Move it, Move it, Move it!

So I had back surgery, last Spring in May 2015, just 4 months ago and I have been asked to have total knee replacement in March of 2016. I tell you what, that’s a lot to crunch on and absorb. I am a tad worried about how my two little 5 year olds will manage. It’s just so much for them to get through in such a short period of time.

In the next several months, in between the two surgeries, I will be exercising to strengthen my core muscles and my quadriceps. In common parlance, I need to strengthen my back and thighs to help the benefits of the back surgery to come to fruition and I need to strengthen the same muscle groups in order to prepare for the total knee replacement.

This morning, I met the physical therapist, Michelle Hribrar, otherwise known as Mickey, at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation’s Sports Medicine department. Mickey was friendly, compassionate, and very knowledgeable. She didn’t miss a beat. I’ve been through physical therapy a several times already. Mickey is a keeper!

I did the typical, and filled out a few assessments, told her some of my story and then she got to work assessing strength and range of motion, and presenting a few exercises for me to start with immediately. The thing that is so amazing about physical therapists is they are just so good at isolating muscle groups and know just what to tell you to do to strengthen what is not working properly.

Moreover, she gave me hope. Mickey reminded me that I am only 4 months out of my back surgery and the body takes at least a year to heal from a surgery such as this. I still cannot walk the way I want to walk, or the distance that I want to cover, but Mickey thinks it will come with time.

So my plan is to continue walking around the block 5 days a week. Do my physical therapy exercises daily and start back at the JCC swimming or more likely moving through the water with the purpose of gently moving my muscles and toning up my core, my gluts, and my quads! I hope to get to the JCC 2 – 3 times each week, likely directly after physical therapy, which should be two times a week.

So that’s my plan. What is up with you? Do you need help too? Can you possibly arrange to see a physical therapist or chiropractor or personal trainer? Or do you want to go it alone? The point is to get moving. When you are behind the proverbial eight ball, you have to start somewhere to pull yourself together.

Why not create a plan that you can stick to today to move a bit more? Can you take the stairs instead of the elevator? Can you park farther away at the office? Can you walk to the corner? You know what your limitations are. You are the expert on you! Can you just reach a little further than you have been? What is one thing you can do, starting today, that would be a symbol of the fact that you have chosen to stop this freight train toward decreasing mobility and diminished quality of life?

Do you have a Fitbit? Do you know what a Fitbit is? A Fitbit is a piece of wearable technology, which can clip to your clothing or be worn like a watch. A Fitbit is an activity tracker that will give you a variety of personal data, like how many steps you’ve taken today, stairs you’ve climbed, and calories you have burned. It can also measure the quantity and quality of sleep you’ve had. A Fitbit can link to the Fitbit website and be used to record food intake, heart rate, blood pressure, and glucose levels.

Are you willing to invest in one? A Fitbit just might be the gadget you need to help you to become more in tune with your body and more on track regarding your fitness goals!

Gadgets not your thing? That’s okay, you can get where you are going, without all this information. It’s totally been done before! Fitbits are just one of the new items out helping people to attain their wellness goals. You can totally go it alone, and do a low tech program!

What are you willing to do to move yourself back in the direction of health? Go ahead give it a try. I swear you don’t even need a professional to get started. Just take one small step. Commit to it and then make it a habit! Then in a few weeks you can consider another one!

Why not take some time to flesh it out with paper and pencil, or should I say finger and tablet? Take a few minutes to create a roadmap for yourself. Write down five or six things that you would implement right now, if you knew, with absolute certainty, that they would become a reality.

Put a star next to the two items you feel are most pressing. Circle the one you are willing to commit to in the next week. Start today, if you think you can swing it. Get out your calendar and pencil in, when you will begin work on the second goal. Time is of the essence! Don’t let the day, the week, or the month get away from you! And don’t forget to move it!

Lisa J Lafave, PhD, MBA, ACC
The Wellness Coach at Building Better Bodies Rocks
CEO & Founder of Coaching Rocks, LLC
A Single Mom By Choice Raising Twin Boys
Written in My Little Brick in University Hts, Ohio

Leap Into Action!

Who Would Run the Things, in the Wake of a Medical Crisis?

Lots of things are cooking! I have been experiencing breathlessness and chest pain, so I went to the doctor to get some advice, as to how to proceed. The experience at the doctor’s office was a bit crazy, because on the one hand, I was dressed to attend a party at my sons’ school, after the appointment with the doctor, yet I was packed and ready to go to the hospital, if that’s what my doctor recommended! A girl always has to be prepared!

The EKG, done at the doctor’s office, showed no changes, over the last time I had one, which is a good thing. It may just have been esophageal spasm, which mimics the symptoms of heart attack.

Heck, I stopped some medicine inadvertently, when I was on vacation and started some new supplements, last Friday, around the time I started feeling not quite myself. I believe that resuming that medicine may improve things dramatically. And who knows if any of the supplements are the true culprit.

The new diet, that I am on, calls for plenty of apple cider vinegar, which seems highly acidic, yet people say it cures gastrointestinal reflux disease, which I do suffer from. So I, for one, would like to know what my gastroenterologist thinks about someone with GERD using apple cider vinegar on their salad. Could this be the cause of the chest pain?

The doctor recommended that I have a non-stress stress test, since I can’t do the typical running one. I will relax about all of this, if the non-stress stress test comes back clean!

I made it to the new family party at University School and had a few laughs! I got to skip the hospital entirely! So pleased to have narrowly escaped that one. So happy to be home looking after my boys instead!

You know, these issues are just that much harder to deal with when you are a single mom by choice, without any back-up! I mean heck, had it gone the other way, and the doctor thought I needed to be in the hospital, who would have looked after the boys? My octogenarian parents? The babysitter, who planned today would be her last day, since she is returning to college shortly? One of my brothers? My sister? An old nanny? Who? Who at the drop of a hat, would be available, and knows the house, the animals, the boys and our routine, such that they could ramp up and take over, without much instruction, and run my household? These are the questions that cause real stress.

What back-up plan do you have, when you are down for the count? How would you cover your obligations, if you suddenly had to be hospitalized? Who would man the fort? Have you thought about these issues, or do you prefer to bury your head in the sand, and try to pretend that day will never come? Take a minute right now and review who would carry on, if you were brought to your knees. Be specific. It is important to know who you would call.

Lisa J Lafave, PhD, MBA, ACC, BCC
The Wellness Coach at Building Better Bodies Rocks
CEO & Founder of Coaching Rocks, LLC
One Woman’s Experience Recovering From Medical Challenges
A Single Mom By Choice Raising Surrogacy Twin Boys
Written in My Little Brick in Unicersity Heights, Ohio

Leap Into Action!

The Non-Stress Stress Test was Normal

Yep, you heard that right! The non-stress stress test was normal! No chest pain or dyspnea were noted during the stress portion of the nuclear stress test. No arrhythmias were produced by the stress portion of the test. The blood pressure response to the pharmacological stress was normal. Normal! normal, normal! Yee-haw doggie!

Now I can stay on Dr Mark Hyman’s Detox Diet, which is fairly Paleo in nature, and not stress over the meat I might consume weekly. If I had substantial changes, I might be looking at Dr. Esselstyn’s No Oil, Plant Based Diet, which if done correctly, promises to prevent and reverse heart disease. Dr. Esselstyn’s approach goes quite a bit beyond simply being vegan.

I’ve been on Dr. Esselstyn’s diet and didn’t get very far, despite following it for 10 months. When I met Dr. Hyman, his comment about my having been vegan was “Hmmm, I’ve known a lot of fat vegans.” My guess is the vegans he knew were not Dr. Esselstyn’s protégés, or were and simply did not follow the instructions very well!

Dr Mark Hyman’s diet, despite its restrictions, is a better fit for my tastes and lifestyle, plus it produces much faster results, in the weight loss department. So for now, armed with my NORMAL nuclear stress test results, I have the green light to continue trekking on the Mark Hyman Detox Diet! Yippee! No interference in my plan!

Have you had any wins lately that are allowing you to pursue your chosen path? Why not jot them down and make a record of them.

Lisa J Lafave, PhD, MBA, ACC
The Wellness Coach from Building Better Bodies Rocks
CEO & Founder of Coaching Rocks, LLC
A Single Mom By Choice Raising Surrogacy Twin Boys
One Woman’s Experience Recovering From Medical Challenges
Written in My Little Brick in University Heights, Ohio

Leap Into Action!

Back Surgery or Should I Say Decompression, Fusion and Fixation?

Have I had a chance to tell you about the back surgery that I had on May 18, 2015, at the Cleveland Clinic, by Iain Kalfas, MD, who happens to be the head of the Spine Institute at the Cleveland Clinic?

I was suffering from severe spinal stenosis, which is hereditary. My father suffers from it as well. I suspect the spinal stenosis has actually been causing me pain, since I was a small child. I always begged everyone to rub my lower back, even as a small child. As a teenager, I took long soaks in the tub, hoping the heat of the water would soothe my lower back. Later came multiple rounds of physical therapy, chiropractic treatments and shots of steroids put right in my back at the Cleveland Clinic’s Pain Management Center.

I suffered from two herniated disks, L4 L5, while carrying my twins around, in and out of the car, and such. It became especially prominent when they were two and three years old, with accompanying sciatica. By the time they were four, I was a basket case.

Somewhere in the mix, I developed spondolythisis or slippage of the vertebrae. Taken to its extreme, spondolythisis can lead to complete loss of bowel and bladder control, although I understand this is rare, thank goodness.

So the surgery I had took 7 1/2 hours to complete and was designed to fix all three problems. They did decompression for the spinal stenosis, fusion for the herniated disks and fixation for the spondolythisis. The fixation involved putting in two titanium rods and a few screws to keep the rods in place. That should prevent further slippage of the vertebrae overtime, which makes me quite happy.

The pain that I had from these three conditions is not yet gone. I am hoping that I am simply a slower healer. The doctor told me that I would have 12-16 weeks of horrific pain after the surgery. He further told me that the full recovery would take a year. That said, many walk away from the surgery without any pain to speak of. This has not been my experience. I am more than 16 weeks out and still waiting for that to be my reality.

Regarding results for a surgery like this, 85% experience relief, 14% are neither better nor worse, and that unlucky 1% that is left over are actually worse. I clearly want to be in the majority group! Before it is over, I expect to be!

Interestingly, after my surgery, my internist, whom I love and adore, Dr Elena Borukh said to me, “You know, you are so brave!”

My reply, “Really? What makes you say that? Brave in what way?”

Dr Boruhk went onto explain, “So many of my other patients have a great need to undergo one surgery or another and they can’t, because they are too afraid. You are different. You are brave. You already had the surgery you needed. I really applaud you.”

So I ask you in turn, what surgery have you been avoiding and why? Do you think you don’t have the time for the surgery and recovery? Are you afraid to have the surgery? How could you summon the necessary courage to actually do it? How does not having the surgery limit you? What are all of the costs? What could you stand to gain by having the surgery? Are you sure you can afford to continue to put the surgery off? What is the worst thing that could happen by postponing? Are you really willing to pay that price? Are you sure there aren’t more possible consequences? Are you willing to do some research to be sure?

Now, get out a piece of paper or your cell phone or tablet and write out a list of pros and cons regarding the surgery you have been putting off. Has your position changed any as the result of taking the time to put your ideas down on paper so you can look at them frankly and honestly!

Best of luck to you and your loved ones, should you choose to have you surgery! Every surgery has risks, but you can research the risks, weigh them and make the best and most informed choice possible about whether or not to have the surgery that has been recommended to you. Should you choose to move forward, I salute your bravery!

Lisa J Lafave, PhD, MBA, ACC
The Wellness Coach from Building Better Bodies Rocks
CEO & Founder of Coaching Rocks, LLC
ASingle Mom By Choice Raising Surrogacy Twin Boys
One Woman’s Experience Recovering from Near Medical Disaster
Written in My Little Brick in University Heights, Ohio

Leap Into Action!

Non-Stress Stress Test

Did you know that if you are unable to perform the stress part of a cardiac stress test, there is a non-stress stress test? Well there is! Instead of walking and then running on a treadmill, they give you medicine to invoke a state similar to that of exercise or stress and attach a nuclear tracer to it, so they can take images of your heart pre and post the stress produced by the medicine. I just learned this a month or so ago.

Today, I am finally completing my non-stress stress test at the Cleveland Clinic’s Cardiology and Nuclear Medicine departments. This stress test is also sometimes called a pharmacological stress test.

I tried to do the test last week, but it was a no go. While in the Nuclear Medicine Department, I was given radioactive Regadenoson, which is a vasodilator. This medicine dilates your blood vessels in a manner which occurs during exercise. Subsequently, images of my chest were taken by the gamma camera. I then went to Cardiologyy just to find out that my heart rate was 142, which was too high to perform the full test and cause further increases in my heart rate. Apparently, 140 is the heart rate they aim for on the traditional stress test with exercise, and without the vasodilator.

I had been asked to refrain from using caffeine, Acetominophen and Metoprolol, for 24 hours. I take the Metoprolol to minimize tachycardia, or high heart rate. I had stopped these drugs for 36 hours and that was just too long. Since the initial gamma images of the flow of blood through the heart are good for one week, I was able to reschedule within one week, and continue as usual. So here I am today, for the next two parts of the test.

I had the stress portion of the exam already today. Basically, they attach leads to monitor your heart, put the IV into your arm, put on a blood pressure cuff, inject the medicine, Regadenoson, for the test. They then monitor both your heart rate and blood pressure for 4 minutes, while you pump a soft ball and march your feet up and down, alternating left and right, to get the blood flowing through your veins.

Thank goodness the chemical stress test only lasts 4 minutes, because it made me feel really weird. First, I felt breathlessness, then dizziness, then I experienced distress in my stomach and lower abdomen.

Next up, will be the post gamma camera images of the blood coursing through my heart detected by the nuclear tracer, given to me earlier.

Tomorrow, I have a CT scan of my heart to rule out pulmonary embolism, as the cause of breathlessness, often referred to as dyspnea in the medical community.

So remember, if you are having trouble with your heart and having difficulty getting around, you can still have a stress test. It’s called a pharmological stress test or a chemical stress test or a non-stress stress test. Don’t be shy to call your doctor today, if you are experiencing breathlessness or chest pain.

If you feel really badly, do not hesitate to call an ambulance or go immediately to your local emergency room. It has been my experience, and I have more experience than I would care to share in these matters, that when you call an ambulance to go to the emergency room, you essentially jump the line in the waiting room, and receive more immediate attention. So if you think your need is urgent, for goodness sakes call 911, and have an ambulance, more safely, take you to the hospital.

I know I am out of shape owing to increasing back, knee, and hip pain, over the course of the last five years, with accompanying decrease in exercise. Prior to my boys being born, who are now 5, I used to walk 45 – 90 minutes, everyday for years, with my dogs, in the woods. During the last year, I have become woefully out of shape and have been hardly able to walk to the corner! No wonder I have been experiencing breathlessness.

This is really the story of on middle age woman’s journey from the brink of medical disaster, back to health. I am over weight, and at risk for diabetes. I have been fighting diabetes for some time, but now I am fighting off heart disease. I have a mandate from my rheumatologist to have total knee replacement in the spring.

After back surgery 4 months ago, I am now able the walk around the block! I can also swim for about 20 minutes.

I have a history of severe acid reflux and have experienced esphogeal spasm, which mimics heart attack. That could have been the cause of the chest pain I experienced last month.

After getting the results of the non-stress stress test and the CT of the chest, I will know if I am suffering from heart disease and what I have to do about it.

I hope it’s not heart disease for two reasons. First, I hope I haven’t gotten myself into that much of a health problem. I really don’t want to add heart disease to my list of health concerns. Secondly, I am on a roll with Dr Mark Hyman’s Detox Diet and don’t want to upset the apple cart. If I just have another 11 months to pursue this diet, unobstructed and as is, I think I can make some dramatic changes in my overall health.

I am wondering if this anti-inflammatory diet might be able to buy me some time with the total knee replacement. Technology improves with each passing year and I’d like to take advantage of that, as much as I can. Plus, it’s just a lot of stress on my boys to have their Mama in the hospital and then in rehab. After having gone through the back surgery this year, I surely would like to spare them the drama of having to go through it all again so soon. These things are especially challenging when you are a single parent!

What medical issues are you facing square in the eye? What can you do about them. Have you discussed these issues with your internist? Have you seen a specialist? Don’t bury your head in the sand and hope it will go away. There are things you can do about it to reduce the severity of your problems. Why not start by noodling it around with a trusted friend or family member. Ideas abound when your share your problems with others!

Why not take out a piece of paper or grab your cell phone or tablet and write a list of the three most urgent medical issues you have been sitting on. Below that list, write three names of people you would be willing to discuss it with. Then give yourself a reasonable time period to have that discussion. Actually write that date down. Next, stick with the plan! Then, write a similar list, after your discussion with each your trusted others, and put down another date. Follow through with this plan, as well!

Lisa J Lafave, PhD, MBA, ACC
The Wellness Coach at Building Better Bodies Rocks
CEO & Founder of Coaching Rocks
A Single Mom By Choice Raising Surrogacy Twin Boys
One Woman’s Experience Recovering After Near Medical Disaster
Written in the Nuclear Medicine Department @ Cleveland Clinic

Leap Into Action!

It Was a Confluence of Things!

So was it heart disease or anxiety? Well we don’t know exactly yet, but a number of things have come into play. I recently inadvertently went off an SNRI that I take for a variety of pain disorders. I thought it would arrive from my mail order pharmacy when I got back from my trip, but no such luck. So I have been off it for about a month. No wonder I feel like hell! Rest assured, it has been ordered, so now I can wait for it! Going off the SNRI in and of itself could cause anxiety.

I also recently started taking a bunch of supplements for Mark Hyman’s detox diet, so there’s another significant change. In addition, I recently began consuming apple cider vinegar on my salads as part of this new diet. It may be that the apple cider vinegar is causing esophageal spasm, which mimics heart attack. That just might be the chest pain that I have been experiencing. It’s front and center without any radiation, anywhere. As much as I like the stuff, I think I have to lay off the apple cider vinegar and see if any of these symptoms calm down.

Admittedly, none of these has anything to do with the breathlessness I have been encountering when doing simple things like walking 5 houses down the block, bending over to do a couple minutes of weeding, or pulling out the garden hose to water the flowers on the patio. The breathlessness is particularly concerning. Nonetheless, I did manage to walk around the block this morning. It was punishing the whole way, but I did do it.

Deep vein thrombosis is another concern and something I am at risk for given the recent back surgery. A friend who is a pediatrician brought this to my attention. I know too many cooks, spoil the broth! The concern is pulmonary embolism in the chest, which causes breathlessness. My intuition tells me this isn’t so. Despite being highly limited regarding my movement, I have been taking care of the boys daily and took them solo on vacation for two weeks in August. Can you really do all that and have a pulmonary embolism?

Thus far, the EKG shows no sign of changes in the heart. Thank God, for small wonders! A thallium stress test has been ordered and we will see how my heart is functioning. For those of you who don’t know, this is a resting stress test, which I need due to my current limited mobility.

In the meantime, I have also seen the rheumatologist and have been advised that because of my “severely advanced osteoarthritis in my right knee,” that I need total knee replacement in the not too distant future. The doctor recommends that I plan this for 6 months out, in order to give myself a chance to have 6 months of physical therapy under my belt subsequent to my May 2015 back surgery, to strengthen both back and thigh muscles before knee surgery. No rest for the weary!

I have to admit, this is a lot to grapple with all at once. However, there is no choice!

My hope is that if I can pull through this mess with exercise, diet and surgery, that maybe you can repair your body too. Sure it takes a bit of bravery and some stick-to-ititveness, but I believe it can be done. What might you change about your routine today, to lead to a better outcome tomorrow?

Go ahead commit it to writing. Take some time and think about what outcome you want in your body and then break it down into some action steps. Most of us know three things we could be doing right now to improve our overall health and we don’t need a professional to tell us to do it. We simply need to do as Rip Esselstyn says, “make a change and then make it a habit.” I just love that sentiment, thank-you Rip Esselstyn! I urge you to put this plan somewhere where you will continually bump into it, to keep it top of mind. You work your plan and I’ll work mine.

Never forget building better bodies today rocks!

Lisa J Lafave, PhD, MBA, ACC
The Wellness Coach at Building Better Bodies Rocks
CEO & Founder of Coaching Rocks, LLC
A Single Mom by Choice Raising Surrogacy Twin Boys
Written at CCF Beachwood Waiting to See Another Doctor

So Saddened by Friendships Lost

You know as we age our needs change and friendships that once worked may no longer. It may not be the case that you planned on losing the friendship, but sometimes in one fragile moment the friendship loses its ability to sustain or bare the burden of anymore strife. I have lost friendships in this manner. Ones that were very important to me. Ones I didn’t feel ready to lose. Mostly I think we lose them out of stupidity.

Sometimes we lose them through negligence. And over the months and years they cannot be regained again. I have ones like that too. Ones that were lost due to family crises that lasted a long time. We just never found our way back to each other after the crisis came an end.

I even lost one once, as I approached a rough patch with studying and what not. I stupidly thought that once the training was complete, I could return and pick up the pieces. I forgot that a friendship is a living breathing entity that needs oxygen to survive. If you don’t breathe life into it every once and awhile, it sputters and chokes. Just can’t survive.

All of these losses are so very sad to me. What I know is that I never lose them and feel settled with it. I always take time to reflect back on what happened. What could have been different. I always wonder how they are, how they are filling their time and what is going on in the current stories of their lives. But I will never really know. Once the season of the friendship ends, it’s really over. Truly done. It should be mourned and put away, but instead they haunt me. Something that was so comforting and fun, becomes a source of pain and mystery.

To the people that I have lost, I wish you well with all my heart. I wish we could go back in time and repair the rift, but I know you are lost forever.

This Old Body Needs a Tune-up!

Lisa LafaveSo I’m six weeks post-op and still hobbling around. Looks like I might need that knee replacement.

In the meantime, I need a complete overhaul regarding I how I fuel this old battle wax. I am on a collision course for shear disaster and I need to stop dead in my tracks.

So how am I going to get that tune up? I am going to be smarter about what I put in my mouth to survive or should I say thrive? And guess what you get to watch and see how I do.

So here is the plan. I am going on Mark Hyman’s detox diet for a year. But I won’t start until I get back from my trip to the east coast with the boys to visit my brother and sister! Hey you need to know, I am not only going on the Detox Diet, I hired Mark and he is working with me directly! He also has some great people onboard to support me through my journey.

Trisha Howell is an amazing nutritionist at the Cleveland Clinic in the Center for Functional Medicine. She touts Mark Hyman’s detox diet. She laughs and jokes as she informs with a smile, while speaking a mile a minute. She wants me to make breakfast the biggest meal of the day and dinner the smallest. She says its best for your gut if you eat for 12 hours and train your body to not eat for twelve hours. If you are hungry at night she advises you drink water! She says, “Water, water, water!” She wants me to eat breakfast, then snack, then lunch, then snack, then dinner and maybe another snack.

During each eating episode she expects me to consume a protein, a carb and fat. But when she talks about carbs she is talking fruits and vegetables! She’s got rainbow charts to help you eat all the colors of the rainbow. She demands that I keep copious notes about what I eat! And she wants to read them!

She’s into eating cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and brussel sprouts and fermented foods like kimchi and saurkraut, and not into night shades like tomatoes, potatoes, bell peppers and eggplant. She highly recommends watercress. She encourages modest portions of nuts, like a portion size of 4-6, not ounces, but nuts! Munching on unsweetened teaspoons of coconut flakes is okay too. Tempeh is a favorite of hers. She reminds me to eat only grass fed ghee or coconut oil or first cold press virgin olive oil. She reminds me to mix up the oils, olive and grape leave, while mixing up the nut milks, almond, soy and cashew. Variety is the spice of life, she says with a twinkle in her eye!

On this diet you are expected to refrain from consuming gluten or dairy. There is no sugar or sugar replacers on this diet either. No caffeine, or alcohol, but tea and bone broth are both encouraged. She specifically encourages bison bone broth! Eating sardines is also admired. Several supplements are recommended as well.

So this is my journey! You may ask what about my sons? They will be on the journey as well. Things won’t be quite as strict as they will eat cafeteria style with classmates at University School and have visits at other peoples’ homes, but at home we will all eat together and the pantry will be stocked accordingly!

So no sugar, flour, or grains. Little salt, no caffeine, no alcohol, no dairy. No carbonated beverages. What’s left? You guessed it, meat, vegetables, fruits and oils. It’s a kind of paleo diet.

Heck even my fruits are designed to be restricted. I can eat berries, cherries, kiwi and pomegranate. All high in antioxidants! Oh and I forgot to mention that apple cider vinegar combined with first cold press oil is recommended as salad dressing.

But if it’s so hard, why do it? So I feel better and don’t go off the deep end with diabetes, cancer stroke and heart disease. It’s an anti-inflammatory diet and benefits all auto-immune disorders. It even helps with leaky gut. I think I’ll try it. What do I have to loose but a bunch of weight and a lot of inflammation that I frankly do without!

In fact I already did! I tried it for 6 weeks and lost 17 pounds in January. I was not hungry and I did not get headaches as I have so many times in the past when dieting. In the past dieting has always been a punishing process. This was not! Refreshing.

Lisa J Lafave, PhD, MBA, ACC
CEO & Founder of Coaching Rocks, LLC
A Single Mom By Choice Raising Surrogacy Twin Boys
Written in My Little Brick in University Heights, Ohio

Dr. Mark Hyman

I am here at the Center for Functional Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. I came in to see the world famous Mark Hyman, MD, who is the guy to see for the Detox Diet. He is informative, personal and authentic. He speaks in plain English and is down to earth, yet packs a punch with the stats. He bottomlines the data with meaningful remarks about how you can take action to stem the tide of disaster in your health landscape. Most importantly Mark knows how to instill hope with statements like, “Well, let’s get you healthy first,” and “If you follow everything I say, things will be okay.” Now that’s the guy I want to see. Every time!

Lisa J Lafave, PhD, MBA, ACC
CEO & Founder of Coaching Rocks, LLC
A Single Mom By Choice Raising Surrogacy Twin Boys
Written in My Little Brick in University Heights, Ohio

Migraine Drain!

Are you a migraineur?  Have you spent countless wasted hours of your life sufferering get with migraine?  Are you often feeling like throwing up or having such terrible throbbing pain in your head you don’t know if you can make it from one place to the next, much less concentrate on the work in front of you?  Do you avoid making plans so you can contain the effects of your migraine to not disappoint others?

If your answers to these questions are all yes, you are like me. You see, I am a migraineur.  I have had between 9 and 10 K migraines in my life, each lasting roughly 12 hours.  There was even a time when I had intractable migraine for 6 months straight.  After doing the math, I now realize that I had close to 7 years of migraines.  No wonder they have a name for us.

The trouble with migraines is that no one can see your pain or measure it.  It just is.  They can be truly debilitating.  For many years, migraines ruled my life.  It isn’t pretty, but you can live with migraine.

Migraine drains you of energy and vitality.  It’s a thief or robber.  It invades you and leaves you feeling decimated.  It keeps you from living fully.  You are sidelined for hours at a time, not quite knowing when you’ll feel refreshed again.

As a child I used to fear failing down the marble stairs at my middle school and high school.  Fortunately, that never happened, but I did fall down a flight of stairs at a conference once, owing to a migraine, and I did flip across one of the Avenues in Manhattan, because of a migraine.  Moreover, I tossed my salad onto the cashier once when I was just trying to weigh the damn thing.  My depth perception was off.  Often when ambulatory with migraine, I had a poor sense of where I was in space.  Once, I lost my vision in the middle of a college LaCrosse game, and I had the ball.  When the referee blew his whistle, I just threw the ball toward the crowd of players, to simply get the attention off of me.

No wonder I was always a bit cagey about a long drive to work, or one that required me to hop on the freeway.  My migraines usually started in the afternoon and peaked in the late afternoon or early evening.  I just couldn’t risk having a long commute.  It could be a death sentence.

Although I had no treatment for my migraines as a child, I worked with a neurologist on a regular basis from the age of 26, until I was 53 or 54.  Most of those years I saw the neurologist once a month.  We would work together trying to create the best cocktail to treat migraine both profile tidally and abortive lay when they did occur.  I was on tons of medication.  And drinking socially on top of all of that was really pretty much totally out.   I became what I termed, “a barely drinker!”  It was rare for me to drink more than a couple of alcoholic beverages every couple of years!  What I learned worked best to manage the migraines was taking an SSRI twice daily.  This seemed to bring the pain down to a more tolerable level.  SNRIs work well too.  This made it possible to work through the pain and be “ambulatory with migraine.”  Thank goodness for those medications.  Otherwise, I don’t know how I ever could have held down a job.

As promised by one of my neurologists, Saran Jonas, of NYU Medical Center, my migraines have become much less prominent in my life since the onset of menopause.  Saran used to always say to me, “Most women lose their migraines in the sixth decade!”  I am pleased to say that it looks like I might be part of that group!  Now that’s a group I’d really be proud to be a member of!