Save your sanity, time & money!

Need solutions for the medication, medical appliances and/or medical travel that you can't afford? READ EMPOWER Yourself.

A Health Information Management professional, I survived a life-threatening emergency with information that only a person of my professional experience would know. And I’m sharing it!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

How to Save Your Life with One New Habit (really!)


9 Tevet, 5775

Some days, life feels like this road sign, doesn't it?

It's fun to end confusion and to meet realistic goals.

You need a strategy to do that. 
And/or a miracle.

We might have one to share!

I read an extraordinary article yesterday, and invite you to peek over my shoulder to read One Habit Can Change Everything.


There are ideas for how to change your bad habits and replace them with productive ones in the E-book and print editions of EMPOWER Yourself to Cope with a Medical Challenge.  

Buy it today. Get your giggle back!


Face Your Medical Problems with Dignity. Face Your Future with Optimism.

Find the new, better you and wave "Hello" in the mirror.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Feeding Body and Soul with an Excellent Book (nope, not mine)!


8 Tevet, 5775

I'm still laughing at my error at dating yesterday's blogpost. 10 Tevet is a fast day and it must have been at the back of my mind as I wrote about overeating.

This week I'll be sharing body-building information about food, and how it heals us. Read my review of a new book, below. I highly recommend each and every page!

(Caveat: You may not reprint this review without my express permission and payment for my work)

The Seven Fruits of the Land of Israel with their Mystical and Medicinal Properties
By Chana Bracha Siegelbaum
Menorah Books

True to the comment at the bottom of the book’s cover, The Seven Fruits of the Land of Israel with their Mystical and Medicinal Properties is a presentation with “Torah Teachings and Depth.”

Author Rabanit Chana Bracha Siegelbaum is the revered teacher and director of B’erot Bat Ayin, Israel’s multi-dimensional school for women. Lessons there surpass the rote learning of contemporary seminaries. Hands-on experience and focused knowledge of Jewish topics with an appreciation for their metaphysical ramifications, rather than mere memorization, is standard fare in B’erot Bat Ayin. The Seven Fruits book exemplifies that approach: It is rich with multi-dimensional Torah-true lessons about the seven foods native to the Holy Land. The education extends from Chumash (the Five Books of Moses), Midrash and Talmud to contemporary science. Exciting artwork, photographs, and original recipes augment every chapter, leaving a lovely taste of Torah life on body and soul.

Chapters begin with colorful paintings depicting the fruit being studied. Commentary follows the cited Torah sources of that food item, such as this line in the Grapes chapter: They shall sit, every man under his vine and under his fig tree: and none shall make them afraid (Micah 4:4). Commentaries about the grape are followed by a list of the food’s spiritual attributes (Tiferet harmony/beauty), corresponding character trait (the ability to synthesize and integrate), holiday (e.g., Purim’s wine feast) and other items of related interest.

Relevant Perek Shira lessons regarding the species under discussion are then cited, followed by at-a-glance charts holding facts about the nutritional and healing properties of that food.

The author then presents upbeat medical, historical, spiritual and symbolic traditions associated with the species being addressed. The Pomegranate chapter is typical of those delights in this book. Focusing on folklore and practical matters regarding the hundreds of seeds in each ripened pomegranate,  Siegelbaum cites the differences between the good deeds of the righteous – pure – and those of the wicked – self-interest. It is complemented by a captivating moral lesson that focuses on the redemptive qualities of even half-hearted efforts.

A Taste of Kabbala is next in the presentation format. A riveting method for protecting oneself from illness appears in the Dates chapter. Citing HaShem’s promise that all of Am Yisrael will become and remain healthy once we learn to get along with each other forever, it is a thought-provoking moral lesson.

Recipes are next. Each chapter features simply prepared mixtures of foods packed with physical and metaphysical nourishment.

The author augments the recipes with halachic insights into appropriate blessings and even suggests appealing table presentations.

Fanciful monologues by the species under study e.g., Grandpa Grain, Madam Pearl, Mrs. Gefen, follow the recipes. The author explains that an archetype of each species addresses the reader in every chapter “… based on my creative understanding of each of the sefirot as they are embodied by the various species. I sat under each of the trees respectively, when writing these archetypes, to gain inspiration.”

Citations for Siegelbaum’s many footnotes appear last in each chapter, affording readers the opportunity to educate themselves more by studying those fonts of information.

The Conclusion to The Seven Fruits of the Land of Israel with their Mystical and Medicinal Properties is profound. The author explains that “The Holy land is specifically praised for the seven holy fruits due to their spiritual genetics that inherently connect them to the Land of Israel… these seven species have the special ability to arouse the children of Israel’s inherent connection with their Holy Land…. Every time we recite the threefold after-blessing, we… rectify the sin of the spies who… were not grateful to HaShem for the gift…”

After you’ve read Siegelbaum’s Fruity People and Vegetative Donkeys in the Appendix you’ll better understand the devastation that Adam brought onto humanity by changing its diet and spiritual potential. The overall effect of having read the entire book is powerful and likely to provoke changes in how you think and behave, beginning with your food.

This 440-page hardcover is rich, educational and readily understandable, a marvelous presentation with an astonishing amount of information. The Seven Fruits of the Land of Israel with their Mystical and Medicinal Properties by Chana Bracha Siegelbaum and Menorah Books belongs in every home and educational institution.

The bottom of the book’s cover indicates that The Seven Fruits of the Land of Israel with their Mystical and Medicinal Properties is part of “The Wholesome Spirited Cookbook Nutrition and Health Series with Torah Teachings and Depth.”  Siegelbaum indicates that the next book in the series “… has Torah teachings about eating. It includes information about the quality of ingredients, and my challah recipes with Torah teachings about the mitzvah of baking challah.”

Buy the E-book or print edition of EMPOWER Yourself to Cope with a Medical Challenge


Face Your Medical Problems with Dignity. Face Your Future with Optimism.

Fill your body and soul with good nutrition.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Here's How You Can Lose the Holiday Season Foodbinge Bulges FAST!


10 7 Tevet, 5775

I Can Believe that You Ate THAT Much! 

Slimmer you seems to be hiding under lots of fat, hmmm?

Holiday season coupled with weather that makes us want to remain indoors is a potent mix of calories and lack of movement. Excess calories are not burned up, muscles tighten and colds make you hibernate under the bed covers.

Fat accumulates. Fast.

Three years ago I shared a Whittle Your Waistline
 update about how to easily lower your weight, cholesterol and cardiac risks. The major point of the message was to move more than you already do and to eat less than you have been.

There's no need to buy expensive exercise equipment.

Invest in a pair of sturdy shoes because walking is free. It's increasingly fun as you allow yourself to interact with people outdoors. You'll even see lovely sights such as sunrises, sunsets, greenery and whoknowswhat. Give yourself that chance!

You can warm up your muscles to prepare them for intense exercise with simple shrugs and stretches while you're siting, or preferably standing.

Grab a pair of canned food containers of equal weight and swing them methodically at your sides. Raise your arms and bring the cans together, apart, together apart, for ten repetitions or so. Increase the number of repetitions daily, and the weight of the canned food items over time. March while you move those arms, and burn more calories in the same amount of time.

Learn how to do aerobics, isometrics and other movements for increased muscle tone and calorie-burning time.

Bustle around, looking for things you can clean, move or rearrange. Housework at home or in the office burns calories!

Take breaks from routines. Wriggle your feet and move your legs up-down-up-down while you're at your desk or sitting around reading. Keep your shoes on as you do leg-lifts while lying on the floor (use a thick towel or mat to prevent cold contact).

Use the stairs instead of elevators or escalators. WALK your errands instead of driving all the time. Spend the money saved on gas and car maintenance bills on some wrist and ankle weights you can wrap around your joints with already attached velcro (sporting shops sell such items). Weight-bearing movement burns more calories as you achieve other goals.

Bed-bound? Amputations? Ask your medical professionals for muscle-strengthening and calorie-burning guidance. Find solutions.

Most of all, stop being still too long.

Suck in your tummy and hold the pose several seconds to tone the muscles there. Repeat that effort several times daily.

Making a phone call? Stand up while you speak. Bounce on, then rise up/down with your heels and toes.

And replace the hi-cal food with lo-cal stuff you'd like to eat: a few handfuls of non-buttered  popcorn, veggie platters without dressings, fruit, nuts, seeds, and so on. Prepare those things in advance, before you're bored or in the the mood to snack. 

Leave the stuffings, meats and toppings off your menu. Those are for treats, not daily fare.

Reward yourself for sticking to your New Year's resolutions for getting into better shape. Make it something other than food (music, theater, art, hobbies, time with people important to you, etc.).

Brace for impact: DO NOT overindulge at any more parties. Smile when anyone tries to force feed you too much food, and visualize the slimmer you.

Buy the E-book or print edition of EMPOWER Yourself to Cope with a Medical Challenge.


Face Your Medical Problems with Dignity. Face Your Future with Optimism.

Fight weight gain with movement.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Defining Your Problems and Meeting Your Goals


2 Tevet, 5775  

Today's the last day of Hanuka/Chanuka. I'm wistful for it to linger.

The 8-day holiday is about problems and goals, raw courage, and leadership. Lots of life lessons are packed into those historical days. For example: You know about the male Maccabees. Click on What Do Jewish Women Have to Do with Chanuka? to learn more.

Okay, back to today. I decided to prepare some Hanuka food this past week. My arms are tired from hand-grating potatoes and onions, then frying them into luscious livivot aka latke treats in a cast iron skillet. 

Making the potato pancakes, then cleaning the mess (a BIG, messy mess), were goals and problems met and solved with some tried and true solutions.

Now let's digress into some medical matters. Those can be a bunch of problems and a "How do I - or you - meet important goals?" headache of a goal to meet!

Suffering tends to wear us down, along with our thinking skills. You know all about it. What you might not know is how to overcome the sorrow, fear, anger, forgetfulness, temper tantrums and other emotional issues so that you can think clearly again. 

Your emotions are one thing. But life, especially a medical or mental health issue life, can be complicated by the emotions of other people, too. 

The emotions of your family members, colleagues, and friends are a whole 'nuther universe. Let's deal all of that, one person at a time: You, you and you. 

You're the only person under your control.

Take a  look at how marketing professionals stay calm under pressure.

Increase your happiness hormones, endorphins, with 5 steps to lower stress and stay calm.

Use calming affirmations.

What are your medical problems?

What are your goals in dealing with them?

There is guidance about how to
deal with all the problematic people
in your medical life

Which pages of the book help you to cope with the stress from in-laws and outlaws, siblings, parents, children, medical professionals and... (fill in the blank as necessary)? 

Please let me know what works for you via E-mail. I'll be delighted to respond to your message. I won't share your comments unless you ask me to.

Lots of solution-oriented, mental health professionals-approved tips are packed into the EMPOWER Yourself to Cope with a Medical Challenge book. It's full of YOU Can-Do-This solutions.


If you or someone who needs it haven't read the book yet, buy the E-book or print edition of EMPOWER Yourself to Cope with a Medical Challenge.  

Face Your Medical Problems with Dignity. Face Your Future with Optimism. 

Flatten your stress levels. Get your grin back.


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Lowering Anxiety with an Education and Kindness


1 Tevet, 5775

Before I go further with this blogpost, I want to thank the people who've expressed their sympathy and support to me for contending with that recent "There's another meningioma, and the MRI technician thought it was harming me?" shock to my system.

Your outreach and reaction to the situation is remarkable, the sort of goodness we pray to find in the world.

I want to underscore that it was a mistaken diagnosis
Humans are humans. 

GOD blessed me with competent clarification
from the new neurosurgeon on my medical team: 
Nothing is amiss. 

Together we blessed me with the
ability to deal with 
an alarming announcement
in a calm, rational manner. 

My past practice with and dedication to
behaving sensibly, no matter what, paid off well.

My new neurosurgeon and I have a terrifically pleasant rapport. He and I agreed to do another photo-op same time, next year, to monitor things.

He responded pleasantly and thoroughly to all my questions, treating me and the friend who'd escorted me to the appointment with total respect and a sense of humor. I consider the whole phenomenon a gift from GOD.

I didn't post an update yesterday due to being down with a severe cold. The bug felled lots of people in my community. I'm happy to be feeling better today and want to share some important information.

One of the issues that this blog and the

book deal with is mental and emotional health 
(yes, they're individual realities).

I found an online article that highlights a point I make in my personal life and in my self-help coaching plus public speaking efforts: ASK the person with a problem what YOU can do to help them. 

Don't assume anything, not even that you understand the scope of the situation. Prophecy and mind-reading are not part of your picture, OK? 

Here's the article I suggest that you read and share widely: 

9 things I wish people understood about anxiety

Buy the E-book or print edition of EMPOWER Yourself to Cope with a Medical Challenge for yourself, a friend or a loved one. Improve someone's holiday season TODAY!

Face Your Medical Problems with Dignity. Face Your Future with Optimism. 

Find your inner hero or heroine and live up to him or her. It makes life much more pleasant.

Psst: EMPOWER Yourself to Cope with a Medical Challenge shows you how to do that!


Sunday, December 21, 2014

How to Repair a Bad Attitude toward Disablities 1-2-3!


29 Kislev, 5775

Here's something I posted to Facebook earlier today:

This tearjerker captures so much of what those of us with medical challenges face.…

Tom Rinaldi tells the remarkable story of Kayla Montgomery -- who, despite being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, has become one of the best young distance...
Like ·  · 

My own life included the brutal dismissal of my decreasing vision and balance abilities as "Excuses." Some people assumed that they knew my life better than I did. Some of them intentionally exposed me to imminent danger by refusing to assist me as requested.

I've suffered several broken bones 
and other setbacks as a result.

When a disability is not visible to observers, they can be quite heartless with inappropriate demands.

Remember the old slang expression about a bad attitude, "Badittude?"

Much of my Self-Help coaching efforts focus on helping people to recover and to strengthen a sense of self-worth/dignity after people have been inexcusably cruel to them.

The public needs to know that asking open-ended, clarifying questions is necessary before reaching conclusions. Without the answers to those







What if?

Could I/you/someone else?

questions, nobody has the right to appoint themselves judges, juries or executioners of people. They lack sufficient information to reach sensible conclusions. Their inevitable rush to judgement is a nasty phenomenon that causes unnecessary pain.

The "Well, I just assumed..." excuse is invalid, spelling pun fully intended.

Do the world a favor this holiday season. Make it a spiritual time filled with insight and compassion you'll have gained by not rushing to conclusions. Begin by asking thoughtful questions that lead to informative answers. Indulge in patience for the person before you.

And share this blogpost - on both sides of the medical challenge - with people who need it.

There are several sections in the

book to help the wider world to understand the "Need to know" phenomenon, and lessons for behaving far better in the future. 

Read it with someone you love.


Buy the E-book or print edition of EMPOWER Yourself to Cope with a Medical Challenge.  

Face Your Medical Problems with Dignity. Face Your Future with Optimism. 

Fix your battitude. You just might find things to admire in those of us dealing with invisible hardships. And that can strengthen you.


Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Surprise Ending to a Medical Moment


26 Kislev, 5775

I promised to clue you in to a surprise in my medical life, today. Brace for impact.

As you know from following this blog, I've experienced several benign brain tumors called meningiomas, over time.

Doctors and I monitor my brain for instances of new meningiomas, to catch them before they cause harm. That would let us strategize what to do without the pressure of a life-threatening situation such as I'd survived shortly before this blog began.

Several weeks ago, I experienced my every-2-years MRI. 

The scheduled MRI event has become routine. But I'm human, prone to fear and worry about my significant medical history. 

I do a 2-step process aka ritual to prevent or to minimize fear, or any sort of negative emotions, on MRI-taking days. Before I clue you in as to why that ritual saved me a lot of heartache this past month, let's look at the keep-me-calm process:

1) Before anyone can slide me into the machine, I greet the doctors in attendance of my medical exam with an update on my health and visual acuity progress. 

I also hand over the music CD I brought for drowning out the mechanical banging of the MRI magnets and machinery. 

I find it fun to surprise the medical staff with my diverse tastes in music. And I enjoy the music when I'm in the machine.

I've neglected to bring a CD to the MRI site once or twice, and actually slept through the noisy exams, lulling myself into calmness with focused prayers and upbeat mantras (the EMPOWER Yourself book explains the importance of making your own coping with a medical challenge mantra, and how to do so). 

Yes, I actually sleep through some MRI exams.

2) I buy yummy fruit or carrot smoothies after each biennial photo-op finish, drowning any vestige of fear or concern with nutritious happiness. That enables me to calmly wait a few weeks until the analysis of the MRI reaches me and my doctors.

The analyses are always a delight to share. They indicate astonishing recovery and healing.

But the whole routine fell apart 
a few weeks ago, 
when the newest analysis 
arrived in my mailbox.

A meningioma had been identified, close to the site of the one that had almost killed me.

The report indicated a specific part of the brain that it seemed to be pressing on, and which parts of the brain would be threatened if it grew.

I bit my lips and prayed from my heart. A lot. Several times daily.

Scared? That medical moment left me terrified, and perplexed that this could have happened despite all the healing efforts I've made. I was curious as to the spiritual meaning of it all.

I chose to re-read passages from

and prepared an appointment with the new neurosurgeon necessary for my medical team. 

Mine had left the hospital where I'd had surgery.

The appointment was scheduled for this past Sunday.

True to the book, I'd arranged for a trusted confidante to be at the meeting with me, to be an impartial set of ears able to hear what the doctor actually said, versus my possibly tainted, emotional misinterpretation of remarks.

I'd prepared the questions I wanted to ask, and listed the issues I needed to clarify before the appointment. I packed them in my purse, with writing materials to bring to the appointment.

I'd practiced being patient all that time, and deserved an Oscar for my outward appearance of calm. I realized that there was no sense in alarming anyone over the situation until I'd reviewed necessary facts. They might prove the lack of a need for alarm. I needed to conduct myself in a cultured, calm manner to best cope with the situation.

My confidante drove me to the appointment, remarking the whole way on my apparent sense of serenity.

"Yay!" I thought to myself. "I fooled her. Now I have to keep up the act a little longer, so I can deal with realities I'm about to learn of."

The doctor summoned us into his office. He responded to my queries as my confidante took notes. I did, too.

As he examined the MRI in question via the CD I'd brought along, he asked his own questions:

  • "Do you really see as well as you're telling me, after a surgery like you've had?"

  • "How is that possible?"

  • "What else are you doing to see better and better?"

He took notes based on my This is the Patient Instructing the Doctor answers to him, the medical expert. Both of us noticed the shift of who was more important in the conversation with good humor.

And the payoff for my feigned patience was learning that the doctor who'd analyzed the new MRI had erred.

Nothing was amiss.

Since I understand anatomy, the neurosurgeon was able to show me several angles of the MRI to prove his "An honest mistake was made" point to my satisfaction.

We agreed to conduct a new photo-op within 1 year, not two, to keep us aware of possible developments or the lack of them.

After exiting the medical office, I bought a calming smoothie nearby.

My confidante and I breathed our relief during the drive home, agreeing that the steps we'd taken had minimized the opportunities for more mistakes on either side of the doctor's desk.

We compared the notes we'd taken. Mine only lacked one item present on hers. The "Bring a friend or relative to medical appointments" safety measure had worked in my favor.

I've been thanking GOD aloud for the ability to face my fear with calm, good sense and the opportunity to make my medical specialist an ally instead of alienating him with moodiness.

I also thanked Her-Him for my wealth of fabulous friendships.

This blogpost has been written from my heart, as was the book.

Let me know if my life lessons help you.

Buy the E-book or print edition of EMPOWER Yourself to Cope with a Medical Challenge.  

Face Your Medical Problems with Dignity. Face Your Future with Optimism. 

Face your fears with good sense and behavior.