloin is removed, which is the component in Aloe Vera that has a laxative affect. Something, none of us needs.

Intestinew (by Renewlife)- 2 capfuls per day, upon rising and at bed time. Mix in glass of water. I use a small wire beater to mix the product in the water. Intestinew

Supports the integrity and healthy function of the intestinal lining.
Robert's Formula- I used the product made by Gaia Herbs, but they recently took it off the market for other than licensed practitioners. It was a liquid, that worked wonders. It is specifically for IBD sufferers. They do sell it in pill form, though some contain animal derivatives,whereas Gaia's did not. It isn't easy to find, however.

I immediately started the protocol, while weaning myself off the Asacol and Rowasa. Within several weeks I noticed a marked change. The symptoms started disappearing, and except for a setback after a month, because I started eating too much fiber too soon, within 3 months I was totally symptom free.

So when I started noticing problems a few months ago, I immediately started on the same regimen. This time, however, I did not have the results I expected. I also had to stop the Robert's Formula because the main ingredients are Echinacea/Goldenseal, and since they are immune boosters, they started kicking in the R.A. (Rheumatoid Arthritis), which started making me feel very achy.

So, I have chosen to go to a gastroenterologist, but in the meantime, consulted with a medical intuitive who has me on some homeopathic and herbal remedies. No improvement yet, but I will update this if I do.

Good luck with your path to healing. And remember, please research before you take any herbal remedies, and check with your doctor if you are on any western meds that might not sit well with the herbs.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Don't Judge A Book By Its Cover: Susan Boyle Wows on Britain's Got Talent

How often have you looked at someone and immediately formed an opinion or judgement about the person? I remember learning that lesson many years ago, when I met a construction worker who I automatically determined was a beer guzzling, hard-rock music loving, football-on-a-Monday night kind of guy. Not that there's anything whatsoever wrong with that, but it just seemed to fit the stereotype. How wrong I was! He was a very cultured man, loved classical music and wine and was, in other words, nothing I had imagined him to be, given his job and appearance.

We tend to do this, whether consciously or unconsciously- judging books by their covers, and though oftentimes we might be right, there are times when we can be woefully wrong.

Take Susan Boyle, an unemployed, single (never been kissed) singer on Britain's Got Talent 2009 who was initially dismissed, by audience and judges alike, because of her age and looks, until they heard her incredible voice.

It's reminiscent of Paul Potts, who eventually won Britain's Got Talent several years ago.

Two immense, unforgettable talents in bodies that people would rarely look twice at.

You never know what lies beneath the outer packaging. There could be a gem beneath a piece of newspaper, and a piece of coal beneath a swath of shiny silk.

Look beyond outer appearances, you never know what lies beneath.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Keys To Happiness: Giving During Times Of Need

"You make a living by what you get; you make a life by what you give."

The above quote is often attributed to Sir Winston Churchill, though there are those who would disagree. But regardless of who actually uttered those words, the sentiment is what matters most.

Generosity can be challenging, especially during these difficult economic times. When we have little for ourselves, we find it hard to justify giving to others, but giving doesn't necessarily require donating money to those less privileged than ourselves. There are many different ways to give, other than monetarily:


Help someone learn to read or to learn English.
Mentor an at-risk youth.
Drive someone to their doctor's appointment, or help them run errands.
Offer to help an elderly neighbour clean their house.
Volunteer at a Veteran's Hospital.


Give some old clothes to a homeless shelter.
Give away old toys and books to family in need.
Donate old glasses, cell phones, hotel soaps and shampoos to the various organizations that take them.


Smile at strangers, you'll be amazed at how this can lift a person's spirits.
Compliment someone on how they look, or a job well done.
Give someone a hug.
Tell someone you love and appreciate them.

Giving, without conditions, makes us feel good. And seeing others help without expectations, inspires the rest of us. One of my favorite TV commercials is a Liberty Mutual ad that shows various people witnessing random acts of kindness by others; and, inspired by what they observe they, in turn, do the same for others. It's the whole pay-it-forward phenomenon. If we see someone being kind to another, it makes us want to do the same thing.

So, go out, give of your money, time or possessions- it's the right thing to do. Let's take care of each other.

"There is a wonderful mythical law of nature that the three things we crave most in life -- happiness, freedom, and peace of mind -- are always attained by giving them to someone else."

By Peyton Conway March

Friday, February 27, 2009

Clean Up Your Air With Indoor House Plants

Not only do plants bring beauty to our homes and offices they are also useful in cleaning the air we breathe of pollutants.

A joint NASA and ALCA (Associated Landscape Contractors of America) study proved that plants can actually remove harmful gases and pollutants from the air in buildings, including carbon monoxide. As part of the study, different plants were sealed in Plexiglas chambers with various chemicals.

Philodendron, spider plant and the golden pothos were labeled the most effective in removing formaldehyde molecules. Flowering plants such as gerbera daisy and chrysanthemums were rated superior in removing benzene from the chamber atmosphere. Other good performers are Dracaena Massangeana, Spathiphyllum, and Golden Pothos. “Plants take substances out of the air through the tiny openings in their leaves,” Wolverton said. “But research in our laboratories has determined that plant leaves, roots and soil bacteria are all important in removing trace levels of toxic vapors”.


Bamboo Palm- absorbs the formaldehyde that furniture emits.

Chrysanthemum- can absorb the trichloroethylene from inks and benzene from any plastic product.

Corn Plant- is good at absorbing the formaldehyde from paper goods.

Gerbera Daisy- also absorbs benzene from ink

Philodendron- can also absorb formaldehyde from wood (particleboard).

Other useful plants include the Peace Lilly, English Ivy, Spider Plants, Chinese Evergreen, and Dracaena.

Any of these plants, or a combination of several or all, should do the trick.

Add some green to your environment and clean up your air at the same time. Your lungs will thank you.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Patience Is A Virtue

This is a beautiful, poignant little 5 minute short film about patience, and our lack of it, especially when it comes to our older parents.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Get Rid Of That Wart The Natural Way

When we think of warts, the first images that come to mind are those ugly bumps on the noses of witches. And no, you can't get them by touching frogs and toads, but they are contagious, if you happen to be susceptible. And they are actually quite common, mostly with children, though adults can get warts too.

Caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV), there are a variety of different warts including:

1. Plantar Warts- lumps on the sole of the feet, and are usually very painful.

2. Common Warts- elevated, granular bumps that are usually found on hands, elbows and knees.

3. Filiform/Digitate Warts- have a finger-like shape and can be found on the face, normally around the lips, eye-lids and nose.

4. Flat Warts-
are cluster-type warts. Small, smooth, and can occur on the face, hands, knees, neck, wrists. They like company, so you can have as many as a 100 clustered together.

5. Genital Warts- are, obviously found on the genitalia. (I would check with your doctor before trying any of these remedies on these kinds of warts.)


The most common, popular and effective home-remedies are:

DUCT TAPE: Take a small piece of silver duct tape and place on wart. Leave for a few weeks and it should disappear.

LEMON JUICE: Put some lemon juice on the wart three or four times a day, until they fall off.

Dab these individually or as a mixture on warts.

BANANA PEEL: Tape a piece of banana peel to the wart (flesh side to the skin) or rub it on wart every night before bed.


Like colds, some people are more apt to get warts than others. It's all about your immune system and how strong it's able to fight infections. But there are some things you can do to help. Because HPV thrives in warm, moist places

-Make sure you wash regularly and keep clean and dry, and do not touch or pick at your friend's wart, or your own, if you happen to have one. By picking, scratching etc. you can spread the virus.
-Don't share towels. You can pick up the virus from using infected towels.
-Don't walk barefoot in a gym, or in other public places. Use waterproof shoes or sandals.
-Keep feet and skin dry.
-Change socks daily.

For more natural wart remedies, check out

Hat Tip: Earth Clinic Folk Remedies