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INSPIRE March/April

Real Inspiration for Women


TOP FOODS to detox Your Body ยง #inspirehealthmag



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Wisdom Teeth (3rd Molars) Wisdom teeth are the

What Can I Expect During Surgery? Wisdom tooth

last teeth to develop and appear in the mouth. They are called “wisdom teeth” because they usually appear during a person’s late teens or early twenties, which has been called the “age of wisdom.”

surgery is one of the most common surgical procedures performed. Most people require wisdom tooth removal at some point in their life. Having the surgery as a teenager is generally easier, less risky, and the healing process is quicker and more reliable. Most wisdom tooth surgeries do not require hospital admission and can be performed in our ofice. Most people choose to do this under IV anesthesia. Today, surgery can be performed in comfort and maximal safety using our modern surgical and anesthetic techniques. Most young people can return to normal activities within a couple of days after surgery. We can discuss your options at the time of consultation.

What is an Impacted Tooth? A tooth becomes impacted when there is a lack of space in the mouth and its growth and eruption is blocked by overlying gum, bone or the adjacent tooth. Nine out of ten people have at least one totally impacted wisdom tooth resulting from a lack of space in the mouth. Impacted teeth can lead to such problems as pain, infection, crowding of teeth, tumor formation, or damage to adjacent teeth and bone. More fully developed wisdom teeth tend to cause these problems and require a more involved surgical procedure to remove them. Even though impacted wisdom teeth can cause serious problems a recent study found that wisdom teeth that have erupted into the mouth in a normal upright position may be as prone to disease as those third molars that remain impacted. The researchers found that patients with erupted wisdom teeth may be at greater risk for disease, including periodontitis. These chronic gum infections can cause bone loss around the wisdom teeth and adjacent teeth. Chronic gum infections can affect your general health.

When Should I Have My Wisdom Teeth Removed? It isn’t wise to wait until your wisdom teeth start to bother you. Generally, early removal of wisdom teeth results in an easier surgery and less complicated healing process. Medical studies strongly recommend that wisdom teeth be removed during teenage years to prevent future problems and to ensure optimal healing. It’s recommended all people have their wisdom teeth evaluated by an oral surgeon before high school graduation.

What is an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon? Oral and maxillofacial surgery is the specialty of dentistry that includes the diagnosis, surgical and adjunctive treatment of diseases, injuries and defects involving both the functional and aesthetic aspects of the hard and soft tissues of the mouth and face region. An oral and maxillofacial surgeon is a graduate of an accredited dental school who has completed an additional four or more years of training in an accredited, hospitalbased oral and maxillofacial surgery residency program. Board certiication requires additional study and rigorous examination. Our surgeons at COMS are certiied by the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.

How Do I Schedule an Appointment? You may ask your general dentist for a referral or you may call us directly. Our phone number is (785) 628-1079. We are located at 2901 Canterbury, Hays, KS. You may get additional information from our website at We are the only full service oral surgery provider for western Kansas. We have been providing care to Western Kansans since 1968. From the beginning our simple philosophy has been to provide you with expert care in a safe and friendly environment. Today we still live by these words.

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contents March | April  2016

5 HEALTHY MIND Spring Cleaning of the Mind

7 HEALTH Sitting is the New Smoking

8 NATURAL BEAUTY The Best Homemade Deodorant

9 WELLNESS Energize Your Body with Deep Breathing

10 EXERCISE Exercises for Spinal Health

17 RECIPE Asparagus & Broccoli Quiche

16 MIGHTY KIDS Find Your Child's Inner Sport

18 ADVENTURE Breakfast Smoothie Challenge: Are YOU up for it?

20 INSPIRE Caring and Caretaking


Cleansing for Weight Loss



March § April 2016


CLEAN Your Mind

Defeating self-talk

healthy mind Old negative habits

Negative thoughts about others

Beliefs that don t help you succeed

By Ryan C. Lowe Spring is the time for renewal. It’s getting warmer and the trees are starting to bloom. It’s time for spring cleaning. Have you ever thought of cleaning your mind as well? FIRST, GAIN SOME SPACE. When you clean your house, irst you need to get enough room to move around and see what needs to be cleaned. To do this mentally, simply ind a quiet place to relax and take three breaths. Breathe in and hold it as long as it is comfortable, then breathe out and hold it as long as it is comfortable. You should start to relax and feel clear.

What exactly are we cleaning up here? Let’s take a look at what “mental dirt” is made of:

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PICK THE ROOM YOU WANT TO CLEAN. Now that you have some free space in your mind, think about what you’d like to get rid of. There could be quite a few things. Don’t fret, and take it slow. Pick one bad habit or persistent negative thought at a time and stick with working on it until you’re satisied, then move to the next one. NOW, GET TO WORK! Once you have some knowledge, it needs to be applied with as much intensity as a good spring cleaning. Of course, what exact technique you’ll use will vary depending on what you chose. Here is a good general purpose one to try. Get a watch with a timer on it and set it to beep every 20 minutes. Every

time you hear the beep, say to yourself “I can” and watch what happens in your mind. IS IT CLEAN YET? Unfortunately, our minds can take a little longer to clean than our basements. You should give any technique that you try a good 30 days to take effect before trying something else or switching topics. Even if you feel like you got rid of some mental dirt quickly, it’s good to make sure that it is all gone. This will reinforce the good habits that you’re cultivating. Keep at it! Your mental house is a lot bigger than your physical one, but it can be cleaned. Slow and steady really wins the race when it comes to mental dirt.

RYAN C. LOWE is a motivational keynote speaker, trainer and author of the book Get Off Your Attitude. He works with organizations that want to motivate their team members with principles that will help create a positive culture and mindset to achieve excellence. | (888) 669-4011 § #inspirehealthmag



editor’s letter

Green Welcome to the green issue of Inspire Health! Green symbolizes nature, life and renewal. This issue is all about living a natural, eco-friendly lifestyle and taking a closer look at your lifestyle to see where you can make a greater environmental impact. Show Mother Earth some love by incorporating simple eco-friendly practices into your daily life. Go green at home by conserving water and energy. Take shorter showers, turn the faucet o while brushing your teeth and turn the lights out when you leave a room. Walk or bike to work if you live close. Purchase locally grown products and bring reusable bags to the grocery. Remember, you CAN make a di erence in the world. As primatologist Jane Goodall once said, “One individual cannot possibly make a di erence, alone. It is individual e orts, collectively, that makes a noticeable di erence — all the di erence in the world!” Caitlin Watzke, Editor Help us inspire others! We want to know what inspires you to live healthy. You could be published in the next issue of Inspire Health magazine. Email us at

Find us online!



Executive Publishers HAL G. FOX & SUZANNE POLK FOX Section Editors PATRICIA DANFLOUS TAMI CHARBONNET WHITNEY ALEXANDRA MICHELE ROBERT POCHE SUZANNE POLK FOX CAITLIN WATZKE Creative Team Creative Director JENNIFER CABALLERO Art Director TRA PHAM Graphic Design GABBI MORAN Digital & Marketing NEAL BOYD Print Production DEBBIE WELDON Sales CHARLOTTE V. MORRIS National Sales National Sales VIVIAN DUGAS National Sales KELLY SMITH National Sales LAUREN CALVE' Cover Health & Fitness Fashion & Beauty Kids & Family Destinations Editor

© 2016 Jumpstart Publishing, LLC, New Orleans, LA All rights reserved Printed in the USA by Fox Print Services ( The information contained in Inspire Health is intended for educational purposes only. A reader should never substitute information contained in Inspire Health for the advice of a health care professional. Jumpstart Publishing, LLC and publishers of Inspire Health, do not endorse or promote any of the products or services described in the pages of Inspire Health and the publishers do not verify the accuracy of any claims made in the editorial or advertisements contained in Inspire Health. Readers should not use the information in Inspire Health for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem or for prescription of any medication or other treatment. Readers should consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or have or suspect they have a health problem.



March § April 2016

Inspire Health Great Bend 2016 - All Right Reserved


LOCAL REPORTING: Veronica Coons LOCAL PHOTOGRAPHY: Hugo Gonzalez DESIGN: Hugo Gonzalez SALES: Tammy Mason Malinda Hatfield Diane Lacy-Trostle, Mgr.

Inspire Health Great Bend 2012 Forest Ave. Great Bend, KS 67530 620-792-1211 All copy and advertising in are copyrighted and cannot be reproduced without permission

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is the New Smoking By Caitlin Watzke

he average American sits for 12 to 15 hours a day. That’s four to five times longer than we should be sitting, according to research showing that excessive sitting has negative health effects, even for people who exercise regularly. “This sitting that we all do is like a common meeting point for quite a lot of chronic disease,” says Dr. James Levine, Director of Obesity Solutions at Mayo Clinic and Arizona State University and author of the book


Get Up! Why Your Chair is Killing You and What You Can Do About It. Dr. Levine points to a recent analysis that links excessive sitting with 34 chronic diseases, including diabetes, high blood pressure and congestive heart failure. Sitting is also associated with issues like back pain, bad posture, depression, low productivity and even breast cancer. What to do about it Dr. Levine says the solution isn’t going to be a few tips or tricks — it’s going to require planning, individual responsibility and the creation of a culture of movement both at home and work. “The default needs to be up and moving instead of sitting and slouching,” he advises. “If you have been sitting for

an hour, you have been sitting too long.” Start by setting a timer for 50 minutes or using the ring of the telephone as a reminder to stand up and move around. Ask if your meetings can be held while walking. Dr. Levine says walk-and-talk meetings are becoming more mainstream as big companies create active opportunities for their employees. At its 2013 Annual Meeting, the American Medical Association adopted a policy that encouraged employers to offer fitness balls and standing workstations. “This is coming to an office near you,” Dr. Levine predicts. So stand up and get moving!

“We need to create this culture. The default needs to be up and moving instead of sitting and slouching.” - Dr. James Levine Get Up! Why Your Chair is Killing You and What You Can Do About It by James A. Levine, MD, St. Martin's Griffin (July 2014), $17.99

Sitting by the numbers


female participants’ likelihood of dying during an American Cancer Society study (1993-2006) if they were inactive and sat longer than 6 hours a day compared with those who were active and sat less than 3 hours a day Source: American Cancer Society

2 years the time you could add to your life by sitting for less than 3 hours a day Source: Dr. Peter T. Katzmarzyk, BMJ Open

500 calories

the number of additional calories you could burn per day with activities like walk-and-talk meetings, walking during lunch and doing housework while standing Source: Dr. James Levine § #inspirehealthmag



natural beauty

The Best DIY


By Whitney Alexandra

Practically anything you buy over the counter these days contains some sort of chemical or ingredient that is harmful to your body or mental health. One essential item that is overlooked and used daily is your antiperspirant.Two of the active ingredients often found in deodorant are aluminum chlorohydrate and aluminum zirconium trichlorohydrex gly, which have been linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Although natural deodorants are available over the counter as an alternative, sometimes they do not work very well. For some, natural deodorants don’t shield body odors and must be reapplied every few hours to be somewhat effective. Try this homemade deodorant recipe that has proven to have great results.

Instructions: INGREDIENTS • Coconut oil • Baking soda • Arrowroot powder (cornstarch also works if you don't have arrowroot) • Optional: a few drops of essential oil, such as lavender, rosemary, tea tree, coriander, jasmine or clary sage, for a more aromatic and pleasing scent •A tight lid jar or airtight container to store it in PREPARATION

 Place 3 tablespoons coconut oil in a glass jar, and put the jar in a bowl of hot water until the oil melts.

 Pour the melted coconut oil into a bowl.  Add 2 tablespoons baking soda. Add 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder (or cornstarch if you don't have arrowroot).  Optional: Add a few drops of essential oil if desired.  Mix well.  Place the mixture in a bowl, cover and let it cool. Once it’s cool, the mixture will harden. Remember to keep it in a cool, dry place. If you want to ensure that the deodorant doesn’t separate, you can add 2 tablespoons beeswax or shea butter to the mix. Carnauba wax is even better! Simply apply with your ingers to your underarms. If you wish, you can pack the mixture into an old deodorant container, but make sure to keep it cool so it doesn't melt.



March § April 2016

Note: Be sure to store it in a cool, dry place. This concoction can separate and melt if it’s stored in a warm place, yet the refrigerator makes it too hard.

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By Patricia Danlous

It’s spring. Enjoy life. Stop and smell the roses – or just take time to use your nose, mouth and lungs for cleansing and wellness. Deep breathing is known to lower blood pressure and release stress, along with numerous other healthy benefits. Clinical hypnotherapist Bonnie Miller explains that deep breathing cleans blood as it removes carbon dioxide from the body and increases oxygen levels. “Remember that saying ‘out with the old, in with the new?’ As we breathe out the old air and take in new, fresh oxygen, we are regenerating our bodies, contributing to a better state of physical and mental well-being,” she says.

THE TECHNIQUE The emphasis is on breathing deeply into the abdomen, not just the chest. Respiratory experts advise that deep breathing should be slow, deep and in through the nose, not the mouth. Breathe in slowly; use your diaphragm to circulate oxygen throughout the lungs. Next, exhale slowly, pushing air out of your lungs. Exhaling should last twice as long as inhaling. Some ind that breathing out with pursed lips works best, while others place their hands on their stomachs to feel the rise and fall of breathing in and out. “Deep breathing is not something we can just start to do,” Miller emphasizes. “The technique takes some practice – try it several times a day when you are relaxed and have the time to focus.”

Air is free. Start deep breathing today.

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By: Tami Charbonnet | Photos: Milestone Photography | Model: Nikki Carter



UP! EXERCISES TO SUPPORT SPINAL HEALTH Spinal health must be respected. The spine directly links human brain and body function to physical movement. Your spine and spinal cord endure massive impact from daily activities like working at a desk, driving a vehicle, running after your children or lifting heavy objects. Strengthening, lifting and stretching the muscle groups that support your spine is necessary for basic comfort, physical function and chronic injury prevention. Try these non-impact exercises to improve your balance, strengthen your core and support spinal health. If you are up for a challenge, try our Inspire Health Bonus Move.

DO NOT attempt ANY movement if you have questions concerning pain. ALWAYS consult a physician before performing exercises.




March § April 2016

1. WARRIOR II • Stand with feet grounded wide outside of hips. • Anchor left heel into ground, straighten left leg and engage quadriceps. Push weight into left heel. • Bend right knee directly over right ankle. Sink low into hips. • Lift arms in a straight line from ingertip to ingertip. • Brace core, straighten spine and tuck chin in. • Hold for 5 deep breaths and release. • Repeat right then left, sinking deeper with each pose. Advanced Option • From Warrior II, lift back heel and rotate body into Warrior I and back to Extended Warrior. Hold for 5 breaths. Repeat sequence from Warrior II.


2. UPWARD DOG • Press hips into the loor or mat. Press palms into loor. • Lift body off mat, eyes gazed to sky. • Lift ribs up, opening chest and lengthening through spine to stretch deep muscles.

3. SEATED TWIST • Rest deeply onto sit bones. • Cross right heel over left knee and rotate body to right side. • Extend left arm over right knee and rotate from spine, eyes gazed to back shoulder. • Feel a powerful release of energy by taking 5 deep breaths. Repeat left.

4 3

5. DANCER’S POSE • Turn left arm outward with palm facing away from torso. • Hold onto left foot. Press thumb against sole of foot. • Inhale, lift left leg up, and bring thigh parallel to loor. *Focus on an object that is not moving, and hold as long as you can. Release and repeat on the second side for the same length of time.

4. BOW POSE • Relax onto stomach. • Reach hands back and take hold of one ankle. If you can reach for both, you have advanced. • Lift ribs and legs up off loor simultaneously. • Hold for 5 deep breaths and release. Repeat 5 reps.

5 § #inspirehealthmag



exercise BONUS MOVE:

BIRD POSE CHALLENGE • Stand up straight and place heels outside of hips. Standing strong, bend knees and drop into a deep Hindi squat. • Be sure both heels are irmly anchored to the ground. • Place palms to ground beneath shoulders; lift chest and brace back and core. • Bend elbows deeply, engage core muscles and lift body into bird pose. Hold for 20 seconds. *This exercise is advanced and takes practice. Your core muscles must be strong to support your spine.



March § April 2016

Try conquering Bird Pose and send photos to editor@ inspirehealthmag. com for us to share on our Facebook page!

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weight loss


for Weight Loss By Tami Charbonnet “To cleanse or not to cleanse” is an increasingly trendy question asked by women searching for the ultimate key to weight loss and increased energy. The answer: cleanse! However, be aware that ridding your body of toxins such as caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, processed food and animal products is only a baby step toward long-term weight loss. In order to lose weight and keep it off permanently, you must decide to change your overall lifestyle – permanently. Both before and during your cleanse, implement serious long-term goals. Make a list. Start a journal. What is your focus? Are you determined? Why do you want to lose weight?

What is your plan when inevitable temptations arise? Following strict dietary restrictions of a cleanse may help you lose weight. However, adding back restricted toxins may lead to metabolic confusion and extreme frustration as you quickly return to your pre-cleansing weight. Cleansing is a motivating experience, and it is a healthy way to detoxify your body. But, before you cleanse for weight loss, be sure to make a plan or schedule an appointment with a registered dietitian.

Start your day drinking water with freshly squeezed lemon and peel.

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mighty kids


INNER SPORT By Michele Robert Poche

etc.). Sometimes this answer can be obtained simply by asking your child. However, when she is unsure, you can derive your conclusions from observations made from exposure as well as discussions with her teachers, especially those of physical education.

“Sports teaches you character, it teaches you to play by the rules, it teaches you to know what it feels like to win and to lose – it teaches you about life.”– Billie Jean King ow’s his balance? How’s her handeye coordination? Does he like to finish things quickly? Can she stay focused during lengthier activities? Does he prefer to fly solo or does she soar highest when part of a team? The answers to these questions are not only important to your pediatrician, they’re also great indicators in determining the best sport for your child. How can you help your kids find their inner sport?




March § April 2016

 Expose her to as many forms as possible. Yes, television and computers are the easiest way, but bringing her to live events will produce a more salient response. It can be anything from a college softball game to a community volleyball league. She needs to see the players in action so you can gauge her understanding and enthusiasm at different events.

 Match the activity to his body type. Taller children often gravitate to basketball, children with more physical bulk are inclined to play football, and those with leaner physiques frequently excel at track. Of course, these suggestions are not inflexible, but they can generally help determine a child’s level of success and proficiency in various athletic disciplines.  Determine whether she wants to compete individually (swimming, tennis, etc.) or as a team (soccer, cheer,

 Work with him independently. Together, you can develop his skills in areas like throwing, catching, kicking, hitting, running, dodging, etc. You’ll not only spend some quality unplugged time with your child, you’ll also be able to identify his strengths and weaknesses firsthand to determine what you need to work on and where he might best be suited athletically. In any event, know that there is a sport for everyone. It could be anything from pitching for the school baseball team to playing Frisbee with the dog.The important thing is finding the activity that best builds self-confidence and coordination, releases stress and provides a fun, relaxing outlet of exercise for your child. 

ASPARAGUS AND BROCCOLI QUICHE INGREDIENTS • 1 12-oz. ready made sheet of shortcrust pastry • 4.7 oz. chickpea flour (gram flour) • 15.2 fl. oz. non-dairy milk • ¼ cup nutritional yeast • 2 tsp. vegetable stock powder • Florets of one small head of broccoli • ¼ cup peas • 3-4 green asparagus, sliced in half lengthwise • Sea salt and black pepper DIRECTIONS  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Lightly grease a 10-inch loose bottomed, fluted tart

Makes 1 10-inch quiche Serves 3-4

tin. Gently line the tin with the pastry, easing into the base & trimming off any excess from the outer edge.  Lightly prick the base with a fork and line the pastry case with foil, shiny side down. Fill with baking beads or dry beans and bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.  Carefully remove foil and beans and bake for a further 4-5 minutes until the pastry is pale golden. Remove and set side at room temperature.  To prepare the filling, in a food processor combine the flour, non-dairy milk, nutritional yeast, stock powder and a generous grind of sea

salt and black pepper. Process this mixture to create a smooth batter.  Place the broccoli and peas in a large mixing bowl and pour over about two thirds of the flour batter. Stir well to combine, and pour the mixture into the pastry case.  Use the remaining third of the batter to top up the quiche (you may not need all of it).  Arrange the asparagus slices on the top and scatter

over the vegan cheese.  Bake the quiche for 20-25 minutes or until golden and softly set. When cooked, remove from the oven and lest rest at room temperature for 4-5 minutes before serving.

Recipe courtesy of KaleKitchen, a whole-food, plant-based recipe app

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How did it go? With these ingredients, I made multiple batches of two distinctly different smoothies, and they were both delicious (recipes below). More than once, my daughter actually jumped out of bed in the morning when I mentioned her smoothie was ready. She even asked if we could take By Michele Robert Poche the challenge longer than just seven days. I can think of no better endorsement. Oh, and before I forget, while I was at the grocery, I was approached by a beet juice salesman. I tried his product, loved it and bought it on the spot. So “30 Days on Nothing But Beets?” Not so scary anymore. What’s next?


Photos by Richard Vallon few months ago, I put myself out there in one of our editorial meetings. “I want to try a few challenges for one of my columns,” I said. “Challenges?” they said. “Yes, challenges. Like eating this or doing that for seven days. Or ten days. Or whatever. Depends on the challenge. Know what I mean?” Looking around the table, I could see that they liked the idea. I swallowed nervously, imagining ar ticles entitled “30 Days on Nothing But Beets!” and “Sleep! Who Needs It?” My worries melted away the moment we established the first challenge:




March § April 2016

Have a smoothie for breakfast every morning for seven days. Sounds easy enough, right? Except that these wouldn’t be just any smoothies. They wouldn’t come from a commercial juice bar or “smoothery,” nor would they come from ready-made kits found in a frozen food section. The challenge smoothies would contain 100 percent all-natural ingredients with at least one super food per recipe. Oh, and I would be serving them to my daughter, so they had to be good. Challenge accepted. I left that meeting, picked up my daughter from school and drove straight to the grocery to purchase the ingredients.

MY SHOPPING LIST: • almond milk • bananas • cherries (frozen) • chia seeds • coconut oil • Goji berries • mango (frozen) • raspberries • spinach (raw) • Stevia sweetener • tart cherry juice

Green Goodness • 1½ cups almond milk • 1½ bananas • 2 handfuls raw spinach • 2 cups mango, frozen • 1 Tbsp. chia seeds • 1 tsp. coconut oil Cancer Kicker • 1½ cups almond milk • 1½ cups raspberries • 1½ cups cherries, frozen • 2 Tbsp. Goji berries • 1 Tbsp. tart cherry juice concentrate • ½ tsp. Stevia sweetener (optional) To create either recipe, place all ingredients in blender, add desired quantity of ice, and blend on high until smooth. Enjoy! Recipes by Christina Leidenheimer

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Great Bend author shares struggles and lessons learned by Veronica Coons Photography by Hugo Gonzalez

eeting Darcy Leech irst time, you can’t help but be drawn to her enthusiasm and energy. There is a light and a determination that is palpable right away. Shortly before the birth of her second child, we met at a Mothers of Preschoolers gathering in Great Bend. She, husband Daniel and son Eli moved to Great Bend at the end of August, 2015, in time for both teachers to begin work in the local school district. Darcy, a former English teacher, became the district’s irst-ever instructional technology coach, and Daniel teaches world history and geography at Great Bend High School. Their son Eli, now three, became a big brother when the couple welcomed daughter Hannah Grace in November. Darcy has been able to refocus her passion for language arts towards writing books, and her passion for teaching to helping instructors use cutting edge technology and social media. In her spare time, she works to build awareness of a degenerative disease that claimed the lives of two dear family members. On becoming an author Darcy has experience well beyond her years when it comes to caring for others. And it’s no wonder. From a young age, she was an important caretaker to her younger brother, Dustin, diagnosed shortly after birth with Congenital Muscular Dystrophy. As the third generation with the genetic disorder, his symptoms were undeniable. As his perfectly healthy older sister, helping him to learn everyday activities provided unending challenges, and honed her ability to coach at an early age. Each success in her brother’s development illed her with pride, and reinforced her belief that willpower alone could overcome nearly anything. It was a lesson she would have to unlearn when her mother’s symptoms became more acute years later. That learning process became the focus of Darcy’s irst book, “From My Mother”, to be released April 22 by eLectio Publishing. “From My Mother” is an inspirational non-iction narrative, a memoir on surviving and thriving in a family ravaged by genetic disease,” she said.



March § April 2016

Darcy began writing “From My Mother” as she worked through her grief following the death of her mother, Jo Lyn, four years ago. In that time, she’s sought to put to rest unanswerable questions. For instance, why did her brother receive the genes from their mother that resulted in his condition, and why not her? “I received so much from my mother that was good. I am so well set-up for my life because of her, and yet my brother only had 13 years,” she relects. Ultimately, there is no reason, only the experiences from which to draw upon. Writing has helped her to heal, and to process the lessons from her mother’s inal days in the hospital. Diagnosis Darcy’s father, Randy Bartz, was in the United States Air Force during most of her childhood. This meant the family had excellent health care and access to the best doctors and specialists. In 1989 when Dustin was born, this was a critical factor in his treatment. Muscular dystrophy is a group of diseases that cause progressive weakness and loss of muscle mass. Congenital Muscular Dystrophy is a rare condition to start with, affecting only 1 in 8,500 people, Darcy said. While those with MD may not pass on the gene to each of their offspring, there is genetic anticipation associated with the disease. The disease can be traced through generations. Dustin was diagnosed with the disease shortly after his birth. It was discovered that he was the third generation in Darcy’s mother’s family with MD. This made his case extremely rare, and of great interest to specialists, she said. As a result of a doctor’s investigation of Dustin’s condition, Jo Lyn was discovered to be the second generation, and was diagnosed with Myotonic Muscular Dystrophy, symptoms of which typically emerge sometime between the ages of 20 and 40 years. According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, this type causes an inability to relax muscles following a sudden contraction. “All it took was a handshake for doctor’s to know she had it,” Darcy said. Early lessons in caretaking While both mother and son were diagnosed with MD, there were differences in how both responded to therapy and the progression of their conditions. As a child, Darcy was included in consultations with doctors about how to help Dustin. “A lot of kids with MD, if they can get out of the hospital, there is a period of getting stronger,” Darcy said. “ A lot of things people said he would never do were achieved “ Through therapy, Dustin’s

muscles became strong and he learned to do many things, even walk. Darcy worked daily with Dustin, and with every success - getting out of bed, getting dressed, brushing his teeth - she shared pride in his accomplishments. The family set goals, worked hard, and many were realized. Darcy learned through Dustin how to work through pain, to develop willpower and the belief that anything that could be imagined could be realized. The lessons spilled over into her own life, and helped her to become a dedicated athlete, competing in volleyball and softball at the collegiate level. But, for Jo Lyn, suffering from Myotonic MD meant her muscles begin to degenerate, and the opposite was true. While Darcy witnessed growth in her brother, she witnessed a gradual decline in her mother. Instead of realizing it was a natural progression of her degenerative disease, Darcy admits she assumed it was a lack of willpower, which led to frustration. “I wasn’t wise enough to understand the effects when I was young,” she said. Why, she wondered, did her brother respond to her coaching, yet her mother did not? Differences magniied Then, in 2002, Dustin became ill, and the stress on his already weak heart was too much. He died at the age of 13 years. After a period of grieving, attention was focused on Jo Lyn’s worsening condition. By this time, Randy was no longer in the military, medical insurance became an issue. Some of Jo Lyn’s records were no longer available. With their new coverage, access to proper care wasn’t readily available. Jo Lyn’s doctor even misdiagnosed her with allergies and depression, despite her insistence that it was MMD. As she began to display more and more visible symptoms, including leg pain and fatigue symptoms, still no deinitive diagnosis was available, so she was unable to force employers to accommodate her worsening condition at work. Eventually, Jo Lyn left her job at Walmart because she simply could not keep up, Darcy said. With no veriiable medical reason for her fatigue, her self-conidence dashed, Jo Lyn may have been battling depression. “It was hard to tell,” she explained. With the body functioning at a lower capacity, it is easy to feel lethargic. “It was almost too late when I realized willpower wouldn’t save my mom.” As time went on, her facial muscles weakened, causing her eyelids to droop, and carrying on a conversation became more dificult. Jo Lyn would call Darcy to talk, and, she admits her younger self felt impatient and burdened at the prospect of trying to help her mother. It was her father who helped her to understand. “Hearing Darcy made her mom feel better,” Randy said. “Talking to her was a way to spend time with her.” § #inspirehealthmag



Marking life In 2011, Darcy and Daniel were expecting their irst child. It was a happy time. In addition, Jo Lyn’s mother’s 90th bir thday was on the horizon and a big celebration was planned. Both occasions helped rally Jo Lyn’s spirits. She was inspired to create a scrapbook to honor her relative. Making it to the celebration which was to be held in New Mexico became her driving goal. Then, Jo Lyn planned to help care for her new grand baby when it was time for Darcy to return to work after the delivery. But days after returning home to Larned, Jo Lyn’s symptoms magniied, but the MD was not suspected at irst. Instead, doctors thought the lethargy might be caused by a bout of altitude sickness induced by New Mexico’s higher elevation. Later, it was determined her hear t had simply grown too weak. Within days, Jo Lyn went from being able to function to arriving at a critical failing point. She could no longer breathe strong enough to push the carbon dioxide from her blood. Randy found her unresponsive one afternoon after arriving home from work, and she was rushed to the hospital. While there, she contracted pneumonia. She was transferred to Wichita, where she remained under a specialist’s care for the last weeks of her life. It was there that one of the most impor tant lessons of Darcy’s life took place.

Learning acceptance Instead of her mother coming to help her after the bir th of her son, Darcy brought infant Eli to visit her mother in the hospital. A photo of her holding him, then only three months old, is one of her most cherished belongings. “Some of the most impor tant moments I had with mom were those we had in the hospital,” she said. As she walked slower, Darcy slowed down for her. She learned to take joy in talking to her, despite the fact her mother could not speak to her because of her need for a ventilator. “I learned to appreciate spending time with her instead of setting goals to try to ix her,” she said. Darcy found herself making a mental shift, and realized she needed to appreciate the value her mother had in her life, regardless of her situation. One day, while visiting, a nurse suggested she could help by washing her mother’s hair. It allowed an opening, a small moment where she could share simple human touch and caring that had nothing to do with ixing anything. It was a blessing she would never forget. “It allowed us to share a moment that often life is too fast for,” she said. My mother got to



March § April 2016

see how much she was cared for.” After her mother passed ed away, she realized that thee last weeks she’d spent with th her mother allowed her to appreciate life in a different ent way. She learned lessons of resilience that she believes es will make her a better mother.

Sharing hope Relecting on her experience, there is a ine line family members need to keep in mind Darcy said. Theree is the need to balance hope of cure being found soon with accepting theirr limitations. “It’s impor tant to spend time appreciating who they are,” she said. Sharing this message has become her new life purpose. Her book is but one facet of her plan. Together with her family, Darcy has formed a team for the upcoming Muscle Walk, sponsored by the Muscular Dystrophy Association. On March 17, shor tly before the release of “For My Mother”, Great Bend’s Gambino’s Pizza has agreed to allow her to raise funds for the walk and raise awareness about MD and the families it affects. She and her family andd friends will work as servers that day, and the restaurant will donate a por tion of theirr proits that day to the cause. Then, on April 22, they will head to Wichita ita where they will join with others to suppor t research for treatments and maybe even someday a cure. While there she will be promoting her new book. “I’m really looking forward to it,” she said. “Meeting other families going through what we went through is very healing.” Her familiarity with what those families face has prompted her to reach out and get involved in The FUSE Foundation. Established in 2008, it provides oppor tunities for social networking, recreation and education for young adults with neuromuscular disease including Muscular Dystrophy. Founders include Kansas families of many young adults affected by neuromuscular disease, health care professionals, and volunteers with experience in providing activities for the physically disabled. At the end of July, she will volunteer at an upcoming four-day retreat for adults. There, each par ticipant is assigned a 24-hour a day buddy, someone they can trust to help with everyday tasks. Darcy has been invited to speak at local service clubs. It’s helped her to prepare for upcoming author events. Her book will be

S Some upcoming local events Leech will appear at include: March 17 – “From My Mother” Release M Team Muscle Walk Fundraiser at Gambino’s T Pizza – 1309 Main St, Great Bend, KS P (Darcy at event 5-8 P.M.) ( April 22 – “From My Mother” release A par p ty in Great Bend, KS and Darcy’s bir b thday – TBD in Great Bend, KS M 7 – Book signing at Everything Under May tthe Son in Great Bend – 407 McKinley St, Great Bend, KS 67530 (1-3 P.M.) G JJune 9 – Book Talk with Great Bend Chamber of Commerce Community Coffee C Gathering, 1125 Williams St, Great Bend KS G For a complete list, access to her blog o and a more, visit

carried at Great Bend’s Everything Under the Son, as well as other independent booksellers and online. Darcy hopes the book speaks not only to those who deal with MD in their families, but to all who are tasked with caretaking. Hopefully her experience will allow others to understand they aren’t alone as they deal with similar obstacles and struggle with the unfairness of chronic degenerative disease. Most of all, she hopes readers ind it is a story about human connections and family relationships for the modern era. “All relationships benei t from perseverance, compassion, and appreciating each moment spent with loved ones,” she said.



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