Life Sciences Field Seeks Talent

Bloomberg News recently reported there are more than three million skilled jobs unfilled in the U.S.

Kim First, head of a specialty search firm, concurs and says that regrettably she must now turn to foreign sources to meet her clients needs.   She is attending more and more meetings overseas to find qualified scientists.

Kim is CEO of one of a successful search firm charged with finding candidates with very specific training and skills. Kim’s firm, The Agency Worldwide ( serves pharmaceutical companies, particularly those in Life Sciences, that seek to find cures and solve challenges facing world health.

Kim says the needs of her clients have become ever more specific (and harder to fulfill) ever since the mapping of the human genome and the explosion of biogicals to treat life threatening dieseases.

She adds: “There has been an explosion in ‘personalized medicine’ requiring scientists and doctors with even more refined skills. It’s no longer enough for pharmaceutical companies to create ‘one size fits all drugs and take them to market’.

“We are now able to learn, for example, that certain drugs work for certain ethnic groups and not for others. The same applies to gender and other differences. The result is that a whole new world of treatments are on the horizon.

The most savvy and agile of the drug companies are adapting quickly and scrambling to build specialized teams to create these new treatments and to design new ways of delivery. Staffing those teams with wholly U.S. talent has become difficult if not impossible.”

The Problem? Kim says that increasingly the scientists and doctors qualified for the advanced efforts are not to be found in the United States and the demand for the talent makes it a hihgly competative marketplace for companies. She now finds she is attending more and more meetings overseas to find qualified scientists.

The solution, Kim believes, is a greater emphasis on and commitment to scientific education in the U.S.

“Foreign students are studying here,” says Kim, “and using that knowledge to train new scientists overseas who are competing with us in greater numbers. We need to commit to funding here with a strong degree of dedication….much like we did with space program. Otherwise we will lag woefully behind other nations in innovation and research. There is little time to waste.”

“We are now able to learn, for example, that certain pills work for certain ethnic groups and not for others. The same applies to gender and other differences. The result is that a whole new world of remarkable cures is on the horizon.”

Kim says the most savvy and agile of the drug companies are adapting quickly and scrambling to build individualized teams to create these new miracle cures and to design new ways of delivery.  

Yet, staffing those teams with wholly U.S. talent has become “difficult, if not impossible.”

We asked Kim a few questions. 

In what scientific specialties or areas are you seeing the greatest opportunities?

I see many opportunities in the immunology field. All of the major companies as well as the start-up bio-techs are studying innovative targets and novel pathways to improve treatments for patients with a number of immune related diseases like diabetes, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis and even certain cancers.

What cultural differences do you encounter when recruiting scientists from varying countries?

The cultural differences are vast. From communication style to motivation to negotiation of job offer, scientists from varying countries deal with situations extremely differently. Some are very transparent and direct about their desires while others keep information very closely guarded. Understanding the nuances of the different cultures helps tremendously in moving the recruitment process through to successful completion.

What would cause a world renowned scientist, happy in his or her job, to leave for a different position?

Funding and the overall commitment of an organization to a particular disease indication or area of science is the main reason a renowned scientist makes a career transition.

What are the most glaring shortages of talent in the Life Sciences?

There is a shortage of talent in many of the key support functions that are required to effectively develop and manufacture a drug; fields like physician safety, regulatory affairs and biostatistics for example.


About Kim First:
Kim First brings more than a dozen years of experience to the life sciences consulting and executive recruitment process. A respected industry expert, she has worked closely with many of the largest biopharmaceutical and healthcare companies on multi-year engagements and assignments.

Collaborating with C-suite executives, high-level physicians and scientists, she helps build successful teams, structure competitive organizations and analyze market forces.

Kim is a sought-after authority, providing an in-depth understanding of industry trends and their affect on the workforce, and offering unique candidate assessment and recruitment methodologies.

Since becoming president and CEO in 2005, Kim has driven and cultivated The Agency’s unsurpassed commitment to connecting the world’s greatest scientific minds with the most innovative life sciences enterprises.

She has developed a customized, dynamic, matrix-like group of recruiting professionals and a vast network of industry contacts who work together on a global scale to identify and attract the leading “passive” talent.

Her sensitivities to the needs of The Agency’s clients and candidates has driven the company’s successful placements – totaling hundreds of high-quality candidates over the decades for a myriad of life-altering teams at Fortune 500 organizations.

Kim joined The Agency as an executive recruiter in 1999, bringing with her a sophisticated understanding of complex corporations and their diverse business requirements that was developed over the years in her roles with The Walt Disney Company and Sony.

Originally from Johannesburg, South Africa, she graduated with honors from UCLA in Psychology and completed additional coursework at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

Kim’s devotion to The Agency is only second to that of her husband and three young sons.


Media Inquiries to set up an interview with Kim contact Berman & Associates by phone at:  914-572-2707 .

7 Early Odd Signs of Breast Cancer

breastcancer13Consequently, this blog describing 7 signs of breast cancer courtesy of posted years ago, has been our most popular.  These rare symptoms aren’t from physicians. They are from women who experienced them first-hand.

Many are odd symptoms that would otherwise go ignored.

After this blog was posted, one woman even spotted a symptom in herself, sought medical attention.  Our mutual friend Allison Ziering Wallmark had posted it on her Facebook wall.  The woman learned she had breast cancer, but it was detected early enough to get treatment and she profusely thanked us.

Thank you to Melanie Haiken.

Sharing this again to raise awareness. Also note that 1% of men also get breast cancer. Know the signs and please share this with loved ones.

Next, we’ll share the most innovative ways to diagnose breast cancer as well as treatments available. Make sure to click the red FOLLOW key on this blog (on upper right hand corner) to be updated.


by Melanie Haiken

The earliest and most surprising signs of breast cancer, as described by the women who know: breast cancer survivors themselves.

Breast cancer warning sign #1: Pain in the breast or chest

Whether it’s an ache, throb, twinge, or sharp stab, pain or discomfort in the breast or chest area isn’t a good sign.

How it feels: One breast cancer survivor describes the pain she brought to her doctor’s attention as a “sharp pain that comes and goes.” Another describes it as “a mild electric sensation that went from my left breast to my right nipple.”

What causes it: Breast tumors can take many different forms; there can be a single lump, but there can also be an area of scattered seed-like tumors or an amorphous shape with multiple tentacles extending into the tissue. The tumor might also be directly behind the nipple or in one of the milk ducts. All of these growths cause different types of pain and discomfort.

Scary stat: As many as 30 percent of all breast cancer tumors aren’t lumps, which makes them harder to detect.

What to do: Keep track of when, where, and how often the pain occurs. Tell your doctor, being as specific as possible. Make sure to be clear that this is a new symptom, different from any other sensation (such as the sore breasts of PMS) you’ve experienced before. If your doctor diagnoses mastitis and prescribes antibiotics (a typical response to breast pain), take the full cycle. But if the pain hasn’t gone away, inform your doctor and ask for additional tests. Many women are told repeatedly that they have mastitis before they’re able to make clear to the doctor that this isn’t the case.

Breast cancer warning sign #2: Itchy breasts



This symptom, primarily associated with inflammatory breast cancer, is often missed. You’d be surprised how many women with inflammatory breast cancer spend months visiting the dermatologist, only to be sent home with creams and medications for a rash.

How it feels: Extremely itchy — the type of itch you might have with poison oak or ivy, which makes you feel like you absolutely have to scratch. Except scratching doesn’t help, and neither do the ointments that typically relieve itchiness. Your breast may also feel irritated, or the skin may be scaly or dimpled like cellulite.

What causes it: Fast-growing cancer cells block blood and lymph vessels that feed the skin. The normal flow of lymph through breast tissues is impeded, and fluid builds up in and under the skin.

Scary stat: The median age of diagnosis for inflammatory breast cancer is 57 (54 among African-American women), and it’s typically more aggressive than other types of breast cancer, with a five-year survival rate of 34 percent.

What to do: If the skin of your breast looks odd or your breasts feel different, see your doctor right away. If the doctor suggests a skin ailment or an infection and sends you home with a prescription, return immediately if your symptoms don’t go away.

Breast cancer warning sign #3: Upper back, shoulder, and neck pain


In some women, breast cancer is felt in the back or shoulders rather than in the chest or breasts. For this reason, spine specialists routinely look for the presence of tumors when treating chronic back pain that’s unrelieved by physical therapy.

How it feels: The pain, which is typically in the upper back or between the shoulder blades, is easily confused with sore muscles, a pulled tendon or ligament, or osteoarthritis of the spine. The difference is that it doesn’t go away with stretching muscles or changing position. Bone pain feels like a deep ache or throbbing.

What causes it: Most breast tumors develop in the glandular tissue of the breast, which extends deep into the chest, close to the chest wall. If tumor growth pushes backward toward the ribs and spine, the resulting pain may be felt in the back rather than in the breast. The first place breast cancer usually metastasizes, or spreads, is to the spine or ribs, becoming secondary bone cancer.

Scary stat: According to one study, the five-year survival rate for breast cancer patients whose cancer has spread to the bone is only 8.3 percent, compared with an overall survival rate of 75 percent.

What to do: Pay close attention to how back pain feels. If it doesn’t go away with rest, stretching, or physical therapy, see your doctor. Keep the doctor informed if back pain continues despite treatment, and request a bone scan.

Breast cancer warning sign #4: Changes in breast shape, size, or appearance



Contrary to popular belief, not all breast tumors cause a hard lump close enough to the surface to be noticeable. “Instead of feeling a lump, I noticed that one of my breasts was more oval than the other, hanging down lower and sort of sticking out to one side,” says a California woman who discovered she had breast cancer at the age of 42.

How it feels: Because this change is one of appearance more than feel, your partner may notice it before you do. Or you might become aware of it as you put on your bra or look at yourself in the mirror at the gym.

What causes it: Tissue growth that’s deeper in the breast or masked by dense breast tissue may push out the shape or size of the breast without causing a noticeable lump. If you’ve been told you have dense breast tissue, be particularly alert for this sign.

Scary stat: Mammograms miss up to 50 percent of tumors in women with dense breasts.

What to do: Study the size and shape of your breasts in a mirror. Sit facing the mirror and look at both breasts dead-on, then raise your arms, turn sideways, and look from each side. If there’s a difference in size or shape you haven’t noticed before, bring it to your doctor’s attention.

Breast cancer warning sign #5: A change in nipple appearance or sensitivity


One of the most common locations for a breast tumor is just beneath the nipple, which can cause changes in the appearance and feel of the nipple itself. In particular, nipple changes are often the giveaway for men with breast cancer.

How it feels: You may notice that one of your nipples sticks up less than it used to, or it might have become inverted, flattened, or indented. Women with breast cancer often recall that they noticed a decrease in nipple sensitivity, which is most likely to come to your attention — or your partner’s attention — during sex. Another nipple change to take seriously is discharge when you’re not breastfeeding, whether it’s bloody, milky, or watery. The skin of the nipple may become crusty, scaly, or inflamed.

What causes it: Many breast cancers start in the milk ducts just under and around the nipple, affecting the nipple’s appearance or causing pain or discharge. There’s also a rare cancer, Paget’s disease of the breast, that specifically strikes the nipple. A tumor in the milk ducts, just behind or to one side of the nipple, pushes the skin up around the nipple or pushes the nipple aside. As tumors grow, they may attach to — and thus retract — the skin or the nipple itself. The tumor might also cause irritation and infection, leading to discharge.

Scary stat: The American Society of Breast Surgeons recently released research that male breast cancer is typically identified later and is deadlier than breast cancer in women.

What to do: Because some women have naturally inverted nipples or have discharge during and post-pregnancy, a doctor won’t necessarily notice this symptom. Since you’re the one who knows best what your nipples look like, pay close attention to any changes and discuss them with your doctor. Mastitis is a common conclusion for doctors presented with nipple changes, in which case you’ll be sent home with antibiotics. If they haven’t cleared up the symptoms within ten days, go back and request scans.

Breast cancer warning sign #6: Swelling or lump in your armpit


You know how the lymph nodes in your neck and throat can feel sore when you have the flu? Any pain in the armpit is a sign to check the area carefully with your fingers. A lump under the armpit is likely to be hard and attached to surrounding tissues, so it doesn’t move when you touch it. Or tissue may feel thickened and dense compared with the armpit on the other side.

How it feels: Like a sore or tender spot under the arm. You may also feel a lump, though not necessarily. Affected lymph nodes may feel swollen or tender or develop a lump before a tumor is big enough to be felt in the breast itself. In some women, the swelling is more prominent under the arm or up under the collarbone.

What causes it: The lymph nodes in your armpit are where breast cancer spreads first, by way of lymphatic fluid that drains from the breast. Since the lymph nodes are the first place it’s likely to metastasize, breast cancer is staged according to whether it’s lymph-node positive or negative.

Scary stat: If breast cancer has spread to the lymph nodes, the five-year survival rate declines to 84 percent, as compared with 98 percent for node-negative breast cancer.

What to do: Colds, flu, and infection can also cause swollen lymph nodes, so if you’re sick or have an infection, wait for it to clear up before you worry. But if a lump or tender spot in the underarm area persists for a week with no apparent cause, see your doctor.

Breast cancer warning sign #7: Red, swollen breasts



When your breasts hurt, it’s easy to conclude that it’s the typical soreness of PMS. And if your breasts feel hot or look reddened, you might suspect an infection such as mastitis. But these are also signs of inflammatory breast cancer.

How it feels: It’s as if your breasts have a fever. They may feel swollen and sore, or the skin and underlying tissue may feel hot or look red or even purple.

What causes it: Inflammatory breast cancer is the most likely cause of this symptom. But breast tumors can also push on tissues, causing breasts to feel swollen and sore. In this case, you may also see, upon checking, that your breast is distended.

Scary stat: Once breast cancer has spread beyond the breast (stage IV), the average survival is less than four years. So it’s extremely important to detect breast cancer as early as possible.

What to do: Call your doctor right away about any symptom that could be inflammatory breast cancer. If the pain is diagnosed as mastitis and you’re prescribed antibiotics, you should feel better within a week to ten days. If you don’t, call your doctor and be assertive about additional tests.


___________________________________________________________________________________________ User - Melanie Haiken

About the Author:  Senior Editor Melanie Haiken, is responsible for’s coverage of cancer, general health, and family finance, discovered how important it is to provide accurate, targeted, usable health information to people facing difficult decisions when she was health editor of Parenting magazine. She has written about health and family-related issues for magazines such as Health , Real Simple , Woman’s Day , Yoga Journal , and websites such as, WebMD, and the Blue Cross/Blue Shield websites (, managed by Consumer Health Interactive. Melanie has held positions as Executive Editor at the Industry Standard and , and Managing Editor at San Francisco magazine. She has also worked for San Francisco’s renowned Center for Investigative Reporting. She has a master’s degree in Journalism and a B.A. in English, both from the University of California at Berkeley.

Women: Cancer Symptoms You’re Most Likely to Ignore

For More Information please visit

Disclaimer: Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of something you have read on MedCrunch. You should always speak with your doctor before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your care plan or treatment. MedCrunch understands that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified health care provider. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or dial 911 immediately.



A Message from Maria Dorfner

I do not have breast cancer or any cancer or anything, but one of the best messages I can tell all men and women is there are a hundred studies proving one of the best methods for PREVENTING breast cancer is daily exercise.

JAMA Oncology reports women who exercise at least 300 minutes a week (walking and housework count!) reduce their risk by 25%.  I posit you can prevent any illness further by taking a look at what you eat and drink.

Good health does come with accountability and responsibility.

If you’re still drinking soda after all we know, then no one but you is accountable when you don’t feel well. That goes for depression or anxiety too. Sugar rushes and crashes aren’t good for your brain. Migraines? Headaches?  My prescription for you would be stop drinking soda and coffee and hydrate your body and brain with alkaline water. Learn how much water someone your height and weight requires and maintain that daily. Return in one month and report back on those migraines or headaches.

Today, physicians are too quick to prescribe you meds for symptoms rather than get to the cause of them.

Clean up what you eat and drink. Find healthy snacks or ones with less junk in them. Drink more water. Avoid processed foods.  Keep sweets to an absolute minimum (celebrations) and take care of yourself mind, body and spirit.

The old adage “moderation is key” IS key.

You can’t have the energy to take of others if you’re not taking care of yourself. No one is responsible for that, but you.

Let’s talk about breast cancer detection. There is a new at home device created in the U.K. and I’ve inquired about FDA approval on it and will let you know.

Visiting your physician for a breast exam is best. If they suspect something, they will order a mammogram.

Let’s Talk About Artificial Intelligence (AI) In Detecting Breast Cancer

Now, let’s talk about dense breast tissue which can miss breast cancer.

Remember, a mammogram may not detect breast cancer if you have Dense Breast Tissue. Many women aren’t even aware they have it.

40% of women have that. Your doctor may not even if tell you. That’s why one fellow Italian woman in Connecticut went to legislatures to make it a law to notify women within her community. Her doctor didn’t notify her and her breast cancer spread because it wasn’t caught early. And she had no prior family history of it.

SO many women I’ve interviewed share similar stories.

The issue is dense breast tissue and cancer or tumors both show up as white on images. It’s like finding a snowball in a snowstorm.  The good news is there is technology to help radiologists differentiate between the two on existing mammogram images.

It’s from a company called CUREMETRIX. You can Google it to find out more information and ask your physician about it. The radiologist is the person who would ultimately use it to read your mammogram images.

It’s frustrating when networks do stories on Dense Breast Tissue or Breast Cancer Awareness and repeat the same information without proving progress being made for patients and providers. It leaves millions of women (and 1% of men) misinformed.

It makes you wonder if the doctor reporting health news is tied to the hospital they work at and have to promote the status quo, rather than what’s best for healthcare consumers.

If mammograms are the gold standard in care, followed by an ultrasound if you have dense breast tissue, why are SO many dying from undetected breast cancer? Why so many call-backs when there’s something “suspicious” on an image. The waiting time between appointments causes women so much stress.

Ironically, stress and anxiety causes your body to go into a state of sickness. It’s the complete opposite state you need. Your body and mind have amazing abilities to heal when you get into a calm state.

There has to be a better way.  

The mammogram image should detect it the FIRST TIME.

As someone healthy, who has no history of cancer in my family, I’m interested in two things in this world. 1. Preventing illness, and 2. Staying healthy. OK. Three things. Helping everyone else in the world do the same.

Since I’m a journalist trained in health reporting I’m aware when you’re not getting the full story. That’s dangerous when it comes to medical/health information.

Mervin Block, one of my writing mentors wrote an article called, “Health News That’s Not Healthy.”  It was in the ’90’s.  I commented on it.

I also wrote about it and it got picked up by nationally by Broadcasting & Cable Magazine. They just recently took the article down to not “offend physicians.”  It was about the conflict of interests that exists when physicians report health news.

I’m not anti physician correspondents. I love them. I’m anti-anyone NOT asking the right questions or doing enough homework to know when vital information is being left out.

It’s one of the reasons I launched this blog.  

There isn’t enough time to tell the whole story. That said, we all know they waste valuable air time on fluff or vacuous banter.

I recently watched a health story that reported a pharmaceutical company was giving people a full refund if a new FDA-approved cancer treatment didn’t work.  

It’s the controversial one costing six figures and up. Story ended there. I knew the pharmaceutical company offered a refund if the cancer treatment was rejected in 30-days.  That’s it. You’re on your own after that.

Big difference. They left that part out.


Stay healthy! Stay informed!

breastcancer13blog contact:


Estrogen Changes in Women AND Men After 40


How to Lower Estrogen Levels in Men

by Jason Ferruggia

 How to lower estrogen levels in men is a hot topic these days since it seems to be something that so many males suffer from.

Seinfeld fans will undoubtedly never forget the episode in which Frank Costanza and Kramer invented the mansierre, which was a bra for men with excessive breast development. While we all laughed hysterically some people were just the slightest bit uncomfortable because the reality is that an inordinate number of men have “moobs,” or man boobs.

This is often due to excessively high body fat levels. But it can also be due to high levels of estrogen. Having high estrogen can not only cause you to gain body fat in the chest and lower abdominal area but it can lead to numerous health issues and diseases. Unfortunately more and more males are suffering from increasingly high estrogen levels and this is leading to the continued feminization of the male species as we know it. Today, the average male has a testosterone level that is 15-50% (depending on the study you read) lower than it was 50 years ago. This is an epidemic, my friends.

It has to stop now before it’s too late.

So I’ve compiled a list of 13 ways that will help answer the question How to Lower Estrogen Levels in Men. Check it out below…

By following this advice you will hopefully eliminate your need for ever having to call up Kramer and Frank for one of their prized inventions.

Don’t eat fake foods. This means most foods that come out of a box, bag or can should be off your list. The rare exceptions are oats, brown rice and the occasional serving of legumes. Basically, if a cavemen couldn’t eat it, you shouldn’t eat. All the chemicals and artificial junk that they put in most foods these days can lead to increased estrogen levels and numerous other health problems.

Avoid eating and drinking out of plastic as much as possible. This has been linked with increased estrogen levels.

Eat only organic, pesticide and chemical free produce, preferably purchased from a local farmers market. Pesticides and herbicides have been shown to increase estrogen levels.

Avoid all meat and dairy unless you are 100% sure that it is drug free and organic. All of the drugs and hormones that go into most animal and dairy products will wreak havoc on your body, dramatically boost estrogen levels and lead to heart disease and cancer. Also be sure to eat only beef that is from grass fed and not grain fed cows. I personally order from US Wellness Meats and highly recommend their services and products.

Avoid all commercially made protein powders for the same reasons listed above. If your whey protein comes from a cow that has been fed grains and pumped full of drugs there’s a good chance your estrogen levels will go up from consuming it. That’s why I only recommend the following three brands of protein powder:

All Pro Science Grass Fed Whey– Click the link for a free sample.

One World Whey– The best tasting and easiest digesting protein I’ve ever used. As an added benefit, it’s made from raw milk, which makes it significantly better for you.

Sun Warrior– For those that don’t want whey this is an outstanding, organic protein made from sprouted brown rice.

Limit your consumption of fish and be sure that it is fresh catch and from clean water sources. Unfortunately we have destroyed and polluted many of the lakes, oceans, streams and rivers on the planet and because of that a lot of the fish we consume these days is loaded with PCB’s and dioxins that you should really avoid as much as possible.

If you take an essential fatty acid supplement (as you should) make sure that it’s from clean sources and uncontaminated, like Pro Grades Krill Oil.

You should also support clean water laws and organizations like Waterkeeper.

Only drink purified water. Our water quality continues to worsen all the time and is filled with numerous toxins and estrogenic compounds. Surprisingly, NYC has great water quality. Other places are not so fortunate.

Consume citrus fruits regularly. These have been proven effective in the fight against estrogen.

Eat lots of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower. These have also been shown to have anti estrogenic properties.

An outstanding product, that I and all of my clients take daily is Athletic Greens. It has ample amounts of cruciferous veggies and citrus fruits in it along with several other organic compounds. It’s at the top of my recommended supplement list.

If you must drink alcohol try to avoid beer as much as you can because it is highly estrogenic; thus the acclimation of a beer belly. Red wine is a far better choice and may actually be anti estrogenic.

Eat a good amount of organic nuts and seeds. A high intake of organic nuts has been linked to increased virility in men.

Lose excess bodyfat. Nothing will help prevent the conversion to estrogen any more effectively than losing bodyfat. It’s absolutely essential for males to get their bodyfat levels under 15% and keep them there if they want to be healthy and win the war against estrogen. That means cut your carbs and your junk food and get out there and start sprinting two or three times per week.

Be sure to only train with short, high intensity workouts like those found in Muscle Gaining Secrets. This won’t lower estrogen levels but it will increase your testosterone levels. If you have higher testosterone chances are you’ll have lower estrogen.


How to Raise Estrogen Levels in Women 

1. Eat a low-carb diet. 

2.  Zinc and protein.

2. Drink  Spearmint tea twice a day.

3. Flax.

4. Abstain from dairy, eggs, milk, non-organic meats & chickens, white rice, white flour & refined sugar.

5. Beans, legumes.

 6. Apples, cherries, plums, pomegranates, papaya and dates.

7. Seeds including sesame, pumpkin, fennel, sunflower, flax, alfafa and anise.

8.  Wheat, brown rice, oats, hops, barley.

9.  Clover, garlic, sage, parsley, liquorice.

10. Peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, cucumbers, celery, beets, carrots, yams, rhubarb.

11. Exercise balances the endocrine system.


Here’s How to Check Your Estrogen Levels.  Take the QUIZ:


MedCrunch Disclaimer:  Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of something you have read on MedCrunch. You should always speak with your doctor before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your care plan or treatment. MedCrunch understands that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified health care provider. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or dial 911 immediately.

Stay healthy!  🙂



5 Lessons from a Lucky Man by Maria Dorfner


I’m not exactly what people would call a barfly.  I know more about the characters in the sitcom “Cheers” than about any in a local bar.  There has to be something other than booze to get me to go to a bar.  I’d rather stay home and read a good book. 

Recently, it was my birthday. My sister asks me to go to a local bar. At first, I reply with my usual no thanks.  She adds, It’s Karaoke night while holding a mysterious bag that looks like it could be a birthday cake.  Now,we’re talking.


The moment I sit on the bar stool, a forty-something guy wearing a t-shirt and baseball cap grabs the stool to my right.  He smiles at me and says, “I just won a million dollars on the scratch off.”  His buffalo wings arrive.


I do my best impersonation of snarky Diane in “Cheers” and ask how that line is working out for him.  That’s when one of the friends in our group jumps in and says, “No he really did!  I’ve known him my whole life. ”  We’re all old, so that’s a long time.   The guy takes out his iPhone to show me a photo of him holding the check and other evidence. I inquire why he is sharing such information with me and he exclaims, “We’re family in here.  I’m surrounded by friends I’ve known and loved my entire life.  I’m a lucky man.” 


I was still in character, so I sarcastically said it was nice to know his lifestyle hasn’t changed.


He laughs and offers me buffalo wings.  I wave in a none for me thanks way and he says, “I didn’t change a thing. I’ve always been healthy that way.”  I told him that was great because a lot of people in the world think a million dollars is a lot of money and that it will completely change their lives. It does not.”


He said, “Exactly. I wish more people knew that.”  We talked about healthy attitudes.  Then, I laughed and asked him if I could blog about it and he said, “Sure, just don’t use my real name. I want to remain private.”  That’s not him in the photo. Or me. Or anyone I know. 


So, Harry (not his real name) shared 5 Healthy Lessons he learned after his win:

1. Don’t quit your day job. He was an electrician by trade and he said he always loved the camaraderie on his job. He knew if he left he’d lose his reason for getting up every day. I asked him about people who hate their jobs. He said he’d advise those folks to find something that motivates them to get up each morning. He’s good at what he does, which is the key to finding something you love. When you love to do something, you get good at it –and do it anyway.   It’s a treat to get paid.

2. Help, but don’t spoil your family. Harry has two kids that are married with kids. He helped one with a down payment on a car, but the kid has to make the monthly payment so he learns responsibility. He helped the other pay off a credit card with the caveat that if he maxed it out again, he was on his own. Each month, he gives them a gift check for an amount that is reasonable, not excessive.

3. Don’t spend it all in one place. He upgraded to a new house, but it’s in the same neighborhood he lived in before. He could have blown the whole thing on a house to impress other people, but decided he’d need a lot more for upkeep, so he remained practical.

4. Think of the future. He said the temptation for most people is to go nuts with the money. You’ll end up nuts and broke that way. Harry opted to receive monthly payments instead of a lump sum. Here’s where it doesn’t make you rich comes into play. After taxes, it’s like being paid a salary of 50K a year for twenty years. He was grateful, but aware he shouldn’t start living like he was on a million dollar a year salary.

5. Think of others. Now that he didn’t have to work to earn 50K a year, he liked the idea that the money he made at his day job could be discretionary income. This meant instead of having to work for himself to survive, he could work to help others survive.  He donates to people he knows, not charities that are too large to be accountable for how they’ve spent it.  He said a lot of people he didn’t know tried to become his friend after they learned he won but he says,  “The best friends are the ones that don’t care if you’re rich or poor. They treat you the same, either way.”

So, there you have it.  Of course, people can do whatever they want but good advice comes from experience.

His final insight is that there is no such thing as luck. I agree with him as I’ve always believed luck is hard work and opportunity meeting in the right place. Oprah said that a long, long time ago. I wrote it down.  Oprah rules!  Back to Harry.  Harry’s been playing the scratch off games his entire life. No Lotto. Just scratch. If he hadn’t gotten up early to pick up a ticket before work, he wouldn’t have won. He still took an action that led to a result.


He laughed and added, “It takes a lot of work to gamble as much as I do. I set aside a certain amount each month that I can afford to lose. I won ten thousand dollars in the past. They say people who win the lottery have a greater chance of winning it again. It’s true. My buddies tease me about it at work. You know that saying the harder you work, the luckier you get? Well, the more I gamble, the luckier I get. I’m not saying people should start gambling. I’m just saying a lucky man makes his own luck and a healthy one lives his life so he doesn’t have to change a thing if he does win.”

The healthy attitude includes living a healthy lifestyle now without excuses such as, “When I have a million dollars I’ll do x or y” because true wealth will always come from inside you.

He kept offering to buy me drinks.   I thanked him, but asked for water refills instead.   At the end of the night he said goodnight to everyone because he had to get up early for work the next morning.  

Then, he exclaimed, “Maria…I am a Lucky Man.” 🙂