Biff America column: Truth, hope and a prayerDecember 4, 2013 —
I looked my buddy Paul straight in the eye and lied to him.
Yes, I hoped my assertion would come to pass, but I said it with the conviction of one who had no doubt. We both walked away feeling better, though I think both of us knew I might be full of it.
“Dude, I am so sorry about your old man.” I said, “But soon he will be in a place where his body is young and his mind is sharp.”
Tough-talking father, sensitive son
Paully’s dad, Gus, was a beer-drinking, hardworking, tough-talking, working class hero. His son was just the opposite. Paul Beale was as soft spoken as his dad was loud; as sensitive and successful as his father was harsh and blue collar. Paul is also gay.
Paul’s dad seemed less perplexed by his son’s sexuality than his intellect. When Paully graduated magna-cum (something) from college and fielded offers from Fortune 500 corporations, Gus was obviously proud, but all he could say — at least in my presence — was, “How did a mutt like me get a smarty pants for a kid who wouldn’t say crap if he had a mouth full of it?”
All Paul’s success and love couldn’t prevent his dad’s physical and mental decline. Gus was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s shortly after his wife passed away. For me, going years without seeing Gus, the process seemed rapid; I’m sure for Paul it was slow and agonizing.
As his dad’s health worsened, the part-time nurse care was replaced with two full-time nurses who alternated staying at Gus’ house. When his condition deteriorated to a point when even more care was needed, Paul reluctantly placed his dad in a nursing home.
Last summer, I was visiting the East Coast and on an impulse I stopped by Paul’s house. He wasn’t home, so I was in process of leaving a note when his car pulled in.
Comforting a friend
He got out of the car and hugged me. He had just returned from his almost daily visits to his dad; I could tell he had been crying. When I asked how his dad was doing, his voice cracked, “He’s dying, he is already dead mentally, now his body is going the way of his mind. He doesn’t know who I am, he can’t control his functions.”
Paul apologized for his outburst, and told me a little bit of how hard it had been watching his old man’s physical and mental decline.
“He was such a tough old fart, but he is also kind,” Paul said. “He accepted me as I am even before I knew who I was. Now, not only doesn’t he know who I am, he doesn’t remember who he is. He would be better off dead. And I hate myself for feeling that way.”
What can you say to that? The simple truth is we are all going to die. And before we do, some of those we love will precede us. We can only hope they die cognizant and with dignity. Grief counselors caution those comforting a survivor to say little and instead sit quietly and soothe them by your presence. But the inclination, when you see a friend in pain, is to try to offer something that will lessen their grief.
Faith or wishful thinking?
“I am so sorry about your old man. But soon he will be in a place where his body is young and his mind is sharp.”
It gave me such pleasure to say that. The mere thought of Gus enjoying his next life with a young body and calm countenance provided both hope and recompense. At the moment I made that declaration, I believed it with all my heart. But I have to admit in the harsh light of honesty void of emotion, the belief in heaven for me is as much faith as it is wishful thinking.
Gus died two weeks later.
I have no idea where Paul’s dad is right now or if in fact his mind is sharp and body young. I certainly hope that is the case. But what I can say with conviction is that there is heaven right here on earth. It can be found in the time we have, be it long or short, and in the love of a child, parent, lover or friend.
Jeffrey Bergeron, under the alias of Biff America, can be seen on TV-8-Summit and read in several newspapers and magazines. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Living with Vitality column: Avoid workout cruise controlDecember 2, 2013 —
The aging athlete has long struggled to find the miracle workout routine, and eventually has gotten stuck. You stay strong, always making time for exercise, but before you know it, autopilot has taken over and you’re stuck in an endless routine with no results. Whether it’s a roadblock in athletic performance, a deadlock fight with body weight or just boredom, the routine you’re working hard to maintain is exactly what’s keeping you from attaining goals.
As the famous saying from Albert Einstein goes, “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Thousands of us do the exact same training plan we have been doing for years. When you do the same exercises every day, you’re more likely to fall off the wagon before lifestyle-changing results can be achieved. Why? Because the human body is an amazing machine built to withstand force and act upon it. Over time, the body adapts, becomes efficient and ultimately hinders your success. To turn off the cruise control in your routine, look into individualized training zones that allow you to shape your training and use correct periodization in the weight room, and let your body recover from physiologic stress.
Shockingly, for most individuals, the body can adapt and plateau within four to six weeks of repetitive exercise. After doing the same routine over and over, not only has your body adapted, but most people dig themselves into a hole by replicating training routines daily. Being conscious of how long you’ve been doing a workout and ready to take the first step by identifying and making changes to your routine will maximize your time. Many people are afraid to change due to habit or lack of how-to knowledge, or the new challenge falls outside their comfort zone, but the process is easy and can have lifelong benefits.
By operating in the correct metabolic zone, you can avoid these plateaus and expedite progress toward your goal, then surpass it. A person’s correct training zone is specific to their individual responses to exercise. To truly see change, you need to train according to what your body can handle metabolically, not what you have been doing or what you saw in a magazine. In a Ball State University study, individuals who employed correct periodization models in their routines had better overall results including improved sports performance, higher gains in lean muscle mass and changes in body composition, including reduced body fat and increased daily energy. We put tremendous physiological stress on our bodies hoping that, miraculously, our workouts will pay off. By not taking time off for recovery, we cannot fully assimilate the training workloads, and in turn, we do more damage to the body than good. If you’ve hit a plateau, then you can repair your body by resting so that it can heal any stress loads. Injuries can lead to months off from training, versus taking a few days off to adapt.
Nick Edwards is an exercise physiologist and has been a lead strength and conditioning coach at multiple Division 1 universities and for professional athletic teams. Edwards is a professional MMA Fighter and currently is ranked fifth in the world in Brazilian Jujitsu. He trains collegiate and elite athletes in the Denver Metro area and also brings the sports performance program to the Vail Vitality Center.
Ask a Sports Medicine Doc column: Water skiing injury likely a hamstring injuryDecember 2, 2013 —
Question: I was recently water skiing in Lake Powell when I took a bad fall and felt a tear in my buttock. I had immediate pain and then difficulty walking. What do you think I did?
Dr. Rick Cunningham: It sounds like you might have torn one or more of your hamstring tendons from their origin off your pelvic bone. This is not an uncommon injury in water skiing. I have actually had to surgically repair a number of these in water skiers during the years. In this injury, patients often describe the sensation of being shot in the back of their thigh and buttock. They feel a pop and have immediate pain, swelling, bruising and can only walk stiff-legged. Patients also have a lot of pain with sitting.
After examining a patient in the office with a probable hamstring tear, I obtain an MRI scan. This shows whether the patient has sustained a partial tear or a complete tear of their hamstring tendons off of the pelvic bone where they attach, which is your sit bone or ischial tuberosity. Moreover, the MRI shows whether someone tore all three of the hamstring tendons or just one of them. The three hamstring tendons that originate off of the ischial tuberosity are called the semitendinosus, semimembranosus and the long head of biceps femoris.
If someone partially tears their three tendons, or if they completely tear just one of their hamstring tendons off the ischial tuberosity, then surgery is not required. Treatment consists of rest, ice, physical therapy, ultrasound, anti-inflammatory medications, gentle stretching and gradual return to athletic activity over approximately four to six weeks.
However, if someone tears all three tendons and they are pulled away more than an inch or so, then surgery is recommended. Without surgery, patients usually experience chronic pain and weakness in hip extension and knee flexion. Moreover, they can develop nerve pain in their leg if the torn hamstring tendons then scar down to the nearby sciatic nerve and pull on it. Simple things such as sitting can continue to be painful if the tendons are not properly repaired. Thus, it is best to diagnose and then fix these tears early while the tendons are easily mobilized and not scarred onto the sciatic nerve and surrounding tissues.
Surgery consists of making a transverse incision in the crease just below our buttock (which makes for a scar that is hardly noticeable), isolating the torn tendons and suturing them back to the ischial tuberosity using suture anchors. Patients are on crutches with limited weightbearing initially, and they are also placed in a brace after surgery. Hip flexion is avoided to protect the tendon repair. Unfortunately, it can take nine months or so to return to all sports.
Fortunately, it is much more common for athletes to strain their hamstrings rather than tear them. This usually results from an eccentric contraction. In other words, the muscle is contracting while the muscle fibers are being elongated. Think of catching a heavy object with your hand as it falls off a shelf. Your biceps muscle is suddenly contracting, but your elbow is straightening in an effort to reach out and catch the object, thus elongating the biceps’ muscle fibers. Eccentric contractions place enormous stress on a muscle tendon unit and can tear it. Hamstring strains typically occur at the muscletendinous junction, or where the muscle fibers start to become tendon fibers. This is the weak link in any muscle tendon unit, whether it be your hamstrings or your biceps. Fortunately, these strains tend to heal uneventfully as they have good blood supply from the surrounding muscle tissue.
Dr. Rick Cunningham is a knee and shoulder sports medicine specialist with Vail-Summit Orthopaedics. He is a physician for the U.S. Ski Team and chief of surgery at Vail Valley Medical Center. Do you have a sports medicine question you’d like him to answer in this column? Visit his website at www.vailknee.com to submit your topic idea. For more information about Vail-Summit Orthopaedics, visit www.vsortho.com.
Biff America column: We were there in different placesNovember 29, 2013 —
Mrs. Bieschel came running into the fourth grade classroom like a crazy lady. She had black circles under her eyes and brown lines running down her cheeks. Now of course later in life I discovered that this was caused by mascara and face foundation being streaked by tears. But at the time, and with the mind of a 10 year old, I searched for an explanation.
Just a few weeks earlier, Johnny Ryan had a similar looking black eye when Jimmy Spada punched him in the face at recess. My first thought was that my grammar school principal had stepped into a three punch combination. If her appearance wasn’t odd enough, Mrs. Bieschell did something I had never seen an educator do, she grabbed our teacher, Miss Casey, and hugged her. They clutched each other and rocked gently.
This diversion was exactly what I needed at the time. My attention span late in the day and at that age was about the same as a hummingbird; Ritalin had yet to be discovered. Our principal addressed the class, “President Kennedy has been shot, you children should all go home.”
John F. Kennedy and his wife Jackie were in my prayers every night. I’m not sure if it was per my mother’s suggestion or if I came up with it on my own. Actually, I prayed for their child Patrick who died before he was a week old. Patrick was the only non-family member that made the cut to be included in my divine petitions. After asking God to bless my parents, siblings and the Boston Red Sox I would say, “And God please bless Patrick and Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy.”
Nothing was ever the same
It might seem odd that after more than 50 years I can remember so much about that day and that time; but after that day, it seemed like nothing was ever the same.
It began with Mrs. Beischell’s emotional outburst. Then, within a few days, I saw two people murdered on TV. Before that time, my only exposure to the dead was ancient uncles and aunts at open casket wakes and funerals. Then within a few days, I watched, over and over, the footage of the motorcade shooting and the Oswald murder on TV.
My family and I viewed the funeral procession on black and white TV — the Caisson, rider-less horse, Jackie’s black veil and John — John saluting the casket. Soon after, I stopped praying for their lost child Patrick reasoning that he now had his dad to look after him.
But more than that, to a young mind it seemed that nothing was safe or sacred after that.
America’s love affair with JFK
I think JFK’s administration was during a sweet spot of the information age. It was a time when all of us could see him on TV and in Life, Post and Look magazines. A rich, brilliant handsome man with a beautiful wife and two cute kids. (Except for the Rich, brilliant and handsome part, we all could relate.) It was also when the press was either reluctant to report, or unaware of anything less than flattering involving politician’s personal lives.
The fawning over the Kennedy’s was never to be repeated. There was a song called “My Daddy is President” performed by Little Jo, but sung as if it was voiced by the first daughter, Caroline, and another called “The Ballad of PT 109” by Jimmy Dean about JFK’s exploits in WWII. The nation and the world were in love with JFK.
In today’s age of working parents, and the mindset of children needing constant supervision, parents would need to be notified that their kids were being sent home. In those days, we simply filed out of the Eastondale school, some to busses, others on foot and bicycles and headed our separate ways.
Joey Corea and I road our bikes to his house together; neither one of us wanting to be alone. I waited outside while he put on his play clothes, then we went to my house while I did the same; like our teachers and principal, both our mother had tears in their eyes.
Of course we have come to learn that JFK wasn’t a perfect man, flawless president nor did he have a perfect marriage; perhaps had he lived to serve his full term he might have been viewed under a harsher historical light. But as it was, a half century later many of us recall that day and those that followed with a precise recollection.
Different nation in a changed world
There has never been an American leader so loved as JFK. Perhaps we loved him because he brought youth, unity and optimism into the mindset of America but that isn’t why the passion for him has never been matched. We are a different nation in a changed world. We are a country divided; an angry nation, a republic that comes together (and only briefly) during times of crisis. I can’t remember America so divided, but I do hope for a return to a time where we can debate, perhaps disagree, yet still respect those of dissenting views.
“Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.” — JFK
We can only hope that those words will once again come to pass.
Jeffrey Bergeron, under the alias of Biff America, can be seen on TV-8-Summit and read in several newspapers and magazines. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your Inner Athlete column: Mental strategies to bounce back quickly from injuryNovember 25, 2013 —
Lindsey Vonn’s latest injury reminds us that no matter how great our physical strength and capability is, the risk of getting hurt will always be inherent in sport.
For Vonn, and anyone suffering from the disappointment of an injury and striving to have a speedy recovery, a combination of physical rehabilitation and mental toughness is key to bouncing back with fast and efficient results.
Research demonstrates using mental toughness skills shortens rehab and allows for an effective return to sport. Here are five strategies you can implement right now to achieve this too.
No. 1: Maintain a positive perspective. Deal with what is and not what it has been or could be. Yes, your injury is no fun! It’s okay at the beginning to be upset and angry. Yet the only way to move forward is to focus on your action plan to effectively rehab your injury. Eliminate any “woulda, coulda, shoulda” and “if only” from your self-talk, replacing them with dialogue about what you can do today.
No. 2: Make rehab your new sport. The human spirit is driven by challenges. Embrace your rehab as a new, temporary “sport” to conquer. Challenge yourself with new goals to help you reach higher levels of performance. Take advantage of this opportunity to return to your sport stronger than ever!
No. 3: Your attitude = your altitude. It’s not cliche. We are made up of energy, and the positive energy in our thoughts fuels the positive results in our lives. The fastest way to recover from injury is to stay positive and focused on following your rehab regimen. Measure your milestones of success and reward yourself each day for your achievements.
No. 4: Stay connected. Although you may not physically be able to participate in sporting functions with friends, stay connected. Continue to support your fellow athletes and you will receive the same support in return.
No. 5: Harness the power of visualization. Visualization is the most powerful mental toughness tool professional athletes use to 1. Increase feelings of personal control; 2. Break up the monotony of rehab; and 3. Escalate the rate of healing. There are many uses of visualization. Whatever your goals, creating the experience first in your mind will help you to achieve them in reality.
With a Ph.D. in sport and exercise psychology, Haley Perlus is a professor, published author, international speaker and Peak Performance consultant. For more free tips and videos, go to www.drhaley perlus.com. For more on developing mental toughness to recover successfully from an injury and optimize your post injury performance, contact Perlus at email@example.com or 303-459-4516.
Pet Talk: What to do if your dog has cancerNovember 15, 2013 —
Editor’s note: This is the first column in a two-part series on pet cancer in honor of Pet Cancer Awareness Month, which is November.
Unfortunately, the “C” word invokes just as much fear for our four legged friends as it does for us. By now, you know from my columns, dogs and cats are very similar to us; they live the same lifestyle, have similar physiology and anatomy, and suffer similar diseases. Cancer is no exception.
According to a new Morris Animal Foundation (MAF) study, 1 in 4 dogs will die of cancer. If you are a golden retriever the odds are a whopping 60 percent you will die of cancer. Past studies revealed that 11 percent of visits to a veterinarian are for cancer-related issues.
I don’t know about you, but it makes me happy to see the MAF launch a $30 million initiative to cure animal cancer in the next 10-20 years (and if you are one of those who feel money spent on pets is wasted, this research will be used to help cure human cancer).
Signs of cancer to watch for
One of the first indications your dog or cat has cancer are swellings or growths that continue to grow and or change character, color etc. Other signs include: weight loss, decrease in appetite, difficulty urinating, defecating or breathing, difficulty eating or swallowing, enlarged lymph nodes (glands), abnormal bleeding or discharges from any body parts or openings, lameness or limping, weakness, lethargy or inability to exercise.
Just like in people, cancer is mainly a disease of middle-aged to older dogs and cats; however, pets of any age can get cancer.
What to do if you suspect your pet has a tumor
If you suspect your pet has cancer you obviously need to schedule a visit with your veterinarian. They will perform a good physical exam and then order some tests such as blood counts, blood chemistries, urinalysis and X-rays or radiographs.
Often we do a very simple in-office procedure called a needle or aspiration biopsy and take a quick peek under the microscope. Other times, a biopsy is indicated and sent to a board certified veterinary pathologist.
A biopsy should be done if it will change the way a cancer is treated. For example, Mast Cell Tumors, a common skin tumor, are malignant and require a very aggressive and wide surgical excision, whereas sebaceous adenomas, another common skin tumor, are benign and require a very small surgical approach.
Information is king
Cancer should also be staged. Staging involves determining how extensive and widespread the cancer has become.
Again, this will tell us how to treat the cancer and can save you and your pet needless surgeries, chemotherapies, expenses and suffering. Staging usually involves lymph node aspirates/biopsy, radiographs, and/or an ultrasound. When dealing with cancer, information is king.
In part two, we’ll talk about some of the more common cancers and how to treat them.
In the meantime, visit www.morrisanimalfoundation.org or www.acfoundation.org and make a contribution to the canine cancer campaign!
Stephen Sheldon, DVM, a member of the Veterinary Cancer Society, practices at Gypsum Animal Hospital. He welcomes your questions and can be reached at 970-524-DOGS or www.gypsumah.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vail Daily health column: Partners of sex addicts usually seek help firstNovember 11, 2013 —
Very few addicts will come forward and self-refer to treatment. Almost always they must find themselves in some sort of trouble. Before they will enter treatment, there must be consequences which they face if they continue with the addictive behavior. For alcoholics, this is often described as “hitting bottom.” There can be any number of consequences; a DUI, losing a job, losing health, losing relationships, failure in school, legal problems, loss of status, etc. For the sex addict, the consequences are almost always preceded by “discovery.” After discovery there can be similar consequences to those faced by an alcoholic. The facade of the addict is exposed, and often there are cataclysmic events that cause the partner of an sex addict to confront the reality of addiction. For the partner of a sex addict, there are many questions that immediately arise when the sex addict has hit bottom. “What is sex addiction? Will this get better? What do I tell the kids? Should I stay or go? Where do I get help?”
Partners of sex addicts are often the ones who first seek help to address these questions and others. Addicts can be very persuasive, and often the addict will reveal only a small portion of the addictive behavior or as little as they imagine they can get by with. The typical path of disclosure is to deny everything, to disclose what you think you can get away with, to disclose a bit more, to get confronted as more comes out, to disclose all.
Typically partners will be getting information for more than a year. In the best circumstances, revelations will continue. The partner must be prepared for this to be an on-going process. This stage of recovery is characterized by a great deal of emotional turmoil, and often the partner will be in a stage of shock. One partner described this stage as, “It’s like he threw up in the kitchen, the living room, then the bedroom. He feels better and I’ve got to clean up the mess.”
The partner will want the disclosure of all previously concealed behavior. Reasons they cite include to make sense of the past, to validate their suspicions, to gain a sense of control, to assess their risk of STD exposure and to assess their partner’s relationship commitment. Sometimes the sex addict and the partner will be tempted to use alcohol or drugs to mask the addiction, avoid the pain and avoid the reality of what they must face together. The level of trauma experienced by the partner will be determined in part by the amount of the deception, the length of time of the deception, covert emotional abuse, the type of offending behavior, exposure to the offending behavior, public embarrassment, impact on the children and the impact on finances. The good news is that this period of time when life is awful can be the precursor of repair, growth and developing a new intimacy that did not exist in the past. For the partner to have hope, they must see that the sex addict is in the process of recovery. If the partner sees that the sex addict is in the process of recovery, then he/she can begin to recover by addressing the level of trauma, gathering information, dealing with their grief, repairing the relationship and experiencing growth. This is a process that moves at different speeds for different people and there is no way to predict exactly how long each portion of the process will take. In addition, the sex addict and the partner will often recover at different paces. Not everyone in a family gets better on the same day, but everyone can get better.
For the past three years, I have been training with the International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals (IITAP.org, sexhelp.com) to provide therapeutic treatment for sex addicts, their partners and their families. You can find more information about me, other therapists and the services we offer at www.sexhelp.com.
Don Bissett is a licensed professional counselor. He is a certified sex addiction therapist trained by The International Institute of Trauma and Addiction Professionals. He is also trained in emotionally focused marital therapy. Call 970-390-7377 or email email@example.com to learn more.
November is Pet Breast Cancer Awareness MonthNovember 4, 2013 —
As I was preparing for my radio segment this morning, I noticed my pup, Eleanor, sporting her new pink Gator collar and it hit me. Why don’t we have a pet breast cancer awareness month? After all, it is the leading cancer in unspayed female dogs, it is used as a model to study human breast cancer and it occurs three times more frequently than human breast cancer.
Voila, consider it done. November will be Pet Breast Cancer Awareness Month at Gypsum Animal Hospital. Next year, we will go national, to coincide with the people-based month-long event during October.
The shame about breast cancer in pets is it is largely preventable, almost to the point of saying we can make it nonexistent. Spay your dog before she has her first heat cycle and you will not have to deal with it. If you don’t spay her or wait too long (two heat cycles) her risk goes up to 26 percent. If you are mathematically challenged, that is one in four.
If you want to argue and tell me that spaying her early will increase her chance of bone and or spleen cancer, I will tell you that is correct. But being right makes you wrong when it comes to your pup’s overall health.
Yes you knock down her risk of other cancers 1 percent but by doing so have increased her breast cancer risk by 26 percent. And breast cancer in pets is deadly, killing one out of four dogs who get it.
Spaying a ‘no-brainer’
It is the biggest no-brainer out there: spay your pet early. Veterinarians are unanimously in agreement.
Mammary cancer in dogs comes with a nifty little rule, called the 50-50-50 rule. Fifty percent of mammary tumors are benign (or not cancerous), and fifty percent are malignant (cancerous). Fifty percent of the malignant ones are cured with surgery alone.
The other fifty percent of malignant mammary tumors are considered incurable, even with aggressive combination treatment (surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy).
Simplifying that it means there is a 3 in 4 chance your pet with mammary cancer will survive; and a 1 in 4 chance she will succumb to the disease.
Early treatment is crucial
This is why any nodule, bump or lump in your pet’s breast or mammary area should be checked out immediately — as in now. If your pet does have a tumor, time is critical as masses over 1 1/2 inches in diameter, masses that are very hard or irregular or those firmly attached carry a much worse prognosis. We do not advise “watching it” when it comes to breast cancer.
Your veterinarian will run blood tests and take a chest x-ray to determine the damage done and if the cancer has spread or metastasized. A sample of the tumor and/or the lymph nodes may be submitted prior to surgery.
I don’t usually wait that long; I perform a fine needle aspirate in my office and take a look at the cells under my microscope. If I think it is cancer, I try to get that tumor out as soon as possible and send it to a pathologist. Time is critical, and I would rather err on the side of caution.
Surgery usually needed
Surgery is by far the treatment of choice. “Your best deal is cold blue steel” and “when in doubt, cut it out” is the advice of my favorite veterinary oncologist, Dr. Greg Ogilvie.
Most often a lumpectomy is performed and an adjacent lymph node is sampled for metastasis. Occasionally we will do a full mammary chain mastectomy. Research has changed in this area and we do not do full chain mastectomies as often as we once did. Biopsies are essential here; we need to know what form of cancer we are dealing with.
The only time we do not recommend surgery is with a very aggressive form of breast cancer called inflammatory mammary carcinoma; surgery will make these worse (I have first-hand experience here. A young Dr. Steve took on a case when no one else would). In these cases a biopsy is indicated. Unfortunately, this form of cancer is a death sentence; there’s nothing we do can stop it. It is the same form of breast cancer that kills women in only a few months’ time.
Chemo and radiation
Chemotherapy and radiation therapy can slow the progress of malignant, metastatic mammary cancer and can provide some quality time. Currently, adriamycin, cyclophosphamide, piroxicam and methotrexate are popular chemotherapies. Survival times can be extended with these, but ultimately almost all canine patients with metastatic mammary cancer die from the disease.
Cats affected, too
Let’s not forget about our feline friends this month. They get breast cancer too. Although it is not as common as it is in dogs, it is much more aggressive with a malignancy rate around 80 percent. Do you remember the rate in dogs? Fifty percent — good job.
The consensus is cats should be spayed early too, but we are not as unanimous in our agreement here.
During Pet Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we will be doing free screenings for breast cancer. Do not take any chances with this disease and have any suspicious lumps in that area checked out.
Stephen Sheldon, DVM, a member of the Veterinary Cancer Society, practices at Gypsum Animal Hospital. He can be reached at 970-524-3647 or www.gypsumah.com.
Your Inner Athlete column: Mental toughness technique to boost your trainingOctober 28, 2013 —
Editor’s note: This is the second column in a two-part series. Visit www.vaildaily.com to read the first installment.
In the first column of this two-part series, we looked at how to properly use association to optimize performance during high intensity training. Today, we discuss how dissociation can save energy during submaximal training. That is, how we can get the most out of our low to moderate intensity training.
How to apply the skill of dissociation
To be blunt, if you can’t think positively, often the best thing to do is shut up! Dissociation is all about distracting yourself away from the exercises you’re engaged in or tuning out the work. The idea behind dissociation is to focus on anything that provides a mental detachment from the activity, but also turns that frown upside down and elicits positive emotions.
Research demonstrates that for training intensities below 75 percent of maximal aerobic capacity, distracting yourself by watching television, reading, listening to favorable music or socializing with a training partner reduces your perceived exertion by about 10 percent. When you tune out the work, during moderate intensity training, your muscles and vital organs send a message to your brain saying that the task seems easier. As a result, you can exert more effort while simultaneously having a more enjoyable training session.
Be selective when you choose the songs, magazines, movies and training buddies to distract you during training. Your goal here is to effectively replace emotional fatigue, boredom and negativity with something or someone that inspires confidence and elicits positive emotions to help you to harness your internal drive and supercharge your workout energy. When you do this, not only will training become more fun, but your performance will also increase, escalating your results.
Dissociation is especially useful for people who find it difficult to stick to a regular training regimen. Using dissociation can help to make training more pleasant and a regular part of your daily routine.
As we learned in the first column in this two-part series, mental fatigue often sets in before physical fatigue. Thus, during low to moderate intensity activities, we must quickly engage in positive distractions so that we can continue to experience an incredible boost in overall performance and produce the best results possible.
With a Ph.D. in sport and exercise psychology, Haley Perlus is a professor, three-time author, international speaker and Peak Performance consultant. For more free tips and videos, go to www.drhaleyperlus.com or call 303-459-4516.
Vail Daily women’s health column: How to do a Kegel correctlyOctober 28, 2013 —
I laughed so hard I peed myself. It’s only funny when it’s not true, but it is way too true for many women! Studies show that 80 percent of us gals have trouble with incontinence at some point in our lives. However, just because it is common, does not mean it’s normal.
So, what can you do about it? It may sound cliche, but the infamous Kegels — pelvic floor exercises — really do work! You have to really work at them, though. Just like when you go to the gym and don’t see weight loss or bulging biceps after a week of workouts, you have to keep doing Kegels for 6 to 8 weeks before the muscles really ramp up their strength.
How to get started
Start somewhere quiet where you can really listen to your body. Lying down on your back with your knees supported is a great position for most people. Pull in at your pelvic floor — like you are trying to hold back gas or stop peeing. Take note: This is not a good exercise to do while you are peeing. There is a feedback loop between your pelvic floor muscles and your bladder that you confuse when you stop your pee mid-stream.
Hold for 10 seconds, if you are able to. Once you have a really good Kegel, start putting it into function. Do Kegels when you are standing at the sink washing dishes. Do Kegels when you’re waiting for a light to change. Do Kegels when you are watching commercials. Do kegels while you’re lying in bed procrastinating getting up. (They are a really good excuse to stay in bed longer!) Do them when you really need to pee and can’t get to a bathroom immediately.
Frequency is key
In order to build strength, the recommended prescription is to do 10, 10-count holds, eight times per day. That’s 80 reps. It takes time, but staying dry is well worth it! Only count repetitions that you really focus on. I talk to people very frequently who tell me they “do Kegels all day,” but when they actually keep track, they are doing much less than needed to make improvements.
Not having trouble in this department? Great! A maintenance/prevention program is 30 reps per day (three sets of 10, 10-count holds).
If you have been doing these exercises for 4 to 6 weeks and are not seeing an improvement, you may not be doing them correctly and need to seek more help. Talk to your OB doctor or a physical therapist who specializes in pelvic floor treatment.
Stephanie Drew is a physical therapist with Howard Head Sports Medicine in Edwards who specializes in women’s health, pelvic floor rehabilitation and orthopedics. She can be reached at Stephanie.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Should a woman allow her husband’s affair to continue?October 12, 2013 —
Dear Neil: Four years ago, my husband of 25 years began an affair while I was overseas. He told me about it as soon as I returned, attempting to address how I would feel if he continued that relationship if he were open and transparent about it.
He claims that he loves me deeply and doesn’t want to lose anything we have, that the things he gets from her are different from what he gets from me, and that this is not a threat to me. And he freely admits that he would be completely devastated if I did the same as him, but I am not so inclined.
I couldn’t help secretly reading their emails, and I discovered much talk of love and passion between them, much longing and desire, lots of “dirty” talk and discussions about plans to spend time together. They claim to love each other deeply, but are okay living separate lives, and they also want to meet occasionally for a night to enjoy one another. He now has a secret email address that I can’t see, so I am only able to go on what he tells me.
I can understand needing something different. I can also understand that love does not have to be exclusive. I love each of my children, but loving one of them does not mean I love the other any less.
Can you shed some light on this for me? Why can’t I share him easily? How do I live with this? How can we make this a win-win without anyone losing out?
—Don’t Know What to do in New Zealand
Dear New Zealand: Wow. Most people could not handle themselves as kindly as you. They would, at the very minimum, issue a cease and desist ultimatum to your husband, and there likely would be lots of unpredictable, volatile and explosive emotions.
You, brave woman, sound as if you are attempting to be at peace with this scenario. So forgive me for saying this, but I don’t see where this is a win-win situation for you at all. What are you winning, exactly? (We know what your husband is winning: he is the poster child for the expression “having your cake and eating it too.”)
This idea could have merit if you wish to stay married to your husband but you just don’t want sex with him anymore. I could understand it if one of you wanted sex and the other didn’t. Or maybe he has grown tired of you.
Either way, a man who says he loves another woman deeply, who feels longing, passion and desire for her, who wants to spend more time with her, that sounds genuinely threatening to your marriage, and I don’t blame you for not wanting to share him.
He started with openness and transparency, but now he has a secret email address so you can no longer see what he’s doing. And although he told you about the affair right away, that doesn’t exactly make up for the fact that he stepped out on you in the first place.
Jealousy a natural reaction
Jealousy can be more about someone’s lack of self-confidence than about actual wrongdoing. But in your situation, jealousy is a mechanism attempting to protect the relationship. It seems completely reasonable that you would fear loss, abandonment or humiliation, and that he very well could choose the other woman over you. Your jealousy is trying to protect and preserve the relationship, and I would venture that just about everyone would feel the way you feel.
Its hard to accept that your husband may feel way more love, passion and desire for her than he does for you. This is one of the reasons people normally agree to be exclusive. Infidelity is extremely threatening to a relationship, and it’s rough on the ego.
I’m trying to tell you that there may not be a win-win in this for you. It appears that he just might choose the other woman over you, and that in essence you’ve lost him.
If this problem were mine, I would be less gracious and tolerant than you are, and I would be way more angry than you appear to be.
Put your foot down
Have you thought about putting your foot down and telling him that this affair has to stop or you’re prepared to throw him out? You could even make it a negotiation: what would he want or need from you in order to be willing to drop the other relationship and fully come back to you — with complete electronic transparency and with no deception or cover up?
There is risk for you to do that, but the way you’re doing it now sounds like genuine brain damage.
Neil Rosenthal is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Westminster and Boulder. His column is in its 21st year of publication and is syndicated around the world. You can reach him at 303-758-8777 or email him through his website, www.heartrelationships.com. He is not able to respond individually to queries.
Vail Daily column: The necessity of sleepSeptember 30, 2013 —
Our bodies just aren’t made to last forever. They wear out and that creates all sorts of issues; sleep disorders being just one of many.
As we age, we tend to need less and less sleep. For example, senior citizens generally require 30 to 60 minutes less sleep than those younger than them (MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine). In addition to the duration of the sleep, sleep intervals are also shortened. It’s not unusual for an older person to wake up several times during the night for no apparent reason.
There are many, many reasons that sleep may be disturbed. In addition to simple age, some of those might include:
• Inactivity (no regular exercise)
• Associated pain (i.e., arthritis)
• Medication side effects
• Use of alcohol or caffeine
Consult a doctor
Of course, when an elder complains of lack of sleep or appears more tired than usual, it prompts a caregiver to consider a physician’s visit, which is to be expected.
A thorough exam with a complete history may show some insights as to the reasons for the poor sleep patterns. Yet, it is also likely that no one area will be identified as the cause, thus requiring a slow methodical elimination of potential causes; such as treating any chronic pain issues or reviewing and altering medications. It is also very important that solid information be obtained from the elder during this treatment period.
Tips for better sleep
There are some simple, yet effective ways to improve one’s sleep:
• Don’t eat too close to bedtime.
• Reduce the intake of alcohol and caffeine during the day and especially just prior to bedtime.
• Avoid watching TV in bed.
• Increase your exercise programs (with your doctor’s permission, of course).
• Try reading prior to bed.
• Make certain you stick to a routine, i.e., getting up and going to bed at the same time every day.
Obtaining the proper level of sleep can be difficult. All sorts of issues can invade our minds as we try to fall asleep at night. The aging process doesn’t seem to cooperate with the sleep process very well.
Follow some of the easy tips mentioned above and hopefully sleep will once again be a pleasantry that you anticipate at the end of every day.
Judson Haims is the owner of Visiting Angels Home Care in Eagle County. For more information, go to www.visitingangels.com/comtns or call 970-328-5526.
Vail Daily column: Senior fair provided great informationSeptember 23, 2013 —
This past Friday, the Eagle County Paramedic Services and Eagle County Healthy Aging held a fabulous education event at Colorado Mountain College — the Eagle County Senior Health Fair.
Now in its ninth year, the fair brought together numerous local and state agencies to focus on the health needs of older adults. A variety of screenings such as memory, vision, hearing, balance, strength, dental, vein and blood pressure were available. Added this year was an educational symposium that included a neurologist, neurosurgeon, podiatrist and physical therapist.
The fair featured a number of vendors such as health insurance counseling, budgeting/paperwork assistance, information on veterans service, hospice and homecare providers, the Avon library, Stryker Orthopedic devices, Web-based resource providers and many others.
Each year, the number of people attending the event increases as more programs are implemented and word gets out. This year, there were around 150 people in attendance. It was fabulous to see so many people access the resources and services. Moreover, it was great to see the increasing number of service providers. As the population over 65 will grow 163 percent by 2020, our need for services will increase.
Stephan Weiler, Ph.D., an economics professor and associate dean of research in at Colorado State University, supervised a recent study that said “many baby boomers ... will leave for lack of suitable care facilities — taking their retirement income with them.” The study projects an annual $43 million loss for Eagle County’s economy.
After many attendees accessed screenings, almost 70 listened to panel of doctors and a physical therapist. It was truly a unique opportunity to be educated on very complex subject matters that support healthy aging.
Neurosurgeon Dr. David Feller explained spine and neck issues in a way that all could understand. His humor eased the seriousness of the subject. He was followed by his medical partner, Dr. Claudio Feller, who educated us on chronic pain management with spine simulators and deep brain stimulation treatments for Parkinson’s. It was noteworthy that both made mention how to avoid the need for their expertise by taking heed of information provided by podiatrist Dr. Brian Maurer and physical therapist Gentian Nuzzio.
Maurer educated those in attendance about neuropathy, changes in foot shape, arthritis in the feet and ankles, and balance and gait analysis related to the risks of falls and prevention. His presentation not only explained common issues of the feet and ankles, but also provided information on steps to be taken to maintain healthy feet.
With all the feet crammed into ski and snowboard boots, running and cycling shoes, we are truly very lucky to have such a competent and personal doctor. As Feller mentioned, many spinal issues manifest from the ground up.
Nuzzio, from Axis Sports Medicine, brought the subject matters of all three doctors together. She provided valuable information regarding methods of staying healthy and active, regardless of age.
Gentian tied together the importance of balance and core strengthening to prevent spine and back injury. She provided insight as to how the physical demands from our active lives can be more demanding on our bodies than we might realize, leading to sore muscles or, worse, injuries.
As part of the “Sandwich Generation,” I welcomed the education and resources provided by the fair. The information heard will assist me with family members’ ailments of stenosis, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and balance issues.
This event was remarkable. I thank the Eagle County Paramedic Services, Eagle County Healthy Aging, Colorado Mountain College, the speaker panel and all those who helped bring this event together.
Judson Haims is the owner of Visiting Angels Home Care in Eagle County. For more information, go to www.visitingangels.com/comtns or call 970-328-5526.
Vail Daily column: Teen works to make world a better placeSeptember 22, 2013 —
Despite the plentiful array of incredible local agencies offering support to community members, it takes a sophisticated teenager to recognize the gifts she has received and to make a commitment to give back. Kathrina Guillen, Battle Mountain High School senior, has made that pledge.
When not busy scrapbooking, making jewelry or entertaining her siblings and cousins, Guillen can be found volunteering at local organizations including Bright Future Foundation, Salvation Army and Eagle River Youth Coalition. Some of her highlight events have included the Salvation Army’s food drive and holiday baskets — ensuring local families in need have a nice meal during Thanksgiving and Christmas — and the Halloween-themed Pumpkinfest in Edwards which celebrates the fall harvest with a pumpkin patch and the appropriate accoutrement. Guillen has recently signed on as a Bright Future Foundation intern and is eager to help them secure scholarship funds to continue to make a difference in the lives of local women and families.
While Guillen is encouraged that more students will get involved to make our community an even better place to live, she acknowledges her personal motivation.
“For me, community service is important, because so many organizations and people helped me when I needed it,” Kathrina said. “I’ve had a very up close and personal journey with Bright Future. They helped out my family and me when it felt like everything was falling apart and did so much to help us stand on our own two feet.”
Guillen reflects now, five years later, that she is honored to have the opportunity to be giving back to individuals who share similar stories and begin to complete the circle of giving.
Guillen encourages others to “just go out and do it” when they are considering volunteering, instead of being afraid to get involved. At the end of the day, she reminds us of Gandhi’s advice: “Be the change that you want to see in the world.”
Michelle Stecher is executive director of the Eagle River Youth Coalition, a local nonprofit organization that offers and supports collaborative prevention programs and services. The Youth Leaders Council is a program of the Eagle River Youth Coalition, a local nonprofit organization that offers collaborative prevention programs and services to tackle three main areas that affect the development of teens and adolescent youth including: substance abuse prevention, emotional wellness and mental health promotion and academic achievement. In addition to Youth Leaders Council, Eagle River Youth Coalition offers various levels of parenting education and trainings for community members. For more information, call 970-949-9250 or visit www.eagleyouth.org.
Vail Daily column: A benchmark of Colorado historySeptember 21, 2013 —
Along the Interstate 70 corridor, just before Glenwood canyon, about five miles past the town of Gypsum, there is the small, unassuming town of Dotsero. This little-known town has a very important past geologically, geographically and commercially. In order to understand why this lightly populated town of about 700 people is so very important, we have to go back in time about 4,000 years.
Compared to the Gore Range that was forming around 70 million years ago, 4,000 years is only a short time in geologic terms. If you were standing on the side of the Colorado River just before its confluence with the Eagle River about 4,000 years ago, the ground beneath you would be quivering with sounds like rolling thunder echoing through the air. You look to the north and see a huge cloud of strange white smoke. Foamy cinders spew forth from the volcanic vent, while a thick river of lava, a lahar, forms below. The lahar, moving like a thick milk shake of hot liquid lava, flows from a vent lower on the mountain across the valley floor. The cinders accumulate, forming the classic volcanic crater shape and eventually the eruption fizzles out. However dramatic this sounds, the show was not what you would expect. Called “the Barry Manilow of volcanoes” by local writer Allen Best, the eruption was probably fairly slow and lackluster compared to most volcanic eruptions.
The Dotsero Volcano is deemed a Maar volcano by geologists. Maar volcanos by are created when ground water comes into contact with hot magma under the surface of the earth. These eruptions typically form broad, shallow craters that are comprised of loose gravel like cinders. When this volcano blew up, it buried the trees around it in ash and rock. Scientists used radiocarbon dating to determine the age of the buried trees and in turn, the relative time of eruption.
Now fast forward about 3,800 years to 1865, when Dr. Ferdinand Vandeveer Hayden came gallivanting across the Rockies on direct order from the U.S. government to document and map the newly purchased territories. He spent 12 years collecting data and samples and in 1877, he published his “Geological and Geographical Atlas of Colorado,” one of the most valuable publications of the time. In order to produce such detailed accounts, he needed a place he could use as a benchmark, a “dot-zero.” This is how the town of Dotsero got its name.
Now that the expanding U.S. had a better idea of the Colorado landscape, they were ready to start entrenching infrastructure. A few years later, in 1932, railroads were tracking across the West faster than a barefoot hare on a hot tin roof, and railroads, like rivers, usually take the path of least resistance. So, it was only natural that railroads were built along rivers. There is a major confluence at the town of Dotsero where the gold medal fishing waters of the Eagle River flow into the headwaters of the mighty Colorado River.
This 40-mile section of track connected the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad to the Denver and Salt Lake Railway, giving the rapidly growing town of Denver direct access to the West Coast.
The Dotsero volcano is the youngest volcano in Colorado, provides a great view of the intersection of two major Colorado rivers and is the location of a crucial railroad connection. Today, the volcano lies dormant and quiet. The modest town of Dotsero is right off I-70 and if you would like to visit its volcanic landmark, when you get off that exit, turn right twice and wind your way up a dirt road a few miles. You will see firsthand the amazing qualities that make Dotsero a benchmark of Colorado history.
Drew Foulis, a trained Walking Mountains naturalist is a new Colorado native and has fallen in love with the Vail Valley. He spends most of his time outside, usually smelling flowers or breaking rocks.
Vail Daily column: Conservation provides river accessSeptember 18, 2013 —
Public access to our rivers and streams is a priority for our community. Our active, outdoor lifestyle in Eagle County and the central Rocky Mountains revolves as much around our waterways as it does around our mountains. The Eagle River is a hub of activity for our residents and guests, and the river serves as a prime economic driver for our local outdoor recreation and tourism-based economy. It is extremely important that we protect and preserve access to our Eagle River for people — for ourselves, our future generations and our economic well-being. But let’s not forget, we cannot talk about providing access to rivers and streams without talking about protecting the lands that surround them. Your access to your Eagle River means that we must save and conserve riverfront land and protect properties that border the river.
Several marquee conservation projects led by the Eagle Valley Land Trust, in partnership with Eagle County’s Open Space Department and local municipalities, and with the support of Vail Resorts and our philanthropic investors, have preserved important lands along the Eagle River for the benefit, education and enjoyment of our locals and guests. We are proud to protect the integrity of the Eagle River while providing public access to the river through conserved lands.
The Miller Ranch Community Open Space provides public access on 32 acres and more than one mile (that’s more than 17 football fields!) of river frontage along the Eagle River just east of Edwards on the edge of the Miller Ranch neighborhood. The Eagle River Preserve is a 72-acre open space oasis in the heart of Edwards which boasts more than a half-mile (eight football fields) of public river access for our community. And the 4-acre Boneyard property recently acquired by the town of Minturn will soon become a permanent conservation area with a quarter-mile-long (four football fields) stretch of Eagle River open for public enjoyment. Whether your passion is fly-fishing, paddleboarding, boating, rafting, kayaking, tubing, berry picking, bird watching or simply enjoying a leisurely stroll listening to the sounds of rushing water, there are some wonderful stretches of land and very special places along the Eagle River that have been protected forever to provide you with the opportunity to enjoy your river.
Another local conservation project that will provide important public access to the Eagle River is the Duck Pond recreation and conservation area. The Duck Pond property is nearly 50 acres of prime river frontage between Gypsum and Dotsero with more than two-thirds of a mile (11 football fields) of public access to the Eagle River. A conservation easement with the Land Trust is being placed on the property this fall to preserve it forever. In addition to access to the Eagle River with a boat launch and take-out, and public fishing, duck blinds and picnic areas, the county-wide EcoTrail bike path will also travel through the property.
We are very excited about an upcoming large-scale volunteer restoration project at the Duck Pond Conservation Area being held this Saturday. Due to the generosity of Vail Resorts and its employees, the annual Vail Resorts Echo Day will be hosted at Duck Pond. Registration begins on Saturday at 8 a.m., with numerous volunteer projects beginning at 9 a.m. Vail Resorts Echo Day is a companywide volunteer day hosted by Vail Resorts, which provides important man-power to fuel positive environmental impact in the community. More than 300 Vail Resorts employees, families and friends will converge on the land to provide much-needed cleanup and restoration at this newest location for public access along the Eagle River. We hope you will consider joining us for VR Echo Day this Saturday!
The Land Trust and our conservation partners are excited about our positive and successful work to save the natural spaces and special places that provide public access to our rivers, creeks and streams. We are especially proud to preserve and protect lands along our Eagle River for the benefit of the people of our community. Your local Land Trust will continue to work tirelessly to save land adjacent to and near the Eagle River and other important local waterways so the residents and guests of Eagle County will always have access to their rivers, forever.
Jason Denhart is the director of communications and development for the Eagle Valley Land Trust. By using conservation easements to protect and save our land, the Trust preserves scenic views, precious landscapes, historic lands, open spaces, waterways and wildlife habitats for the benefit of the people of our community. Learn more at www.evlt.org.
Vail Daily column: Health fair provides info for seniorsSeptember 18, 2013 —
Axis Sports Medicine is a proud supporter of this year’s Eagle County Senior Health Expo and Fair on Friday from 8 to 11 a.m. at Colorado Mountain College in Edwards. The expo includes a keynote presentation by a panel of local health care providers, as well as more than 20 booths providing information on healthy aging tips and senior services. Axis Sports Medicine physical therapist Gentian Nuzzo will be presenting on the topic of “Staying Healthy and Active.”
Physical activity and mobility are an important component in maintaining an optimal quality of life. Physical therapists are trained in a variety of sciences (kinesiology, human anatomy and physics to name a few) to understand how the body works, how the body moves, and thus how to restore and maximize mobility. Normal day-to-day activities from swinging a golf club to cleaning up the kitchen may seem harmless, but even these activities place a considerable amount of stress through the joints and muscles and thus can result in pain or injury. Whether you are recovering from a sports injury, fall or stroke, or perhaps living with balance difficulties, daily aches and pains, or chronic conditions such as diabetes, a physical therapist is a trusted health care professional and an excellent resource to get you moving and keep you moving.
According to the National Council of Aging, about one in three seniors older than 65, and one in two seniors older than 80, will experience a fall at least once this year. Many times these falls result in significant decline in health, mobility and independence. Surprisingly, every 15 seconds an older adult is treated in an emergency department for a fall-related injury. The first step in the National Council of Aging’s “Take Control of Your Health: 6 Steps to Prevent a Fall” is to find a good balance and exercise program to build balance, strength and flexibility. To learn more about keeping yourself safe and healthy, please join Nuzzo at the Eagle County Senior Health Expo and Fair as she discusses the whys and hows of staying active throughout a lifetime, or visit our booth at the Senior Health Expo and Fair with any questions, comments or concerns. Another great option to receive a full evaluation from one of our exceptional therapists is to visit one of our clinics.
Axis Sports Medicine is a local therapist owned and operated rehabilitation company with seven locations in Eagle and Summit counties. Axis Sports Medicine has earned a reputation for providing an energized and progressive environment for therapists and patients. Axis is devoted to patient care, community outreach and collaborating with physicians and hospital partners. Our knowledgeable and dedicated team strives to help patients achieve their goals in a positive and supportive environment. From racing down the slopes to lifting a grandchild, we are here to help you get back in the game of life!
Thank you to Eagle County Paramedic Services and Eagle County Healthy Aging Program for organizing this wonderful community event. With Falls Prevention Awareness Day quickly approaching on Sunday, be safe, have fun and keep moving!
Mary Hughes is a physical therapist with Axis Sports Medicine in Edwards.
Vail Daily column: Falls a leading cause of injury for seniorsSeptember 16, 2013 —
Falls remain the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injury for older people. In 2009, more than 20,000 older Americans died from injuries related to falls. (National Council on Aging). Did you know Eagle County Public Health offers many fabulous and fun opportunities to help you work on balance and keep yourself strong and agile? The Healthy Aging program is dedicated to serving the over 60 population with a variety of programs that help maintain independence and health.
The Well and Wise Program is a project of Eagle County Public Health and is a collaboration between Eagle, Garfield and Pitkin counties and the Consortium for Older Adult Wellness and is supported through a grant from the Colorado Health Foundation. Through the partnership with the Consortium for Older Adult Wellness, 20 instructors have been trained to bring evidence-based chronic disease management and fall prevention classes to adults 55 and older. Fall prevention classes that will be regularly available are Matter of Balance, N’ Balance, and Tai Chi for Health.
Another component of this program is chronic disease management. Through a class called Healthier Living Colorado, participants learn how to take charge of chronic conditions and work in conjunction with their doctors to create a team approach. Classes will be offered in a variety of community settings, such as senior centers, rec centers, churches, CMC campuses and more.
The Golden Eagle Senior Center has a variety of classes to offer older adults. Classes are available for people of all abilities and can be tailored to fit the individual. Classes include a full body exercise class, held on Monday and Wednesday at 9 a.m., Tai Chi for Health on Tuesdays at 10 a.m., a seated exercise class on Tuesdays at 11 a.m., and Strong People progressive weight training on Thursdays at 10:45 a.m. Call 970-328-8896 to learn more!
The Eagle County Healthy Aging Program offers programming out of the Maloit Park Senior Wellness Center, located in the Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy. Current classes are: Gentle Yoga at 11 a.m. on Wednesdays, Nordic Walking at 10 a.m. on Wednesdays and Strong People progressive weight-training at 10 a.m. on Fridays. Call 970-328-8831 to learn more!
The program holds bi-weekly exercise classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the El Jebel Community Annex Building in El Jebel. Stretching is Tuesday and Thursday from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. and aerobics is Tuesday and Thursdays from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Tai Chi for Health begins a new eight-week series on Oct. 4. The N’ Balance classes begin in October with the dates to be announced. Call 970-985-8896 to learn more.
Vail Daily column: Vail Resorts purchase aids 4-H programsSeptember 14, 2013 —
Editor’s note: This column, submitted by Vail Resorts, showcases the nonprofits that the company supports through its Vail Resorts Echo program.
The culmination of nearly a year’s worth of hard work, determination and fortitude by 4-H members was seen at the Eagle County Fair Junior Livestock Auction on July 27. Members of 4-H have been feeding, grooming and exercising over 90 animals during the past year — and beyond. Grand champion steer winner Bryce Ettles started working on her project prior to it even being born in February 2012.
“I have been working on my breeding program for three years and it finally paid off, as I was able to win with a calf we raised on our ranch,” Ettles said. “It makes it that much more special to win!”
All animals sold at the auction are carefully raised with the consumer in mind, checking in at the ideal weight with a large amount of muscling and a sound structure. Buyers came from all corners of the state to bid on the quality livestock.
“It is awesome that we have a community of buyers that come and support us every year,” Ettles said. “We are very thankful to donors like Vail Resorts Echo. The money we get is used to fund future projects and savings for college.”
With rich history and an expansive network reaching every corner of the country, 4-H is the nation’s largest youth development organization. Eagle County has more than 200 4-H members alone, and these youth are truly making a difference. The 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development recently conducted by Tufts University found that youth engaged with 4-H are:
• Nearly two times more likely to earn better grades in school.
• Nearly two times more likely to plan to go to college.
• 41 percent less likely to engage in risky behaviors.
• 25 percent more likely to positively contribute to their families and communities.
Hats are off to the amazing supporters, contributors and volunteers that make the 4-H program possible in Eagle County. To learn more about 4-H, visit www.eagle county.us/CSU/, “like” us on Facebook or call 970-328-8630.
Jenny Wood helps run Eagle County 4-H. Through Vail Resorts Echo, Vail Resorts hopes to connect its communities to its efforts — from on the ground conservation programs to grants for local schools. Aimed at both protecting the natural resources that surround the resorts and helping build stronger communities where its employees live and work, Vail Resorts Echo encompasses three core efforts: environmental stewardship, charitable giving and community engagement. Learn more at www.vailresortsecho.com.
Vail Daily column: On the hunt for nature’s majestySeptember 14, 2013 —
The forest is almost silent as the first rays of the morning sun stretch slowly into the trees. Flecks of dust dance delicately through the air, reflecting prisms of light in every direction. The lone hunter takes a step, snapping a stick in the process. The sound reverberates and he stops, scanning the forest around him for a sign that he has been discovered. He hears nothing. Then, a sound pierces the air, and he smiles. The sound is shrill, loud and long, with an eerie haunting quality to it. It starts as a deep, resonant call, and then the bugle turns into a high-pitched squeal before ending with a collection of snorts and grunts. The call evokes a sense of the sacred, wildness of the place, and the hunter feels a tangible thread of the primal connection between the hunter and the hunted.
The hunter continues his trek, walking quietly in the growing daylight. He can hear the big bull up ahead, bugling again and again as he announces his dominance. With his loud calls, the bull is announcing his fitness and strength, both to any nearby males and to the groups of female elk, or cows. The bugle also serves as a challenge to any nearby males who might think themselves ready to mate. Only the fittest bulls will get the chance to mate, and a strong bugle is the first step in demonstrating their prowess.
The hunter continues closer and spots a small “satellite bull,” so named because they hover about on the fringes of the herd, waiting for a chance to mate. This hunter, though, is after bigger game. Only the trophy elk will do, and he begins skirting the hillside, making sure to stay downwind so as not to alarm the satellite bull and send the herd running. These satellite bulls can usually only watch in frustration as the more dominant bulls round up their harem and prepare to mate. The cows are looking for bulls that are in prime physical condition, usually between 6 and 8 years of age and sporting a big rack of antlers, and only the best specimens will do.
The hunter moves even more slowly now, as the daylight grows. Circling downwind of the herd, he watches as the bull elk begins herding cows, calves and yearlings to form his harem. The male must continue to demonstrate his dominance and fitness, and elk do this in various ways. Big bulls commonly roll about in mud wallows, spreading their scent evenly on their body and making themselves look even more daunting, along with continued bugling and other demonstrations of strength.
Another bugle pierces the air and the hunter freezes. The satellite bull’s head is raised and he is closer to the herd, issuing his challenge that echoes in the morning stillness.
The dominant elk answers, bugling back with a call that is longer and louder than the previous ones. The satellite bull steps forward, stomping his feet and grunting as steam spurts out from his flared nostrils. The two bulls run toward one another, then one turns abruptly and they march side by side in a convoluted sort of dance. The dominant bull thrashes the ground with his antlers, and the satellite bull follows suit, showing off the strength and size of his own rack. For a moment, it seems like there will be a fight as the two bulls stare each other down. Then suddenly, the smaller bull wheels around, snorting as he trots back to the outskirts of the group, seemingly content to wait at least another year before continuing his challenge for the right to mate.
Hunter captures prey
The drama over, the hunter continues his stealthy march. His feet are wet and cold, and his shoulders ache from the heavy gear he carries, but he doesn’t feel any of these sensations. He’s almost close enough now, 150 yards, 100 yards, as he closes the gap. He can smell the elk’s musky scent now, and he quietly kneels down under the cover of a small shrub. Bringing the scope to his eye, he prepares to capture his prey, taking a deep breath and aiming carefully.
Click. The deed has been done. The hunter leaves quietly, so as not to disturb the rutting elk, taking home his prize — the trophy photograph of the majestic bull elk with his breath glinting in the morning sunlight. As the hunter descends back into the valley, he takes with him the beautiful photograph and sweet memories, and he leaves behind the elk who continue on their ancient ritual that ensures there will always be elk to hunt.
Jaymee Squires is the director of graduate studies at Walking Mountains Science Center. Jaymee enjoys all aspects of the fall, although she has yet to try her hand at elk hunting.
Some lesser-known feline parasitesSeptember 12, 2013 —
Dorland’s Medical Dictionary defines a parasite as “a plant or animal that lives upon or within another living organism at whose expense it obtains some advantage.” Insert your white collar professional joke here! We all know about the “big three” parasites that infect our kitties: hookworms, roundworms and tapeworms, but, believe it or not all, parasites are not worms. Organisms such as hemobartonella, coccidia, giardia and even heartworms are all lesser known parasites that deserve some attention.
Feline hemobartonellosis, referred to as “hemobart” as the common name (thank goodness), is also known as feline infectious anemia (FIA) and is an important cat disease. It is a rickettsial organism, which means it’s kind of in between a bacteria and a virus. It has been around since 1942, but much about it still remains a mystery. It can be a primary disease itself or a secondary invader riding in on the coattails of such famous diseases as feline leukemia, AIDS viruses and autoimmune diseases.
Hemobart causes a wide range of clinical signs but most of the damage comes from the destruction of red blood cells and anemia. We call these severely anemic cats “Kool-Aid cats” because their thin blood resembles the fruity drink and not the viscous life-sustaining stuff we call blood. Any such cat is automatically a suspect for Hemobart.
Hemobart is transmitted in one of three postulated ways (again we are not positive): 1) Through arthropods like fleas and ticks; 2) Through cat bites in which blood is involved; and 3) From mother to offspring.
Treatment is not a complex thing. First we provide supportive care, including rehydration and blood transfusions, if needed. Then antibiotics like doxycycline or oxy/tetracycline are used. Most veterinarians also use corticosteroids, although the timing as to their administration is controversial. We use it right away if the infection is deemed life threatening. Hemobart can be treated, but often cats remain carriers.
Giardia is a protozoal organism found in the intestinal tract of cats; most often it affects young cats. This suggests an acquired immunity as cats age. The transmission of giardia is fecal-oral thus it is more of a problem in areas where cats are congregated. Some species of giardia are thought to be transmittable to people (i.e. zoonotic), but the jury is still out.
Not all cats with the parasite show clinical symptoms. Diarrhea is the most common, with the feces having a characteristic look and smell. The diarrhea can cause dehydration and weight loss, but rarely causes death. Giardia is diagnosed by seeing the parasite on a fecal smear or by an enzymatic test performed on the feces.
Metronidazole or flagyl is our drug of first choice; panacur or fenbendazole given for five consecutive days will also work. These drugs kill the active form of giardia, the trophozoites, but may not eliminate the dormant state or cysts, so reoccurrences can occur.
Coccidiosis is another common intestinal protozoal disease. It is caused by organisms in the isospora (most common), toxoplasma, sarcocyctis or cryptosporidim genus. Isospora is the most common.
Coccidia has an interesting life cycle, most of what you need to know is that it is a fecal-oral transmission; however mice, cattle, sheep and other herbivores act as an intermediate host. Cryptosporidium can be transmitted to man and immunocompromised people are at greatest risk.
Some researchers say coccidian is a self-limiting disease, but I don’t know any vets who don’t treat it. Clinical signs include diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain. The disease is easily treated with sulfonamide type antibiotics.
I hope you all have learned a little about some different parasites of cats. You should now all be able to ace your next biology exam.
Stephen Sheldon, DVM, practices at Gypsum Animal Hospital. He can be reached by calling 970-524-3647 or by visiting the hospital website at www.gypsumah.com. He can also be heard Monday mornings at 8 a.m. on KZYR radio, 97.7 FM, discussing pet topics.
Vail Daily column: Ramping up to the big racesSeptember 12, 2013 —
Welcome to the first installment of a regular update on the 2015 World Championships here in the Vail Daily. We have decided to call this column “In the Gate” as that is precisely where our community is, just under a year and a half away from welcoming the world back to our home for the third time, Feb. 2-15, 2015.
Many of you will remember the 1989 and 1999 World Championships, but we also are fortunate to have a large number of “first-timers” throughout our valley that have never experienced the thrill and excitement of an event like the Championships. This column is intended to not only provide you with updates, but also to give you a behind the scenes look at how a community prepares to host the world.
So what exactly are the World Championships? Well, the Championships represent the largest and most impressive collection of ski racing talent in the world, second only to the Olympics. The best way to think about their scope and scale is to take all the alpine events from the upcoming 2014 Sochi Olympics and put them in Vail and Beaver Creek.
The Alpine Championships will feature more than 700 athletes from over 70 nations; 1,800 members of the print, photo and broadcast media; 2,500 volunteers; large international and domestic sponsors; more than 70 countries carrying the television feed and nearly 750 million viewers worldwide during the course of the two weeks of the Championships.
Including 2015, the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships have only visited North America on four occasions, all four being hosted in Colorado, with Aspen in 1950 and Vail/Beaver Creek in 1989, 1999 and now 2015. In addition, Vail’s sister city of St. Moritz, Switzerland is the only other site that has hosted three World Championships, with their fourth on tap for 2017.
Which brings us to today. With 16 months to go, all 21 sub-committees of the main Organizing Committee are actively working on a myriad of plans and projects that will dovetail together to comprise the 2015 World Championships. We are still ahead of the benchmarks set by the FIS in many areas, with major pieces of the overall puzzle to initially be put in place this coming winter with our November-December World Cup ladies’ and men’s events and the debut of Raptor, the new ladies’ speed course, in Beaver Creek.
These upcoming World Cup events represent valuable opportunities to not only introduce Beaver Creek’s newest gem to the world, but also to test some of the things we are planning for 2015. Some of the areas will include new transportation options, ceremonies and media operations, with construction of the new Talons Restaurant in the finish area progressing well and on schedule.
Our ramp up to racing and a new course goes hand in hand with the kickoff of our volunteer recruitment Thursday night. By the time 2015 rolls around, we estimate that we will have recruited, trained and uniformed some 2,500 members of Team 2015, each and every one of them playing a key role in the delivery of a stellar event.
The other essential race-related component will be to finalize the layout of the Beaver Creek finish area, which will play host to the Main Stadium, the Primary Media Center, the International Broadcast Center and various hospitality and operational structures.
But the 2015 Championships will be about much more than ski racing. There will be parties, concerts, ceremonies, demonstrations and exhibitions, featuring World Championship-caliber entertainers, artists, athletes and celebrities.
I hope you’ll enjoy these “In the Gate” columns and that you will find your own way to become involved with the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Vail and Beaver Creek. Dream It. Live It. Share It.
Ceil Folz is president of the Vail Valley Foundation, and president of the 2015 World Championships Organizing Committee. The 2015 World Championships are scheduled from Feb. 2-15, 2015.
Biff America: Barking at childrenSeptember 12, 2013 —
Those two kids said a total of eight words to me. Despite that, I had a fairly good idea of their upbringing, likelihood of future success and even their social life when they reach dating age.
My mate accuses me of scaring children. She says I am too abrupt, harsh and forbidding in my interaction with the little yard-apes. Perhaps she is right.
I was the youngest of six and was raised in a home where being tough and acting old beyond your years was admired; there was no baby talk in our home. I speak to children as I would speak to adults. I remember loving it when, as a child, the same was done to me.
Well-mannered noes miners
I was on a mountain bike ride and had stopped to take off my jacket when those two kids (maybe age 7 and 10) approached. They came around the corner fairly fast, both were sporting well-worn bike clothing and on decent steeds. They didn’t need to brake as I was off the trail, but I think I surprised them as much as they did me.
The track then steepened, causing them to pass slowly. I spoke to them as I would have to anyone.
“Hey wassup, how you guys doing?” I said just as the first of them passed. Now granted, I might have barked out that greeting, but that is the way I speak.
The first child, the older of the two, flinched a little, but regained his composure and replied, “Fine, thank you,” and kept riding. As the younger one passed, he looked over, made eye contact and added, “Fine, thank you.”
Now granted, this is a massive assumption, but my first thought was what a couple of well-mannered little nose miners. Just to test if it was a fluke or not, when they were a few feet past me I added, “Have fun, go fast, take chances.” The youngest said over his shoulder, “Thanks. You, too.”
Good manners are important
Now obviously, I had no way of knowing if these two were future Nobel Prize winners or ax murderers, but I would say the former was more likely. The reason being is that in life, intelligence, education and genetics are worthless without good manners and communication skills.
I was the least remarkable of all my siblings. I can honestly say contained in my five brothers and sisters are some of the most intelligent, compassionate and entertaining people I have ever met.
And though I could never match them in those qualities, all of us were taught (force fed) good manners by our parents. We were taught to speak when spoken to, look grown-ups in the eye, speak not mumble and be respectful to adults and figures of authority.
Now to be honest, those skills didn’t prevent any of us, me in particular, from getting in trouble with those same authority figures and even the legal system. But it did go a long way of lessening the ire of the teachers, coaches and cops who were busting me.
Preparing for the future
But more importantly, being taught manners and having the confidence to communicate goes a long way to allow children, teens and young adults the ability to assimilate and associate with those people who are both in and above their social, economic and intellectual standings. That, and it is great skills to have when ingratiating yourself with those of the opposite sex.
My opinions on child rearing are not corrupted by any actual experience, but I would guess it is fairly easy to teach children manners and social skills, you simply teach them by cause and effect, repetition and most importantly, by example.
I gave those kids a few minutes to get ahead, I didn’t want to crowd them. I knew the trail widened up ahead where, if needed, I could pass. About 10 minutes later I came up over a rise and saw the younger kid lying on the trail. It was in a short, steep off camber section and he obviously lost traction and slid out. He wasn’t hurt, only a little tangled.
He got up as I approached, “You OK dude?” I asked. “Yes,” he said.
An old friend’s children
Over my shoulder I heard, “Tell Jeffrey thanks for asking.” I looked back and right behind me was my old friend Cathy; I had no idea her two boys had grown up; I remembered them as infants.
Then it all made sense. Those two kids had good parents, polite parents; parents who took the time to not only love and nourish their kids, but also to school them to be respectful children on their way to being respectful and well-spoken adults — skills that the children will use for life.
The likelihood that I will become a parent is about the same as me getting abducted by aliens. If I did have children, I would try to teach them three skills that my parents taught me: manners, communication skills and to slow down to allow old dudes to pass.
Jeffrey Bergeron, under the alias of Biff America, can be seen on TV-8-Summit and read in several newspapers and magazines. He can be reached at email@example.com.
AskColorado is a 24/7 resource from the librariesSeptember 11, 2013 —
Want to know what causes migraines? Curious about songs written by Frazier Dallas? Desperate to finish that paper about Hamlet? AskColorado!
Did you know that through a virtual reference service called AskColorado, you can Ask a librarian a question any hour of the day? Ask is a free online information service provided by many public and academic libraries throughout the state. It is staffed by information experts 24/7, and is free to any Colorado resident with a library card from a participating library.
Eagle Valley Library District is a participant, so if you have an EVLD library card, you qualify for this great service. If you have a burning question at 2 a.m., log onto evld.org, and look for the AskColorado logo in the lower right hand corner of our homepage. Click on it, fill out the pop up box, and Ask away.
EVLD tries to be open at times when people most need to use the public library, yet there are those times when people can’t get there, or they need information and the libraries are closed. This service allows you to go online and get that help – any time of the day or night.
After you type in your question, you will receive an instant response from a staffing librarian, or at the very least, a follow-up email within 24 hours. Usually questions are answered immediately, or assistance is given to help find the specific information.
During the school year, students of all ages (elementary through college) use this service for research help. Classroom teachers have also directed their students to AskColorado, which can prove helpful in teaching youngsters online research skills. Often the librarian will “push” a website link to a student who has asked a question.
AskColorado is a great example of how Colorado libraries work together to provide reference service. By pooling many library resources together, 24/7 reference service can be very cost effective. Also, with all the different libraries involved, there is a wealth of collective expertise and knowledge available beyond what a single library may be able to offer. Colorado is one of few states in the country to offer this statewide virtual reference service.
AskColorado is one of many services coordinated by the Colorado State Library, and is celebrating its 10-year anniversary. Ask’s official birthday was Sept. 2, and in its first decade it fielded over 370,000 questions by customers, according to Kris Johnson, Ask Operations Manager at the State Library’s Department of Education.
AskColorado is also associated with AskAcademic, a research queue fielded by college and academic libraries. Member libraries donate money and staff time towards this online service.
For more information on AskColorado, visit its website at www.AskColorado.org.
Vail Daily column: The human side of lawSeptember 10, 2013 —
The nonfiction I am currently reading is titled “Confessions of a Sociopath.” The pseudonym is M.E. Thomas. The book, as you might have divined from the title is about living as a sociopath and what the view is like from inside looking out. That the author chose the pseudonym initials, “M.E.” says a lot about the book. You see, while the author details the typical characteristics of what defines a sociopath — including impulsiveness, risk-taking, the inability to learn from past mistakes, lack of empathy and so on — what it all comes down to, in the inner world of the sociopath, is “me ahead of you,” always and in all circumstances, without fail. In other words, “me first and you don’t really count.”
The book is fascinating in its way.
I should mention up front that, despite our presumption that, as a sociopath, the author must have penned the tome from Super Max or some such, the subtitle of the book speaks to the contrary. Its subtitle is “A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight”. Life aliens among us, the author claims that rather than a black-or-white phenomenon — either you are a sociopath or not — there are shades of gray and many — if not most sociopaths — rather than being criminals, are, in fact quite the opposite. The author postulates, in fact, that perhaps a disproportion of sociopaths rise to the top in business, medicine and law.
The author claims to be a lawyer and spouts off how well suited the characteristics of a sociopath are to industry, medicine (surgery, specifically), and law (particularly litigation). She claims a certain ruthlessness, detachment, win-at-all-costs attitude and black hole where empathy should live give the sociopathic practitioner a certain competitive advantage. She argues strongly that, in at least some areas of law, a sociopath will serve your interests better than what she calls an “empath.”
Noting that grandiosity is among the hallmarks of a sociopath, I respectfully disagree with the self-impressed author. Instead, I think the opposite is true. Rather than Frank Baum’s Tin Man in your corner — who, if you’ll think back, didn’t have a heart — I, for one, will take my chances with a lawyer who just plain cares.
Sociopath — or antisocial personality disorder — may be defined as 10 key characteristics. These include: not learning from experience, lacking a sense of responsibility, inability to form meaningful relationships, inability to control impulses, lack of moral sense, chronically antisocial behavior, failure to change in behavior after punishment, emotional immaturity, lack of guilt or remorse and extreme self-centeredness.
Sociopaths often exhibit criminal behavior. They may not work and, if they do work, they may be frequently absent or may suddenly quit. They do not consider other people’s wishes, welfare or rights. They can be extraordinarily manipulative and often lie to gain personal pleasure or profit. They may default on loans, fail to provide child support or fail to care for their dependents adequately. Sociopaths are known to engage in high-risk sexual behavior and substance abuse is common. Impulsiveness, failure to plan ahead, aggressiveness, irritability, irresponsibility and a reckless disregard for their own safety and the safety of others are traits of the antisocial personality.
Ah … no. I’ll take an Atticus Finch in the courtroom over Svengali.
The rules of professional conduct, by which all lawyers in this state are bound, provides that a lawyer’s first duty is to his or her client. Client over self, it seems to me, is the very antithesis of “me first and Katy bar the door!” A careful reading of the rules makes it clear that empathy with and consideration to the client are a lawyer’s highest responsibilities and goals. What’s more, a lawyer must act ethically, honestly, and honorably in dealings the court, opposing counsel and third parties. Law is — whether you subscribe to it or not — a profession steeped in honor, courtesy and doing right.
While it is true that a lawyer must zealously promote his client’s interests, such duty does not abrogate his duty to “do right.” A lawyer can’t simply make stuff up, lie, cheat and steal. There is a broad and deep gulf between advocacy, conniving and dissembling.
I was recently preparing a client for her deposition. I advised her that the deposition would likely be uncomfortable. Opposing counsel had a duty to his client to poke and prod a bit and, perhaps to probe about where nerves were raw. But I assured her, after nearly 30 years of practice that opposing counsel would be gentlemanly in his inquiry and he would not range beyond the bounds of decency. If perhaps he did, I assured her, I would “protect” her from any such assault. I compared the coming deposition to the annual physical with her doctor. While a bit uncomfortable and overly intimate, there was nothing personal about it.
When people come to see a lawyer, they often are in distress; often deeply so: a marriage has failed, a business deal has soured, a dream has shattered, he or she is being sued, or the possibility of criminal sanction looms like an ax blade overhead. While you certainly want — and have the right — to have a lawyer who is forceful and committed to your cause, you also — and most certainly — want one who understands and can empathize with the human toll your circumstances are exacting.
A lawyer who is out for “me first” and “you second, if at all” is, in my opinion, one whose door you should walk past briskly. You want one who knows the law, knows how the law may be exercised in your favor, one who cares about both you and the outcome, and understands the very human nature of what brought you to her door.
We are, after all, attorneys and “counselors” at law.
The best attorneys are those who are diligent, prepared and truly care. If there are sociopaths among us, their charm should not be mistaken as good lawyering. Part of being a truly good lawyer includes caring about both the person and the outcome.
Rohn K. Robbins is an attorney licensed before the bars of Colorado and California who practices in the Vail Valley with the law firm of Stevens, Littman, Biddision, Tharp and Weinberg LLC. His practice areas include business and commercial transactions, real estate and development, family law, custody, divorce and civil litigation. He may be heard on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. on KZYR radio (97.7 FM) and seen on ECOTV 18 as host of “Community Focus.” Robbins may be reached at 970-926-4461 and at either of his email addresses, firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Vail Daily column: Sad fact of lifeSeptember 9, 2013 —
People die. This is a fact of life, a sad fact, but nonetheless a fact of life. Yet, as certain as we are that death will be part of our life sometime in the future, we never seem to be prepared for this loss. There is no easy answer for coping with the loss of a loved one. According to the USAA Educational Foundation, your ability to cope with the loss of a loved is based on several factors, including:
• Your personality and coping skills.
• Your cultural and religious background.
• The individual you have lost.
• How the loss affects you.
• How much support you have.
The primary thing to remember is that recovering from a loss of a loved one is a process that takes time. Some may find it easier to move on with their lives, while others may find it more difficult.
For most of us, the loss of a loved one results in two forms of grief: anticipatory or complicated. Anticipatory grief results when you are waiting for someone to die after a long illness, whereas complicated grief results when the loss is sudden, as in a suicide or auto accident.
Grief can manifest itself in many forms, such as anger, fear, loneliness, mood swings, insomnia, loss of memory and even physical issues (such as hair loss). Many people seek the assistance of trained counselors, clergy or support groups to help cope with their loss.
Each of us deals differently with loss, but rest assured, we all must deal with it. We need to give it the appropriate amount of time to recover and keep our expectations for recovery reasonable.
The article “When a Loved One Dies: Coping with Grief,” by the USAA Foundation, points out the following four steps of recovery:
1. Maintain healthy routines. Get plenty of sleep, don’t attempt to reduce the pain of your loss by using drugs or alcohol, exercise regularly (every day if possible) and eat well.
2. Maintain Recognize emotional needs. Talk about your feelings with someone and write a journal about your emotions. Do things you enjoy. Begin to plan your life, not just react to it.
3. Accept Accept help. Let folks know you would enjoy a homemade meal occasionally. Accept offers for car pooling or child care. Allow others to take you to doctor’s appointments and sit with you while you talk about your feelings. Accept the fact that others want to help you, just as you would want to help others in need.
4. Move Move forward. Find the way back to “normal.” Allow yourself to help others in need and realize that you will get past this initial grief and move forward with your life.
Once you understand what to expect when a loss occurs in your life, you will be better equipped to handle the grief that follows. It may not reduce the time it takes you to work your way through your grief, but it will allow you to make more sense of the entire process.
On Sept. 20 the Eagle County Paramedic Service, Eagle County Human Health and Colorado Mountain College will be holding the ninth annual Senior Health Fair at the Colorado Mountain College location in Edwards. This year, there will be a panel of specialists speaking. Topics include:
• Conservative low back pain management and prevention.
• Chronic pain management with spine stimulators and DBS treatments for Parkinson’s and essential tremor.
• Balance and subjects related to podiatry.
• Physical therapy and techniques that lend to greater strength and stability.
This will be a fantastic opportunity to learn, ask questions, and find resources.
Judson Haims is the owner of Visiting Angels Home Care in Eagle County. For more information, go to www.visitingangels.com/comtns or call 970-328-5526.
Living with Vitality column: Stay committed by knowing what drives youSeptember 9, 2013 —
Often times when we hear the word “commitment,” we think of commitment to other people. By being committed, you’re making a promise to someone or something outside yourself. Committing to a relationship, for example, or a scheduled event.
In keeping the commitment, you show others they can rely on you and that you can be trusted. In breaking the commitment, your actions encourage doubt, and human nature is such that we begin to question reliability, even at the slightest disappointment.
But the real question is why does it create so much suffering when we stray?
Breaking promises to yourself
One of the biggest disappointments we experience in life is when we don’t do what we say we’re going to do — especially when it comes to our health. Whether it be sticking to a healthy eating program or creating time in our schedules for self-care, there is a unique set of let-downs when we compromise our physical, mental and emotional well-being.
Here’s why. When you break a personal agreement with yourself, you sever the internal thread that binds you to personal integrity. To break with your own integrity means breaking with the essential part of you that knows abundance, prosperity, connection, love, joy and accomplishment.
Without that connection, you move through life in self-doubt, blame and possibly anger. These are all challenges that come up when you feel you’re not getting what you want.
Taking care of yourself
When you stay committed and keep agreements with yourself and others, your life changes. Even by committing to a simple daily health habit, like eating breakfast, drinking water or eating more produce, you naturally tap into the flow of personal choice that leads you to greater actions. How you show up in the world will also help you attract commitment-oriented people, whether a coach, partner or friends. You’ll have a new radar for those who also like to stay committed.
The following is an exercise that will start to build your commitment muscle:
1. Write something down that you’re committed to. This can be a goal that’s already in motion or something you’ve just created (example: I’m committed to losing 20 pounds.).
2. Write down what you see as the result of that commitment. It can be a singular result or a list of 2-3 things. If you list too many, that gets overwhelming, and your list becomes the obstacle to your success. (Example: When I lose 20 pounds, I will feel more confident and I’ll set a great example for my children).
3. Finally, write down what the results will bring forth in your life and the lives of others. These can be many, and think big. (Example: When I feel more confident, I’ll want to complete that triathlon that I’ve been talking about, and I’ll be on the road to health so that I can be around for my grandchildren).
Do you see how this exercise takes you beyond the 20 pounds and into a bigger payoff that touches people’s lives? Once you go through this exercise, you’ll find that staying committed to your health routine becomes more about what drives you with passion and excitement.
Don’t commit to everything
Here’s another lesson. It’s okay not to commit to everything. In fact, it’s best to discern which things are worthy of your commitment. If you decide not to commit, then you can say with integrity, “no thank you.” The moment you say “yes,” the stamp of integrity is in place. This can be useful once you feel the need to break the commitment. When this happens, and it will, refer back to the exercise above and remember the bigger purpose.
Julie Hammerstein is a certified nutritionist and one of the country’s leading health and weight-loss experts. She is a sought after coach and speaker, author of “Fat is Not a Four-Letter Word” and director of The Source for Weight Loss. She is also the expert nutritionist on The Colorado Everyday Show. To learn more about Hammerstein and her programs, visit www.juliehammerstein.com.
Your Inner Athlete column: Why kid’s are turning their backs on sportsSeptember 9, 2013 —
The Vail Valley isn’t the only part of the country experiencing high rates of youth sport dropout. Seventy-five percent of kids who play organized sport stop participating before high school. It’s happening in small towns and big cities all across America. So why is this happening and how can we turn this around?
First, it’s important to recognize why kids drop out of sports. Whether it’s baseball, soccer, football, or individual sports like skiing, running, golf, or cycling, some kids find their skill levels have plateaued. Some find that sport is not as much fun as it used to be. Some become interested in other things. These are all fine reasons for not being involved in sports.
What is unfortunate is when promising young athletes drop out of sport because the pressure to perform is overwhelming. Regardless of whether this pressure comes from parents, coaches, or the athletes themselves, through proper support, parents can reduce the harmful effects of pressure by providing opportunities for their children to grow, develop, and achieve maximum fulfillment and long-lasting sport enjoyment.
To be the best sport parent for your children, here are five support strategies you can implement now:
Support strategy No. 1 - Listen more than you speak. When your children are ready to talk, be all ears. When you do speak, focus on being encouraging and positive. Tell your children that you loved watching them play. Also, do your best to learn the basic rules, skills, and strategies of your kids’ sports. With sport specific knowledge, you’ll be better able to engage in encouraging conversation that has nothing to do with winning and losing.
Support strategy No. 2 - Athletes first, winning second. Winning will always be a central and innate focus in sports. To optimize your children’s athletic potential and prolong their sport participation, balance winning and the desire to beat others with additional measures of success including self-improvement, maximum effort and dedication, task mastery, and enjoying sports for its own sake.
Support strategy No. 3 – Ensure your children are properly prepared. As a doctor of sport psychology in Vail, my role is to mentally prepare my young athletes for practice and competition. You too can help your children prepare by teaching them to take proper care of their equipment, eat nutritional foods, get enough sleep, and arrive on-site on time.
Support strategy No. 4 – Develop a positive relationship with the coach. When your children believe you trust the coach, the coach-athlete relationship grows stronger, ultimately leading to a more enjoyable and productive sport experience. Avoid undermining and second-guessing the coach by talking about team strategy and other team players, especially in front of your children. What is perfectly acceptable to discuss is mental and physical treatment of your children, their behavior on the team, as well as seeking advice on how to help your children improve.
Support strategy No. 5 – Let your children live their athletic dream. Too often, parents’ goals for their children trump their children’s goals, causing unintended but unhealthy pressure to perform. Each year, ask your children what they want to achieve in sports. With new experiences, comes new goals and it is important to understand your children’s reasons for participating in sports so that you can support those initiatives and contribute to the best sporting experience your children could have.
With a Ph.D. in sport and exercise psychology, Haley Perlus is a professor, three-time author, international speaker, and Peak Performance consultant. For more free tips and videos go to www.Dr.HaleyPerlus.com or call 303-459-4516.
Vail Daily column: Like gum on the bottom of your shoeSeptember 4, 2013 —
I would venture to guess that at one time or another, all of us have either stepped on a piece of gum or if we haven’t been so unfortunate yet will certainly step on a piece at some point in our lives.
You know the kind I am talking about right? It’s a hot day, someone had carelessly spit out a piece of chewing gum, the heat of the sidewalk or asphalt baked it into a soft or even liquid-like substance and then we are blessed enough to step right on it.
We immediately know when it happens, too. We feel it, we look down at the strands partially stuck to our shoe and yet still connected to the ground behind us. We let out a sigh as we crinkle our nose, scowl at the mess, and maybe even utter a four letter word or two.
What about the other things that are keeping our feet stuck in one spot and that make us snarl with angst as they slow us down on what we really and truly want to pursue? What kind of chewing gum is holding us back, holding you back? Is it a lack of a certain skill or knowledge? Is there a tainted experience or memory that has jaded our hope and inspiration for following through on our goals and dreams? What is causing us to look back or look down at the lack of achievement or missed opportunities?
If you are like me, you also really hate gum on the bottom of your shoe. It’s not just the sticky strands and wondering whose mouth and germs are under our feet — it’s also about how we are going to clean up that mess.
Here is the better question, “Will we clean up the mess under our feet that is holding us back from everything that we want to be, do or have?” What has to be untangled and scraped away so that we are free to increase our stride and move with the purpose and passion we once enjoyed?
The tricky thing is that when we step on a piece of liquefied gum we immediately know it, but when we are stuck in other areas of our lives we either choose to ignore it or we just do not recognize what it is that is keeping us on the periphery of moving up or ahead or maybe even greatness.
A good first step is to list all of the things that we want to have in our lives or give of ourselves. Then next to each one list all the potential barriers, all the possible of pieces of chewing gum that could take us away from our mission. Are they real world barriers or just things and obstacles we imagine or make excuses for that allow us to focus on the stickiness and scraping instead of the cleaning up and forging ahead?
How about you, have you looked at the bottom of your own shoes lately? What do you see? Is it full of stringy attachments and forgotten dreams and visions or have they been wiped clean and ready for the next journey and walk of your life? And maybe, just maybe you have one shoe stuck and one shoe clean, and straddling the middle waiting and wondering which one will win the battle of will.
Wherever you are in that part of your journey I would love to hear all about it at firstname.lastname@example.org and as we scrape the gum away it will definitely be a better than good week.
Michael Norton is a strategic consultant, business and personal coach, motivational speaker, and CEO of www.candogo.com. He writes a weekly motivational column for the Vail Daily.
Alternative therapies can provide cheaper and more effective resultsSeptember 2, 2013 —
When was the last time you went to the doctor? Did you leave feeling like he or she took the time to truly understand what was going on with you?
It’s no secret that the health care system in America is broken. In fact, a doctor visit today includes a paltry average of just less than seven minutes of actual face time with the physician.
The most common result of these visits is prescriptions. That would be great if drugs actually fixed your problem; but they don’t, they simply treat symptoms of the core issue.
Even worse, they often create more symptoms that lead to more drugs. It’s a vicious merry-go-round that’s almost impossible to get off once you’re on.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics and the Center for Disease Control, the U.S. spends $2.6 trillion on health each year. That’s almost 18 percent of GDP. Most countries spend about 5-8 percent of GDP on health expenditures.
If these trillions of dollars made us the healthiest country on Earth, perhaps it would make sense to spend that kind of money. But we’re not.
In fact, based on data from the World Health Organization compiled in the Bloomberg ratings, we are the 33rd healthiest country in the world — right in between Czech Republic (32) and Bosnia (34).
According to the National Institutes of Health, in 2011, per capita health spending in the U.S. was $8,608. The average per capita health spending among the three healthiest countries in the world (Singapore, Italy and Australia) was $3,887.
There are many reasons why we spend so much and are seeing a dismal return on our investment. As I mentioned earlier, one is that we treat symptoms instead of root problems.
Another is that we use expensive tests to diagnose disease and then prescribe even more costly treatments. Even worse, a lot of these tests and treatments aren’t even necessary.
A survey published in 2011 by Dartmouth College and the Congressional Budget Office showed that up to 30 percent of health care expenditures in the U.S. are unnecessary. That adds up to almost a trillion dollars in avoidable X-rays, MRIs, EKGs, prescriptions and visits to specialists.
These tests and treatments are the beaten path most western doctors walk down in diagnosing and treating disease. The statistics associated with them paint a bleak picture. But there is cause for hope.
There are cheaper, less invasive and (often times) more effective ways to deal with many common health problems in our society.
This year, the Vail Symposium’s Living At Your Peak series will focus on integrative medicine and alternative therapies. Some of the foremost experts in the country will join us in Vail to discuss meditation, consciousness, energy work, acupuncture and more.
These aren’t a group of new age quacks either. Just a few of the hospitals, organizations and universities represented at Living At Your Peak are the Mayo Clinic, MD Anderson, University of Texas, University of Colorado, George Washington University Medical Center, Georgetown University, MIT, The Monroe Institute and Princeton.
Living At Your Peak speakers have authored a total of 28 books, written more than 100 articles and pioneered some of the most cutting edge alternative therapies in history.
Join this Thursday, at the Grandview at 5:30 p.m. for an interesting look at the past, present and future of integrative health care with Dr. Len Wisneski. On Friday, (also at the Grandview at 5 p.m.) a panel of renowned doctors will discuss how you can bridge the gap between traditional and integrative medicine to look and feel your best.
For more information on Vail Symposium programs and to purchase tickets to Living At Your Peak events, visit www.vailsymposium.org. For organizational questions, to speak with someone about the Living at Your Peak series or to make a donation, you can call 970-476-0954.
Adam Katzen is the program director for the Vail Symposium and has spent several years researching and practicing alternative health therapies. He can be reached at email@example.com.