Sunday, August 28, 2011

AIM for a CURE Melanoma Walk

Sponsor JESSICA CASSITY in AIM for a CURE Melanoma Walks

I've signed-up to participate in a Melanoma Walk/Run to raise money for melanoma research and awareness.

This cause is very important to me because II will be walking in memory of my best friend, Laura Gillespie. Laura lost her 5 year long battle with Melanoma on May 10th of this year, at the young age of 30.

I've pledged to raise at least $500 this year, but to do this, I need your help! Please consider making a fully tax-deductible donation so I can reach my goal.

Melanoma is the fastest growing cancer in the United States and worldwide. It is the leading cause of cancer death in women ages 25-30. One person dies every 60 minutes from melanoma. You have less than a 10% chance of surviving 5 years when Melanoma is not caught in the early stages. And, there is no effective medical therapy for metastatic melanoma.

I'm taking on this challenge to do something big that will increase awareness and support research for the CURE. No one deserves to suffer and lose their life at such a young age like Laura. So, please help support this cause!

Thank you so much for you kindness, compassion, and support.


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Ticks & Lyme Disease

I probably should've done a post like this at the beginning of the summer, but we're headed off to go camping this weekend so I figured I should do some research about tick removal.  I've acquired a tremendous amount of knowledge about Lyme over the years, but it's primarily been focused on symptoms and treatment.  I know (from my own personal experience) that prevention and awareness are key factors... if you don't catch it early or get the proper treatment then you're likely in for a long road to recovery!

Below I've listed the 5 states with the highest incidence rates of Lyme.  Before doing that, I must mention that this information is coming from the CDC website, which is said to be highly unreliable and that the reported rates are 10 times lower than the actual number of cases (so these numbers should be multiplied by 10!).  Having said that, here are the figures for 2009:

1) Pennsylvania = 5,722
2) New York = 5,651
3) Massachusetts = 5,256
4) New Jersey = 4,973
5) Connecticut = 4,153

Although the above listed states appear to have the highest incidence rates, you can get Lyme ANYWHERE.  Cases have been confirmed in every single state!  Click here to see an interactive map of the incidence rates in the dog population.  It lets you enter your zip code and check the incidence for your county.  Be aware that they also mention that the rates are probably much higher due to underreporting!

So..... what do you do if a tick decides to latch on to you?

Here is a great video on tick removal:

And you can also check out this great step-by-step guide on how to remove a tick on the CALDA website.

Some prevention tips:
  • don't sit on tree stumps or lean up against trees
  • wear light colored clothing, ideally long sleeves and pants
  • tuck shirts into pants and pants into socks
  • when camping or hiking, walk in the middle of paths
  • consider using DEET (if you feel comfortable with it's chemical content)
  • do a tick check daily, and for several days after exposure to an environment that might have ticks
  • put your clothes in the dryer (on high) for an hour after exposure
Read more about prevention and tick removal over at CALDA.

A recipe for a make-your-own tick removal kit:
  • sandwich bag
  • gloves
  • pointed tweezers
  • alcohol pads
  • bandaids
  • neosporin 
  • another sandwich bag (in case you want to save the tick)
Or you can click here to order a tick removal kit from the Lyme Disease Foundation.

Friday, August 12, 2011

EWG's Skin Deep Cosmetic Database - An Excellent Resource!!!

I recently stumbled across a great website that is run by the EWG.  EWG stands for Environmental Working Group and they have what they refer to as the "Skin Deep Cosmetics Database".  This database contains revealing information about many of the products that we use every day (soaps, lotions, make-up, deodorant, etc.).  The products are ranked on a scale of 0 to 10, with 0 being the least hazardous.  There are also notations that explain whether this ranking is based on minimal research, or an abundance of research.  I like the fact that you can make your own informed decisions based on how much is truly known about a particular product or ingredient.  They also break things down into the following categories: overall hazard, cancer, developmental & reproductive toxicity, allergies & immunotoxicity, and use restrictions.  So, head on over to the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database and learn what you need to know about the products you use every day!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Detoxify Your Body

Detoxification is a very important part of my daily life. I've learned how important it is (especially when you have a chronic illness) to eliminate toxins from your body. As I begin a new (and much more aggressive) treatment regimen, it is more important than ever for me to detox. If I am not diligent about this, the toxic load in my body can accumulate and when that happens there are many nasty side effects.

So, who should detoxify?  EVERYONE.  Why?  Because in today's society, we are constantly bombarded with chemicals that can seriously compromise our health.  Better to take preventative action now, than have to repair the damage later!  Here are some suggestions for anyone looking to detoxify:
  • Greens - green vegetables contain chlorophyll, which is a natural detoxification agent.  Chlorophyll has also been shown to have anti-carcinogenic properties, as proven by a NIH study in 2007.(1)  Wheat grass shots are another great way to get your chlorophyll!
  • Dry Skin Brushing - our skin is responsible for 25% of our detoxification each day.  Body brushing stimulates the lymphatic system so the lymph can circulate through out the body and travel back to the large vessels for excretion.  To see a video about dry skin brushing, click here.
  • Epsom Salt Baths - scientifically known as hydrated magnesium sulfate, epsom salts help to promote perspiration and draw acidic waste through the pores of the skin.  (Caution: If you have high blood pressure or any heart condition, some suggest that you should not take an epsom salt bath!  Check with your doctor first.)  To read more about the benefits of epsom salt baths, you can read about it on the care2 website.
  • Glutathione - the best way to consume this product is through a liquid liposomal formula or intravenously.  Glutathione in pill form is not effective, so don't waste your money!  (An effective product example: Tri-Fortfy from Advanced Nutritionals, this a powerful glutathione-based antioxidant that acts as a detoxing agent).  Results from a 2007 study published in Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers Prevention, shows that glutathione may enhance detoxification of carcinogens.(2)
  • Water & Fiber - adding fiber to your diet will help detoxification by promoting regularity.  If you are not regular, accumulation of toxins in the gut (and possibly in the body if you have leaky gut) is inevitable.  Drinking plenty of water is absolutely necessary when you eat fiber!  Drinking water alone helps to dilute/eliminate toxins, cleanse the skin and our kidneys.
  • Exercise - this helps to stimulate elimination through the skin as we sweat.  Additionally, it helps to stimulate circulation and our lymphatic system, both of which are important for detoxing.
  • Herbal Formulas - there are many herbal formulas out there that assist with detoxification.  I take a specific herbal formula (Dr. Nicola's Detox #2), but there are many other options out there as well.  Milk thistle is said to be beneficial with liver protection and detoxification.(3)