Monday, November 25, 2013

Are Ya Havin Any Fun?

What's one of the best things you can do for your immune system?
Once a week, have FUN with friends!
Yeah, fun is GOOD for you. I hope knowing that doesn't take the fun out of fun for you...

Having fun optimizes your immune system for 3 days afterwards. And if you have fun scheduled ahead of time, it also optimizes your immune system for the 3 days before the event!
Optimize? What does that mean?

Those of us with autoimmune diseases run away from anything that might BOOST our immune system. That is the last thing we want, is for our immune system to be MORE active. Autoimmune conditions, by definition, are defined by the patient's immune system attacking their own healthy tissues. And all medical treatment (drugs) is aimed at suppressing the immune system, in order to save our tissues and vital organs from attack. The last thing we want to do is rev it up.

But what we have learned about fun (and laughter as well) is that is *optimizes* the immune system. If it's to revved up, it brings it back towards normal. It it's too depressed (such as with a cold, flu, or AIDS), it brings it up closer to normal.

Now I know we think- ugh. fun. I'm too tired to go to Disneyland. Uh, yeah, me too. Even when I'm feeling fine, that idea wears me out. That degree of effort is not necessary in order to have fun.

I'm happy just sitting with my uke making up ridiculous songs and singing them to my husband, or a fellow funny person on skype. Or sitting around the dinner table with a bunch of old friends talking about anything at all, totally unplanned. Or putting a fake poop in someone's shower and waiting for them to see it. Or sitting with a fellow songwriter or comedian writing songs or jokes. Or doing madlibs with my nieces. Or karaoke. Thrift shopping or yard sale-ing with a friend (one who also likes thrifting). Or going dancing. Or putting on great music in my living room and dancing like an idiot.

How 'bout you?
What's your idea of fun?
Share it in the comment section!


The Singing Patient: Author, Health Speaker, Humorous Songwriter and Entertainer

Monday, November 11, 2013

Wanted: Your Tips for those with a chronic illness

Hey friends!

I thought I'd try a collaborative effort.

On the various forums I've participated in ( such as,,  I've noticed that there is a collective wisdom that comes from an interactive conversation.
Each response triggers more thoughts and ideas and questions.

I was working on a "Top 10 Tips For Those with Chronic Illness" list, when I realized, "I bet this list would be greatly improved by tapping into that collective wisdom."

When I've got the finalized "top 10" list, I'll be giving it away for free on my website. I'll take the Top 10 tips you voted for (or added and then voted for), add a little art (on second thought, I'll have someone with actual artistic abilities do that part), and make it into a nice 8 1/2 x 11 PDF that you can print and post (or share, or whatever you like).

Survey is now closed, and I'm working on tallying the results to share the top 10 with you!


Friday, November 8, 2013

I'm here all week. Try the mints.

Fatigue. That is one of the most frustrating parts of lupus. To the observer, it can easily be confused with depression or laziness. To the patient, it feels like a crushing lead weight.

What to do? Well, you can go on prednisone. Well all know that story. You can deplete your adrenal glands by sucking down a bunch of caffeine (which still may not work).

What has helped me in the last few years has been eating cooked kale (i know, sounds nuts) and doing chi gung (simple movement and deep breathing; makes sense- getting more oxygen to the cells. Chi Gung is a lot like tai chi, but easier to learn. Make sure you do "healing chi gung," not "warrior chi gung").

And today I've got another idea for you, that I have not yet tested.

A doctor created a product called "joint mints" that seems to help people with joint pain and fatigue. I have no idea what's in it, but it's supposed to be natural. All you need to do to get 2 free boxes is take a couple quick surveys. You also have to have been diagnosed with lupus by a doctor and be over 18. The offer is limited to 100 people, but I just took the survey today, so it's still going on. Here's the original e mail he sent me.

Hi Carla;

I’m writing to offer you a couple free bottles of a (natural/herbal) anti-inflammation product I’ve developed. The only ‘catch’ (there’s always a catch, right?) is that I’d like your feedback – via a series of short surveys. (So it’s a pretty modest catch.)

The product, “Joint Mints” ( is obviously intended for joint pain – mainly osteoarthritis – and it works quite well for that. But among the hundreds who’ve provided feedback there have been a few (six) with lupus, and eachreported substantially less joint pain and less fatigue within 21 days of starting Joint Mints.

I didn’t expect the product would help in lupus, but I’m encouraged by what I’ve seen. So to collect more information I’ve set up a dedicated ‘sample-survey’ program and I’m inviting your participation.

If you’re interested, please visit the product page and then this link to learn more about the survey-sample offer

Of course I’ll be happy to answer any questions.

Thanks and best wishes, Doctor Steve

Stephen C. Roberts, MD
Chief Executive

So, if this fits you, click away and get some mints. Unless you're like my husband and you hate mints. In which case... never mind.

I just took the survey and look forward to giving them a try. I don't currently have joint pain but I do have muscle pain. And I like mints. It's a good thing they are lozenges, because if they were junior mints, I'd eat them all in one sitting. (Which is why I don't buy junior mints at the store). I'm rambling now.

I'm here all week. Try the mints.


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Free Online Gluten eSummit

Gluten and its role in autoimmune disorders is a frequent topic of discussion amongst alternative medicine practitioners. And, for me, eliminating gluten (and dairy and several other foods I'm sensitive to) from my diet has changed my life.

At one point I was on 9 drugs, plus chemotherapy, transfusions, and Procrit shots to treat congestive heart failure, kidney failure, neuropathy and anemia, all caused by lupus. Now, my diet choices have allowed me to stay healthy with ZERO immune suppressants for the last 6 years.

So, when I saw the information about a free e-summit, I knew that I had to share it here.

Dr. Tom O’Bryan of has gathered 29 of the world’s experts and opinion leaders on the topics of gluten-related disorders, nutrition and healthy living for a series of online interviews taking place for FREE from November 11-17, 2013. (Don't worry- it's not all day, every day! One video per day will be posted).

During the summit, you will:
  • Learn about the latest research on gluten-related disorders
  • Gain knowledge of proper diagnosis/treatment methods
  • Ask, “Could this health issue be due to gluten?”
The Gluten Summit is targeted towards both doctors AND patients (really, anybody), so that we all have a better understanding of the issues.

The goal of The Gluten Summit is to shift the discussion and recognition of gluten-related disorders forward by five years. Meaning, lets get the "gluten" conversation between patients and doctors that will be happening five years from now to happen now.

For a lot of patients, discovering and eliminating any food sensitivity, including gluten, can mean more control over their health, fewer ( or zero!) drugs, and feeling better. That is what it has meant for me!

Carla Ulbrich

The Singing Patient: Author, Health Speaker, Humorous Songwriter and Entertainer