It’s Arrived !!!

 

     My new novel arrived from the publisher today.  I’m actually holding a printed copy of “The Benediction” in my hand!  It’s almost like holding your new baby in your arms for the first time.  The love and the pride springs up from inside. It’s beautiful! I created this!  What a wonderful feeling. It cannot be described.

     And now I get to send it out into the world.  It must stand on its own, but all the love and thought and creativity I put into it to make it what it is will still be there to share with everyone it comes in contact with.  It’s the same when you send a child off to school or into the outside world.  You have made it what it is up to now.  You have put into it all your love, your values, your time and your work. You have done your best and now you must let go. 

     It’s both exciting and a little frightening to send a child off into the world.  You’re proud, yet hesitant.  You’ve waited for this day to come and now that it’s here you want to hang onto her for a little longer.  It’s the same way with a book you’ve created.  It’s an entirely different entity now.  It holds all your values, your ideas, your beliefs, your compassion, your understanding, your laughter and your tears. You really are ready to share it with those it will enrich.

     Now it must relate to all those readers out there who take a chance on you and your words.  Something about the book, its cover, the description, or blurb on the back of the book, or your background, or maybe it is the first paragraph or first page that prompted them to take a second look and urged them to buy the book.

     Whatever the reason that prompts readers to buy and read “The Benediction”, I’m happy that you are taking a chance on me.  I know it will give you a few hours of pleasure, some laughter and some tears.  I will enjoy sharing the story with you and will take pleasure in sharing my ideas with you.  Happy reading!

Who’s Got The Flu?

   It’s that time of year again.  Flu season arrives at my house at the same time as the Thanksgiving Holiday.  Somebody arrives home with the sniffles or a runny nose, and someone else complains of fever, headache or muscle aches and pains.  What to do?

     Is it a cold or is it the flu?  How’s a mother supposed to know?  The symptoms seem too much alike and some last several days, others clear up in a few.  Health professionals say if the symptoms are a runny nose and stuffiness, it’s probably a cold and will clear up in a few days.

     If you have muscle aches and pains, a fever, headache or unusual tiredness then it iis likely the flu.  A cough can go with either one.  Should you call a doctor? 

     If symptoms get worse or last a long time, call your doctor.  If after feeling better for a few days the symptoms return, or you get sick to your stomach,vomiting, chills or chest pain, or if you develop a high fever, better call the doctor.  Hopefully you had a flu shot earlier in the season.  If so, your symptoms should be light.

     In the meantime, drink plenty of fluids, get lots of rest, eat nutrious foods and manage your stress.  This information comes from the Flu Center.  Have a healthy winter!

Get A Good Night’s Sleep and Cure Your Heartburn

If you suffer from GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) you’ll be happy to note the latest treatment suggested.  It will not only keep your reflux and heartburn at bay, but will also give you a good night’s sleep.  It’s melatonin!  It seems that the gastrointestinal tract secretes up to 500 times as much melatonin as the pineal gland which puts out melatonin naturally when you’re exposed to darkness.  There is evidence that melatonin may also reduce gastric acid secretion and normalize pressure of the lower esophageal sphincter, allowing it to close more effectively.

Researchers have recently discovered that melatonin plays its part in your digestive system.  For instance, it can prevent oxidative stress on GI cells, regulate cholestral uptake by the intestinal wall, help to heal damage to the lining of the GI track, and promote the secretion of other hormones that aid digestion and elimination.  It can also help treat esophageal ulcers, upset stomach and irritable bowel syndrome.

If you’ve been taking  PPIs (Nexium, Prilosec, Omeprazole, Zantac or Tagamet) or other drugs or supplements, you may be just the right candidate to try melatonin.  And you’ll get a good night’s sleep besides.  They seem to go together.  The GERD problems will keep you awake most nights.  I’m a sufferer myself from both.  I tried propping up the head of my bed, only to find that kept me awake, and if I put the bed back in place, my heartburn kept me awake.  Now I can take the recommended 3-6 mg of melatonin a half hour before bedtime and sleep like a baby.

Check out Dr. Mark Stengler’s column in the October 2011 issue of Bottom Line’s “Natural Healing” for his suggestions.  It works for me!

Are Your Children Up-To-Date on Vaccines?

More than one in ten parents delay or skip reccommended vaccines for their children under six years of age, a new survey reported last week.  This means that more than two million infants and young children may not be fully protected from many preventable diseases.    Is your child on schedule?  Has he or she had the recommended vaccinations against the fourteen childhood diseases, in two dozen separated doses?

Many parents think putting off some of the shots until the child is older is safer than the suggested schedule.  Others are worried about the autism -vaccine association, which was scientifically disproved.  Often, because we don’t see as many severe cases of childhood diseases, parents believe that they have been permanently wiped out and vaccines are not necessary.  But these diseases are still around just waiting for children who have not been protected.  Whooping cough, for instance, has recently raised its ugly head (especially in California), and infectious disease experts have found that the vaccine loses its effectiveness after three years, more quickly than was previously thought.

The survey was conducted on 750 parents of children younger than six last year and released in the journal Pediatrics.  It has been praised by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as “important and well done” and indicates doctors need to do a better job of communicating this information with parents.

Now is a good time to check with your pediatrician to confirm that your child is on schedule for these protective shots.  Don’t let your child be one of the 2,000,000 infants and young children who are not protected.

 

Watch the Fine Print When You’re Watching Your Weight

It’s okay to go off your diet once in awhile.  We all do it now and then.  Just be careful not to do it every day or so.  Maybe once a week is good for you.  The problem may not be how often we fudge a little, but what it is we choose when we cheat.  You can stop by Starbucks for a cup of coffee or you can have Starbucks Venti (20 oz.) White chocolate Mocha with 2% milk and whipped cream.  If you give in to the Venti, you will be taking on more calories than if you had a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder with Cheese!  You would be adding 580 calories and 15 grams of saturated fat.  Of course you could have the Venti with non-fat milk and no whipped cream.  That would be 130 calories less.

Maybe you like Marie Callender’s Chicken Pot Pie.  The 16.5 oz.  package proudly says “only 520″ calories.  If you read carefully that is for only half a pie!  Eat the whole thing and you will have consumed 1,040 calories, more than a day’s worth of saturated fat, and an entire day’s worth of sodium.  Split it with your honey.

The labels are tricky.  Watch carefully for not only calories, sodium and saturated fat amounts, but also for the serving size, the number of servings in a package, and how they use weights and other measurments.

It helps to decide on how many calories you want to consume in a day and keep track of them.  Treat yourself every week or ten days with one of your favorites,  check the fine print and decide if it’s worth it.  If it is, then enjoy it, then go back to your diet plan for the next meal.

Questions On The Way To Get My Mammogram

On my way to have my annual mammogram my mind turned to some of the questions I’ve had over the past year.  I’m a 13 year survivor of breast cancer.  What are my chances of having a recurrance after so long a time?  Are yearly mammograms really necessary after so long a time with no problems?  Still, in the past year I’ve had two friends who were long-term survivors of breast cancer who have been diagnosed with new cancers.  In both cases they had been guilty of not self-examining on a regular basis.  Would they have caught the small lumps that came out of nowhere?  Had they been having annual checkups?  One hesitates to ask these questions, even of close friends.

A Stanford University study earlier this year indicated that treating early breast cancers with radiation and drugs, in addition to removing part of the breast itself, significantly decreases the risk of developing a more invasive form of cancer 15 years later.  Some patient advocates say that regardless of the treatment received for early breast cancer, a woman’s chances of dying from invasive breast cancer later are small.  The chief of breast surgery at the Stanford Cancer  Center, who was the lead author of the study said, “Of women who were treated by lumpectomy alone, 65 percent  didn’t have a recurrance of cancer.”

The studies still go on.  No one knows at the time of the early occurance who will have a recurrance and who will not.  There are still a lot of questions out there.  Should you take a daily aspirin or not?  If you had a breast removed, should you have a breast implant or not?  Recent studies have found a link of implants to some forms of cancer.

Unfortunately, not many answers are available to us at the time when we need them most.  We are left with more questions than answers.  In the meantime I take an aspirin every other day, have my annual mammogram, and do a lot of praying.

Will Your Prescription Be There When You Need It?

The number of prescription drugs that are in short suppy has jumped considerably in the past couple of years.  Pharmaceutical companies are finding that some of their medicines are no longer profitable and are discontinuing them.  If you have been on an effective prescription medication for a long time, you might want to ask your doctor if there is any danger of it being in short suppy this year.  In 2006 an estimated 70 drugs were considered in short supply compared to last year’s list of 211.  That’s more than three times the number of prescriptions in four year’s time.  Will your prescription be next?

Many of the shortages are in medications used in a hospital setting.  These might include types of anesthesia, electrolytes, vitamins, minerals and even cancer treatments.  Federal recalls and production problems, as well as financial causes also are blamed for the shortages.  Some doctors have been forced to go to alternative drugs for their patients.   Your pharmacy or doctor may be reserving such drugs for patients who are in the most need.  The University of Utah Drug Information Service, which keeps tract of shortages, says that nearly 200 drugs are now hard to find.

A growing number of prescription drugs have been recalled by the Food and Drug Administration or voluntarily taken off the market by the manufacturer, the Information Service says.  New technologies have also made it easier to detect problems with drugs which adds to the shortage.   The pharmaceutical firm which created the original drug whose patent has expired will no longer find it profitable to continue to manufacture and distribute it.  The bottom line always wins in the end.