You are Never to Old for Allergies and How to Get Relief


Allergies are the pits. You say Hay Fever, I say Allergic Rhinitis. Whatever you call it, it’s a common problem that causes nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, post nasal drip with a ticklish cough, and an itchy feeling of the throat, nose and eyes.  Generally the key symptom in distinguishing whether your crappy symptoms are a cold verses allergies is the itch factor.


The offender: a protein in pollen produced by grasses, plants, and trees. Other culprits include cat and dog saliva/dander, mold, dust mites.  Yes, some folks have life threatening allergies to foods, bees, etc. but that’s a horsefly of a different color and not covered in this sixty second post.

What happens in an allergy attack? Click here for a slide show that explains the body’s immune response.


  • Avoid trigger allergens: If you know what you are allergic to, do your best to avoid exposure. Pollen counts high? Wear a mask.  So what if you look like a doofus, it beats sneezing and feeling miserable. Other things that might help: shower before bed, use air-conditioning.
  • Antihistamines: Most are now available over-the-counter. Allegra is hands down the first choice of 9/10 immunologists.  Talk to your friendly neighborhood pharmacist if you need help deciding which one to try. Side effects are possible (sedation with some), and if you take prescription meds you need to talk to your primary care provider before adding on another med due to potential drug-drug interactions.
  • Prescription Nasal Sprays: If your allergies last a season or all year round, prescription sprays such as Flonase or Nasonex are a great treatment option.  Less chance of side effects, and excellent control of symptoms.
  • Allergy Shots: Certainly the underdog, allergy shots are something to be considered. If you want to get to the root of your allergy problem and have the patience to do allergy testing and immunotherapy, consider treating your allergies using this route.

No, allergies are not just kid’s stuff.  Some allergies take years of exposure to finally develop, which explains why adults surprisingly become allergic when they never were before.

Take time to smell the roses.

Take time to smell the roses.


Have allergies?

Don’t be sad, there are many treatment options.

You can still stop and smell the roses.


Why Twitter is Bad for Your Self-Esteem


Everyday I ask my self why do I bother with social media?  Why do I have a Twitter account? I’m not a rockstar.  I haven’t published anything.  I am an amateur photographer, and have a no frills WordPress blog. I do everything the gurus tell me to do: I

  • Retweet
  • Engage
  • Converse
  • Use hooks
  • Blog regularly
  • Follow back
  • Tweet links, photos, have a,
        and so on.

and so on.

And yet I am a fraction of a quark.

Twitter is bad for my self-esteem.

Unless you are in the camp of the social media gurus, big star musicians/artists, famous founders/ entrepreneurs of successful companies, high Klout score tweeps- whatever that means…

Twitter might be bad for your self esteem too.

How do I know this? Because I’ve experienced it. I work in psychiatry, I once upon a time was a teenager in public school, and I’ve raised three kids.  I get Self-Esteem.

P1130608Do you feel alone, faceless, passed over?  Have you cried when a troll tweeted a terribly rude comment directly at you, for all the twittersphere to see? Have you felt dejected because your fav band, artist, author, colleague never acknowledges, retweets or follows you?

Does it seem like all your followers are eggs, fake celebrities, f-bomb droppers, tweeps who don’t speak your language?


Does Twitter boost your self-esteem? Or does it bring it down?

I say Twitter is a self-esteem mutilator and reminds me of high school. A place I tried so hard to fit in, but never could. God, it was brutal.  And Twitter can be brutal, if you let it.

So don’t let it.

Get your self-esteem boosts by living in the real world, not the twitter universe. Tweet to lift up others, and you’ll find yourself lifted too.

Surround yourself with those you love, who love you.  Be in the presence of real people. Get out, enjoy your life. It’s a vapor that is fleeting.

If you find a real friend or connection on twitter, consider yourself lucky. I am lucky. But more than that, I am blessed. Twitter is what it is and I’ll use it my way: to share nuggets of truth, inspiration, fun things with you.

I won’t pretend to fit in.  Because I don’t.  And it’s ok.

All About Peas in Pod and a Photo to Make Your Day

two peas in a pod

two peas in a pod

I have said this many times to a friend, a coworker, and to my husband. Someone orders the same entrée as me, enjoys the same artists and musicians, or agrees with me on a particular subject.

We’re like two peas in a pod.

I never stopped to consider the origins of the cliche until I was taking pictures last week and saw the above two peas in a pod.  Can you believe I never stumbled on such a glorious find in nature that backed up such an overused saying?

The peas are identical in size, each have a tiny umbilical cord, have the same coloring, they are twins. The only difference you can see with your eye are some slight blemishes of white.

We want acceptance, understanding, empathy.  To find another person who ‘gets’ us and relates to us is a wonderful feeling.  Do you have a fellow pea with you in your pod? Someone who is close to you, like you?


I bet you do.  Tell that pea you are glad to be two of a kind.  That your world is a better place because of him, her.  Life is so good.  Where would you be, what would you do without your co-pod?

Make sure your pea mate understands what they mean to you.  Life is short, have no regrets. Tell people how you feel about them.  Everyone needs to hear they mean something to someone else.  Don’t ever take it for granted that they know.  Make it a habit to celebrate the pea in your pod.

Have you hugged your pea today?

Have you hugged your pea today?

Boost Your Likability with These 4 Easy Steps

Dale Carnegie

I work with a challenging population: those recovering from opiate addiction.  Most have mental health illnesses, in addition to a myriad of other serious diseases. I see people for the first time, others I have seen year after year. No matter who I see for an exam, I make them feel at home with our first hello. Our visit isn’t about me.  It’s about them.

That is the heart of likability.  

In the 45 minutes that I have to see my patient I engage them with kindness, and a concern so palpable that they leave with hope for a healthy future.  If you want people to like you, or maybe the better way to phrase it is if you want to have genuinely successful people encounters, then ditch your ego, bag the bragging, and give your undivided attention to the person before you.

Talk at the same level (physically).  If he is sitting, you sit.  Make eye contact, keep your arms uncrossed, listen intently. He should get the sense that the world has stopped and at that moment you want nothing more than to hear and understand what he is saying.

See eye to eye.

See eye to eye.

Talk at the same level (verbally).  Don’t use jargon or fustian vocabulary.   Save that for your blog posts.

fustianSay their name.  If you forgot it, admit it and ask for it again. Learn how to remember names if you suck at it.

Say my name.

Say my name.

Smile. Not a fake cheesy smile.  I’m talking a smile that says I’m glad to see you, I like you, and I am here for you.

The expression one wears on one's face is far more important than the clothes one wears on one's back. Dale Carnegie

The expression one wears on one’s face is far more important than the clothes one wears on one’s back. Dale Carnegie

It’s not that hard to be liked.  The more you follow these principles the better you’ll get at boosting your likability, and ultimately making yourself happier in the process.

Could Your Bad Headache Be Meningitis?


Headaches are common, often caused by tension in the muscles, lack of sleep, allergies,   prolonged hunger, or other non life threatening triggers.  When is a headache more than just a nuisance but a sign of something dangerously wrong?

Any headache that is different than what you are used to, occurs in the very young or old, is accompanied by other symptoms such as light sensitivity, a stiff, painful neck, nausea/vomiting, or comes on like a thunder clap, needs immediate attention.

Get thyself to thy doctor or emergency room stat!

when in doubt

Let’s consider meningitis, an inflammation of the brain that can cause sudden onset of headache, fever, stiff neck, and nausea/vomiting. All kids/teens are immunized against the most serious bacterial meningitis with Menactra, but there are some people who can become infected with a different pathogen and become gravely ill.

Any new headache is potentially worrisome. Add on other symptoms and there is no question their is a need for prompt, further investigation: emergency room visit.

Hey, this doc is worth watching! He will give you a one minute run down on meningitis.

Stay informed, stay healthy.

Why We Resist Change and Where I Disclose a Secret


What makes us resist change? Why would we rather stick with a job we hate, stay in a loveless relationship, keep smoking despite having lung cancer, and complain rather than change?

Why do you settle?  Are you afraid you will fail, make the wrong decision?  Maybe you’ve tried to change before and it didn’t work out the way your planned, and you simply can’t imagine another failure.

I understand.  Change can be hard.  It can also be easy.  One thing is certain: it is inevitable.


If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. Let me give you an example:

I’ve had burning mouth syndrome for roughly three years. I have been reluctant to blog about it just because.  I hate it, it can be all consuming, and the doctors I see for it don’t have anything else in their little black bags for me to try.  I’ve stopped googling it as I can’t bear to read other BMS sufferers lament about how their quality of life is zip and they don’t know how they can go on another day with the awful pain this ailment brings.  Hey it sucks, I live it.  Somedays I do crawl up in a ball on the couch, and go to sleep.  Sleep is the one thing I can do to escape the pain.  Or..

I can change the way I think. I can redirect my attention to something else.  Take my focus off the problem and put it somewhere else.  I can do that.

Is the problem the problem, or could it be how we think about the problem?


Is it…

  • a rut or a grave
  • half empty or half full
  • a mountain or a mole hill
  • lemons or lemonade
  • a weed or a flower?

All changes, even the ones we crave can be sad. We leave behind something that was a part of us, our life. We knew it well. Kind of like an old shoe.

Remember, If you’re in a bad situation, don’t worry it’ll change. If you’re in a good situation, don’t worry it’ll change.

Is there something you need to change?  What’s stopping you?

3 Tips to Help You Through A Colonoscopy and Digging the Dancing Queen


My friendly neighborhood gastroenterologist just informed me it’s National Colon Cancer awareness month.  I’m not the poster girl for colon cancer screening since I haven’t had one, but my husband has, and Dave Barry has, and I’m good friends with them both so that should count for something.  In case Dave is reading, remember the Rochester Fringe, and where we say soda, you say pop.

Hey, speaking of pop, let’s talk poop.  Here are your tips for an easypeasy colonoscopy:

  • 1. Schedule your scoping for early morning. Get in first and get out quick. Less time you have to wait to eat and drink again.
  • 2. Read and follow your day before prep instructions to the letter.  No cheating.  A clear colon is essential for finding those little polyps that might be trying to evade detection.  Plus, having your GI guy brag to the other docs how sparkling clean your colon looks is sweet.
  • 3. Clean the bathroom.  You will be spending quite a bit of time in there the day before your procedure, so might as well go all out and make it spa like with candles, soft music, and some lovely stemware from which to drink your prep cocktail and water chasers.

luxury bathroom

As far as the colonoscopy goes, nothing to be scared of.  You won’t feel any discomfort, won’t remember the event, and will deny you said what you did while under the influence of the twilight meds.

So if you are 50+ and haven’t gotten your colonoscopy done yet, pick up the phone now and make the appointment.  And don’t forget to write it on your calendar and actually go.  The colonoscopy is the best tool we have to pick up and treat colon cancer early. When it comes to cancer, early detection saves lives.

Dave, this one’s for you…

5 Telltale Signs You are an Egomaniac

ego definition

Why do some people have such huge egos? You see it all the time in celebrities, the 15 minute famers, the celebrity wannabes, or the co-worker who is just too into himself.  How about the tweeps who follow you, and then unfollow you minutes or days later to have a disproportionate follower ratio?  I had one tweep unfollow me within 5 minutes of my courtesy followback. Like I didn’t notice.  Here’s the thing, a big ego is seriously dangerous.

5 Telltale signs you are an egomaniac:

  • You bask in recognition and live for the cheers of your audience. You crave the limelight.
  • You think you know everything and and never admit mistakes, never apologize.
  • You take credit for other people’s ideas and work.
  • Your business card or signature list every degree, credential, or certification you have achieved.
  • Conversations are one sided: all you talk about is you.  You have no interest in learning about others.
It's all about you.

It’s all about you.






all about you.

How long can an ego run rampant before it destroys relationships, careers, businesses, or kills someone?

Whether superstar, nobel prize winner, or the guy sitting next to you on the plane, we are all the same inside, and trust me, I have seen plenty of people’s insides. We are guts and blood and waste and bone and skin. We have a brain and a soul and a personality.  We all have unique talents, feelings, dreams, and fears.

My guess is the egomaniacs aren’t reading this.  But, if you are on the precipice of egomania land, do an about face and start moving.  Life is way too short.

Ditch the overinflated ego and come back down to earth.  It’s nice here.


I Guarantee You a Good Day if You Do These 4 Simple Things


No one but Eeyore and Oscar the Grouch set out to have a bad day.  So why is it that you wake up in a good mood and one text, one vague email or one particular person steals your mojo and 180′s your disposition?

One word:


You can’t change what people say and do, but you can change how you react to it.  How about you and I make a pinky swear to pause and not knee-jerk to what happens to us, at least for today.

No yelling, cursing, belittling, paper slamming, sneering, tsk-tsks, name calling, diva temper tantrums, or derisive comments.

Instead we will:

  • Pause.  5-10 seconds and breathe.
  • Remember: We WILL have a good day.  We will not allow another to foil our plan.
  • Reflect: Look at the big picture.  How we behave now, or the decisions we make in an unthinking moment can cause serious damage to our reputations, relationships, and career.

Put things in perspective and don’t read too deeply into things.  Let’s put our sixth senses aside and stop trying to expose the hidden agendas.  I don’t like the tone of that email, did you see her raise those bushy eyebrows at me? What did he mean by we’ll see? She didn’t answer my text, she’s mad at me.  Why do I always have to clean the microwave, I am sick of everyone’s laziness!

  • Respond: Only after pausing, remembering, and reflecting can we respond appropriately to the situation before us.

Practice: calm voice, encouragement, kindness, patience, befitting anger, understanding, manners.

You and I are going to have a good day today.  Fist bump! Let’s do it again tomorrow.


Is The Worst of Times The Best of Times?

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us….Charles Dickens


Certainly you’ve heard that opening line from Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities.  I didn’t realize the first sentence was all the above and a bit more that I left off.  Wordy, but powerful, and these twelve words, unforgettable.


Life is ups and downs. Joy and sadness. Wealth and poverty.

Where are you, and more importantly, how are you reacting to your circumstances? Are you sitting pretty on a pot of gold, enjoying a lucrative career, fame?  Do you have uninterrupted success and everything I dream of? My friend, be wary of the breezy, prosperous times.  Enjoy them, but don’t forget these cliché reminders: keep it real, stay humble or stumble, pride comes before a fall, keep both feet on the ground, at the top we all sit on our bottoms, and everyone has to use the bathroom. I wanted to say we all poop but I thought that wasn’t very classy.

If your life is rough, if you are deep in some hole or walking through one fire after another, don’t give up. It is often in the midst of despair that life takes on new essence. We discover who we are and learn we can endure, grow, persevere.  We find meaning in little things and embrace the preciousness of the small, good things that we do have. Thank God for the worst of times.  The worst of times are the best of times.

Another Charles once said,

If God should always rock us in the cradle of prosperity; if we were always dandled on the knees of fortune; if we had not some stain on the alabaster pillar; if there were not a few clouds in the sky; if we had not some bitter drops in the wine of this life, we should become intoxicated with pleasure, we should dream “we stand;” and stand we should, but it would be upon a pinnacle; like the man asleep upon the mast, each moment we should be in jeopardy. We bless God, then, for our afflictions; we thank him for our changes; we extol his name for losses of property; for we feel that had he not chastened us thus, we might have become too secure. Continued worldly prosperity is a fiery trial. Charles Spurgeon

The worst of times can be the best of times.  I never did finish A Tale of Two Cities, but I sense if I embrace the opening line, I have a good understanding of the story.  It’s life.