Preventing Lyme Disease, Part 2

As those of you who have read my bio know, I have suffered from chronic Lyme disease for seventeen years. Lyme disease is not only transmitted through a tick bite; it can also be sexually transmitted or passed from mother to child in uterus.

 

Unfortunately, because of the intense controversy surrounding this disease, these and other facts are not widely known.

 

It is not my intention to deal with the politics of Lyme in this post. For myself, I have multiple blood tests to prove that the Lyme is active in my body.  For others, there is proof showing that more than 800 new cases of Lyme is detected EVERY SINGLE DAY.  Lyme does not discriminate and it is possible that you may contract this disease as well.

 

This past winter was unusually mild. That means that the tick population this summer will be rampant, and we will all need to be exceptionally careful. The following posts will give you multiple ideas on ways to PREVENT contracting Lyme disease, as well as information about TESTING for ticks if you, your children, or your animals are bitten, to discover if the tick carries any diseases.

If you are confused as to what exactly Lyme disease is, and how difficult it can be to treat, check out my post Preventing Lyme Disease, Part 1.

  As many say, “Prevention is the best form of medicine.” Let’s get to it!

Please note, dear readers: I am not a medical professional, and the following information is my opinion only. Any changes you make in your healthcare should first be reviewed by your doctor.

PREVENTION TIPS

  •   Stay out of tall grass

This is a basic guideline. While ticks abound everywhere, sticking to close-cut grass allows you to see more of the creepy-crawlers that may choose you as their new home. Staying out of woods and dense areas is also important, as these places often make healthy habitats for ticks.
  • Daily tick check

After coming inside from a walk, check all over for ticks. Important areas include in between your toes, armpits, behind knees, and groin areas. Ticks love to hide and can do so easily, especially the smaller species.
  • Protect your clothing

Using a bug spray that contains tick repellent is an excellent idea whenever you venture outside. Permethrin can be found at major chain stores, including outdoor stores like Cabela’s, and can be used on clothing and outdoor equipment (such as tents). Never apply Permethrin directly to your skin.
There are also several essential oils that help to repel ticks (see below for a possible recipe).
Diatomaceous earth can be sprinkled around outside, especially around doors and windows, to keep all crawling insects out of your home.
There are also multiple plants (including Citronella, Lemongrass, and Peppermint) that you can keep indoors to help repel bugs.
Another choice available to you is already treated clothing; check out companies such as Insect Shield and BugBeWear to find options that work for you.
  • Dress sensibly

Wearing light or brightly colored clothing allows you to better see any ticks or bugs crawling on you. If wearing socks, tuck your pant legs inside to prevent ticks from crawling up your legs, and tuck your shirt inside your pant to keep bare skin unavailable to unwanted guests.
  • Keep your body healthy

Generally speaking, the healthier you are, the more likely your body is to fight pathogens such as Lyme and co-infections. A healthy immune system is essential for fighting any illness. Avoid GMO’s, and keep to a low-sugar, organic diet, while boosting your immune system with vitamins such as C and D as well. Exercise routines such as yoga or Tai Chi can help bring you back to your center and regulate your breathing.

 

  Keep posted for more information readers!

 

Essential Oil recipe for tick repellent:

  • 20 drops Lemongrass oil
  • 20 drops Eucalyptus oil

In a 4 ounce spray bottle, mix these oils together, then fill the rest of the bottle with water. Shake before each use, and reapply every 4 hours.

Other possible essential oils for repelling bugs include Cedar, Tea tree, and Peppermint.

How I Love My Liver (Pt 2)

My last post discussed how important our livers are and how some of the everyday ingredients in our food can do irreparable harm (see blog post How I Love my Liver (Pt 1)).  In this second post, I will be talking about some ways we can help keep our livers happy and healthy – after all, a happy liver makes for a happy life!

 

Our livers are responsible for everything we put in our bodies – food, drink, prescription medications, and supplements. It stands to reason then, that if we put GOOD things into our bodies, it will keep our liver from becoming toxic. But what IS good for our liver?

Note: please remember, I am not a doctor and any opinions discussed in my blog are the result of research and personal experience. Because I encourage everyone to do their own research, I have provided links to back up my writings and I advise my readers to read them. Before changing habits or lifestyles based on the information provided, check with a trusted doctor to confirm that any changes you make are going to be beneficial to your health.

 

Let’s discuss some basic guidelines for eating and drinking habits that have proven to be helpful to our livers:

 

FOODS THAT MAKE YOUR LIVER HAPPY

  • Vegetables (especially dark, leafy greens)

Greens neutralize heavy metals and chemicals, soak up toxins in our blood stream, support enzyme production and increase productivity of your bile; vegetables eaten fresh, cooked, or juiced are incredibly powerful in helping to cleanse and protect our liver.

  • Berries (without any added sugar)

Many berries, including blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries, are high in phytonutrients, which help promote liver health.

  • Seeds (including chia, flax and hemp) AND nuts

Seeds and nuts provide your body with amazing vital fatty acids. While being easily digestible, they bring with them powerful antioxidants that help cleanse the liver. Many refer to nuts and seeds as “superfoods” for your liver.

  • Coconut oil

This antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal oil can help protect against liver disease through the fatty acids it provides, while also keeping fat from accumulating in the liver by transforming into energy (instead of entering the bloodstream).

  • Olive oil (unrefined and cold-pressed)

This oil helps provide a base for eliminating toxins and thus, is a powerful protector for our liver.

  • Ginger

Ginger helps to protect the liver from damage and liver fibrosis, while fighting parasites that attack the liver and intestine.

  • Garlic

This amazing bulb is good for so many things but when added to the diet, stimulates enzyme production to help flush out toxins.

  • Turmeric

This spice is one of the best ways to detoxify the liver; adding it to foods or finding a reputable supplement will go a long way towards keeping our livers happy.

  • Fish

High in Omega-3 fatty acids, fish provides not only an excellent protein source but also brings with it the enzymes needed for detoxification.

  • Lentils, chickpeas, and beans (including black, kidney and pinto)

Legume powerhouses can help keep toxic buildup of bile out of your system, which in turn keeps the liver functioning at a higher level.

 

DRINKS THAT MAKE YOUR LIVER HAPPY

  • Water

    Water is absolutely essential to our daily lives. Adding some freshly squeezed lemon juice to our water every morning is wonderful for aiding in the detoxification process. For myself, I aim for at least one hundred ounces of purified water every day.

  • Green Tea

This tea carries with it an antioxidant called EGCG, a powerful agent in protecting liver cells against everyday damage.

  • Apple Cider Vinegar

ACV does wonders for the liver; it reduces inflammation, helps get rid of fat, aids in weight loss and promotes good function.

Read more on foods/drinks that are beneficial to our livers:

http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/liver-cleanse-foods/

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/natural-health/foods-to-cleanse-and-care-for-your-liver/

http://www.livestrong.com/article/332588-what-vegetables-are-good-for-liver-function/

http://www.liversupport.com/green-tea-promotes-a-lean-liver/

 

  Other than eating liver-healthy foods and drinking more water, what else can we do to keep our livers in tip-top shape?

  Having struggled with liver issues in the past, I have found several supplements and activities that have dramatically improved my liver. Check out the following ideas:

  • Infrared saunas

These saunas are amazing for aiding in the detoxification process. Infrared saunas are becoming more and more popular and can often be found in spas or gyms. Another option would be to purchase one for yourself and keep it in your home. For myself, I use my infrared sauna in my home at least once a week.http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/03/21/dr-clement-on-detoxification.aspx

  • Castor oil packs

Around a year ago, my CBC panels indicated high liver enzyme numbers. I began doing castor oil packs over my liver several times per week and after a month, retested my numbers. They had dropped by half in just that one month! Castor oil packs are cheap, easy, and effective in helping the liver detox. Check out more info on how to do a castor oil pack here:  https://wellnessmama.com/35671/castor-oil-packs/

  • Milk thistle

Hailed as a wonder herb for liver health, milk thistle contains antioxidants that have proven to be beneficial in helping to block toxins from binding to the liver, and its antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties are extremely helpful in fighting liver disease.http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/09/14/milk-thistle-benefits.aspx

  • Lecithin

This supplement is one I keep on hand and take daily, as I have personally found it very effective. Lecithin’s compounds help to keep fat from accumulating in the liver and supports metabolism.http://www.livestrong.com/article/447597-lecithin-liver-function/

 

  Taking care of our livers is equivalent to taking care of our health. By sticking to a good diet, drinking tons of water and supplementing our lives with supplements, saunas, and castor oil packs (to name just a few), we can go a long ways towards keeping our bodies as healthy as possible!

 

Check out other recent posts:

Exercise and Lyme: an Update

Live, Laugh, and Laugh Some More

Exercise & Lyme

Feverfew…a migraine miracle?

How I Love my Liver (Pt 1)

  For the past seventeen years, I have struggled with a chronic disease (chronic Lyme disease).  In that time I have researched, read and discussed many elements relating to good health. These include but are not limited to diet, adrenals, hormones, and keeping the colon, intestines and liver in good working order.

As early as age 15, I began researching all the functions that fall under the liver’s list of must-do’s.  Even so, I continually come across individuals in this country who believe that the liver (and other major organs) do not need detoxing. It astounds me, especially considering that these people are often incredibly smart OR belong to the medical society.

In the following posts I will discuss not only what our livers do for us and ways we can keep them healthy, but will be providing links for YOU to do your own research. Don’t just believe me! It stands to reason that if I, who have been studying this issue for fifteen years, still have to argue the basics with medical personnel, then YOU will also come across many people who believe that detoxing the liver is completely unnecessary. Learn more for yourself so that you can be confident when talking about this issue.

Please remember: I am not a licensed health professional. Anything I share is based on research and personal education, so please read more for yourself and talk to your doctor about these subjects.

  Right, let’s answer some basic questions:

Where is the liver in the human body?

The liver sits in the upper right portion of the abdomen. It is above the stomach and below the diaphragm. Reddish-brown in color, it is the largest solid organ in the body.

What does the liver actually do?

Textbooks often cite around 500 functions of our liver, including bile production, creating blood-clotting coagulants, fat metabolization, carbohydrate metabolization, storing both vitamins and minerals, filtering the blood, metabolizing proteins, producing albumin, and breaking down any chemicals (such as prescription drugs).

Basically, your liver is responsible for processing EVERYTHING you eat or drink and either repackages it for your body to use in other areas, or eliminates it.

How much does the liver weigh?

The liver weighs in around three pounds.

Can you function without your liver?

Unfortunately, the answer is no. There is a possibility of donating part of your liver to another person and functioning without full use of your liver, but if your liver is already compromised, there could be serious side effects.

 

Some incredible information so far, readers! Your liver, the largest solid organ in your body, is responsible for everything you eat, drink, and put into your body. Who wouldn’t want to make sure their liver is functioning at as high a level as possible?

  Now comes the tricky part. Many elements can compromise your liver, but do they apply to you?

What hurts my liver?

As already established, the liver processes everything we eat, drink and put into our bodies (including supplements and prescription drugs). Therefore the very BASIC answer to this question is, eat well, drink responsibly, and be aware of what prescriptions you take.

 

But what does it mean to eat well and drink responsibly?

Let’s take a look at some items that typical humans eat and drink on a regular basis:

 

Sugar

Refined sugar comes from a sugar cane, but when it is refined it is stripped off all its natural componants and has been defined by some as a “drug” in your body. Refined sugar can:

  • Increase the risk of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease, hormonal imbalance and contribute to candida which is a yeast overgrowth in the body. It is highly addictive and because it is stripped of its natural componants, is difficult to break down in your body, leading to a blood sugar imbalance

Refined sugar is basically empty calories with no nutritional value whatsoever. Here are some more articles to check out:

https://authoritynutrition.com/10-disturbing-reasons-why-sugar-is-bad/

https://wellnessmama.com/15/harmful-effects-of-sugar/

http://www.livestrong.com/article/441681-the-effect-of-refined-sugar-on-the-body/

ITEMS HIGH IN SUGAR

Cereals/canned and packaged fruit/pudding and pudding cups/snack cakes and pies/muffin mixes and prepared muffins/barbecue sauce/specialty coffees and teas

pies

WHITE FLOUR

White flour is wheat flour that has been stripped of bran and germ, and then bleached with a chemical component (often chlorine oxide) to give it a lighter color. Refined white flour is highly processed during which time most of the organic nutrients, such as vitamin E, vitamin B, magnesium, calcium, and iron, are almost completely stripped.  During the growing process the wheat is sprayed with pesticides.  Essentially, white flour has little to no nutritional value and is a festation of pesticides and bleach. Despite this, it is extremely common in everyday eating habits!

White flour leads to:

  • Obesity, heart disease, allergies and asthma, diabetes, gluten intolerance, health issues related to vitamin deficiencies, gut inflammation, other chronic diseases

http://www.rachelhjones.com/508/5-ways-white-flour-is-harmful-to-you

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/06/30/we-have-known-bread-has-been-bad-for-your-health-for-over-a-century.aspx

ITEMS HIGH IN WHITE FLOUR

Bread/Pastries/Pasta/Pizza/Cereals

pizza

 

 

To be honest, readers, hundreds of blog posts could be dedicated to discussing the evils of common food ingredients such as sugar and white flour. There simply isn’t enough room to go into more specific detail, which is why I provided links for you to do your own research.

 This concludes Part 1, but stay tuned for the next post which will contain information on things you can do to make and keep your liver healthy!

Exercise and Lyme: an Update

A few months ago, I wrote a blog post discussing the possibility of exercising even while dealing with a chronic illness (see blog post Exercise & Lyme).

dog doing yoga

  After posting that article, I received more responses than ever before! The topic of exercise is a hot one, let me tell you. It was wonderful to get feedback from so many people, and now I am pleased to give you an update on my OWN exercise life!

 

Not so long ago, I was bedridden from my disease. It is nothing short of miraculous then, that I am now keeping up with so much on an everyday basis. Several weeks ago, I decided to add in some exercise as well, believing that my body was ready for it.

  Readers….it has been GREAT so far! Read my reviews of what I have tried:

 

YOGA

Originating in ancient India, yoga focuses on your physical, mental and spiritual core. The art of breathing and holding different positions helps to strengthen your body but also brings you back in touch with your spiritual being.

Yoga isn’t completely new to me. I practiced yoga and meditation at home in the past and enjoyed the results. Now, I’m attending yoga group classes and absolutely loving it. It is low impact and relaxing, however it definitely stretch those muscles! This is something I’m planning on continuing at least once a week!

cat excercing 2

 

ZUMBA

Oh, baby! Dance moves, loud music, big smiles…who wouldn’t love Zumba? This program combines both Latin and International music for an aerobic workout with interval training (alternating between fast and slow rhythms). I know for some, this type of workout isn’t for them, but I enjoy every minute of it and have found it highly addictive.

In the Zumba fitness classes I have been attending, I am often one of ten to twenty other participants. We are given several water breaks (which are needed) and we use light equipment to help enhance the workout.  Our instructor keeps us moving and grooving while completing anywhere from 6000-10000 steps during a 50-minute session. Although I find myself exhausted afterwards, I never lose my smile during these classes because they are incredibly enjoyable! I am looking forward to continuing Zumba every week.

dog excercising

 

 Keep posted for more updates as I try other fitness classes!

Do you exercise? What works best for you and your body/lifestyle?

Update on Bella (my fur-baby)

This past Christmas was…interesting (see blog post Happy New Year (and belated Merry Christmas)!).  My fur-baby, Bella, the love of my life (see previous post My fur-baby, Bella) was very sick and we spent Christmas day in the vet ER. Bella was diagnosed with disc disease and it was recommended that she begin acupuncture, cold laser therapy.

wp-image-1970815717jpg.jpeg

Since Christmas, Bella has done four treatments of acupuncture, cold laser treatment and massage. She is doing phenomenally well! So well in fact, her holistic vet mentioned making her a case study.  However, she still has disc disease and therefore, it is important to being exercising her carefully so that she builds up her core strength and keeps the disease at bay.

 

This is important because as a little dog (under 8 pounds), she continues to jump. It is unavoidable, although I have made life as easy for her as possible by building stairs and keeping her sleeping area low to the grounds. Nevertheless, the more she jumps, the more she aggravates her disease.

 

Hydrotherapy was recommended for managing disc disease. After doing some research and talking to several groups on FB, I decided to see a professional, licensed animal hydrotherapist before attempting it on my own. Pictured below is Bella at her first appointment!

20170118_115113

20170118_114453

 

Bella absolutely detests the water. Even with her Miss-Priss attitude, she did great at her first appointment and walked in 6 inches of water for 18 minutes (an excellent first beginning). The water is heated to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, so she doesn’t get too cold while working out.

 

The plan is to do several more appointments with the licensed professional before attempting it here at home. Once I feel comfortable to take over her therapy, I will be exercising her either in the bathtub or a kiddy pool.  The latter option will be much more feasible once the weather starts to get warm.

 

  Bella is my life and I will do whatever it takes to make sure that she is as happy and healthy as possible.  Hopefully, the hydrotherapy will keep her strong and prohibit another painful Christmas!

If you are interested in hydrotherapy for your own fur-baby, check out these links:

http://www.petmd.com/dog/general-health/how-hydrotherapy-and-swimming-can-benefit-dogs

http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/dog-health-hydrotherapy-how-it-works

 

Bella 1

 

Exercise & Lyme

Having dealt with chronic Lyme disease for 17 years, I know the ins and outs of this illness.

For the most part, I know what my body can handle. However, despite my intimate knowledge and understanding of this disease, I still hear the following words rather regularly: “If you would just exercise…”

exhausted-person-image

It is true, exercise has been like a fountain of youth for many people. And I’m certainly not disagreeing with the effectiveness of engaging in consistent exercise. However, people rarely try to see the issue from my point of view: when in pain (excruciating pain), dealing with headaches (at least five per day and often a migraine on top of those five), suffering from tummy issues (despite a healthy diet and supplementation), and moaning from achy joints and muscles…exercise is NOT a good idea.

exhausted-animal-image

Those symptoms described above also accurately describe my daily life for the majority of the past 17 years. Only recently have I begun to think that maybe, just maybe, I could get serious about exercise.

By “get serious” I mean do more than walk when I can, or take the stairs at a store when I can. I mean join a group, learn the rules, commit to doing some form of exercise several times per week.

In fact, I can prove I’m serious. In October, I joined a yoga class. I was able to do one class, then I experienced a chronic infection that lasted for 8 weeks…basically, imagine the worst flu that you have ever had, then keep that in your mind for eight weeks. There was no way I was going back to yoga while feeling like complete and utter s***.

Now, I think I may be ready to try again. I have been recovered from the chronic infection for two months, and have been able to increase my hours at work while dealing with a sick dog, so I think my body might be ready for a change.

Now dear readers, is the part where I need your help!

I am considering many options: yoga? Pilates? Swimming lessons? Physical therapy? Gym? What, oh what, would be best for my body?

cat-excercising

If you have been chronically ill and have also tried exercising, I would love to know your story and get your feedback on how exercising has gone for you! 

 

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100 Movies Update 3

Despite the craziness of the holidays and my home life recently (see blog post Happy New Year (and belated Merry Christmas)!), I have another update on my movie challenge for my dear readers! (See blog posts 100 Movies for my 30th Year! 100 Movies: Update and 100 Movies Update 2) Over the past few weeks I was able to watch and review Schindler’s List, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and From Here to Eternity.

Check out my thoughts…

 

Schindler’s List

schindlers-list15

This incredible film is well worthy of being named one of the best American films ever made for several reasons: 1, the style of filming, 2, the actors involved and 3, the way the characters (based on real events) are so personalized. The way this film starts in color, fades to black and white, then employs the use of color again later in the film is nothing short of genius. Just through filming, the audience is fully aware of the emotions behind the script. The way the camera stays so close to the actors faces puzzled me at first, until I realized it was being shot in a documentary style (even though this is most assuredly a big budget film). A risky move, but one that pays off thanks to the acting genius of Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes and Ben Kingsley. Not only does the script dive into uncomfortable history, it portrays how human souls change because of the horrors they see, both for the good and the bad.

Notice these tidbits…

  • Ralph Fiennes put on several pounds to play the role of Amon Goethe by drinking beer

  • Steven Spielburg had to the option to cast a well-known actor (including Harrison Ford) in the main role of Oskar Schindler, but chose Liam Neeson (a then little-known actor) so the film would not be overshadowed by star power

  • This is the most expensive black and white film made, to date

  • A large percentage of the film was shot using a hand held camera

  • The film won 7 Academy Awards including Best Director, Best Picture, and Best Original Score

  • Based on the book, Schindler’s Ark by Thomas Keneally

  • The girl in the red coat was based on a real girl, Roma Ligocka, a survivor of the Krakow ghetto, who was known for wearing a red winter coat. She later wrote a book called The Girl in the Red Coat

 

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

butch-cassidy-film-poster
I went into this film expecting certain things, thinking it was a typical Hollywood Western. Not true. This movie shines above others because of the truly incredible, and I do mean incredible, script. Every single line was chosen with care. Words are not minced and if you, as the audience, miss a line, you miss a great deal. Seldom do you see such superb writing, or such chemistry between two male actors  (Robert Redford and Paul Newman). The character of Butch (Newman) is played with looseness and affability, while the Kid (Redford) is more serious and stoic. The cinematography adapts a less-is-more attitude and interrupts the minimalist style with scenes consisting only of yellowed photographs, while giving several scenes more character simply because the audience does not expect the excess (for example, the scene of the bicycle crashing to the ground on its own). All in all, this movie is a must-see.

Notice these tidbits…

  • Screenwriter William Goldman (who won an Academy Award for this film) also wrote the well-known novel, The Princess Bride

  • Steve McQueen, Warren Beatty and Marlon Brando were considered for the role of the Kid, but Robert Redford eventually won the role

  • The President of 20th Century Fox, Richard Zanuck, paid $400,000.00 for the screenplay – more than anyone had ever paid for a screenplay before

  • Paul Newman did his own bicycle stunts

 

From Here to Eternity

from-here-to-eternity-film

Although I had never watch the full version of this film before, I had seen the classic scene with Deborah Kerr and Burt Lancaster on the beach many times. At times the filming and acting came across as choppy to me, perhaps because Montgomery Clift (who played Robert E. Lee Prewitt) was pioneering a new type of acting (method) and therefore, his style seemed almost out of place (although exceptionally more natural). The lone but hard working soldier, the unhappy girl, and the hard-nosed officers lent inspiration to future films such as An Officer and A Gentleman, The Guardian, and Annapolis.. The casting of Donna Reed as a well, let’s face it, hooker, was a genius move, considering she had been typecast as the “girl next door” in previous roles. The role of Maggio was played by Frank Sinatra, an interesting choice but one that brought comic relief to an otherwise dramatic film.  This film was certainly an interesting fictional take on the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the people whose lives were changed by that event.

Notice these tidbits…

  • Montgomery Clift, in true method acting style, learned to play the bugle for his role (even though he knew he would dubbed) and studied boxing (although he was dubbed by a real boxer in key scenes)

  • The kiss between Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr on the beach was deamed “too erotic” by the MPAA

  • Aloha shirts became much more popular after this film was released

  • Based on the book From Here to Eternity, by James Jones

 

 

See my other movie reviews in the following blog posts:

100 Movies: Update

100 Movies Update 2

Check out other blog posts of mine as well, and be sure to sign up for new post alerts through email!

Happy New Year (and belated Merry Christmas)!

Life Updates!

Happy Thanksgiving 2016!

Ah, My Life

Happy New Year (and belated Merry Christmas)!

It’s 2017! I always say “this past year has gone by so fast” but really, I think time has stayed the same, despite the craziness of my every day life. 

2016 could have ended on a very bad note for me regarding the love of my life, my fur-baby Bella. However as I ring in the new year, I am filled with hope for her. On Christmas day, I took Bella to the ER vet. We had made two trips to her regular vet in the 24 hours before Christmas, but Bella was still in a tremendous amount of pain. Her vet and I suspected her bad back as being the culprit, but I had never, EVER seen my baby go through that kind of pain. 

After an examination, the ER vet told me that Bella has disc disease. She gave Bella an injection full of pain medicine and recommended I get acupuncture/cold laser treatment/combination of both as a way to treat the disease. Since Christmas, Bella has had several treatments of acupuncture/cold laser/massage,and I am so grateful to be able to report improvement in her condition. After several weeks of these healing treatments my plan is to begin aquatherapy at home, to build up Bella’s strength. Because she is 7 1/2 pounds and full of personality, I cannot keep her from doing some damage to her back (by jumping/running), but by doing constant exercises, her body should be able to handle the stress without having to endure this kind of pain. 


Bella is, quite frankly, my reason for living. To be without her would be like being without my heart and soul. Because of her, I have survived an addiction, break ups, loss of jobs and independence, and years of being bedridden due to Lyme disease. While I fully understand that she will not live forever, I need others to understand that with every breath I take, I am loving Bella, missing Bella, talking to Bella, thinking about Bella. She is my miracle. And if I never experience another miracle in life, I will know that I could not have appreciated or loved this little miracle any more than I have.
Thankfully, a new year is here,bringing new thoughts of hope. While I do have goals for the upcoming year, I would prefer to list the goals I accomplished/good things that happened to me in 2016. This past year certainly wasn’t perfect, but I’m still grateful for the following:

I survived (with chronic Lyme disease, surviving is a constant struggle)

-I stuck to the Palio diet and improved my gut, Candida, muscle/joint pain, and fatigue by doing so

-I discovered that my migraines would significantly decrease by simply supplementing my pill regimen with Feverfew on a daily basis (more on this later)

-I continued to collaborate with my doctor on ways to fight the Lyme in my body

-I learned much more about cooking/baking in 365 days then I had in my previous 20+ years, and was able to continually cook for family, friends and myself (a trait that for the most part, everyone else greatly appreciated)

-I joined the workforce again after several years of being too sick to work…and haven’t been fired yet! 

-I was able to spend quality time with dear and trusted friends, including days learning to can with T, and a trip to DC with A (I also enjoyed going to the movie theatre only once in 2016, to see The Secret Life of Pets with K)

-I was blessed to spend many quiet hours reading or watching TV, while curled up with Bella, and discovered the genius of Agatha Christie, E.M. Forster, and other modern classic authors

-I found a new hair color that suited me (after many ill attempts with various dye jobs) and am now comfortable using and recommending henna hair dye

-I saved a tremendous amount of money by making most of my own beauty products

-I attempted joining an exercise program (which I thoroughly enjoyed but had to quit due to a chronic infection…however, it is a new year! )

-I watched many classic films after beginning my challenge to see all 100 of the best American movies ever made (so far, favorites include Some Like It Hot,  Schindler’s List, and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid)

-I endured my car breaking down on the side of the road for the first time ever

-I went to the beach with my sister, her husband and my nephew

-I turned 30 years old and finally feel like I’m beginning to act as a true adult would

-and many other blessings, too numerous to name

  • My New Year’s wish for you:

May 2017 be filled with hope and healing for each and every one of you. No matter your goals starting out, I pray when this year comes to an end, you will be able to look back and see the blessings that occurred and the battles you survived. 

100 Movies Update 2

If you have been keeping up with my blog, you know that I have been doing a movie challenge (see post 100 Movies for my 30th Year!).  This is my second update on the movies that I have checked off the list, including the films Bonnie and Clyde, The Wizard of Oz, and Some Like It Hot.

I must say, I am enjoying this challenge! There are still quite a few movies to see and unfortunately, many of them look like they will be incredibly depressing, so I’m trying to pace how many “downers” I watch in a week. Life can be difficult enough!

 

Bonnie and Clyde

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This was Faye Dunaway’s first major role and it was entertaining to see her so young. Even though the filming was grainy and out of focus at times, Ms. Dunaway is still incredibly beautiful and puts all of her body into her role’s particular language, a talent that proves uncomfortable at times but still relays how dedicated she is as an actress.  Based on true events in the lives of Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker, the producers certainly did not shy away from violence or sex.  The ending death scene was, considering when this film was made, incredibly graphic although interestingly enough, some of the filming seems patterned after comical slap-stick scenes.

Notice these tidbits:

  • Based on real life events of gangsters Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker

  • Bonnie’s mother was played by Mabel Cavitt, a local schoolteacher in Texas where the movie was filmed

  • Shirley Maclaine was considered for the role of Bonnie until her real-life brother, Warren Beatty, decided to play Clyde

  • Before deciding to play Clyde, Warren Beatty wanted musician Bob Dylan in the role

  • Cinematographer Burnett Guffey shot in a somewhat radical style, with some scenes being out of focus to give a hazy, nostalgic sense

 

The Wizard of Oz

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What a delightful film! Truly, no matter your age, a movie that will make you feel young at heart.  While Dorothy, played by Judy Garland, is memorable, it is the supporting cast (including Toto) that truly show their acting chops in this film in regards to singing, dancing and portraying multiple roles.   Nominated for 6 Academy Awards, the movie was disappointing in the box office when first released but has since become one of the most-watched films of all time. Aesthetically, the fantasy wonderland (including the poppy field) truly shined in the Technicolor style. Who can suppress a smile whenever the song, “Over the Rainbow” is sung? Also, those famous ruby slippers, interestingly enough, are now housed in the Smithsonian museum for all to see!

Notice these tidbits:

  • Over the Rainbow won Best Original Song, but the nomination for Best Picture was given that year to Gone With The Wind

  • W.C. Fields was originally chosen for the role of the Wizard, but it went to Frank Morgan instead

  • The costume for the Cowardly Lion (played by Bert Lahr) weighed nearly 100 pounds

  • Shirley Temple was considered for the role of Dorothy

  • The oil used on the Tin Man was actually chocolate sauce

 

Some Like it Hot

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Oh my goodness…if you haven’t yet seen this film, you need to! I laughed and laughed and laughed some more. Filmed in black and white, actors Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis play cross-dressing musicians fleeing the mob, who are both attracted to Marilyn Monroe’s character (who, it should be noted, wears some incredibly fabulous dresses during this film).  The Roman Catholic Legion of Decency gave this movie a “condemned” rating, because it plays with the idea of homosexuality during an era when such ideas were taboo. However, whatever your personal beliefs may be, this film is intended to be funny and no one can deny the comedic talents of Lemmon and Curtis.  My hat is off to costume designer Orry-Kelly, who did such a fabulous job dressing two men as (mostly) convincing females.

Notice these tidbits:

  • Generally considered by critics to be the greatest comedy ever made

  • Marilyn Monroe’s personal life and problems interfered with the filming to such a degree, she was not invited to the wrap party. She often had 40 or more takes to get a single line correct

  • The famous closing line, “Nobody’s perfect,” was never intended to be left in the film; the writers simply kept it in the script while they tried to think up something better

  • Tony Curtis intentionally imitates Cary Grant when he pretends to be a millionaire named Junior

 

Keep updated with my blog by signing up for email alerts! Be on the watch for more of my Movie Updates, and check out these recent blog posts of mine:

Life Updates!

Car Problems

100 Movies: Update

Happy Thanksgiving 2016!

My 30th Birthday

The Issue with MOLD

Mommy, What’s a Toxin?

 

Life Updates!

FUNDRAISER

A few weeks ago, I started a youcaring.com fundraiser to raise money to cover the costs of my car repairs (see blog post Car Problems).  I worked out a payment plan and have been able to cover over half of the total! To keep up with my fundraiser, see this site: https://www.youcaring.com/shelbynutz-703341

  I still need to raise more money.  I understand it’s a busy season but if you are able to pitch in even a few dollars, I would be extremely grateful. Thank you for taking the time to check out my fundraiser and see why my car is so important to me!

car-pic

CHRISTMAS

Also,’ tis the Christmas season! This year I am making most of my Christmas gifts for friends and family and greatly enjoying it.  I’ll reveal WHAT exactly I’m making, AFTER the gifts have been given!

christmas-pic

100 MOVIES

I’m continuing my Movie Challenge.  Keep posted for an update on my list soon! See blog posts 100 Movies for my 30th Year! and 100 Movies: Update

cinema-reel

 

Check out other recent blog posts:

Happy Thanksgiving 2016!

My 30th Birthday

The Issue with MOLD

Mommy, What’s a Toxin?