Category Archives: Alternative Health

Sharon Is Definitely Not Done Yet –Read All About It!

Sharon Willen
Sharon Willen

I must confess, when this book Not Done Yet:  A Tale of Transformation Through Transplant Surgery was first brought to my attention, I felt a bit of trepidation, the trepidation that comes from social responsibility.  After all, the writer was a neighbor, and reviewing it would be a neighborly thing to do.  I thought, “Well, what’s the harm in a short read, a quick compliment, then back to the bedroom for a short nap?”  Well, it didn’t turn out quite that way.

As sordid as the subject matter may appear on the surface (a tale of  transformation through transplant surgery), the author, Sharon Lamhut Willen, handles it in amazing fashion.  The book made me cry, but it also made me laugh:  a hard thing to do when writing about our health care system in this country on a social level and about the incredible personal angst one must feel when dealing with the imminent failure of one’s vital organ.

So many rules and regulations, so many forms to file…a forest so thick there seemed no path through it.  Yet the grace, strength, and most importantly, the spiritual faith Sharon brought to the battle won her the victory.  The ease and eloquence of her writing turned this hard distasteful journey of hers (and her husband’s) into a triumphant mission from which we can all take solace and wonder.

Not Done Yet

Sharon’s story made me revisit my own story.  It made me reflect on how I was handling my own distress, my own disease and dis-ease.  Whether it be my Parkinson’s or just my own reflections on aging itself, I thought about how best to embrace it.  What there is in this book, is validation.  With dedication and diligence, my friend and author found equanimity, and with that tranquility, reaching a near Satori experience in some of her meditations.

And in the end, she proves once again that the love you take is equal to the love you make.  And that love is the balm that eases the pain.  She documents the process in a striking way in some very dramatic circumstances.  She’s made it hard for me to give up, that’s for sure.

Sharon Willen
Sharon Willen

The book reveals a tear-filled wonder into what a truly loving couple can do even under the most dire of circumstances.  In the end, the book is a story of journey, of discovery.  It is not a journey of youthful exuberance about the world, but rather one of an older, wiser, more seasoned toughness.  We travel with the author as she leads us along the way to her entrance of grace, in spite of its ineffable way. This is a book well worth your time.  I will end by saying, I hope to go through the rest of my life with half as much dignity and grace as Sharon has.  

Here is the link to Sharon’s book:

And here is the link to Sharon’s website:

This is Nancy Puetz’s first contribution to our blog, and we are happy to have her!  Welcome, Nancy, and thank you for this review!

Nanci S. Puetz and her family
Nanci S. Puetz
and her family

Is there a Link Between Bras and Breast Cancer?


It started over a week ago when a dear friend in New Jersey e-mailed me a link to an article that was being discussed on “Coast to Coast,” a radio show that airs on more than 560 stations in the U.S., as well as Canada and Mexico. The show boasts nearly three million weekly listeners from 1-5.a.m. (Paula, I didn’t know you were an insomniac).

The topic on the show was breast cancer and how to prevent it “naturally.”  The article in question claimed that there was an increase in breast cancer rates between women who wear bras versus those that who do not. It said the odds of getting breast cancer dramatically increased with bra-wearing over 12 hours per day. My friend, like so many of us, is not a fan of the bra when at home. Always ready to forward health info, I sent the article to a group of women over 50, and within minutes, it sparked a flood of comments, such as:

Nedra: I don’t know what to think but who really wears bras at home? I only wear mine when I go out period. Never at home, hate them! When I wear a bra, I like Spanx, get them on-line. 

Sadhvi: Interesting article…now, all I need to do is find some kind of undershirt that will bring some kind of support for my 42DD size!  Let me know if any of you know of something.

Marjorie:  Hi all, this missive has been around for a long time. Given the fact that probably 99% of women wear a bra, I think the statistics are ridiculous. You can buy a wire-free, front closing sports bra at Kmart for $7.99. It is comfortable and will give you some support so your tee tees don’t hang down to your belly button! Now for my 2 cents. Here is what I think causes cancer (since I have it, I feel I can be bold and pontificate)!  

1.         Stress….which causes our immune systems to make mutant cells and while most people can throw them off, it’s like getting the flu, sometimes your body can’t ward it off. I believe that childhood trauma is where it starts. Of course not everyone will get cancer who was abused, but cancer is a long process. You don’t wake up one morning and say, “Oh, I got cancer” like it just happened overnight.

 2.         Diet….all I will say about that is get a hold of the movie “Healing Cancer from the Inside Out”. I don’t know if it’s on Netflix, but I went to see it last night and believe me, if I had seen this right after I was diagnosed, I would NEVER have done radiation. I opted out of chemo immediately, but the radiation is just as poisonous. All of the doctors in this film are MD’s they are not crazy quacks. If nothing else, stop eating meat and dairy products. I just started using coconut milk in my coffee and it’s really good!

 3.         The American Cancer Society, The National Cancer Institute, the drug companies, the hospitals and all the “so called cancer information we get” is a huge hype. It’s like the wars in Iran and Iraq, so much money has been poured into making them right, there’s no turning back. And, here’s the big one……the incidence of people who are living longer because of these barbaric treatments is slim to none. The numbers are being padded because if someone lives for 5 years after treatment, they are considered “cured”.

 So, please don’t get caught up in the bra vs. no bra story. Please watch this movie before you are prodded along like cattle to make decisions fast once you (God forbid) are diagnosed. Also read the China Study….it’s a little on the academic side, but scientifically proves why diet can cause cancer.

Believe me, I’m not perfect. It will take me awhile to get on a totally plant based diet, but I’m really trying. Hope some of this gives you some “food for thought”.

Minda:  Reading The Main Street Vegan by Victoria Moran? Really good for beginners. Not that I’m going vegan but also want to eat more of a plant based diet. Experimenting with greens this weekend. 

Lisa: Hi ya’all, I too was diagnosed with cancer (way too early) and believe wholeheartedly it was stress and diet oriented, not to mention genetics as I have the same cancer my mother and her sister have but I got it twenty years earlier.

The easiest way to get lots of greens in is to blend them into a smoothie with berries and stevia-flavored drops to sweeten it up. Cucumbers are excellent. This morning I even have fennel in my smoothie. If I miss one of these in the morning, I really feel the difference. Plus, check out the super foods: maca, lucuma, etc… they come in powder form. Chia and hemp seeds are great for a wide variety of reasons. Dr. Brian Clement, who runs Hippocrates Health Institute has a new book either coming out or already out called KILLER CLOTHES. 

Marjorie:  I got a juicer on Amazon….not the super duper best, but it does work well.  I do kale, chard, beet greens, and any other organic greens I can get.  Oh, carrots and ginger too, and it’s really delicious. Check out the “Juice Guy” on YouTube.  He is pretty hysterically funny but you get the idea of the juicing!  

Based on the flurry of comments, I decided to do some of my own fact-finding. According to the Scientific American, those ideas have been circulating since the late 60’s. A leading researcher, Dr. Sherry Marts, Scientific Director of the Society for Women’s Health Research, says it’s more urban myth than science. The legend was perpetuated in the 1995 book by Sydney Ross Singer and Soma Grismaijer entitled, Dressed to Kill: The Link Between Bras and Breast Cancer. According to, Women Health sites review of the book, Singer and Grismaijer claim that they surveyed over 4700 women and discovered that “100% of women with breast cancer wear bras.” The authors hypothesized that bras inhibit lymphatic circulation, which leads to a buildup of cancer-causing “toxins” in the breast. Apparently, it just ain’t so. For more info go to Snopes.



It Was My 50th Birthday and I Decided to Wake Up and Smell the Coffee!

50 Plus Yoga Instructor Dee Greenberg

Dee Greenberg is a dynamic yoga instructor.  Check out her website at This is her first entry on our blog.  Welcome, Dee!

Sometimes an impending birthday takes on great meaning. For me, turning 50 was quite a wake up call.

And now, at 58, it’s interesting to reflect back on a time where, relatively speaking, I felt very young, at least compared to how I feel now.  I’m sure you know how that goes.

There is something to be said for the old adage: “older and wiser.”  And for those of us who are consciously and intentionally evolving – it does seem as if  “wiseness happens.”  I’d hate to think that with each passing day I was getting a little bit dumber.  And obviously depending on the state of our health, it may feel like our minds are getting dimmer, not brighter.

That’s why I practice yoga!  I hope to keep my light bulb shining well into what is sometimes referred to as “old age.” And not only do I want my light to shine, but I also very much hope to experience this thing we call old age.

But let me go back in time for a moment.  At 50, I was single, living in Boston, recovering from a dysfunctional relationship and still feeling somewhat beaten up by it.  I was also self-employed, but without any clear goals or prospects for the future.  I had been teaching yoga for 3 months.

So basically, you could summarize my condition at 50 as more or less “spinning my wheels.”  My life lacked purpose, momentum and most importantly, goals.

And then all of that changed, seemingly in the blink of an eye.  At 50 plus, my life began to take shape in an entirely new direction and I am happy to say that now, 8 years later, my life no longer lacks purpose, momentum or goals.

The catalyst for this change was a chance meeting I had with a very extraordinary yoga instructor named Shiva Rea.

I stumbled into a week long workshop with her totally by chance.  She rocked my world, and I am a different person today as a result of the 8 consecutive years I spent studying yoga with this most gifted teacher, who became my mentor.

OK , well,  actually there was one other very significant thing that occurred that same year.  On my 50th birthday, I was at a 4 day yoga retreat nestled deep within the heart of the Catskill Mountains with another very gifted, world class yoga instructor named Dharma Mitra.  Over the course of that weekend, I took a good, long, hard look at my life, and I set some goals for my yoga practice.
There were 2 very difficult arm balancing, inverted postures in which I wanted to gain proficiency.  So I set a goal at 50:  I *would* focus on these 2 postures and gain proficiency.  Two months later,  I stumbled on the aforementioned teacher who would become my mentor for the next 8 years and lead me towards that proficiency.

My purpose in writing this post is to spread my message to the world, which is this:

Life Begins at 50!  Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

All right, let me say it a different way: Life begins at 50, or 60, or 70,  or whenever YOU decide it begins!  The actual chronological number is completely irrelevant.  Life begins whenever you decide to begin to live fully in the moment.

So go ahead and decide.  Let your life begin right now!

Co-Housing: On the Way to Wolf Creek Lodge

Bob Miller

One of the things I love about blogging is the ability to meet people anywhere – anytime.  When Sue Counts (guest blogger) wrote about co-housing a few weeks ago, we got tons of emails and comments from readers everywhere.  One such person was Bob Miller, and the next thing I knew, I was inviting him to be a guest blogger – our first male blogger on Oops50!  Thank you, Bob. 


My wife and I became members of a co-housing community called Wolf Creek Lodge earlier this year.  The lodge is currently under construction in Grass Valley, California.  We expect to move in sometime late in 2012.  We have chosen Wolf Creek Lodge as an appealing environment for our senior life style.

Future Wolf Creek Lodge

The conventional American living environment can be hostile to the senior species.  They want community, walking access to stores, entertainment and recreation.  They want low maintenance, sustainable housing.

Community is important to me and my wife.  Earlier in our lives we found this at our workplace, through our children’s activities, our extended family, our church and sporting activities.  We no longer go out to work and our children are living their own lives and our older family members have passed away.

We watched our parents become isolated in their later years.  We believe we can do better by taking action now before change becomes challenging.

Who's Slowing Down?

At Wolf Creek Lodge we will have our own condominium-style apartment, one of 30.  However, we will also use the common room, living room, patio and gardens.  We will invite friends to stay in one of several guest apartments.  We will stroll on the adjoining trails, walk to the nearby shops and enjoy the cultural activities of Grass Valley.

Community will be at our front door.  Most evenings we will dine in the common room sharing cooking and clean up activities.  We will join others over coffee and relax on the patio.  We will continue to ski, bike and hike in the northern Sierra, which are only an hour away.

What a Ride

We realize that as the years pass we may become unable to drive and our physical capabilities may become more limited.  The Wolf Creek Lodge environment will continue to work for us.  The lodge even includes an apartment for a care-giver, should we need extra help.

Wolf Creek Lodge is a creation of its evolving community.  The community worked with the architect on the design to oversee the construction and formulate the processes which will guide the members’ common activities.

Already, months before moving in, we are enjoying the community.  We are in constant electronic communication with all the other members and attend the General Meeting in Grass Valley once a month.  My wife has a key role on the landscape committee reviewing the planting plans and identifying members who want to work in the gardens.  I help on the marketing and technical committees.

Under Construction

On the marketing committee I am working to find people to join us and fill the remaining 6 apartments.  It’s fascinating to talk to potential members as they try to understand this co-housing concept.  They pay us repeated visits to decide if they want to spend the rest of their lives with us.  They finally take the decision and pitch in.

We do not really know what it will be like to live at Wolf Creek Lodge.  We are working hard with our new friends to make it happen and having both fun and challenges along the way.

Bob Miller is currently a ski bum in Truckee, California.  Born in England of an English mother and a Scottish father, he moved to Scotland at the age of 11.  After graduating from Glasgow University with a degree in Physics he married Claire, started a family, and moved to the Boston area in 1978.  Bob’s career was in the computer industry.  Since his retirement, he moved with Claire to Truckee.  Besides skiing, he rides his road bike and hikes in the Sierras.




Wise Women, Drumming, and President Obama

Annice and founder, Corinna
The 7th annual SE Women’s Herbal Conference

What a great week-end I had at the 7th annual Southeast Women’s Herbal Conference in Asheville, NC.  This year, was the biggest conference ever, almost 900 women gathered to learn, connect, and deepen into the Wise Woman Tradition earth-based healing, local plants, & deep nourishment.  Those of you who know me, know I’m not an herbalist but I tend to use herbs and natural products as my first line of defense when I feel something coming on.  This conference brought together such an amazing group of healers, and not only did I get to attend this year, but the organizers invited me to monitor the Embodiment track.  There were 8 incredible classes ranging from Shadow Work; Making Peace with your Body; Our Predatory Nature; and the Power of the Drum.  Let me just say that listening (and dancing) to over 100 women learning to drum was phenomenal, and these women practically brought the tent down.

What I loved most about the class was the teacher, Kristen Arant, who runs a non-profit in Washington, D. C. called the Young Women’s Drumming Empowerment Project which helps promote self-esteem in young women.  Now why didn’t anything like that exist when I was growing up?

President Obama visits Asheville

So, after an inspiring week-end, I was given a ticket to attend Obama’s kick-off speech in Asheville to promote his “Jobs Act” bus tour. What amazed me was that after living in D.C. for 20 years, I could still get excited about seeing the President and shaking his hand.  I know North Carolina is a battleground state, but hey, he won it before, and it ain’t over till it’s over.