Mystery solved. Mom, knowing my abundance of minimally useful knowledge, asked that I come by to repair her computer printer - and help her figure out what kind of droppings are littering her picture window sill. Approaching 94, same age as the scorching Florida temperature, she was understandably miffed at having to go out and clean it up every day.
Well, there we stood scratching our chins and speculating whether it could be lizard poop, snake excrement, giant spiders or an odd bird. Too small for dogs. Too long for rabbits, Armadillos are too clumsy to scale the wall. We were flummoxed. Until today. As I sat here typing random thoughts, which this is now one of, the cutest baby squirrel looked my way from our gazebo rail, and plopped an identical match. Then he winked and lightly hopped away - seriously. When I called her with the news, she said no - it is from a giant frog.
After two years of taping Dr Oz, I consider myself something of a poo expert - for diagnostic purposes of course. It is incomprehensible that we were surrounded by acorns and squirrels taking evil bites from Avocados on Mom's tree, yet that culprit never entered our minds. Same for frogs despite their incessant ribits. Perhaps it was brain drain from the cake and ice cream beach trip two days earlier.
Let's take this as a segue into the serious aspects of what goes in must go out - efficiently. Much as it is a hilarious topic, what we release from our bodies is revealing. Have a headache? Pay attention to what is not letting go - and hydrate and add perhaps 600 mg of magnesium to find relief. Magnesium Oxide may loosen you up more than intended, so choose other options like Magnesium Citrate in powder or capsules. No need to experience the toxic overload of holding anything in too long.
With my world travels, I am not proud to admit to incontinence in Continents of Asia, Europe, North and South America. I am proud that the past 3 years of yoga have resolved the issue through the magic of mulabanda, similar results to the Kegel exercises women have performed sneakily in your presence for years. Those muscles down below need tightening - and botox is not the answer.
Decades ago, I resided on the 20th floor of a prestigious high rise complex, unit 2001 like the Space Odyssey movie. As a single professional gal, the tight security was welcome. So when the phone rang in the pre-dawn hours, years before caller ID, I hesitated as intuition was not telling me this is urgent. It was not. I answered to hear the very concerned voice of the gal next door asking whether she should get immediately to a Doctor. Her urine was emitting the most offensive odor and something must be seriously wrong. I asked what she had eaten - then nearly peed my sleepingT laughing. Asparagus - the only possible culprit. Bingo. They don't teach you these things in school. I can only wonder how many emergency calls are wasted on this harmless normal reaction.
The reason I knew the Asparagus reaction was rather serious. Mom, in her many trials with cancer, was required to wear what she called her "Sunday Purse" - an external bag to capture her urine. For such a proud lady, the humiliation had to be immense - but she did her best to make light of everything and ease the discomfort of all around her. She even taped a long pink zipper to her belly entering surgery for the re-opening of an incision. But it was a very sad day when Doctors said she must never eat asparagus, her favorite vegetable, or the smell would forever permeate the Sunday Purse. That is how I found out. How did you learn? Or is this news to you?
There was an excellent factual fiction I read around 2010 where the MD relied to great extent on the scents emitted from urine samples. "Cutting for Stone". (buy at Amazon) He would predict with fair accuracy what issues existed from diabetes (sweet smell), kidney stones, liver failure to coronary issues. This is not the fiction of that story. Consider yourself lucky if your wellness team ever includes anyone so talented. From a self-care perspective, be on the lookout for blood in urine, and laugh it off if you ate beets or excessive red dye. Pee should be nearly clear, even after beets if your enzyme levels are strong. Florescent colors are common after vitamins. Check whether yours include any "FDA approved colors" and toss them. Best supplements are whole food vitamins, but they will cost a bit more and be less shelf stable over time. Dark urine is a warning of dehydration. Drink more water, and call your doctor if it does not resolve. Pay attention to the colors and don't worry about sniffing it - the Docs no longer know what to do with that insight.
Go here for in depth poop analysis & illustrations (yuck!). Know that constipation is much more than the failure to poop. Yes, yet another reason to feel badly about ourselves. Get over it. Fix it. Something of a banana sized smooth firm dropping gets a star on your forehead. Rabbit pellets are constipation, as is the rocky road formation many have. Drink more water. Eat more fiber and fewer refined carbs and less sugar. On my early meeting days, I'm a rabbit pellet kinda gal due to the morning rush - and aware of the cranky nature that follows. If you live every day in a rush, consider putting yourself first.
Colors feed my soul. So the dull colors of poop are a real downer, considering my efforts toward health - choosing rainbow colors of vegetables and fruits. Still I know this is important to monitor. Black is a sign of possible blood in the stool. Call Doc. Green is great sign of high vegetable consumption - but indicates you are not digesting properly. Consider added enzymes and probiotic supplements or using unsweetened yogurt or kefir to boost the good bacteria in your gut. Do not put pro with anti. Antibiotics, if you must take them, knock out both good and bad bacteria. It is common after a course of antibiotics to experience digestive issues, yeast infections, even ringworm and foot fungus. Boost the probiotics a few hours away from antibiotics, so they don't take up war on each other.
50 shades of brown will not raise eyebrows. Do be on patrol if a pale color persists. The leaning toward tan may indicated gallbladder/liver concerns. Persistent floaters could indicate too much fat in the diet.
Have a full blood profile at least annually and know your Cardio health indicators. High triglycerides are the early warning sign to pre-diabetes and heart health. High total cholesterol is not nearly of the great concern that drug companies would like to convey for the promotion of statins. A few years ago, Doctors began raising red flags at a total cholesterol of 200. This is bogus if good cholesterol (HDL "Happy") is in normal range, as well as bad cholesterol (LDL "Lousy) plus triglycerides. Fortunately they are catching on now. Before agreeing to statins, which for some will generate joint pain and other side effect, make a serious effort at diet refinements. Fewer simple carbs and less sugar with the addition of soluble fiber to escort fats out of your body, will go a long way.
Note that a natural supplement is not always better than the prescription performing the same function. I found that Natural Rice Yeast, a common alternative to statins, works in the same way as the prescription and has similar risk of joint pain in my experience. My solution was a supplement with cinnamon combined with ayurvedic and other herbs to assist how I processed sugars. An apple a day, the old saying, is quite valid as the pectin helps a great deal. And cinnamon is a great sugar balancing option - but NOT via the Cinnabon delivery method.
Post menopausal life raises the risk of death from heart disease statistically to 6 times the risk of crossing over due to breast cancer. So bring your Mom lots of hugs and flowers, not donuts and candy. Keep the faith that you are perfect, you are well - then exercise and nourish yourself in a way to prove that true. Then just watch what you create.;)
Yesterday my life loving Mom-in-Law turned 94 on a good day. Mom/Judy stepped into my life 23 years ago. Actually she two stepped in. My first recall of meeting Punch and Judy was on their way to the Elks club Western theme party. They were dressed full out in their Stetsons, bolero ties, cowboy boots and scarves. I knew my now husband "McGyver" had a fun loving Mom, as was Clara, the Mom I lost too early in 1979. Judy has been a Mom and friend to me since long before my husband figured out we were together to stay. Yes, it is unusual to feel blessed by a great Mother-in-law relationship. It is actually not even socially acceptable, so we speak in hushed voices when I find others who are so lucky.
Perhaps this mention will thin the crowds on Florida's roads: On her 94th, Mom renewed her drivers license with nothing but a vision test. The reality is that she is still a good driver - particularly as compared to the distracted majority who are dialing, selecting music or, does anyone still do this - texting? The unfortunate aspect is that she will be the first to be blamed in the event of a fender bender. Age discrimination is rampant. We judge so easily based on appearances, without fact checking. Then again, she hardly looks 80, let alone 94. I'm equally guilty, and don't know anyone else 90+ that I want to share the roads with, though I would love to hear their life lessons while I drive them places.
How does one arrive at 94, mostly unscathed, with the energy and health to walk miles every morning, go to her volunteer jobs with Hospice and Options for Women, socialize nearly every evening? She still reads the morning paper daily - so we cannot credit absence of energy depleting news stories. She credits attitude - let nothing and nobody steal your good mood. I detect a good dose of denial - which seems a powerful solution to many of life's un-fortunate events and annoyances.
Denial is evident when her pain is high and she answers "I'm fine, I'm fine". Neuroscience supports that this works, providing attention is moved to a distraction. So, as in the movie "Yes Man", her policy is yes to everything. Accept every invitation, "or they may not invite you again." Stay very busy. She intentionally stays surrounded by young friends, and adores the children next door. Often she is forced to deal with an "old person", though they may be 30 years younger than her. She hands that title to those with sour demeanors.
One distinction that surprises her Medical providers is that she takes no prescription drugs, other than at surgeries. She breezed through two mastectomies. The first was at age 87 and the second at 93. I blocked my calendar for a month to take care of her, but 24 hours out she wanted escort to a Christmas party. I was only needed to keep her company. After the first round with Stage I Estrogen positive Breast Cancer, Doctors prescribed Irimidex. The painful side effects impacting her bones led to a prescription for Fosomax. For five years she experienced the aches and pains most of us suffer at a much younger age. Thankfully she is off of the drugs now. She will never know if the Irimidex did in fact delay the 2nd recurrence. Our over medicated society has lost site of the importance of drugs, used sparingly. How much dementia is from drug interactions and dehydration, not Alzheimers? Check out Dr. Daniel Amen books for ways to reverse dementia. Mom's walking, water, crosswords and active lifestyle are all in his prescription.
She eats everything we are warned about, from steaks and butter to desserts, but balanced with veggies, nuts, fruits and plenty of water. She never touched coffee and very little liquor. Her claim to fame as the beautiful young blonde at the pub was the server carrying a tray with her tall glass of ice cold milk. Sure, most of that milk was before the era of hormone loading the cows. Having grown up with the Dairy Council ads, she undoubtedly still trusts the half gallons from her grocery today. Best to believe that - as often the minds power is stronger than the additives. I'll stick with organic milk, if any, because that is where my beliefs have been led. This is one of many areas where Mom and I disagree. The fact that we are ok in disagreement is likely a contributor to our open honest relationship. When she expresses concern about being a burden, I hand her a basket of laundry to fold. Problem solved for both of us. Being useful and needed are so important to being alive.
My own family growing up was limited by physical issues for both parents, so it was not until I became part of the family trips that the dynamics of too much togetherness on the road became apparent. For Mom there is no such thing as too much family. For my borderline introvert nature, hyperventilation is a reality after 2 days crowded under one roof talking over each other at the holidays. They have learned to accept my need for solitary walks. I even hid in the dressing room Christmas shopping one year to get myself back together. Then a page calling my name disrupted the peace. I still laugh remembering the Autumn road trip thru Maine. With 7 of us in a van, I was the only one capable of driving for a variety of health reasons at the time. All of them had seen the terrain many times, so it was non-stop "Pam do you see the lake we are passing now"? "Remember when"...as they shared memories. I was so focused on the slippery leaf covered roads there was no looking at the sites - but nobody really knew. I do plan to return one October with someone else to drive.
Last week, our new Pope handed out gift boxes at the Vatican implying they contained medication. In fact, each visitor received a rosary - proven to reduce heart disease, blood pressure, and a number of ailments, when used with great faith. This has been Mom's drug of choice for a lifetime. She keeps a glow in the dark rosary beside her bed or under the pillow at all times, and goes to sleep saying her rosary. Beyond the prayers, there is a tactile benefit to the beads used in world religions, as well as the palms together in prayer, which emotionally bypasses despondency. The act of repeating the Our Father and Hail Mary prayers keeps the mind focused and connected, away from the distracting thoughts of life - and I truly believe has the power to heal wherever the intention is being sent.
What better way to wrap up each day of our life, than to know we have no regrets and are sending our good intentions and prayers to others?
Pinktober is upon us in full glory. We packed up our beach attire and headed to the uber-pink hotel, the Don Cesar on St Pete Beach in Florida. At the crack of dawn we assembled, nearly 200 survivors and families, to meet the camera crew of GMA (Good Morning America). Our mission? Inspire the couch potatoes of America to be as committed to life as all of these beautiful ladies and a gentleman. Yes, men do get breast cancer. But most of the men here experienced an even greater disruption to their life - feeling helpless to fix their loved ones.
So many lessons and observations compacted into the early hours of PINK sunrise, beach balls, GMA T-shirts, heartfelt signs for the world. What stood out for me is the age old inequality. These ladies found their way to be seen and heard, yet all that was aired is the cheering to prompt signs dictated by the Directors calling in from New York. They were permitted onto the beach property, but not welcomed to celebrate the day there without being a guest of the fine establishment. At $7/bottle for fancy Fiji water, all enjoyed the experience but some went home dehydrated by noon. Many have put every last dime into their treatments. Those who did not have the money put everything in the hands of God, and Praise The Lord they were here smiling and thriving. They went home with more new friends, having made yet another amazing memory. Pictures and social media now carry their words that would never be heard on TV the day the greatest nation in the world closed the doors of their Government offices.
As a lifelong camera-phobic, I took up amateur photography to assure that I remain behind the lens and not in the public eye. Pinktober on GMA was no different. I stood behind the camera crew on the beach, in the dark shooting with only my iPhone, to capture my 93 year Young Survivor Mom in Law. The silhouette of the crew against the luminescent pink ladies flashed another cliche. Cancer has put them in the spotlight. Like it or not, there is no hiding from the reality of the diagnosis. Only this small group opted to show up for big publicity. The majority of us living with the awareness of cancer as a possibility want it to go away. Normalcy is a dream now. Many ladies who grew up loving Princess Pink now resent that it symbolizes a dis-ease and serves as a constant reminder of what they want to forget.
Cancer's positive impact
In my work with Kolbe Instinctive assessments, I had a remarkably low ratio of Cancer Thrivers showing up as "In Transition". I had expected the opposite. Conative transition is a normal state we all experience at some time, losing touch with who we are instinctively, often during stressful life events. Cancer diagnosis is a wake up call that shakes lives up. There is no longer room for tolerance of the toxic situations you may have been living in. You become clear and strong on who you are and now live a very deliberate life. Poor relationships are corrected or dissolved, at work and home. Past indiscretions and unjust events are forgiven in yourself and others. It is the only way to assure recovery. Release something BIG that is not serving you. Shift. Do we dare consider our Cancer as a gift? OK, that is too much, but let it be released and never seen again. Re-use the pink bow on your holiday gifts, for many years to come. And when our end time comes, allow it to arrive with grace and not regrets.
Life is a tapestry we weave over time, with love and trials of life. We look back at our stories with both pride and regret. This is such a beautiful analogy. But it is SO wrong for your forward momentum. Stop dragging that heavy tapestry along, re-write the past to a lighter and less drama filled story, then trade up for your magic carpet ride. You did watch Aladdin, right? All of your power and expansiveness is packed into this itsy bitsy living space of your body.
In reality, Life is a Kaleidoscope. The view may be ever changing with each thought, every breath. Are you standing tall or slouching? Smiling or grimacing? Judging or allowing? Caught in self-pity? We each have the capacity, with practice, to brighten and enhance our view of life. Our God given nature sets the foundation. Our lessons of life, beliefs, and experiences - whether empowering or traumatic, add elements of distortion. Be keenly aware of your responses in each moment. Your response is truly the only thing you DO have control over.
Do you know what you want? Are your goals clear? Are they clearly YOUR goals? Or strongly influenced by those you strive to please, to make yourself good enough? Know this. YOU are perfect. Perhaps not by the current standards another has set - limiting them, not you. But when you live authentically, others will be drawn to you. If you are among the many who do not know what they want in Life, then celebrate the opportunity ahead for your exploration. Listen to your body signals, and follow the paths that give you a sense of ease, a sparkle in your eyes. Then hire or barter out those tasks that better fit the talents of others. (oh - do I hear excuses bubbling to the surface? No money. No time. No respect. You don't trust them?) What else is possible?
When you move past material desires, find a path to pay off debt and grow kind to yourself, you will discover that giving/receiving are inseparably connected. If you have a great depth to climb out of, emotionally-financially-spiritually, allow others to give while you receive gratefully - and give whatever you do have in return. You will find the most satisfying life of play and contribution to follow. Be patient. I'll meet you there.
Writing to you, knowing how unique our viewpoints may be. When resisting, ask yourself "What Else is Possible?". My experience and personal truth in any moment is just that - mine for you to consider. All Things are Possible - ATAP