Humor Helps Cancer Patients Heal

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When 28-year-old Oncology Nurse, Lexi Timmons works with cancer patients, which she’s done for two years, she notices what helps most is humor to brighten their spirits.

She also observes they receive a lot of greeting cards from well-meaning loved ones, but most are downright depressing instead of what they need most during this time, which is cheer.  She realizes it’s not their fault  because the majority of Greeting cards for illness in major retailers are typically glum offering sympathy, along with a Get Well Soon salutation.  She could see her patients get sad as they open and read them.

That’s how Lexi got the idea to create a line of Greeting cards that make cancer patients smile, laugh and feel good.  She calls them LUMPY CARDS.   Everyone knows stress has a negative impact on your mind and body. When people have cancer, they need their immune systems to stay strong and humor helps diffuse stress.  When someone is laughing they’re not thinking of being sick, even if it’s only for a little while.  It’s a step in the right direction.  Laughter is always positive, which is why we love Lexi’s idea and spirit. Sometimes, her patients inspire the cards.

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Lexi says, “I love to crack jokes and so do my patients. I realized that when people are going through the roughest of times, it actually brings out the best comedian in them.  It helps them cope and it also releases feel good endorphins in them, which are healing.”

Another inspiration was unexpected.  In 2012, cancer hit home when her Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer.

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Lexi Timmons with a cancer patient she didn’t expect – her own Mom

“My Mom is at her best when she is laughing and not thinking about her cancer. I knew this would help her too.”

LUMPY CARDS sure did make her Mom smile.

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Now, Lexi’s Mom inspires some of the Greeting cards. Together, they share great laughs and beautiful smiles.

Laughter really is the best medicine

 Her Mom Sherry says, “I just love Lexi’s cards! She has a knack for finding just the right line to make people feel better. When I was going through cancer treatment, and I would read one of her cards, they would make me laugh or feel loved. Her cards captured what I needed to hear at each stage of my treatment, and were neither too sympathetic or mushy. So many of the cards out there make you feel like your life is over now that you have cancer or you’re dying.”

Lexi writes the humorous cards herself, but would love to partner with some professional comedians, who would like to volunteer for a good cause and get credit on them.

There are a range of cards uniquely tailored for men, women, friends, family and spouses dealing with cancer and they’re reasonably priced at $3.99 a card.

Healthy Within Network and NewsMD give these cards two healthy thumbs up. 

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And so does the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation, who has this to say:

“Now THIS is interesting!  A company that makes unique and provocative greeting cards for cancer patients. Lumpy Cards certainly doesn’t tiptoe around the topic of cancer.  The animal selection is particularly cute.”

 

 Way to go, Lexi.  An absolutely beautiful person inside and out, like her Mom.

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Lexi with her biggest fan, Mom

 

 

Here’s a link to Lexi on-camera talking about her inspiration for Lumpy Cards:

 

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  You can contact Lexi for an interview (Contact Us page on link) or order cards here:  http://www.lumpycards.com

Maria Dorfner is an  award-winning health journalist, and the the founding CEO of Healthy Within Network and NewsMD Communications.  This is her blog. She has been working in Media since 1983 and began specializing in Health in 1993, creating and sharing original and trusted health content for healthcare consumers. Her award-winning health series and segments have been seen on NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, DISCOVERY HEALTH and more.

“Today, the floodgates are open to anyone reporting on health. Consumers are now well aware that physicians may have ties to pharmaceutical companies, health devices or hospitals, so they question everything. They are also now aware that food and beverage companies promoting products may not have their best interests in mind. When your Mom, Dad, sister, brother or loved one has a health issue, you want to know you’re getting trusted unbiased information. We maintain the experts need to be questioned to ensure not only transparency, but that profits aren’t placed before people.  Additionally, we focus on prevention and maintaining good health.  Virgil said it best when he said, “Health is your greatest wealth. Invest wisely.” ~Maria Dorfner

Must Read: 5 Hottest Tips to Prevent and Treat Cancer

If you read one article on cancer prevention and treatment prior to seeing a doctor, this is it.    -Maria Dorfner

 

About the Guest Author:  Gary Hyman, MD is Director at the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine, The UltraWellness Center and The Institute for Functional Medicine

A Functional Medicine Approach to Cancer by Gary Hyman, MD

                                                                     

Functional medicine empowers patients and practitioners to achieve the highest expression of health by working collaboratively to address the root causes of disease. It is an emerging, personalized model of diagnosis and treatment that better addresses the need to prevent and manage chronic disease. In a word, it is the medicine of WHY, not WHAT.

Functional Medicine doctors are like soil farmers. They create a healthy soil, so pests can’t come and weeds can’t flourish. A healthy soil means disease can’t take hold.

So with cancer, a Functional Medicine practitioner would say that yes, we still need radiation and other conventional approaches, but what else can we do? How can we properly cultivate a healthy soil?

Cancer results because of in an imbalance in the system. So many people are walking around with tumors and don’t know it. We can do something to prevent them from growing by maintaining a healthy soil.

Instead of dividing everything into diseases and labels, emerging science points to a different way of thinking about diseases. Rather than divide the body into organs, Functional Medicine approaches disease as a systemic problem, and we have to treat the system, not the symptom; the cause, not the disease. This completely redefines the whole notion of disease. The landscape of illness is changing.

How we label cancer is no longer synced up with what we know about the origins of cancer or the fact that two people who have cancer with the same name—like breast cancer—can have two completely different diseases which require different treatments. Just because you know the name of your disease doesn’t mean you know what’s wrong with you or what to do about it.

Classifying tumors by body site — lung, liver, brain, breast, colon, etc. — misses the underlying causes, mechanisms, and pathways involved in a particular cancer. What’s more, it gives us no information about how it manifested in a given patient. Two people with cancers in different parts of the body may have developed it for the same reasons.

Similarly, two people with cancers in the same part of the body may have developed it for different reasons. A patient with prostate cancer and one with colon cancer may have more in common with each other than two patients who have colon cancer.

We need to look under the hood and find out what caused the illness to begin with.

Cultivating a Healthy Soil

Numerous things can contribute to cancer. Studies show diet, exercise, thoughts, feelings, and environmental toxins all influence the initiation, growth, and progression of cancer.

If a nutrient-poor diet full of sugar, lack of exercise, chronic stress, persistent pollutants, and heavy metals can cause cancer, could it be that a nutrient-dense, plant-based diet, physical activity,changing thoughts and reactions to stress, and detoxification might treat the garden in which cancer grows?

In other words, treat the soil, not the plant. It is a foundational principle of sustainable agriculture, and of sustainable health.

We can enhance immune function and surveillance through dietary and lifestyle changes, as well as nutrient and phytonutrient therapies. We can facilitate our body’s own detoxification system to promote the elimination of carcinogenic compounds. We can improve hormone metabolism and reduce the carcinogenic effects of too much insulin (more on that in a minute) from our high sugar and refined carbohydrate diet.

We can also alter how our genes are expressed by changing the inputs that control that expression: Diet, nutrients, phytonutrients, toxins, stress, and other sources of inflammation. And we can focus on less divisive and more generative thoughts that, in turn, create more uplifting emotions — all good fertilizer for the soil in the garden of our body.

The Number One Thing You Can Do to Prevent or Control Cancer

Diabesity, the continuum of health problems ranging from mild insulin resistance and overweight to obesity and diabetes, is the single biggest global health epidemic of our time. It is one of the leading causes of heart disease, dementia, cancer, and premature death in the world and is almost entirely caused by environmental and lifestyle factors.

This means that it is almost 100 percent preventable and curable.

Diabesity affects over 1.7 billion people worldwide. Scientists conservatively estimate it will affect one in two Americans by 2020; 90 percent of whom will not be diagnosed.

Obesity (almost always related to diabesity) is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States and around the world. The link between obesity and cancer is well documented and is driven by insulin resistance. Insulin, the fat storage hormone, also drives more inflammation, oxidative stress, and a myriad of downstream effects including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, low HDL, high triglycerides, poor sex drive, infertility, thickening of the blood, and increased risk of cancer, Alzheimer’s, and depression.

The best thing you can do to prevent or control cancer is to control insulin levels with a high-fiber diet rich in real, fresh, whole foods and minimize or eliminate sugary, processed, insulin-raising foods.

Dr. Dean Ornish showed that after just three months on an intensive lifestyle program including a whole-foods, plant-based diet, over 500 genes that regulate cancer were beneficially affected, either turning off the cancer-causing genes or turning on the cancer-protective genes. No medication can do that.

5 Strategies to Reduce Cancer Formation and Growth

Cancer results from an imbalance in our system where the immune system can’t fight off tumors. We can do many things to prevent that cancer from getting to its full stage, and if you have cancer, you can make your body inhospitable to that cancer.

1.

Eliminate food sensitivities. In a major study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, hidden gluten sensitivity was shown to increase risk of death by 35 to 75 percent, mostly by causing heart disease and cancer. By just this mechanism alone, more than 20 million Americans are at risk for heart attack, obesity, cancer, and death. Dairy and gluten are the most common triggers of food allergies that are linked to insulin resistance. Cutting them out of the diet allows the inflamed gut and an inflamed body to heal.

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Reduce inflammation. Inflammation is the common thread connecting most chronic disease including cancer. In fact, out-of-control inflammation causes insulin resistance, which, as we now know, is the main factor in all these diseases apart from autoimmunity and allergy. The insulin resistance then creates even more inflammation, and the whole biological house burns down. Besides removing sugar and food sensitivities like gluten and dairy, we want to eat plenty of anti-inflammatory foods, including omega-3 rich foods like wild fish and flaxseeds.

3.

Improve gut health. Cancer often originates in your gut. Not just colon cancer, but with many cancers. We are currently studying about the gut microbiome and breast and prostate cancers. Beyond avoiding inflammatory foods, adding in probiotics, prebiotics, and lots of phytonutrients, like curcumin (found in turmeric) and resveratrol (found in grapes), can reduce gut-based inflammation.

4.

Reduce toxic exposure. The average newborn has 287 chemicals in her umbilical cord blood, 217 of which are neurotoxic (poisonous to nerves or nerve cells). The chemicals these infants are exposed to include pesticides, phthalates, bisphenol A, flame retardants, and heavy metals such as mercury, lead, and arsenic. These chemicals have a broad range of negative effects on human biology; they damage the nervous system and increase the risk of cancer, and now they have been shown to contribute to obesity. Going clean and green means becoming more aware about how environmental toxins affect your health. I encourage you to visit the Environmental Working Group (EWG) to learn more.

5.

Change your thoughts to change your immune system. Science is now proving what we all knew intuitively — that how we live, the quality of our relationships, the food we eat, and how we use our bodies determines much more than our genes ever will. There are numerous strategies to combat or prevent cancer, including getting sufficient sleep, controlling stress levels, and exercising regularly.

The important thing is to figure out what works for you and develop a plan to stick with it. That might involve working with a Functional Medicine doctor or a chronic disease specialist.

Conclusion

Whether you have been diagnosed with cancer or have become concerned about family and friends being diagnosed, the most important thing is mindset and not playing into fear.

While we all hope there will one day be a miracle cure for cancer, there are things that we know now will combat cancer or keep our quality of life high while our body is fighting the cancer.

The science of cancer genetics is changing. Two people who have the same cancer could be completely different in terms of how the cancer performs. That’s why I’m very excited about the work that Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong is doing in California on the cancer genome and creating targeted therapies to treat the cancer in every patient individually. This and other emerging technologies, combined with the Functional Medicine approach to cancer, give me great hope about our ability to further prevent and treat this disease in the future.

I encourage you to think about cancer differently and more importantly, not lose hope.

Stay healthy, everyone! -Maria

MARIADORFNERBLACKANDWHITEHEADSHOT    Maria Dorfner (formerly Pallante Bianco) is the founder of MedCrunch, covering What’s Hot in Health.

At 24, she helped launch CNBC after working full-time at NBC for two years and part-time throughout college. She then joined Ailes Communications as director of research and producer for TV pilots successfully syndicated. She then co-anchored and senior produced several health series airing on CNBC for three years. She wrote, produced and directed medical documentaries for Discovery Health Channel and helped launch the Cleveland Clinic News Service.  She is the owner of NewsMD Communications, a full-service production company specializing in health content and distribution. She is the author of three books.  Her awards include an Outstanding Leadership Abilities and Commitment to the Advancement of Women in Media award from her alma mater and a Media Recognition Award from the American Heart Association for her “Heart Smart” series and a Medical Reporting Scholarship. Maria is in Who’s Who in American Women, 22nd edition, 2000/2001.  She is a native of Brooklyn, New York.  Her health blog is a division of Healthy Within Network, which is her existing labor of love.  It connects the dots in medicine, media and marketing.  Contact:  maria.dorfner@yahoo.com

Health Enthusiast/Actress, Mariel Hemingway Pens New Memoir

MURIEL2Mariel Hemingway is not only an iconic Academy Award nominated actor from a celebrated family, she is a prolific author, healthy lifestyle brand entrepreneur, and a tireless mental health awareness and suicide prevention program advocate, recently sharing the stage with Hillary Clinton, Patrick Kennedy, and other world-class Keynote speakers.

Mariel’s much sought after purpose-driven presentations entertain, educate, engage and enrich, focusing on topics including: mind-body-spirit optimization, purposeful living, and mental health related issues. She shares her own evocative story about growing up in a home where there were great challenges in order to inspire others to do the same, thereby cultivating compassion and understanding and breaking down the stigma so often associated with the discussion of mental illness.

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In a high-tech world, Mariel is considered an expert in high-touch solutions which facilitate finding one’s authentic voice and experiencing the greatest sense of personal power, life balance, joy, fitness, authenticity and peace of mind.

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Mariel’s on camera film and television accomplishments include starring roles in: Manhattan, Lipstick, Personal Best, Star 80, Superman IV: The Quest for Peace and appearances in television shows including Roseanne, Civil Wars and Central Park West. She’s narrated several programs and films including the documentary Ernest Hemingway: Wrestling with Life.

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In 2014, Mariel and Oprah Winfrey executive produced, Running From Crazy, the Emmy nominated documentary focused on the 7 most recent suicides in the Hemingway family. It is available on Netflix.

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With her two daughters, Dree and Langley successful in their own entertainment careers, Mariel is once again considering film and television series opportunities. She’s passionate about the art of acting and storytelling, and thrives in the collective creative energy when working with gifted artists, directors, producers, and writers.

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Mariel’s best selling books include: Finding My Balance, reflecting her life’s journey through the lens of her yoga and meditation practices. Healthy Living from the Inside Out: a how-to guide to finding a greater sense of balance and meaning through self-empowering techniques and strategies. Mariel’s Kitchen is a healthy lifestyle cookbook offering creative gluten and sugar free recipes.

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Running WithNature, co written with her life partner (in above photo on left), provides insights into the import and impact of making good choices based on an awareness of and respect for nutrition, meditation, mindfulness, movement, silence, compassion and connectedness to self and earth.

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Mariel’s 2015 book releases include her memoir: Out Came The Sun: Overcoming the Legacy ofMental Illness, Addiction, and Suicide in My Family and INVISIBLE GIRL: a tender engaging book written in diary form for teen and tweens. Mariel and famed children’s book illustrator, Edward Hemingway will collaborate on a children’s book in 2016.

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Recent health, wellness, inspirational, advocacy and entertainment media profiles, features and covers include those in USA Today, LA Times, The Chicago Tribune, on The Today Show, CBS This Morning, Dr. Oz Show, Fox News, in Vanity Fair, the New York Times and Interview Magazines, The Times of London, Pret A Porter and People Magazine. Mariel was also the focus of a one hour interview with Oprah Winfrey’s, on Super Soul Sunday, her book and lifestyle focused program.

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Muriel Hemingway’s books, Out Came The Sun for adults and Invisible Girl for teens are available on-line and in stores April 7, 2015.

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READ HOW MARIEL HEMINGWAY OVERCAME HER PAST TO BECOME HEALTHY AND BALANCED!  https://www.yahoo.com/beauty/how-mariel-hemingway-overcame-her-familys-tragic-115671984803.html

headshotMaria Dorfner is the founder of MedCrunch. She can be reached at maria.dorfner@yahoo.com

Sitcom Sensation Vicki Lawrence Shares Health Challenge

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Vicki Lawrence, comedienne and Emmy® Award-winning actress reveals her struggle with chronic idiopathic urticarial or ICU.

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She joins me with Dr. Beth Corn, Board-certified allergist, Associate Professor and member of AAFA’s National Board of Directors.
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Vicki Lawrence is no stranger to being quick on her feet and playing off improv lines on stage.  In fact, she’s a legend.
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But when the comedienne and Emmy® Award-winning actress was diagnosed with CIU, she was caught off-guard. 
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Vicki, best known as the star of sitcom Mama’s Family…
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And as part of the ensemble cast of the The Carol Burnett Show, known for inducing uncontrollable belly laughs.
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And, more recently, appearing on Hannah Montana. 
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She was diagnosed with CIU four years ago.  It appeared out of the blue and can happen to anyone.
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Vicki wants to help motivate others to talk to their doctors about their symptoms as she did.
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CIU is characterized by hives that spontaneously occur without an identifiable cause and reoccur for six weeks or more.
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Symptoms come and go unpredictably. They include red, itchy hives on the skin which can last months and even years.
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In the U.S., it is estimated that approximately 1.5 million people suffer from CIU.
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Now, Vicki is partnering with the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation and Genentech to share her experience with CIU to encourage people to have a robust and meaningful dialogue with their medical specialist as part of a new national campaign called CIU & You.
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CIU & You is an educational program focused on supporting the specific needs of people who have CIU.
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It aims to empower patients to talk to their doctors to discuss treatment options with an allergist or dermatologist.
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The program also provides a downloadable symptom tracker and discussion guide for patients to use when talking with doctors.
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CIU & You is developed in partnership with the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), and made possible by Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation and Genentech. For additional information, visit www.CIUandYou.com.
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For more information, speak with your doctor to better understand the disease and potential treatments.
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 More About Vicki Lawrence
Vicki Lawrence is a comedienne and Emmy® Award-winning actress. She is famous for her role on The Carroll Burnett Show and Mama’s Family, and, more recently, on Hannah Montana. In 2010, Lawrence was diagnosed with CIU. For her official bio, please visit http://www.vickilawrence.com/VickisBio2013.html.
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More About Dr. Corn

Dr. Beth Corn is a Board Certified Allergist practicing in New York City and an Assistant Professor of Medicine with over 20 years of experience in healthcare. She serves on the national board of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

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You may be surprised to learn something new about Vicki Lawrence and your health by watching the interview here: http://bcove.me/vwg0asb5

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And visiting www.CIUandYou.com for more information.

headshot  MARIA DORFNER is the founder of Healthy Within Network.  She can be reached at maria.dorfner@yahoo.com

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“When We Tell Stories…People Listen.”

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 Father’s Day! by Maria Dorfner

Dad finds a Bocce court in Napa Valley and proceeds to give the boys from Pittsburgh a few tips.
Dad finds a Bocce court in Napa Valley and proceeds to give the boys from Pittsburgh a few tips.

 

Prior to Father’s Day, I like to reflect back to what my Dad was doing at my age. I am so grateful he was and still is involved in my life. Involved Dads make for smarter, happier kids.  I was definitely a happy kid.  I don’t know about smart.  I was a straight B+ student at Saint Ephrem’s. I only ever got an A in English, but I  wanted straight A’s like Grace, the smartest girl in class.  College had me getting a 4.0 only in English, Psych and Marketing.  Reminds me of the hilarious song in the Off-Broadway play Avenue Q called, “What Do You Do With a B.A. in English?”

Meantime, while I was busy trying but failing to get straight A’s, my Dad worked a bazillion hours, yet still managed to find time to spend with us.  Dad could have been the Tim Ferriss of Fathers and written “The 4-Hour Dad Week” because he was creative in terms of maximizing the minimum amount of time he had to spend with us.  He found time, even if it was a tad early.

I can still hear him yelling, “If you girls are ready at 3 a.m. I will drive you to college!!!  If you’re not ready, the car leaves without you!!!”  You girls were myself and my best friend, Rosemarie. We lived in Brooklyn and were starting Pace University in NYC, where our Dads worked in construction.  We still laugh at how we aced early bird Marketing because we had hours to kill studying.

Our Dads drove us each morning for four years, and even opened and closed the doors for us.  Chivalry was alive and well. Being earlybirds had benefits. We got to read the newspapers first and knew what was going on in the world before the rest of the world. Plus, no trains.

I’d been riding the subway since I was a kid.  I actually loved it, especially when the Big Apple came into view.  That faded when I had to learn to read people’s faces quickly or end up robbed or who knows what.  I grew up feeling safe until the infamous Son of Sam (David Berkowitz) terrorized our neighborhood by going on a brunette killing spree. The New York Post released a sketch of the suspect and it looked like everybody I knew.  Everybody.

So Dad, where were YOU last night at 0600 hours? Huh?

So, riding the subway suddenly meant sizing someone up quickly.  Roger Ailes who wrote my favorite book on Communication called, “You Are the Message” says you make your first impression within the first 5 seconds of meeting someone. Five seconds. 1…2…3…4…BAM. I got your number.  Our Dads already had this skill, and shared lots of stories while driving over the Brooklyn Bridge.

No need to talk first. In fact, Roger and my former agent who sadly passed away, Alfred Geller turn off the volume when they watch someone on-camera. Geller did that with my tape and exclaimed I belong in the #1 market before turning up the volume on the TV monitor in his seminar.  You see someone before you hear them. It’s not about what someone looks like –it’s about their energy. Ralph Waldo Emerson said who you are speaks louder than anything you say. Same on NYC subway. Back then, it assaulted all sense of sight, smell, touch and hearing. Taste too because if you ate anything, you’d feel nauseous.

So, Rosemarie and I were OVERJOYED to plan our entire college schedules around getting a luxury, stress-free, safe ride to school.

More importantly, it was quality time with the Dads. We never knew what they would ask us, and they took an interest in our classes. They’re both funny too.  After my Dad’s construction job he returned home, removed his dirty boots outside, showered and ran out to run a restaurant.  By this time, I’d be taking a train at City Hall to head over to my job as a sales associate at Sak’s Fifth Avenue or Barnes and Noble on Fifth Avenue.

When my entrepreneurial Dad wasn’t working two jobs, he did not go to the gym for fitness. He didn’t run. He did not play golf. My Dad loved a TV show called, “Bowling for Dollars.” It must have inspired him to take up the sport. He excelled at it. Strikes every time.

Recently, I notice three fingers on his right hand are dented as if he is still holding a bowling ball. It’s hilarious. I ask him about it and he says it’s from all those years bowling. I’ve never seen anything like that.  He had an amazing dance and spin he did like Fred Flinstone’s twinkle toes, only on steroids.  The ball spinned soooooo incredibly fast. I loved watching that.

STRIKE!!!

He also played Bocce. Funny, it just hit me that’s bowling too. It’s bowling without pins. Dad’s favorite Bocce court was at Dyker Heights Golf Course. Lots of running from one side of the bocce court to the other, so that was his outdoor gym. After school, my cousin Josephine and I rode our bikes there to see our Dads play. If they were winning they gave us a dollar or two.

We loved Biking for Dollars. The apples do not fall far from the tree.

Our Dads always greeted us warmly. “Aaaay look who it is!!!” It was like the opening theme song to the TV Show “Cheers.” “…sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name…and they’re always glad you came…”

Subsequently, a study of Chinese parents finds warmth matters. It’s a father’s warmth toward his child that is the ultimate factor in predicting the child’s future academic success. Imagine that.

In fact, involving fathers from the start in children’s lives has a significant positive impact on their development, including the greater economic security of having more than one parent. They call it the “father effect.” Involved fathers are present, even when they can’t physically be there. Mothers play a role in letting kids know what their Dads are doing and when they can spend time together.

Moms can also be The Mole at times. If my Dad asked a question, I knew that he knew that I knew The Mole already told him the answer. The words, “Wait until your father gets home” were serious business. But discipline meant he was involved. And as mentioned previously, studies say “involved dads” make for smarter, happier kids.

Sunday dinners with Dad after church was when we each were excited (or scared!) to fill him in on what we were doing. It was also when he did his Rain Man thing of asking, “Quick! How much is 345 + 7890 – 4498 + 8768 – 2?”

I didn’t know he was preparing me to be a researcher on The McLaughlin Show. The host of the politically-oriented talk show, John McLaughlin would yell out, “Gut this encyclopedia and do it in two seconds!” By the time I was director of research for Roger Ailes, I was like a human Google search engine.

Turns out, I have Dad to thank for that because him being present during those dinners was healthy for my brain. Numerous studies find children growing up in a household with a father present show superior outcomes in intelligence tests. Although, I wonder if he cancelled that out with the beatings when we got home late. Ha!

Back to the IQ advantage. It’s attributed to the way fathers interact with their children. Outdoor activities and playing with kids outweigh language-based ones. So Dad showing me how to play bocce and then yelling at me to get off the court expanded my brain more than the Italian Savant quizzing me during Sunday dinners. Interesting.

According to HappyChild.com.au a recent Canadian study from Concordia University finds girls whose fathers lived with them when they were age 6 to 10 demonstrate less anxiety when they are age 9 to 13. Being present is vital to having a positive impact and raising healthy kids.

Thank you to my Dad and to all the Dads out there who are and were present.  You’re loved and appreciated more than you know.

Healthy Father’s Day! I love you, Dad.

TODAY: Support This Healthy Kickstarter Campaign!!!

kickstarterMedCrunch believes HereAfter Frames is a hot, healthy NEW product for people during a difficult time.

Losing a pet can be one of the most difficult experiences in life.  When something can ease that pain, and help a person transition through the natural  5 stages of grief to one of acceptance, it’s a healthy thing.

The response by people who have a HereAfter Frame created is heartfelt.  The process from finding a special photo to immortalize to seeing the final creation to finding a special place for it in a home is uplifting.

Tears are replaced by a smile.

That’s why we love HereAfter Frames, which displays a custom painting or photo, along with keepsakes and an urn.

It helps people fondly capture the essence of their loved one.  And yes, it can be created for people too. The frame can be made to match the interior of your home. The creator can also add audio to them, such as any recording you have of your pet or a special song.

To this day, my parents play a cassette recording (the old kind) of my Grandfather Giuseppe.  When I get in their car, I love hearing his voice singing in Italian. His laughter, which is contagious is on it too. It makes me smile to recall his wonderful, lively spirit.

So when the creator told me about this, it resonated as something people would love.

It’s a healthy way to maintain a positive connection with a loved pet or person after they’re gone, which is why I encourage you to support this artist with 3 easy steps:

LINK: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2033271920/1081740743?token=17db0ca6

(1) CLICK link to watch brief video
(2) GIVE as much as you can to help
(3) SHARE link with friends and family

In return for your support, you will receive a special gift created just for you by the artist.

Thank you,
Maria Dorfner
In Loving Memory

“Healthy children will not fear life if their elders have integrity enough not to fear death.” -Erik Erikson

Healthy Grieving for Pets by Maria Dorfner

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I have always known that pets have souls.  Artist, Boris Jairala knows it too.  If you listen with your heart, you can actually hear what pets are trying to say to you.  Think about how you would communicate if you could not speak.  Your eyes or body language would need to reflect all your emotions: happiness, sadness, love, anger.

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I believe when you are close to a pet they can intuit how you feel and they respond in kind.

It’s reassuring to be comforted this way. And they love unconditionally.

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Numerous health studies validate the healthy therapeutic affects of living with pets.
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Pets do not care what you look like and treat you the same if you’re wearing sweat pants or a ball gown.  They do not criticize you.  They do not cheat, lie or steal (well, maybe a few socks that mysteriously vanish) or care about your weight, height or job title.  They ask no questions.  They merely accept you and love you for being alive.  Refreshing.
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It’s no wonder people with pets live longer. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), pet ownership not only decreases blood pressure, but your cholesterol levels, and
triglyceride levels.  The American Veterinary Medical Association, The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and The Delta Society agree.
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According to WebMD, there are 27 more health benefits, including lifting depression, being a natural mood enhancer, helping those with ADHD release excess energy, lowering the risk of dying from cardiac disease, increasing survival rates after a heart attack or stroke while boosting your immune system, plus more.
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Some dogs can even alert diabetic owners of a drop in their blood glucose. There are also super sensitive dogs, like empaths.  They sense when you’re not feeling well.  Their calming presence helps create emotional balance in owners.  One look or touch can tell you they know how you feel, and will stand by you.
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It’s a rare kind of unconditional love in a world that creates laws for things that should come naturally –kindness, respect and not judging others based on skin color, race or anything else, so long it’s not harming another individual.  Kids learn responsibility from having to walk and feed the pet, and you are guaranteed your thirty minutes of walking each day, which helps keep them or you fit, and lower risks for all sorts of diseases.
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So, what happens when a pet dies and you lose all that?  How do you deal with the grief that comes from the death of such a loving pet?

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I recall reading Elsabeth Kubler-Ross’s book, “On Death and Dying.” It was published in 1969.  A friend gave it to me after my grandmother passed away.  Prior to that, no one I knew personally had ever died.  It was something that happened to other people.  The book helped me process my feelings at the time. It wasn’t only my own feelings.  I was also absorbing the grief from my parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, neighbors and everyone around me.  Overwhelming.  “On Death and Dying” outlines the 5 stages of grief.

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People go through the 5 different stages for a person or pet at their own pace.  It can also happen when someone is diagnosed with a terminal illness or from divorce or a breakup. The stages don’t happen the same way for each person. Each individual needs to take as much time as they need to process it.  When death is sudden and unexpected and you can’t get beyond anger is when it’s best to seek out professional help.
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NATURAL STAGES OF GRIEF AFTER LOSS:

1. Denial and Isolation

The first reaction that buffers the immediate shock.  You feel no pain.
2. Anger
Reality kicks in.  Emotions are in overdrive.  This is when you snap at things and then feel guilty or more angry for doing so.
3. Bargaining
You try to regain control by telling yourself, “If only I had…” because you feel vulnerable and helpless.
You feel overwhelming sadness, regret and worry.
5. Acceptance
 After you allow yourself to grieve naturally, you will heal.
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These 5 stages are the same for the loss of people or pets.
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Boris Jairala learned this when his father died, then his dog.
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No one wants to forget a pet or person they love. Painting helped Boris cope with loss. Gretchen Rubin, author of “Happier at Home” wrote, “Capturing a moment in time isn’t just about securing a memory –it can help you appreciate your life every day.”  She adds, “Photos are a way to record life’s little moments that are precious but easily forgotten.”
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The unique frames hold ashes in the front, and memorable keepsake items in the back.
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Painting a memorial of his father inspired him to do the same for his dog.
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When friends saw it, they loved it and asked Boris if he could create one for them.
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Each frame can be customized to match the interior design of a home.  Boris adds, “If you already have an audio recording of your pet that can also be added. For people you love, I can add a special recording of their voice or a special song.   A woman who lost a child that was premature asked me to create a special frame, and it was very touching.  I’m deeply moved by the joy it brings.”
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They say two things are certain in life, death and taxes.  This won’t help with taxes, but it’s a unique way to help with the first. Rubin says positive memories and photographs play an important role in a happy life.
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Boris is from Brooklyn, NY and works out of a studio there.  His dream is to open a workshop.  His Kickstarter campaign launches soon.

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He says, “My dream with HERE AFTER FRAMES and the upcoming Kickstarter campaign is to raise enough to make this available to everyone in the world.”
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He has a patent and is the only person in the world creating such an item.
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UPDATE:
 Boris met his Kickstarter campaign goal (thank you to anyone who contributed), but you can still view or order the keepsakes as a gift or for yourself and have them customized here:  http://www.HereAfterFrames.com
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MORE ARTICLES TO HELP YOU THROUGH THE GRIEVING PROCESS HERE:

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Maria Dorfner is the founder of Healthy Within Network. This is her blog.

Stay healthy!