Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Blind Girl

This is PCOS related, but it's definitely something to remember....

There was once a blind girl who hated herself for no other reason except that she was blind. She hated everyone, except her loving boyfriend. He was always there for her. She said that if she could only see the world, she would marry her boyfriend.

One day, someone donated a pair of eyes to her and then she could see everything, including her boyfriend. Her boyfriend asked her, "Now that you can see the world, will you marry me?" The girl was shocked when she saw that her boyfriend was blind. Not wanting to be burdened by a 'blind' person, she refused to marry him.

Her loving, devoted and understanding boyfriend walked away in tears. His heart obviously broken.

The girl who had been so fortunate to have the world opened up to her, continued enjoying it; day in and day out.... trying to never miss a single pleasure life had to offer.

One day she received a letter from her ex-boyfriend stating simply.......

"I sincerely hope you enjoy your life. Your happiness was all that ever mattered to me. I am so happy that you are enjoying life as I always hoped you could. I would like to ask one parting favor of you my dear ... Just take care of my eyes."

This, as sad as it may seem, is how the human brain changes when our status changes. Only a few remember what life was like before and who's always been there even in the most painful situations.

Life Is A Gift
Today before you think of saying an unkind word - Think of someone who can't speak.

Before you complain about the taste of your food - Think of someone who has nothing to eat.

Before you complain about your husband or wife - Think of someone who's crying out to God for a companion.

Today before you complain about life - Think of someone who went too early to heaven.

Before you complain about your children - Think of someone who desires children but they're barren.

Before you argue about your dirty house, someone didn't clean or sweep -
Think of the people who are living in the streets.

Before whining about the distance you drive - Think of someone who walks the same distance.

And when you are tired and complain about your job - Think of the unemployed, the disabled and those who wished they had your job.

But before you think of pointing the finger or condemning another - Remember that not one of us are without sin and we all answer to one maker.

And when depressing thoughts seem to get you down - Put a smile on your face and thank God you're alive and still around.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Counting Calories

Along the same lines as the 100 Calorie Packs I wrote about previously, I'm always looking for quick and easy ways to keep track of the calories I eat each day. I found a great site that does the calorie counting for you! It's called My Fitness Pal.

This site offers a free calorie counter that is so simple and easy to use! And the best part is, it learns from you! We often eat the same foods over and over again, and this program remembers what you've eaten most often in the past, and makes it easy for you to add those foods to your log. The more often you track your meals, the easier it becomes!

My Fitness Pal works with any diet, whether it's Atkins, Weight Watchers, South Beach and others. They also offer messages boards that provide motivation and help 24/7. And the best part is, it's FREE!

So if you're looking for a quick and easy calorie counter, check out

100 Calorie Packs

Have you seen these? I think these are an extremely smart marketing idea. I'm one of those people that has a hard time stopping at just one handful out of the bag of chips, or a couple cookies out of the box. With these 100 calorie packs, it's so much easier to stop after 100 calories! You've finished the bag, and you're done. Check out all the manufactures who offer 100 calorie packs:

Balance Bar
Pepperidge Farms
Jell-O Pudding
Orville Redenbacher's Popcorn
Jolly Time
Pop Secret
Frito Lay Brands

Yosemite Chicken Stew and Dumplings

Skinless chicken is the basis of this delicious stew; cornmeal dumplings are made with low-fat milk.


1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken meat, cut into 1" cubes
1/2 cup onion, coarsely chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon salt
Black pepper to taste
1 pinch ground cloves
1 bay leaf
3 cups water
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 package frozen peas


1 cup yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup sifted whole wheat flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup low-fat (1%) milk
1 tablespoon olive oil

1. Place chicken, onion, carrot, celery, salt, pepper, cloves, bay leaf, and water in a large saucepan. Heat to boiling; cover and reduce heat to simmer. Cook about 1/2 hour or until chicken is tender.
2. Remove chicken and vegetables from broth. Strain broth.
3. Skim fat from broth; measure and, if necessary, add water to make 3 cups liquid.
4. Mix cornstarch with 1 cup cooled broth by shaking vigorously in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. 5. Pour into saucepan with remaining broth; cook, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil and is thickened.
6. Add basil, peas, and reserved vegetables to sauce; stir to combine.
7. Add chicken and heat slowly to boiling while preparing cornmeal dumplings.

1. Sift together cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt into a large mixing bowl.
2. Mix together milk and oil. Add milk mixture all at once to dry ingredients; stir just enough to moisten flour and evenly distribute liquid. Dough will be soft.
3. Drop full tablespoons of dough on top of braised meat or stew. Cover tightly; heat to boiling. Reduce heat (do not lift cover) to simmering and steam about 20 minutes.
Serves: 6

NUTRITION INFO (per 1.25-cups stew & 2-dumpling serving)
Calories: 299.9
Fat: 4.5 g
Carbohydrates: 41.3 g

Protein: 23.6 g

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Calmness. . .

I am posting this on my blog to share with you all because it definitely works, and we could all use a little more calmness in our lives. By following simple advice heard on the Dr. Phil show, you too can find inner peace.

Dr. Phil proclaimed, "The way to achieve inner peace is to finish all the things you have started and have never finished."

So, I looked around my house to see all the things I started and hadn't finished, and before leaving the house this morning, I finished off a bottle of Merlot, a bottle of White Zinfandel, a bottle of Bailey's Irish Cream, a bottle of Kahlua, a
package of Oreo's, the remainder of my old Prozac prescription, the rest of the cheesecake, some Doritos and a box of chocolates.

You have no idea how freaking good I feel.

Please pass this on to those whom you think might be in need of inner peace.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Healthy Dessert

I've been looking for a healthy dessert to take to a meeting on Saturday and I'm in the mood for something with apples... So I found this recipe for Apple Crisp! Sounds delicious!

This apple crisp is sweet and simple to prepare, but uses very little added sugar.

3 medium baking apples, cored, sliced thin
1 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp flour

1 cup quick oats
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp heart-healthy margarine


Mix first four ingredients and place into 9-inch (square or round) baking dish.

In small bowl, mix Topping ingredients until crumbly. Sprinkle topping over apple the apples.

Bake at 325 degrees F until apples are soft and topping is golden brown (about 30 minutes).

Monday, May 21, 2007

10 Fatigue Fighters

All of us battle with fatigue at times, but those with PCOS seem to have an even harder time getting the energy to do what they know they need to do.

Here is a great article about fighting fatigue that I found at You can read the whole article by clicking on the link at the bottom.

A Well-Rounded You

When you're feeling run-down and exhausted, try one of these methods for an energy -- or attitude -- boost.

You know you haven't run a marathon, climbed a mountain, or even done much more than slog through a giant stack of paperwork -- so why do you feel exhausted at the end of every day? That's the tricky thing about stress: it can make you feel mentally and physically exhausted. If you're so pooped you can't socialize, enjoy hobbies, or participate in activities that make you happy, it's time to reassess. Find the fatigue fighter that leaves you feeling relaxed, refreshed, and invigorated.

1. Exercise. It may seem counterintuitive -- you're so tired you can barely drag yourself home at the end of the day, so why would running a few miles help? The fact is, exercise is one of the best ways to combat fatigue. More movement, not less, boosts energy levels. And you can exercise without leaving the comfort of your own home. To read more, click here.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Obesity Linked to Early Development and PCOS in Young Girls

Here is an older article that suggests that childhood obesity has led to an epidemic of young girls developing early and suffering from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Left undiagnosed, it can lead to serious complications, including metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Whole Grains.... Fact or Fad?

We hear so much about the health benefits of eating whole grains. Is this a fact, or a fad?

In order to answer that question, we need to understand what whole grains are, what are their potential health benefits, and how do we find them in the supermarket?

What are whole grains?
A whole grain is a grain that retains all it's healthy parts. The 3 parts are the bran (the outer shell), the endosperm (the starchy inner portion) and the germ (the nutrient rich portion). Common whole grains include whole wheat, oatmeal, popcorn, brown rice, flour, sprouted grains and whole wheat bread. Refined grains, such as white bread, do not have bran or germ so they have less nutrients. Most U.S. grain products fall into this category.

What are their potential health benefits?
Only recently has whole wheat grain been found to be a factor in reducing the risk of chronic disease, including the risk of heart disease, some cancers, and diabetes. It may even play a role in obesity prevention. Whole grains are high-fiber foods packed with vitamins and minerals.

How do we find them in the supermarket?
Look for grain as the first ingredient: the word "whole" before the grain is imperative. Color is NOT a sign of whole grain. Brown may come from caramel coloring, molasses, or other ingredients. Cheerios, for example, are not brown, yet they are whole-grain!

The next time you go shopping, look for whole grain in your pasta, cereal and breads. Give it a try! You may be surprised, and your health will definitely benefit from it!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Random Acts of Fitness

I’ve been seeing this title a lot lately. Too many people think that if they don’t have 30-60 minutes to put into a fitness program each day, then they aren’t doing enough to make any kind of a difference in their body, so they don’t even try.

That is totally false! One of the biggest mistakes you can make when trying to get your body into shape, or at least shape-up your health, is to think “there’s not enough time in the day.” What about when you were at the mall this week and took the escalator rather than the stairs? That was a moment when you could have made a choice to make your body work a little harder, and when you make choices like that over and over again throughout the day, those little spurts of fitness will add up.

What about your family? Are you uncomfortable talking to your kids or spouse about their health or weight loss? You can help them lead a healthier life by practicing “random acts of fitness” without them even realizing it! There are many, many small things you can do every day that will make healthy living easy. And, you may even help them create good habits without them even realizing it!

Here are some ideas on how you can share some random acts of fitness and health:

- Cook healthy meals for the whole family. Add in an extra serving of veggies.

- Stop buying junk food! If you don’t have it in the house, they can’t eat it.

- Be honest with them and let them know you’re concerned about their health.

- Make it a habit to play outdoor games together.

- Give lots of praise and positive attention when changes are made.

- Give gifts such as personal training packages, bicycles, roller blades, etc.

- Park farther away from the store entrance and walk the extra distance.

- Start a garden that you can work on together.

- Ask them to walk the dog, then offer to go with them.

- Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.

- Use exercise as an excuse to spend time together.

- Plan a walk or hike.

- Take the kids to the park.

- Suggest walking instead of driving.

- Maintain an upbeat attitude

- Turn off the TV and hide the remote!

- Get physical and urge them to do the same.

- Plan an activity after dinner each evening.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Exercise is Essential...

Exercise is an essential key to managing PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome). While there is no scientific proof that exercise helps those suffering with PCOS more than it helps the average person, common sense does tell us that since such a large number of women with PCOS are obese, exercise is vital to long-term health.

Our bodies were made to move. For thousands of years, human beings were nomadic, following or seeking out the food supply. Once we learned how to create our food supply, we were able to stay in one place. As time passed, we began to enjoy the benefits of advancing technologies, which provided us with more leisure time. We used our minds more and more, while using our bodies less and less.

Today we find ourselves in a modern life that actually demands very little of us physically. Although our bodies are still hard-wired for movement, most of us no longer honor the very real need of the "natural self" to get up and move about.

A number of studies have demonstrated that women with PCOS or insulin resistance can greatly benefit from regular exercise.

For example, a study conducted at the University of Adelaide in Australia showed that a six month program of diet and exercise helped 18 overweight PCOS women normalize their hormones.(1) They experienced an 11% reduction in central fat, 71% improvement in insulin sensitivity, 33% fall in insulin levels, and a 39% reduction in LH (luteinizing hormone) levels. The women in this study achieved surprising results with a combination of diet and exercise in just six months. This study is relevant because insulin resistance and chronically high insulin and LH are reasons why PCOS women don't ovulate and why they have a number of other troubling symptoms.

The best way to keep exercise fun and to help make sure that you stick to it is to get an exercise buddy, whether it's a friend or family member. This way, you can set goals and try to help each other achieve them. You can do tandem exercises like playing basketball or even a spirited game of catch. You can make a list of fun things do to so that every time you exercise, you’re doing something different and things don’t get repetitive and boring. Also, listen to your body. Don’t overdo things, and if you come back from a day out and you’re sore, it’s ok to take a day off until you feel better.

Don’t be afraid to try unorthodox methods of exercise. Going for a hike in the woods counts just as much as doing a workout tape in front of the TV. Ice skating is a fantastic aerobic workout and can be substituted for a long run. A night out dancing at a club instead of a bike ride works just fine. Don’t be afraid to try new things and keep your exercise routines fresh and exciting. Getting into a rut of doing the same few things over and over is the number one cause of people giving up on their exercise. The most important thing to remember is to just stay active, no matter what. Since PCOS sufferers are prone to obesity, you have to be extra vigilant with diet and exercise to stay in shape.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007


I took Becca back to Magee last night, to the ER....The CT scan she had last week showed 2 - 2 cm cysts on each ovary, so we are assuming that is what is causing the pain. My Pediatrician seemed to think these cysts were something that needed to be taken care of (removed ?) since she's still in so much pain. So, after a long weekend of her suffering and being in pain, I left a message for her gyne at Magee first thing Monday morning. They finally called me back at 2:30 to tell me the gyne was out of town for 3 weeks and that I really needed to call her Endocrinologist about the cysts anyway! So... I called that office and had to leave a message. They finally called me back about 3:00 to tell me that the doctor was out of town until Friday!

The nurse was very supportive and understood Becca's situation and she said that if it were her daughter, she would take her to the ER at Magee and tell them that she has severe abdominal pain and that they would be able to help us.... So I call my Ped back, just to see if he thinks it's a good idea (I have a very good relationship with him) and he said that definitely, that is what I should do, he backs me on it 100%. So, at 4:00, we're heading to Magee with bags packed thinking we may have to stay...

We get there, and after a 2 hour wait (even though there were only two women in the ER waiting room!!!), we get in to see a doctor. She pretty much tells us that abdominal pain is to be expected with PCOS and Becca just has to get used to it. She said she will continue to have more cysts come and go, it's just normal with her condition.

WHAT???? There's nothing you can do??? She says just give her 800 mg of ibeprofin every 4-6 hours and she gave us a script for Vicoden. Tells us to get back in touch with our Endocrinologist and fill him in when he gets back.

I realize she's not an Endocrinologist and just an ER doctor, but this is at a woman's hospital! We were hoping they could do something for her besides give her even more drugs and send us home....

So.... is this truly what we can expect with PCOS??? Will she just have to learn to live with the pain of cysts until she gets her PCOS under control with her Metformin (which they say could take from 6 months to a year to get her levels worked out) and weight loss? or will it EVER be under control?

I don't know the answers, but these are the questions I'll be asking her Endocrinologist when we see him.... I just can't believe she has to learn to live with this pain....

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Weight Loss and Dieting Tips...

Last summer, after returning from a trip to Gatlinburg with my husband for our 20th Wedding Anniversary, I had our pictures developed and was shocked at what I saw.... When had I gained so much weight? And why didn't I realize it before we went on the trip so that I could look better in the pictures?

So, I made a commitment to myself to lose 35 pounds by the following summer. I figured if I took it slow and easy, it would help me keep the weight off in the long run. Fast forward 9 months, I've lost 25 pounds and I'm now only 5 pounds away from my goal weight! Woo Hoo!

I am always on the lookout for weight loss and dieting tips. I am now the Leader of our local TOPS group and love sharing things I learn with the other women there. I came across a unique site called Hidro Tips - Tips, Tricks and Tweaks which has a Health forum with many categories that are helpful to those trying to lose weight. The Diet Tips and Weight Loss Tips forums are filled with great topics with lots of tips and ideas on losing weight.

Besides the Health forum, they have many other forum categories, such as Business, Education, Technology, Entertainment, Fashion, Travel and Sports. Since I've been doing so much writing in my blogs lately, the Writing Tips forum under the Education category caught my eye as well. Hopefully that will give me some ideas on writing in my blogs!

Anyway, if you're looking for any tips, stop on over at Hidro Tips and see what you can find.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Long day... long week...

For the past two weeks, Becca has had severe abdominal cramping and burning when she urinates. Because of her bladder cancer history, and the fact that she is only 16, our first fear was that the cancer had either come back or had moved to another area. Tests have shown that it hasn't, thank God! However she still had the severe cramping and now our thoughts have turned toward it being PCOS related.

So, Tuesday we headed to Magee Hospital in Pittsburgh for a vaginal ultrasound and internal exam. They again found the polycystic ovaries, but could not find anything else unusual that would lead them to the abdominal pain. They were suggesting that it was a pulled muscle and suggested that we see a Physical Therapist....

We then went back to Indiana Regional Medical Center for a CT scan on Wednesday. They found two large cysts on each ovary and thought that perhaps that was what had been causing the pain. My first question was, how come the vaginal ultrasound didn't pick them up??? They don't know.

Fast forward to today... .Becca starts her period. It actually started last night and was pretty heavy this morning. Becca normally doesn't have periods... she's had maybe a handful since she turned 12 and they have always been very, very light. She messaged me while she was at school that she had gone through several tampons already and was not feeling well. I didn't hear from her again until early afternoon when she informed me that she had gone through 8 tampons and 4 pads in a matter of hours! I called her gyn and she immediately told me to go to the ER.... she's hemorrhaging!

So, off to the ER we go. She was scared, she was cramping, her stomach was upset and she was very lightheaded. After an exam and some blood work, we're told she isn't anemic, she's given progesterone, told to take iron pills and we're sent home. She was borderline to needed a blood transfusion, but said if she took it easy and the pills helped to slow the bleeding, she'd be okay. If it continued through morning, we were told to come back.... They feel the cramping was from her body trying to ovulate. The severe bleeding is the lining of the uterus that was extremely thick and had started to shed on its own, rather than from the hormonal cycle that normal women have each month. That led to the hemorrhaging.

So, we're home. She's resting and hoping and praying the bleeding at least slows down before tomorrow, because tomorrow is the Prom! Her very first. And she doesn't want to be running to the bathroom every half hour to change!