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body. mind. spirit. A Times Union Publication

Learn to Trust

Your Intuition

October 2013

On Your Mark ...

Start training for that 5K!

Genetics and YOUR

Cancer Risk Plus...

• Excess-hair solutions • Foods to help you heal • Therapies for trauma survivors

Are Your Kids

Spoiled?


bite-sized lessons Eat from the Rainbow

Try to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables from each color group - the more colorful, the better! Fruit and vegetables’ colors result from natural plant pigments. Many of these pigments are antioxidants or phytochemicals, which provide powerful protection against diseases. Health benefits include lower blood pressure and cholesterol; weight management; and lower risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and other health conditions.

Roasted Vegetable Rice Salad Serves: 6 Prep Time: 15 min. Cook Time: 35 min.

Ingredients: 2 medium zucchini 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped 1 package (10 oz.) frozen whole kernel corn, thawed 2 cloves garlic 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided 2 tsp. McCormick® Poultry Seasoning, divided 1 cup brown rice 1 3/4 cups water 1/2 cup Ragu® Old World Style® Pasta Sauce 1 Tbsp. McCormick® Cilantro Leaves 1 Tbsp. lime juice 1/2 cup shredded Cabot™ Sharp Light Shredded Cheddar Cheese (optional) Directions: 1. Preheat oven to 425°. Line jelly-roll pan with aluminum foil. Toss zucchini, red pepper, corn, garlic, 1 tablespoon oil and 1 teaspoons poultry seasoning on pan. Roast, stirring once, 35 minutes or until vegetables are tender. 2. Meanwhile, heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat in 2 1/2-quart saucepan and cook rice, stirring frequently, 2 minutes or until golden. 3. Stir in water, pasta sauce and remaining teaspoon of poultry seasoning. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, 20 minutes or until rice is tender. 4. Combine rice, vegetables, cilantro and lime juice in large bowl. Serve hot or at room temperature. Garnish, if desired, with shredded cheddar cheese. Nutrition Facts, Amount Per Serving: Calories, 230 Total Carbohydrate, 42g Total Fat, 6g Dietary Fiber, 3g Sat. Fat, 0.5g Sugars, 4g Trans Fat, 0g Protein, 5g Cholesterol, 0g Recipe courtesy of Unilever.

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body. mind. spirit.

Publisher George Hearst III Editorial Janet Reynolds, Executive Editor Rebecca Haynes, CT Division Editor Brianna Snyder, Associate Editor Genevieve Scarano, Editorial Intern

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HealthyLife is published ten times per year. If you are interested in receiving home delivery of HealthyLife magazine, please call (518) 454-5768 or e-mail magcirculation@timesunion. com. For advertising information, please call (518) 454-5358. HealthyLife is published by Capital Newspapers and Times Union 645 Albany Shaker Road, Albany, NY 12212 518.454.5694 The entire contents of this magazine are copyright 2013 by Capital Newspapers. No portion may be reproduced in any means without written permission of the publisher. Capital Newspapers is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Hearst Corporation.


2013 WOMEN AGAINST MS LUNCHEON WAMS The Premier Women’s Networking Luncheon In The Capital Region Featuring special guest, Elizabeth Smart

Friday, Nov. 1, 2013 Wolferts Roost Country Club 11:30 a.m. Networking & Special Guest Meet-And-Greet 12:30 p.m. Luncheon

To register, or for more information: Call 518-464-0850 or email stephanie.bradshaw@nmss.org Tickets: $75 general admission $100 Honorary Committee Corporate tables of 10 available

Elizabeth Smart

Upstate New York Chapter

Elizabeth Smart’s abduction in 2002 was one of the most followed child abduction cases of our time. Rescued after nine months of captivity, her story of survival, strength and resilience continues to motivate people around the world. Through her traumatic experience, Elizabeth has become an advocate for change related to child abduction, recovery programs and national legislation. Her life is a daily demonstration that it is possible to overcome extreme adversity by not allowing your past to dictate your future. Elizabeth believes there is always hope.

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MS Resource of the Tri-State Area


36

44

body

mind

every issue

22 On Your Mark ...

43 Ask Emma

  8 talk back

26 Unbearable Pain

44 Just Say No!

Training for your first 5K race For fibromyalgia sufferers, it’s not in their heads

30 Heal Thyself

Eating your way to a healthier life

34 Hairy Situation

Too much facial hair could be a sign of a bigger problem

36 The Buzz About BRCA And what it means for your cancer risk

Our feelings can become a prison Don’t overindulge your kid

48 Getting Physical

New ways to help trauma survivors heal

spirit Running in place

54 Embrace Your Successes! 56 Inner Psychic

Learn to harness your intuition

healthylife

12 editor’s note 14 fit & fab 16 news & views 20 did you know? 58 cover model Q&A

Up close with Dona Fragnoli

53 My Word

You’ll be happier!

6

10 on the web

Hair and makeup by Kimberley’s A Day Spa, Latham, (518) 785-5868. Select clothing available at Boscov’s Clifton Park, Clifton Park Center, (518) 348-0800. On the cover: clothing by Chaus and Premise. At right: clothing by Calvin Klein. Jewelry by Steve Madden. Photos taken by Suzanne Kawola at Russell Sage College in Troy.


october ’13

54 58

EXP 11/31/2013 2 EXECUTIVE PARK DRIVE | ALBANY, NY 12203 | 518.482.8631 ALBANYDERM.COM


talk back

The story behind the story from our contributors Smart Training Laurie Lynn Fischer  I learned that warm up and cool down exercises have changed since my days running track in high school. In this article, veteran runners from the Capital Region suggest a number of stretches to start and finish workouts, as well as tips for first-time 5K racers. See Laurie’s story on page 22.

Keeping Score Melinda McGarty Webb  I’m a person who loves lists. I could barely function without one to keep me on track, and derive great satisfaction from crossing off each item as it’s completed. In all honesty, I always thought that was kind of a weird trait. But after speaking with a number of experts, I realized I’m relatively normal, at least in that respect. It turns out people are often happier when they can reflect on what they’ve accomplished, and can see the results of their efforts in black and white. Now, if I could only fix my other quirks… See Melinda’s story on page 54.

join the conversation!

! n i w or a Like us f o win chance t of all kinds ! free stuff

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healthylife

Hairy Facts

Chronic Pain

“Fibromyalgia is real” Traci Neal  Despite continued research and increasing awareness, fibromyalgia is still one of those illnesses that even some doctors today believe is all in their patients’ heads. Fibromyalgia pain and fatigue can be debilitating and for those who suffer from it, for those who miss out on some of the best years of their lives because they can’t get out of bed, fibromyalgia is real. See Traci’s story on page 26.

Aging Gracefully Wendy Page Aging is inevitable, but how gracefully you age is up to you. Keep your mind sharp and your body healthy, and you can go into your silver years with gusto. See Wendy’s story online at timesunion.com/healthylife.

Brianna Snyder  I am a frantic hair-plucker. I get prickly little hairs on my face that make me worried about what might happen if I ever end up in a coma, or if I ever lose my favorite pair of tweezers (which they’ve STOPPED manufacturing lately, so I’m freaking out). Turns out, many women deal with facial hair. The trick is to know what’s normal, and what might be a sign something’s wrong. See Brianna’s story on page 34.

Go with Your Gut Valerie Foster  Intuition: My Great Aunt Mame had it. So did my mom. And truth be told so do I, but I have spent decades blocking it out because it scared me silly. I reported the article in this month’s magazine on intuition a few months ago, and since then have spent many hours following the advice of the experts I spoke to, first trying to connect with my inner voice, and recently listening to what she has to tell me. I have to admit she is one pretty smart cookie. For me, this article has been lifechanging. See Valerie’s story on page 56.

We asked, you answered!  What’s your favorite thing about fall?

Michael: The kids are back in school.

Marc: Butter ... Bacon ... Bacon cooked in butter

Danielle: the food!

Charlotte: Watching people obsess over pumpkinflavored everything ...

Dona: Crunchy chocolate chip cookies!! Homemade, of course!!

 What’s your guiltypleasure food?

Betty: Kelly Fried dough

Victoria: Halloween, apple picking, pumpkin picking, cozy sweaters!!!!!! Jennie: The leaves. Can’t wait to head up to Mass in a few weeks to see them! Amy: Taking my kids to fairs

Kathleen: Oreos dipped in hot fudge Corri: cheesecake Richard: PayDay

 What’s your go-to quick-breakfast recipe? Alicia: Avocado mashed on whole wheat toast!


on the web facebook.com/ HealthyLifeNYmagazine

timesunion.com/HealthyLife

BEHIND THE SCENES After reading our interview with cover model Dona Fragnoli on page 58, head online to read about the shoot and see behind-the-scenes pictures.

healthylife

blogs

COOKBOOK Read all about how to eat your way to a healthier life on page 30; then head online for some extra recipes!

Midlife Mom Rebecca Haynes, editor of HealthyLife Connecticut, offers her perspective on life and motherhood while she navigates the teen years and beyond.

Healthy Tips Writer and freelance editor Beth Cooney scans the web to bring you the latest info and tips for healthy living.

Healthy Life

BONUS FEATURES We’ve got lots of online material for you this month! Go online to read about how exercising makes you happy; all the ways your body improves with age; and more.

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healthylife

Writer and designer Carin Lane shares her success stories with losing weight her way — without a gym membership, a personal trainer, or special foods.

AND MORE Go online for our special primer on what your appendix is, exactly, and how it works.

Illustration: Computer mouse, ©Irina Iglina/Dreamstime.com. Photos: GettyImages. Exercise couple, Clerkenwell; Woman primer, laflor; Appendix, PIXOLOGICSTUDIO.

check out the healthylife channel


Which hospital offers the latest techniques and technology in cardiac care and broadest range of options for patients? The Answer is Albany Med.

Dr. Adanna Akujuo, a cardiothoracic surgeon who offers the latest minimally invasive techniques, joined Albany Med’s team because it is on the leading edge of cardiac care.

When you need expert care for your heart, THE ANSWER IS ALBANY MED.

www.amc.edu/heart


editor’s note

Indulge Me

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healthylife

Photo by Krishna Hill.

T

wo true stories from my childhood: In the first I am 14 and feeling depressed in the completely self-centered way that teenagers do. I am staring gloomily out the window in my bedroom, writing terrible maudlin poetry. (The likely topic was unrequited love I’m sure.) My mother comes in the room and asks me what is wrong. “I’m so depressed,” I tell her. She looks at me and says, “You’re too young to be depressed.” And then she leaves. Second story: In the summer between 9th and 10th grade, I went to music camp for a month. A music geek, I was in my element, playing cello 8-10 hours a day, studying music theory — all in a co-ed environment in which there were no counselors! (Hold the band camp comments please.) At the end of the month, I begged my parents to let me stay for the second session. They said no. When the next summer rolled around, I asked again if I could please please please stay for two months. They told me no. Not “We have other plans, Janet” or “We can’t afford it, Janet.” Just plain no. And so I told them fine, then I was going to pay for it myself. I applied for a scholarship, got it, and had one of the best summers of my life. Fast forward to life with our children. If one of my children said they were depressed/upset/sad, my husband and I typically dropped what we were doing to sit with the child, eliciting information, talking through ways to solve the potential issue creating the sadness. And then we often spent hours after the conversation worrying what to do and how to help the child feel better. As for opportunities, our children rarely heard the word no. Indeed, we often sought out the opportunities for them. Nor am I alone in this behavior. My friends who are parents have taken the same route. If they could afford it, the option was made available. While the upsides to this interest and involvement include overall better relationships with our now adult children, relationships that are more substantive than those we had with our parents as adults, I do think this indulging our children does have a tipping point that can actually be

Janet Reynolds, Executive Editor jreynolds@timesunion.com

detrimental. By being so involved in their lives, we’ve held them back, made them less resilient and more reliant on us. The evidence for this is just beginning to be recognized and studied. How many of you, for instance, have a boomerang baby, a child who graduated from college and just assumed home was the place to go while contemplating the next step? True, the economy is tricky today, but that was true in the mid-’70s when I graduated from college and later in the early ’80s. And my peers and I would have lived 10 to a room rather than go home after college. It just wasn’t done. This topic is obviously complicated with more to say than I can discuss here. But I think our story about over-indulging our children on page 44 raises some interesting points. It seems particularly well-timed as we prep for the upcoming holidays when indulgence can move into hyper-drive. And of course, all bets are off when it comes to grandchildren. When it comes to my Maxine, she can have whatever she wants, whenever she wants it. HL


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fit & fab  Boxed Treats: Regular afternoon runs to the vending machine can help you pack on 1015 pounds a year. So NatureBox has created a variety of tasty nutritious treats that are delivered right to your door every month (you can pause or cancel your subscription any time). And with the holidays approaching, these snacks might help you avoid overindulging in seasonal goodies. $19.95 a month. Visit naturebox.com.

 Vitamin Sprinkles: Getting all the vitamins and minerals you need from food can be a challenge. AlternaVites provide 23 nutrients and contain no sugar or artificial additives such as aspartame and high fructose corn syrup. Packaged in portable daily doses, they’re also perfect for those who don’t do well with pills. Just open the packet and sprinkle on your tongue. Available in mixed berry flavor. $19.95 Also available for kids 4 & up. $29.95 pack of 30. Visit alternavites.com.

by carin lane

Fit and Fab finds to help you get healthy and look good inside and out. For more Fit and Fab goodies, go to timesunion.com/ healthylife. Have a new product you’d like to share? E-mail Carin at clane@timesunion.com.

 Hot Pants: Clouds Hot Pants from Teeki are made from over 25 recycled water bottles. The bottles are stripped, then turned into flakes that are made into a fiber that is processed into fabric. The elasticfree waistband keeps your tummy in place and the breathable fabric won’t ride up while doing the most challenging yoga, Pilates, dance or barre positions. Available in capris and a variety of patterns, they are “made with love in the U.S.A.” $66.Visit teeki.com.

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healthylife

You can visit Carin on facebook at www.facebook.com/ carinlane.healthylife or follow her on twitter @tiredorinspired and Pinterest at pinterest.com/carinlane

 Sleep Tight: These sci-fi looking glasses are designed to improve your sleep and reduce tiredness. Wearing the 100 percent UV ray-free glasses 30-50 minutes a day should give your body needed light to maintain proper sleep-wake rhythm that can fade during the winter months or by working long hours indoors. They’re also helpful for reducing jet lag and increasing energy levels, and fit over regular glasses, fold for traveling and have a 4-hour battery life and a USB charging cord. $299 delivered. Visit re-timer.com.

 Tan Lines: You can look tan and toned year-round with Sally Hansen’s Airbrush Legs Glow Leg makeup with Vitamin K. It also hides imperfections or spider veins. Doesn’t matter if you are Casper white or dark, the company has a shade for you. They advise choosing a lighter shade then you think you need to avoid looking too dark. $10-$12. Available at Walmart, Target and other superstores.


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news and views compiled by beth cooney

Phone Potatoes? raising a generation of couch potatoes hooked on reality television and video games comes a new sedentary lifestyle concern: smartphone addictions. Researchers at Ohio’s Kent State University have linked compulsive cell phone use by college students to reduced fitness levels in a study described as the first of its kind to look at the correlation between such hand-held technology and health profiles. Researchers studied the cardiorespiratory fitness levels of about 300 Midwestern college students and found that the healthiest of the bunch were the group who spent 90 minutes or less on their phones each day. The unhealthiest bunch were the heaviest hand-held technology users — young adults who logged as many as 14 hours a day using their phones. Researchers noted that while smartphones have made technology constantly accessible, many of us may be paying a price for that ease of access with our health. The study appeared recently online in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Health. source: tinyurl.com/hl13smartphone

Flexing the Virtual

Brain Muscle MORE AND MORE RESEARCH is

showing that there are brain-flexing steps aging adults can take to prevent some of the cognitive decline associated with aging. The latest, from the University of California at Los Angeles, found that when seniors performed certain computer games intended to train their brains, they showed significant improvement in memory function and language skills. The study involved cognitively healthy seniors as old as 82, who were asked to play certain mind-challenging computer games for a period of about six months. At the end of the study the seniors who were most active — playing at least 40 times for 20 to 25 minutes during the study period — showed improvements in critical thinking skills related to short- and long-term memory. Researchers say their study has implications in the efforts to help halt the mental declines associated with the epidemic of Alzheimer’s and dementia. source: tinyurl.com/hl13brainfitness

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healthylife

Hot Flash Therapy FINALLY! MENOPAUSAL WOMEN craving relief from annoying hot flashes but who want to avoid hormone therapy have a possible medical alternative.

The FDA has approved a non-hormonal patch that’s been proven in two randomized clinical trials to provide relief from hot flashes, a classic symptom associated with the transition into menopause. The patch, sold under the brand name Brisdelle, does not contain either estrogen or progesterone, the two hormones commonly contained in traditional treatments. While this may be an appealing alternative for some women, the FDA noted Brisdelle is not side-effect free, with headache, fatigue, nausea and vomiting being reported in the clinical trials. source: tinyurl.com/hl13hormwones

Photos: GettyImages. Phone Potatoes, Sian Kennedy; Virtual Brain, exdez; Connections, sturti; Fatty Fish, Ray Kachatorian.

FOR ALL THOSE PARENTS worried that they’ve been


Lasting Virtual Connections MORE THAN ONE-THIRD of

contemporary marriages begin with an online spark and, interestingly, Cupid’s arrow may be a little more effective when it strikes virtually, according to new research. A new study, funded by the online dating site eHarmony, was published recently in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Researchers found that of 20,000 Americans who got married between 2005 and 2012, some 35 percent met on-

line. Interestingly, while 8 percent of the couples who met offline got separated or divorced, just six percent of the online-connecting couples did. The researchers also found higher rates of marital satisfaction reported amongst couples who met online than they did among couples who met in more traditional, expected places such as bars or at college or through professional contact. While the difference in marriage survival rates may not be

large enough to impress skeptics, the takeaway here may be that online dating, despite some of its pitfalls, may not be a bad way to make a meaningful, lasting connection. source: tinyurl.com/hl13marriage

Fatty Fish: Your Breast Protection WANT TO CURB YOUR RISK of breast cancer?

Feast on fatty fish. Researchers in China, who’ve been studying the correlation between the healthful fats in fish such as salmon, tuna and sardines, say eating them twice a week can curb your risk of developing breast cancer by as much as 15 percent. The findings, recently reported in the journal BMJ, looked at research involving more than 800,000 women from several countries and continents who participated in 26 different studies. Their conclusion was that the fatty acids in the fish, known as AHA, DPA, EPA and DHA, seem to have breast protective properties. Since these fish oils have been associated with other healthful benefits, including aiding in the prevention of heart disease and dementia-related disorders, this research adds another reason to make these fish species part of an overall healthy diet. source: tinyurl.com/hl13fattyfish

timesunion.com/HealthyLife

17


Is Sex Addiction Real? SEX ADDICTION MAY SEEM LIKE AN ILLNESS

Healthy Start WANT TO HELP YOUR FAVORITE GUY live a long, healthy

life? Share a healthy breakfast with him. Researchers says that men who don’t eat breakfast are far more likely to suffer from heart disease, according to new research out of Harvard Medical School and its School of Public Health. Researchers found male breakfast-skippers to be an especially unhealthy cohort — more likely to smoke, drink excessively and make poor lifestyle choices. What’s interesting is researchers in this study weren’t even interested in what kind of breakfast men ate, implying that even the sausage-egg-and-cheese crowd has an edge on breakfast abstainers. The researchers claimed breakfastskipping guys have a 55 percent higher chance of having a coronary-related episode in their lifetime. The research was reported recently in the journal Circulation. source: tinyurl.com/hl13breakfast

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healthylife

to the men and women who engage in hypersexual behavior and the people in their lives victimized by it. But the psychiatric community remains divided on the subject of whether it’s officially “sick.” Although it has ruined relationships, toppled the careers of politicians and celebrities and even been blamed for its so-called sufferers’ economic ruin, a team of researchers at UCLA have found little evidence there’s any difference in the brain activity of people identified as hypersexual. For this research the study subjects — adults over 18 who identified themselves as being troubled by sexual compulsion — were shown a series of erotic and non-erotic images and their brain waves were then studied using EEG. The researchers found little difference in their brain waves after seeing sexual images, including those of malefemale intercourse, than they did looking at more benignly pleasant images. Other research has shown a difference in the brain activity of other types of addicts and those suffering from certain compulsive disorders. But the debate on whether sex addiction is an illness is by no means over. Interestingly, a rival 2012 UCLA study (by a different researcher) supported the inclusion of sexual addiction in the DSM-5, considered the bible of psychiatric disorders by clinicians throughout the world. source: tinyurl.com/hl13sexaddiction

Photos: GettyImages. Sex Addiction, Debbi Smirnoff; Hair Straighten, Amanda Rohde; Risky Heights, DRB Images, LLC. HealthyStart photo © iStockphoto.com/FotografiaBasica.

news and views


Straighten at Your Own Risk THE FRIZZ-BUSTING BRAZILIAN BLOWOUT has the ability to tame unruly locks

for weeks on end, but its stinky effective ingredient (formaldehyde) is taking the heat again. Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley have concluded that without proper ventilation both clients and hairdressers could have short-term exposure to dangerous formaldehyde from the treatments at levels above acceptable health limits. They warned that the dangers may be heightened for stylists who spend long hours working with clients and for small salons, where there may not be room (or a budget) for essential ventilation systems. The study was performed using the Brazilian Blowout Acai Professional Hair Smoothing System. It did not involve other brands that claim to be toxin-free. The study was reported recently in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene. source: tinyurl.com/hl13blowout

Bad Night

Moon

FULL MOONS CAN BE BREATHTAKING, but they also can mess with

your circadian rhythms. A new study suggests that not only are humans cued and responsive to the rising and setting suns, they are also profoundly influenced by lunar cycles. And full moons, in particular, seem to get in the way of a good night’s sleep. (See, you’re not just imagining it.) Researchers at the University of Basel in Switzerland and the Montefiore Medical Center in New York who conducted the study, say that during the days closest to the full moon their sleep subjects slept, on average, about 20 minutes less. Intriguingly, researchers also reported dips in the important sleep hormone melatonin as well as a disturbance in the most restful “deep” sleep around full moons. The study was published recently in the journal Current Biology.

Risky

Heights THE TYPICAL SHORT WOMAN may be too

slight to strut the fashion catwalk or model for Vogue, but when it comes to assessing cancer risk, researchers say petite ladies may have the big advantage. After menopause, researchers have found that taller women seem to face much higher odds of developing certain cancers. The comprehensive study, which looked at more than 21,000 postmenopausal women between the ages of 50 and 70, found that for every four inches of added height, a woman’s risk of developing certain types of cancer increased between 14 and a staggering 29 percent. The risk factors related to increased height were highest for kidney, rectum, thyroid and certain blood cancers. Researchers affiliated with the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City say their findings don’t explain why height seems to be a factor in elevating cancer risk, but one theory they’ve considered is that it may be attributable to overall body mass, including larger organ size in taller women. source: tinyurl.com/hl13height

source: tinyurl.com/hl13moon

timesunion.com/HealthyLife

19


fast facts

did you know?

compiled by brianna snyder

5 million

There are approximately 5 million hair follicles on your body. source: tinyurl.com/hl13follicle

1,000 One in every 1,000 babies is born with a tooth.

14%

According to a survey, 14 percent of young people 12-17 say they blog.

15 percent You can improve your performance by up to 15 percent if you listen to music while you exercise. source: tinyurl.com/hl13music

source: tinyurl.com/hl13blogs

37 seconds

The average bullying episode lasts 37 seconds. Teachers notice or intervene in only one in 25 incidents. source: tinyurl.com/hl13bully

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healthylife

Photos: GettyImages. Headphones, Fuse; Baby, Nina Shannon; Bullying, Leanne Temme.

source: tinyurl. com/hl13tooth


Eat breakfast! ➺ It will get your

Photo: Sam Edwards/GettyImages.

metabolism going for the day and keep it more active. Add fiber to that breakfast to help you feel more energetic into the afternoon — and avoid that vending machine!

body Training for a 5K 22  Coping with Fibromyalgia 26 Healing Yourself with Food 30  Unwanted Facial Hair 34 What the BRCA Gene Means for You 36   timesunion.com/HealthyLife

21


smart training

On Your Mark, Get Set… M

training for your first 5k race

by laurie lynn fischer

cause it’s short enough so you can run multiple 5Ks in a year, compare your results and see your progress,” he says. Beginners shouldn’t run on consecutive days or exceed 45 minutes, he says. Here are some other training tips from 5K veterans. MIX IT UP Intersperse running days with rest days and other forms of exercise, says Hislop, recommending yoga, Zumba or Pilates. Sweeney cross-trains with boot camp classes. ON TRACK Tracks are softer and easier on the joints than roads, Sweeney says. “For track workouts, you’re probably doing altogether a mile hard, plus warm-ups and cool-downs,” he says. “A typical workout might combine eight 200-meter hard efforts with a 200-meter jog.” continued on page 24 

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healthylife

Photo: kristian sekulic/GettyImages.

aybe you’re fairly new to running and perhaps you’ve been running for a while and are interested in taking it to the next level, giving yourself a little test and focus. Either way, a 5K, or 3.1-mile race, could be a great place to give racing a shot. Kristen Hislop of Halfmoon coaches runners who are preparing for the Troy Turkey Trot and the Freihofer’s Run for Women. “The big thing is the journey to get to the starting line,” she says. “The starting line is the party.” 5Ks require less of a commitment than longer races, says Hislop. “Because your workouts are shorter, you can do more of them in a week,” she says. Five kilometers is a good entry-level distance, says Voorheesville High School running coach Phil Carducci, who organizes 5Ks in Altamont and beyond. Inexperienced runners should train for three months, he says. 5Ks are usually road races, says Fleet Feet Sports manager Jim Sweeney of Guilderland. “Most people like it be-


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The big thing is the journey to get to the starting line. The starting line is the party. — Kristen Hislop, running coach

Newbie Nuggets Running your first 5K? Here are a dozen pointers: • It takes three days to hydrate. Drink enough so your urine is pale yellow and you’re not thirsty. Swilling water immediately before the race will just make you need to pee. • Load up on carbs two days beforehand. (See sidebar.) • Get a good night’s sleep. • Show up early. Stretch and run a mile or two at an easy pace. • Wear sweats if the temperature is below 60 degrees. Remove them for the race. • Use a stopwatch or GPS watch. • Don’t go out too hard. Maintain a steady pace. • Run your own race. • Choose people to pick off and pass them. • Wear your name on your shirt so people cheer you on. • Smile. It relaxes you and releases endorphins. • Enjoy yourself! Sources: Jim Sweeney, Kristen Hislop and Jim Carducci

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smart training continued from page 22

AEROBIC ADVICE Take one or two aerobic runs each week, recommends Hislop. “It means you can breathe easily,” she says. “Enjoy the scenery or have a conversation or sing a song. You’re better off breathing [in] through your nose and exhaling fully through your mouth. Every once in awhile, take nice, deep breaths in and exhale all the way. If you breathe super shallow, your muscles don’t get enough oxygen and you’re operating on a different energy system. If you breathe deeply, it gets rid of the carbon dioxide and you feel better.” UP THE TEMPO Tempo runs take 20 to 40 minutes. They’re about 30 seconds per mile slower than your 5K racing pace, Sweeney says. “The idea is to help your body get used to working out lactic acid,” he says. “When it’s building up in your muscles,

it feels like your legs are burning. You slow down. Your muscles can’t push as hard. You’re typically sore afterward.” POWER POLES Interval training improves your speed. Once a week, run hard enough to feel winded for two telephone poles, then ease up for four, Hislop advises. Add one pole per week to the fast phase. OVER THE HILL Run hills once a week, Hislop recommends. “Maybe you start going partially up the hill, turning around and coming back down,” she says. “If they’re short hills, maybe you’re adding in repetitions of the hill. Work the hills quicker and longer to get faster.” HL 5K training plans and coaching are available through runnersworld. com, TroyTurkeyTrot.com and FreihofersRun.com.

Regular viewers of The Today Show know all about nutrition and weight loss expert Joy Bauer’s helpful tips to eat right. Capital Region women got to see her in person in September’s popular Women’s Night Out sponsored by The Foundation for Ellis Medicine. We caught up with Bauer to ask for her best nutritional advice for those tackling a 5K race. Here’s what she had to say: “The key message here is to immediately choose high quality carbs.” Carbs, Bauer says, will help provide continuous energy. Bauer’s winning picks: Beans, lentils, quinoa — “It has more protein than rice” — farro, millet, rice, whole-grain pasta, high-fiber cereals. “Ditch the refined carbs and go whole grain. That’s where you will get your high octane fuel.” Pack in protein. “It will help build and maintain muscle mass — your quads and hamstrings are your greatest asset for training.” Winning picks: Fish, lentils, shellfish, chicken and turkey, some lean beef. Bauer recommends soy foods too, such as tofu, tempeh and edamame. Other good choices are nonfat and low-fat dairy foods

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healthylife

such as yogurt and cheese. Bauer recommends choosing nonGMO foods wherever possible. Include anti-inflammatory foods to minimize soreness. Winning picks: Salmon, sardines and walnuts. They all contain Omega 3, which are anti inflammatory compounds.

Stay hydrated. “Keep drinking water throughout the day,” Bauer says. She warns against sports drinks in general, which typically have extra calories and sugar you don’t need. “Water is your best bet,” she says, “but go out of your way to eat juicy foods with water content, such as mushrooms.”

Pick foods rich in vitamin C, another anti-inflammatory. Winning picks: Broccoli, citrus fruits and strawberries. Pick foods rich in carotenoids, the ones that are bright orange and deep green. Winning picks: Sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkins, spinach and kale Eat foods rich in anthocyanins. Winning picks: Berries, cherries and purple or red grapes. Add grated or ground ginger to whatever you can as you cook. Bauer ticks off stir-fry meals, muffins and salad dressing as a few options. Ginger, she says, is another anti-inflammatory. So is turmeric, which can be added into soups and sautéed vegetables. “The more the better,” she says.

DOES WATER BORE YOU? Bauer offers these tips to get more in your system:  Take advantage of naturally flavored seltzers.  Jazz up your water with sliced cucumbers or citrus.  Add a shot of fruit juice to sparkling water  Make a big batch of interestingly flavored tea. — Janet Reynolds

Photos: Seltzer, Jack Andersen/GettyImages; 5K Training, courtesy of Troy Turkey Trot Training Challenge.

Want to Run Well? Eat Smart


Home Stretch Stretching for 15 minutes before running gets the blood flowing and the muscles warmed up, minimizing injuries, pain and fatigue, says Voorheesville High School running coach Phil Carducci, warning, “Never overstretch. Don’t push it to get that extra inch.” Devote 30 to 40 feet to each of the first few of these exercises, he says:

1 2 3

Increase your speed from a jog to a fast run. Skip. Step and kick to hip level with the left leg and right arm forward, then switch to the other leg and arm.

4

Lunge, balance, push yourself back up with your front knee, then switch legs.

5

Bend forward with your arms hanging down for 10

to 12 seconds. Don’t bounce or touch your toes. Come back up and repeat.

3

Hold your arms out straight and kick your opposite leg straight in front of you, like Frankenstein’s monster.

6

4

7

5

Hurdler stretches: Sit with your left leg straight out. Tuck your right foot into your left knee. Bend forward, reaching the left arm toward your left toe. Extend your body, hinging from the hips. Switch sides.

Reach your arms overhead, as high as possible, for 10 to 12 seconds.

After running, stretch again, Carducci says. Running coach Kristen Hislop recommends these warm-up and cool-down exercises:

1 2

Step; lift and embrace one knee, then the other. Touch your butt with your heel. Alternate legs.

5K RACES ABOUND THIS TIME OF YEAR. If you want to get the whole family involved, you might consider the Ellis Medicine Cardiac Classic on Nov. 28, Thanksgiving Day, in Central Park, Schenectady. There’s something for everyone at this event; the day begins with a 2-mile well-

With your toes on the edge of a curb or stair, drop your heel to stretch your calf. Hold this for 30 to 45 seconds with a straight leg, then a bent leg.

Hold onto something for balance. With your left foot in your left hand, drop the knee to stretch your quadriceps. Switch legs.

6

With your foot up on something (not too high), hinge at the hip and lengthen your body forward, keeping your spine straight to stretch your hamstrings. Don’t collapse your back.

Repeat each 8 to 10 times for a total of 2 and a half to 3 minutes, Hislop suggests.

ness walk at 8 a.m., followed by the 5K race for runners only at 9. A 1-mile fun run is held at 10. Fee is $25 per runner. The wellness walk and fun run are free. To register, go to ellismedicine.org. For questions call the foundation at 518-243-4600

timesunion.com/HealthyLife

25


chronic illness

Unbearable

Pain by traci neal

for fibromyalgia sufferers, it’s not in their heads

I

magine a clothespin clamped tightly to the end of your finger. Perhaps at first it’s just an annoyance, but as your fingernail turns white from the pressure and the slight pinch becomes tender pain, your discomfort begins to show, and your brain focuses on the pain instead of whatever it was you were doing in the first place. By the time your finger begins throbbing, you can think of nothing else. Now imagine the clothespin is your clothing and your finger your skin. For some of the 5 million Americans living with fibromyalgia, the mere pressure of clothing on skin can create sensory pain so intense it takes over their world. For a week, or a month, they can think of nothing else. “For people with fibromyalgia, researchers believe the brain isn’t processing pain information correctly,” says Jan Favero Chambers, president and founder of the National Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Association. “When you’re seized by it, all your brain is saying is ‘Stop this! Stop this!,’” says Chambers, whose organization lobbies for government research funding and better training of medical professionals to recognize and treat chronic pain. “It’s very hard to think about, ‘Oh I have to fix dinner,’ or ‘I have to get up and get ready for work now.’” Agnes Welch, an Albany fibromyalgia sufferer, agrees. Sometimes, she says, “the pain gets so bad for me up around my neck and shoulder blades; it’s like taking a rubber band and stretching it out as far as you can stretch it. The pain is indescribable. You just want to walk away from everything.” continued on page 28 

;; ;; ;; ;; ;; ;; ;; ;; ;; ;; ;;

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widespread body pain tender points sleep disturbances severe fatigue depression and anxiety cognitive difficulties headaches bladder irritability and spasms irritable bowel syndrome jaw problems painful menstruation healthylife

Photo: © iStockphoto.com/kenhurst.

A FIBROMYALGIA SYMPTOM CHECKLIST


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chronic illness continued from page 26

But there’s more: exhaustion, body stiffness, problems with memory and thinking that some call “fibro fog,” trouble sleeping, or waking up unrefreshed, and medical professionals who, still today, tell patients it’s all in their heads. Classified not as a disease but rather a syndrome, fibromyalgia is a set of symptoms that occur together with no known cause. Doctors and researchers haven’t been able to agree on whether it’s genetic, whether it’s triggered by another condition, a virus or trauma, or whether it’s primarily an immune, neurological and/or psychiatric illness — or a combination of all of the above. What is clear is that fibromyalgia affects 2 to 4 percent of the American population, mostly women in the prime of their career and mothering years, and costs patients $10,000 to $16,000 every year in lost earning potential and out-of-pocket expenses, according to a recent study in the Journal of Managed Care Pharmacy. It takes its toll emotionally, physically and financially. But research has begun to untangle the illness, pointing to possible neurological and physiological abnormalities that might explain its causes and lead to a cure. In response to the 100 million American adults afflicted with chronic pain — more than the total affected by heart disease, cancer and diabetes combined — the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services commissioned a study in 2010 that urges a “cultural transformation to better prevent, assess, treat, and

Did you know?

Fibromyalgia affects 2 to 4 percent of the American population, mostly women in the prime of their career and mothering years, though men and children are increasingly diagnosed — at a cost per patient of $10,000 to $16,000 annually in lost earning potential and out-of-pocket expenses, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Managed Care Pharmacy.

understand pain of all types.” New medications and therapies are being studied that can help patients manage their symptoms, and others are promising to dramatically reduce or even eliminate fibromyalgia pain and brain fog. That’s good news for new patients, but years too late for people like Dawn Plummer, a Saratoga Springs mother who spent eight years searching for answers after her pain confined her to bed. “I spent several years in bed,” she says, “unable to lift my head or get up to get a bowl of cereal. Going to the restroom was a planned event.” Doctors tell patients they’re exaggerating, they’re depressed, or that their pain can’t be all that bad, says Plummer, who says her mother and two sisters have also been diagnosed. One of her doctors, she says, “told me get out of bed and stop whining and start exercising more. I said, ‘Are you kidding? Most days I can barely lift my arms up.’” Eventually, she says, “I found a doctor who agreed to learn more about it and work with me.”

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Part of the difficulty, says Sue Nesci, vice president of public policy and advocacy at the Arthritis Foundation in Connecticut, is that no evidence of fibromyalgia appears on X-rays or in lab results and sufferers often look healthy enough. So, she says, patients are tested for other diseases and conditions. They’re sent to specialists, their brains are scanned, their mental state is questioned, until, it seems, their doc has no other choice but to diagnose fibromyalgia. But in March, EpicGenetics, a private biomedical company, began marketing a new blood test (thefmtest.com) that can diagnose fibromyalgia within a week. While the test is still new, “the discussion that is evolving is important,” says Chambers, “because it’s opening up new thought processes about what else may be involved in the body, and that’s what we need. We need to have more eyes to look at this and more funding to research and understand it.” Meanwhile, patients manage their pain symptoms with medication — there are three FDA-approved drugs indicated for fibromyalgia — and complementary therapies like massage, exercise, myofascial release therapy, good nutrition, acupuncture, and support from family, friends and doctors. “It isn’t all about a doctor taking charge,” says Jennifer Reid, group facilitator for a Lyme disease and fibromyalgia support group in Ridgefield, Conn. “It’s about a collaborative effort between the doctor and the patient, taking responsibility for following the doctor’s orders, and learning all they can how to make every day better.” HL

RESOURCES THAT CAN HELP • American College of Rheumatology (404) 633-3777, www.rheumatology.org • The American Fibromyalgia Syndrome Association, Inc. (520) 733-1570, www.afsafund.org • National Fibromyalgia Association (714) 921-6920, www.fmaware.org • National Fibromyalgia Partnership (866) 725-4404, www.fmpartnership.org • CFIDS Association of America, Inc. (800) 442-3437, www.cfids.org • National Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (877) 226-4267, www.niams.nih.gov • Fibromyalgia Information Foundation www.myalgia.com • International MYOPAIN Society www.myopain.org

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cookbook

Heal

Thyself

eating your way to a healthier life

by janet reynolds  |  photos courtesy dk books

I

f not doing harm — the opening salvo in the Hippocratic oath — works for the medical field, why can’t it work for cooking in your kitchen? That’s the basic premise of a new book called Healing Foods. Authored by a naturopath, journalist and medicinal herbalist, the book is part food encyclopedia, part recipe collection. It provides information on more than 175 healing foods, from apples to wheatgrass, as well as more than 150 recipes. It’s the kind of book that you can turn to for a solid dinner idea and thumb through in your leisure time when you just want to learn more about how what you put into your mouth can help you feel better. Healing Foods opens with specific information about the power of food. The authors discuss the protective power of various foods, the importance of varying your diet, and the pros and cons of supplements, among other concepts. From there the book looks at each food and outlines how it can specifically help heal or support your bodily functions. Each page also outlines the best way to eat it to maximize the food’s benefits. Apricots, for instance, can help promote clean skin, pro-

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healthylife

tect eye health, promote bowel regularity and protect against free-radical damage. (Excessive free radicals, the uncharged molecules that are created during metabolism, are increasingly thought to be damaging as we age.) Handy icons for various health concerns/options top each page and are echoed on each recipe to make it simple to see at a glance how a particular recipe can address your health concern. Healing Foods also has sections that can help you pick an entire day of eating healthily for specific issues. A Day of Heart Health, for instance, features a plan for a cholesterolbusting breakfast, omega-rich lunch, and heart-protective dinner. The book also has two indexes, one categorized by health area and one set up by foods. We chatted by e-mail with Susan Curtis, the naturopath based in England. Here’s what she had to say. What do you say to people who are skeptical that food can help heal? There is so much evidence now that changes to diet can improve certain areas of health, such as the work of Dr. Or-


"I lost 58 pounds and got my life back.

nish on heart health and the control of type 2 diabetes with diet that the benefits of a healthy diet have become obvious to all. For people who want to take a step in this direction of eating in more healing ways but who may feel overwhelmed, what are a couple of tips you can give as good first steps? Probably the biggest difference you can make is to increase the amount of fresh fruit and vegetables you eat. The government’s recommendation of five portions a day is really an absolute minimum and many countries recommend eight or more portions a day (Canada, France, etc.). Secondly, I would say that having increased in one area to cut down the amount of real “baddies” would be good — so less sugar and white processed cereals. It doesn’t matter if you have a little as “treats,” but don’t base your everyday eating habits on them. Can eating just some of these healing foods help or do you have to go all the way, so to speak, i.e. only eat from these foods to have the health benefits? I’m a believer of the 80/20 rule: that if you eat 80-90 percent of good, healthy foods, then 10-20 percent of less ideal foods shouldn’t be a big problem. “Healthy foods” are actually an enormous range of foods, and in fact variety is very important, so it really shouldn’t be too hard. Are you literally saying eating a strong dose of foods relating, for example, to urinary health, could cure a urinary infection? Or are you saying with this book that eating this way could help stave off urinary issues down the road? Or both? If you have a disease condition then you will need to see a nutritional therapist to treat it, but by knowing what foods have a benefit in which area then you can learn how to manage health problems and hopefully prevent them from getting worse. If for example you have a tendency to urinary infections then why not eat more of those foods that are known to have beneficial nutrients in that area. continued on page 32 

Healing Foods, Eat Your Way to a Healthier Life, by Susan Curtis, Pat Thomas and Dragana Vilinac, DK Books, 352 pages, $25

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cookbook: recipe continued from page 31

What changes have you noticed in your own health since adopting this kind of eating style? I’ve pretty much always had an interest in a healthy diet and nutrition since my late teens anyway, and it seems to work for me so far — I stay pretty healthy and don’t have too many weight issues or other indications of major problems — and I have done my best to pass on good habits to my family. I have to say the most dramatic changes are seen in people who haven’t had a good diet and then go for a much healthier lifestyle. Then the improvements in their health and well-being can be huge — which is always really exciting to see.  HL

63% More Calcium

178% More Molybdenum

78% More Chromium

91% More Phosphorus

73% More Iron

125% More Potassium

118% More Magnesium

60% More Zinc

Mediterranean Vegetable Medley Serves 4 Helps strengthen the immune system, helps improve circulation, helps remove toxins from the body.

Why Choose Organic? For optimal health, eat fresh organic seasonal vegetables and fruits. Organic produce contains higher percentages of many nutrients, as shown here. ­ Source: courtesy — DK Books

Find the recipe for swiss chard and sweet potato online at timesunion.com/healthylife.

Ingredients 1 tablespoon olive oil 4 shallots, minced salt and pepper to taste a pinch of oregano or marjoram 2 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped 2 yellow bell peppers, seeded and chopped 1 medium eggplant, chopped 1 medium zucchini, chopped 4 tomatoes, skinned (optional) 2 garlic cloves, crushed 2 tablespoons olive oil 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley leaves, plus leaves to garnish method Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium to low heat. Add the shallots and a pinch of salt, and stir until the shallots begin to turn translucent. Add a dash of water to bring the temperature down and to add moisture to the pan. After 2-3 minutes, add the oregano or marjoram and the peppers. Cook until the peppers have softened. Add the eggplant and the zucchini and when the liquid in the pan has reduced, add the tomatoes. Let the mixture simmer for 15 minutes over low heat, taking care not to let the vegetables stick to the bottom of the pan and burn. Add the garlic, and a little more olive oil for added flavor and cook for a further 15 minutes. Stir in the chopped parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve on a bed of browned basmati rice with some parsley scattered on top.

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The first 100 attendees receive a free gift bag! Enter to Win! Great prizes including annual memberships to The YMCA, massage gift certificates and more! For more info visit palacealbany.com or call (518) 465-3335 Vendor Space is available on a limited basis. To reserve space, Interested vendors can call (518) 465-3335 ext. 132.

Mind, Body & Spirit Health Fair

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Historic Palace Theatre 19 Clinton Ave., Albany, NY

This event brings refreshed energy to the phrase “Healthy Changes Everything” and features the latest in healthy living tips and insights into advances in traditional and alternative health practices. There will be themed events and exhibitions focused on maintaining a healthy body, a healthy mind, and a healthy spirit.

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Activities Including Boxing Fitness Life Coaching Meditation Massage Healthy Eating Live Demos Including Tai Chi, Interactive Zumba Class and more! FREE PARKING is available for all attendees at the Quackenbush Garage


hormones

y r i a H

Situation some facial hair is normal. but too much could be a sign of a bigger problem.

by brianna snyder

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healthylife

husband touch her face “below the cheekbones.” And her parents once helped fund laser treatment, which worked for about four years before her hormones flared up in her 20s and the hair started growing back. In a phone interview with HealthyLife, Gregor says she’s received lots of support from readers and other women who suffer with hair overgrowth. “I was really bowled over by how many people commented or tweeted me and were like, ‘I thought I was the only one who’s going through this,’” she says. “[Women feel like] it’s such a shameful thing.” After she gave birth, via Caesarian, she had to stay in the hospital for a few days, so she’d get up early every morning to shave before anyone could see her.

W

e all have hair on our bodies. And it covers every inch of us except for our palms and the soles of our feet. But medical conditions, hormones, genetics, ethnicity and even stress can cause hairs to go from “vellus” (short, fine, blondish) to “terminal” (long, coarse, black). Burcher says Italian, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean women are more likely to show up with dark hair on their upper lips and chins than women of, for example, Asian descent. So if you’ve got black hairs poking through and you’re wondering if it’s normal or if it’s hirsutism, you have to consider a variety of those factors. Age is pertinent too: After menopause, your estrogen levels plummet and your testosterone begins taking over. Voila. Chin hair. Karen Kolenda is an electrologist in Connecticut who studied at the Kree Institute of Electrology in New York City. She’s been licensed in electrology for 25 years and serves on the board of directors for the American Electrology Association and is president of the Connecticut State Elec-

Photo: Emma Innocenti/GettyImages.

M

any of us have them — wiry, dark hairs that sneak out of our chins, nipples and navels. We pluck vigorously. We wax. We bleach. But some of us have to take more extreme steps, turning to razors, lasers and electrolysis. Dr. Paul Burcher, OB-GYN at the Albany Medical Center, says about 5 to 10 percent of women suffer from hirsutism, a condition that causes abnormal male-pattern growth of dark hairs on the chin, face, chest or navel. Women with hirsutism may choose to shave daily or undergo expensive treatments such as electrolysis and laser hair removal. The most common cause of hirsutism — that is, about 75 to 80 percent of cases — is a condition called polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS; symptoms also include irregular periods, trouble with fertility, obesity, and ovarian cysts. Although hirsutism affects 5 to 10 percent of women, Burcher says many of us don’t seek medical treatment. “A smaller percentage of [those afflicted] come to the doctor complaining about [hirsutism],” he says. “Some people will take care of the hair on their own, shaving and plucking, and not think to go to a doctor.” Hirsutism isn’t something you just wake up with one day. “Women don’t necessarily know” they have it, he says. You just keep plucking and plucking until one day it overwhelms you. That’s what happened to Britta Gregor, who wrote about her struggle with hirsutism for the website XOJane. “Since I was 16, I’ve … grown dark, thick hair along my jawline and chin,” she writes. “I currently shave my face at least once a day, first thing in the morning. If I have something important to do in the late afternoon or evening, I bring my kit with me to shave and reapply my makeup at work.” Gregor, who is married and has a young son, says she’s never let her


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trology Association. She says she consults with women individually to discuss their history, health, genetic makeup and typical hair growth to determine whether excessive hair is a result of a medical condition (PCOS) or something else (age, stress, etc.). Excess hair can be removed a couple of different ways. Electrolysis destroys hair follicles one by one using direct electric current, while laser treatments take on larger patches of hair, using pulses of laser light, which stop hair growth but don’t kill the follicle entirely. The hair can grow back after a few years (Kolenda calls the procedure “permanent hair reduction.”) As for at-home hair-removal strategies, Kolenda says shaving is the preferred approach to plucking or waxing. That’s because when you regularly rip a hair out of your follicle with tweezers or wax, that hair starts to grow back in an L shape or some other contortion instead of straight out. “The hair will twist and turn and go back into the skin and that’s why people get ingrown hairs,” she says. “The body tries to anchor the hair in.” That’s why chronic pluckers struggle with redness, scarring and ingrown hairs. When you shave the hair, the follicle doesn’t react in the same defensive way. That being said, if you’re in a position like Gregor’s, where you’re considering using a razor, you should probably consult with your doctor. Burcher says patients with hirsutism have success with laser and electrolysis as long as they combine those treatments with a steady course of hormone-balancing drugs. Otherwise, he warns, those hairs will just grow back. And hirsutism patients need to be patient — it can take six months to a year to start seeing results. HL

YOU BELONG AT THE Y.


your genes

The Buzz About

BRCA and what it means for your cancer risk by lisa pierce flores

B

y the time Christie Jones was in her mid-30s, she’d already had a benign lump removed from her breast. By the time she was in her early 40s she’d had so many anomalies during her annual breast exams that her doctor began asking about her family’s history of breast and ovarian cancer. There is none, she told her doctor with confidence, at least not on her mother’s side. But the questions kept coming. Q: What about her father’s side? Were her father’s siblings still living? If not, what had they died of? A: None of her father’s four siblings were still living, she realized, and all of them had died at relatively young ages of cancers (prostate, Did pancreatic) that her doctor informed her are associated with genetic risk for breast cancer. you Q: What was her father’s ethnic background? know? Common ancestry makes Ashkenazi Jews more likely A: Ashkenazi Jew. to carry the types of BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations that can lead to BRCA-spectrum cancers — as much as five Q: What had his mother died of? times the occurrence of these gene mutations than is found A: Breast cancer. in the general population. However, these mutations still are By now Jones was beginning to worry. It was time, her carried by a small percentage of Ashkenazi Jews and testing doctor said, to consider getting tested for mutations in the for BRCA mutations isn’t recommended simply because a perBRCA1 and BRCA2 genes that can indicate a higher risk for son is of this heritage: they must also show other risk factors. breast and ovarian cancer. THE STATISTICS

Over the course of her lifetime, the average American woman has a 12.4 percent chance of developing breast cancer, with her risk increasing after age 65, according to the National Cancer Institute. Women with mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes — genes that help to regulate cell growth — are at higher risk for breast and ovarian cancer,

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are more likely to contract these illnesses at a younger age, and more likely to suffer from the most aggressive variants of breast cancer, says breast surgeon Dr. Sunny Mitchell, a clinical instructor of surgery at Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City. “Genetic counseling and genetic testing gives women at


let’s stay in touch

high risk for these cancers more tools and more information about how to make a decision about how to handle their health,” Mitchell says. But genetic testing is not recommended for all patients, cautions Dr. Valeria Brutus, a breast surgeon at Albany Medical Center and assistant professor of surgery at Albany Medical College. “Only 5 percent of breast cancer is genetic,” she says. “Women can always have this discussion with their providers and they can go this extra step, but it’s very rare.” Jones’ risk factors made her a good candidate for testing. But because most of the risk was on her father’s side, she saw the test as a precaution, something to cross off her to-do list. “I would get a negative result and be done with it,” she says. “I was not at all nervous because I was so sure it would be negative.”

Photo: ArtBox Images RM/GettyImages.

THE TEST

Most testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations is done at a doctor’s office or medical lab via a blood test or by swabbing the inside of the cheek. The test can cost up to $4,000, but is often covered by insurance, particularly for women with a family history of early onset bilateral breast cancer or ovarian cancer, early onset of menstruation and Ashkenazi Jewish heritage. Jones paid about $400 out of pocket when she was tested, she says. In addition to determining if testing is warranted, genetic counselors help clients make sense of their results, which often include a detailed analysis of the patient’s calibrated future risk by age, says Bonnie Liebers, a genetic counselor based in Schenectady. “Mutation carriers should receive their testing information in the context of an appointment that includes genetic counseling with a medical professional who has expertise in genetic test interpretation,” Liebers says, noting that it is easy for a lay person to misinterpret her test results, by, for example, mistaking a benign mutation for a cancer risk. Says Jones: “You get a whole report that gives you all these staggering numbers, which puts it in scary blackand-white terms.” Jones’ test results put her risk of getting breast cancer by the time she is 50 at 50 percent, and her risk for ovarian cancer by the same age at 27 percent. “I’m 42, so 50 is right around the corner,” she says. Further, her results assessed her risk of contracting breast cancer by age 70 at 87 percent and her risk for ovarian cancer by age 70 at 44 percent. These are not numbers Jones felt she could live with, particularly her risk for ovarian cancer, which is harder to detect than breast cancer and more likely to be fatal. For Jones the

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your genes Did you know?

Until recently, genetic testing for BRCA mutations was controlled by Myriad Genetics of Salt Lake City. The company, which held a patent on the gene sequencing, was the only one legally permitted to test for them and all samples were sent here. But in June the Supreme Court ruled that gene sequences are naturally occurring phenomenon and not eligible for patent. So dozens of labs have be-

report seemed to tell her that cancer was in her future: “It was just a matter of when,” she says. One common misconception is that if a mutation is not detected through testing then the patient is in the clear. But breast cancer researchers and geneticists are still finding new mutation variants that may affect cancer risk. For this reason, some patients who receive a negative result for the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation may be encouraged to take additional precautions or get additional genetic testing. The same is true for women who may have tested negative in the past. “If you got the test a few years ago, you might need to get tested again,” Liebers says. “More mutations may have been identified since you were last tested. This means that many people who have had the test in the past are genetic carriers and do not know it.” Once a patient has tested positive for BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation, she will likely be presented with three options (see sidebar): 1) frequent breast and ovarian cancer screening; 2) chemopreventive therapy with estrogen blockers such as Tamoxifen 3) prophylactic surgery. MAKING SENSE OF IT ALL

After going over her options with her genetic counselor, Jones says it took her less than an hour to opt for prophylactic surgery, including a full hysterectomy. “I have three kids that I want to be alive for,” she says. “I couldn’t imagine waiting around to see what might happen.” Her husband agreed. “He told me, ‘You have to have the surgery. I need you alive,’” Jones says. As is standard prior to prophylactic bilateral mastectomy, Jones’ doctors performed MRIs on both breasts and found multiple areas of concern. This resulted in biopsies being conducted on more than one site on each breast. Though the results of the biopsies were all negative, the experience cemented her resolve to go ahead with the bilateral mastectomy and hysterectomy. “For me that was it,” she says. “I just thought, ‘No way am I going to be picked at for the rest of my life.’” Her November 2012 hysterectomy was followed by a dou-

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ble mastectomy in January 2013, with a lengthy, multi-step reconstructive breast procedure that followed over the next several months. The hardest part was the three weeks she couldn’t drive after the breast surgery. With two daughters ages 13 and 8, and a 10-year-old son, “all I do as a mom is drive,” Jones says, laughing. She also wasn’t allowed to shower for three weeks. “It’s like having a baby,” she says, noting that the skin of her breasts was thin and prone to tearing. “No one tells you about the gross parts, no one talks about not showering for three weeks. It’s not glamorous.” Thanks to her team of surgeons, Jones is happy with her figure, her body image is as healthy as ever, and, more importantly, so is she. HL

gun offering their own version of the BRCA test, some for far less money (the test can cost up to $4,000). One patent law expert who spoke to HealthyLife, Jonathan L. Schuchardt, a partner with Dilworth IP, says it’s unclear whether other aspects of Myriad’s process are patentable and more legal challenges are likely to follow in the wake of a decision that he estimates could affect more than 2,600 other patents.

Now What? So you’ve gone through genetic counseling and determined that your family history and other risk factors make you a good candidate for genetic testing. You’ve gotten the results back and you are positive for a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation that increases your chance of developing breast or ovarian cancer. Breast surgeons and genetic counselors who spoke to HealthyLife agree you have three basic options: 1. Frequent breast and ovarian cancer screening, including an MRI every six months starting as young as 25, or in some cases even younger. This option may make sense if you have not yet had children or plan to have more. 2. Chemopreventive therapy using estrogen blockers such as Tamoxifen. When taken for up to 5 years, such medications have been shown to cut breast cancer risk by as much as 50 percent. 3. Prophylactic surgery. This will most likely include bilateral mastectomy and removal of ovaries and fallopian tubes. Undergoing these surgeries can reduce your risk by as much as 95-98 percent. Full hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) generally is not necessary unless other cancer risk factors are involved, since uterine cancer is not among the cancers indicated in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 cancer spectrums.

For more information on BRCA, visit timesunion.com/healthylife.


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Ask Emma 43  DON’T Overindulge Your Kid 44

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ask emma

The Private Place the secret chamber where we keep our feelings can become a prison by emma tennant

Photo: © iStockphoto.com/Lise Gagne.

A

nnie was 16, and about as charming and attractive a young woman as you’d be likely to meet. She came to see me, she said brightly, because she wanted to commit suicide. “I get these blank moments where I don’t know where I am or what has happened to me.” “OK,” I said. “Oh yeah, and also I wake up in the middle of the night and I feel that there is someone in the room with me and I’m terrified.” “Anything else?” I said. Annie seemed to search around in her head — frankly, I had the distinct impression that she was trying to find a symptom to shock me. “I’m losing weight. I’m not an anorexic, I just don’t like food very much, but everyone is really worried about me.” Annie beamed at me, a radiant intelligence. Her family were immigrants from Russia and she was the oldest daughter. Her mother, she said, was cold and indifferent and couldn’t even use a microwave. “I’m more mature than her.” Her father was the typical ogre — although I knew he was worried about her. The kids at school were “not worth it, immature, boring.” “Did I tell you that I have a fear of vegetables,” she added in a lull. “What is that called? Can you fix that?” Look, you can never be sure of your instincts, but sometimes that’s all you have to go on. What was clear was that Annie wanted to worry me. She wanted to overwhelm me with a bizarre cluster of behaviors and phobias, none of which seemed connected to any particular feeling, state or anxiety. So she wanted me to know that she was in trouble, she wanted to “be in therapy,” but she didn’t want to talk about what was really bothering her, instead trying to bog me down in chasing shadows. So I ignored the great and terrible symptoms for a few sessions and focused in on when she had first felt depressed. Had something happened? What welled up over the next three or four sessions was a heartbreaking story. Annie had fallen in love with a guy we’ll call Trevor. But she felt she couldn’t say anything to him about it. So then Trevor started to go out with another girl in her class. “I really loved him,” she said, and I didn’t doubt it. Worse still, there had been a moment — in a park at night — when Trevor had kissed Annie and asked her to be his girlfriend.

“I can’t,” she had said. “I can’t trust you.” So that had ended things with Trevor. She had not been rejected. Instead, she had pushed her love away. What continued to emerge was that the real issue in Annie’s life was that she could not, and would not, let anyone inside her emotional life. To some extent, cultural pressures were at work. She wanted to be a normal American teenager, but she had a more focused and contained traditional parenting structure and a father who was a prominent academic. In short, her family was never going to accept Trevor with all his chaos and teen behaviors into their world. So Annie was in a kind of box. She had an overwhelming emotional experience — a profound loss — that ran smack into a fierce determination to be in control, to be a closed system, to never share her inner life with anyone. Unfortunately, the more she spoke to me about what she felt, the more she came to feel that she was shaming herself. No reassurance on my part seemed to make much difference. The terrible truth of her failed attempt at love had to be put back in the box. But at the same time, her deep protest against these constraints meant that she continued to starve herself — finally, she told her general physician about her eating habits and she became officially “anorexic.” Now, everyone could worry about her “anorexia.” It was a win-win in some ways. Her symptoms were tangible. A physician could monitor her weight and calorie intake. Her parents would be made aware of her suffering as, I assume, would her classmates, and probably even Trevor would get wind of it. Best of all, her feelings could remain within the safe confines of the walls she had built to preserve and contain her emotional world. Nobody would ever know how she felt. It’s not uncommon to learn that people have literally created secret rooms in their minds, where all their secrets are stored or where they retreat when faced with conflict. Sure, we do have to maintain some control over our emotions, but mature control arrives when we are at peace with our feelings, able to tolerate our ambivalence, free to feel fear, love, anger, envy, without judging ourselves. Free to talk about it, joke about, cry about it. That’s what it means to be alive. HL Emma Tennant (not her real name) is a practicing psychotherapist. All advice offered here is simply that. If you have a pressing concern, you should see a specialist in person. If you have a question you’d like addressed or a comment for Emma, send it to askemma@ timesunion.com. Inquiries will be treated with confidentiality.

timesunion.com/HealthyLife

43


family time

y a S t Jus

! O N why overindulging your child can have devastating, lifelong effects by traci neal

B

uying your teen everything she wants. Doing your middleschooler’s homework for him. Confronting the tee-ball coach when your first-grader is benched. Overindulgence takes many forms. Whether it’s an attempt to buy love or happiness, help her fit in with her peers, fight his battles, or simply keep the peace, constantly saying yes can be far more damaging than saying no. “In some ways, maybe through the media or maybe through our own success, somehow we’ve gotten the wrong message that overindulging our kids is a way to help them prosper,” says Jerry Grodin, Ph.D., a licensed psychologist and director of Psychological Services, a group practice in Saratoga Springs and Clifton Park. But in fact, in most cases it’s just the opposite. “The assumption, this idea that ‘my child’s going to miss out on something,’ is quite prevalent,” says Randy Cale, Ph.D., a licensed psychologist in private practice in Clifton Park who also runs the website terrificparenting.com. “This is a dangerous assumption because if we believe that thought — and in life there are any number of things we will miss out on — it tilts our brain in the direction of noticing what we’re missing as opposed to what we have. So, no matter how much we get, it’s not enough.” It starts innocently. We give in to the crying or the beg-

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ging or the tantrum once, then twice. “Then pretty soon saying yes becomes a way for Mom and Dad to keep from having to deal with a dramatic adolescent or teenager having a big screaming fit,” says Cale. “If you accumulate dozens and dozens of child-asks, child-gets without thinking, ‘What am I teaching here?’ ‘Is that the way the world works?’ then the child grows up with the expectation that with little effort there are big rewards.” Whether it’s in school or in the corporate world, that’s an expectation that’s out of sync and out of harmony with the amount of effort that’s put in. Eventually, Cale adds, “reality slaps them in the face. There’s not a shred of data to argue that getting everything I want will really make me happy,” he says. “Instead, it wears off and I’m left thinking, ‘I had happiness for a moment but


3 Easy Steps

Photo: Girl, Fuse/GettyImages; Bucket, Steve Wisbauer/GettyImages.

to Break the overindulgence habit now it’s gone. What’s next?’” not getting selected for a team. That’s when overindulgence be“So instead of calling up the coach, comes dangerous, he says. “Because you help the child learn to cope,” Gronow I want more and more, and the din continues. “Those are much more more I want, the more I get; but in the valuable skills than arguing with the end, the getting doesn’t create the coach: to have them learn what it feels happiness. The getting is not going to like to fail and then brush themselves be the secret to a child who grows into off and begin working toward success. a happy and fulfilled adult.” That creates a happy child.” So what, then, is the secret? It Giving kids some responsibility also starts, for one, with conversations helps them think of themselves less as around the dinner table, Cale says. the center of the universe and more “Instead of as a part of it. asking our“I suggest parWhen we meet kids’ selves ‘What’s ents have fammy child missily meetings they don’t ing,’” he says, to talk about parents need to each person’s learn how to deal with ask themselves, responsibilities and their kids, for the week,” “What are we grateful for? What can says Nathan Naparstek, Ph.D., a liwe enjoy? What’s essential to having censed psychologist with Northeast a great life?” Psychological Associates in Albany. “It’s perspective,” he says, “a tilting “You can say, ‘These are the things of the mind so you’re no longer lookwe’re responsible for this week. I’m doing at what you don’t have but what ing this, Dad’s doing that, and we need you do.” some help,’” he says. Have a conversaParents must be mindful of the lestion rather than making demands, he sons they’re teaching, agrees Grodin. adds. “Ask, ‘What would you like to do “We have to change our skill set and to help?’” attitudes to accept that struggle and The bottom line, says Cale, is that adversity are things in life that every unless you’re prepared to give your child has to learn to deal with; it’s the children a trust fund, “they’ve got to parent who has to tolerate failing, the be able to hear no. This is actually a parent who has to tolerate their child good thing.” HL

every want,

“no.”

Randy Cale, Ph.D., a licensed psychologist in private practice in Clifton Park, is planning a series of workshops in area schools in the fall. Educators and parents will be invited to discuss specific child-related topics, accompanied by online video training and other resources. Cale offers three steps to breaking the overindulgence habit. Learn more at terrificparenting.com.

 Be willing to say no.

The goal is to prepare them for reality, not some sort of distortion of reality.

 Ask better questions.

Rather than “What are they missing?” ask “What can they be grateful for?” Then they begin looking at life for what it is, enjoying and appreciating it rather than chasing after something new.

 Teach kids to tie effort

to their desires. It is key to a child’s self-esteem that they make an effort (extra chores, helping a neighbor) in order to get the things they want.

Chores Most parents agree that children should do chores, but enforcing them can sometimes be more work for parents than just doing the chores themselves. My Job Chart (myjobchart. com) is a free online tool that helps parents and kids track chores, get

rewards (either points or money, depending on your family’s philosophy), and hold each other accountable. “So contributing to the family becomes a conversation, not just a one-way battle,” says Adam Bruss, president and chairman of My Job Chart.

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45


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I

magine how your life would change if you discovered the solution to your back pain.

In this article you’ll discover powerful new back pain technology that has the potential to be that solution for you. This incredible technology is Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression and the DRX 9000. Here’s the amazing story how it was discovered and why it has a chance to help YOUR back pain...

How Science Helps Back Pain The lower back is a series of bones separated by shock absorbers called “discs”. When these discs go bad because of age or injury you can have pain. For some the pain is just annoying, but for others it can be life changing...and not in a good way. It has long been thought that if these discs could be helped in a natural and noninvasive way, lots of people with back and leg pain could lower the amount of pain medication they take, be given fewer epidural injections for the pain and have less surgery.

Recent medical breakthroughs have led to the development of advanced technologies to help back and leg pain suffers!

Through the work of a specialized team of physicians and medical engineers, a medical manufacturing company, now offers this space age technology in its incredible DRX 9000 Spinal Decompression equipment.

The DRX 9000 is FDA cleared to use with the pain and symptoms associated with herniated and/or bulging discs. . . even after failed surgery. What Conditions Has The DRX 9000 Successfully Treated And Will It Help YOU? The main conditions the DRX 9000 has success with are: • • • •

Back pain Sciatica Spinal Stenosis Herniated and/or bulging discs (single or multiple) • Degenerative disc disease • A relapse or failure following surgery • Facet syndromes A very important note: The DRX 9000 has been successful even when NOTHING else has worked. Even after failed surgery. What Are Treatments On The DRX 9000 Like?

After being fitted with an automatic shoulder support system, you simply lie face up on the DRX 9000’s comfortable bed and the advanced computer system does the rest. Patients describe the treatment as a gentle, soothing, intermittent pulling of your back. Many patients actually fall asleep during treatment. The really good news IS... this is not something you have to continue to do for the rest of your life. So it is not a big commitment. Since offering the DRX 9000 in my Colonie office, I have seen nothing short of miracles for back pain sufferers who had tried everything else. . . with little or no result. Many had lost all hope. Had herniated disk operation 8 years ago another disc became herniated. Doctor wanted to operate have arthritis from 1st one (did not want to go under knife again) very grateful to DRX9000 (thank you Dr. Claude D. Guerra, DC) Very happy camper. Raymond F Niskayuna, NY Age 55 This treatment was a miracle for my cervical disk herniations. Only other alternative was surgery, which I no longer have to face. William I Schenectady, NY Age 63

I was told by a doctor I wouldn’t be able to work. I cannot afford to not work so I tried Dr. Claude D. Guerra, DC, and not only did the pain go away but I never missed a day at work. Rick S Clifton Park, NY Age 42 I would love to shake the hand of the person who invented this machine. It was a life saver for me and a lot better than going under the knife. I HIGHLY recommend this to anyone with chronic back pain. Dawn H Colonie, NY Age 49 Before the DRX 9000 treatment. I had no quality of life. Couldn’t do anything for myself. Thank God for Dr. and the DRX machine. I can live again. Yvette K Schenectady, NY Age 47 I suffered for three years, before I received treatment on the DRX 9000. Today, I can sleep and get out of bed like a normal human being. Before, I couldn’t even drive my car because the pain in my hips, legs and feet were so bad from the sciatica nerve being pinched by my Herniated Disc L4 and L5, which also prevented me from sitting in a chair or even using my computer lap top at any time. Today things have changed due to advance technology therapy on the DRX 9000. They always try


A DV E R T I S E M E N T I would definitely refer people to your office. Dr. Guerra and his staff have made this experience a pleasure. Ed H Hoosick Falls, NY Age 70 Pain free, numbness in the left foot is gone. DRX 9000 is GREAT and does work. Sal L Niskayuna, NY Age 50

Dr. Claude D. Guerra, DC demonstrates the DRX 9000 to a patient

to regulate the treatments that work. What is up with this taught process???? The world is changing and so have I. Frank A Troy, NY Age 52 Before receiving the DRX treatments, my quality of life was very poor. I could hardly do anything other than going to work and going to bed. After the DRX treatments my quality of life has improved 90% which has resulted in me being able to go for long walks without a cane and go shopping. Anne P Burnt Hills, NY Age 70 I am so appreciative of this method of therapy because when I came to the office I had to use a cane and had muscle pain in walking. After 2nd treatment sciatica nerve pain was gone in my left leg. Judith W Albany, NY Age 64 Prior to this treatment my only options appeared to be invasive pain management, or surgery. After receiving 24 sessions on the DRX, I am markedly improved, relatively pain free and am able to function as I had in previous years. Highly recommend to anyone with disc issues. Alan P Scotia, NY Age 53 I would choose this therapy again! Painless treatment that gets your life back to

normal. Stick with it-it works! Linda G Broadalben, NY Age 53 I am so happy I came to Dr. Guerra. I was in a lot of pain and after being on the DRX I tell you I do not have pain. I feel wonderful and the staff are very nice. Dr. Claude D. Guerra, DC is wonderful. If you are in pain try the DRX it really helps. Edith C Schenectady, NY Age 71 I think more people should know about this procedure before considering any surgery. Medications help the pain but they don’t cure the cause. I am back to my old self again. Lorraine B Scotia, NY Age 78 I highly recommend this machine. I had my doubts but it really and truly works. Dr. Claude D. Guerra, DC is a wonderful doctor and his staff is great too. Linda D Clifton Park, NY Age 46

I’m able to go on long walks and get all night sleep (I’ve had 3 surgeries since 2006) Without the DRX I would be in for a 4th back surgery. I’m getting back to doing activities with my 10 year old son. Lisa V Catskill, NY Age 45 I wish to thank you very much for all the help I received with the spinal decompression therapy. Your entire office was very helpful and compassionate. No longer do I sit at night with my heating pads, moving them from sore spot to sore spot. My knees are no longer on fire and I’m able to go up and down the stairs much easier than before. Mable D Ballston Lake, NY Age 68

SPECIAL OFFER Call Dr. Claude D. Guerra, DC’s office at 518-300-1212 and mention to my assistants that you want a FREE back pain/DRX9000 qualification

consultation. It’s absolutely free with no strings attached. There is nothing to pay for and you will NOT be pressured to become a patient.

Here is what you will receive: • A consultation with me, Dr. Claude D. Guerra, DC to discuss your problem and answer the questions you may have about back pain and the DRX9000 • A DRX9000 demonstration so you see for yourself how it works! Due to current demand for this technology, I suggest calling today to make your appointment. The consultation is free. We are staffed 24-hoursa-day, 7-days-a-week. Call 518-300-1212 right now!

It’s absolutely FREE with no strings attached. There is ONE Big Problem: My busy office schedule will limit how many people I’m able to personally meet with... so you will need to act fast. Call 518-300-1212 right now... to be sure you are among the first callers and we will set up your free consultation today. We have the phones answered 7 days a week 24 hours a day so call now... 518-300-1212. (Free consultation is good for 45 days) 2016 Central Ave., Colonie www.albanyDRX.com

I was extremely skeptical at the beginning of treatments - Progress was slow in coming - But... then it worked! What a relief!!! Joan K Delmar, NY Age 71 I had no where else to go with this problem. The DRX 9000 was just what I needed. Many thanks! Burton S Mechanicville, NY Age 50

www.healthsourceofalbasnynorth.com Like us on Facebook: Healthsource of Albany North


mind/body connection

Getting with your Physical feelings new ways to help trauma survivors heal by molly belmont

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nyone who’s experienced a trauma knows that the efIn time, this continual shift of attention from mind to body fects are physical as well as mental. Trauma survivors and back again, has a restorative effect, allowing the patient often store tension in their bodies long after the initial to work through the trauma without reliving it, and at the incident, and people who suffer from post-traumatic same time, rebalancing the body’s central nervous system. stress disorder (PTSD) can experience frightening physical Ploussard likens the approach to a pendulum. “We ask symptoms every time they relive the traumatic event. them to go into the pain, and then notice what is outside of Two relatively new therapies, somatic experiencing therapy the pain,” she says. and sensorimotor psychotherapy, combine traditional psychoDuring somatic experiencing, patients are guided through therapy or “talk therapy” with body awareness techniques to their stories gradually. That’s because patients who are achieve startlingly effective results for trauma survivors. made to tell their whole story all at once can become Introduced by Peter Levine in his 1997 book Waktoo activated by it. Prolonged or repeated activaing the Tiger, Somatic Experiencing offers a tion can lead to chronic states of hyperarousal natural way to heal trauma that is based on (characterized by anxiety, panic, inability to Levine’s study of animals threatened in the relax, hypervigilance, digestive problems, “Bodies hold wild. Levine realized that while they’re chronic pain, sleeplessness, and hostility onto trauma, and constantly experiencing life-threatening or rage) or hypoarousal (characterized situations, animals don’t sustain trauma by depression, chronic fatigue, exhaustrauma really gets the same way human beings do. Instead, tion, dissociation, or disorientation). Instored there they have regulatory processes within stead, therapists try to titrate the painuntil we are able the autonomic nervous system that proful experience, exposing the patient to to soothe the body tect them; human beings have the same it in small doses. kind of instinctive regulatory processes, “You don’t want them to go so far into and release it.” but owing to our more complex brains, it that they can’t get out,” says Ploussard. — Yvonne Bregman these impulses are often inhibited by emoIn time, patients experience a reduction tions such as shame, embarrassment, or in anxiety and stress. They don’t experience guilt. As a result, fight-or-flight impulses aren’t the same anger or depression. They feel lighter, always discharged, creating a lasting impact on the more content, peaceful, says Ploussard. patient. Somatic experiencing tracks physical responses during a therapy session to gently release these impulses ioneered by Pat Ogden in the 1970s, sensorimotor psyand re-balance the body’s central nervous system. chotherapy draws from somatic therapies, as well as Somatic experiencing “looks like traditional therapy,” says neuroscience, attachment theory, and cognitive apKim Ploussard, a therapist in private practice in Albany who proaches. This modality is based on the idea that human is trained in somatic experiencing. Ploussard says therapists beings remember trauma less in words and more in their talk with patients just as in a traditional therapy session, but feelings and bodies, making talk therapy a less than effecthey also ask the patient to focus on their bodily sensations: tive way to deal with it. Are they experiencing shortness of breath? Elevated heart “When you go to therapy, the part of you that goes to rate? Racing thoughts? Is there pain or numbness, and if so, therapy is your frontal lobes,” says Lynne Anderson, a therawhere is it located? pist in private practice in Albany who is trained in sensorim-

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Photo: Donata Pizzi/GettyImages.

otor psychotherapy. And yet, when patients are triggered emotionally, that’s the part of their brains that they have the least access to. Anderson knows first-hand how trauma can affect the body. In 1976, her father’s car skidded off the road during a snowstorm. When she and her sister tried to rescue him, they were almost killed by an oncoming semi-truck. During a session with a sensorimotor psychotherapist, the treating therapist pointed out that Anderson told the story expressly with her upper body, using animated gestures and voice, while her lower body remained rigidly still. “My legs were still frozen in the car,” Anderson says. “My mind had gone to therapy, but my legs had stayed frozen in the car.” It was only by paying attention to these physical cues that Anderson was able to finally achieve catharsis. Sensorimotor psychotherapy employs tracking similar to somatic experiencing, but also uses a series of physical exercises designed to elicit responses from patients, with the goal of bringing about an “act of triumph,” when the body is finally able to do what it never got to do during the trauma, says Anderson. For example, a patient of Anderson’s, who was also involved in a traumatic car accident, was able to find that critical release when she stomped her foot against the floor, in effect pressing that brake pedal she hadn’t hit during the accident. Other patients are finally able to hit their attackers back or scream out. Sensorimotor psychotherapy is also used to treat attachment injuries brought about by childhood abuse or neglect. “No one survives childhood without some kind of wounding, and it ranges in severity,” says Alice Maltbie, a therapist in private practice in Albany trained in sensorimotor psychotherapy. Some people suffer from anxiety or depression, while others have more profound injuries, resulting in dissociative identity disorders. To address developmental issues, Maltbie begins by introducing patients to mindfulness techniques, teaching them to tune into their senses as a way to ground themselves. Then, Maltbie asks them about the problem, asking patients to maintain a careful awareness of what’s taking place in their body when they talk about this, and then, track those sensations to other experiences. “I’m looking for a sense of what happened to that child,” says Maltbie. “What is connected to the belief that they have about themselves or the world outside and then how do they integrate that it into the present day.” As the patient moves through therapy, they can experience marked, often physical changes. Clients report less anxiety, more confidence. “You can actually see it in how they look. When they’ve learned to manage their life, people actually look much different,” says Maltbie. “It’s really amazing to see the effects.” HL

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are one of the great obstacles to happiness. So often we hold onto unrealistic expectations for ourselves and those around us. That just creates frustration.” — Cover model Dona Fragnoli

Behind the Scenes Hair and makeup by Kimberley’s A Day Spa, Latham. Select clothing available at Boscov’s Clifton Park. At right: blouse by Calvin Klein, necklace by Steve Madden. Photo taken by Suzanne Kawola at Russell Sage College in Troy. Russell Sage College is a comprehensive college offering an environment aimed at empowering students to become women of influence in their careers and their communities. Visit facebook. com/healthylifenymagazine to view our Behind the Scenes photo gallery, or scan the QR code at right to link to our HealthyLife photos page on Facebook.

spirit My Word 53  Embrace Your Success! 54

Harness your Intuition 56  Cover Model Q&A 58 timesunion.com/HealthyLife

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November 13, 2013

5:30-7:00pm Desmond Hotel and Conference Center

Celebrate our region’s abundance of excellence as we bring together the business community along with years of distinguished “Women of Excellence” award recipients. A great opportunity to network with accomplished professionals and see where the journey has brought many of the women who have been honored over the past 22 years. Join us for a cocktail reception and a brief program. All are welcome!

To register, visit acchamber.org or call 518.431.1400.

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my word

Running in Place by rachel fiske

Photo: retrorocket/GettyImages.

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am in between right now. My company is folding in November. We moved away from the city where we spent a decade. We are staying with my partner’s parents while we hunt for our next home, living two hours from the city in which we intend to land. We are waiting to put down roots and form new friendships and find new jobs. We are in the middle of the monkey bars, just hanging there, waiting to make our next move. This is not my kind of space. Some people — my partner for instance — hang out in limbo quite well. John remembers where we’re going, remembers that the space between moments of landing is just as legitimate as those seemingly sturdier moments. He finds the benefit in the unusual looseness of our lives. With my company winding down, there is time to sign off from work early and take a walk. With the grandparents in-house, we can go for dinner together without scheduling a babysitter a month in advance. If many hands make light work, then this work of figuring out our next steps is facilitated by all of the help we’re afforded by this stopover at his parents’ house. John knows we’ll return to city life soon, remembers all the summer nights I longed for fresh country air from our smoggy city stoop. Now that I’m breathing it in, though, I feel anxious. The days are going by, marked by the end of raspberry season in the backyard and the height of corn as we wind through the neighborhood, and I can’t see that we’re getting anywhere. Instead of loose, I feel stuck in the middle.

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istorically averse to exercise, in my adult life I’ve found myself happily hiking or practicing yoga. I’ve felt proud of this shift, but also fiercely devoted to exercise that encourages the taking of breaks. With hiking there is always something to stop and marvel at — a view, a mushroom, the

light. In yoga, it’s always OK to return to child’s pose or downward dog, to seek stillness and reconnect with your breath. The idea of continuously breathing heavily by choice has always seemed like an indicator of low-grade insanity. To this end, I have proudly hung out in the camp of people who only run when they’re being chased. Until recently. Frustration has been growing in my body as we dangle in between. We can look for a new house and we can apply for new jobs, but when those two things actually come together is largely out of our hands. I realized I needed to force motion into my days or risk forgetting that we are actually moving toward something. I felt a pressing need to make and mark progress, to pound the building tension from my body. And so I did the unthinkable: I went for a run. It was awful. My glasses slid from my nose and my T-shirt rode up my back. My legs felt like lead. I stopped to walk three times. When I finally returned to the house, panting and blotchy-cheeked, I laughed when I realized the entirety of this horrible experience had lasted only 15 minutes. I don’t think I even made it a mile. I started to feel pathetic, but stopped myself, instead deciding to go again the next day. I would do better. I would know I did better. I would see myself getting somewhere. As I write this, it’s been a few weeks since I took my first running step. Now I run every other day. I am not going to tell you I like it. I am going to tell you, though, that I’m getting better at it. I no longer walk. I catch my second wind quicker and the boost that comes afterward sustains me longer. Every few days I increase my distance and every time I set out, I last a little longer. When I finish my body is loose, my brain is quiet. I know I am getting — indeed I already am — somewhere, and I am peaceful in my knowledge that patience is hard work.  HL

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keeping score

Acknowledge Your

Accomplishments I

love lists. I’m not embarrassed to admit it. Without a todo list to keep me focused, I would likely wander around aimlessly, unsure where to start. After all, life can be daunting. But with each item I scratch from my list, I find I become a little happier. I feel empowered. In fact, when I’m feeling particularly overwhelmed, I sometimes add simple things like “clean kitchen counters” or “make beds” to my list. The sense of accomplishment I feel from taking my pen and crossing off those mundane tasks breeds confidence, and it makes me feel as if life is not insurmountable — as if I can chip away at the mountain of minutia, one tiny piece at a time. Apparently, my behavior is not as bizarre as I thought. As a matter of fact, some therapists and life coaches say recording that you’ve succeeded at something — regardless of how small that success may appear to the outside observer — can make us happy. “Make beds, clean counters, those become positive inventory,” says Wendy Ball, a licensed mental health counselor in private practice in Albany. “Each step completed renders a result, and results feel good. There’s an emotional compo-

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…you’ll be happier!

nent. Feeling good gives us the energy to continue. So to go back and tick those items off your list, it’s like, ‘Yes! Did it. Did it.’ It’s a real serotonin boost. ... It’s so critical for people to feel good about the small pieces they accomplish, rather than feeling bad or inadequate. They just need to give themselves a little boost to get out of the land of fog sometimes.” Getting out of that “land of fog” and down to business can be difficult for some people. “I would say if you’re waiting for motivation, don’t,” counsels Ruth Geller, a psychotherapist and life coach in private practice in the Albany area. “There’s a saying that goes, ‘Action creates motivation.’ Sometimes, you just have to do what you’re thinking about doing. You will get more motivated while you’re doing it.” If your goal is to write a novel, then with every chapter you complete, your confidence will likely grow. After all, that’s a measurable result, and each tiny success can make you feel more confident and capable. If your goal is to open a fitness studio, your steps will likely include getting a tax ID number, securing the appropriate permits, shopping for equipment, and more. As you complete each of those tasks, you take a step closer to your goal, which is gratifying.

Photos: GettyImages. Smiling woman,OJO Images; Pins, Peter Dazele.

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“Goals start with general wishes and desires, or sometimes arise out of issues or a sense of dissatisfaction. They start with an ‘I want.’ Then one has to ask, ‘What do I need to do to get what I want?’” says Ball. “Every goal needs to be broken down into smaller and smaller steps until you have a list of things to do that doesn’t feel overwhelming, and is in fact very doable. For example, phone so and so, or spend 20 minutes doing stretches, or read one chapter. Each completed step offers an opportunity to feel good.”

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f your goals are very specific, it’s also easier to chart your progress. A goal of “lose 10 pounds by Nov. 1” is much easier to track than the broader goal of “lose weight.” How can you tell if you achieved the latter? How can you be happy about getting there if you never established a destination? “Goals in general need to be specific, measurable and meaningful to the individual, not an external force. If your husband wants you to lose 20 pounds, it’s not going to be as motivating as if you yourself want to lose it,” says Geller. “I think writing is a good way of reinforcing what you’re thinking. I think it’s definitely helpful for the goals to be written down somewhere.” Others say the act of writing down a goal solidifies and hones the idea, and ingrains it in your mind. “There’s something in writing and completing a sentence that completes a thought,” says Ball. “In finding words for something, you have to be more clear. I think the act of writing something is really important.” Steven Covey, in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, expresses a similar sentiment: “Just as breathing exercises help integrate body and mind, writing is a kind of psycho-neural muscular activity which helps bridge and integrate the conscious and subconscious minds. Writing distills, crystallizes, and clarifies thought and helps break the whole into parts.” Opinions may vary on how a goal should be recorded, and sometimes what works for one person is not appropriate for another. But whether it’s written in sparkle glue on a fluorescent poster on your wall; depicted in a photo stuck on a vision board; entered in a journal or penned on a Post-it note stuck to your computer, regularly checking and recording your progress can provide a sense of accomplishment. “For some people, it’s an end-of-the-day practice that is very nourishing, and really important at certain times,” says Ball. “But it totally depends who you are and where you’re at. There’s no hard and fast rule about when you should do it, but regular checking is the point.” HL

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go with your gut

Release Your

learn to harness your intuition by valerie foster

G

ut feeling. Little voice in your head. A tiny tingle. Whatever you call it, it’s your intuition at work, which, according to Psychology Today, is not a magical phenomenon, but something that is formed out of our past experiences and knowledge. My mother was very intuitive, and worked hard to finetune it throughout her life. About a year before she died, she passed her annual physical with flying colors, but Mom’s “gut” — her word for intuition — told her something was wrong. So she got a second opinion. And then a third. And finally she was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow. After her diagnosis I remember her saying that she knew something was wrong, and although we were all telling her how wonderful and healthy she looked, she didn’t believe us. Mom, as usual, was unfortunately right. “Intuition is an innate part of us,” says Jan Toomer, a doctor of metaphysics who has been teaching the subject for more than 20 years. “It goes back to our caveman days. They relied on their intuition for survival, so they didn’t get eaten or attacked.” Toomer runs Realty Undefined from her home in Las Cruces, N.M., and offers online classes to help people tune into their intuition. “Although we all have intuition, we tend to listen to others, not ourselves, so we lose the ability to trust ourselves,” says Toomer. “Society has beaten this ability out of us, and we really fear our intuition.” My mother started each day praying and meditating, a practice she learned from her aunt, whose dreams frequent-

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ly became reality. She also kept a pad and pencil by her bed, and every morning would record her dreams. Those she could not interpret, she would seek help from a trusted dream interpreter. Mom never shared these facts with anyone, because she feared people would call her weird. I knew about it because most of her dreams concerned me, her only child, and she loved telling me what her gut was telling her about me. Ann Fisher, an Albany psychic, hypnotist and author of Omni-Cosmics, would approve of my mother’s actions. “Your inner mind wants to save you from doing the wrong thing,” she says. “It’s very good to trust your instincts and follow your intuition. A higher mind knows more than you and wants to guide you. And our dreams will guide us, too.” Toomer relies on her spiritual guide to help her through life. She has many and thinks of them as her team, some of whom have been with her from birth, others that come and go as she needs them. It is her guides that drive her intuition. HARNESSING THE POWER Although Toomer says we all have guides, if you haven’t met yours, don’t despair! There are other ways to listen to your inner voice. Ed O’Malley is a minister, shaman, Ph.D. in neuroscience and clinically trained in sleep medicine. He says the key to harnessing our intuition is to pay attention to everything that happens to us. He is co-founder of Your Optimal Nature, does private consulting in Sheffield, Mass., and at ARC Sacred Center in Monroe, Conn., in addition to consultations worldwide via Skype.

Photo: © Kheng Guan Toh/Dreamstime.com.

Inner Psychic


You are never alone at... “Eastern practitioners are trained to listen to their inner wisdom,” he says. “But we all can cultivate awareness, which will lead to many answers to life’s questions. Awareness happens when we take the time to attend to the present moment. We keep ourselves too busy, never allowing for any quiet time. Awareness has difficulty emerging. We need to all slow down and take a breath.” All experts agree that the best way to do this is through meditation. Fisher didn’t realize she possessed psychic powers until after she graduated from college. Under the guidance of a medium, she did breathing exercises that opened her up. “My powers lay dormant until it was time for me to use them,” she says. Fisher suggests finding a time in the evening when the Earth is quiet, optimally between 11 p.m. and midnight. Select a silent place, sit calmly and clear your mind. Alternately, she suggests finding a group or spiritualist church that offers meditation. O’Malley encourages all of his clients to meditate by themselves at least two times each day. He suggests starting slowly. Set a timer — he uses the one on his smart phone — for three minutes. Sit in a quiet place, close your eyes, and just breathe deeply. “Be sure you bring the breath way down deep into your belly, hold it there for a few beats, and then slowly release the breath,” he instructs. “I promise that after three of four breaths, you will begin to feel calmer.” Schedule your two breathing sessions into your daily calendar. Gradually increase the amount of time you breathe during each session, ultimately reaching 15 to 20 minutes, twice a day. And be sure you schedule these breaks on your days off, even though you might be relaxing. The key to success is two sessions each day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. “Two things will begin happening,” he says. “You will notice the millions of thoughts that take up most of your time. You will also begin to realize that you feel different. You become more aware of your surroundings and what is going on within you. It will make you more refreshed. And if you do this in the middle of the day, you will return to whatever you were doing with more enthusiasm and energy.” If you say you can’t fit deep breaths into your daily routine, O’Malley suggests looking at this as an investment in you, a way to love and take care of yourself so you can love and take care of your family. The calming effect can also help ease anxiety, worries and stress, which will in turn make you a healthier person. And there’s one more benefit: You will sleep better. “If you take these breaks, your stress levels will be much lower than if you were not taking the breaks,” he says. “You won’t be carrying as much baggage to bed with you. If you sleep better, you will function better the next day, be more active, less reactive or explosive, and more responsible. Your performance will improve. You will become a happier person.”  HL

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cover model q&a

up close with ... Dona Fragnoli by janet reynolds  |  photo by suzanne kawola

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ona Fragnoli wants to help make a difference in people’s lives. A motivational/inspiration speaker and corporate trainer, Fragnoli started her own consulting business last year called The Pebble Effect. Its mantra? Inspiring ripples of change. (pebbleeffect.com). She also works with Balancing Life’s Issues, a national training company. The 49-year-old went back to work after first staying home with their four children, now aged 16-29. Her husband, Kevin, is an airline pilot so that continuity was important. While at home, Fragnoli did a lot of volunteer work, including speaking at a men’s prison, an event she calls “one of the highlights of my life.” It also helped influence the work she currently does for pay. “I have the best job in the world,” she says. “I get to help people make a difference in their lives.” Change comes from within, she adds, but sometimes people need help seeing how to change. “I’m honored to provide direction to people.” What’s your preferred form of exercise? “I used to run but my knees are older than my heart,” she says. Now she’s a regular at the Schenectady YMCA where the variety of class options are a strong allure. Fragnoli is currently hooked on P-90X classes. “I like that it’s a challenge. The instructor can help you modify too. My knees needed help initially.”

What type of books do you like to read? Crime thrillers and audiobooks top the list. “I read a Nora Roberts then and again,” she says. Fragnoli likes nonfiction, too, especially books that help her increase her skills. One of her favorites is What Happy People Know by Dan Baker. Salty or Sweet? Sweet. “I’m a crunchy cookie kind of gal. That’s why I exercise — so I can have a crunchy cookie.” Guilty pleasure? Stupid TV. “Not reality shows. I hate those.” And Words with Friends.

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healthylife

Behind the Scenes Hair and makeup by Kimberley’s A Day Spa, Latham. Photo taken by Suzanne Kawola at Russell Sage College, Troy. Above: clothing by Chaus and Premise; earrings by Steve Madden. Select clothing available at Boscov’s Clifton Park. Visit facebook. com/healthylifenymagazine to view our Behind the Scenes photo gallery, or scan the QR code at right to link to our HealthyLife photos page on Facebook.

What’s on your bucket list? Writing a book. Fragnoli even has a working title: “What’s Good?” The idea, she explains, is to take a problem and by shifting your perspective from what’s bad about it to what’s good, you can make yourself feel a little better. There’s more to it than that of course. But you’re going to have buy the book to find out. HL

‘Before’ photo by Colleen Ingerto.

What’s a favorite family activity? “We laugh a lot.” Family meals usually last a long time, Fragnoli says. “It’s a great opportunity to be with everyone.” Sometimes, when the children were younger and everyone was home, Fragnoli would ask everyone to name three things for which they were grateful. “There would be teenage eye-rolling,” she recalls, “but then they can’t wait for their turn.” With four athletic children, the Fragnoli family also spent (and still spends) a fair amount of its time on the sidelines cheering. “You can over-extend but we were careful to manage that.”


After back surgery elsewhere, this patient didn’t expect more pain than he went in with. Unfortunately he ended up with a condition known as “failed back syndrome” which made walking a challenge and running impossible. Our spine specialists suggested a minimally invasive procedure. After a brief recovery period he quickly reached his goal of walking pain free and was soon on his way to reaching his next goal—running his first 5K. CapitalRegionNeurosurgery.com

Appointments available in 48 hours (518) 439-4326 1220 New Scotland Road, Slingerlands, NY

At 43, when he was left immobile by back pain, he asked us to help him walk.

Instead, we helped him run.


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HL October 2013