Kidney Disease: More Common Than You Think

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Twenty-six million Americans suffer from some sort of kidney disease –more people are unaware they suffer from it. Kidney disease kills 90,000 Americans each year, more than breast and prostate cancer combined.

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One in three American adults are currently at risk for developing kidney disease, and many are unaware of it.

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One of the lesser known diseases that injures the kidney is called vasculitis.

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It can cause a need for a kidney transplant if it goes untreated.

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We will learn more about it today in my interview with Dr. Giullian.

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Jeffrey A. Giullian, MD/MBA, a nephrologist and partner at South Denver Nephrology Associates, in Denver, Colorado, practices both general and transplant nephrology, including care of patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), end stage renal disease (ESRD), immunosuppression, hypertension and kidney stones.

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In addition to his clinical responsibilities, he has an active research clinic focusing on phase 2 and 3 clinical trials.

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He is active in renal research for patients with electrolyte abnormalities, polycystic kidney disease and diabetes.

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Currently, Dr. Giullian is the Chairman of Medicine at Castle Rock Adventist Hospital, the Chief of Nephrology at Swedish Hospital, and a member of the Porter Hospital Kidney and Pancreas Transplant team. He is also a Group Medical Director for the APEX group of DaVita Dialysis covering dialysis centers in nine states.

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After earning a MD from Vanderbilt School of Medicine in 2001, Dr. Giullian completed an internal medicine residency at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX. He served as Baylor’s Chief Medical Resident from 2004-2005.

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After completing his residency, he returned to Vanderbilt University Medical center for his nephrology training. During this time, from 2006-2007, he was Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Chief Fellow for the division of nephrology. In addition to his MD degree, Dr. Giullian holds a MBA degree from the University of Colorado at Denver.

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Learn about vasculities at red link below.

Click here for Interview with Dr. Giullian:
https://www.hightail.com/download/UlRTcmxYTmFreEJ2TzhUQw

MariaDorfner MARIA DORFNER is the founder of MedCrunch.

Cynthia’s Story: Helping Women Who Live with Chronic Pain

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Cynthia Toussiant is a former ballerina and actress (FAME) who has suffered with chronic pain disorder for more than thirty years.

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The strong, graceful ballerina’s life changed when a minor ballet injury triggered chronic pain.

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The chronic pain left the strong and graceful ballerina mute and in a wheelchair for years.

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She visited countless physicians and was continually told it was all in her head.

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Her husband, John Garrett, who has been with her for 34 years helped her get to the bottom of it.

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Turns out, Cynthia had Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) for 32 years. She later developed Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

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I talk to Cynthia and John about it: https://www.hightail.com/download/UlRUTGs2bEpLVldjZDhUQw

WHAT IS COMPLEX REGIONAL PAIN SYNDROME?

According to the Mayo Clinic, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome is an uncommon form of chronic pain that usually affects an arm or a leg. Complex regional pain syndrome typically develops after an injury, surgery, stroke or heart attack, but the pain is out of proportion to the severity of the initial injury.

WHAT CAUSES IT?

The cause of complex regional pain syndrome isn’t clearly understood. Treatment for complex regional pain syndrome is most effective when started early. In such cases, improvement and even remission are possible.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

Signs and symptoms of complex regional pain syndrome include:
•Continuous burning or throbbing pain, usually in your arm, leg, hand or foot
•Sensitivity to touch or cold
•Swelling of the painful area
•Changes in skin temperature — at times your skin may be sweaty; at other times it may be cold
•Changes in skin color, which can range from white and mottled to red or blue
•Changes in skin texture, which may become tender, thin or shiny in the affected area
•Changes in hair and nail growth
•Joint stiffness, swelling and damage
•Muscle spasms, weakness and loss (atrophy)
•Decreased ability to move the affected body part

Symptoms may change over time and vary from person to person. Most commonly, pain, swelling, redness, noticeable changes in temperature and hypersensitivity (particularly to cold and touch) occur first.

Over time, the affected limb can become cold and pale and undergo skin and nail changes as well as muscle spasms and tightening. Once these changes occur, the condition is often irreversible.

Complex regional pain syndrome occasionally may spread from its source to elsewhere in your body, such as the opposite limb. The pain may be worsened by emotional stress.

In some people, signs and symptoms of complex regional pain syndrome go away on their own. In others, signs and symptoms may persist for months to years. Treatment is likely to be most effective when started early in the course of the illness.

WHEN SHOULD SOMEONE SEE A DOCTOR?

If you experience constant, severe pain that affects a limb and makes touching or moving that limb seem intolerable, see your doctor to determine the cause. It’s important to treat complex regional pain syndrome early.

FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT THE MAYO CLINC AT: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/complex-regional-pain-syndrome/basics/definition/con-20022844


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Once Cynthia and John learned more about it, they rechanneled their efforts to help other women.

HELPING OTHER WOMEN

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Since 1997, she has been a leading advocate for women in pain. Cynthia gave testimony at two California Senate hearings. The first was dedicated to CRPS awareness. The second explored the chronic under treatment of and gender bias toward women in pain. Both of these efforts were the first of their kind in the nation.

Cynthia founded For Grace to raise awareness about CRPS and all women in pain.

In 2006, Toussaint ran for the California State Assembly to bring attention to her CRPS Education Bill that Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed after she got it to his desk in its first year. Her current Step Therapy bill will reform an unethical prescription practice used by the health insurance industry to save money in a way that increases the suffering of California pain patients.

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Toussaint was the first CRPS sufferer to be featured in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and on the Public Broadcasting System and National Public Radio. She is a consultant for The Discovery Channel, ABC News, FOX News, the National Pain Report and PainPathways, the official magazine of the World Institute of Pain. Also, she is a guide and guest contributor for Maria Shriver’s Architects of Change website. Her many speaking engagements include the National Institutes of Health and Capitol Hill.

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She is the author of Battle for Grace: A Memoir of Pain, Redemption and Impossible Love. Also, Toussaint is experiencing her first-ever partial CRPS remission largely due to the narrative therapy of writing this book.

Toussaint continues to be a leading advocate for health care reform in California. She was instrumental in changing public opinion which sparked sweeping HMO reform legislation that was signed by Governor Gray Davis in 1999. Her focus has now shifted to creating a single-payer, universal health care plan in California that would provide a model for the rest of the country.

Cynthia’s husband, John serves as Director at For Grace and was instrumental in launching the organization in April 2002 along with his partner Cynthia Toussaint, who has suffered with CRPS (and later other over-lapping auto-immune conditions) for 32 years. Garrett has been partner and caregiver to Toussaint for 34 years. He has done extensive research about the gender disparity toward women in pain, compiling a comprehensive library on that issue along with specific chronic pain conditions.

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Garrett has assisted Toussaint in all aspects of media relations and advocacy regarding CRPS awareness and the pain gender divide. His work focuses on speech presentation, grant writing, research, media outreach and the development of branding strategies. Garrett has also advised California’s Department of Managed Health Care and other state agencies regarding pain management practices in the HMO industry.

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Commenting on her long-term partnership with Garrett, Toussaint says, “My story as a woman in pain is also a love story because John’s support has been total and unwavering. Without his loving presence in my life, I wouldn’t be here.”

Garrett made numerous writing contributions in Toussaint’s memoir, Battle for Grace: A Memoir of Pain, Redemption and Impossible Love. He candidly shares the virtues and challenges of the caregiving experience.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO FULL INTERVIEW with CYNTHIA & JOHN:

https://www.hightail.com/download/UlRUTGs2bEpLVldjZDhUQw

PHOTO MONTAGE OF CYNTHIA & JOHN:

https://www.hightail.com/download/UlRUeEVhbEpubVhSc01UQw

Elizabeth Taylor Quote on Living with Pain

Women with Chronic Pain, please visit:
WWW.FORGRACE.ORG

           

Angelina Jolie Unbroken by Chickenpox

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Jolie announces on YouTube she has chickenpox. The beautiful actress/director/philanthropist spoke in disbelief at the timing, but with a healthy attitude saying, “…such is life.” She had to cancel promotional events and attending the premiere of her film, Unbroken, which opens Christmas:

“I just wanted to be clear and honest about why I would be missing the Unbroken events in the next few days, which is that I found out last night that I have chicken pox,” she says in the video, posted to YouTube. “So, I will be home itching and missing everyone and I can’t believe it because this film means so much to me. I just can’t believe it, but such is life. There it is. Send everyone my love and I hope everything goes well!”

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We wanted to give Jolie some Health tips to help her get through this.

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The most important thing Jolie can do is not itch and leave the blisters UNBROKEN:

1. DO NOT ITCH!

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2. DO NOT PICK AT SCABS!

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3. REST! DON’T WORRY ABOUT THE PREMIERE! YOUR HEALTH IS MORE IMPORTANT!

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4. DRINK LOTS OF WATER, EAT WELL! NO NEED TO SQUEEZE INTO PREMIERE DRESS!

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Since chickenpox is highly contagious she needs to stay away from hubby (ouch again!) and all their kids for at least two weeks. I don’t know who in her family has had it already or not, but you can get it again. It will be milder and symptoms will not last as long the second time. It’s still extremely uncomfortable.

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I recall getting chickenpox as an adult myself. Insanely itchy. I looked like a monster. I slept with Calamine lotion all over me. My husband was supposed to stay away from me, but he insisted on staying by my side. I’m sure Brad is going to have an even tougher time.

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I felt like Lucille Ball in that episode when she got a bad sunburn right before a big show. Angelina Jolie is probably feeling that way right now.

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Lucy ended up going to the show. Hilarity ensues because she’s in great pain as people keep tapping her on the shoulder. Jolie made the healthy choice!

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The next hardest part will be trying not to itch. We researched the best remedies.

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When I was a kid, calamine lotion was used.

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Today, people recommend the following anti-itch natural remedies:

OATMEAL – used in a bath (details below)
BROWN VINEGAR – also used in a bath (details below)
BAKING SODA – Stir one-half tablespoon of baking soda in a glass of water. Apply to affected areas with sponge. Allow it to dry.
HONEY – (details below)
CARROTS AND CORIANDER SOUP – Boil 1 cup of chopped carrots + 1/2 cup of fresh coriander leaves, Strain, Cool and drink once a day.
INDIAN LILAC – Take a handful of neem leaves, crush them and apply the paste on the affected areas, or apply in bath.

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HERE’S MORE ON HOW TO USE OATMEAL AND BROWN VINEGAR and HONEY FROM “TOP 10 HOME REMEDIES FOR CHICKENPOX”:

Oatmeal Bath

1. Grind 2 cups of oatmeal into a fine powder. Place it in 1/2 gallon of water. Let it sit 15 min.

2. Pour that into a cloth bag. Secure tightly. Drop it into tub of warm water. Swirl it around until water becomes milky in color. Soak in it for as long as it feels soothing and relieves itching.

Brown Vinegar

Add one-half cup of brown vinegar to lukewarm bathwater. Soak in it as long as needed.

Pure Honey

1. Place on affected areas two or three times daily.

WHAT OVER THE COUNTER PRDUCTS WORK?

I am a huge fan of AVEENO products. They have what looks like a modern day Calamine lotion, although I would still pick up the old kind too:

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WHAT CAUSES CHICKENPOX?

Chickenpox is caused by varicella zoster virus. It is usually mild unless person has impaired immune system.

WHO GETS CHICKENPOX?

Almost everyone gets chickenpox by adulthood.

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WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF CHICKENPOX?

Chickenpox has a characteristic itchy rash which forms blisters that dry and become scabs in 4�5 days. An infected person may have anywhere from only a few lesions to more than 500 blisters on their body during an attack (average 300�-400).

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WHAT IS THE FIRST SIGN OF CHICKENPOX?

The rash may be the first sign of illness, sometimes coupled with fever and general malaise (“feeling lousy”), especially in adults.

IS CHICKENPOX CONTAGIOUS?

Chickenpox is highly contagious. The virus spread from person to person by direct contact, or through the air. Approximately 90% of persons in a household who have not had chickenpox will get it if exposed to an infected family member.

HOW LONG DOES CHICKENPOX TAKE TO DEVELOP?

Chickenpox develops within 10-21 days after contact with an infected person.

HOW SOON IS CHICKENPOX CONTAGIOUS?

Chickenpox is contagious 1-2 days before the rash appears and until all blisters have formed scabs.
Adults are more likely to have a more serious case of chickenpox with a higher rate of complications and death.

HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE HOSPITALIZED WITH CHICKENPOX AND CAN YOU DIE FROM IT?

Every year there are approximately 5,000-9,000 hospitalizations and 100 deaths from chickenpox in the United States.

CAN PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN VACCINATED STILL GET CHICKENPOX?

Cases of disease due to the natural virus that may occur in a small proportion of vaccinees (people who have had the vaccine) are typically very mild with less than 50 skin blisters and no fever.

More than 6 million doses of varicella vaccine have been given since it was licensed in March 1995.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that all children be routinely vaccinated at 12-18 months of age and that all susceptible children receive the vaccine before their 13th birthday.

The vaccine is also approved for susceptible adolescents and adults especially those with close contact with persons at high risk for serious complications (e.g., healthcare workers, family contacts of immunocompromised persons).

A history of chickenpox is considered adequate evidence of immunity.

WHAT IF SOMEONE IS UNSURE IF THEY HAVE BEEN VACCINATED OR NOT?

A blood test is available to test immunity in persons who are uncertain of their history or who have not had chickenpox. Many of these persons will find that they are immune when tested and thus will not need to be vaccinated.

WHAT IS THE TREATMENT FOR CHICKENPOX?

Effective medications (e.g., acyclovir) are available to treat chickenpox in healthy and immunocompromised persons (e.g, those with cancers, HIV/AIDS, receiving medications that depress the immune system).

Varicella zoster immune globulin (VZIG), a type of immune globulin made from plasma from healthy, volunteer blood donors with high levels of antibody to the varicella zoster virus, is recommended after exposure for persons at high risk for complications (e.g., immunocompromised persons, pregnant women, premature infants <28 weeks gestation or < 1000 grams at birth and premature infants whose mothers are not immune).

(source: CDC)

WHEN SHOULD ADULTS BE VACCINATED AGAINST CHICKENPOX?

According to WebMD, all adults who have never had chickenpox or received the vaccination should be vaccinated against it. Two doses of the vaccine should be given at least four weeks apart.

WebMD says if you’ve never had chickenpox or been vaccinated and you are exposed to chickenpox, being vaccinated right away will greatly reduce your risk of getting sick. Studies (they do not indicate which studies) have shown that vaccination within three days of exposure is 90% effective at preventing illness; vaccination within five days of exposure is 70% effective. If you do get sick, the symptoms will be milder and shorter in duration.

WHAT IF I HAVE A BAD REACTION TO A VACCINE?

Call the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System at 1-800-822-7967 and seek medical attention.

WHO SHOULDN’T GET THE CHICKENPOX VACCINE?

You should not be vaccinated against chickenpox if you:

•Are moderately to severely ill at the time of vaccination
•Are pregnant (women should not become pregnant for one month after receiving the chickenpox vaccine)
•Have ever had an allergic reaction to gelatin, the antibiotic neomycin, or a previous dose of chickenpox vaccine

These people should check with their doctor about getting the chickenpox vaccine:

•Patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation for cancer
•People taking steroid drugs
•People with HIV or another disease that compromises the immune system
•Patients who recently had a blood transfusion or received other blood products

HOW LONG WILL CHICKENPOX LAST?

The worst symptoms will usually subside in two weeks, but you need about a month after any virus to build up your immune system. Remember, you’re losing sleep when symptoms are at their worst, which can wreak havoc on your already compromised system. The worst symptoms include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, along with irritability and sleeplessness that come from the intense itching. It can hurt when you can’t find relief. It’s also difficult you feel unsightly because of them. It will subside.

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Questions? Feel free to send them to maria.dorfner@yahoo.comJOLIE1

Hope this helps. It has to be extremely frustrating for this to happen right before a big event, and after having worked so hard on it.

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Angelina Jolie still looks better with chicken pox than most folks look on a red carpet. Sometimes, these things are natures way of telling us we need to stop and rest. Wishing her the best and a healthy, happy and humor-filled recovery.

Maria :-)

logo2MEDCrunch is a division of Healthy Within Network. MEDCrunch blog is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to serve as medical advice. The information provided on this site is not a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your health care provider.

MEDCrunch was created by veteran health and television producer, Maria Bianco Dorfner. She is the author of HEALTHY WITHIN: A Story About Loss and Gain. She is the founder of Healthy Within Network (HWN), a 24-hour health channel that will focus on positive news stories around the world and health, wellness and beauty from the inside out.

She can be reached at maria.dorfner@yahoo.com

MEDCrunch does not accept advertising.

7 Health Secrets by Maria Dorfner

Get a free copy of my new e-book, 7 HEALTH SECRETS in two easy steps.

  1. Write HEALTH in subject line to maria.dorfner(at)yahoo.com
  2.  Click the follow button after Follow This Blog below.

7 HEALTH SECRETS reveals my own quirky health habits and the products I love and use religiously. The question I get asked the most by family and friends is “How do you look so young…what’s your secret?”  I always say I don’t have any secret, but maybe there’s something I do that can help other people. I feel good when many people my age complain about aches and pains, so maybe I’m doing something right.  Young girls and women will benefit from reading it the most, but males can pick up tips from it too.  You’re only two steps away from getting your FREE COPY of 7 HEALTH SECRETS.

  1. Write HEALTH in subject line to maria.dorfner(at)yahoo.com
  2. Click the follow button after Follow This Blog below.

 

 

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Hip-Hop Legend Rev Run & his wife Justine on Adult Diabetes

It’s Diabetes Awareness Month.  More than 1 in 3 Americans is at risk for diabetes, and it doubles for African-Americans.

It’s one of the reasons one of the most iconic figures in music is passionate about raising awareness about risk factors for adult diabetes. Another reason is his father has it, which also places him at risk. His manager’s father also had it. Since 5,000 new people are diagnosed each day, he wants to make sure everyone gets screened. Rev Run is not only a legend in Hip-Hop, front man for RUN DMC, selling tens of millions of records worldwide, but he is widely credited for ushering rap music into the mainstream culture. He also starred in MTV’s “Run House,” co-authored several books and is a sought after DJ and speaker.

His latest venture is teaming with The Novo Nordisk Ask Screen Know Campaign to help people know if they are at risk and to share tips on making healthy changes at home. He has created a website called askscreenknow.com to raise awareness and help others take precautions just as he is doing.

[On Getting Screened] “I tell people do it for the ones you love…I look in my children’s eyes and realize I can be neglecting my health and hurt everybody in my family.” -Rev Run

Joining him is wife, Justine Simmons.  Justine is an accomplished author, jewelry designer on HSN, co-author of a best-selling book with her husband, philanthropist and loving wife and mom.  Justine also works with the Simmons family charity organization helping children with art resources.  She joins Rev Run in urging people to take a Risk Assessment Test and discusses how they keep their family healthy since they are at high risk for adult diabetes.

[On Men Being Afraid to Get Tested] “You hear about these men passing (away) and it could have been prevented.” -Justine Simmons

To learn more and find out if you are at risk please visit: http://www.AskScreenKnow.com

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CLICK HERE FOR INTERVIEW:  Hip-Hop Legend Rev Run & his wife Justine on Adult Diabetes

 

Risk Factors for Adult Diabetes include:diabetes51

1.  Age 45 or older

2.  Race/Ethnicity

3.  Diabetes in Family

4.  Lack of Physical Activity

5.  Being Overweight

6.  High Blood Pressure

       SYMPTOMS:

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FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT:   http://www.AskScreenKnow.com

As Rev Run and Justine say, “Do it for the ones you love.”

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headshot  Maria Dorfner is an award-winning health journalist and the founder/CEO of Healthy Within Network (HWN). Her stories have appeared on NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, Fox, CNBC and Discovery Health.  Her new book, “Healthy Within” is available at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/maria_dorfner

You can contact her at maria.dorfner@yahoo.com. MedCrunch is her blog covering what’s hot in health.

 

Healthy Within: A Story About Loss and Gain by Maria Dorfner

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The following is an excerpt from my new book. It is now available at: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/maria_Dorfner

Introduction

A true story about how I connect the dots looking backwards to discover the true meaning of being healthy within in the world– by being healthy without. Oftentimes, it’s through unexpected loss that we experience our greatest gain.  May you read this book and learn to value things you can never lose in life. Realize how past and present thoughts, relationships, pop culture, news and daily habits impact your overall well-being. Discover your power to change thoughts at any moment. Acquire healthy coping mechanisms during dark times to shine light to reveal your true values and higher purpose. Know you are beautiful and loved right now with all your flaws. Journey through pain to transform it into self-awareness, acceptance & art.  There should never be any loss in life –only transformation. You are not alone. Explore being Healthy Within.

PREFACE: Early Influences

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The year is 1984. I schlep a must-have accessory for the 80’s aspiring female executive, a soft, brown Italian leather briefcase that protects my bibles of business inspiration; The Woman’s Dress for Success by John T. Molly, In Search of Excellence by Thomas J. Peters and Robert H. Waterman, Jr. and The One Minute Manager by Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson. I am an Italian-American, wide-green eyed and wider-smiled, petite, slender brunette from Brooklyn, New York.

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I am a middle child with two siblings. Parents aren’t supposed to label their children, but mine continually call me “the smart one” and the one with “a big heart.” The first from being an encyclopedia nerd, and the latter from dragging in stray or injured pets to nurse back to health, and friends who are hungry or need to escape an abusive household. Our door is always open to the less fortunate. Brooklyn is a small community, where neighbors are one big happy, albeit dysfunctional family. My interest into the human psyche, communications and health ignite early as I witness the ravages of addiction, and try to understand or save these colorful cast of characters I love. The constant flurry of activity in our home and that of relatives and friends prepares me for feeling perfectly at home the first time I enter a chaotic newsroom. I am used to remaining calm and centered amidst crisis, breaking news and dozens of people speaking at once.

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My mother, a homemaker and part-time seamstress from Italy courageously arrives in Brooklyn by plane alone, at the age of sixteen. My father, who she has only met once in Italy, arrives in Brooklyn by boat before her. His sister has already married my mom’s older brother, so they are introduced through family. They write love letters to each other for months, which I later find hidden in a kitchen cabinet, when I climb our washing machine to reach a box of cookies. At the curious age of ten, I immediately recognize my parent’s hand writing, and feel giddy at seeing the word “amore” repeatedly. Each day after school, I look forward to secretly reading more of the Italian letters before mom gets home from work at 3 p.m. I am overjoyed to discover their love for each other.

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After six-months of dating, they marry after both families give their blessings. Family approval is mandatory prior to marriage. My father takes whatever work is available when he arrives in America, but the entrepreneur in him is frustrated at each job, so he quits a string of them. Finally, after working in construction in New York City, he saves enough to open an Italian restaurant, where he finally thrives. We reside in a comfortable three-bedroom brick home, as he continues to work a bazillion hours before retirement. He has six siblings. While attending grade school, I am sent home with a letter telling my mother that I must learn to speak English. I know no other language than Italian, but just like my parents, I learn. I grow up within a mile radius of twenty-four cousins, who I adore. We are still close to this day, honoring my grandparents wish for all of us to “love each other”. They ingrain in us an unbreakable lifetime family bond of unconditional love, laughter, joyful traditions, commitment, values and hard work.

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In 1984, my parents sacrifice it all to send me to college. The economy rebounds and the United States enters one of the longest periods of sustained economic growth since WW II. My grandparents tell me stories about needing to dig a ditch in their backyard to protect themselves during bomb raids. There is no TV on their farm in Italy, only a fireplace, where they seek warmth and share stories with their eight children. I am told I have it good today because times were tough back then. I watch grandma cook, clean and scrub clothing by hand on a washboard in her bathtub –all with a smile.

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In my world, consumer spending is up in response to federal tax cuts. I am given an opportunity my parents never had –to attend college in the greatest city in the world. I work part-time every spare minute at Barnes and Noble Bookstore on Fifth Avenue and Saks Fifth Avenue, earning $8.00 an hour at each job. My earnings since high school, afford me employee discounts on loads of books, and satin blouses with bows, and wide-legged, loose slacks with matching blazers infused with oversized shoulder pads sewn in.

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They create the illusion of having broader shoulders, like Walter Payton, the most prolific running back in the history of the NFL, nearly indestructible and infinitely powerful.

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It helps me proclaim myself as an equal in the male-dominated workforce of network news.

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My nickname during college is Jackie O.

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My inspiration for my career choice is from an early love of writing, which garners five stars, as early as grade school at Saint Ephrem, a private Catholic school. I also win awards for creativity in designing graduation brochures, decorating classrooms and painting local store windows during holidays.

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I have a natural curiosity about health and news. We do not have a fireplace in our home. Instead, we gather around a brown, Magnavox TV, known as “the cold fire” with an antenna on top, which needs to repeatedly be adjusted to avoid fuzzy programming. Sometimes, I stand there and hold it during an entire show. This is the norm back then.

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One Saturday at 9 p.m.in 1970, six-year-old me is inspired watching the first single, independent career woman cast in a leading role on TV. It’s The Mary Tyler Moore Show, an American sitcom created by James L. Brooks and Allan Burns, airing on CBS. I watch in awe as Mary applies for a secretarial position on the “Six O’clock News” at the fictional TV station, WJM in Minneapolis. She is told the job is filled. So, she is offered an associate producer position. I’m thrilled. The opening sequence ends with Mary tossing her hat in the air to the theme song, “Love Is All Around.” She looks confident, independent and happy. Then, a cat meows as the MTM logo appears, which tells me a woman can be all that and own her own company too. Fourteen years later, I channel Mary Richard’s enthusiasm to smash the glass ceiling in broadcast news.

Love Is All Around Me.

Or so I think.

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In the ‘80’s sad songs about love dominate the airwaves. One song was even called, Sad Songs Say So Much by Elton John. Pat Benatar shouts, Love Is a Battlefield. The number one hit song is Tina Turner’s, What’s Love Got To Do With It? These songs play like a broken record on the radio infusing my mind with the message that love leads to a broken heart. So instead of making love a priority, as my parents and grandparents did, I place my efforts into building a career. I will be different. I will be a career girl just like Mary Richards, even though on my first day at NBC, an anchorman, who is my perceived equal says, “Here kid…Xerox this.”

Clearly, he doesn’t see my Frisbee-size shoulder pads. Yep, I am powerful.

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I carry a large can of ACQUANET hairspray to tame my power, bouffant, Jackie O. brunette hairstyle. I am grateful to all the women before me who worked so hard to pave the way for me to me to push through the revolving door at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in my Columbo inspired trench coat and overstuffed briefcase.

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It’s the year of “supply side” economics. Ronald Reagan is President of the United States. George Bush is Vice President. Unemployment is at 9.6%. I use my artistic skills to sketch designs of more power suits, which my mom enthusiastically sews for me with linen material on her Sear’s machine. It enables me to dress like Royalty, even though I’m only an unpaid Intern at NBC in New York City.  Anchorwoman at NBC ask where I get my clothing. When I tell them, they offer to pay my Mom any price to make their suits. Mom turns down the offer, saying she prefers working with her friends, who speak Italian at a factory in Brooklyn.

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Meantime, in the rest of the world, Japan agrees to impose a voluntary quota on its car exports to the U.S. I read IOCOCCA, the autobiography of Lee Iacocca and MAYOR by Ed Koch. Nancy Reagan reinforces my motto in her 1985, “Just Say No” campaign to educate young Americans about dangers of drug use. Back then, top fashion models like Elle Macpherson run on the beach drinking pink diet TAB during commercials. The message is anyone who drinks diet colas and fits into slim designer jeans like Brooke Shields is healthy, even if they order a diet TAB with what we call “murder burgers’ from White Castle.

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Four years later, Oprah goes on a liquid diet for months to fit into her skinny jeans. The world cheers. The movie, FAME moves dancing into gyms. The aerobics craze begins. I own a headband and mimic moves to the song, “She’s a Maniac…maniac on the floor.” Yep, I am fit and healthy.  Or so I think.

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Since I already think drinking TAB makes me healthy, it’s time to be WEALTHY. I already feel rich growing up because I always have nice clothing. I have brand new white shoes for church on Sundays, new earth shoes for school, and one pair of sneakers for after school. Mom delights in sewing lots of identical outfits for my sister and me in pastel colors. Jeans are a no-no. I’m told bad kids wear them. Imagine my shock when I first see my cousins Giulia and Angelina wearing (gasp!) Gloria Vanderbilt jeans, while I stand there in plaid pastel pants. Well, at least I’m not a hippie. I am a clean-cut, well-dressed kid with tons of food in the refrigerator and clean linens in a warm, cozy bedroom with all white girly furniture.

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I also have a jump rope, polo stick, hoola-hoop and bicycle to keep me active. Today, Mom says I influence her with healthy habits, but back then she influences me. I recall her saying I would not be able to think in school if I did not eat a healthy breakfast. Two boiled or poached eggs were always ready for me. She packs a tuna or turkey sandwich with an apple for lunch, and makes pasta for dinner. If she isn’t around, I know a dish covered with tinfoil waits in the refrigerator for me. I can heat it up myself. I am taught to cook and clean as soon as I can stand on a chair and reach the kitchen sink to wash dishes. I am aware some neighbors are richer because they have a dishwasher. In summers, they also go to something called, “the cabana.”

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All I know is the cabana has an in-ground pool. I go to the nearby park with free sprinklers or look out the back window until my neighbor with an above ground pool invites me in. They can only see my sad face pining out the window. What they don’t see is I already have my swimsuit on when they ask me to join them. I still feel rich.

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It isn’t until I see the first television show featuring the lives of the wealthy that I feel dirt poor. Suddenly, “…champagne wishes and caviar dreams” enters my mind. Once again, my thoughts are infused and influenced by external influences. I enter the workforce in a new era of celebrity worship. Robin Leach’s “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” brings the extravagant lifestyles of moguls, athletes and entertainers right into our humble living room. I am mesmerized by the lavish homes, fancy cars and opulence. To top that off, I am exposed to the sagas of Dallas oil magnate, J.R. Ewing and his family, and Dynasty, another wealthy Denver family in the oil business. I begin dressing like Krystle Carrington with Billy Joel’s, Uptown Girl playing in my impressionable young mind. Suddenly, New York City represents everything Brooklyn is not.

My parents tell me if I attend Pace University, they can afford the 6K tuition a year, so I don’t have to get a loan. I accept, even though at the time, Pace is an accounting school, and I hate accounting. I will make the best of this privilege. Fortunately, accountants hate journalism, which enables me to stand out, and be placed in Sigma Tau Delta, the National English Honor Society. Uptown girl begins living in her Uptown world.

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I also agree to continue to work part-time in Barnes and Noble bookstore as a sales associate (fancy title for working a cash register) to pay for my textbooks. I transfer to the one across the street from Pace University in freshman year. I also continue to work at Saks Fifth Avenue as a “sales associate” in New York City on days off, only so I can be closer to where I really want to work, NBC, the National Broadcasting Company.

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NBC is located at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, which peaks my interest. Every time I want something my Dad yells, “No…we are not the Rockefeller’s!” Clearly, these Rockefeller people are not average. The average median price of a house in 1984 is 75K. The average rent is $375/month. The average new car cost 9K. A gallon of gas is $1.09 and a movie ticket is $2.75. The median average income is 22K. I want to be ABOVE average, like the people I see on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, Dallas and Dynasty. So, the first time I see a building with the Rockefeller name on it, I am determined to work there. It must be where “…champagne wishes and caviar dreams” come true.

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During my lunch hour, I run to 30 Rock to get in line to take the NBC tour. During each tour, a Page asks, “Who wants to be Johnny Carson?” I eagerly raise my hand and get to play Johnny on a mock “Tonight Show” set. When I’m not practicing to be Johnny Carson, I read every book on success while at the bookstore. I am in heaven, having access to the greatest minds of all time. I add Stephen Covey’s, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People to my collection. Success and wealth are at the top of my priority list, more important than personal relationships. When I have free time, I spend it taking ski lessons, getting certified in scuba-diving, learning to sail, water-ski, learning other cultures, write produce, edit, report, sketch and take voice lessons to get rid of my Brooklyn accent. I fear it all.

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Fortunately, I read something by Eleanor Roosevelt that stays with me. She says, “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.”

These are all things I think I can’t do, so I do them. Steve Jobs said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”

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Looking backwards, I see my 3 primary values are externally influenced, materialistic, shallow and ego-driven:

Wealth

Success

Power

Learning

Security

Friends

Family

Peace

Love

Health

The above list is the polar reverse of being HEALTHY WITHIN.  I’m also spiritual. God first.

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It would take the loss of every “thing” in my life to gain this wisdom. I reverse all these superficial thoughts and priorities, and return to the intangible values my family instilled in me from the start. I learn self-awareness brings health in mind, body and spirit and self-love, which leads to genuine love and peace in all your relationships. Then, all the rest falls into place. Out of my loss, I gain a spiritual awakening into what it truly means to be healthy and wealthy. I had to journey from darkness into this light. It’s the only time I toss my hat into the air like Mary Richards, to the tune of Love Is All Around.

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“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.” – Proverb

CHAPTER ONE:

“The Beauty You See In Others Is Within You.”

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Fast forward. 2007. I think the world is over. During this time, I hear the most powerful words ever said to me. They are, “The beauty you see in others is within you.” They are emphatically stated by an elderly woman, who says them to me, as she grips my arms in a crowded store, before vanishing into thin air. She is a stranger. I tremble from the experience. Never, in all my life, have I previously been so conscious of God’s presence.

Her identity later reveals itself.

FOR MORE PICK UP A COPY OF “HEALTHY WITHIN” (LINK BELOW)

HEALTHY WITHIN: A STORY ABOUT LOSS AND GAIN is a story about how I redefine the true meaning of health and beauty in the world following a personal tragedy and spiritual encounter. I gain so much wisdom from the experience that I fee; compelled to share it with the world.  Chapters include recognizing major stressors in life that cause illness, healthy coping mechanisms for them and powerful advice on how to fix existing problems in oneself and in the world. It takes you along on my lifelong journey to redefining health from the inside out.  If little “health nerd” me didn’t know the true meaning of health, then I can only imagine what is going through young minds today. These same influences are there.  Time to stop and pay attention.  I believe every person in the world needs to read this book.  It can change the world, making it a healthier place –one person at a time, from the inside out.

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REVIEW:

“Just had the honor and privilege of pre-reading (proofing) this amazing new book by Maria Dorfner ! It right sides up everything wrong with our current world; offering simple easy things you can do to start living Healthy Within. Compelling, timely insight everyone needs to read now! Highly recommend this wonderful book nominated for the Pulitzer Prize! Awesome work Maria! Carpe Diem. A timely masterful work desperately needed for NOW…for everyone, a must read and share with the world! I Highly recommend it!” -Lisa Ditalia

FOR MORE PLEASE VISIT http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/maria_dorfner TO PURCHASE A COPY OF HEALTHY WITHIN: A STORY ABOUT LOSS AND GAIN.

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headshot Maria Dorfner is an award-winning broadcast journalist with three decades of experience working in media specializing in health.  MedCrunch is her blog.  She can be reached at maria.dorfner@yahoo.com