Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Primary Food

Do you ever wonder why some people can just eat junk food and sugar, and smoke cigars, and still be healthy? It hardly seems fair. And then you meet some people who are super-careful with everything they eat and they seem so miserable and look pale and weak.

Often when we see something like this we chalk it up to genetics or good luck, but there is one factor that can’t be overlooked, and that factor is referred to by Joshua Rosenthal (head of the school Institute for Integrative Nutrition) as Primary Food.

Primary food... what does that mean? It means your work, your relationships, the fun you have, how meaningful your life is in general, and how much you are enjoying it.

It seems that how happy you are with your life may be even more important than what you put in your mouth, as far as determining how healthy you are.

Think about it... the times you’ve been in love, or consumed by joyful work, such as making music, or doing art, or anything creative- you forgot all about food, didn’t you? And yet you felt great.

My acupuncturist once said to me that you send little “live” and “die” messages from your brain to your body all day long. So it’s really important that you have something to live for. Not just something to *not die* for (people need me at work and at home) but something to *live* for (I can’t wait to start on that project, or go camping with my kids, etc.).

So that, my friends is why I’ve been absent from the blogosphere for the last 3 weeks. I decided to fill up on some primary food, because my life was getting out of balance. Too much grunt work at the computer (zillions of e mails, networking, book promo, etc.) and not enough joy.

I decided to go back to this awesome music camp in New Mexico where I taught during the summer 1999-2004 and have myself a week of fun, sun, mountains, stars, great kids, awesome fellowship with other teachers and music, music, music. I’m pooped, my clothes are covered in camp dust, and I had a blast. I feel full.

So... primary food! What brings you joy? Who are the meaningful relationships in your life, and are you getting enough time with those people? Can you schedule more Vitamin F (fun) into your week? Tell me about your primary food-  who in your life fills you up, what you like to do that makes you feel alive and happy to the core, and so on.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Having Fun with Wigs (guest blogger)

Today we have a guest blogger, with a post about wigs. Some helpful hints and resources here. I have lost my hair in varying degrees 3 times now because of lupus and prednisone combined. Both the disease and prednisone cause hair loss. 

The first time I lost my hair, I just wore hats everywhere and tried (unsuccessfully) to hide from friends and family with cameras. In 2002, thanks entirely to one of my sweetest girliest friends, I got and wore a wig. I spent $40 on it, and it was worth every dime and more. I felt so much better about going out, and going out and seeing friends was really therapeutic for me. 

Though I’m pleased to have my full head of hair again- so full in fact, I don’t think I could cram it all under a wig… I’m now a fan of wigs, when the situation calls for it. As always, I welcome your thoughts and comments and experiences in the comment section.

Now here’s our guest blog:

Having Fun with Wigs

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disorder in which the body's immune system attacks its own healthy cells. This disease can lead to several complications, including (but not limited to) joint pain, swelling and sometimes even alopecia (hair loss).

As many medical professionals, such as those in medical billing and coding, know, hair loss can be debilitating to one's self esteem, often leading to dissatisfaction with one's own appearance. However, an extremely viable and often overlooked solution to hair loss is the use of a wig. If worn appropriately, a wig can look like an authentic head of hair, and oftentimes wearing wigs is an easy, hassle-free way of changing one's hairstyle frequently with little time or effort. Once a person grows accustomed to the idea, wearing a wig can become a successful and enjoyable experience.

Finding a Wig Store:

The first step in obtaining a wig is knowing where to go. A plethora of wig Web sites (such as Wilshire Wigs, wigs.com, Wig Warehouse) are available with just the click of a button, offering a wide selection of wigs. Visiting a local wig store, which can easily be found through the phone book or a Google search, allows customers to buy a wig in person.

Choosing a Wig:

Next in the process of obtaining a wig, consider factors such as face shape, skin color, hairstyle preferences. Visiting a brick-and-mortar wig store allows a person to get live help, and perhaps to try on wigs before purchasing them. Comparatively, online wig stores often offer informational tutorials about what types of wigs fit certain types of faces, allowing a person to peruse the selection in the privacy of their own home. Either way, many resources have been made available to clients to help with choosing the right wig.

Wig Cost:

Some wigs can be quite expensive, sometimes costing hundreds of dollars. For the thriftier customer, visiting wig outlet stores or purchasing clearance wigs may be a better option. These are often listed in the "outlet" or "clearance" sections of online wig stores, and sell for as little as $15! Another advantage of buying affordable wigs is that it provides one with the opportunity to buy multiple wigs, such that one's hairstyle can easily be changed at will.

Getting Your Health Insurance to Reimburse You for Your Wig Purchase:

People suffering from lupus-induced alopecia (hair loss) may be eligible for reimbursement by their health insurance company for wigs purchased after their diagnosis (click here to learn more). Research your health insurance company's list of "covered expenses;" there should be a section dedicated to prostheses and prosthetic devices.

Some tips when applying for insurance reimbursement:

- refer to the wig as a "cranial hair prosthesis." It is crucial to avoid the use of the word "wig" when filing a claim for reimbursement, in order to ensure that it is taken seriously and accepted.

- have your physician sign your completed insurance form and fill out a "prescription" for a cranial hair prosthesis, detailing the source of alopecia and accentuating the fact that the purchase of this "device" was for emotional well-being, not for cosmetic purposes.

-Insurance reimbursement policies may vary from state to state, so it is important to be aware of what the policy is for your area before claiming reimbursement. One can also find more information by contacting your insurance company or visiting the company’s Web site.

Some final thoughts:

Once the technicalities of buying a wig are taken care of, the process of choosing and shopping around for a wig, and then wearing it, can be quite enjoyable. One good thing about wigs is that a person need not concern themselves with their own hair. No longer will a person be subject to lamenting their hair's natural grease or frizz or flatness.

If a person wearing a wig is dissatisfied with their hair, the solution is quite simple: remove the wig. This allows one the opportunity to be much more adventurous with their hairstyles than before. A person can try out bangs, short hair, long hair, braids, anything, without the long-term commitment that one would have to suffer if it were their actual hair. Multicolored wigs or wigs with unusual colors (such as fiery red, neon pink or lime green) can be tried out at will, worn to costume parties, dance clubs or even on a day in the park with friends, just for fun. 

Although lupus and alopecia initially induce feelings of dread, sadness and perhaps insecurity, a dreary situation can be turned around by changing one's outlook on their own situation. A loss of one's own hair may invoke feelings of discomfort in one's own skin, but a person also loses the responsibilities and insecurities that result from having a head of hair. One now has the luxury of reinventing their appearance in literally any way they please, and the possibilities are endless!

- Patricia Walling is a web content designer for several health care
related sites. She self-identifies as a perpetual student of medicine,
and can be found most of the time researching anything related to the
field. She lives in Washington, and as a result of the long winter
there is itching for the sun to return so she can run outside and

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Therapeutic Heat

Ever get your shoulders and chest all in a wad, and you just can't get comfortable? That's been my experience all too often over the last 20 years. Now and then I get a break from shoulder pain and tightness for days, or weeks at a time, but stress always brings it back.

I've been attempting to achieve more life balance lately (you may have noticed I've been absent from the blogosphere for a few weeks) and that has certainly helped a lot.

But I've also been traveling, and that involves toting heavy bags and other various aggravations, which can bring back some of the upper body pain.

Along my travels I stopped at a friend's house and he had this great thing, a Bed Buddy, which you heat up in the microwave for 2 minutes. It provides moist heat. For me, moist heat is very therapeutic.

And using this thing, which stays warm for a while, means I don't have to worry about falling asleep with the heating pad on and starting a fire. It wraps nicely around the neck, filled with little beads of some sort (clay?). And it comes in various shapes, for different body parts- lower back, lower abdomen (for menstrual discomfort), neck, upper back. Very affordable as well.

I ordered one for myself and it was there when I got back home. Just took it off, in fact.