Review Category : Contributors

Learning to look away

By Cherimie Crane Weatherford

I remember quite well the sidewalk, sunburned grass sneaking its way through the child-counted cracks. The building was nothing special, more akin to an oversized stone block rather than an office of award-winning medical care. The waiting room was pleasant enough, thoughtfully dressed in child friendly decor. Tattered coloring books mixed with sanitized toys served as a distraction while parent filled out necessary paperwork. Being an odd child, I found the pamphlets and sparse medical journals more appealing than the Sesame Street figurines or toys of varying size and sound. Maybe that explains why I often hid under the carefully cleaned chairs, behind the plainly painted doors or found it necessary to visit the little girls room every five seconds, just for good measure. No different than now, I simply wasn’t easily distracted when pain was imminent. I knew why I was there.

Recently, in keeping with my odd ways, while others were basking in joy, intent on celebration and awed by the beauty that is a blushing bride, I couldn’t help but remember trips to the doctor’s office as a child. No matter what my Mom would promise, I was certain there would be a shot. An otherwise fabulous day would be interrupted by a painful prick. In order to keep me from displaying my masterful skills of escape, my mom would gently and desperately try to convince me to look away. “Isn’t that photo of that random, lifeless bird beautiful?” she would say, doing her very best to get me to look in the opposite direction from the pending good day interruption. From making extremely odd faces, to dancing, even attempting to entice me with the promise of ice cream, she would try everything to get me to look away from the needle resting on the nurse’s table. She failed more often than not. I knew what was coming. I knew why I was there. Ice cream was not going to fix this.

Today, I am preparing to watch my very best friend marry a man who makes her heart sing. Friends and family are traveling from all of the country to join her on this most special day. She has asked me to stand by her side as she takes his hand and begins her new journey. Any normal female would fill her mind with thoughts of fun, fodder and bridal dresses adorned in layers of lavender, instead, I find myself preparing to look away.

It isn’t my preference to avoid the spotlight that has my stomach in knots and my heart in shambles — it is the fact that her “I do” will be leading her to Spain. Never feeling deep hatred for a country before, this is a new dilemma. I am sure there are plenty of beautiful people in Spain, there is no reason they should require another. Doing my very best to keep my hands from shaking, my heart from breaking and my bridal party makeup from erupting into mayhem, I will fluff her train, hold her bouquet and hand her the ring to place on the hand she will hold.

On the ride to the ceremony, I counted trees, I noticed flowers and took breaths deeper than any river. This is her day, her story, my tears will just have to wait. And wait they did, until she walked down the aisle. I couldn’t tell you what music was playing, who was in the audience or even the colors of the decor. I can tell you the first day we met, the first fight we had, her favorite color, her biggest fears, her favorite song, the pitch of her laugh,  even her favorite way to eat eggs. She is my best friend. Staring at the grass did no good, with each step she took I replayed some portion of my life that simply wouldn’t not have been the same without her beside me. Knowing that kidnapping her was not only a felony but completely inappropriate during a wedding, I did the only thing I knew to do. Momma would be proud, I finally looked away. Not really the portrait of the perfect Maid of Honor, but I knew Lydia would understand. I had too. One of life’s most prickly sticks is heading my way. Of course, we will visit. No doubt we will keep in touch. It just isn’t the same.

It is the double-edged sword of friendship. She is happy, she is beautiful and he loves her dearly. Wanting only the very best for her, I smile during photos, bustle her gown, hand over her very favorite lip gloss and light a sparkler as she rides away. My days, and my closet, will not be the same without her nearby. There is something so special, so rare as the bond of a woman and her best friend. We know each others strengths, weaknesses, shoe size and boiling point. Although we both know distance is only a number, I will miss her greatly. I have no doubt that she understands why I might just have to look the other way. I know what is coming, I know why I am here. Ice cream isn’t going to fix this.

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Salmonella: Pathogen of politics

By Tracie Korol

Any food in the commercial food stream can present a bio-hazard. Lunch meats at the deli are notorious for being Listeria vectors. We’re told not to rinse our factory chickens before cooking to reduce the risk of splashing Salmonella all over the kitchen.  My personal food-bacteria creep-out is the lemon slice in every restaurant water/iced tea glass. They’re fingered by everyone — from the folks who pick the fruit, the people in the packing plants, the back-room handlers all the way down to the waitron who slices it at the bar — and rarely, if ever, washed. (Source: my son, the chef.)

Recently, the FDA announced new guidelines for feeding our pets: Do not feed raw food because of the risk of Salmonella.  But why just raw food? Why not kibbles that are recalled every week? Salmonella lives just about everywhere and has adapted well to diverse environments, can survive for weeks in water and years in the soil.  It thrives when conditions of humidity, temperature and pH are favorable in areas like sitting water, wet soil shielded from the sun, and unclean fecal contaminated areas.

Its principal habitat is the intestinal tract of humans and animals. Dogs generally have low stomach pH and shorter GI tracts than humans meaning their stomach acid makes it harder for Salmonella to make it all the way through.  That’s why our people friends complain about having “stomach flu” for a day or so while our dog friends do not.  Most likely a dirty lemon. There has been no known reported incidence of human beings being infected with Salmonella by raw-fed cats and dogs.

Salmonella can be found in up to 36% of all healthy dogs regardless of the food they consume. Many pets harbor these bacteria as a part of their normal GI flora and naturally shed Salmonella organisms in feces and saliva regardless of what food they eat. If a body’s immune system is sound, bad bacteria are typically kept in check by the good flora of the intestines.

As you know, I am a proponent for feeding dogs real food as much as it is financially feasible. And as you know, I think kibble, even the best, is still fast food processed from creamed mysterious body parts, chemicals and unpronounceable additives in factories that may or may not have good cleaning crews that then sits in bags for undisclosed periods of time in un-refrigerated warehouses. Even more unappealing than dirty lemons.

If you are a reasonably tidy sort and you personally manage what foods go into your family — and your dog is family, too — then you can be fairly content knowing that Salmonella is probably not going to be an issue. If your food came from a reputable source (hopefully, a local farm), if you handle it properly and prepare it well, whether you choose to feed raw or choose to cook for your Best Friend, you should not be faced with the symptoms. But kibble is currently the prime culprit in pet-related Salmonella outbreaks, not real food. Check out the FDA’s own website ( for a list of processed pet foods currently under recall for Salmonella, among other nasties. New recalls are added every day.

So why is the FDA picking on raw foods? Because there’s no lobby for real food. Because there’s a lot of money backing commercially prepared foods. For instance, the Associated Press reported that Schering-Plough Corp. spent half a million dollars in the third quarter of 2008 to lobby on veterinary products, drug pricing and food-based issues. One lobby group spent $500,000 in three months? Just imagine how much money is spent in total by Big Ag and Big Pharm lobbyists alone.  After all, the APPA (American Pet Products Association) projects $58.51 billion will be spent on US pets in 2014.  It’s a huge and growing market.  Everyone wants a bit of that Big Money.

But what about your Best Friend?  Feed raw if you think it will make your pet happier and healthier.  Just be smart, that’s all.

• Store raw food in the freezer and thaw in the refrigerator;

• Store kibble in a sealed container out of reach of children;

• Don’t allow children to handle the dog’s food. If they do, make sure they wash their hands afterward;

• Properly wash hands, all bowls, utensils and contact surfaces after handling the dog’s food (kibble or raw);

• Limit time raw food is held at room temperature during feeding to less than 2 hours and dispose of food left out for periods longer than this;

• Pick up your dog’s poop and always wash your hands with soap and warm water afterward.

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Faith like a mustard seed

By Ifetayo White

There is a huge movement going on in our country and even in the Lowcountry of folk who have a great faith in their own ability to heal and restore their bodies, minds, psyches, spirits and lives. There are those of us who are everyday living in the faith of an all-knowing power guiding and supporting the “wholeness” of our lives. Learning to trust this guidance and support asks us to take a faith walk — to take one step, then another, then another in faith.

My own faith walk in healing began when I was 30 years old and diagnosed with asthma. When the emergency room doctor declared that adult-onset asthma is usually stress related, I could only agree with his suggestion. I knew that I had chosen to remain in a marriage for security with a mate who, because of his own emotional immaturity, was emotionally abusive to me. My life was full of stress and pain. I felt stifled and unable to receive love. Thus, asthma showed up physically and metaphorically.  The first step of recovery was for me to find the courage to end this hopeless marriage.

It took three more years of going through the fears of not being capable of supporting myself and my daughters before I could ask for a separation.

For years my asthmatic condition was stabilized through the use of an atomizer and infrequent trips to the ER for adrenaline shots. In addition, my allergies to animals grew and it was more and more difficult to visit friends who lived with pets.  It became my prayer that I not live the rest of my life having such difficulties breathing.  Then things began to happen.

A high school friend who had begun practicing meditation in the mid-70s suggested that meditation may help my stress and anxiety.  At this point, I was so anxious raising my daughters and working in a stressful environment at the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, D.C., that my friend’s suggestion was received wholeheartedly. Committing to a practice of meditating for 20 minutes twice a day seemed daunting at the time, but like someone who makes a last ditch effort for life, I went for it.

When it appeared to me after a short while that I was making no progress, my friend encouraged me to not give up the consistency of the practice.  I continued in faith that something was happening.

Within the community of meditators in D.C., I met a woman who proposed to me that perhaps eliminating mucous-forming red meat from my diet might help my breathing. So, feeling I had nothing to lose, I eliminated beef from my diet.  From nowhere I began to feel the urge to stop eating pork and chicken and fish and, my favorite, turkey. Within two years, my asthma and allergies had disappeared from my body.  It has been almost 30 years since I experienced the empowerment of this life-changing healing. Even though I am no longer a vegetarian, meditation is still the foundation of my own wellness practices.

When we are ready, the teacher will appear. When we are ready, we will be led where to go next and what to do next.  During that time of need for healing, and during the many times of need for healing or renewal of my body, mind, emotions, relationships, finances or spirit, my intention or prayer for healing led me to what or who I needed.

Faith in a higher intelligence as energy flowing through me and my life and all of life has paved the path for me.  Know that this same intelligence is acting in and for you and your well being as well.  Listen to your inner guidance and follow — in faith.

Ifetayo White has been a holistic healing practitioner since 1989. She offers support to her community through classes and meditation at TheraVista, in addition to providing life empowerment coaching, Reiki training and treatment, trigger point therapy, integrative bodywork, childbirth preparation and education, birth and postpartum doula services through her businesses.  Ifetayo can be contacted at 843-271-1923 or

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Hoodlum in the house

By Tracie Korol

When my son turned 13, I bemoaned to a friend that a hulking stranger who ate enormous amounts of cereal at a sitting and smelled vaguely of monkeys had replaced my charming little boy.  She replied, “It’s normal. It makes it a joy when they leave.” Her son was 18 and off to college. She had survived and I settled in for the tumultuous teen years.

Of course, there are parallels in the dog world. The sweet and cuddly baby morphs into a teenage hoodlum in a New York minute. Your sweet, fuzzy puppy that stubbornly refused to walk to the end of the driveway a few days ago now adventures alone to the wonders of the neighbor’s compost pile.  The sound of the doorbell that was once ignored now elicits shrieks, mad scrambling and the inevitable crash as he bounces off the front window.  Depending on your dog’s individual personality and breed, starting at around five months, teenagerhood lasts anywhere from one year to three years. This is their experimental age. Oh, dear.

Each change you see tells you that puddles on the floor and high-pitched yaps in the pre-dawn hours are almost behind you. The future promises an adult dog, wise and compliant. Yet the present reality can be jarring.  As your pup continues to mature, you find yourself in the company of an animal you no longer understand, and one that is filled with boundless energy and the desire for all things doggy.

While many pups sail though adolescence with an angelic, cooperative attitude, most dogs frazzle their families with confusing, fluctuating behaviors.  That’s because major internal and external metamorphoses are going on, fueled by physiological changes.

Breed-specific characteristics such as a desire to herd, or adult traits such as scent marking, “turn on” or intensify.  Owners discover they are now being taken for walks, gasping for breath and hanging on for dear life. Squirrels take on a fascination as never before and new people and dogs are greeted with full body force or unfortunately sometimes, suspicion.  Responses to simple requests, such as going to crate or sitting on command, may result in a doggie version of “nuh-uh!” ranging from playful avoidance to downright refusal. A teen-beagle friend of mine expresses his willfulness for command by grabbing up the nearest fabric item — pillows, socks, his blanket — and running full-out through three levels of house. By the time he’s concluded his run, his owners have forgotten his command. Clever beagle, isn’t he?

The teen dog’s rapid changes, physically and mentally, qualify this period as a “critical” one. The socialization phase — from three to 12 weeks — is also “critical”. (Any fast organizational process in the development of a living creature is considered critical.) When behavior changes rapidly, something important is going on and owners must be just as fast to do what they can to modify pet’s behavior to their advantage.

In the first critical phase, your pup should have learned basic skills of good dog behavior — sit, come, leave it, potty outside, this is yours, this is mine and don’t jump on Grandma. Because you’ve taken your pup with you in your daily excursions and introduced him to variants of the human world, he is a congenial easy-going, “hey, what’s that?” kind of companion.  When the teen years hit, your pet will begin to test the parameters you’ve set and may attempt to create a few of his own behaviors through trial and error.

An undesirable behavior is most easily altered in the initial learning phase, before it stabilizes. And for sure, it can stabilize in a split second. An example is territorial barking, which can escalate rapidly if not checked.  The very first time sweet puppy lunges at the door, screaming hysterically at the mail carrier is the time to step in. Unchecked, you’ll have a frenzied, territorial adult dog who has taught himself a routine, difficult to modify. The best time for families to work with undesirable behavior is as it emerges otherwise the dog will gladly take on the job.

Families need to understand that teen-dogs want more freedom and will certainly test the limits. It’s up to their humans to use this period to guide development of adult behavior.  Spaying and neutering helps modify emerging territoriality, marking and wandering behaviors. Socialization must be continued to impress on the dog that the world does not end at the front door.  The world is big and wonderful but we all have to be polite about it.

Canine adolescence can’t be avoided, but the period is much more than just annoying.  It’s the time between puppy hood and adulthood during which good dog temperament stabilizes. Make the most of it.

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Leave fireworks to professionals this Fourth of July

By Dr. Mark S. Siegel

I recall a few extraordinary patients during my ophthalmology residency who have left an indelible memory. One such patient was a 13 year old who was playing with an M-80 explosive device that he placed in a soup can. The subsequent explosion sent shards of metal that were absorbed by his face and one of his eyes. The metal perforated his cornea and lens and lodged in the back wall of his eye in his retina. After multiple surgeries, he can see a hand waved in front of his face.

I really hate to be a buzz kill before this Fourth of July holiday — what should be a time when wonderful memories are made with family and loved ones.

Unfortunately, more than 9,000 fireworks injuries happen each year on average in the United States, with roughly 1 in 8 fireworks injuries harming the eyes, according to the most recent fireworks injury report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Common fireworks eye injuries include burns, lacerations, abrasions, retinal detachment, optic nerve damage and ruptured eyeballs.

Those injured are not necessarily handling the explosives themselves. In fact, nearly half of people injured by fireworks are bystanders, according to an international study. Children are frequent victims: 30 percent who sustained a fireworks injury near the Fourth of July holiday are ages 15 and under, according to the commission report.

Even sparklers can burn more than 1,000 degrees hotter than the boiling point of water. So, fireworks should not be thought of as toys, but devices that can cause third-degree burns. This is why people must be vigilant and take precautions to avoid the risk of serious eye injury.

Fireworks Safety Tips

The best way to avoid a potentially blinding fireworks injury is by attending a professional public fireworks show rather than purchasing fireworks for home use.

For those who attend professional fireworks displays and/or live in communities surrounding the shows:

• Respect safety barriers at fireworks shows and view fireworks from at least 500 feet away.

• Do not touch unexploded fireworks; instead, immediately contact local fire or police departments to help.

For those who decide to purchase consumer fireworks because they live in states where they are legal, such as South Carolina, follow the following safety tips to prevent eye injuries:

• Never let children play with fireworks of any type, even sparklers.

• Adults handling fireworks should always wear protective eyewear that meets the parameters set by the American National Standards Institute and ensure that all bystanders are also wearing eye protection.

• Leave the lighting of professional-grade fireworks to trained pyro technicians.

Remember, if an eye injury from fireworks occurs, seek medical attention immediately.

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What you give is what you get

By Susan Stone

Do you have a happy life? Do you look forward to the mystery of what each day will hold? If so, there is nothing you need to change. Keep up the good work!

If not, what is the point? When do you plan to begin your extraordinary life?

Being over 50 has come with so many gifts. Many of life’s struggles are behind me now. But, in looking around, age doesn’t seem to be a happiness indicator. For many people, the older they get, the more things they find to complain about.

You are getting from life exactly what you are giving to it. It is the law — Universal Law. I don’t remember hearing about this in school. In fact, I did not know about universal laws until I was almost 40. What a relief to know why my life was not working.

Even though God has a sense of humor, the universe does not. Its laws are cold and treat each one of us exactly the same. The universal laws level out the playing field, so to speak.

I used to think that life was unfair. It appeared that some people were just luckier than I was. It seemed very unjust that anyone was hungry, homeless or sick. It felt terrible to experience the untimely death of a young person. Until, I was introduced to the laws.

It doesn’t appear to matter whether we believe in them or not, we are bound to them. Like physical laws, they do not require our understanding. You do not have to understand the mechanics or the dynamics of gravity to be bound to it. When you drop a hammer, be sure your toes are somewhere else.

We heard a lot about the Law of Attraction when the book and movie “The Secret” became popular. For some, it was the first time they had ever heard of universal law. And so, I thank all of the authors for introducing the concept of “creating your own reality.” But today I would like to introduce you to one of the lesser known laws: The Law of Reciprocity. Without it, we may find creating our own reality a little challenging.

The Law of Reciprocity is all about giving and receiving. It sounds rather elementary, but many of us are not even able to receive a compliment without dodging it; we look down or away. We diminish it with “Oh, this old thing?”

Energetically, reciprocity is all about control, or the lack thereof. If you are giving, you are in control of who you give to, what you give, when you give and how much you give. When you are on the receiving end, you control nothing except your response. You cannot control the amount given, the time it is given, the who or the why. You are vulnerable at this point and, generally, humility is the last thing we think of as a tool. Why does a humble “thank you” not seem enough? We want to run out and do something for that person, or buy something to pay them back.

When you receive a kindness from anyone, remember that you are getting from this world exactly what you have put in to it. It is simply your kindness coming back around. Isn’t that cool?

Recently, Martha O’Regan wrote, “Pre-sent from the past and in to the future,” introducing the idea that the present moment was pre-sent by you. So, enjoy the rewards of being a kind person. Receive gladly the generosity you have shown others. When something seems unfair, go back and look where you sent that from. The answers will amaze you!

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Debunking common dental myths among adults

By Dr. Jennifer Wallace

When it comes to dental health, that “ignorance is bliss” approach should be reserved for children. For adults, dental myths that may lead to a wiser you and a healthier mouth.

“I haven’t seen the dentist in years so I don’t have any cavities.” NOT TRUE. Many dental issues do not cause pain until they have progressed very far, for example, a root canal. Gum disease, on the other hand, may not cause any pain at all. Seeing your dentist regularly is the only way to ensure you don’t have any of these issues. Your visit to the dentist should be based on your individual needs. Many studies have shown that plaque can build up in as little as 90 days, which leads to inflammation and infection that can affect your entire body. So if you want a really healthy smile, and body, having your teeth cleaned four times a year is the way to go.

“I don’t eat sweets, so I don’t need to brush as often.” NOT TRUE. Removing the bacteria from your mouth is important no matter what you eat, because many foods are broken down into sugars. What are the worst offenders for your grill? Foods that stick to the teeth like raisins and fruit rollups, along with foods that have a high acid content, such as citrus fruits.

“Flossing is as important as brushing.” TRUE. Flossing removes almost half of the bacteria and food particles that are found in your mouth after you eat; not flossing means you’re doing half the job.

“Hard bristled toothbrushes clean better.” NOT TRUE (unless you are cleaning the grout on the bathroom tile floor instead of your teeth!) The softer the better for bristles — hard or medium bristles can damage teeth and worsen gum recession due to a traumatic occlusion. Also, studies show that high-quality electric toothbrushes with soft bristles are a great investment because they clean better than manual tooth brushes.

“Mouthwash is the best way to freshen your breath.” NOT TRUE. Most mouthwashes cover bad breath but they do not treat the underlying cause. Bad breath can be caused by bacteria in your mouth, cavities, gum disease, or it may be a sign of other medical issues. Your dentist can help rule out dental issues as the cause. If you like using mouthwash, go with an alcohol-free brand, because the alcohol in mouthwash will dry out your mouth. And while we are talking about fresh breath, sugar free gum with Xylitol is an effective way to get a clean mouth feeling if you can’t brush.

“Avoiding dark liquids and coffees or drinking through a straw will keep your teeth from getting dark.” MOSTLY TRUE. It’s more than coffee, tea and soda that stain our teeth. Teeth that have wear and enamel loss tend to be darker because those teeth have less of a protective layer against those staining liquids. Foods such as berry pies, soy sauces, red sauces and mustards/ketchups can cause teeth to darken over time. The best way to whiten your teeth and keep them white is to visit your dentist and have him do an in office whitening or make you custom trays. There are some over the counter whitening products like whitening toothpastes, but they typically do very little to whiten teeth. Use regular toothpaste with fluoride to keep your teeth looking great and cavity-free.

Dr. Wallace practices at Palmetto Smiles of Beaufort and can be contacted at 843-524-7645 or

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What is a holistic vet?

By Tracie Korol

When I came to the Lowcountry seven years ago, the word “organic” had not yet arrived. It is fairly common now though used in a fairly cavalier manner as is “natural” (a word that means nothing) and now, “holistic”, a word that has been adopted to placate a growing demand for “wellness”, and you know how I feel about that word. So, what does holistic mean now that we see it attached to local veterinary practices?  What should it mean?

Traditional veterinary practice (conventional) is much like what Western medicine is for humans. The focus is aimed at determining what the problem is and then trying to solve it. It is based primarily in pharmacological medicine. A traditional veterinarian may very well have your pet’s best interest at heart, but he or she is sometimes at a loss as to how best solve a chronic or undetermined condition. Western veterinary medicine offers all the diagnostic doo-dads — ultrasound, X-ray, MRI, chemotherapy, blood transfusions, all the way up to organ transplants and, as many of us know, tend to run up the bill. They will vaccinate pets every year and sell you all kinds of pesticides to put in or on your animal.

Holistic veterinarians practice a more Eastern thought in that the body is treated as an individual, and as a whole. While two different patients may present similar symptoms, their respective treatments may be quite dissimilar. In addition, holistic veterinarian practice is centered on keeping the pet healthy overall to prevent issues from starting. When a chronic issue surfaces, holistic veterinarians are likely to look first to whole food diets, herbal supplements,  nutraceuticals and complementary and alternative therapies such as chiropractic, homeopathy, acupuncture, essential oils and energy healing (Reiki).  They do not over-vaccinate nor do they recommend poisons oral or topical.

Diseases are seen as a natural course of life and not necessarily something to ‘solve.’ Moreover, health and disease are viewed as a natural rhythm of life and fully inter-related. Holistic medicine is about finding the root cause of a problem and treating from there, not simply treating the symptom. Often, it’s not the “quick fix” Americans have come to expect. For instance, steroids will stop your dog from itching in a few hours but why is your dog itching in the first place? For sure, you’ll be back in three weeks for another shot when Doodle begins to dig at her belly. A holistic vet works with the animals than rather than do battle against their disease symptoms. He’ll ask about food, lifestyle, reaction to stimuli (heat and cold, sound, dampness, etc.). He’ll ask about your dog’s spirit.

An integrative approach is one that combines conventional practice with holistic practice. These vets have a firm ground in traditional medicine, but recognize that holistic medicine is a valuable addition and, in some cases, be the best course of action. This type of veterinarian realizes that conventional and holistic medicine can complement one another. This is the kind of doc I look for.

I worked with and trained under many fine (and now famous) integrative vets in New England and was disheartened to learn that like “organic”, holistic hadn’t yet made it to this area. However, I recently found Charlie Timmerman, DVM, member of the AHVMA (American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association) at the Aiken Veterinary Clinic.

Seven of my dog friends are now friends of Dr. Charlie. Four of those friends were sent home to die, one had chronic itches, one has heart disease and one a rare auto-immune disorder. The dogs sent home to die from various cancers have all had a drastic reduction in tumor size, they’re healthier than they have ever been (most likely), some have had ancillary ailments vanish along the way and all are doing well.  My itchy friend is in a one-year program to forever eradicate the cause of her “allergy”, a process that involves homeopathy, auto-sanguis treatment and a recently added clinical trial. None of the treatments involve synthetic pharmaceuticals and all included a drastic change of diet — healthy fresh foods and raw proteins. The owners of the death sentence dogs are delighted they have a few more years with their Best Friends. And, it’s all pretty easy and infinitely cheaper.  It takes a little more time, but I’m willing to give time to the creatures I love.

As for Dr. Charlie, he’s in the office Mondays and Thursdays.

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Is someone poking your Zen Bubble?

By Martha O’Regan

Is someone poking your Zen bubble? If so, give yourself permission to simply declare that your “Zen Bubble” is yours and others are not allowed to poke on it, squeeze it, stomp on it or push it into a corner — it is yours to protect at all costs. Inside that “Zen Bubble” is the home to your mind, body and spirit that are designed to work together harmoniously, as long as there are no interferences from within or “out with”

Martha O'Regan of TheraVista.

Martha O’Regan of TheraVista.

negative influences.

Our “Zen Bubble” is the energy field or aura that surrounds each one of us, both individually and collectively, when connected as a family, a team, a class, or as united spectators at a concert or sporting event. It tends to extend farther in front and above us and is always changing based on our personal thoughts and emotions as well as those around us. It can’t be seen by most, but it is measurable and able to be photographed with special Kirlian photography. Our physical health and well being is often a reflection of what is happening in the field around us. When we are surrounded with love and support, our field can be intertwined with the cohesive positive energy of love and we feel good. Conversely, when in the presence of discontent and upset, the field gets compressed, giving us feelings of anxiety, agitation, tension or “nervous stomach.”

The auric field is highly sensitive to its surroundings. For example, have you ever been at a function where a stranger enters and, for no obvious reason, you are instantly drawn to that person? They have an attractable energy field that connects to yours and pulls you in. The opposite can be true when you enter a space where an argument has just occurred or, for no apparent reason, you just get the weebie jeebies. Your field is immediately squeezed and may be repelling you from the perceived “danger” it senses.  Or, maybe you are walking in the woods and instinctively put your hand up to push a way a branch that you sensed before you saw.  Or, you have the music cranked up while busy on a project but able to sense that someone walked in a room even though you didn’t hear them.

A great way we like demonstrate someone’s energy field is to use a pair of wire coat hangers like a dowsing rod — really, it works. We have the person just stand there being themselves, then think of something that is frustrating and then about something that brings about joy. The field changes instantaneously, compressing for negative patterns and expanding for positive ones. We then have that person think of a goal they are working on and find the distance of the field. Two groups are then asked to take turns standing behind that person, one group simply thinking “I support you” without even knowing the person or the goal and the other group thinking about something that frustrated them that day. The edges of the field will exponentially expand or contract depending on positive or negative support demonstrating the effects of others fields in the presence of our own. They can either squeeze our dreams or help us fly, depending on their field in that moment.

We all have the capacity to alter any given moment for ourselves and others depending on the field of thoughts and emotions that we carry within and around our own personal Zen Bubble. Use it to check in and feel what you feel. Do you feel open or tight around the heart/chest area? Are you able to speak with ease or do you suddenly get a “frog” in your throat? These are our built-in indicators of whether we are surviving or thriving in that moment.

So, next time someone is poking your Zen Bubble, simply breathe deeply and expand your bubble with a positive thought or by thinking the word “love.”  You don’t have to send the person love, you are simply expanding your field in an effort to have the other person move on or help shift their energy. Give it a try.

Live Awake … Have Fun!

Martha O’Regan is Your B.E.S.T. Life Coach offering a unique approach to assisting you in creating the life you choose. Call her at 843-812-1328 or email

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The intersection of What the Heck and Why Not

By Cherimie Crane Weatherford

There is a certain purity in the dark throes of exhaustion, a time in which there is no desire for pleasantries, pretension fades into perspective and instinct prevails. A gentle nudge from the edge of reason and a slight thump from the hand of humanity is all that threads the final cloth of the quilt of life. Day turns to night and night turns to day with no discrimination or differentiation. We are able to compartmentalize, categorize and rationalize events by intensity of action. That which requires little energy becomes sanctuary from that which requires thought. The intersection of What the Heck and Why Not is poetically named parenthood.

Having now traveled along the parenthood path for the entirety of eight full months, I am an obvious expert in everything I don’t know, should have known, should have done and certainly shouldn’t have said. It is a badge of courage I wear proudly, when I don’t forget it in her diaper bag. The adorable books coated in fairy tales and free advice that lined her nursery shelves are now her basic chew toys and weapons to wield upon my once spoiled dog. The closet of once pristinely precious clothes are now characterized by the degree of stain, since baby food takes no prisoners. The crib that I wistfully watched for three months is now seen by its tiny occupant as a mortal enemy of which to avoid at all costs. Those sweet lace-trimmed headbands and bows are but a tool of distraction while attempting to put a diaper on a little lady who prefers au natural over a covered derriere. Sweet, soothing lullabies have given way to creative ad libs that will never earn me Mom of the Year. This new job requires an all new skill set that changes the moment any mastery occurs.

Having always been somewhat of a quick study, parenthood baffles me into an oblivion. Ingrained in my very being is the belief that nothing is impossible, yet opening a tiny container of sweet potato puree while holding the future kickboxing queen of the world is, for all practical purposes, impossible.

Finding common ground with any adversary has been relatively easy for me. However, finding common ground with a tea cup version of myself over the necessity of sleep has proven to be a battle I shall wage with little hope of victory and no hope of surrender. Proudly, I implemented every Googled remedy of proper parenting only to end the day violating every recommended procedure given. Clearly, parenting is subjective.

Silence was once my solace, now it is my cue to rush to see what calamity has ensued. My life once had a clear rhythm, a simplicity of being and moments of rest. The only rhythm that remains now is the cadence of my feet back and forth to the changing station. It is a glorious whirlwind of pride and fear doused in the storms of self-doubt. It is a true test of character, a trial of triumph and a tale of a Mom in the making. There shall be epic battles, moments of valor and twists and turns that will pale even the greatest of novels — and that is just during the fastening of the car seat.

I have met my match, my most worthy of opponents, my greatest challenge of all and she has familiar eyes, a formidable determination and a flair for the dramatic. She has turned my world upside down, my days inside out and my home into a domicile of bibs and blankies. I will never be the person I was before, and for that I am immensely thankful, eternally exhausted and fully accepting of the complexity of sweet potato puree.

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