Hair…Part Two (get it?!?) Or How My Gray Hair Went Away

I'm gray


So it began. The tender sprouts of gray began to emerge in September of 2013, barely a shimmer of sparkling light as the sun passed over my bare scalp. I was on a trip with my son, just the two of us, when I shouted out in the hotel room one morning. “Come look. I think my hair is growing back!!” Sure enough, he confirmed that he too could see the tiniest spikes of hair emerging from the barren desert under my bandanna.

Now at first I was thrilled. I swore that those new locks were coming in a lovely silvery blonde. And I managed to keep deluding myself in this way for a few more weeks. But the reality dawned on me fast and furious. I was not going to be a Marilyn Monroe bombshell blonde, but a Meryl Streep “The Devil Wears Prada” grey. Yes, all those lovely blonde strands were silver!


At first, I toyed with the idea of keeping my new hair. I got a lot of compliments. But, as you know if you’ve ever endured cancer, you just want things to go back to how they were before you were a patient. Back to ignorant bliss, and some sense of normalcy. So…I mentioned to my mom that I had decided to color my hair. She found me a great stylist on a visit to Florida, and I was tickled pink with the result. There I was! Blonde and looking like my former self at last.

Now, I’m not known for being the most practical person in the world. It dawned on me after the glow wore off that it is next to impossible to find someone who does good color, especially over all grey. So, what did I do? You got it. I trekked back and forth to Florida from Asheville about every three months to maintain my new look. I joked with Mr. Gary that he was the most expensive stylist in the country!

Fast forward to September of 2014, which was the last time I was able to get to Sarasota to the salon. I’ve been meaning to do it, but my practice has picked up and there just hasn’t been time. I kept checking my hairline, just knowing that I would inevitably start to see the solid wall of grey appear.


Meanwhile, I started using Young Living essential oils at the beginning of this year, both personally and in my practice, with phenomenal results. One of my absolute favorite products is the Ningxia Red super-antioxidant, essential oil infused drink that Young Living makes. Two samples came in my Premium Starter Kit, so I drank them and didn’t really give it much thought.


If you’ve been following my essential oil series here on the blog, you know that my hair began to come in fuller and grow faster, especially around that front part area where so many “mature” women become follicularly challenged. In the past few weeks, it has occurred to me that it has been 7 months since I last colored my hair, and that wall of grey…well, it has yet to show up.

Growing in light auburn

Now I can still see some silvery strands woven throughout, but the most lovely shade of light auburn has started to appear at the roots. And that shade, my friends, has not been seen on this head since high school! What?

The longer I use these oils, the more I am blown away. The effects with me are more subtle than for some because I am in pretty good health to begin with. Oh yeah, except the whole cancer thing. But when I do get a sign, it shows up in a powerful way.

food equiv ningxia

What’s the mystery behind erasing the grey? I don’t believe it’s anything mystical or other worldly. It’s a matter of nutrition. Ningxia Red is made from wolfberry puree with berries sourced from the Ningxia province in China, which boasts the largest per capita population of 100 year-olds anywhere on the planet. It has the highest antioxidant score of any food or supplement you can buy.

compare antioxidants ningxia

Ningxia Red also boasts a combination of Grape Seed Extract, blueberry, plum, cherry, aronia and pomegranate juices, along with orange, yuzu, tangerine, and lemon essential oils. These ingredients work synergistically to support:

  • normal digestive health
  • healthy immune function
  • normal brain function
  • healthy cardiovascular function
  • healthy joint support
  • sleep enhancement
  • improved insulin function


In addition, this powerful combination of ingredients works together to quench free radicals and prevent the cell damage that leads to mutations. And, it boasts a full and natural complement of key enzymes, vitamins and minerals that are easily absorbed.

ningxia study

The best part? Well, other than the giant dose of nutrition and the great hair. This is better than juicing! You heard me. I have a brand new juicer that has sat untouched since I started drinking this stuff. Why? Because I don’t like juice unless it has some fruit, and even though it’s healthy, it delivers a whopping dose of sugar straight to the bloodstream. This is exactly what I’m trying to avoid as a cancer survivor, feeding the cancer cells their favorite food, sugar. Ningxia Red is sweetened with stevia and has only 2 grams of sugar per serving!

If you’re ready to feel stronger, sleep better, and give yourself a brand new lease on life without eating 12 heads of broccoli (don’t yell, vegans, I love broccoli), click here to get started on your own journey. Warning, feeling good is addictive!

Pardon Me, Can I Have Your Immune System?


What if I told you that you could harness the incredible power of a healthy immune system that didn’t even belong to you? Kind of like a rent-a-cop for your white blood cells? Um, yes please!

Well, the good news is that you can, without harvesting organs or taking anyone hostage. Because your new healthy immune system would go to waste in prison, or at worst be traded for cigarettes.

The Guards Have Left the Building 

As many of you reading this blog know all too well, a body assaulted by chemotherapy and radiation doesn’t fight infection very well. You become incredibly familiar with your dwindling “White Blood Cell Count” as you trudge to your next appointment and cross your fingers.

What you may not know is that your immune system had a glitch long before you were ever diagnosed, while you still looked and felt “healthy”. A properly functioning immune system has white cells that function as “guards at the gate”, kind of like the ones you see at a military base entrance.


Surprise! Everybody Has Cancer 

I hate to break this news, but we all have rogue, or “cancer” cells floating around our bodies all the time. When our physiology is functioning normally, our immune cells, those “guards”, recognize the cancer cells as enemies and promptly mount an attack to get rid of them. When something breaks down in that process, the cancer cells are able to gain a foothold and multiply out of control.

So when the doctor tells you, “Congratulations! We got all of the cancer.” or, “You’re cancer-free”, that is a fairy tale. There’s no way to guarantee that one of those “bad cells” didn’t survive the treatment. As a matter of fact, it’s almost a certainty that it did.

Excuse Me, Mr. Plant, I Need To Borrow Your Immune System

What can you do to prevent cancer or keep it from coming back? There’s no one, simple answer to that question. Just as there were multiple factors that allowed cancer to invade your body, there are multiple things you must do to keep it in check and co-exist.

One of the most powerful weapons I have in my anti-cancer arsenal is my Young Living essential oils collection. Why?

Inside every plant, shrub, tree, or flower is a source of energy, life and healing compounds. The essential oil is like the blood and immune system of the plant. In the plant, it seals cuts and heals wounds, provides nutrients and oxygen for cellular regeneration, and guards against unwanted harmful invaders.

The essential oil is 200-10,000 times more powerful than an herb from the same plant. Therefore, it has incredible medicinal power and a little goes a long way.

In 20 seconds, the oil can penetrate the tissues of the skin and get into the bloodstream, and it is one of the few substances with particles small enough to penetrate the blood-brain barrier. This is how certain oils affect brain inflammation, emotions, focus, and concentration.

Essential oils are among the most powerful anti-oxidants on earth. Some are antibacterial, some are antiviral. In addition to supporting the immune system, they benefit the body in many ways: relaxing muscle, helping to maintain normal blood sugar levels, soothing aches and pains, aiding digestion, promoting sleep, slowing aging, etc.

I Don’t Have Time To Squeeze Oil Out of Plants!

man in lab

That’s quite a picture! You in your secret basement lab wringing out some poor peppermint leaves into a jar. Let’s not go there.

How do they get the essential oils out of the plants?

Essential Oils are extracted in many ways, but the primary method is steam distillation. But there are a number of ways that the oils can be grown and extracted that are very cost efficient and produce large amounts of cheap oil, such as:

  • Using Chemical Solvents. These mix with the oil in the final product and leave behind chemical residue which doesn’t have to be listed in the ingredients.
  • Diluting the pure essential oil with another oil or a synthetic substance (think perfumy) to make it go farther. Again, this won’t be on the label!
  • Steam distilling the same batch of plants over and over again. This would be like using the same coffee grinds to brew six pots of coffee. That sixth batch would be pretty weak and useless.
  • Spraying the crops with chemical pesticides to increase crop yields.

Young Living doesn’t use any of these methods. They sell only the first distillation, and no chemical pesticides or fertilizers are ever used. As a matter of fact, they use their own oils as pesticides, and most weeds are still picked by hand. Pretty rare for a large corporation!

Young Living Lavender Fields, Utah

Young Living Lavender Fields, Utah

Interested in the science? I’ll link to a few abstracts below for you to peruse:

1) Anti-Cancer activity of essential oils: a review

2) Immunomodulatory activity of geranial, geranial acetate, gingerol, and eugenol essential oils: evidence for humoral and cell-mediated responses.

3) Anticancer activity of essential oils and their chemical components – a review

If any of this strikes a chord in you, and you want to get started with your own oil journey, check out the Essential Oils tab on my home page to sign up.

It Puts The Oil On Its Skin And….It’s Hair Grows Thicker?!?

3 Years Ago

3 Years Ago. Notice That Sexy Bald Spot Up Front

Mother Nature Wants You Dead!

Perhaps some of you out there can relate. As a woman ages becomes wiser, Mother Nature starts to play these cruel little jokes on her just for fun. You see, after 40, you’re washed up! So sad, too bad. Once you’ve birthed them babies, you have no purpose left in the strictly biological sense. You’ve seductively flipped your long, luxurious locks for the last time, sister!

One day, you look in the mirror, and you start to notice just a tiny bit less hair up front than you used to have. It’s subtle at first. You can do a comb-over and keep things in your denial box, for a while. A couple years pass, and there ain’t a comb big enough to cover up that mess! You’re…offcially…old.

Well, that was happening to me at a fairly rapid pace. I would take a shower and have to hold hairs aside so they wouldn’t go down the drain and clog it when they came out. I’m not talking about a handful; just enough to be depressing.

 I Only Thought I Had Bad Hair Until Chemo

Wanna complain to the Universe about your misfortune? Whammo! It can most definitely get worse. After the top picture, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I underwent a year of treatment including double mastectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation, followed by reconstruction. All in all, it could have been a far more devastating experience. I took care of myself with food, supplements and exercise to get through it relatively unscathed. One of the worst parts? Losing my hair.

I know, I know, that sounds really shallow. But, not only is a woman’s hair one of her most powerful outward signs of femininity, it’s loss also reminds her daily that she is sick. As long as you have hair on your head, you can be undergoing the most rigourous treatments and still feel normal. When you lose it, you suddenly become a “patient”, someone to be pitied.

Once chemo was over, my hair started to grow back, very curly I might add. At first, it looked like I would end up with better hair than before. No loose locks in the shower, no thin spot up front. I was secretly tickled.

Then, over the past several months, as my hair has gotten longer (and been colored enhanced), I started noticing that my part was getting wider again. And I was getting some hair on my hands when I washed it. “Oh no! Not Again.”

Oil To The Rescue

ningxia red

I figured it was just my destiny as a menopausal crone to be follicularly challenged. Well, over the last few weeks, I have noticed those little baby hairs coming in fast and furious at my hairline. And…my part is filling in. At first I thought it was just my imagination, but now it’s unmistakable. The only thing I have done differently is diffuse and apply my Young Living Oils daily and drink the super-antioxidant, essential-oil infused Ningxia Red drink by the same company.

You can hear life-changing testimonials from other people, but until you start to experience your own health shifts, they’re just that…stories. I’ve only been using these oils for about a month and a half, and I feel better on the inside, but I’ve been waiting for a sign, an “Aha!” moment. Well today, the outward signs of health are mirroring the changes going on inside. “Aha!”


I’m putting the cart before the horse a little bit (again, I know!) with this post. We had really just begun our oily education. But I felt compelled to share this with you today.

Coming up..The what, why and how of essential oils. Then we’ll move on to individual oils and their unique uses and health/beauty benefits, including cancer prevention and possibly…adjunct treatment!

If at any point you feel like you’re excited and want to give these a try, e-mail me and I’ll tell you the best and most economical way get started with the company I use for my family and my patients.

It Puts The Oil On Its Skin…The Cheap, Adulterated Oil…Mwahahaha


Take One Down And Pass It Around!

 At this point, some of you are thinking “Whoa there, crazy oil lady!  I just came to this blog because it popped up on my Google search for ‘boobs’. Why do I care about this? I don’t even know what an essential oil really is, let alone how it could possibly work on my health issues. Why should I worry about which company to use or how expensive they are? Aren’t you jumping the gun here?”

In the alternate scenario (in my head), you’re exclaiming “Wow! I’m digging all this information about the oily goodness. I never imagined that this tiny bottle could offer so much healing potential. But how do I know which one to use for what? And how can I be sure that I’m getting a quality product? Please educate me, Oh Oily One.”

Obviously, this is a subject that is very important to me. And I promise, by the end of my series, you will be at least somewhat intrigued about what these oils can offer you and your loved ones And you’ll be armed with the knowledge to use them wisely. I’m doing this post first, which seems to be “premature oilation”, to prevent you from being the star in the following scenario:

A Disaster Unfolds

You’ve always been on the cutting edge, you overachiever you, and you rush right over to the health food store and snag yourself a bottle of lavender, excited about cracking the seal and getting a better night’s sleep. And, you get it at a great price (far less than what your friend at work paid). You bring your bottle to work proudly. Your friend, who claims to be some sort of oil guru, takes one look at it and gives you a disapproving eye roll.

I know none of your friends would do this; it’s a  hypothetical story.

She starts her spiel about the differences in the quality of essential oils, and you politely listen while you think about the doughnut waiting for you in the break room. You just can’t get past one question: “Why would I spend $28 for a bottle of lavender when I just got the same thing for $9.95? I’m obviously the smarter one here!” There can’t be that much difference between oils. Can there?

ess oils quality pyramid

A Rose By Any Other Name…

Shakespearean sonnets aside, a rose is most definitely not a rose.  It takes 5,000 pounds of rose petals to produce one pound of rose oil. And to completely extract the oil without compromising its purity and fragrance requires a meticulous two-part distillation process. Quality rose oil is one of the most expensive oils you can buy. If you are buying a 15 ml bottle of this oil for $50, you can be sure you have wasted your hard-earned money.

But It Smells Good To Me!

Here’s the issue. Aromatherapy is a huge buzzword right now. Due to its popularity, an ever-growing number of marketers have jumped on the essential oils bandwagon in search of an easy profit. Some companies market essential oils that have been cut with synthetic chemicals or blended with cheaper hybrids.  This is very common with lavender. The FDA only requires that a bottle of essential oil contain 5% of the actual oil to be labeled 100% pure, meaning that the 5% is indeed pure. This makes it very difficult to tell what you’re getting.

Let’s take that bottle of lavender, for example. Most of the lavender oil sold today is actually a hybrid called lavandin, not lavender. It’s grown and distilled in China, Russia, and Tasmania, and brought into France, where it is heated to evaporate the camphor, cut with synthetic linolyl acetate to improve the fragrance, added to propylene glycol or SD40, DEP, and DOT (solvents that increase the volume), and then sold to you as lavender oil. You don’t know the difference, and you’re thrilled that you’ve paid less than $10.

Frankincense is another example, and one I’ll be referring to again because it is oil numero uno in my cancer prevention toolkit. The frankincense resin that’s sold in Somalia costs between $30,000 and $35,000 per ton. A great deal of time- 12 hours or more- is required to properly steam distill the essential oil from the resin, which makes it very expensive. Frankincense oil that sells for less than $25 per ounce is heavily adulterated with chemical solvents to make its production cheaper. It is then further diluted with more chemicals, such as diethylphthalate or dipropylene glycol. That just sounds healthy, doesn’t it?

Aromatherapy Is Far More Than Just The Smell

There are at least 200 companies marketing essential oils in North America. However, most of these oils are of the lowest grade and quality.  While some of these products may have a pleasing fragrance, the truth is that they have little to no therapeutic benefit. In the worst case scenario, they can actually be harmful, causing anything from allergic reactions to endocrine disruption.

label comparison oils

The picture on the right is a Young Living bottle.

What’s the consumer to do? Since I can hear you getting restless out there, I’m going to finish up this post tomorrow. Then we’ll move on to specifics, get down to the nitty gritty, get our hands oily. Ok, I’m done. Sorry about that.

Anti-Cancer Diet: Which Foods Target Cancer Stem Cells?

Today I am re-posting a link to a subject that is near and dear to my heart, cancer nutrition. The author, Harriet Sugar Miller, has been a cancer survivor for two decades and, according to her blog, is preparing to launch a digital book about cancer-fighting foods and recipes.

This article is very pertinent to those of us who have been through conventional cancer treatments. In reviewing the research, I have learned that not only do conventional treatments often fail to kill cancer stem cells, but they can make any remaining cells more aggressive. Therefore, it’s imperative for us to find alternative ways of targeting these cells with food and supplements. This article provides some guidance.

Anti-Cancer Diet: Which Foods Target Cancer Stem Cells?.

Now Look What Cancer Made Me Do…


I’m about to step off a precipice into a free-fall. Where I’ll land, nobody knows. Will there be a net? Maybe. I feel a bit like Alice in Wonderland sans acid. At least I hope no giant white rabbits will appear in this gig.


My odyssey into becoming a full-fledged chiropractor has been longer and more filled with twists and turns than a Swiss mountain road. I’ve been doing it in a half-assed, chicken shit kind of way for years; a small home office with a few family members and friends of friends. If it had been my sole source of income all this time, let’s just say Alpo would be looking mighty good for dinner about now. Thankfully, I’ve been employed in a hospital lab as well, so I can afford groceries.


Oh, I’ve had plenty of legitimate reasons for dragging my feet. Let’s see. I got pregnant right out of chiropractic school with the idea of working at the lab for a couple of years and then starting my practice when the baby was a little older. That was planned. My oldest child died four days after she was born. That was not planned. That one threw me for a loop. I finally recovered enough to think about a practice again. I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Ok, God, time to challenge someone else!

Well, here I am, still standing and rebelling. And I’m pulling myself back up to try again. I have had many opportunities come calling in the past few weeks, and I’m listening very carefully. It looks like I may be getting an office next month in a holistic practice including two acupuncturists and a massage therapist.

Holy crapballs, what am I doing? I’m terrified, yet exhilarated. The two crazy people in my head have been arguing non-stop for days.

“Stop! Are you nuts? It’s the holiday season in a bad economy and you want to start a business? Why don’t you just slit your wrists while you’re at it?” (I know, this one is a bit dramatic.)

“I know it’s a little crazy, but it can’t be a coincidence that I keep getting offers to rent space. The universe is sending out lots of signals, and I shouldn’t ignore them.” (This one is a little naive but very sweet.)

It’s true though. I feel like someone is reaching right down from the cosmos and kicking me hard in the ass. And I have a strong feeling that person is my son. At least I’d really like to think so. He was my biggest cheerleader for starting a practice while he was alive, and he is no doubt wondering what the holdup is.

It would seem that I had to wait for the cancer to reveal it’s true purpose. I’ve written about how this horrible diagnosis has made some positive changes in my life quite unexpectedly. And they continue to unfold in delicate layers. As a result of this experience, I have developed a strong desire to help others through cancer treatment and recovery. I’ve spent years doing continuing education in nutrition, supplementation, and functional medicine. And yet I had no direction for all that knowledge, just a closet full of lecture notes and a dwindling bank account.

In the past year I have put much of that knowledge to the test in designing my own “integrative” treatment plan. I’ve been the ultimate guinea pig, navigating the taboo world of alternative medicine in an effort to salvage my body from the  wreckage of conventional cancer treatment. And I must say, I haven’t fared too badly. I’ve missed less than a week of work through chemo and radiation so far. What a shame that people have to search for holistic treatment like drug addicts in a dark alley or else face the disdain of theIr doctors. I want to be the “go-to woman” in my community.

So what will I do when that first cancer patient shows up looking for help? Give her an awesome adjustment, of course. And hold her hand and tell her it will be okay when she doesn’t know if she can do it. And arm her with information so she will be prepared and not be as terrified. And together we’ll create a plan to help her not just survive cancer, but to thrive in spite of it. Now that is a vocation.


An Afternoon With the Great White Hope


Last week, in my sepsis-induced stupor, I dragged myself to an afternoon appointment with a new doctor, an integrative MD. Although my temperature was 102, I wasn’t about to call it off; I’d already put down a $150 deposit on my credit card. As I told you last time, the visit was exorbitantly expensive and not covered by insurance. So was it worth it in the end?

dog poop3

The short answer- yes and no. Hey, I never said I was good at making a decision. In all fairness, I felt like a pile of dog crap in the middle of the interstate that had been sitting in the sun all day and had been run over hundreds of times, so I probably didn’t get as much out of our talk as I otherwise might have. I think my opening line to the doctor was “I just want you to know that I’m not going to be my usual animated self today. Do you have any ibuprofen? Or…is that a no-no here?” Thank God he wasn’t above ibuprofen. It saved me from lying on the floor during our consultation.

My appointment lasted over 2 hours. Brownie points for him. He asked me what my main concern was in coming to see him. Well, um, let’s see, there’s THE CANCER! Yes, but what did I hope to accomplish? Perhaps strengthening my destroyed immune system, finding a way to deal with the sudden and unwelcome death of my ovaries, and, I don’t know, preventing a recurrence of THE CANCER! Yes, I’m a smartass. It’s kind of my thing.

pill purse

My New Purse

First, we went through all the usual review of systems. How’s your diet? Do you drink? What other medical issues do you have? What medications are you taking? What’s your family history? Then he wanted to see my supplements, which I had brought in a grocery bag. I felt like kind of a weirdo or a super-healthy bag lady dragging that in from the car. He laughed, “Oh, that’s nothing. People come in with suitcases full of pills”. Ok, so as supplement junkies go, I don’t qualify for rehab just yet.

He carefully examined each bottle, after which he told me that he approved of the combination I was taking but would add a couple more, namely DIM and quercetin. He also suggested that I change my co-Q10 to a 100mg gel instead of a capsule. I thought he would frown on the Nature’s Valley brand that I use for a few of the more common nutrients, but he didn’t judge. In my opinioin, Vitamin D3 is not going to change much over brands, but something like coQ10 or echinacea can vary widely in quality, so I go for high quality on those.

Next, I asked his opinion about my upcoming radiation. He didn’t outright tell me that he wasn’t a fan. I’d say he hedged his bets. “It works well for some people, but not for others.” Thanks. What a relief! Not. He did say something interesting, though. Keep in mind that this is an MD educated at Cornell, so he has to be careful in his assessment of his colleagues. “I will tell you that the radiation guys tend to sugar coat the side effects more than any other doctor involved in cancer care. Even more than the chemo docs. I would be very aggressive in getting your questions answered so you feel comfortable”. Now we’re getting somewhere.

radiation cartoon

Next, we turned to the evil menopause monster. I say that, but truly the symptoms come and go. The hot flashes at this point are annoying but not unbearable. The worst ones are those that happen in my sleep. I sometimes wake up soaking wet, freezing, and I have to change my shirt. Thank goodness that isn’t every night. My mood is also undpredictable. Some days I feel fine, although a sappy commercial will make me cry. And some days I just want to run away and start a new life somewhere.

Dr. Cornell pleasantly surprised me on this front. He said that he would be very comfortable prescribing estriol, the weakest and most beneficial estrogen. He is familiar with the work of Jonathan Wright, MD, and even produced a copy of his book, “Stay Young and Sexy With Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement”. I was impressed. He told me that he wanted to do a little more research on using it instead of/with Tamoxifen and we would discuss it further at my follow-up visit, which is in mid-October. I may never use it, but it’s so nice to have options and not to be looked at like I have 3 heads.


Finally, I asked about diet in relation to breast cancer, fully expecting to hear, “You have to go low-fat vegan immediately. No dairy, no meat, no sugar, kale out the wazoo, etc.” I braced myself. Again, I was pleasantly surprised. “I believe that you definitely should be eating as much organic produce as you can, and, of course, grass-fed natural meats.” What? Hold the phone. Meat? Could it be?

“You mean I don’t have to become a vegetarian?” I asked, afraid I had misunderstood. “No. I believe diet is only one piece of this puzzle. Look how many variations of diet there are in different cultures and in different parts of the world. Many of these people live long, healthy lives with very low incidence of disease. If it were that easy, we could all eat one diet to avoid cancer. That isn’t the case.” Finally! Someone has ideas that are in line with my own on the subject. Do I believe I need to seriously increase the amount of vegetables in my diet? You bet! Do I also believe that I can never have a piece of meat or cheese again? No way.

So did I learn a ton of new information from my visit? Not really. I’m still waiting for the practitioner who will blow me away with a wealth of knowledge. Maybe I sell my own knowledge short. I guess I really do know a lot about health. I did, however, find someone whose views resonate well with my own and who doesn’t think I’m completely off my rocker for not wanting to just go along and shut up.

Like that was ever going to happen!