Be the Enemy!

Batman has enemies like the Joker, the Penguin, the Riddler, Two-Face, and Mr. Freeze. 
Superman has an enemy in Lex Luther.

Optimus Prime has an enemy named Megatron.

With all those enemies we still look at Batman, Superman, and Optimus Prime as the hero.
Why?  Because they are the enemies of all the bad guys I named.  

Batman isn’t a victim to the Joker.  Batman is an enemy of the Joker.  Superman is the enemy of Lex Luther.

Really, there is a point to this.  Really, I’m not a giant comic book nerd.  Really, I don’t watch cartoons anymore.

Public Enemy.  Yeah Booooyyyyy!!
When it comes to your health, we fall into the trap of becoming a victim to our condition, diagnosis, or ailment.  When we become victim to it, we lose power. We lose hope.  We lose our identity.
Our doctor’s don’t help any either.  They label you with a problem (that’s their job) and then they recommend a treatment attempting to limit the effects of that problem.  The goal is disease or condition modification, not health promotion.

Health promotion is the enemy of your condition.  Health promotion is the enemy of your diagnosis.  The only one that can be that enemy is you.
You were born and still possess the most amazing, innate, genetic intelligence to have energy, have vitality, and give a big middle finger to disease.  You are pre-disposed to health.  You’re not the victim.  You’re the hero…every time.

Heroes all have one thing in common.  They take action.  They take action in the face of fear.  They take action in the face of uncertainty.  They take action even if they don’t know the outcome.  Heroes get beaten down but they always get back up.

To be the hero of health and enemy of disease, you have to fight for it.  You’re going to have to get pissed off at the status quo.  You’re going to have to accept you’ll be ridiculed, sometimes by the most important people in your life.  You’re going to a have to get creative.  You’re going to have to seek council.
Suck it up and be the hero for your health.  There’s too many depending on you.  Playing the victim doesn’t serve anyone, ever.  Get pissed and be the enemy.

Swish Cheese or Mandatory Vaccine Logic...which has more holes?

The vaccine debate grows stronger in Colorado.  By debate, I'm referring to the parent's choice to vaccinate vs. the state's mandate to limit and potentially take away a parent's choice.  Currently, Colorado has medical, religious, and philosophical exemptions for parents and their children.  The philosophical exemption is under attack.  "You can choose not to vaccinate but you have to have that signed off by your doctor and/or watch a video created and produced by the vaccine makers."

As news media outlets publish stories on their sites concerning the issue to allow readers to comment, it's the same old song and dance of dogmatic answers from the die hard, pro-vaccine crowd.

This debate would never be to this level if there wasn't the words 'mandatory' associated with the action.  Smoking can be debatable topic but if the government mandated that you were not allowed to smoke anymore, it changes from a health issue to a personal liberty constitution issue and that's going to raise the heat on any debate.

The red text are common themes you will see in the comment sections and probably arguments you have had if you have chosen to not vaccinate and share that information with anyone on social media.  Just check out the response on my twitter after Rob Schneider referenced my vaccine article on his Twitter page. 

The Shout Out

The Backlash
"Celebrities like Jenny McCarthy and Rob Schneider are actors, their opinions don't matter and are putting kids at harm."

There are a couple issues going on with that statement.  The first is that you disregard celebrity status as a right to express an opinion.  Guess what?  The pro-vaccine crowd also has celebrity spokespeople like Amanda Peet, J. Lo, and Sarah Michelle Vampire Slayer. The problem is that they are the drug companies to have an opinion.  Why are your celebrities more valid than the ones that are anti-vax?  Is it just because you agree with their statements?

Second, the vaccine choice celebrities have children.  Do you really think they are maliciously putting their own kids in harm's way, much less the 4 million babies each and every year?  I don't know them personally but I think I can safely assume they love children and want them as healthy as possible. 

"Your choice to not vaccinate isn't just about your child.  You will get my kid sick."

Are you talking about your vaccinated child?  My unvaccinated kid is going to get your vaccinated kid sick?  Either the vaccine worked and your child is safe or you don't believe the vaccine works and have fallen for the scare tactics and are making statements out of fear, not logic.  You can't have it both ways. 

"If too many kids don't get vaccinated, then herd immunity is ruined."

The whole theory behind herd immunity is that by vaccinating 85%+ of the population, it protects the ones that aren't vaccinated.  Since the vaccine rate for kids is near or above targeted vaccine coverage, then you have to look at the adults like yourself, to be blamed for 'passing' disease to the unfortunate.  With the largest proportion of the American population being the baby boomers, when was the last time they were vaccinated for measles, mumps, chicken pox, rubella, polio, rotavirus, and Hib?  

If anyone was born prior to 1960, they probably weren't vaccinated for anything except polio, smallpox, and maybe diphtheria.  And guess what?  They lived.  And guess what else? They have natural immunity.  If the diseases were so horrible, they wouldn't have lived. The baby boomer generation would be referred to as the 'baby casualty generation.' 

Yes people died from infectious illness and people will always die from infections.  The percentage of the population is so slim, even prior to mass vaccination, it's not logical to mandate and add more vaccines to a schedule that hasn't seen an outbreak since the 1918 flu.  I'm not talking about the measles "outbreaks" you see in the news with pockets of 4 people that can be classified as an outbreak. 

"If it weren't for vaccines, infectious disease would be destroying the world. Thanks vaccines."

That's just ignorant.  Check out this article from the Journal of American Medical Association showing a rapid drop in death rate due to infectious diseases prior to 1960.  The polio vaccine wasn't even tested in children until 1950.  A massive trial didn't happen until 1954.  The polio vaccine wasn't even licensed until 1960.  The measles vaccine wasn't even licensed until 1963 and the rest followed.  You can't praise vaccines for the decline in infectious disease deaths, when infectious disease rates and deaths have been relatively unchanged since the early 1960's.

"Vaccines are safe.  Anyone that says they cause harm is just a conspiracy theory alarmist."

If they are safe then why do we need herd immunity to protect the ones that can't get a shot?  Why not just give the vaccines to anyone and everyone at any age and with any health condition?  If there are populations of people that can have adverse effects to vaccines then the vaccines aren't safe, are they?  Either they are safe and effective and everyone should get all of them or they can cause damage and we need to limit vaccines to the strong to protect the weak.  You can't have it both ways.  If vaccines were safe, we wouldn't have the National Vaccine INJURY Compensation Program.  

The crazy thing is that many think the vaccine debate is a new entity due to internet and blogs.  Really it's not about whether to vaccinate or not, it's about being FORCED to vaccinate.  Anytime you force someone to do anything with poor logic, poor science, and making a parent feel as if they are stupid, opposition is going to grow.
"The people not vaccinating their kids are just ignorant and not intelligent, how can they be putting so many at risk with their careless behavior?"

The screen shot below of an article, Vaccine Refusal, Mandatory Immunizations, and the Risks of Vaccine Preventable Diseases from The New England Journal of Medicine, says it all. 

The parents that refuse to vaccinate are upper middle class and college educated.  Damn you higher education for teaching people to read, reason, and think for themselves.  This is why the debate has moved from a science argument to a moral argument.  Doctors and vaccine makers can't pull the, 'you're just a home-maker, you wouldn't understand' bit.  Instead they have to hit a mom emotionally (like my friend Jessica) by calling her a bad parent for not following the herd and potentially putting her kid(s) at risk.  The science argument turned into a moral/ethical argument.  That's why the vaccine debate is as heated as politics and religion. They all come down to beliefs. Beliefs dictate behaviors. 

I know this will fall on deaf ears for those that want mandatory vaccines, think vaccine choice is anti-science, or just a Twitter troll living to insult people,  but hopefully it gave one of those college educated, stay-at-home moms some validation that they are NOT stupid, reckless, and endangering the public at large. 

Are Essential Oils...Essential?

I'm probably going to rub many (the crunchy mom crowd) the wrong way with this post but I keep getting emails asking what my thoughts are on essential oils.  

Often my response is, "why are they essential?"  

The definition of essential is 'absolutely necessary.'  Another way to look at essential is by saying they are a requirement. Going by that definition, I don't think they are essential.  

I'm not against the oils.  I'm against them being called and utilized as something that is essential.  Many things are essential to life.  Oxygen, water, movement, certain vitamins and minerals, and a brain.

There's no oil in the repertoire of the 'essential' oil companies that can replace the true essentials for life.  

Instead of being called 'essential,' I would refer to them as 'intervention' oils.  They are used as an intervention...all the way back to ancient Egyptian days. You have a cut or burn, you can use this oil.  You have an infection, you can use that oil.  

There is a use for virtually every condition but that's my point.  They are used to intervene, not to prevent or provide essential human cellular building blocks.  

I'm glad people are using these oils instead of toxic medications but I'm afraid I see too many trying to essential-oil a deficiency in moving, eating, and thinking instead of doing what is congruent to the innate genetic intelligence requirements.  

My outcome is always going to be health.  Health starts with what is required.  If you are using oils instead of doing what is required, it's no different that taking a drug.  You may feel or smell better but did it replace a deficiency or remove a toxicity?

"Embrace the Suck"

Monday through Thursday I'm up either at 4:30 or 5:30 am to be at my favorite CrossFit box, CrossFit Continuum for the 5 or 6 am class.  Getting up that early sometimes sucks. 

If you're not familiar with CrossFit, you show up and the workout is already planned out. Sometimes it's posted online the night before and I check it to get mentally ready for the next morning.  

I went in Wednesday morning without checking the workout ahead of time.  I get there a few minutes early and see the class before me finishing up and they are struggling.  They are performing some movements that I hate with a weight load that I know is going to make me struggle.  "This workout is going to suck," fills my head. 

My class's turn.  We get warmed up, practice the movements and start loading up the weights to perform the actual activity.  I loaded up my bar and the coach looks at me, gives me a little grin and says, 'bump it up.'  

I tried to plead with excuses that with the amount of reps we were going to do, I would be here all day trying to finish it.  "It's not going to look pretty," "I'm going to be slow," "I'm going to have to break the sets up into individual reps."

The coach listened with a caring, empathetic ear as he did the workout previously and knew how hard it was.  But as a coach, he wants to push his clients a bit.  He looked at me, smiled, and said, "you're just going to have to embrace the suck."

He was right, so I did, got through the workout better than I thought I would and was proud of my accomplishment to push myself.  

That advice, of "embrace the suck" still rings in my ears.  What other aspects of my life do I know need to get done but am avoiding them because I know they will suck?  

What areas of your health journey do you need to "embrace the suck" and just do them?  Maybe it's sitting down and creating a budget so you no longer have an excuse that it's 'too expensive' to get healthy.  

Maybe it's that salad you hate to eat at dinner but never regret eating.  Maybe it's getting up early to do something active or to just have quiet time of reading and reflection.  

In any case, don't judge the action based on the moment of "suck."  Judge the action based on how you feel after the "suck."

Hopefully that last statement isn't misquoted or used for some new adult film tag line but you get the point.  I rarely have moments in my life that when I do something I don't want to do, that I wish I had never done them.  I usually come out of them learning something, showing myself I can do something I've never done, or enhancing someone else's life.  

The pain of the 'suck' usually turns into the pleasure of satisfaction.  

As I re-read what I just wrote, I'm going to end this post as it is seeming to go south very fast.  Hopefully you got my point, are willing to face the hard task, and feel better after that task is complete.       

Back Surgery...Not So Fast.

During my lunch break today I was listening to the Dave Ramsey show.  My ears perked up as there was a caller named Nick that was calling from Colorado Springs, my city.  My excitement turned to heartbreak as he confessed that he was $30,000 in debt and didn't know what to do.  His voice was breaking up a bit.

His next statement was about how his wife went in for back surgery and never came out.  She reacted to a medication they used and it killed her.  She left behind a 14 year old special needs daughter and a 19 year old daughter and husband that is devastated.  There was well more than enough life insurance money to cover his debts but listening to his voice, he would mortgage any amount of money to have his wife alive.  

I don't know this gentleman but I can't help but feel a little responsible for not getting a message to him prior to his wife's back surgery that there are options that don't need surgery.  

I know the pain and dysfunction can lead people to do anything to try and get rid of the pain.  I also know that back pain is not as simple as it seems.  The location of the pain doesn't always indicate the location of the dysfunction. Even having an MRI confirm a disc problem or pinched nerve does not guarantee it's a surgical issue or that you will have a good outcome from surgery.
In 2010, researchers reviewed records from 1,450 patients in the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation database who had diagnoses of disc degeneration, disc herniation or radiculopathy, a nerve condition that causes tingling and weakness of the limbs. Half of the patients had surgery to fuse two or more vertebrae in the hopes of resolving their low back pain. The other half had no surgery, even though they had comparable diagnoses.

After two years, only 26 percent of those who had surgery had returned to work, compared to 67 percent of patients who did not have surgery. Of the lumbar fusion subjects, 36 percent had complications and 27 percent required another operation. Permanent disability rates were 11 percent for patients undergoing surgery, compared to only 2 percent for patients who did not undergo surgery. In what might be the most troubling finding, researchers determined there was a 41 percent increase in the use of painkillers, with 76 percent of surgery patients continuing opioid use after surgery. Seventeen surgical patients died by the end of the study.

In 1994, the U.S. Public Health Service's Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) conducted the most thorough investigation into acute low back pain in adults and came to the following conclusion in its Patient Guide: "Even having a lot of back pain does not by itself mean you need surgery. Surgery has been found to be helpful in only 1 in 100 cases of low back pain problems. In some people, surgery can even cause more problems. This is especially true if your only symptom is back pain."

The editors of The Back Letter, a newsletter from the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Georgetown Medical Center in Washington, D.C., don't even think surgery is a good idea.

"The world of spinal medicine, unfortunately, is producing patients with failed back surgery syndrome at an alarming rate ... There is growing frustration over the lack of progress in the surgical treatment of degenerative disc disease. Despite a steady stream of technological innovations over the past 15 years – from pedical screws to fusion cages to artificial discs – there is little evidence that patient outcomes have improved ... Many would like to see an entirely new research effort in this area, to see whether degenerative disc disease and/or discogenic pain are actually diagnosable and treatable conditions."
You know what frustrates me the most out of all this?  When a back surgery fails, your doctor can give you a diagnosis of Failed Back Surgery Syndrome.  There's even a code that can be used to bill your insurance for all the treatment AFTER the surgery failed.  And as the government moves towards socialized medicine, you're going to be paying for the surgery AND the treatment for the failed surgery.  And you wonder why insurance rates have skyrocketed?
This is why I have the message of 'More Health, Less Healthcare.'  Obviously the message isn't getting out enough because people in my own back yard are still being casualties of our healthcare system.  The only solution is to create healthy people.  Healthy people don't need spine surgery.  Healthy people don't have cancer.  Healthy people don't get Alzheimer's. 
You are your own greatest doctor.  You have an innate genetic intelligence that is designed to grow, heal, and repair.  Your choices are your biggest help or detriment to this healing ability.  Most of the time you just have to get out of the way and let your body do what it knows best.