Archive for the ‘Health issues and toxins’ Category


Life has a way of doling out unexpected circumstances for all of us. They arrive in many different forms, often compounding one another—among them disabilities, job layoffs, financial challenges, relationship matters, and many others. Health issues often bring them all at once, along with all the adjustments required in new roles as a caregiver, guardian, sole provider, single parent or all of the above.

In my own life, until I experienced the super tsunami in 2004, there were certainly always hurdles to overcome, but fairly manageable. Before then, by using the same strategies I wrote about and presented to audiences for creating a life filled with purpose and daily jolts of joy, wonderful things kept manifesting by walking that tried and true path focused on intentions to create positive outcomes, harmonious connections and embrace optimism, among other core beliefs.

I had long resonated with these beliefs “walking my talk” for bringing my heart’s desires into reality. I fully expected it all to keep on flowing and couldn’t foresee how they would truly be put to the test in my early 50’s. However, the Universe had totally different plans and sent a tidal wave of uninvited circumstances, undoubtedly to test my coping skills, core beliefs and values, and to open my eyes to new realities.

In 2004, life in the harmonious zone spun me in directions never, ever imagined, and I tried my best to keep my footing while weathering a tidal wave of unexpected changes. My husband of 27 years became suddenly and mysteriously ill at 59 with a neurological condition conventional medicine couldn’t explain, which transformed him into a stranger, setting me on a long quest of discovery. Mainstream medicine didn’t recognize all of his symptoms were related to chronic inflammation impacting both his body and brain. Gone were all his beloved traits and calm demeanor. I didn’t know how to handle all the bizarre, behavioral changes that both frightened and confused me, without answers from doctors as to the cause of them all or how to handle them.

A year later, that quest finally led to a doctor, Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker, a leader in biotoxin illness, who though his functional medicine evaluation, identified Rick with an autoimmune disorder, toxic encephalopathy, a result of chronic inflammation for those genetically susceptible. His therapies provided relief, helping Rick return to an improved quality of life, but that became dependent over the years on the open-mindedness of some of his treating conventional practitioners. Some refused to follow my requests for treatment, or accept the biotoxic diagnosis, and treated him solely with medications for psychiatric conditions which never really resolved his brain issues, and later learned they were actually detrimental to him.

While I was in the midst of adjusting to my role as caregiver for my husband, my mother was diagnosed with colon cancer and I became her caregiver, too. It soon became obvious she was suffering full-blown, cognitive decline around the same time I was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor. So, my head and heart were spinning in so many directions and I was frazzled, frustrated and chronically stressed in dealing with it all.

It was only what I eventually learned about the roots of Rick’s maladies that I realized through genetic testing that both had a similar predisposition (and  testing revealed so did our daughters and myself!), estimated to affect 25% of the population making us all poor detoxifiers and especially vulnerable to biotoxic exposures, from mold, insect bites and other agents.

Mom and Rick suffered a wide range of symptoms from their long-term, biotoxic exposure,  causing chronic inflammation and autoimmune issues, which were never properly evaluated nor treated by mainstream medicine. Fortunately, this would be discovered through functional medicine, and only due to a synchronistic connection.

Both would die years later from all the complications of their bodies gone haywire, suffering the consequences from our conventional healthcare system not yet prepared to properly evaluate or treat estimated millions of cases related to root causes of toxicity, genetics, nutritional deficiencies, imbalances, and other agents flaring inflammation.

Through this 12-year journey, I learned about caregiver exhaustion, of being on call constantly to handle the unpredictable . . . of witnessing torment and feeling helpless to offer relief. . . letting go of countless expectations. . . feeling guilty whenever I felt impatient, the continuing need to shift priorities in my then, very messy, disorderly life, among countless other lessons. Indeed, it was a regular reminder that resisting what was couldn’t change a thing and just made it worse. Life became overwhelming at times, requiring a total redirection of my energy, focus and priorities.

At times, I was both angry, frustrated and admittedly selfish. With all the doctor and hospital visits, countless trips to pharmacies for medications that didn’t have much effect, on-call for all needs, especially when inflammation was flaring so much pain and brains doing things never imagined, and sorting out endless stacks of paperwork and bills, I no longer had much time to do much of anything I enjoyed which I had long taken for granted. Writing, among them which always served to feed my soul from digging down for the truths within.

Instead of writing about ideas to include in my presentations, books or blog, most of my writing was in the form of regular emails to doctors about new or continuing symptoms I observed in my husband. I hoped these might serve as clues as to what had robbed him of his personality, his brain, his health, and our relationship because I was desperate for answers. I lived in a perpetually crazy world and I was losing myself in the process.

One of the biggest challenges was keeping my own sanity when two loved ones had lost theirs, and dealing with all the chaos that often swirled about threatening to steal my peace during big chunks of time. What ultimately did make a difference was remembering self-care—to dig down in the midst of all the angst, to the beliefs I had long ago taken to heart—the same ones I had shared during my presentations, my sanity savers for the heart and soul which echoed right to my core, and I needed to hold fast to them, more than ever.

I survived these periods of desperation and despair, sometimes moment-by-moment, by remembering to focus on the right thoughts to offer resilience and strength instead of those mental companions invited to my “pity parties,” which would only spiral down and zap my much needed energy to sustain myself and everything else required during this uncharted journey.

In the midst of this unwelcome siege of my heart and soul, I missed so much from my former life, especially of feeling truly happy. I knew happiness was an inside job, so if my life was to improve, which I desperately longed for, I had to take responsibility. I knew the right thoughts were lifesavers, and consciously had to remember to shift them, time and time again, to the ones that would serve me best. This was not easy when just about every day the unexpected arrived and had to adapt to that ever-changing rhythm.

I accepted help from others, my life savers, a network of friends, acquaintances and even strangers, who volunteered to take on tasks in service. They lifted my spirits and lightened the heaviness of my heart.  I began carving out slivers of time doing the things that I loved to do in spite of all the concerns that were never entirely chased away. I hosted gatherings to celebrate life, even as messy as mine was, but it was my life nonetheless, and being surrounded by those who lifted my heart and fed my soul. I re-discovered joy in the process and was forever grateful for all the support that carried me through the darkest times of my life.

For twelve years, a roller coaster ride whipped around lots of emotion, twisting and turning my heart and my hope, sometimes rising up with optimism and other times, free falling down, then circling back again to hope—this was indeed life in perfection, messy, raw and real.

As with most of life’s challenges, we usually can’t see the reasons why we’re having to experience them, yet in retrospect, they often reveal a most vital and significant purpose. So it is with the discoveries uncovered through my own journey—of the lessons learned not only for the heart, but other perspectives regarding health, wellness and well-being vital to all of us and why I’m re-launching my blog. It’s a needed story now, to support the mounting cases of inflamed bodies and brains which are its casualties.

Through this confusing, harrowing journey, my eyes were opened to today’s scary realities now impacting all ages. Those suffering from similar mysterious ailments may soon be spared being misdiagnosed, thanks to recent research uncovering root causes related to many of today’s maladies, along with therapies offering hope. With mainstream medicine’s adaptation of this research which has become part of the growing science of functional medicine, more patients will be able to circumvent the prospect of the heartbreaking, tumultuous journey of neurodegenerative diseases, autoimmune disorders, brain issues and others connected to these same root causes.

With content of this blog focused in support of wellness and well-being, posts will also include perspectives on navigating the elusive states of harmony and happiness amidst the challenges of our own respective journeys. Its purpose is to awaken readers to the potential for transforming health and wellness destinies grounded in hope, and the possibilities offered from those perspectives.

Have you noticed the alarming increase in people suffering from chronic health issues? Obesity on the rise including young children, along with diabetes, allergies, autism, many cancers, autoimmune issues, and so much more.  

Our health is at stake and much of it at the root of our food supply which has changed dramatically over the last few decades with the introduction of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and without adequately testing their impact on human health or our environment.  As a result, with GMOs now unleashed into our food system, the American food industry is producing products with potential to negatively impact the health of us all. Read the rest of this entry »

parkinsons disease, health issues and toxinsDo you know someone who”s been affected by this debilitating condition? Those chances are increasing with as many as one million Americans now living with Parkinson’s Disease (PD), and about 60,000 Americans diagnosed with it annually. Research studies reveal convincing evidence of its link to environmental exposure in our increasing toxic world.

My dad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease  when he was 59, so it became a very personal research project as to its cause, managing symptoms and prognosis.  My fast moving, quick-witted, and animated dad was ultimately transformed–slowed down, sometimes unable to move or speak,and many of his characteristic facial expressions disappeared, among other heart-breaking symptoms.   When my dad was diagnosed in the 70’s, PD didn’t have the same visibility as it does today due to the public awareness generated by actor, Michael J. Fox who was stricken with PD in his mid-thirties.

A new study led by researchers at The Parkinson’s Institute, published Nov. 14 in the journal Annals of Neurology reports “Our study confirms that common environmental contaminants may increase the risk of developing [Parkinson’s], which has considerable public health implications,” according to Dr. Samuel Goldman and his colleagues. This study indicates that exposure to the industrial solvent trichloroethylene (TCE) appears to greatly increase the risk of PD, a sixfold increased risk of Parkinson’s disease. Exposure to two other solvents perchloroethylene (PERC) and carbon tetrachloride (CCI4) also boost the chances of developing the neurodegenerative disorder. All three solvents linked to Parkinson’s are used extensively worldwide.  TCE is a common agent in paints, adhesives, carpet cleaners and dry-cleaning solutions. In the U.S., millions of pounds of TCE are released into the environment each year. While this study focused on job-related exposure, the solvents are common in soil, groundwater and the air in the United States. For example, TCE is detected in up to 30 percent of the nation’s drinking water supplies, according to the researchers. Read the rest of this entry »

Health issues and toxinsAs a wellness and transformation coach, I’m continually researching what’s happening in health today and tracking trends. Clearly, America is suffering as reflected in increasing rates of disease, and linked to changes which have occurred in past few decades in an essential component of good health—our food.

What a sight last Wednesday night to see throngs of people purchasing tickets for an Environmental Working Group event featuring author and food activist, Michael Pollan, who’s definitely concerned about what’s happening to American food, or as he referenced now appearing as “edible foodlike substances, which are no longer the products of nature but of food science.

Pollan walked on stage, carrying two grocery bags filled with a sampling from today’s supermarket. Pulling out item after item, he referenced failed nutrition policies, increasing nutritional deficiencies and how the food industry has changed what America eats and the correlations to increasing obesity, cancers and other health issues. In the past three decades since government has been doling out dietary advice, millions of Americans are now sicker and fatter.

While items are now packaged with health claims, they’re often anything but healthy. The more we worry and obsess about nutrition, the less healthy we’re becoming. With two-thirds of Americans now overweight, and one third clinically obese, and estimates projecting an entire nation of overweight citizens by 2040 based on current trends, our 21st century Western diet, typically loaded with sugar, salt, chemicals and non-nutritive substances, has led Americans down the road to more illness and obesity. Read the rest of this entry »

Whenever I’m coaching  clients or giving presentations about creating and sustaining wellness today, I hear lots of wishes: “I wish I could get my energy back . . . I wish I could lose this weight . . . I wish I could feel good again. My body seems so out of balance.” People are often trying to do the right things, trying to eat foods they think are healthy (this is where things get very dicey) , include exercise, but many are not getting desired results.

The fact is our world has changed and new factors are impacting health today and putting wellness at risk–toxicity, stress & nutritional bankruptcy of food are contributing to weight gain, energy drain, immune problems, sleep issues and more.

People are packing on pounds, often around their midriff, as fat cells surround toxins as a means of protection.  Problem is, all that protection against toxic invasion is causing lots of people to gain weight, and along with it, increased risk of widespread health problems and chronic health issues. Read the rest of this entry »

health issues and toxinsThere are more than 80,000 chemicals in use in North America. Only a fraction have ever been tested individually for their impact upon humans. Pretty scary. That’s of great concern to many today who have awakened to the realities of 21st century.   I’m among them and wondering right now about the impact from the noxious  fumes being emitted from my brand new keyboard. The plethora of plastics is just one of the multiple sources of toxic exposure today.

Indeed, we’re living in a toxic stew and it’s brewing up plenty of health concerns. Presidential cancer advisers serving on the President’s Cancer Panel commented in their letter to President Obama, “The American people–even before they are born–are bombarded continually with myriad combinations of these dangerous exposures”  Among their many recommendations, increase, broaden and improve research regarding environmental contaminants and human health.

A recent Toxic America CNN special report highlighted growing daily exposure  from our lifestyle largely dependent upon chemicals:  storage containers, food wrap, cookware, carpets, shower curtains, clothes, personal care products, electronics, bedding . . .”In short, every room in almost every house in the United States is likely to contain at least one of these chemicals, many of which did not exist a century ago.”

Paula-Baillie-Hamilton, MD, PhD, author of Toxic Overload has long tracked the impact of this toxic trail. Our bodies were never designed to protect against this chemical onslaught. As a result, our systems usually fail to process and remove most of the chemicals once they have entered our bodies, so their levels start building up in us. Consequently, every single human on the face of the earth is now permanently contaminated with these modern synthetic chemicals.” Read the rest of this entry »

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