Thursday, May 31, 2012
“Each person’s task in life is to become an increasingly better person.” -Leo Tolstoy
“All our dreams can come true – if we have the courage to pursue them.” –Walt Disney
Each one of these quotes discuss change. For most of us, change creates fear. No one wants to change their normal daily schedule or life. It is life on life's terms. Change is good. When a circumstance happens most of us - REACT. This is not always good. The better thing to do is take action. Forget the re- and take the action. Change does take courage. I love Walter E Disney's quote. I do believe with all my heart that dreams can come true. You must pursue your dreams. I still have dreams that are slowly, (not on my time frame!) coming true. Many of my inspirations and dreams have come true. I feel this is due to prayer and meditation and definitely 'letting go' As quickly as things happen, they can also be taken away. This is why I adhere to prayer / meditation and a 12 step lifestyle. I also try every day make a gratitude list . I list what I am grateful for in my life. It is the simple things I am grateful for- water, light, shelter, insects, plants, flowers, the sky and food. From these I get love.
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
"Expressing ourselves honestly in any relationship is essential to our well-being."
Yes, honesty is the best policy. It doesn't matter what kind of relationship we are talking about. It could be the parent-child, child-parent, sister-sister, man-woman, man-man, or woman-woman relationship.If you are to have a healthy relationship, then you must be honest. I was a man who was honest, but I had those little white lies. Sobriety has taught me that little white lies are in reality 'big' lies told small or stretching the truth. In either case, in my opinion it is a lie and will eventually get you in trouble. It is not healthy in any relationship not to be honest. If you disagree then you must ask yourself, what are you hiding from, or what is so secret? It could be a skeleton in the closet that needs to be brought out into the light of day to free yourself. Sometimes these skeletons are not pleasant, You are not unique--we all have those skeletons. I had plenty to fill many a casket. It was a relief to get it out.. my body actually felt lighter.
In the photo above, do you ever feel like your stomach hurts? Mine does!
It is not enough to lose weight if you eat less and exercise more. You need to consider why you are eating so little and exercising so much, and you cannot lose weight nor an inch of your waist line. You need to start considering if something you are eating or drinking is causing inflammation in the body. This is almost always overlooked. This was taught to me years ago when working closely with Dr. Atkins. Food allergy testing is just as important as following the low carbohydrate, high protein lifestyle. Today, I have no specific diet for everyone. Every patient is an individual. It is not a diet but a change in a dietary lifestyle. When a patient eats food that causes inflammation it is more than just bloating or gas the individual will experience. Some patients do not even experience these reactions, but have joint pain, headaches,anxiety and skin problems. These individuals never connect that their food intake could be doing this to their body. Those who consume diet sodas have more body inflammation than most patients I see. Well - there is one exception--those who consume highly processed foods.
Last week I saw a patient with an autoimmune thyroiditis, called Hashimoto's thyroidits (inflammation of the thyroid) causing fatigue, weight gain, depression, hair loss, cold intolerance and constipation. She is taking some thyroid medication. None of her previous doctors have ever mentioned the association between gluten foods and autoimmune thyroidits. Most of her symptoms were related to anxiety, depression, apathy and loss. This is because she eats gluten. Not only does she eat gluten but she eats white bread. I do not know many people who still consume white bread like Wonder Bread. She does not have a food allergy to gluten. She has a food intolerance or sensitivity which is not as obvious as a food allergy. These food in tolerances or sensitivities can take up to 3 days to cause symptoms. These are the delayed reactions. This is why an IgG RAST food test must be done. You will not see these delayed reactions if you do an immediate or IgE food allergy test. These IgG food intolerances are a source of many of the chronic diseases as chronic joint pain, muscle aches, depression, anxiety and even eczema.
You must eat foods that are typically low in inflammation as these foods place less burden on your gastrointestinal system. These are typically foods that are low in sugar (or those with a low glycemic index). Glycemic index is how quickly the food will turn to sugar. Breads and pastas are foods with a high glycemic index. Fruits that are high in sugar are also not the best to eat. These fruits taste good but have low antioxidant potential. These fruits should be combined with fruits that are high in antioxidant potential and low in sugar. All berries, apples and pears are lower in sugar and high in antioxidant potential.
You need to change your dietary lifestyle. Yes it is great to remove these foods, but you must then repair and restore the gut lining. This is assisted by the increased intake of amino acids such as glutamine, theanine and taurine. You must take a probiotic (the good bacteria) as well as vitamin D. I am sure your vitamin D level is low if you have food intolerance or food sensitivities.
I am a crafter. I am an artist. I, to the best of my ability craft a treatment plan for you. We accomplish this by working together as a team. We use certain blood testing to develop this plan. We also look at the psycho social issues that might be affecting your medical issues. This is a true overall assessment of the individual. I believe the doctor should talk to the patient NOT at the patient.
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
"Happiness is the rsult of good actions."
"In seeking happiness for others, you find it for yourself." Anonymous
"Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort." Franklin Roosevelt
"The secret of happiness is not in doing what one likes, but in liking what one does." James M Barrie
What is happiness? There is a definition. Are you happy today? To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.” said Bill W. Now that makes me happy to know I might have touched one person in my life during my AA service. I hope and pray I touch many individual lives in my lifetime. If I do this, then I am grateful and this is my happiness in the world. If I contribute just a bit of my knowledge and happienss to another human individual, then my work is done on this Earth . How blessed am I!
Happiness this weekend was relaxing with Rick and family. I love the green of Virginia. I love listening to the birds in the morning. It was especially endearing as all were healthy in Virginia this weekend... more so than in the past few months. We were all blessed to be together.- Nancy, Fred, Rick, Michael and I
What is COPD? Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is one of the most common lung diseases. It makes it difficult to breathe. There are two main forms of COPD: One is chronic bronchitis, which involves a long-term cough with mucus and the other is emphysema, which involves destruction of the lungs over time. Most people with COPD have a combination of both conditions. The leading cause of COPD is smoking . A person who smokes two packs per day is more likely to develop COPD than someone who smokes one pack per day.
Other risk factors for COPD are exposure to second hand smoke, air pollution and certain gases/fumes in the workplace.
One of the first symptoms is a cough with or without mucous, fatigue, dyspnea (shortness of breath) and many bouts of respiratory infections. Some other symptoms might be wheezing, and trying to catch one's breath.
The most useful test is for the doctor to listen to the lungs with a stethopscope. I do not think that many doctors have time to listen to their patients lungs. In the last years I am getting more involved in the physical diagnosis aspect of my patients health. I used to sit behind a desk (which I still do) but now I have an examination table in my office to better assess my patients health.
The best test for COPD is a lung function test called spirometry. This involves blowing out as hard as possible into a small machine that tests lung capacity. The results can be checked right away, and the test does not involve exercising, drawing blood, or exposure to radiation.
Many Americans die from emphysema from years of smoking. If not emphysema, then lung cancer. One of those individuals was William Griffith Wilson, also known as Bill W. Last week, Rick and I saw the 2012 biopic film, Bill W. BILL W. is the inspirational story of Bill W, the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous. Young Bill was a hard worker and a quick learner. But there were always reasons to drink, and Bill became an alcoholic at a time when there was no support. Working with Dr. Bob Smith to organize an alcoholics’ support group in Akron, Ohio in 1935, Bill then expanded his ideas into the first 12-step recovery program. An engaging public speaker, his idea was to turn alcoholics’ interests toward others, so they wouldn’t be overwhelmed by their own difficulties. It was a truly inspirational story to watch. I teared up at many situations on the screen espcially the real footage of Bill W. I am in awe of this truly gifted special man. He is one of the most engaging men of the 20th century and should never be forgotten.
In the recent Annals of Internal Medicine (2012;156:105-114) a study was published involving COPD patients and the supplementation of Vitamin D. The supplementation was 100,000 units every 4 weeks which was equivalent to about 3,600 IU/day.
The data concluded that high dose Vitamin D DID NOT decrease the incidence of exacerbations in patients with COPD. Vitamin D supplementation did decrease the exacerbation in patients with severe Vitamin D deficiency. The definition for severe was less than 10. There was a suggestion that high dose Vitamin D may exacerbate COPD in those without a severe deficiency (less than 10)
My conclusion is that the estimated daily dose is not enough. I do not consider 3,600 IU/day to be a high dose. Most of my patients take an average dose of 5,000 or greater. The results in this article are basically what has been written before, but I feel more studies need to be done on much higher doses of Vitamin D. I prefer to use Vitamin D3 as a liquid. Although this is not readily available in most health food stores, it can be obtained through a physician.
Monday, May 28, 2012
"PEACE is available if we choose it"
Rick and I made peace available this weekend in Suffolk Virginia. With his brother Michael we had great meals, made sure the parents (Nancy and Fred) were well taken cared of, the grass was cut, the flowers planted and the birds happy. A new water fountan, new feeders, more nectar for the humming birds and the precious gift of life. A pair of birds had 3 babies hatch in the nest in the tree. We could see them being fed and brought water. This is a mirarcle of life.
We had peace and serenity. This weekend is much different from Memorial weekends of the past. No drag queens, no cut throat individuals racing for the HomeComing Crown, and no DRAMA. The reason for this is very few people in addition to us have real lives that we appreciate in NYC. For some their lives are on the summer island. I appreciate GOD's blessings every single day of my life. I love my life with Rick
"Dill is not threshed with a threshing sledge, nor is a cart wheeled over cummin; but dill is beaten out with a stick, and cummin with a rod." - Isaiah 28:27 (RSV)
The phrase above appears in 2 other forms in the King James Version of the Bible. Nigella sativa or Black cumin. This herb appears in James Duke's Medicinal Plants of the Bible which always thrills me. I find it so interesting that many herbs are mentioned in the Bible. This herb may be more important to the Muslims than the Jews or Christians as there is an Arab proverb that states, "In the black seed is medicine for every disease except death."
This herb has century old use as an oil for many health issues. These black seeds were found in King Tut's tomb. It is all over the world. The plant is native to the Mediterranean region. I recently had a woman who started on Black seed oil. She has had a recent decrease in her iron as well as her hemoglobin. She is feeling very fatigued. I know the uses of this special black seed oil, but I started to research if it was possible that the black seed oil could cause blood loss or bleeding.
Black seed oil DOES NOT cause anemia or blood loss. Despite that the Bible and the Quran mention it, the black seed oil has only been studied in the last 40 years.
Black seed oil is described as the medicine for everything. I doubt this is true, but some of its uses amaze even me. It acts as an immunomodulator meaning it balances the immune system. I have used it for coughs with horehound and elderberry. As an essential oil, I use two drops in 4.0 oz of water and have the patient drink this twice a day. The black seed oil is protective against free radicals. These protective factors raises questions about if it should be studied for use in a variety of cancers.
I know many diabetics who use this oil, but it should be used with caution. It has the ability to stabilize your blood sugars so well that if an individual is taking a diabetic medication, the blood sugar might drop too low.
As a topical salve it is used for dermatitis.It is also used for patients with asthma.
Saturday, May 26, 2012
"Keeping an open mind is the most important step when listening to divine guidance."
Do you have an open mind? Do you meditate? Have you ever been treated by a healer? There are so many unanswered questions I have about the universe. I no longer question many things. I believe in divine intervention. I also believe that things that happen are not a coincidence. Things happen for reason. I do not believe that the G.O.D. of your understanding would put anything in your way to harm you. I believe things do happen for reasons. There are lessons to be learned in life.
I always a semi-open mind. Unfortunately from years of education I was taught that there always needed to be scientific proof for everything that happens. I do not believe that today. Some things just happen because they do. My beliefs and my unerstanding of life has changed due to my working the 12 steps. I also believe that my prayer and meditation has changed me. I know it has calmed my mind. I feel so peaceful and serene. While writing about plants, insects, and animals I feel the wave of calmness even more. This is meditation.
Do you like to read? I like to read many different books. Most are on herbs/plants and medicine. However I do like to read fun and interesting books that peek my interest. One new book I am reading is Wicked Insects and the other is The Way of the Panda. I finished Discovering Spoons, a book about the history of the periodic table (remember chemistry class?)
I came across the panda book in my favorite bookstore down the street form our office. It is Rizzoli's Book Store on west 57th Street, New York City. I love the little book stores versus the mega ones like Barnes and Noble and Borders. I want to support the little book stores. Rizzoli is a classic bookstore. http://www.rizzoliusa.com/
I think most everyone is fascinated with the Panda. The turnstiles at the zoos turn faster when there is a panda or group of pandas. I know Rick, Michael and I couldn't wait to see the Pandas in the San Diego Zoo three years ago. The San Diego Zoo has had a love affair with the pandas ever since two visited in 1987. After years of red tape and politics, the zoo and China agreed on a 12 year loan of two Giant Pandas- Bai Yun and Shi Shi. There was a new facility built and expanded and now the zoo has the giant pandas. These 3 pandas, Bai Yun, Gao Gao and Yun Zi have deluxe accommodations. I am in the mood to visit a panda again. Seeing a panda brightens my heart, and makes me feel warm. This is especially so since the world is protecting these animals. There has not been a Panda census for at least ten years. I was happy to read that authorities in the Northwestern China's Gansu province will be starting a wide ranging census and DNA collection on endangered wild giant pandas. This is the first time it will be done on a large scale. This will lead to a database and allow zoologists to trace the population dynamics of the wild pandas. The major earthquake in southwest China in 2008 did affect the wild pandas of Gansu.
There are many zoos outside the United States that have pandas.There are 5 facilities in China, including the Beijing Zoo, home Gu Gu.
Why does the Panda fascinate us? I feel it is its color, demeanor, and the serenity you feel when you see a panda eating bamboo. This alone is interesting It belongs to the Carnivora order, yet 99% of the pandas diet is bamboo. Even the sexual maturity is interesting- pandas mature from 4 - 8 years and pandas can be reproductive until 20 years old. The London zoo is the home of the very popular panda Chi Chi which influenced the world wildlife fund. You have seen the world wildlife fund logo which is the Panda.
I am proud to say that our son, Gregory will be doing his internship at the Belize Zoo. He will not see elephants, tigers or even pandas there. It has 135 native animals, It is one of the smallest countries in the world with a big heart for animals. It is a country in which the people protect their wildlife. The zoo started in 1983 with minimal funding, but with donations and hard work the zoo by 1991, is now the New Belize Zoo and Tropical Education Center. Maybe one day the Belize Zoo can get a panda! Check out (http://www.belizezoo.org/) This zoo has changed how the Belize people feel about wildlife.
I am familiar with Belize due to colleague/herbalist Rosita Arvigo. I heard Rosita speak at the International Herbal Symposium last year in Boston. I was blessed to have a lecture with her. I have read all her books. An interesting and varied background of education and experience has brought Rosita Arvigo to her present position as an expert in the ethnobotany and shamanistic healing of her adopted country of Belize, where she has lived for the past 30 years. After studying natural medicine in the United States and Canada, she became a student of the last Maya shaman of Belize, Dr. Elijio Panthi for twelve years. This experience is the subject of her well-known book Sastun: My Apprenticeship with a Maya Healer. She founded IxChel Farm in 1983, which is operated by a non-profit foundation dedicated to carrying out research on traditional healing, and to the preservation of indigenous healing knowledge. The Farm features a Medicine Trail with wild plants labeled in their natural habitat and is visited by several thousand people each year. Her most recent book is Rain forest Home Remedies: How to Heal Your Body and Nourish Your Soul the Maya Way.
There is so much to learn about pandas. I do suggest the books above. I am finishing up The Way of the Panda which was published last year. The older book by Vicki Croke, The Lady and the Panda will be my next conquest.
Friday, May 25, 2012
"Life is not to be endured; life is to be enjoyed and embraced."
No one should endure life. Every day should be an enjoyment. You should embrace today as a brand new day. I am blessed to have today. I am blessed to have every single day. I am grateful for the rain today, the fog, and the ability to get up and come to work. I am grateful to have had the time to meditate and pray. Life is a tangled ball of yarn, each with his different color with twists and turns. It is fun to untwist the roads of life.
Do you like pancakes? I do! Lately I have been thinking about our Sunday morning breakfasts when my dad or my mom made pancakes. My brother and I would sit and wait for the delicious fluffy pancakes. We always had fresh maple syrup and fruit on the plate. My father would then ask us if there was anything we wanted to talk about. It was our 'griping' time. Looking back it was memorable. I miss those mornings. Some mornings we would all go to The Raceway Dinner on Yonkers Avenue. Our next door neighbor, Britta from Denmark was always our waitress. I am sitting here thinking about these times which are more than 40 years ago. Where has time gone!
So I want pancakes. I cannot have a gluten pancake, so here is my gluten free pancake recipe
1. 1 - 2 1/2 cups of a mixture of (70%) almond meal and (30%) tapioca flour
2. 2 tablespoons of wild flower honey
3. 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda
4. 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
5. 1 1/2 cups of almond milk (unsweetened)
6. 2 tablespoons of butter (melted)
7. 2 organic whole eggs
The pancake batter should look like a milkshake not lumpy so you might need a little more flour
This should make between 12-14 pancakes. Another option is to use buckwheat flour and make buckwheat (gluten free) pancakes
What about the syrup? I would take 2 cups of blueberries. Mash and blend and pour over your hot delicious pancakes.
Do you have a special memory with a recipe? I was happy to know Susan Love of Heritage cookbooks. She was a gracious woman. Go to http://www.heritagecookbooks.com/ and do one for your family.
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Brown Recluse – Loxosceles reclusa Also know as the “violin spider” this spider causes the most serious bite wound of any of the spiders found in the United States. When you look at the geographic area of the brown recluse it should not be present in the New York area, however it is present in New York and in Fire Island. During my volunteer years in Fire Island I have seen some nasty 'infections' probably caused by spiders. Two of these individuals died weeks later, but initially came into the clinic with spider/insect bites and a large area of decaying tissue and cellulitis. Brown recluse spiders get blamed for every kind of pustule, boil or eruption that might affect a person.
The bite area will turn into a large open ulcerous wound as the venom causes the tissues to die. Unfortunately, these bites look a lot like wounds that appear when a break in the skin gets infected with Staphylococcus spp. bacteria often causing misdiagnosis.
After careful reading there are only two ways to accurately diagnose if the wound was caused by the brown recluse spider. For one, catching the spider in the act. You cannot miss this spider. The spider has a “violin” marking on the top of the cephalothorax and has very long legs compared to the body with a grayish colored abdomen. The other way to make an accurate diagnosis is to have a dermatologist do a biopsy of a fresh spider bite.
Not every nasty looking lesion is a spider bite, especially on Fire Island where many other insects can be blamed. There are hundreds of species of insects and spiders that occur on Fire Island. These range from beautiful dragonflies to monarch butterflies (although many butterfly bushes are gone) to mosquitoes. I can now say honeybees also inhabit the island. Ticks are the most superabundant.
Although it seems that most humans do not like insects, some of us do. I love insects. I think we learn a lot from insects. Rick and I have learned a lot about the democracy of honeybees from our beekeeping and reading lots and lots of books. Although I am reading other books currently, I will always read a different chapter in a Bee Book that I may have read before. I do this to keep my mind fresh. These insects on Fire Island are excellent pollinators. We need pollinators.
The dragonflies and damselflies are part of the genus Odonates. These insects are a good indicator of the wetland ecosystem that occurs on Fire Island. Studies done more than 7 years ago on the insects of the island revealed that the tenebrionid beetle, the ant and anthicid beetle and the plant hopper are the most abundant insects. This is true if you spend time looking through binoculars in the forest areas, the Sunken Forest and in the gardens. Butterflies and dragonflies are becoming rarer on this serene island. Why? The pesticides on the flowers and in the air. We are killing off vital insect species.
Be part of Saving the Earth--which does include insects.
I use many different remedies for insect bites. Fro example for an ant bite I use yellow dock tincture and baking soda, and for other insect bites I use essential oil of lavender (1 teaspoon) with 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. I always make sure a bottle of this is already mixed and in the house. This is great for camping trips. To make a bite or sting poultice use 1 tablespoon of echinacea root, with 1/2 teaspoon of lavender oil and 1 tablespoon of bentonite clay and the water. This will make a great poultice for just about any sting. This is the first step. You must consider that an allergic reaction might occur from the sting. The individual might need further medical attention.
All photographs except the brown recluse are from 7song, Ithaca New York 1 Dragonfly, 2. Monarch Butterfly 3. Brown recluse 4. Wolf Spider, 5. Banded Garden spider, and 6. Spider with babies - Thank you 7song !
Resource: The American Arachnological Society ( http://www.americanarachnology.org/ ) or Entomological Society of America ( http://www.entsoc.org/ )
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
"It only takes one person to change your life - YOU" Ruth Casey
You cannot change because of someone or something else. The only person that can start a change in you is YOU. There might be fear of change as we all have at one point of another in our lives. Fear should not deter you from changing. But you will have to decide for yourself if you want to change. An addicted individual is the only one who can decide to stop using drugs, alcohol and food. Some are not ready to change. Some have fear and some do not know they are addicts. For these individuals, it is only himself/herself that can change. Often there is anger behind the fear.
Some might see the 'the way' or have a white light experience that causes them to finally change. Some might have to hit bottom to change. Some might hit bottom and still continue to use substances. These addictions whether food, drugs, alcohol, family drama, relationship drama, television and even the iphone are addictions. Another term is energy thieves. If you view your addictions as energy thieves, you might see it clearer.
Yesterday I was seeing a patient whose lung function has deteriorated in the last year. She coughs most days and now requires oxygen at night. Her initial infection more than 20 years ago was MAI (mycobacterium avium intracellulare). She received 5 different antibiotics. At this point she needs to suppress her cough. I wrote down 4-5 herbs to put in her tea concoction. I added elderberry, yarrow, and ginger. I almost added English Ivy, but didn't as I am not that familar with this herb. One of these herbs came to me from my readings and studies. I have not used it very often. The plant is Marrubium vulgare . This is known as Horehound. There are other names you might have seen in readings such as bull's blood eye, widow's herb, white horehound, wooly's horehound and white of the star. The leaves are said to smell of musty thyme. The leaves and stems are covered with downy hairs. There are small cream colored or purple colored flowers. All parts of the plant are poisonous. Excessive dosages can cause dysphagia (difficulty in swallowing), dry mouth and pupil dilation.
I always refer to Culpepper for some insight into the herb. He said, "It is an herb of Mercury. A decoction of the dried herb, with the seed, or the juice of the green herb taken with honey, is a remedy for those that are short winded (short of breath), have a cough or are fallen into consumption either through a long sickness or then distillations of rheum upon the lungs." He does go on to say it is to be used with the roots of Iris for more expectoration.
I have found that this herb is used in many old remedies. I have never seen the herb in its natural environment. I do know it is classified within the Family Lamiaceae, also known as Family Labiatae . To me it certainly resembles the other members of Lamiaceae family like mint, spearmint and lemon balm. If you do not like a bitter taste you will not like this herb, but you MUST NOT mix with a sweetener (unless a little honey/agave). Do NOT sweeten it to the point that you not taste the bitterness. It will not be effective.
Historically it is one of the herbs the Jews were ordered to take during Passover. It is the bitter herb. For me as a cardiologist, I have read reports on regulating the rhythm. I have not found much literature on this aspect but will do further reading and researching. Before Hops was used in beer, horehound was used for its bitterness. It is usually taken as a tea but also as an infusion, tincture and even as capsules. Historically it was made into candy, which I am sure it still is in some remote places.
I will plant horehound this year in Fire Island, as bees are partial to the flowers of horehound and its nectar. It does make a pleasing honey to the taste buds.
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
"Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again." A song with the title, Pick Yourself Up was recorded April 11, 1962 by Frank Sinatra. It was written by Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields.
Now nothing's impossible, I've found for when my chin is on the ground
I pick myself up, dust myself off, and start all over again.
Don't lose your confidence if you slip, be grateful for a pleasant trip,
And pick yourself up, dust off, start over again.
Work like a soul inspired until the battle of the day is won.
You may be sick and tired, but you be a man, my son.
Will you remember the famous men who have to fall to rise again,
So take a deep breath, pick yourself up, start all over again.
You gotta work like a soul inspired until the battle of the day is won.
You may be sick and tired, but you be a man, my son.
Will you remember the famous men who have to fall and then to rise again,
So take a deep breath, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again.
This past weekend as Rick looked on, Alyssa, Vincent and myself walked in the Pride House Garden in Cherry Grove to uncover thousands of our dead girls (honeybees) in the hive. I believe from inspection this was no varroa mite, but starvation. Rick and I left plenty of honey in the hive. We couldn't predict that 'the girls' would venture out in the warm February/March sun. Unfortunately this is nature. We loaded the wagon to bring the hives to another rental home on the island. I washed the hives. I pulled honey comb wax from the frames. Some had bees still within their combs. As Rick looked on I had tears in my eyes. I do not think anyone can predict the outcome of a hive. It depends on so many variables. He came over to give me a hug. I started humming the above Frank Sinatra lyrics. We will try again. To make sure there is a water source, Vincent (Vinny) and I installed, cleared, cleaned and have an operating fish pond.
In addition to our girls on Fire Island , we also brought our girls to live on another island. This year we have the pleasure of bringing honeybees to The Child School/ Legacy High School on Roosevelt Island. The hives have been bought. We must set it up this week, and await the delivery of our girls. It has been approved from all appropriate boards. Rick and I will teach Bee Keeping to the select students. We will begin to set up the terrace on the second floor of 566 Main Street. This will be a rewarding experience for all involved.
Established in 1996, Legacy High School educates students, grades 9-12, with learning disabilities. Legacy is one of the few state approved non-public high schools in New York City that provides students with the academic, emotional, and social support needed to succeed. Its leader, Salvatore Ferrara is a great man. He emphasizes that, "..childhood is a one time event. It cannot be redone." In other words he recognizes the weight of responsibility for engaging kids during their formative years. We must thank Sal and Aleta St James for their time, support and belief in us. Thanks - guys !
The students and their aspirations are remarkable. Emotional and learning differences are seen as challenges rather than limitations and the students respond in profoundly positive ways. In fact, they recently placed second - beating out schools the likes of Stuyvesant and Bronx Science - in a city-wide academic competition known as WorldQuest. We encourage you to look at http://www.thechildschool.org/ .
Photo Credit: Rick Byrd, PhD ( top two photographs: Dead Bees and Holding a Frame)
Photo Credit: Patrick Fratellone MD RH ( three bottom photographs: Bee Xing, New Hive Set-up and our New pond - no koi yet )
Monday, May 21, 2012
I need an extraordinary amount of strength these days. I have fared through as best as I can and to best of my ability. No matter what we do in life, we need strength. The strength and the courage to go on. The willingness to live a full life with all of its ups and downs.
Dorothy and her friends, the Tin Man, the Scarecrow and the Lion needed heart, common sense and courage. As I was growing up, my mother sometimes told me, "God gave you brains, but not a lot of common sense." This have may been true growing up, but hopefully in these last 30 years since her death I have acquired some common sense along the way. I need strength every single day, some days more than others. To gain my strength I need daily prayer and meditation.
Alfred Buchwald first recognized a condition similar to Lyme Disease back in 1883. Yes I said 1883. Let's go even further back. As far back as 1550 BC there is reference to a 'tick fever'. Throughout the 19th century European doctors treated cases similar to what we now know as Lyme Disease (LD) A tick in Europe known as Ixodes ricinus (castor bean tick) not Ixodes scapularis (the deer tick) causes a Lyme like illness. Polly Murray in Lyme Connecticut suffered from strange symptoms after her first pregnancy in the late 1950's. It was not until 1975 that she got her answers. Many children in Old Lyme, CT were being diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Young Dr. Steere started the ball rolling.
These tick larvae take the bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb) into their bodies in their first meal. It is on their next feed that the ticks are capable of transmitting the disease. Although the tick is called the deer tick-- deer do not become infected with Lyme Disease. I recall my children seeing the Fire Island deer with their ears covered in ticks and being sad that the deer were sick. The deer were not ill at all.
Today, Lyme Disease (LD) has reached what I consider epidemic proportions. In my volunteer years at the Doctor's Clinic in Fire Island I made many calls to Long Island's Suffolk County to find financial support to study Lyme Disease on Fire Island. Almost every summer resident has been bitten and more than 50% still carry the symptoms of Lyme Disease. Many residents get ticks while gardening. Some walk through the Judy Garland Memorial Park (aka Meat Rack). These are the woods between the two communities of Cherry Grove and The Pines. Thus the title, "Lions, Tigers and Deer..oh my." Some do not even know all the symptoms of Lymes.Ticks not only carry Bb, but other spirochete diseases such as Erlichiosis, Bartonella, Anaplasmosis, and Babesiosis. There are roughly more than 900 species of ticks found worldwide.
Yesterday I saw a fellow boardwalk friend doing gardening in full regata- he looked like a man in a space suit. He didn't want to get bit again from a Lyme tick.
For me, as a doctor, clinically LD is classified into three stages (not unlike syphilis - also caused by a spirochete) There is the localized infection (caused by the bite) which can result in a bull's eye classic rash. This is not always present. Then there is early disseminated disorders like arthritis, fever, malaise, et al. Then there is the late chronic disseminated disease that is complex and poorly understood. I feel even the most thorough physicians cannot predict the third or latent stage of LD. This is now termed Chronic Persistent Lyme Syndrome (CPLS) Few trained infectious disease specialists even believe that this latent stage exists. Unfortunately for the patient, this chronic and complex stage does exist.
It affects the brain and the Central Nervous System (CNS). Damage from LD occurs in a majority of patients. It is a result of direct injury by the bacterium, autoimmune triggered vasculitis which thus reduces blood flow to the brain. There are also neurotoxins. All LD patients need cognition testing. Many describe brain fog, electrical shocks,tremors, weakness, spasms, crawling feeling under the skin, numbness, tingling, loss of sensation or even increased sensitivity. Then there is the poor balance and loss of coordination. The muscle spasm and arthritis are often misdiagnosed as some form of arthritis. LD is very often misdiagnosed as another infection. Most laboratories are not effective, unless sent to Stony Brook, New York or Palo Alto, California (Igenix).
Our NewYork office has treated many cases of LD. During my five years as a volunteer physician in Fire Island, I would treat at least 50 cases per summer. Most are able to taper off the antibiotics and control their symptoms. Some never get off some antibiotics. There are even MDs who have had their licenses revoked and then restored for giving high dose intravenous antibiotics when the epidemic first began. I believe rotating the antibiotics is the way to start treatment. As a MD RH (AHG) there are many effective herbal treatments for LD. Can we eradicate the pathogen? I do not know the answer to that question.
At this point I am convinced that it is better to have the patient symptom free or at least symptom suppressed. There are some that do not agree with this, but I ask you have you ever calculated the financial impact to the patient/insurance companies? What about the side effects of the treatment to the patient? Has the government/insurance companies ever studied the cost analysis of antibiotics to herbal therapies in regard to LD? I doubt it! I wonder if a child close to White House got LD-what would happen ?
Friday, May 18, 2012
Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do...but how much love we put in that action
- Mother Teresa
Love begins by taking care of the closest ones - the ones at home.
- Mother Teresa
"Are there lilac trees...They don't bother me...
Discovering the history of your neighborhood is a fun hobby. Trying to find everything historical about where you live can be fun and informative. There are few few books on where we live. There was one written by the President of the Historical Society. It is a small, paperback, end-table book. Lots of great photographs, but limited information.
Here are some of the facts about where I live:
1. Had 3 different names in history
2. The land was purchased by NYC for $32,000
3. The land had a penitentiary built on it in 1832
4. The land once had a lunatic asylum
5. It has a Landmark Church (Chapel) and a lighthouse
6. Mae West and Billie Holiday served time in the prison
7. Popular in literature and films
This is Roosevelt Island (aka Blackwell Island and Welfare Island) which lies between the isle of Manhattan to the west and the borough of Queens to the east. It is 2 miles long and has a maximum width of 800 feet giving it a total acreage of 147. Roosevelt Island is part of the Borough of Manhattan. When we moved there we were able to keep our 212 area code which is important to me after all my years in the Big Apple. This phone number has traveled with me to many a location within the island of Manhattan.
I love the architectural history and new architecture which continues at the southern tip of the island in the Franklin D. Roosevelt Freedoms Park. Prior to 1955, individuals who lived on the island stopped in the middle of the Queensborough Bridge (now the Ed Koch Queensborough Bridge) to take an elevator down to Roosevelt Island. From our terrace I can see where the passengers departed from and where they stepped down on the island. The connection between Astoria and R.I. was made possible by a bridge in 1955. In The Bicentenial Year, 1976, the Roosevelt Island Tramway was opened. It has been remodeled within the last 2 years. In 1989, the MTA Subway finally made it to the island via 63rd Street/Lexington on the F line (orange) It is one of the deepest in New York City's subway system.
There is a Roosevelt Island (R.I.) bus (the Red Bus) which is the shuttle service. It cost only 25 cents and 10 cents for seniors. Now that is classic.
To this day, films are still shot on location on the island. From our terrace we saw the latest Batman film and the Bat helicopter flying overhead. There is much more history. Spiderman once saved the tram in a film.
The best aspect of the island for us is the peace and serenity it offers from a busy Manhattan Day at the offices. I love the East Side skyline from south to north. I admire the many boats that sail down the river. Every time there is a tugboat I close my eyes and picture, Barbara Streisand as Fanny Brice singing in the film, Funny Girl.
Most of all I appreciate our garden terrace. Now this is serenity. I am blessed every single day. My view of the Cherry Blossom trees in April along the East River on Roosevelt Island is spectacular.The plantings of cherry trees originated in 1912 as a gift of friendship to the People of the United States from the People of Japan. In Japan, the flowering cherry tree, or "Sakura" is an exalted flowering plant. The beauty of the cherry blossom is a potent symbol equated with the evanescence of human life and epitomizes the transformation of Japanese culture throughout the ages. The individual responsible for orchestrating the trees was initially from Ms Eliza R Scidmore. Her initial correspondence to the new first lady, Helen H. Taft on April 7,1909 started the History of Cherry Trees. The very next day on April 8, 1909 ( by coincidence- although there is never a coincidence) Mr Miidzuno - Japanese consult in New York was in Washington DC An additional 2,000 trees were donated. Perhaps this is how Roosevelt Island got its Cherry Blossoms
In honor of the 100th anniversary of the Japanese gift of Cherry Trees which Washington DC is now famous for, a new selection was developed. It is called the 'Helen Taft' cherry tree. This is a cross between two cherry blossoms Yoshiko and Taiwan. I am sure next we will see the Lady Bird Cherry Blossom tree as she accepted more Cherry Blossoms during her husband's term (Lyndon B Johnson)
Thursday, May 17, 2012
Edwin Starr said, "And me, myself personally, in order for there to be any kind of longevity, there's gotta be some history." Do you like old people? I do. I learn a lot from talking to old people. Perhaps this is my greatest talent --listening to an older individual. There is longevity because there is history. We talk about growing up in New York City, the 1939 World's Fair, old movies and just about life.
Author Garson Kanin was asked what he attributed his longevity to. "I reckon," he said with a twinkle in his eyes, "it is because most nights I went to bed and slept when I should have sat up and worried." How true is that! I do not worry any longer. Sure I worry about the health of loved ones, the children, the pets - who am I kidding -- I do worry, but not in the same ways I used to. My reflections of the past as a glance and not dwell upon have helped me. What has guided through my life int he last 18 years has been my meditation/prayer. What has lifted me from a life of worry and burdensome topics is my belief in 'a power greater than myself'. I am no longer in the driver's seat. The G.O.D. of my understanding is driving. I am along for the ride. I cannot complain about the ride in these last 18 sober years. Sure, we all have ups and downs- some happiness, and some sadness--and some loss. But this is life. Life is nothing but a tangled ball of yarn--how YOU unravel the yarn depends on you, your meditation and your beliefs.
What is your relationship to food? Do you have a love affair with eating? There are some who love to eat. I can understand that, but sometimes there may be unexpected consequences. I do know that if you start your day with a simple carbohydrate, as Cheerios and Milk , or a bagel you have begun your day with sugar. Yes sugar. This means you crave throughout the day and between the hours of 2 - 4 pm you will start to crash. You are now in H.A.L.T. - hungry, angry , lonely and tired. Your emotions are swinging out of control.
Those who eat partially hydrogenated unsaturated fats (trans fats) have other problems. A recent study published on March 5, 2012 reported that dietary trans fatty acid intake is associated with irritability and aggression. Trans fats are in many of the processed foods you might consume. This means that you shop in the center of a grocery store and not on the periphery. The periphery of a good grocery store has all the fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, cheese and dairy. Not that all dairy and red meats are good either. But you need not to consume trans fatty acids.
The study was published online. I feel it should have been published in a journal as there was enough subjects in the study: 945 adults on no lipid lowering medication, with an absence of diabetes, high bad cholesterol, cancer, heart disease and HIV. There was an extensive dietary lifestyle survey at the beginning of the study. There were several questionnaires including the OASMA (Overt Aggression Scale Modified Aggression) scale.
There was a lot of data collected and I feel more studies can be published using this extensive body of data.The investigators found that greater dietary trans fatty acid intake was associated with greater aggression. It even went so far as to state that dietary trans fatty acid intake was a more consistent predictor of aggression than other aggression predictors evaluated.
I pondered on this. What if murderers or psychopaths consumed more trans fatty acids? What did Dalmer consume other than his victims? What did Squeaky Fromme eat as she attempted to assassinate President Ford? And John Lennon's killer?
Avoid trans fatty acids