Sunday, November 29, 2015

Nasty Anastrozole

In February I'll pass a milestone - five cancer-free years from the end of breast cancer treatment.  I understand there's nothing scientifically special about the five-year mark except that it's when most studies call a person "cured", however it's still encouraging to stop and notice how healthy I am now.

Here's me in the fall of 2010 as my hair was falling out.  I like it better now!

When I first completed all my treatment, which was a lumpectomy followed by chemotherapy followed by radiation, my oncologist recommended I take a drug called anastrozole for five years.  It is an aromatase inhibitor that significantly reduces the total amount of estrogen in a post-menopausal woman whose ovaries no longer produce estrogen.  For women whose cancer is hormone receptor positive, reducing estrogen in the body can help reduce the chance of the cancer coming back.

Side-effects of anastrozole are bone weakness which can lead to fractures and osteoporosis, joint pain and heart problems, along with the usual effects of reduced estrogen like hot flashes and memory issues.  I was aware of that, and had already been reading online conversations in which women complained of debilitating pain from the drug.  Naturally, I wasn't keen on starting it myself.  I talked it over with my naturopath who urged me to follow my oncologist's advice, but also mentioned that if I chose not to take anastrozole, there is a mixture of Chinese herbs, called Myomin, that does the same thing without the side effects.  Hmm, it didn't seem like a tough decision to me!  I read the literature about Myomin and at the time it was all about reducing estrogen in the body for the purpose of body-building.  The literature (and I use that term loosely - it was mostly ads by places selling Myomin) made no mention of fighting cancer - apparently they can't advertise it for that purpose since the FDA has not cleared it for that purpose.  However, it made it very clear that Myomin works by inhibiting the enzyme aromatase, just like anastrozole.  Recent literature mentions it being used for treatment of endometriosis, ovarian cycsts and uterine fibroids, and also for protection of people taking bioidentical hormones.

So I said no thanks to the anastrozole and took Myomin for six months.  On each visit to my oncologist, she urged me to reconsider, citing studies that showed a better outcome for cancer patients who follow up with anastrozole.  (Of course, there are no such studies on using Myomin, since no drug company would be motivated to pay for them.)  She wore me down, and finally I ordered the prescription.  When the pills arrived they were tiny - maybe 1/8 inch in diameter - and I thought how could something that small, taken in the middle of a meal, possibly hurt me?  I was also thinking of how I'd feel if the cancer came back and I hadn't taken the pills.  I wanted to feel I'd done everything possible never to go through that again.

So, around August of 2011, I started taking anastrozole. As you know, I've had a lot of hip pain over the last several years, and I wondered if anastrozole was making it worse.  I knew it wasn't completely due to the drug because I already had hip pain before that, and I didn't have pain in other joints.  Seattle Cancer Care Alliance gives me a dexa scan bone density test every year to check for osteoporosis and the result, while not perfect, is "appropriate for my age". 

Now, after having had physical therapy and chiropractic and my year of health, I have no more hip pain!  I think learning to tighten my "core" and use my butt muscles has made the greatest difference.  I've been pretty faithful taking the pills, stopping only for a month before and during our trip to Italy in 2013, when I wanted to be as pain-free as possible for walking around, and I didn't notice any great difference from stopping at that time.  I do have hot flashes - not desperately strong ones as when I first started menopause, but just an inability to keep my body temperature steady - I'm always putting on a sweater then throwing it off again.  And I definitely have memory issues.  I blame my age and years of killing brain cells by drinking wine, but it's possible the drug is making it worse.

At my last appointment, my oncologist reminded me that in August I will have been taking anastrozole for five years.  She is okay with my stopping, but recommended continuing as long as it's not bothering me much.  We talked about my taking time off from the drug, and she said six months would be a good length of time to see whether I notice any difference.  That sounds good to me.  I'll wait until summer, maybe for my 69th birthday in July (yikes!) and then take a six-month vacation from anastrozole.  It will be interesting to see if I feel any different.  If by some miracle my memory returns or I start sleeping soundly, that would be a good reason to quit for good, but I might also look into Myomin again.

That was a pretty dense read, but an important topic.  Life is such an adventure, don't we all want to stay healthy and active to enjoy it as long as we can?!  Our Thanksgiving holiday was another reminder of how fortunate I am.  Melanie, Ben, Ben's brother Jason, and doggie cousins Wilbur and Banjo joined us for fun at the coast.

A serious game of UpWords after dinner.  I was playing with real experts - didn't stand a chance.

A great photo of Melanie and Wilbur.  He was so good to stop running around long enough to pose for the camera.

It was a great day!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Breaking Up is Hard To Do

Another diversion from healthy eating, this time to tell you about a stressful situation in our lives right now.  Stan and I have decided to leave the investment club we joined a bit over a year ago, after gradually realizing our ideas about investing and how an investment club should operate are incompatible with those of the club founder and president.

It's funny how stressful this can be - sort of like quitting a job or getting a divorce.  Leaving any group of nice people can be sad, and I think this situation is extra stressful for two reasons - first of all, besides just not attending meetings any more, we will be withdrawing the money we have invested over our time in the club.  This is not a great time, as the stocks held by the club have been in a swoon lately, and we'll be leaving with a significant percent less money than we have put in.  Second, I think having shared investments may make the group a bit closer than just having fun together.  We've all contributed a lot of time not just for meetings, but doing homework, attending educational workshops and even a weekend retreat.  In the process we've enjoyed getting to know these folks.  It's fun to be part of a diverse group of smart people, working together for a common goal.

So why are we leaving?  Two reasons:  one, the way the club chooses and invests in companies is not compatible with what we have learned about investing, and two - the more important to me - instead of discussing and comparing companies and voting on every purchase or sale, the president has great latitude to buy and sell, based on a few loose, and we think faulty, criteria.  This is fair, as that one person owns a large proportion of the club's funds, but makes it less satisfying for us.

A bit of background:  our club is part of Better Investing, a national non-profit organization that helps educate people about investing, and provides an umbrella organization with chapters throughout the country for many, many individual investment clubs.  I've been a member of the organization for many years, part of the time in a different club and part as an individual.  We're leaving our club, but will remain individual members of Better Investing and perhaps find a different club.  I am on the board of the Puget Sound Chapter, (board Secretary, woo woo) and will remain so for at least the rest of my one-year term.

We feel the method of investing we learned from the organization is a solid strategy for people who want to choose individual company stocks.   We just attended our chapter's annual educational conference a few weeks ago and it was wonderful - very motivating to hear successful folks who are also great teachers talk about investing, stressing the organization's goal - to buy fundamentally high quality companies and only when their price is lower than average. They teach a specific way to study and compare companies and it works!

This is Costco's yearly Sales, Pretax Profits, and Earnings.  Better Investing likes to see these lines up, straight and parallel.

 Here's Starbucks.  That dip is the recession of 2008-9.

 Look at Priceline!

Other companies are more cyclical - not necessarily bad investments, if you buy and sell at the right time, but Better Investing recommends against them unless you are an experienced investor.

For example, Ford:

or Century Link:

So, we sent our resignation email last week, having waited until after the conference so as not to cause any drama or awkward feelings during the weekend.  We felt a bit sorry about talking with our fellow club members as though nothing was changing, and we said so in the email, as well as saying how we have enjoyed the social aspects of the club and hope to stay in touch at Better Investing events.  We kept it as brief and positive as possible.  We are gratified to see the emails that have arrived in response from club members, although a bit sorry to have no acknowledgement at all from the President or Treasurer.

I have changed jobs many times and I have noticed that after announcing I'm leaving a company, several people who I didn't know very well during my time there would come and talk to me.  It is though it's now "safe" to express their discontent, since I have obviously expressed mine by planning to leave.  We're seeing some of that now in emails from our club-mates, all so far expressing disappointment that we're leaving.  Some have expressed interest in what we'll do next and in staying in touch in the future, to which we are replying we'd love to stay in contact.  I'm not interested in starting a club myself - too much work and responsibility - but we're happy to discuss our ideas with anyone who asks.  It's nice to know they like us and will miss our participation  : )

 On a lighter note, I'm writing this post from a nice little house in Cannon Beach, Oregon.  Stan and I are spending some time here both as a relaxing get-away, and also to see a bit of what it would be like to retire to a smaller town, maybe on the coast.  (No near-term plans - I know it will probably take decades for me to pry Stan and his treasures from the big house we have now.  I just wanted to see what it would be like.)

We have some goals while we're here - mainly to do some study work on our stock portfolios and to lose a bit of weight.  I said I planned to walk every day we're here, rain or shine.  Well, for several days it rained really hard!  I walked one day in the rain and nearly got blown off the beach!  Since the sun has come out we've walked a lot.  Here are some photos Stan took yesterday and today:

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Stormy Weather

Stan and I are in Cannon Beach Oregon.  We decided to spend some time here in the off-season to see what life at a small coastal town would be like.  Well, whew!  It has been very stormy!

We have gone to the beach several times with the plan to get some good photos, but it has either been fogged in, or very windy with rain or hail beating down and we're afraid of destroying the camera.  The waves have been very big, and we're hoping they'll still be big when it dries up a bit.  Here are a few shots we took.

Stan took this panorama with his new camera.  Nice!

The night before the big storm, when we had first arrived, we saw these birds all facing south.  I wonder if they knew a storm was brewing, or do they just face into the wind?

Needless to say, we've spent a lot of time snug in our rental house with books and computers.  It's quite comfortable, and the power's still on, though it has blinked a few times (fingers crossed!)

After a few days of cozy resting, we ventured out... groceries called!  What an interesting trip!  Sorry I don't have photos to show you - I was too scared and amazed.   The Safeway is in Seaside, 9 miles up the coast, and all along the way there were little creeks that you would normally not even notice, only now they are giant lakes, right up to the sides of the road.  At one point there was a traffic jam where the road actually went under the water for 100 yards or so.  Cars were slowly going through it, so we did too.  Glad we brought the Subaru with 4-wheel drive and all-weather tires!  I was afraid they would close the road before we got back, but it looks like they're used to this here.  On our way back, the water was even higher, I would say a foot deep, and there was a rescue vehicle parked ready to pull out anyone who got stuck.  No one had, and we got through fine.

Look what else we encountered in a semi-dry moment!  We hiked from Cannon Beach to Ecola State Park.  The map said 1.5 miles to the park, but didn't mention it was quite uphill.  The woman in the Tourist Info center looked surprised when we mentioned we were walking there, and advised us it could be very muddy.  She didn't mention the mud would be on a very steep trail, sort of like a ski run in spots.  We made it up hill okay, but it was quite slippery going down.

Another traffic jam as we headed back into town.  Can you see this big guy eating the hedge??  There was a whole family of elk grazing and resting in a vacant patch of grass.  Great photo op, but I was scared!  The other folks were in cars, but we were walking along the sidewalk right by them, and I was afraid they might get startled as my umbrella flapped in the wind.  (Of course it was raining.)  We avoided eye contact and they let us go by with only a cursory glance.  I was a bit grateful Stan didn't have his camera, as he doesn't scare as easily as I do!

This picture shows how close we were - scary!

Cannon Beach is such a nice little town.  I love the idea you can leave home on foot and get a coffee, some library books, visit the quilt shop and yarn store, and eat at any number of good restaurants.  My plan was to walk on the beach every day for exercise...  not working so far, instead we've been staying home by the fire with wine and snacks.  Oops.

The library is all-volunteer, and they let us join for $5 so we can borrow a few books.

I browsed through this yarn shop thinking a crochet or knitting project might be fun, but I didn't actually know what to get.  Some of the yarn is really beautiful, but also pretty expensive.

I had almost given up my walk as the rain beat down, and then I turned the corner and came upon this rainbow.  I walked a bit further, and came out into the sunshine that you see in the photos above  : )

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Say Cheese!

I just read an interesting article in the newsletter of our local food co-op, PCC Natural Markets, about cheese, and I'm happy to see it because I've been trying to eliminate dairy, after reading Loren Cordain, author of The Paleo Diet and The Paleo Answer, and I love dairy!  Of course, our paleo ancestors didn't consume dairy after infancy.  (Paleo Leap says: Not practical to milk wild game.)  But here's what the PCC article says about it:
 For decades, we've watched the French eat twice as much cheese as us Americans, while enjoying much lower rates of heart disease.  This "French Paradox" led researchers on a quest to explain why French people's extraordinarily high saturated fat intake doesn't lead to more heart attacks.  
The latest research on cheese and other fermented dairy foods, such as yogurt and kefir, suggests it might not be a "paradox" at all.  Instead, we just now may be starting to understand the health benefits of cheese and other fermented dairy.

One of our go-to snacks

The article points out that recent research is disproving the dire warnings about saturated fat that many of us have been hearing much of our lives.  The saturated fat in dairy comes from short- and medium-chain fatty acids which have beneficial or neutral impact on blood cholesterol levels.  Milkfat is the best source of naturally occurring trans fatty acids that provide health benefits, unlike the synthetic trans fats found in margerine.  The natural trans fats are produced during digestion in ruminant animals such as cows or goats, and are in largest quantity in 100% grass-fed whole-milk dairy products.

I founds several studies about the benefit of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) to humans, but most are about how we make our own when plant fiber is fermented in the colon.  One paper, from the National Center for Biotechnology Information, talks about getting them from dairy.  It stresses that the makeup of the fatty acids depends on the animals' feed, which is an argument for milk from grass-fed animals.  Another paper, in Nature Communications, discusses how SCFAs may reduce appetite.

The PCC article points out that cultured dairy products such as cheese, yogurt and sour cream taste less sweet and more tangy because the lactose (milk sugar) has been used up by the healthy bacteria during fermentation.  Even for people who are not lactose intolerant, lactose can contribute to inflammation.  Fermentation also increases the vitamins and natural trans fatty acids in milk and adds pre- and pro-biotics.  Proteins are broken into smaller peptides which may improve blood pressure and immune function.  The article says molded cheeses produce even more nutrients (though probably not enough to tempt those of us who don't care for the taste of those moldy ones!)

A favorite cottage cheese lunch

I checked with my friends at Paleo Leap and they even have some good to say about dairy - although in the context of the "good, bad and ugly".  They said if you're going to consume dairy, fermented dairy is the best choice, because the fermentation process adds good bacteria and consumes most of the sugars, reducing the insulin response.  Their post ends with:
It can’t get much better than this (raw, pasture-raised, grass-fed, full fat goat’s yogurt)!

So, I'm going to start eating more cheese, sour cream and yogurt without guilt  : )   The article listed butter, buttermilk, cottage cheese and cream cheese as "sometimes fermented".   I love cottage cheese so I checked and found that Nancy's brand cottage cheese advertises that it is cultured and contains live probiotics.  Yea!  (It is lowfat only, I didn't find any Nancy's full fat cottage cheese.)

And so is their cream cheese!

Sunshine Dairy also lists cottage cheese on their page of cultured products, although it doesn't say specifically that it has live cultures.  I will read the label carefully next time I shop!

I found cultured butter too - at Organic Valley.  We use a lot of butter so I'll see how it tastes and how much it costs.  It would be nice to know our butter is actually good for us!

I checked our current favorite butter, Kerrygold Irish Butter, but they don't mention cultured, either on the website or on the package I have in the fridge.  I did run into this yummy-sounding recipe on their site however, Butter Braised Nectarine and Aged Cheddar Salad.  I'll be trying it next summer, or hmmm, I could try it now with some leftover peach slices I have in the freezer!  (It was good!)

The PCC Natural Markets article points out that much of the recent published research on dairy is from Denmark and Sweden, two countries with high dairy consumption, and much is funded by the dairy industry.  However, they are glad to see a distinction being made between fermented and non-fermented, and also between whole and low-fat.  The article's final point:
It's very likely that the difference between "drinking milk" and "eating dairy" is a significant and important distinction.


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Open Wide

For many years my half-yearly dental cleanings have been easy and quick.  Since I started using an electric toothbrush there has been a minimum of scraping and poking necessary to keep my teeth clean, but not this time.  Nothing really bad, but in one spot I have two crowns next to each other that create a cozy pocket for stuff to get into and be hard to get out, even with floss.  I have noticed lettuce and nuts are the two worst offenders - both something I eat a lot of.

Kristine, my favorite hygienist at Dr. Zimmer's office, asked if I use a Sonicare and when I said no, I have an Oral-B toothbrush, she recommended switching.  She and her colleagues feel there is a great enough difference that it is worth buying a Sonicare if possible.  I was happy that she told me about the different models and that unless I need a lot of settings, which I don't, the least expensive would be fine.  They also have a dual kit, with two brushes on one charger, but I sort of like how Stan and I are set up now, with a personal sink and bit of counter space for each of us.  No sense meddling with what works, right?

So, here's my new gadget.  It has a few features my old one didn't - times the brushing for two minutes and turns off automatically, and beeps to signal each 30 seconds so each quarter of one's mouth gets equal time.  It has three levels of intensity, which would be useful if I were a new user.  It also comes with a nice travel case and cover which will be handy.  I always had to put a small plastic bag over the old one when traveling.

 Here's the old Oral-B.  Must say it has served me well.  It has the original battery and it lasts fine through a 2-week vacation without needing to be charged.  I think I'll store it for awhile, just to make sure I like the Sonicare.  I had a Sonicare a long time ago, and it seems to me my reason for switching was because it stopped working.

btw - I did look online for comparisons and found opinions both ways.  I think Sonicare may have been the better brand some years ago (at least according to a PubMed article from 1997), but more recently the Oral-B has been found better.  Here's a study from the American Journal of Dentistry from 2012 that says "The novel multi-directional power brush consistently produced significantly superior anti-gingivitis and anti-plaque reductions relative to pre-treatment versus the sonic control brush."  I didn't understand what the part about pre-treatment means, but it just means compared to each study participant's condition at the beginning of the study.

I think the best comparison is this one at Best Electric Toothbrush Hub.  It points out that most of the studies have been done by one of the two brands and there is really no definite winner.  Both are excellent and some people prefer the feeling of the sonic vibrations and others prefer the oscillating brushing motions.  Bottom line for me:  I have already bought the Sonicare and I trust the advice of my dentist's office.  A new one of either brand would surely be more effective than my old one, and after having used it a few times, I like how it feels.

Kristine also recommended actually using the mouthwash I bought after my last checkup, but don't always remember to use.  And she gave me a variety of extra-thick floss and other items to help in the difficult spots.   Just watch as my teeth begin to sparkle in the coming months  : )

Hmmm, kind of a boring post after all those Russia photos...  but this is important stuff.

In an effort to make this post more interesting, here's a book I read while I was sick that I really liked.  It takes place in 1946, when World War II had ended and the last soldiers were being returned home.  Apparently there were about 600 Australian women who had married British soldiers and were still in Australia waiting for passage to join their husbands.  The aircraft carrier Victorious became their home for 8 weeks as they traveled to England on its last official journey as an aircraft carrier.  According to Wikipedia, there actually was an HMS Victorious and it did travel from Sydney to Portsmouth with war brides.  This was a good story set into an historic event.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Tenth Monthly Assessment - October 31st

If you've been reading, you know we traveled a lot last month, and I ate a lot of yummy meals and desserts!  Well, it has shown on the scale.  I gained three pounds, to 133, and haven't yet lost them since I've been home.  I must say up front that I don't for a minute regret eating all that great food - it would have been a terrible waste to try to eat paleo and stick to a diet on the cruise.  And, to give myself some credit, I didn't throw all my good eating habits out the window, though I did make good use of a convenient machine that dispensed various coffee drinks.  The mochaccino was especially good.

There's no point in showing off front and side views this month.  Here's how I looked last night as Stan and I headed out to our favorite wine bar, Vino at the Landing, for dinner.  I had a soup special - cauliflower with coconut milk and curry - and a glass of chardonnay.  Even though I'm slimmer than in prior years, I still love these tee shirts that allow one a bit of leeway at the waist and stomach! Couldn't face getting into the skinny jeans, so I'm wearing my old too-big slacks from last year.

January 31st
October 31st

New shoes from Hotter.  They recently added a "slim" size in a few styles - still a bit wide for me with nylons, but okay with socks.  Hmmm - keep or send back??  I cut the tag off and wore them tonight, so they are mine (and comfortable).

What went well this month:
  • During our trip, through a lot of walking, standing around in museums and sleeping on a different bed, my hips were perfect - not a single twinge of the old hip pain.
  • Even though I enjoyed the desserts, I didn't go crazy and eat everything.  I usually chose an appetizer and main course that limited carbs and if there were potatoes on the plate I left them or only ate a bite.  For breakfasts I focused on eggs, meat, veggies and fruit - skipping pancakes, French toast and hot cereal.  (I did have a small serving of oatmeal, which I love, and they cooked it perfectly!  I also tried the French toast, another favorite, and realized that is something I can pass up.)  I had mostly salads or meat and veggies for lunch.
Two typical breakfasts.  For an omelet, on the left, there were several choices of vegetable as well as meat and cheese.  On the right the veggies are carrots and yellow pepper along with scrambled eggs and bacon, pineapple chunks, some type of processed meat and cheese.  They always had some type of vegetable available at breakfast.

Lunch from the salad bar along with cream of vegetable soup.  The white square item was salmon with dill sauce - delicious!

Appetizer I chose from the salad bar:

  • When we got home I made some paleo muffins and started making salads again.

What didn't go well:
  • I got sick  : (   Soon after feeling lucky and a bit self-righteous that I rarely catch a cold when hearing that many people aboard the ship were getting sick, I came down with a very sore throat and head cold.  Fortunately, I felt fine below the neck and didn't miss out on any of the activities, but I was pretty miserable and coughed a lot. 
  • When we got home I got even sicker.  It turned out to be a urinary infection and I spent several days getting more and more uncomfortable before figuring it out and going to the doctor.  Kudos to my doctor's practice for giving me an appointment 45 minutes after the time I called!  I was getting worse fast and I spent a pretty bad 20 minutes in Bartell's waiting for my Rx to be filled.  Three hours after taking the first pill I started feeling better.  I'm so glad I live in the times of modern medicine!
  • I still don't feel well.  The infection symptoms are gone, but my stomach hurts - not as with nausea, but just hurts.  It reminds me of  how I felt when I was having chemo.  I did take a probiotic every day along with my antibiotic, to replace the good flora and fauna while killing off the bad, so perhaps it just needs more time to get back to normal.

So, bottom line - I've been working toward good health all year and I'm still not there yet!  I think it's not surprising to get sick when going halfway around the world, staying busy regardless of jet lag, and living on a ship full of strangers.  I could have been more careful and planned better.  If we go on another cruise, I'll use the hand sanitizer more often and pack my own favorite remedies even while hoping I won't need them.  I used to always travel with aspirin and Gas-X, but haven't needed either all year.  (On the other hand, a couple of our best memories are of when we headed out into Moscow on our own to find over-the-counter medication.  I wasn't impressed with their version of TheraFlu, but I got some really lovely cough syrup!)

What to work on next:
  • Obviously, I want to lose my stomach ache and feel better!
  • And lose the weight I gained 

My traditional favorites when I don't feel well are Campbell's chicken and rice soup, Saltines (with peanut butter and jelly if not too sick), and cream of rice with milk and sugar - nothing my  mentors Drs. Wahl and Rosedale would approve of!  I bought some soup, but thinking Campbell's wouldn't be good for me I got a healthier-sounding brand.  Progresso's Italian wedding soup turned out to be mostly noodles and tasted okay, but on my next trip I'm going to get the Campbell's.  I also have most of a deliciously ripe and sweet honeydew melon in the fridge and it has appealed so I'm enjoying it.  (Must mention Newcastle Fruit and Produce where I got it.  Their fruit is so much more delicious than from the supermarket, I should go there every week.  I don't because a) I'm too lazy to make the extra stop and b) their parking lot is hard to get in and out of.  They have improved it somewhat lately, so I should make it a regular weekly stop.)

I Googled "paleo remedies for upset stomach" and got some surprising suggestions from PaleoLeap.  Of course, I knew bone broth would be one, and I had some of my homemade bone broth for lunch yesterday, but I wanted something more solid too.  They suggest chicken-vegetable soup, winter vegetable soup, egg drop soup and tomato soup.  I love tomato soup!  They also mention banana - will get some - soft-boiled eggs, and steamed chicken or fish.  Here are some more surprising suggestions:
  • potatoes, both white and sweet - I thought white potatoes were out for paleo?
  • canned pumpkin with a bit of cinnamon and coconut milk - ummm, doesn't sound too good
  • spaghetti squash
  • avocado - they actually mention "bowl of guacamole" - I love guacamole, but only on chips.  Don't think I could eat a bowl full.
  • fermented foods - I had my sauerkraut breakfast twice last week
I''m not vomiting, but PaleoLeap had an interesting recipe for replacing electrolytes.  They say "Water with just a pinch of salt and a squeeze of lemon will help replenish electrolytes if you’re throwing up. This is often easier to drink if you warm it up a little to room temperature."  (Stan says add sugar and whiskey!)  Sounds much better to me than that bright green Gatorade.

We're planning a more quiet and restful month for November, so hopefully I'll get feeling back to normal and back into my healthy routines.

We always get a lot of trick-or-treaters on Halloween.  We waited until the last day to buy the candy, but, gee, some of the bags seem to have gotten opened.... Happy Halloween!