I Say Merry Christmas and Perhaps You Say Happy Holidays

       I wish everyone a blessed Christmas and safe holidays. I am not at all stressed about what is politically correct to say about Christmas and the holidays because I genuinely mean what I say to everyone. Ben Stein (author, actor, economist and pundit) may have captured the essense of this situation best in the following portion of an interview December 2005 on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.

”Herewith at this happy time of year, a few confessions from my beating heart: Next confession: I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees Christmas trees. I don’t feel threatened. I don’t feel discriminated against. That’s what they are: Christmas trees. It doesn’t bother me a bit when people say, “Merry Christmas” to me. I don’t think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn’t bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu. If people want a creche, it’s just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away. I don’t like getting pushed around for being a Jew and I don’t think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can’t find it in the Constitution and I don’t like it being shoved down my throat. Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship Nick and Jessica and we aren’t allowed to worship God as we understand Him? I guess that’s a sign that I’m getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where Nick and Jessica came from and where the America we knew went to.”

Be good and be safe and  God Bless. We will be back together in 2011!

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American Red Cross Will Not Accept Blood from Donors with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

       Last Friday, the American Red Cross announced  that it will not allow those with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome to donate blood .  The reasoning was to lower the risk of tramsmitting the (XMRV)  – the xenotropic murine leukemia virus.  Even though studies have not clearly shown that XMRV is the cause of Chronic Fatigue, the Red Cross announced the barring of people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus that has been associated with some people with Chronic Fatigue.

The following is the announcement made by the American Red Cross

 WASHINGTON, Friday, December 03, 2010 — At present, there are no specific federal recommendations regarding deferral of individuals with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) or other diseases that have been associated with Murine Leukemia Virus-related virus (XMRV) infection. Nevertheless, in the interest of patient and donor safety, the American Red Cross will defer indefinitely any donor who reveals during the donor interview that they have been diagnosed with CFS.
XMRV infection has been associated in some studies with prostate cancer and chronic fatigue syndrome, but at the present time these disease associations have yet to be confirmed. 

To read the complete release go to  http://tinyurl.com/2fy6xqp

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Fun Tips for Holiday Travel with Young Children

    My friend Rachel and her husband have the best plan for making a pleasant drive to Florida with their two young children.  It is so simple; I don’t know why I didn’t think of this.

Their trip is about 21 hours over a two days, so the family counts the number of states that they will be traveling through, including their state and the destination state of Florida.  For this trip the total is five states.  The plan is talked about in advance, and the children know that once they enter a new state they will each be able to open a Christmas gift.  How exciting can this be for children!

Each set of gifts for Rachel’s two children are wrapped in identical paper so it is very easy for a small child to reach into the bag and pull out two identically wrapped gifts.  Of course, they take turns retrieving the gifts.  None of the gifts were expensive.  Rachel found some silly, fill in the words, Madlibs books at www.madlibs.com. These are age appropriate, but the whole family can fill in the blanks in the story and then read it aloud.  “It was hilarious, and we spent a lot of time reading a story again and again.  Also, I noticed that I could see the kids learning what word was a verb, or a noun, without any effort.  So when I would say, ‘Give me a word that is a verb such as running’, even my youngest was getting into it easily, and we really had fun”, recalled Rachel.

Rachel had also found great games and other ideas for traveling with children at www.momsminivan.com.  It is a terrific website with age appropriate ideas for activities, printable materials, and reading materials.  She also wrapped regular crayons and coloring books, I Spy Flash Cards, Bendaroos, flexible building sticks, found at www.bendaroo.com, and a Crayola Glow Station which can be found at www.Crayola.com.

Part of this plan for Rachel’s family is the children have the choice of waiting for Christmas Eve and opening gifts all at once or opening some gifts state-by-state.  They have always wanted to open gifts along the way, so the traveling gifts did not add expense to the family budget for presents and lowered the stress while traveling.

I think in a short time the children will be reading the map and spelling the states. Rachel has always been good with ideas for children, except when she gave my littlest one a  300 piece “bracelet making” kit, but that was before she had her children.  Please send me any of your great “traveling with children ideas”, and I will share them with all who read this blog.

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Retail Therapy and the Holiday Blues

   There was a time when the act of shopping and buying was an attempt to escape my adrenal fatigue. I now label it retail therapy.  And I had a beautiful reason for retail therapy during the holidays.  The idea of shopping seemed to momentarily distract me from my anxiety and fatigue.   Even though sometimes I could develop enough momentum and energy to go shopping, and the act of shopping seemed to provide an hour of temporary relief, in the end I would be even more exhausted, wiped out, and filled with anxiety all over again. 

During the holidays everyone is stressed because we are forced to buy many things in a very short time.  Sometimes we make compulsive purchases and spend more money than we planned.  Even online shopping can be a stressful experience because of the anxiety caused taking a chance on buying unseen products, and it is easy to forget money spent when using a charge card. 

Because of the myriad of marketing information that hits us from all directions – television, radio, the internet, music, etc. –  we have been sold on the idea if we gather more and more material goods around us, or if we are extravagant givers, we will feel extraordinarily happy.  Yet, through this process of giving or getting everything we thought would make us happy, we can become unusually anxious and even depressed.   We don’t feel better, we feel extraordinary anxiety – even those who do not suffer from adrenal fatigue will suffer with what some call the Holiday Blues.

 There are many pointers that can be given to avoid shopping stress:  shop early, shop late, shop on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, or don’t shop at all.  The thought I really like is one that is actually applied to time management.  What gifts would you eliminate if you had half the time to shop? Then decide what gifts can be eliminated if you cut your budget in half.  It is a good way to start, and if you go over budget, you are still under budget.  You can indulge in retail therapy and escape the Holiday Blues.

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Make Memories Not Misery

  Thanksgiving is almost here, and Christmas is too close. As usual, holidays can create stress for all of us, and sometimes we can make miserable memories. Stress just comes with the holidays. However, for those who suffer with adrenal fatigue, stress can cause havoc for you and your family. I have found one solution, and that is this thought, “I don’t have to be my grandmother and immediately cook the turkey carcass or the ham bone for soup.” I can save the leftovers, but I will not immediately start boiling bones.

By the time our holiday meal is prepared, served and all is cleared and cleaned – I know I will be too tired to prepare soup. I do plan to have larger storage bags so I can freeze the leftovers and make soup later. And, if I didn’t have room to freeze the turkey carcass or a ham bone, I would be just fine with putting it in the trash. I have learned to be realistic, and my becoming overly exhausted and stressed certainly isn’t worth soup.

I think of holiday plans to be a lot like soup. You can have a recipe – your calendar – to follow, and it can be chock full of ingredients – your plans – but not all has to be dealt with immediately. Some parts can be prepared early such as Christmas/holiday cards. Don’t send them at all, if you are too rushed. Make telephone calls instead. Some parts can be prepared later , for example plan some family gatherings for before or after a holiday; you may be surprised to find others are relieved too.

Some things don’t have to be prepared at all. I don’t have to make sugar cookies from scratch; I can buy the prepared rolls of sugar cookies. My kids have just as much fun, because all they want to do is cut out cookies and decorate them anyway. Inevitably, the holidays will happen, and whether we are able to enjoy them is up to us.

Eliminate things that don’t have to be done. For example, I can fix-up Stove Top Stuffing to where even the best cooks in my family don’t know for certain that it is not from scratch. I hide the box!

I have learned to enjoy what some would call imperfections as simply being “one-of-a-kind”. I have learned to make wonderful memories not misery, and for those who are wondering, this is the time I will compromise and gratefully use some prepackaged products.  Have a stress-free and wonderful Thanksgiving, and I would love to hear about your destressing holiday ideas.

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Be Your Own Patient Advocate

Adrenal fatigue falls into a broad category of non-specific symptoms that doctors have a hard time understanding, and if they cannot offer a specific diagnosis, many physicians will assume that the patient is seeking attention or is a hypochondriac.

Patients with Adrenal Fatigue are often told that their symptoms are all in their mind. I know because that happened to me.  Yet, how do you communicate with and convince your doctor to look further?  No matter what your particular medical condition may be, you can take initiative and begin your search by just using some simple steps.

Believe in yourself and be an advocate for yourself. This could the hardest step, but if you educate yourself about all the possibilities of your situation then  this will give greater confidence when talking with your doctor.  The internet is a great resource.  It is just like the great “library in the sky”. However, don’t be satisfied with the first information you find.  Continue to research multiple sites – both medical sites and holistic.  Don’t be afraid to be the detective.  Ask questions.  I held tight to the belief that I had an actual physical problem, and I had to find my own answers.  And, I eventually did.  Educating yourself about all the possibilities is empowering and will give you more confidence when you do talk to a doctor.  Be persistent.  This is critical step. My search for help was nine years, and that took persistence. I saw many doctors, and I tried many therapies. Through that journey I also empowered myself to find answers, although it wasn’t always easy.

To be the patient advocate for yourself, you must accept that it is okay and necessary to ask questions.  I encourage everyone to keep a journal of questions and answers.

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Dr. Oz and Adrenal Fatigue

September 2010, Dr. Oz invited two doctors to discuss adrenal fatigue in a segment that focused on “Extreme Exhaustion”.  It was a controversial discussion where Dr. Robert Vigersky, member of the Endocrine Society, stated that there is no scientific evidence to prove adrenal fatigue exists, while Christiane Northrop MD – previously practicing OBGYN who now is an international author and speaker and is now focusing on the role of mind and spirit in medicine – strongly stated that adrenal fatigue does exist.  Dr. Northrop provided the audience a list of symptoms of adrenal fatigue and a discussion of ways to help the symptoms.  For a symptom matrix of adrenal fatigue you can download and print you can go to http://jenbusch.com/readMore.htm.  While Dr. Oz remained neutral in his opinion, it is obvious that adrenal fatigue is clearly coming to forefront of public awareness as a medical condition to warrant coverage of this magnitude.

Why would one doctor be so certain there isn’t an adrenal fatigue syndrome and another be quite certain there is? One answer could be that for medical doctors to be paid they are restricted to pre-approved diagnostic codes and treatment codes.  And if an illness doesn’t clearly fall into the “normal” battery of tests then it doesn’t exist.  A clear example of medicine turning a blind eye to a condition is 15 – 20 years ago many endocrinologists denied “mild hypothyroidism” as a true diagnosis according to Dr. Shames in an e-interview. Dr. Shames also stated that “there is a striking similarity to the current denials of mild adrenal insufficiency.  It took years of mounting scientific evidence, but now many endocrinologists are saying both doctors and patients need to be aware to the real possibility of borderline hypothyroidism.” I encourage you to read the complete interview at http://thyroid.about.com/b/2010/10/28/hormone-foundation-endocrine-society-adrenal-fatigue-controversy.htm.

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Finding Help When You Think You Have Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue

 Most doctors really want to accurately diagnose your condition, and they want to help you to get over your symptoms.  However, there are complex parts of any chronic condition such as adrenal fatigue, and many medical doctors just don’t have the experience and time to sort out what you really have. And they often lump symptoms, without ordering a battery of tests, into a similar diagnosis such as fibromyalgia – which a large percentage of tested fibromyalgia sufferers have an underlying adrenal problem.  To see a free matrix of symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue, Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia you can go to http://www.jenbusch.com/readMore.htm

Therefore, it is a major decision for you to choose the right doctor. Finding one who has the experience in diagnosing and successfully treating the symptoms/condition you feel you have.  There is no one more important than you and finding the right healthcare provider is vital decision.

Some people make their decisions on best insurance reimbursement practices, and that will narrow their choice to a doctor that is in their network, yet inexperienced in their type of condition.  Put yourself first, if at all possible, and look for a doctor who has successfully treated others with your symptoms and condition.  This is America, and so far we can still make these important decisions about our healthcare, and that includes the decision to go alternative care rather than prescription medicines.  You should be under the care of a doctor that you are comfortable with and is patient with you.  Your doctor and you should be able to discuss your ideas regarding your choice of treatment.  If a doctor is dismissive and impatient, anyone with adrenal fatigue may be negatively affected and possibly will not follow through with appointments and recommended care. 

As you search for a healthcare provider, remember that recommendations of family members and friends can be important IF they have successfully treated for conditions similar to yours.  Choosing your doctor and your healthcare approach has to be right for you. You start by talking with others and searching online for a doctor in your area who is listed as a holistic healthcare provider.  On your first appointment have a list of questions that are important to you and your care.  Even though a doctor is busy, if you are organized and concise with your thoughts and questions, he or she will be receptive to a discussion about testing and treatment.

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Scheduled Maintenance Can Benefit Adrenal Fatigue Sufferers

 We schedule maintenance for our vehicles, heating and air conditioning, and our computers, yet do we ever think of scheduling maintenance for our bodies and spirits.  Not most of us, that is certain.  We tend to care for and nurture ourselves last. 

I have found that if I assess the following on a weekly or monthly basis it helps me stay focused and on task of taking care of myself.

Am I sleeping through the night, am I feeling more fatigued, am I feeling more emotional and even feeling down,  and what am I doing to negatively affect my life. I am a great advocate of journaling, and if you do most information can easily be found as to what is going on and affecting your life. Some simple things are as follows:

  • Stimulates: These can be found in coffee, tea, chocolate and other sources. I found this site http://coffeefaq.com/site/how-much-caffeine, and it has some very interesting information
  • Stimulates:  Negative news being perpetually broadcast and creepy television programs
  • Events: Things that have happened that played on my mind, and how did this affect me either negatively or positively.  Can I change this, and if so I write it down to get it off my mind
  • People:  Have I noticed that certain people have emotionally affected me, and can I avoid this in the near future
  • Food:  What have I eaten that would affect me physically and perhaps could disturb my sleep and my energy.  Did I consume foods with preservatives, additives and higher carbohydrates
  • Supplementations and Medications:  There are times medications are prescribed and the side-effects are not obvious. This even applies to natural supplementation Take time to research side-effects on the internet

I am responsible for things that I recognize affect me, and there are others I have not even listed here. I am responsible for maintaining my well-being. There are times we have to give ourselves permission to stop and restore!  Yes, it may be easier to take a “purple” pill, yet I realize that would be treating only symptoms and not the cause.

And let’s not forget the power of prayer.  For some that can be a simple focusing of attention.  However, I believe that prayer is of utmost importance, and there are scientific studies to back up the significant positive effects of prayer on health.  You can read more at Suite101: Does Prayer Actually Work?: Scientific Evidence for the Power of Prayer

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What Could Cause the Unrelenting Fatigue of Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome

The name Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome brings to mind immediately that it is just your adrenal glands that are tired or fatigued.  However, a major problem and very common with the syndrome is hypoglycemia, more often known as low blood sugar.  Hypoglycemia results in dizziness, feeling faint and very fatigued.

A simple explanation of the cause of hypoglycemia is as follows:

  • An adrenal fatigue sufferer produces less cortisol 

Cortisol is a vital hormone produced by the adrenal glands, and it is involved with metabolizing glucose, regulating blood pressure, and balancing blood sugar through insulin release.   

  • Stress will cause normal adrenals to increase the glucose level in your blood
  • When you suffer from adrenal fatigue this causes your adrenals to produce less cortisol
  • Less cortisol slows down the release of glucose into your blood or causes lower levels of glucose

Normal adrenals and stress equal higher glucose. 

  • Fatigued adrenals and stress equal lower glucose
  • The adrenal fatigue sufferer  will generally have higher insulin levels

When the adrenal fatigue sufferer’s  levels of insulin are high that creates an increased need for glucose.  Because of high insulin and low cortisol we suffer from low blood sugar or hypoglycemia.

We can deal with and generally manage low blood sugar with diet and frequency of meals to maintain and balance blood sugar levels.  It is important to avoid succumbing to a “sugar fix”, as this is temporary and will actually contribute to the whole vicious cycle.    It is also very important to control hypoglycemia because its results are cumulative and it can cause cell damage.

(There is a free matrix of adrenal fatigue symptoms you can download at http://www.jenbusch.com/readMore.htm)


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