Ready For A Great Year!

Here comes 2013!  Buckle up everybody because it’s gonna be awesome!

I have big business plans for 2013.  Here are a few things in store for my patients, friends and especially my Shaklee family:

  1. Referral Rewards Program to give those who send friends and family to me for supplement advice a reward.
  2. A fun event on Saturday, February 9th to kick off the healthiest year yet!  We will be meeting at a local fitness center, having a catered breakfast and lunch, getting sweaty and having fun learning more about how to be fit, and exercising our minds with talks about healthy eating and exercise.  There will be prizes and special rewards too!  Watch your email, snail-mail box and Facebook for details SOON!  It should fill up fast so plan to reserve your spot quick.
  3. I am still hunting for people who want to claim more time and money independence by launching their Shaklee business.  I’ve been very blessed and very successful, have a large family of clients and (I think) know a lot about how to take good care of customers.  I’m looking for somebody to teach those skills to.  Can you see yourself in your own business, setting your own hours and taking back time for family commitments and just to spend how YOU choose?  Check here then give me a call!
  4. State Road Family Practice is looking to expand our evening office hours and add an urgent care site early in the New Year.  We’re so busy (I’m sure many of you noticed!) that we just can’t shoehorn all you folks into the schedule anymore!  So we need to expand.  What a great problem to have 🙂  Stay tuned!

These are just a few of the fun and exciting things I know are coming up.  The best part is that I’m sure MORE fun and exciting stuff will happen in 2013 that we can’t even anticipate.  Can’t wait!

What about you?  What exciting things might happen for you in 2013?  Will you make a commitment to lose weight?  Will you set a fitness goal like running your first 5K or learning to rock-climb?  Are you going back to school or expecting to graduate with your degree?  Are you planning a wedding?  Hoping to add to your family with a new baby or a new pet?  Expanding your business, changing jobs, buying or selling a house or sending a child off to college?  Leave a comment letting me know what big plans you’ve got, I’ll break out the pompoms and start cheering you on!

Here’s to 2013!

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Peace On Earth

It’s three days to Christmas!  I’m always like a little kid at Christmas, I love the tree and the lights and the food and the presents.  Russ (my hubby) will tell you I can’t wait to open Christmas presents but that’s not true.  I CAN wait, I just don’t LIKE to wait 🙂  I do however LOVE surprises, both big and small.  I know the boys shopped for me at Santa’s Workshop at school and I can’t wait to see what they picked for me!

I am so looking forward to church tomorrow morning and then at 10 PM on Monday (Christmas Eve).  It seems strange now as an adult to look back on my childhood and remember how hard my sister and I fought to get out of going to church on Sunday.  A whole hour wasted out of precious weekend daylight, spent sitting listening (or not) to bible readings and sermons that never seemed to apply to a child’s point of view, and occasionally hearing our father whisper “Do I have to take you outside?”  Instant angel, just add seven words 😉

Nowadays I LOVE going to Mass.  A whole hour of peace.  No phone calls (unless I’m on call), no laundry or cleaning or work.  Singing beautiful music that I’ve loved since I was a child.  Chris (my ten-year-old) recently asked me if there were any church songs I DON’T like because apparently my consistent comment when a song begins is “Oh, I LOVE this song!”

Peace is in short supply these days.  The frantic scurry from work to home to activities creates a pace that isn’t conducive to reflection, meditation, contemplation.  We fall into bed at night exhausted both physically and mentally, only to wake up and start over again.  Our weekends are short and also crammed with grocery shopping and other activities that are hard to get done during the week.  Even our vacations are highly scheduled.  Who just goes to the beach to veg out anymore?

This holiday I hope you’re able to stop running around and just spend time relaxing with the people who mean the most to you.  You deserve a few days (or even just a few hours) of rest to create some lasting memories with your parents, your children, your closest friends.  Finding some stillness and peace would be an awesome gift to give yourself, one that money can’t buy!

I wish you a wonderful, peaceful and memorable Christmas!

PS – Enjoy the peace and quiet while it lasts, because I have a feeling 2013 is going to be quite a year!

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The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year?

Today is Saturday, 10 days before Christmas day, the birthday of Jesus and one of the happiest times of the year in the life of any child.  Yesterday an evil man walked into an elementary school and shattered the innocence of every child there.  He stole the lives of twenty six- and seven-year-olds and six teachers and staff members before killing himself.  An entire town is in shock and the nation prays and mourns with them.

Yesterday I found myself completely at a loss.  Like nearly everyone else, I am unable to comprehend how such a thing could happen.  I cried and ached to hold my kids, hugged my staff and wondered aloud how the parents and families could possibly cope with this horrible loss.

I’m a mom.  My younger son is nearly the same age as those children torn from their families and heartlessly murdered.  I can’t imagine sending my son to school and never seeing him alive again.

There was another mom in Connecticut yesterday, the mother of the shooter.  He looked into her face then shot her.  We still know next to nothing about the circumstances of her death but she must have been so frightened seeing her death in her son’s face.

I’m also a teacher.  I look at my job as primarily education:  I’m teaching my patients about their bodies, their health, diet and exercise and how to stay well.  If they have an illness I try to make sure they understand why it’s important to take care of it.  Seeing a patient “get it” is so rewarding!

The teachers in Connecticut were heroes long before yesterday, quietly helping the children “get it” day in and day out.  Yesterday,  Vicky Soto hid her first-graders in locked cabinets in her classroom and told the shooter they were in the gym.  He shot and killed her.  She gave her life to protect the children in her care.  She is the ultimate hero.

As a healthcare professional I pray for the EMTs, firefighters and police who walked into those classrooms and will carry nightmare images for the rest of their lives.  No training could prepare a person for such sights.

This Christmas I hope we will all pause a moment to remember what is most important:  the love of our families and our connection to each other as communities.  In the bustle of buying and wrapping gifts and hanging stockings and putting up trees, please set aside some time to call friends and family.  Hug your kids and create some happy memories with them.  Pray with them and remember the families of Sandy Hook, Connecticut.

God bless us, every one.  Clearly we need it.

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What Makes A Man?

This week I had a reader request that I discuss low testosterone (he was recently diagnosed with it).  I am happy to oblige because I think there are a lot of misconceptions about testosterone deficiency in men.

The first misconception is that low testosterone is rare.  Population studies suggest that 10-25% of men over age 50 have low levels of testosterone.  Only about 50-60% of those with low testosterone levels have symptoms though.  Many doctors feel that if a man isn’t having symptoms he shouldn’t have a testosterone blood test.

So what are the symptoms of low testosterone?  As you would expect, low sex drive and trouble getting and maintaining erections are the most common symptoms.  Other possible symptoms include fatigue, weight gain, depression and osteoporosis (see my post Make A Wish) Many men just report they don’t feel the same, they don’t feel like they did when they were younger.

Who is at risk for low testosterone?  Well obviously men are at risk, but the risk goes up as a man gets older.  A man loses about 1% of his testosterone production per year, so the older you get the lower your levels get.  Men with diabetes and high blood pressure are also more likely to have low testosterone.  It doesn’t seem to be a cause of these medical problems but related to having a chronic illness.

Men who are obese are at higher risk, although scientists aren’t really sure why.  The theory is that an enzyme in fat cells called aromatase changes male hormones into weak estrogens, decreasing testosterone levels (see my post Save Second Base for another mention of aromatase).

What should you do if you think you (or your mate) might have low testosterone?  The first thing to do is to make an appointment with your family doctor or internist.  Unfortunately there are NO over-the-counter medications or supplements that have been proven to increase testosterone levels, so if anyone tells you their product will do it, walk away.  There are excellent medications that increase blood testosterone levels, several topical preparations and an injectable form.  Unfortunately testosterone is not absorbed when taken orally so there are no pills.

There are two things you CAN do on your own to increase your testosterone levels:  lose weight and exercise.  Decreasing your body’s fat burden will decrease aromatase activity and help keep your testosterone levels up.  Any exercise helps but resistance exercise (i.e. lifting weights) is better at raising testosterone.

Anyone who is embarrassed about asking about symptoms of low testosterone should think about this:  which is worse, the symptoms, or the embarrassment of asking?   I nearly always ask men over 40 during their physical about “equipment problems in the bedroom,” but if you’re seeing your doctor and he or she doesn’t ask, you should mention it.  Just saying “I’m concerned I might have low testosterone” should get the conversation started.

There’s a lot of  propaganda and misinformation out there about erectile dysfunction and low testosterone out there. Hope this sets the record straight and helps some guys out there get their “spark” back 🙂

PS – Any ladies out there who suddenly find their mates chasing them around the bedroom, you have either my congratulations or my apologies, depending on the situation, LOL!  Maybe you should reread my post Rated “M” For Mature!

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A Very Sad Day

I just learned about the terrible tragedy involving the Kansas City Chiefs.  One of the players, Jovan Belcher, apparently shot and killed his girlfriend this morning.  He then drove to a training facility used by the Chiefs, thanked his GM and his head coach (Romeo Crennel, Browns fans may remember him) for all they’ve done for him, then shot himself.  No one seems to know why he did such a horrible thing.  The couple have a 3-month-old baby who is now an orphan and will never know her mom or dad.

Periodically I, like all physicians, have to try to help suicidal patients in my office (thank goodness I’ve never had a homicidal one) and it’s heart-wrenching.  How do you make someone want to continue living?  You can say all the right things, show them all the people who love them and all the things they have to give to the world, and unless they really understand and choose to believe it, all the words are useless.

One of my favorite patients (part of one of my favorite FAMILIES, I love family medicine!) has recently been struggling with depression and his wife and daughter began to worry he would do something drastic.  I’m relieved to say we were able to get him to agree to be hospitalized, which is awesome because it indicated he wasn’t REALLY hopeless that things could get better.  He is slowly improving and participating in a very tough intensive program.  I know that counseling and therapy are incredibly hard work and require serious courage to put yourself under the microscope and stir up some things you’d rather not think about.  Luckily he is blessed with a VERY stubborn wife 😉 who flatly refuses to give up on him.

The holidays can be a very sad time for many people.  There are those who have lost loved ones this year, who may struggle with overwhelming reminders of the person who died.  Holiday traditions which should be comforting can instead be cruel, as the absence is so obvious and heartbreaking.

If anyone reading this post is thinking that life isn’t worth living, please talk to a family member or friend that you trust.  Please call your doctor (or contact me, I’m here to help) and get a referral for a good counselor.  If you need to take medication, that’s OK, you need to do what you can to feel better.  Life can and will get better, but you need to stick around to see it and participate!

Take a moment to think about your friends and family.  If there’s someone you haven’t talked with in awhile, please make it a point to call and check in.  You never know what they’re thinking or feeling, and you just might remind them they have people who love them at a time when they’re feeling isolated.  Do it for Jovan, for Kasandra and their baby girl.

If you have another moment to spare, please pray for peace for Jovan and Kasandra, a long healthy happy life for their baby girl, and strength for their families as they struggle to make sense of it all.

God bless.

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