Five Everyday Activities to Increase Your Overall Happiness

good stuffHappiness can be a fleeting feeling. The good news is that you can get it back if you put a little effort into it. Find ways to bring happiness back to your life every day.Some people look on happiness as subjective. In a way, it is. We each have an idea of what brings a smile to our faces. Striving for that “smile” every day is what can increase your sense of wellbeing and give you the ability to handle the rough times that will surely come in your life. Read on for some great ways to lift your mood.

  • Sing a song – Music has the ability to evoke memories. What were you doing the first time you heard that song? Is it a happy song or a song that makes you think deeply about things? Singing a song that conjures pleasant memories has the power to increase your good mood. It is an instant mood enhancer.  After my divorce, I made a CD of songs about survival and moving on.  I listened to it in my car to and from work everyday.  It was empowering
  • Movement – I prefer to use the word “movement” rather than “exercise”.   But, exercise is not the enemy. It’s just movement.  It is just physical activity. It can be as vigorous as a run or as fulfilling as planting bulbs in the garden. What it does is increase the secretion of endorphins into your system. Endorphins make you feel good. Your mood lightens and you also can see problems from new angles that give a clue to how they can be resolved. Oh, and you lose weight which helps your self-esteem.
  • Have fun – Are you someone who is always very serious? Take the time to let loose. Watch a funny movie and laugh until your sides hurt. When I want to laugh, I watch “America’s Funniest Videos”.  If you like to go to amusement parks, ride all the rides you want as many times as you want. It’s okay to live in a happy moment. The way to do that is to totally immerse yourself in it. Don’t think about tomorrow.  Be in the present.
  • Try new things – Many people get upset because they don’t think that they are good at anything. If you are always doing what you have always done, then you won’t get a chance to discover what else you like and are good at. Take a step out of your comfort zone. Try cooking classes, swim lessons, painting, jewelry making, knitting or anything else you have longed to do. You may not be perfect (perfection is overrated) but you will be glad you put in the effort and you might find a new hobby.
  • Smile – When you turn that frown upside down, your happiness meter starts to rise. Just making a goofy grin in the mirror or at a friend will get you a grin back. It may make you laugh or not, but it will definitely get you thinking positive thoughts.

Are you trying to find your measure of happiness? Sometimes you have to look no farther than yourself to discover new ways to shine in your life.

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Life, Love and Having It All.

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Pat O. front bottom

I’m sitting here, outside on this beautiful Southern California day, drinking my homemade lemonade tea (SO good) chatting with my mom, playing with my little dog, Dorrie, (staying off facebook for a little while) and thinking, it doesn’t get any better than this. I’ve really been working on staying present, which is what I preach a lot. Walking the walk. It’s not easy. The women I’ve known, some of whom I’ve worked with, who have been struggling with cancer and all manner of other ills – well, they inspire me. Their strength and courage, their struggles and the many ways some of them have found to cope with what can be considered a devastating diagnosis, have always amazed me. I was there once and I’m not sure I handled it so well.

One woman in particular, Pat. O. comes to mind. The first year I attended the Ovarian Cancer Survivors Retreat in Montana, when I was freshly out of treatment, I met Pat. We were lined up to tackle the ropes course. Here is the Wikipedia definition of a ropes course: “A ropes course is a challenging outdoor personal development and team building activity which usually consists of high and/or low elements. Low elements take place on the ground or only a few feet above the ground. High elements are usually constructed in trees or made of utility poles and require a belay for safety.” Yes, we wore harnesses but it was still daunting to complete that course and there were no low elements!

We climbed up a pole to a platform and then navigated the various legs of the course about 30 feet in the air. I was younger than most of the women and I was eager to do something so adventurous. Pat was terrified of heights. Nevertheless, she was determined to go up that pole. In the middle of the course, she froze. It had just gotten the best of her. She began to cry and generally freak out. Several staff people had to go up and get her down. She was quite shaken from the experience and I kept trying to reassure her that it was fine. She shouldn’t be embarrassed and it could happen to anyone. Secretly, I was embarrassed for her and didn’t really understand her fear. Later that day, in a conversation with her, I learned that she was really struggling with her diagnosis of Stage IIIC ovarian cancer. She was just out of treatment and hadn’t done too well.  Her tumor markers were rising again.

Fast forward three years. A group of us who had been attending the yearly retreat got together at Dody’s house in Texas for a “mini-retreat”. Pat had had a couple of recurrences of her cancer and was doing very poorly at this point. I hadn’t seen her for awhile and was very surprised to learn that she would be attending this mini-retreat. She flew in from Florida by herself. She was weak and very thin, but her spirit was amazing. This was a different woman. There was no obvious fear of death or the future. She spent those few days soaking up all the laughter, love and friendships that she possibly could. She had to be helped to walk and couldn’t really eat much, but she was determined to enjoy herself and she did. In all of the photos I have of that trip, she has a huge smile on her face.

At the end of the mini retreat, We took her to the airport for her flight home and we all knew, and she most of all, that we would never see her again. There were some tears as we all hugged her and said goodbye. A wheelchair was waiting and my last memory of her was her brilliant smile, a wave, and then being wheeled off for her flight home. She passed away a week later.

It was so inspiring to see such courage and determination, but it was more than that. Pat knew she was at the end of her life. She had decided she wanted to enjoy every moment with her friends once more. Against the wishes of her family, she made that trip by herself in the last weeks of her life, to Texas, just to experience that.

In the fourteen years since that retreat, the six other friends who attended have all passed away as well, including Dody. I love and miss them all.  Time with family, friends and loved ones is precious. In fact, bottom line – being in the moment with those who love you is really all that matters. Pat’s husband later told us that she had enjoyed every minute of that trip and was so grateful that she got to experience it with us. I’m grateful too.

Be happy for this moment.  This moment is your life. ~ Omar Khayyam

 

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RESEARCH: COURAGE: HOPE

The following is a guest blog by Karen Ingalls, an ovarian cancer survivor, retired R.N., and author of Outshine:  An Ovarian Cancer Memoir.  Karen offers information, hope and inspiration to women dealing with ovarian cancer.

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“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.” (Helen Keller)

 RESEARCH:

Dr. Robert Coleman states: “The coming revolution in ovarian cancer care is based on a new understanding of the heterogeneity of ovarian cancer….There are more than 30 different subtypes….When we understand the molecular drivers of these cancer, we can select targeted therapies aimed at these cancers.” (Cure Magazine, Sept. 2014)

There are many treatments, tests, drugs being tested, but it is beyond the scope of this blog to present them. Here are some links I encourage you to look at:

From the American Cancer Society:  http://www.cancer.org/cancer/ovariancancer/detailedguide/ovarian-cancer-new-research.

The Cancer Research Institute link is: http://www.cancerresearch.org/cancer-immunotherapy/impacting-all-cancers/ovarian-cancer.

Other great resources for scientific ovarian cancer information:

http://www.ocrf.org

http://ovariancancer.jhmi.edu

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/ovarian-cancer/care-at-mayo-clinic/research/con-20028096

https://www.floridahospitalcancer.com/cancer-programs/gynecology-cancer/conditions/ovarian-cancer.

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I know that every penny we give towards research is a penny very well spent. 

COURAGE:

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Some women choose to get hysterectomies to prevent ovarian cancer, even if it might mean giving up the possibility of having children. Their courage is remarkable. Would YOU make such a choice?

Lorna, age 40, has the BRCA gene. She lost both her mother and sister to ovarian cancer. She had both ovaries and fallopian tubes removed in 2012.

Men are affected by ovarian cancer also. They are the fathers, husbands, brothers, and sons.

Matty Turner, 28, lost his wife, Natalie, six years after her diagnosis.

Daniel McCarty’s wife died 3 years after her diagnosis at the age of 35.

Paul Barton’s wife, Jennifer, died at the age of 28.

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These three men started the “WHIRE-SHIRT” campaign in Australia raising money for research and increased awareness. They faced their wives untimely deaths with courage and a new resolve.

Twenty-five year old, Kristina Anderson was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive form of ovarian cancer and began chemotherapy treatments just 3 days later.

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Preparing for the Miss Arizona pageant she said had been an escape for her.

Though Miss Anderson still has a long way to go, she hopes her journey to be Miss Arizona will help inspire others to keep fighting too. “Just be positive and be grateful for what you have,” Anderson said.

HOPE:

Hope is the key to everything good and healthy in life. With it, we are able to face our challenges with courage and faith. Our bodies respond to this positive attitude by increasing our immune system, lowering blood pressure, and providing more efficiency in all bodily functions.

“Don’t lose hope. When the sun goes down, the stars come out.” (Unknown)

 

s42745tb113308_41Karen Ingalls is a retired RN, author of published articles and books, ovarian cancer survivor since 2008. Her award-winning book, Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir, provides information about this lesser known disease and offers women and their families inspiration and hope. All proceeds go to ovarian cancer research. She writes a weekly blog about relationships, spirituality, and health/wellness.

When not writing she volunteers for Women & Girls’ Cancer Alliance in central Florida and Women for Hospice in Lake County. She is available to give presentations to large and small groups.

www.outshineovariancancer.com

www.outshineovariancancer.blogspot.com

www.twitter.com/KarenIngalls1

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Outshine-An-Ovarian-Cancer-Memoir

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Who Has Time for Cancer?

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When I was diagnosed at 47 with ovarian and endometrial cancer, I thought it was a death sentence. It didn’t help that my surgeon said to me, “We may not have saved you, but at least we bought you some time.” Truth is, I was in shock, I was sad and I was petrified. After a few months, I connected online with survivors from all over the world via an ovarian cancer listserve, which we all called “The List”.  I became familiar with many of the women who posted regularly about their experiences. This was my support system and it was wonderful to find women who had gone through and were going through what I was experiencing, along with all of the emotions that go with it. I learned that there was an ovarian cancer retreat to be held that year in Montana. I decided that I wanted to attend and meet in person many of the women I had come to know online. One of these women was Arlene P. She called herself Dahlialady. She and her husband owned a dahlia farm in the State of Washington. Through her posts, I had learned about her cancer experience and some of the horrific things she had been through. She’d had a colostomy, due to a bowel blockage from a tumor. She had lymphedema in one leg and had some trouble walking, along with many other side effects from ongoing treatment –  hair loss, neuropathy, etc. Also, she was, I believe, in her late 60’s at the time. I had visualized her as a frail, sickly looking, older woman. The first day at camp, after I arrived, I was meeting some of the other attendees when a smiling, robust-looking, beautiful woman approached me and introduced herself.   “Hi Robin. I’m Arlene P. from the List.”  I stood there unbelieving. I said, “You’re Arlene?” She nodded and I said, “You look amazing!” This woman looked healthy and youthful, not at all the sickly, pale, old-looking woman I expected to see. We talked awhile and I asked her, “Arlene, how do you do it? How do you deal with all of the cancer stuff?” She said, “I don’t have time for cancer. I’m busy. I have a ranch, animals to take care of and family responsibilities.” This was incredible to me. I’m sure that when she was first diagnosed, she was probably in shock, like the rest of us. But somehow, after all the treatments and side effects, and complications, she had made the decision to put cancer on the back burner of her life. It was something she had to deal with, but it wasn’t the most important thing in her life. It wasn’t her identity. I needed so badly to hear this at that point in time because I was fully  living in cancerland and it was a sad and scary place.   Arlene showed me that you can decide for yourself what place cancer will have in your life.   This gutsy, funny, beautiful woman became my role model. In spite of some trouble with her leg, the colostomy bag, and the neuropathy in her feet and hands, she went horseback riding, danced, swam and fully enjoyed every activity at that retreat. She also had become a distributor of some very sassy wigs which she, of course, was wearing herself, and selling to others. Arlene passed away a few years later, but her example was inspiring and life-changing for me and many others.   Her message was, “you are not your cancer” and most importantly, “life is to be lived fully and completely, no matter what.”

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Do You Deserve to be Healed?

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“You deserve a life.”
― John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

The photo above is of my two youngest adorable granddaughters. I have six altogether. I’ve been extremely blessed to see four of them born since my diagnosis of ovarian and endomemtrial cancer in 1997. My good friend, Judy, diagnosed the same month, year and stage as I, passed away before she became a grandmother. When I see the photos of her beautiful grandchildren now, it’s very bittersweet. I’m so sad that Judy never had the chance to revel in grandmotherhood, but it also makes me aware that I am so fortunate that I have not one but six granddaughters, all of whom have brought me joy and such gratitude for just being alive. But am I deserving of this?

A young woman in my community who found out she has stage 4 triple negative breast cancer keeps the whole town updated on her journey via facebook. Because she felt traditional treatments had nothing effective to offer her, she took her family with five children to Austria for experimental treatments not offered in the U.S. The community has been raising funds for this trip and the treatments she will receive. They sent her off with pink balloons in a limo to the airport. She is usually very upbeat in her facebook posts. She has been reporting on the trip and checking in at the hospital. She is in fight mode and is hopeful for a cure.

The doctor who is offering these miracle treatments, when they finally met in person, asked her “Do you want to be Healed? Do you believe you deserve to be healed? Do you believe you can be Healed? I’m not sure why he asked these questions but perhaps he was saying that in order to be healed, you have to want it, believe you deserve it, and believe that it can happen. Her musing on this was heartbreaking to me. She said she was, at first, confident in saying “yes, yes, yes!” But after considering it further, she said she is not so sure she believes she deserves to be healed. Why? Because so many women have died with the same diagnosis and they were “precious mothers, wives, daughters, sisters and friends”. Why should she be spared?

The reason this is so heartbreaking to me is because I get it. I’ve survived 16 years after my diagnosis. In those years, I have lost countless friends in the cancer community. I’ve recently been thinking a lot about why I am here and they aren’t. I think we always ask why. When we’re diagnosed, we ask why did this happen to me? What did I do wrong? Similarly, when we survive, I think it’s normal to ask why? Why did I survive when so many have not?

Statements have been made to me by well-meaning people whose explanation for it is simple. “God has a plan for you”, or “You must’ve done something right.” As if I were more deserving to live than anyone else? I don’t accept this. In fact, there are little niggling thoughts that come into my head that say, “you’re undeserving”. “What have you done to deserve to still be here?” “How do you justify your survival?” Have I always made healthy choices physically, emotionally and spiritually these last 16 years? Absolutely not. It’s called survivor’s guilt. Yup. I have it. It’s not commonly discussed among survivors. I think it’s because it seems somewhat self-indulgent. The unspoken message is “just be grateful and move on.” Not so simple.

So, is the word “deserve” even appropriate here? Deserve implies some reward for something done. According to the dictionary deserve means to merit, be qualified for, or have a claim to (reward, assistance, punishment, etc.) because of actions, qualities, or situation. Am I deserving? I’m just a flawed human being – albeit somewhat more enlightened now – trying my best to be a good person, just like Judy, Sarah, and all of the other women I know who are fighting cancer or have lost their lives to it.

Cancer, just like life, doesn’t really have any rhyme or reason. Some die, some don’t. Surviving cancer, while it’s something to be very grateful for, is not like winning a game, being a victor. At least not for me. I came through a war. I survived. I lost comrades. There were fallen warriors along the way. The losses are too great to celebrate victory. I’m here. I’m neither more or less deserving to live than they were. We all had lots to live for and the desire to survive, especially the young women with their whole lives ahead of them and young children to raise. I’m here. They’re not. There is no reasoning.

All I know is that living my life as best I can is a memorial to them and I will never walk away from the cause. I do it for them. I do it for myself. And I do it for all of the women who have yet to be diagnosed and who will be where I was – fighting for their lives. Do I deserve to have survived? Absolutely. But so did all of the other wonderful women who didn’t.

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The Art of Deep Breathing – A Sanity-Saving Strategy

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Have you ever had one of those days when you were so stressed that you felt like you needed some real help to save your sanity? I have experienced this numerous times myself and I’m so grateful to have discovered some deep breathing methods that reduce stress, fear, anxiety and worry and improve health at the same time! These strategies are easy and convenient, and can be done anywhere.

What exactly is deep breathing? Deep breathing is a breathing exercise that involves manipulating the breath in ways that bring about certain feelings on an emotional level.

There are various deep breathing exercises that are designed for:

* Developing the mind and the body
* Helping you enter a state of meditation
* Creating a sense of relaxation and calm.

No matter what emotion you’re trying to achieve with your breathing exercises, the beauty is that it doesn’t cost you anything to breathe and can bring amazing results.

When To Do Deep Breathing Exercises

There are no hard and fast rules about when to do breathing exercises. It really depends on what you’re trying to achieve by doing it.

You can use breathing exercises at any time to:

* Achieve a state of calm
* Feel alive, invigorated, and ready for your day
* Reduce stress in tense situations
* Wind down at the end of the day

When you wake up in the morning, you may wish to do some quick deep breathing exercises to feel invigorated and ready to go. You can go outside, take a deep breath, and then breathe in through your nose, and out through your mouth. Following is a breathing exercise recommended by Dr. Andrew Weil (http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART00521/three-breathing-exercises.html).

The Stimulating Breath (also called the Bellows Breath)
The Stimulating Breath is adapted from a yogic breathing technique. Its aim is to raise vital energy and increase alertness.

  • Inhale and exhale rapidly through your nose, keeping your mouth closed but relaxed. Your breaths in and out should be equal in duration, but as short as possible. This is a noisy breathing exercise.
  • Try for three in-and-out breath cycles per second. This produces a quick movement of the diaphragm, suggesting a bellows. Breathe normally after each cycle.
  • Do not do for more than 15 seconds on your first try. Each time you practice the Stimulating Breath, you can increase your time by five seconds or so, until you reach a full minute.
  • If done properly, you may feel invigorated, comparable to the heightened awareness you feel after a good workout. You should feel the effort at the back of the neck, the diaphragm, the chest and the abdomen. Try this breathing exercise the next time you need an energy boost and feel yourself reaching for a cup of coffee.

    When you’re having a rough day or dealing with stress or conflict, you can use a few calming breaths to help reduce stress. Sit back, close your eyes, and take a deep breath through your nose to the count of four. Hold it in to the count of four. Then let it out through your mouth to the count of six. Take a few regular breaths and then repeat the process until you feel relaxed. This is a breathing method I use a lot when I’m anxious. If you’re worrying excessively about medical test results or an upcoming appointment, this is a great tool to use. It also keeps you in the present which takes you out of worrying about future events.

    Health Benefits of Breathing Exercises

    If you just need a quick lift, then you’ll only need to spend a short time here and there doing some deep breathing exercises. On the other hand, if you’re looking to have a significant impact on your health and serenity, you can form a routine of several breathing exercises throughout your day.

    Whatever the duration, breathing exercises can bring you many health benefits, including:

    * Reduce your blood pressure
    * Calm your nerves
    * Tighten your core muscles
    * Aid in better digestion
    * Aid in the elimination of waste and toxins
    * Bring you higher levels of energy
    * Increase your awareness of the functions within your body
    * Reduce stress

    Your own results will depend upon the type and frequency of breathing exercises you use.

    Anyone Can Benefit From Breathing Exercises

    Breathing exercises can benefit virtually anyone. The only individuals who should take caution are those with respiratory issues. Always check with your physician before attempting these exercises.

    Nevertheless, sit back, close your eyes, and enjoy the relaxing effects that deep breathing can provide. It’s an effective solution to reduce stress, bring you peace, and improve your life.

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    Pelvic Organ Prolapse – What You Should Know

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    When I first saw a gynecologist for the pelvic pain I was experiencing, my doctor said she believed I had a “prolapsed uterus” and that was the cause of my pain. I wasn’t surprised at this because I had given birth to three children and hadn’t kept up with my Kegel (pelvic floor muscle) exercises. Unfortunately, as it turned out, the pain actually was caused by an ovarian mass which was determined to be cancerous. While I’m very grateful for the pain that led to a relatively early cancer diagnosis, I would gladly have traded that for a prolapsed uterus! Be that as it may, pelvic organ prolapse is nothing to shrug off. It can cause many problems, including pain, incontinence and pressure.

    As women grow older, their bodies change. Some changes are visible such as wrinkles, sags, graying of hair. Other changes take place within the body and may be more difficult for women to understand. One change a woman may experience is pelvic organ prolapse.

    What is pelvic organ prolapse?

    Pelvic organ prolapse happens when one or more of a woman’s pelvic organs fall from its normal spot and pushes into the walls of the vagina. Typically, pelvic muscles hold the pelvic organs in place. However with age and/or childbirth they can become weakened or stretched. A gynecologic surgery can also contribute to this. These weakened and stretched muscles can no longer properly hold up the pelvic organs, allowing them to fall from their designated place.

    There are several types of pelvic organ prolapse that involve the bladder, uterus or other lower abdomen organs such as the urethra, vagina, rectum or small bowel. And many women suffer from at least one type. While it may not be a big health concern, it can be uncomfortable and even painful. If left untreated, it can worsen over time.

    The causes of pelvic organ prolapse:

    • Pelvic organs drop for different reasons. The most common one is from the strain linked to childbirth. The muscles in a woman’s lower abdomen become weak and stretched. After childbirth these muscles may not recover enough to fully support the pelvic organs.
    • Another cause of pelvic organ prolapse comes from hysterectomy surgery. The loss of the uterus can leave other pelvic organs without enough support.
    • Being overweight or obese can also lead to pelvic organ drop. A long-lasting cough, frequent constipation and pelvic organ tumors are also known to stretch the muscles that keep pelvic organs in place.
    • Prolapse tends to run in families and older women are more likely to have a pelvic organ prolapse than younger generations.

    The Symptoms of Pelvic Organ Prolapse

    • The most common symptom is a feeling of pressure. The location of the pressure will depend on which organ has dropped.
    • You may feel very full, even when you have not eaten.
    • You may feel like something is dropping out of your vagina.
    • You might experience incontinence or feel the need to urinate often.
    • You might feel a pulling or stretching in the groin area.
    • Lower back pain is another symptom of a dropped organ.
    • Pain during sex is common, as is constipation.

    Treatment Options:

    • First, and most importantly, see a gynecologist to get a definitive diagnosis. Some of these symptoms can be related to a gynecologic cancer, so it’s important to see a doctor first. If you are diagnosed with pelvic organ prolapse, you can opt for surgery to lift it back into place. However, there are natural treatment options to consider before choosing an invasive treatment such as the “vaginal mesh”.
    • Physical therapy – Strengthening the pelvic muscles through physical therapy can help rebuild and tone the area and provide relief for some of the symptoms. It can take weeks for therapy to work though, so don’t think of it as a quick fix.
    • Healthy lifestyle and diet – Especially for women who are overweight, simply reducing your weight will reduce the strain on the pelvic floor. Avoid foods that can irritate the bladder including caffeinated drinks, fatty foods and spicy dishes. Eating a healthy diet of fresh vegetables and fruits, lean proteins, and whole-grains and other fiber-rich foods puts less strain on the pelvic organs.
    • Pelvic massage – When used in conjunction with exercise treatments, it can realign pelvic organs and increase circulation to the surrounding weakened tissues.
    • Herbal treatments – Adding herbal supplements may help relieve some symptoms. For instance, raspberry leaf, comfrey and horsetail are good for rebuilding connective tissues, while vitamin D promotes bone health. Vitamin D may also reduce the risk of urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse.
    • According to MayoClinic.com, estrogen contributes to strong pelvic muscles. Be sure to ask your doctor before you take any estrogenic herbal supplements if you are already in menopause.
    • Vitamin C and Calcium are two other supplements that can contribute to strengthening the pelvic floor muscles, tissues and organs.

    Pelvic organ prolapse is uncomfortable to say the least. If you experience symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse, see a gynecologist for a definitive diagnosis and then consider some of these natural treatment options before you resort to a more invasive treatment. But whatever you do, take charge of your health and be proactive! Don’t allow yourself to suffer needlessly.

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    Having a great day? This too shall pass…

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    Recently, on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday (I love that show!), Oprah was interviewing Eckhart Tolle about his book, “A New Earth – Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose”, Chapter 8, “The Discovery of Inner Space”, they discussed the phrase “This too shall pass.” I’ve used this phrase myself when going through really hard times, the meaning of which, for me, was just get through it because it will pass and things will get better.

    Tolle explained that the phrase really refers to the fact that EVERYTHING passes – the happy as well as the sad, the joyous as well as the difficult times. Every moment is temporary. Yes, it is a good coping mechanism when times are tough, but during the outstanding moments – the ones that make us glad to be alive, it is equally helpful to remember that phrase. Our attachment to and desire to stay in a happy moment can actually cause stress and concern because of our fear of losing it. This fear can cause us to miss the very moment we wish to hang onto. In actuality, of course, these moments do pass and a new moment will appear. He says that the important lesson is to accept and enjoy each moment, knowing that it will pass, because every moment is transient.

    He says, “Being detached does not mean that you cannot enjoy the good the world has to offer. In fact, you enjoy it more. Once you see and accept the transience of all things and the inevitability of change you can enjoy the pleasures of the world while they last without fear or anxiety about the future. When you are detached, you gain a high vantage point from which to view the events in your life instead of being trapped inside them.”

    This is easier said than done. Since my cancer diagnosis, and especially in those first few years, I have been determined to try to live in the moment. I have attempted to hold onto happy times and get through the bad times since then. After a life-threatening experience or cancer diagnosis, many people are almost afraid to experience happiness. I see this in the women who I work with. They wonder “how long before the rug gets pulled out from under me?” That causes more grief because our determination to hold onto the good moments in fear that they may not come again can then become our attachment to the past which stifles healthy growth and change.

    Tolle is saying that the phrase “this too shall pass” is a reminder to us that every moment will pass and if we accept that, we can more fully appreciate each moment of our lives. During the bad times, we can more easily accept what is happening because we know that this day, hour, minute shall pass and there will be another one coming along, maybe better than this one. During happy times, the awareness that every moment is temporary allows us to really live it fully.

    Letting go of each moment, no matter what it brings, and living only in the present is something that I am willing to try. Why? Because experience has taught me that bad times do pass and because I know I can live more fully in the immediate present when I’m not worrying about losing it. I also know that it takes practice and I won’t always succeed, but “This too shall pass” is my new mantra.

    How about you? Do you live fully in the present? Or do you hang onto the past? Or, perhaps focus only on the future? Please share!

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    Naturopathy – A Quick Guide

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    Many women diagnosed with cancer begin to look into natural healing methods. If you like the idea of relying on the healing power of nature, you may want to explore naturopathy. About one million Americans seeks naturopathic treatments each year, and you can find practitioners in many countries around the world.

    Naturopathy began in Germany and spread throughout the nineteenth century. Benedict Lust, one of its founders, opened the first known health food store in New York City in 1895, selling vegetables, fruit, and homeopathic medicines.

    Today, naturopathy still emphasizes self-healing and favors the least invasive forms of treatment. Take a quick look at the benefits of naturopathy and how to make them work for you.

    Benefits of Naturopathy

    1. Live healthy. Keeping yourself in good condition is the essence of naturopathy. Eat whole foods, exercise regularl manage stress, and sleep well.

    2. Coordinate your treatment. You may need conventional care for serious health conditions or any issue that requires prescription drugs or surgery. Keep your whole health team updated so that they can coordinate your care and avoid any harmful interactions.

    3. Take fewer drugs. By viewing drugs as a last resort, you may be able to cut down on the pills you take. That can save you money and reduce the risk of side effects.

    4. Become better educated. Naturopaths believe in teaching. You’ll learn more about good nutrition, positive psychology, and other important subjects.

    5. Address root causes. Many people like the philosophy of going beyond symptoms to tackle root causes and care for the whole person. You may even enjoy more long lasting relief.

    6. Focus on prevention. Prevention is always the best approach. Habits like maintaining your ideal weight can protect you from diabetes and other conditions.

    Naturopathic Treatments

    1. Take a bath. Hydrotherapy has a long history in European spas and Native American sweat lodges. Modern research confirms that raising your body temperature boosts your immune system.

    2. Try manipulative therapies. Naturopathy incorporates physical therapies like chiropractic and massage. They’ve been proven highly effective in some cases of back pain and sore muscles.

    3. Consider acupuncture. Acupuncture is another age old therapy that is now widely accepted. Some insurance companies will even help cover your costs.

    4. Receive lifestyle counseling. As mentioned, lifestyle changes play a big role in your health outcomes. Naturopaths can explain the latest research and help you find solutions that you can fit into your daily routine.

    Additional Tips

    1. Check credentials. Qualifications vary widely. Some states have licensing and educational requirements while others do not. Keep in mind that the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education is the only agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

    2. Understand the scope of practice. Naturopaths who are not also medical doctors may be restricted from providing certain types of care. This could include prescribing drugs or delivering babies.

    3. Seek referrals. Ensure your practitioner can provide any referrals you need. Ask them about their network and specialties.

    4. Exercise caution. There are a few controversial issues to keep in mind. Whatever else you hear, consult objective sources on the value of childhood vaccinations. You may also need to be careful about extensive fasting or taking specific herbs. Talk with your doctor about any concerns.

    5. Read your insurance policy. Contact your insurer to see if they cover naturopathy or offer a rider that you can purchase for such alternative care. If you need to finance it yourself, talk with your practitioner about ways to save money, like purchasing supplements online.

    Your body contains a powerful force for self-healing. Naturopathy may be one element in a combination of treatments that will help you live a longer and healthier life.

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    I Take Care of My Own Needs (An Affirmation)

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    One thing that I hear from women who have had a cancer diagnosis say all the time is “I’ve always taken care of everybody else first.” If cancer isn’t a wake up call that WE NEED TO TAKE CARE OF OURSELVES FIRST, then what is? People pleasing seems to be especially prevalent among women cancer survivors. Here is a little affirmation which you can use to help you to take care of your own needs and start putting your health and wellbeing first.

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    I take care of my own needs.

    Although I cherish my close friendships, being independent is important to me. To be independent is to feel a sense of autonomy, that I can be okay because of my own choices and efforts.

    It is true that I have a lot of needs to fulfill. But it is also true that I ensure my needs are taken care of.

    I plan delicious healthy snacks and meals that I love and I make sure to move my body everyday because it feels wonderful to be alive.

    I am the master of my own life. It is invigorating and freeing to recognize that I have complete control over how I experience life. Because I am a strong person, I make my way and provide self-care however I see fit.

    Although I have an independent nature, taking care of some of my needs might require asking others for assistance. When I know that I need help, I ask for it without hesitation. I am smart enough to realize when the input of others can assist me to achieve my goals.

    Today, knowing I can take care of myself brings contentment to my life. Developing self-awareness about my capacity to take care of my own needs ensures I can continue to do so in the future.

    My life is fulfilling and adventurous because I have the gumption to take care of me.

    Self-Reflection Questions:

    1. Do I take care of my own needs?

    2. If I believe I require assistance in taking care of my needs, who do I depend on to help and why?

    3. What are some steps I can take to ensure that I do everything possible to
    take are of myself and my own life?

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