Sunday, November 2, 2014

Essential Oils Notes

Saturday, June 7, 2014


UPDATE: As of April1st, 2014, all locations of Florida Cancer Specialists state-wide no longer accept Humana Health Insurance. A petition has been set up at each location for "angry cries". Meanwhile, patients have until September 1st, 2014 to find "alternate coverage" or "care will stop".

...and the dominoes continue to fall.

Please be advised, that just like the United Health Care fiasco sweeping the nation, Humana refused to renew contracts with Florida Cancer Specialists, and not the other way around. Brought to you by your very own eye witness.

How would you feel if you were undergoing cancer "treatment" and your health insurance provider suddenly "denied access"?  Hint: Might be closer than you think.

Thyroid Battery Part 5 - A Day at the Endocrinologist Office

Throughout the summer of 2013, I was bounced from one test to another by my "primary care" physician. Finally in August, I called my dad who lives North of me in Florida to ask who he sees for his Endocrinology needs.

"I'm sorry, honey. I had no idea. You need to tell me about these things.....and YES! You MUST go see my doctor! He is world-renowned and has a GREAT reputation. Let me give you his number. Tell him I sent you."

"Um, okay dad. I will."

From the research I did, he was a very long-established endocrinologist in the area with a great following. Unfortunately, the age and demographics were not disclosed in this research, but I did not know anybody down here in SW Florida well enough to personally ask. Dad was still alive, so I gave it a go.

The doctor I was greeted with at my first appointment was very, very old. It was evident he was trying to appear "younger" by the very thin, combed-over, dyed "do" in an awful shade of bronze-brown. He stiffly waddled into the room like a hunched-over character from South park. He went to take a look in my ears and eyes, like every old-time doc I remember. The power for the contraption was unplugged. Took us both a minute to figure out the problem, but I saw the dangling cord and fixed it to get this thing over with.

Now, don't get me wrong. I have a very deep respect for our elders. I would not know half the stuff I do now, or have been challenged to learn MORE by their encouragement. But this...just made me uneasy. Call it intuition, fate to spring-board to a higher understanding...whatever. This did not feel right.

 He later concluded that he thinks I definitely "have an enlarged portion of my thyroid", "need to get that checked out", "might have some hormone imbalances" and proceeded to write a long list of tests from ANOTHER Ultra-sound to labs to a pituitary MRI that I had to schedule, in tandem, "before I saw him next." With my schedule (I actually WORK), and the way medical offices schedule things down here with all the elderly retirees in Florida, I was sincerely concerned this man would be dead "before I saw him next."

"Just do what he says!" my father scolded me after expressing my concerns. Ugh. So I did.

After the battery of tests I was prescribed to do: a.) my NEW (3rd) Ultrasound indicated I now had 4 nodules in my Thyroid remnant, my brain MRI to check my pituitary was "inconclusive" (because of clerical error in the orders, I later discovered) and my labs were "relatively normal". I then got the lecture about how I seemed to be a "very stressed-out lady" from this "renowned endocrinologist".

"Um, pardon me, sir...but with all things considered, DO YOU BLAME ME???"

"No, no, no sweetheart. It's perfectly understandable. You are getting to that age when "things" can start changing."

"I'm 45. Nothing has changed "that way." I am having the same troubles I had 10 years ago when I had my thyroid operation, but the heart palps are getting worse. And my dad, who had pituitary issues, started having them about the same age I am now. He's YOUR patient.  BUT, you told me the MRI was "inconclusive because it wasn't ordered "properly"."

The radiology firm that did the MRI confirmed with me by visual proof that: a.) IF a scan of the pituitary was mandated, a completely DIFFERENT set of sequences would have been done, AND b.) the orders given by the assigning doctor's front office did NOT indicate this was the order. After mentioning this to the doctor, I was told that he had a "specialist" who would be able to review the scans that WERE done and give a conclusive reading. This made NO sense to me, but just documented it as I had been doing all along. (Imagine my "surprise" when the mentioned "specialist" concluded a few weeks later that the $1,000 botched test I was paying for in deductible showed "normal" results. No further observation notes were available.)

"Well, the good news is, judging from your lab work, I think I may be able to help you."

My cynical brow framed my piercing glare.

"I think you need to have your progestrone level raised. Your levels were very low. It should help balance you out, and reduce your anxiety, too. It comes in a creme. It is made by a local pharmacy here from real USP sources which circumvents the risks posed by synthetic progesterone sources."

I also took this opportunity to ask about a brown splotch on my nose, and a brown line that had prominently appeared on my left thumb-nail in the past month. Upon examination, I was also written a referral to see a dermatologist he knows.

I closed my eyes. I already knew how to get USP grade progesterone cream. Researched it. Never needed it. As my anger started to quietly smolder, I considered that perhaps this old codger knew something I didn't. It was supposed to last 3 months into 2014. We didn't get that far.

More to come.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Thyroid Battery Part 4 - A Day at the Endocrinologist Office

In the tail-end of January going into February, 2013, my mom fell very ill for the first time. This started her own bout with colon cancer. My mom is of the stubborn kind. Suddenly, my battle seemed irrelevant. It was a dire, kidneys-shutting-down kind of event that left her on her back until spring. I gulped down every supplement I knew of to keep me "on-line" to keep her going. (Surprisingly, it worked fairly well. But the heart palps and exhaustion were just reduced to mild episodes that I usually could get through by heavy breathing and sleep. There still was something wrong, as my husband started grumbling, "You shed more than the dog!!!" Oh well. Get over it, Big Boy.)

Mom got back on her feet in late spring of 2013. (That is another ordeal I will be sharing in "Chardash".) I took the reprieve as a signal to get myself checked. I re-scheduled my Echocardiogram with the Heart people, but went to see Lifeline Screening, first. I did not like all the bull-shit bills I was getting for all the heart tests that were run previously, that were "inconclusive". Lifeline did me good before. I was giving them another whirl. And...voila. They did it again.

Three weeks later my Lifeline results came in. My vascular pathways were clear.  As an "incidental finding", they found a 4 mm growth in my remaining stub of a thyroid. Hmmm. The previous radiologist I was sent to by the doc handling my case said it was clear and normal. Interesting. I presented this to the handling physician. She still insisted to follow-up with the echo, and shrugged her shoulders at the rest. Awesome.

 See, you can't just NOT do what a tending physician says to do in the big world of health insurance. Second opinions are one thing. The down-side of second opinions, however, is that you are basically starting from scratch...which means MORE money, and MORE tests. A health-insurance paying citizen in America today cannot completly REFUSE testing and treatment by your own discretion. IF something comes up that is related to what you have already established a paper trail for, it is considered "Negligence" on your part for not jumping through all the medical "hoops" placed before you by a tending physician. Not "fair"; not "right"; but this is the "new" regime of health-care in America. So I went to the Echo.

Not surprisingly, they found my heart to be doing an acrobatic act called "PVC's", or Premature Ventricular Contractions. At least I got to see the thing in action. Basically what happens is the bottom part of the heart beats out of time with the top part of the heart. The reasons for this include, but are not limited to, CHEMICAL IMBALANCES IN THE BODY. Go figure.

 The top part of the heart is "boss". If the bottom loses time, it is FORCED to beat again to keep time with the whole unit. (People that have trouble with the top part of their hearts are considered high risk for other complications because the whole chain gets thrown off when it mis-fires, hence the term A-fib.)

 When the bottom part starts having timing issues, it is not considered "medically relevant" and normally, "just a nuisance or annoyance" to many within the western medical community. (This might change if we could give them all chronic PVC's for extended periods of time. Maybe then, they might see it's not just a "nuisance". I feel that way about a lot of doctors, these days. If you cannot feel, you cannot treat. But that's just me.)

In the follow-up with the cardiologist, she prescribed Metoprolol to help "ease the symptoms of PVC's" until I could get to the bottom of the cause with my "other health providers". Took it for two weeks as prescribed. Not only did the PVC's not stop, I found myself feeling randomly disoriented and nauseated. The last time was when I was driving to work. That was the last time I took Metoprolol. I later found out this drug was recalled TWO times for reasons "not disclosed".

More to come.

Thyroid Battery Part 3 - A Day at the Endocrinologist Office

The doctor I was assigned to (after leaving the ER with heart palpitations and blood pressure spikes) took all the same blood panels they took in the ER. I told her that my levels have never been normal, explaining my history, again.

"We need a base-line to go off of now that you are out of the ER."

Sigh. "Fine."

Upon the follow-up visit, I was told my thyroid levels were actually "low", and she increased my current Synthroid dosage. (I only have a good 2.5 cm left of the thyroid I was born with. I wasn't surprised. It still bothered me, however, that the ER lab had said all was well.)

"I understand that low levels can cause hair loss, brain "fog", and feeling exhausted, but what about the heart palps?"

"It is possible for hypo (low) and hyper (high) symptoms to occur at the same time when levels are off. Let's try the new dose and see how you do."

I hoped she was right, but the heart pounding loudly in my ears and waking me up at night was more extreme than the last bout I had gone through 10 years ago. True, I was 10 years older and could expect some differences with general age, but this stuff was scaring the heck out me, no less.

I waited. As of January 2013, the hair was still clogging the drain, my heart was still randomly skipping beats all over the place, and my face started breaking out while the rest of me was as dry as the Sahara. Despite living in the balmy Southwest portion of Florida, I also found myself shivering cold. It was not uncommon to see me walking about with a heavy sweatshirt and wool hat...even in the grocery store.  It was horrible though, because once I finally bundled up enough to where I was warm, the heart would start pounding like mad. Adding the ongoing cycles of sleep-disturbance from this whole ordeal, I sincerely began to feel I was going insane.

The assigned physician said that it could be early menopause, but she would order an ultra-sound of my thyroid to confirm. After more testing, and money, the results came back from her radiologist saying they saw no growths or anomalies in the thyroid. The doctor then suggested I go see a cardiac specialist, and contacted a local cardiac group to look at me. Grrrrreat. More money.  Off to the cardiologists I went. After another useless EKG that showed nothing, and wearing a holster to report all "events" for a month, I was ordered to have an echocardiogram. (Translation: they didn't know what was wrong from what they got.)

Meanwhile, Life-Line Screening sent me a "friendly reminder" that it had been awhile since they last saw me.
I decided to go. Once again, thank goodness I did. 

More to come.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Thyroid Battery Part 2 - A Day at the Endocrinologist Office

After going into Life-Line Screening, they found a 1 cm growth in the right lobe of my thyroid as an "incidental finding" that should be followed up with a physician for. (Told you they rock.) After returning to my physicians office and presenting them with the findings and pictures, I was directed to a local hospital for a "skinny needle aspiration" where a thin needle punctures the growth and draws out cells to check for malignancy.

 The results came back after a few days. I was told that the biopsy of the cells drawn showed a 98.9 percent chance of being malignant. They said they wanted to schedule me for surgery to remove my thyroid. Being the question-monger I am (and knowing a little bit about human physiology), I fearfully asked what that meant in the grand scheme of things. My fears were confirmed.

The acting doctor responded, "Well, you will have to be on a drug called Synthroid for the rest of your life to take the place of the missing gland."

"And if I don't?"

" can't really survive without a thyroid, without the acting hormones replaced, as it governs your heart, adrenals and a host of other intricate functions. That's what Synthroid, or Levothyroxine, is for."

"But the growth is only in one part of my thyroid. Why can't you just cut it out and leave the rest alone? Glands and some organs are known to grow back when severed over time."

"Well, with the threat of cancer, it is always a good idea to remove the total gland. Our medicine has allowed many people to live rich and productive lives without much trouble but an occasional blood panel to check your levels."

"And what if I can't get this 'miraculous' drug in the future? You basically are telling me that if pharmacies ever become unavailable I am doomed to die because of this."

"Well, the possibilities of this ever happening are virtually non-existant. You'll be fiiiiiiine." She patted my shoulder reassuringly.

It didn't help. It sincerely bothered me that I was being told I would have to rely upon a pharmacy for the rest of my life to stay alive. It also bugged the crap out of me that the fact something "wrong" with me was poo-pooed away by some doctors hiding behind "lab results" saying my levels were "normal". This "normal" status was created by some un-seen power that determines what those "levels" should be for everyone.

Going into your physician and saying "Doc, there is something wrong with me," no longer holds water because of "averages" and a giant "bell curve" with statistics from some unseen source. No offense to the statisticians and research compilers that created this new "reality", but I have been in my body my whole life. I know when something is not right.

The last thing that bothered me, was that my father had a pituitary tumor several years prior that messed with his entire being for ages until his eyelid and face finally collapsed sounding the alarm bells. His tumor "infarcted" while undergoing treatment. He eventually had the tumor remnants removed and went on to live a relatively normal life. He was older than me when this happened, however. Bringing up the pituitary history with this current set of doctors was brow-beaten. On to the 2nd opinion.

Couldn't get in to Froedtert Hospital for this issue until 2 months later. Since thyroid cancer is normally one of the "happy" cancers you want to get because it grows so slow, I opted to wait. I did get to see an endocrinologist there, though. He did an MRI of my head and showed me that I have an anomaly in the shape of my pituitary, but this wasn't supported to mean anything by the panels drawn. (Mine is shaped like a small acorn, where most look like kidney beans that hang from a stalk.)

 In the next 2 months I underwent a complete soul house-cleaning. I had several rounds of Reiki with a dear, and recently departed friend. I could feel a buzzing and warmth throughout my body as she effortlessly but deep focus placed her energy on my body. She was truly amazing.

I followed up with a two week hiatus in a cottage on the farmlands of Madison, Wisconsin. I worked through Moving Mediatations and impromptu hikes through the field and surrounding woods. The air was warm and sweet. The nights were damp and musky. I do not think I have ever slept so soundly in all my life. Then it came time to return for the second opinion at Froedtert.

I was told that they would try and save at least a part of my Thyroid if possible. The plan was to remove the lobe with the large growth and biopsy it while I was still on the table to determine if it was cancer. If it was malignant, they were obliged to take the whole thing for safety purposes. If it was benign, they would remove the growth and leave me with a functional part. After the surgery, the growth miraculously was benign, and I was left with a little over one third of a functioning thyroid. I still had to take synthroid for years to come to keep my levels straight, but I survived with at least a semblance of my own self to fight another day.

I lived like this for 10 years without much incident. Then November rolled around in 2012. My hair started coming out in clumps after a shower again. Soon after, the heart palpitations began. I wound up in the ER after work one day as it felt like I was about to have a heart attack. My BP had spiked to 152 systolic, but came down gradually back to 110 over a couple hours. I had an average day with no deep stressors or emotions. There was no reason for any of it. The blood work showed "normal". I explained my past experience and family history to an assigned doctor. Here we go again, except this much worse. One would think after 10 years of "medical breakthroughs", this type of thing would get easier to diagnose and treat. Oh, how wrong I was. Let the maze begin.

More to come.

Thyroid Battery Part 1 - A Day at the Endocrinologist Office

Hi all. For those who are wondering, Mom has had some great news contrary to the former prognosis from her VERY former doctor that she only has 60 days to live. It is still going to be a long battle as she is going to have to undergo chemo to try and get the tumors on her colon to back off, but her spirit is bright, her body is strong and she is already making plans for going back to work in fall. I will give you ALL the details in the upcoming tale of "Chardash". We have had many hours of solitude travelling back and forth out of town for her treatments, waiting areas, chemo treatment and just chilling together at her house while I make her comfy. :)

Meanwhile, I have been battling a problem of my own that NEEDS to be spoken about. (I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried.)

Ten years ago,  I started feeling very strange, like I was walking in a fog. My heart would intermittently race and feel like it was pounding to get out of my chest. Nothing I did ever set these episodes off. I could be working, playing with my young daughter, reading, watching TV or even sleeping. My face also started to break out while the rest of my skin stayed painfully dry. I was having a hard time focusing on anything, and slept every chance I could get because I was totally exhausted.

 My garden and work-outs went to hell, and it took every ounce of energy to pull myself out of bed to go to work. The only thing that gave me solace was my young daughter cajoling me into playing, coloring, reading stories and watching endless loops of Zooboomafu, Animal Documentaries, Disney Films and Powder Puff Girls. (She snuggled right into me and spent many a night snoring with me on the couch.)

 The heart thing and brain "fog" was starting to scare the heck out of me. I went to see the doctor. After blood panels were done, they assured me they were within "normal levels" and it was probably "hormonal" and "stress-related." Feeling dejected, I went about my work and young motherhood desperately trying to focus. I could get past the feeling of being sick and tired. The thing that would not let me ignore it was the heart palpitations. I worried constantly about keeling over while driving or sitting at home with my daughter. What if I died? What would she do????

I got a flyer in the mail one day for Life-line Screening, which is a low cost way to check the health of your heart, arteries and veins, and a host of other things that could lead to a heart-attack or stroke, which is what I felt like I was having at the worst "episodes". I gave it a try. Thank goodness I did.

More to come.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Update: Working People That Fall Sick Past Age 66 do NOT Qualify for Disability

As some of you know, my mom has fallen ill with Stage 4 Colon Cancer. She is a lunch lady that was working at minimum wage to keep a roof over her head after the Real Estate market crash left her with next to nothing on a house she paid on for over 30 years (which was supposed to have been her "compensatory payment" from her husband that left her for another woman after the children were "grown".)

As some of you know, Mom has been "shafted" by her Medicare plan underwritten by United Healthcare, because "as of January 1st, 2014, United Healthcare has refused to renew Medicare contracts with Moffitt and Sloan-Kettering" along with many other key players in the war against cancer.

Now for the latest: Mom cannot return to her job as a food service worker because of her brand new iliostomy AND she is NOT eligible for disability (despite being a working woman at minimum wage) because she is past the "magic" number of 66. (She is 69.)

AND...she is not allowed to have her social security bumped because, according to the Social Security Administration of America:  "That only happens if you are collecting NO social security or minimal social security. (See: drug abusers, woman that can't hold their legs together after 13 children fathered by 13 different fathers, and illegal immigrants granted "amnesty") . Apparently, she is "rolling in the dough" making $735.00 a month which she is now supposed to live on.

Just a REAL TIME, REAL LIFE update on the current "State of Affairs".

Friday, May 9, 2014

Medicare and United Healthcare Not Covering Cancer

Apparently, by bringing you this very real information, I pissed off the "powers that be". So I bring it to you again...typed out long hand....

         Next post on "Chardash" is still coming. I am wrapping my brain around what I am being told to keep my mom alive.

       Here is what I have been told, so far, by Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa:

      "As of January 1st, this year (2014), Medicare Plans funded by United Healthcare are no longer considered "In-network". IF your plan ALLOWS for "Out-of network" coverage, please be advised the "out-of-pocket" costs will reflect accordingly. (As in, affordable by Rockefeller.) We also do NOT do surgery on patients with metasticized cancer. (Funny, because they did full-on with a pancreatic cancer patient I treat that lost half of his inner-organs prior to 2014.) Sorry for the inconvenience."

      Sloan-Kettering in New York ALSO now states online that United Healthcare funded Medicare Plans are NOW considered "Out-of-network".

                                    If you are on Medicare, check your plans, folks.

P.S. - The person suffering Dementia I was referring to in the intro to "Chardash" is NOT my mom, rather a 94-year-old grandmother that we are caring for while my mom fights for her life. Please make a note of it. And please know, this may very well be your story someday, too.

Medicare and United Healthcare Not Covering Cancer

      Next post on Chardash still coming. Am wrapping my brain around what I'm being told to keep my mom alive.
      Here is what I've been told so far by Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa: "As of January 1st this year, Medicare Plans funded by United Healthcare are no longer considered "in-network". IF your plan ALLOWS for out of network coverage, please be advised the out-of pocket costs will reflect accordingly. (As in, affordable by Rockefeller.) We also do not do surgery on patients with metaticized cancer. Sorry for the inconvenience."
       Sloan-Kettering in New York ALSO states online that United Healthcare funded Medicare plans are NOW considered "out-of-network."

                                   If you are on Medicare, check your plans, folks.

P.S. - The person suffering Dementia I was referring to in "Chardash" is NOT my mom, rather a 94 year-old grandmother that we are caring for while mom fights for her life. Please make a note of it.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

"Chardash" - Introduction

              - A Chronicle of Cancer, Senility and Illness

          (and all Western Medicine Had To Say About It)

Image brought to you by WikiCommons, Artist: Laslo Varga

          Hello. Some people who are familiar with my posts may wonder why I have fallen off the face of the planet for awhile now. In the next few weeks, months, and hopefully...years, I will be sharing with you the full story. It is beautiful and poignant, tragic and heart-wrenching, but most of all, true.
         The names and places will have to be changed for legal reasons, (although in some cases I do not understand why. I feel some should burn publicly for what they have done.) Nevertheless, may these pieces be a source of information and inspiration for dealing with the good, bad and ugly of cancer, dealing with a failing, aged family member, and navigating the nefarious, thorn-stuffed labyrinth of the our modern medical system.
                                              First about the title chosen:

         "Chardash" is the phoenetic way of saying "czardas", also spelled "Csardas"

          According to the Encyclopedia Brittanica, Hungarian Csárdás is the national dance of Hungary. It is a "courting dance for couples, it begins with a slow section (lassu), followed by an exhilarating fast section (friss). The individual dancers carry themselves proudly and improvise on a simple fundamental step, their feet snapping inward and outward, the couples whirling. The music, often played by a Gypsy orchestra, is in 2/4 or 4/4 time with compelling, syncopated rhythms." In honor of my family, may the up and coming excerpts for "Chardash" teach you the steps and rhythms.

                                       Bright Blessings to you all. :) More to Come.

P.S. - The person fighting cancer is NOT the same person suffering from dementia. Please be advised.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

In Requiem...

Treat each moment separately. Never know....

"Dear Tina -

Just wanted you to know you are a beautiful, funny and smart woman who does NOT deserve any portion of the shit steak being served to you right now. You DESERVE to be loved and appreciated by many. Don't forget this. I know you feel hurt and betrayed by the ass-holic acts of "others". May you find a little humor in this. Ever need to talk, call me. (I never sleep anyway. lol.) HUGS!!! Love, Stace, "

Never got to give this to her.....When we last spoke face to face, she seemed more angry than anything, but understandably hurt. This link reminded me of her, and thought it might help get her to smile that big, beautiful smile.

May somebody find some value in this, anyways. Here is the link:

Proper Time Management vs. The Proper Use of Time

I lost a friend today.  I am re-posting this because I never got to tell her all the thoughts and wishes I had for her because we were beaten over the head by the clock. Rest well love. See you again.

      Just got home a little while ago from one of my "brick and mortar" jobs where I work as a massage therapist; and for some, a confidant and cheerleader for helping others to achieve a happier and healthier, pain-managed life-style. I am passionate about what I do. The Universe has granted me a sound mind to cipher the intricate puzzle of the human body. This includes recognition of patterns and pains that can be debilitating if not dealt with in a kind and understanding fashion.
      These "patterns" are sometimes easy to figure out from a physiological stand-point. These can be observed in repetitive motion injuries, or improper work-out strategies for the particular body at hand. Sometimes postural distortions are discovered that were previously unmentioned. They show their insidious harm in the way a person compensates in his or her daily activities. This comes as a beautiful "AHA!" moment for some people that have been struggling with pain for a very long time, but never knew why. Sometimes, though, the chain of pain runs deeper.
       Sometimes, the reason behind a painful postural distortion comes from what it is happening, or has happened, in life. These cases require a special kind of care and patience. The problem with this particular "brick and mortar" job, is it is run by a corporation that is more concerned with "numbers" than real results. Enter: problem; at least, for me.
        Tonight, I did six hours solid of body-work, back to back. At this particular job, each hour of therapy is supposed to actually yield 50 minutes therapy time to each client. In the 10 minutes remaining, the therapist is responsible for: bringing the client in and seeing how his or her body is feeling, gleaning what he or she wants to be worked on, and getting the client ready for the job at hand. Apparently, there is no time allotted for gushes of approval over how much better the client is feeling since the last session or concerns over what did not work and needs to be done. There is also no time allotment for talk about the weather, grand-kids visiting, stress at work, or anything else that might be affecting the healthy integrity of the whole living, human being before me.
      Okay...I look at the clock that has passed several minutes past the top of the hour after this has all been revealed. I still have my 10 minute "slush-fund" to work with. It's all good. Now comes the session.
      Sometimes the client will relax right into the face-cradle, just needing to be touched to let it all go. Sometimes he or she will continue talking the whole time to "get it all out" while I work at the physical problems that ebb and flow throughout the session. But sometimes, there will be that one client that needs "just a little more time."
      Extra time is needed to go through Muscle Energy Techniques to release that bundle of muscle fibers that never let go after a gruesome hockey game two days ago. Extra Time is needed to quiet the nerve and stress bundles acquired by a young person trying to make "REGIONALS" at an important swim meet. Extra time is needed to disengage the shoulders from being worn as "earrings" from a person trying to accommodate demanding "in-laws". Extra time is needed to allow a person who is deaf and blind, to be able to find the table, know when and how to turn over, and how to find her clothes to get dressed after the session. Time. For the love of God and the Universe, it takes time.
       I can usually get it done within the time allotted; but sometimes, I just can't, or should say, WON'T. Apparently, this is not acceptable, at this particular "brick and mortar" job. Therapists are no longer able to keep one room for their shifts. (We are now required to bounce from room to room each hour, to show the rooms are being used "effiiciently". I guess it "looks better" on the books this way.) We are also required to change sheets, clean the room and do all of our case notes which are housed in the front office (so as, to comply by HIPPA laws) in between clients. (Please do the math on how long all of these items should really take. Remember, we have ten minutes.)
      I got reprimanded today, because: I take too long to get out of my room assigned for the hour before going to the next room, and, I quote, "You laugh too loud when you are in there". (This was a response to a particularly funny story a client was relating to me while she was on the table.) Another very humorous regular client was on the table a little while later.
       He is a very kind, fatherly-like character who has "adopted" me has his "go-to gal" to unwind his ill-placed golf-swing.  I caught myself laughing, and apologized and explained myself. With his usual wit, he replied, "Tell them you can show them how it is done, if they would like." I had to stifle myself, to be sure. I warned him I couldn't go over in time, as I had to be mindful of the clock. At the end, he thanked me, as he always does, then told me he would be out in 15 minutes. I closed the door laughing...loudly. Thanks for keeping me honest, dear sir. :D

Trying to be in the present moment doesn't always work in the world, I understand. But if you were on my table, how would you like me to proceed? Your comments are whole-heartedly welcome. Bright Blessings!

Please check out the beautiful image by:

Monday, February 3, 2014

Back Pain AGAIN : Ilio-PSOAS, pronounced SO-AZ (and this doesn't mean falling on the ice on your bum!)


                                                                                    Fantastic Picture Source listed below. 

     Okay. The title is corny...but by now, to my regulars, would you expect anything different? (hugs!!!!) ;) Anyways...

      The Psoas muscle is a very important and nefarious player in the realm of back pain. It is difficult to address because its location is on the FRONT of the spine and travels down to insert on the inside of the inner region of the hip. In other words, picture scooping out all the intestinal matter from the gut and peering in to the hole left behind will show you where this creature exists. It is deeply hidden, and unfortunately, deemed a "bad guy" when its function goes away. It has an accomplice in its function and hence, pain-pattern. This muscle is called Iliacus. The dynamic duo, for both good and ill, is called "Iliopsoas" because they work together, and connect in a common place of the inner hip.

           (image credit due to BethOhara,

      Whether from bad posture (sitting or sleeping in fetal-position too long) or injury (flexing at the waist instead of bending at the knees to pick something up), these closely joined muscles are going to let you know when they are NOT happy. "Ooooooh!!!! MY BACK!!!!" is the usual exclamation. Another popular one is, "ooohhhh! MY HIP!!!!" And sometimes, "My leg!!! Why does my leg hurt so bad?!?!" Welp...because they are all connected.

      There is not just the 2 kindred muscles of Iliacus and Psoas at work here. There are nine muscles in each butt cheek trying to regulate and substitute for the shaky hip flexor and the subsequent shaky hip rotation left to flop out in the breeze when Iliopsoas aren't doing their jobs. (Seeing as many of us spend way more time sitting on the muscles of the butt than exercising them through upright activity, they are weak, too. If you haven't read it, please click on the following :  If Your Back Hurts, It's Usually Your Butt's Fault ).

      There are also postural muscles along the spine called "erectors" that are called to do more than what their name-sake is meant to do: keep the spine erect. At this point, we might as well make mention of demanding the poor Quadratus Lumborum muscles do more than what they bargained for.  They are housed right behind the nefarious psoas and iliacus muscles, and are screaming, "HEY! We are supposed to raise and lower each hip as needed (like when WALKING). That's it!!!" This creates a perfect storm for perfect back pain. Muscles that are recruited to do more than what they are designed for are going to get tired, and eventually, revolt.

      The multitude of needs of my own clients was exacerbated by pleas from readers on another place on the web. It would appear that the problem of treating the Iliopsoas, according to the comments, is finding a therapist who is willing to do it. The reason that many body workers are not able to help is the following:

 a.) The actual location of treating the associated trigger points are very "intimate" as they are housed deep within the anterior pelvic to lower belly region which causes pause (and embarrassment) for many a practitioner.

 b.) Yes: It is very uncomfortable for the client that has developed some horrid trigger points in this area to live through the initial "OWWW!!!" of even breaching the area of consternation.

      The good news is, if  (and only "if") the afflicted client can breathe through the initial point of contact until the trigger point is released, it WILL release. Please bear in mind, it didn't get that bad overnight, and there WILL be some homework to do to get a PERMANENT release. A body in motion tends to stay in motion, and a body at rest tends to stay at rest. (Just ask Newton.) Nothing will change without effort, of both the therapist AND the client. Read this post to a well-trained body worker. The moment the afflicted back-pain victim finds a therapist who gets it, is the moment that person starts to get out of this horrible kind of pain.

Hope this lights a few beacons to helping some peeps get out of back pain. Bright Blessings. Have a great week! :)

Top Pic: By The original uploader was Harrygouvas at Greek Wikipedia (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Five "Must Have" Essential Oils for the (Very) Cold and Flu Season - PART 2


      Greetings! In the last post we discussed :
Five "Must Have" Essential Oils for the (Very) Cold and Flu Season - PART 1

     (Go ahead and click on it if you missed it! We'll wait.) :)

      In this post, we will continue on with HOW to use the aforementioned germ-busting essential oils to help get everyone through the (Very) Cold and Flu Season. (Again, Southern hemispherians, please bookmark this for later.) The first thing to share is a good mix of the ingredients in a usable form. Pure, therapeutic grade oils are very concentrated and very potent alone. It usually behooves the user to at least mix with a carrier oil with most essential oils to avoid irritation of the skin, and in some super-sensitive peeps, the respiratory system. This especially holds true if the respiratory system is already inflamed fighting off the germs we are trying to eradicate. To err on the side of caution, this is a recipe that is potent, but generally user friendly. *

First, the recipe:

                                                "General Germ Control Potion"

     5 mL equals approximately 100 drops from most therapeutic oil reducer caps. That being said, 1 mL = approximately 20 drops. Any questions, just drop a line below in the comments. We will help. :)

     1 mL Clove essential oil

     2 mL Cinnamon essential oil true (True cinnamon essential oil, by bark or by leaf, comes from a variety called Cinnamomum zeylanicum, or, Cinnamomum verum. Not cassia.) 

     2mL Lemon essential oil

     2 mL Eucalyptus essential oil (Globulus species is more than fine.)

     2 mL Rosemary essential oil

     15 mL carrier oil (This is roughly about 1 full Tablespoon or 1/2 oz. Carrier oils that serve well include jojoba, sunflower, grapeseed and even olive oil. Let your nose and the feel guide you.) :)

     Mix all the ingredients together into a capped container and shake well before each application. Different oils have different weights that can separate over time.

For Premium, Uncut, All Natural Therapeutic Essential Oils, visit:

We are Here for You, and All Ears to Your Needs! :)


- Rub a few drops between both hands and inhale deeply. (Be sure to wash hands before touching anything else.)

- Sprinkle a few drops on a bandanna or handkerchief and wear around the neck. You can also soak a few drops into a clay bead and wear as a necklace, too.

- Massage a few drops onto the chest and around the neck. (Check for skin sensitivity, first. This potion can always be diluted further for skin application with carrier oil.)

- Put a few drops on a cotton ball and place in front of an air vent.

- Put mix in a spritzer and further dilute with water or alcohol. Shake well and use as a room spray. If water is used, shake a little more vigorously as the oils will separate from the water. The main goal is to use the water or alcohol as a propellant. (Keep away from any flammables including candles.)

 - Put a few drops on a damp rag and throw in clothes dryer with a load of clothes or linens.

- Diffuse in a warm or cold oil diffuser. (Follow the instructions of your diffuser of choice.)

-Mix 10 to 20 drops in a 1/4 cup of bath salts and dissolve under the running faucet of a bath and soak.

    We hope this helps to prevent germs from getting in your way of this Cold and Flu season. If you have any questions or comments, we are always open to what you have to say or add!

    Bright Blessings to healthy and happy (albeit long) winter. :)

     * As with any natural remedy, it is always highly advisable to discuss any additions to your health-care regime with a qualified heal-care practitioner. Not meant to treat or diagnose. Always test on a small patch of skin to check for sensitivity. Do not use if irritation occurs. It is advised to not be used by epileptics and pregnant women unless given the okay by a physician. Children and animals should also gain the appropriate okay by a tending physician or veterinarian.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Five "Must Have" Essential Oils for the (Very) Cold and Flu Season - PART 1

      The shimmer of the Holiday lights have now dimmed to a memory. True, the days are getting longer with sunlight, but that doesn't stop Old Man Winter from whistling his brutal tune that chills many to the bone in the Northern Hemisphere. (Southern hemispherians, bookmark this for later.) Why is "winter" always labeled as the flu and cold season? It's not because cold weather somehow procreates germs on a whim and then blows them into us with gusty gales. There is, however, a Popular Science article that has one theory mentioned that expresses this. Mind you, it was an 80-year old journal entry stumbled upon in 2007 by a medical researcher named Palese. It was called the "Upper Atmosphere Flu Theory":

     "...And here--in the flu droplet's earthward fall--is where humidity comes in. As this droplet falls, it also begins to evaporate. The drier the air is, the more moisture evaporates from the droplet, and the smaller the droplet gets. AND if it gets smaller, the effect of air resistance gets bigger. Eventually, if enough of the droplet evaporates, the flu virus is whisked away on air currents and can float around for days, until someone else breathes it in."

      Okay. Before this starts sounding like a nerdy thesis on WHY winter is the cold and flu season, which it so easily could, let's just skip ahead, skip ahead and...skip ahead to the experience any human that has suffered during the cold and flu season KNOWS. It just IS. Because the kids are back in school flinging germs at each other; because adults are staying indoors passing germs to each other; because Old Man Winter wears us down in resilience and stamina affecting our immune systems; because germs like to infiltrate dry areas, and dried-out noses and throats from dry heat and dry air...WHATEVER. It just IS. Are you with me? What we need to talk about is creating a germ-fighting "safe-haven" to battle the "powers that be" during this time. That's where these five, super germicidal oils come into play. First, we must talk about WHAT they are, and why. Next, and more importantly for many, we must talk about HOW to use them.


#1.) - Clove Essential Oil
- Steam-distilled from the flower buds of Eugenia Caryophylatta from Indonesia. Clove oil has a warm, spicy, rich scent. This oil has been prized for throughout history for its phenomenal antimicrobial, anti-fungal and antiviral properties. It is a warming oil that also has pain-relieving efficacy.
(Cite 1)

#2.) - Cinnamon Essential Oil ("True") - Steam-distilled from the leaves of Cinnamomom Zeylanicum. Cinnamon leaf essential oil is the "kinder and gentler" relative of cinnamon-bark oil. Less likely to cause irritation of already irritated mucous membranes, it has a warm, sweet-spicy, herbaceous scent. Cinnamon leaf oil promotes clarity and courage in the face of adversity. It is a boon to the cardiovascular system and serves to soothe aching muscles and joints. It is also known to be part of the great family of herbs that fight off infections of every kind. (Cite 2)

#3.) Eucalyptus Essential Oil - Steam-distilled from the leaves of Eucalyptus Globulus. This oil has been revered for centuries for its efficacy as an antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiviral and anti-fungal agent. It is also used the world over as an expectorant and mucolytic (breaks up gunk in the respiratory tract) for various respiratory disturbances.The scent is clean and medicinal, and is said to promote over-all purification and healing. (Cite 3)

#4.) Lemon Essential Oil - Cold pressed from the peel of Citrus limonum. A warm, sunny, citrus-y scent, the oil of lemon promotes clarity and invigoration. Properties include powerful immune stimulation, antimicrobial, antiseptic and anti-tumorial efficacy. This is especially due to the high limomene content available in this oil. Lemon oil is also reported to have great astringent properties good for the skin and the over-all body.
(Cite 4)

#5.) Rosemary Essential Oil - Steam-distilled from the whole plant of Rosmarinus officinalis. This oil has been highly regarded for centuries as one of the most potent antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-parasitic agents available. The aroma is sharply herbal and medicinal promoting clarity, focus and purity.
(Cite 5)

 NOW :  How to use. The five oils mentioned above can be mixed together in equal parts, but Clove and Cinnamon are notoriously "hot" oils which means exactly what it sounds like: they can cause irritation to both the skin and respiratory system if used too liberally. To err on the side of soothing relief, I recommend the upcoming recipe for this Cold and Flu Blend on the following post. Stay tuned! She's being served fast and quick. ;)

Sources and Cites for the Scientifically Scintillated:

1.) Chaieb, K., Hajlaoui, H., Zmantar, T., Kahla-Nakbi, A. B., Rouabhia, M., Mahdouani, K. and Bakhrouf, A. (2007), The chemical composition and biological activity of clove essential oil, Eugenia caryophyllata (Syzigium aromaticum L. Myrtaceae): a short review. Phytother. Res., 21: 501–506. doi: 10.1002/ptr.2124

2.) Medicinal properties of 'true' cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum): a systematic review.
Priyanga Ranasinghe, Shehani Pigera, Ga Sirimal Premakumara, Priyadarshani Galappaththy, Godwin R Constantine, Prasad Katulanda
BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine (Impact Factor: 2.08). 10/2013; 13(1):275. DOI:10.1186/1472-6882-13-275

3.) Raho G Bachir, M Benali, Antibacterial activity of the essential oils from the leaves of Eucalyptus globulus against Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus, Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine, Volume 2, Issue 9, September 2012, Pages 739-742, ISSN 2221-1691,

4.) Electronic Document Format(ISO)
OLIVEIRA, Sarah Almeida Coelho et al. The antimicrobial effects of Citrus limonum and Citrus aurantium essential oils on multi-species biofilms. Braz. oral res. [online]. 2014, vol.28, n.1 [cited  2014-01-25], pp. 22-27 . Available from: . Epub Oct 07, 2013. ISSN 1806-8324.

Fu, Y., Zu, Y., Chen, L., Shi, X., Wang, Z., Sun, S. and Efferth, T. (2007), Antimicrobial activity of clove and rosemary essential oils alone and in combination. Phytother. Res., 21: 989–994. doi: 10.1002/ptr.2179

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Woman of the Woods Health Portal, LLC is OPEN!!!!


     Hey there Blogging Friends and Followers!!! I have been gone for awhile focusing on a project that I hope many of you will find useful in the future. We wish to welcome each and every one of you to the grand unveiling of the Woman of the Woods Health Portal website! Please pardon the dust settling as new products and features are being added constantly at this exciting time. Please feel free to come take a look around. We value the input and opinions of each and every one of you! And yes...the blog is coming back online here very shortly. Stay tuned!

Please check it out:

Bright Blessings!!! Here's to a happy and healthy 2014, and beyond. :)