Benefits of daily walks with your dog(s)

Benefits of daily walks with your dog(s)

This photo was taken on my favorite stretch of my favorite trail in my favorite State Park in Tennessee. If you were to scroll through my photos app, it would be very evident that my dogs are a big part of my life. It’s also evident that most of my favorite photos and memories are from a walk/hike in my neighborhood or in one of the many State or National Parks we have visited over the years.

Recently, I wrote an article about the benefits of daily walking for the human and for the dog. For me, the benefits are intertwined, but I decided to create two articles instead of one. Interestingly, my research reinforced what I already knew: the benefits of daily walking are very similar for the human and the dog. For this article, I will focus on the dog … or dogs in my case.

“If your dog is overweight, YOU aren’t getting enough exercise.”

Health benefits

The number one reason most dog owners walk their dogs is for the health benefits gained by a daily walking routine. Just like a sedentary lifestyle is bad for humans, it’s especially true for canines. Dogs need to get outside and move every single day. (I would argue that humans have the same need and I wrote about it here.) All humans have different exercise needs and the same can be said for dogs. However, just because you have an older dog or a breed that “doesn’t require that much exercise,” do it anyway. At 16 yr old, my Golden/Lab mix, Kaley, had a tough time getting around, but 3-4 times a day she went out and made a lap around the house (not the neighborhood). Those old bones and joints needed a little lubrication so they wouldn’t freeze up.

Keeping your dog trim and fit should be a high priority and walking is a perfect way to do that. It is estimated that about 50% of dogs in the United States are overweight and 25-30% of dogs are obese. Sadly, many veterinarians won’t tell you if your dog is overweight (seems this is a touchy subject for the human) and most kibble feeding instructions call for more than the average dog actually needs. Not a good combination. Please don’t be one of those people who is proud to tell anyone who will listen that your lab weighs over 100 pounds. I have encountered these people and their poor dogs were visibly uncomfortable and easily 25 pounds overweight.

Walking your dog is about so much more than just “potty breaks.” Walking your dog provides mental stimulation, physical exercise, chances for socialization, and opportunities for behavioral training.

Every walk is an adventure. New sights, new sounds, new smells.
All need to be checked out and explored.

Mental stimulation

Sadly, I am aware of a few dogs in my neighborhood who never see anything but the back of their house and 3 walls of fencing. Never. In my very humble opinion, that’s abuse. In addition to the health benefits of walking, every dog should have the opportunity to explore life beyond the fence. Pippin never tires of seeing one of the gazillion squirrels we encounter every single day. I tell her that she has seen a gazillion squirrels and THAT one is no different. Pippin thinks otherwise. Every walk is an adventure. New sights, new sounds, new smells … all need to be checked out and explored.

The olfactory sensors in a dog’s nose are amazing. Dogs have evolved to have a strong sense of smell, with approximately 900 genes that code for smell receptors, versus humans, who have fewer than 400. They also have 125–300 million olfactory receptors, compared to our 6 million. In addition, the part of their brains that analyses and processes scents is (proportionally) 40 times greater than ours. The brain power necessary to facilitate all that analysis and processing is huge and you will find that a short time sniffing can tax them as much as an hour long walk.

All of this blah blah blah, or facts, just reinforce that your dog has a NEED to smell his way through his environment on every outing. Every single day.

It’s time to walk the Goldens!

Training opportunities

“How do you teach left and right?” I get asked this a lot. There are many ways to teach this and one way I reinforce their understanding can be as simple as telling my dogs “left” or “right” as we are walking. I then look for a head turn in the correct direction, add a “good” or “yes” marker and we are on our way.

Walking three dogs is always a balancing act – three leashes and three dogs who don’t think straight ahead is very interesting usually keeps me on my toes. I say usually because we have tumbled a few times when a dog (or two) have wrapped themselves around me. Stop is a helpful word which gives me an opportunity to unwind myself before we get moving again. Daily we work on Close, Side, Behind, With Me, Come, Wait, Sit, Break, Cross the Street and Cool Off (we love most sprinklers). We are usually out for an hour each morning so why not use the time for more than just walking?


It is a mind bender to think that I have been walking with dogs just about every day for almost 40 years. There are days when I feel like the guy from the Dunkin’ Donut commercial ohhhh so many years ago. But, instead of “it’s time to make the donuts,” my version is this: “It’s time to walk the Goldens”. There are days I curse the fact that we don’t have a fenced yard, but mostly I embrace that fact that walking the dogs is and hopefully always will be a constant in my life.

It would be tough to overstate the importance and health benefits of daily walks for (you and) your dog. The amount of exercise a dog needs varies based on age, breed and health — it can be as little as 30 minutes a day or as much as a few hours — but virtually all dogs need exercise in some form. However, I hope you get the idea and will also take advantage of the many resource articles listed at the bottom of the page.


When I am out walking, especially with three dogs, a frequent comment is “who’s walking who?” I just smile and say “We are walking each other.”

Just as it should be.


Resources

https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/the-benefits-of-walking-your-dog

https://animalfoundation.com/whats-going-on/blog/importance-walking-your-dog

https://www.petmd.com/dog/nutrition/how-find-your-dogs-body-condition-score

https://www.thewildest.com/dog-lifestyle/how-often-do-you-walk-your-dog

https://www.thewildest.com/dog-lifestyle/tips-hiking-with-your-dog

Obesity in dogs. A major health threat hiding in plain sight.

Geek out on this great study:
I Walk My Dog Because It Makes Me Happy: A Qualitative Study to Understand Why Dogs Motivate Walking and Improved Health

https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/how-dogs-use-smell-to-perceive-the-world

https://www.purina.co.uk/articles/dogs/behaviour/understanding-dogs/dog-sense-of-smell

Benefits of Daily Walking

Benefits of Daily Walking

No excuse. You should be walking. Every. Single. Day.

If you do an online search for the “benefits of walking,” you will get several pages from a bunch of different sources all explaining the amazing advantages of walking as exercise. Try it yourself and you’ll see what I mean. Everything from mood enhancer to joint lubricator to heart stimulator. Walking does it all. 

One of the most powerful ways to maintain a healthy weight, keep your joints strong, and live longer is also one of the simplest, no matter your age. The health benefits of walking are endless, and experts agree by adding walking to your daily routine, you can greatly improve your physical and mental health.

Prevention

But please, don’t head to the gym (if you can avoid it). Get outside. In fact, I have known for years that if you want to get to know your neighbors, grab your dog’s leash, put your baby in a stroller or your youngster on a bicycle and go for a walk. What if your neighborhood doesn’t have a lot of active outdoor participants? Do it anyway. In fact, conduct your own experiment … get out and walk every day and in a few months, you will probably see other people getting out and walking every day. I promise. It’s a thing. I’ve seen it happen.

When I was in my mid 20s, I did something that changed my life: I got a dog. Kaley was a Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever mix and was about as awesome as they come. She was an active puppy and pushed me into a twice daily walking routine. 

That was over 35 years ago. An overseas trip, a few bouts with the flu when I could not lift my head off the pillow and a week or so after my hip resurfacing surgery are pretty much the only times I have missed a day walking with my dogs. That’s a long time and a lot of walking. 

It hasn’t always been easy, but active dogs are quite an incentive. Walking with the flu is no fun, but I’ve done it. Walking dogs after hip surgery is tricky … but possible. Crutches helped me hobble the block or so to the park where a chuck-it sling shot allowed my dogs to run, retrieve and enjoy some time outside. Extra benefits? I got out of my “rehab” chair and actually started rehabbing my hip … and the rest of me.

My keeping up with The Goldens daily walk has been going on for close to 40 years. I have met and become good friends with many neighbors who didn’t necessarily live close by. I have watched children grow and friendly faces come and go. I have forged special bonds with fellow dog owners as we watched our dogs greet each other with joy and then run and chase each other around the yard. This is magical stuff that can’t be duplicated on a gym’s treadmill. 

So, that’s the short of my long relationship with daily walking. For me, walking is so much a part of my life that I feel awkward and incomplete if I miss a day. And if this little testimonial doesn’t inspire you, maybe these little facts about the benefits of walking … will.


Walking is free

Here’s the best part – you are already equipped for this exercise. If you are bipedal, and able to hold yourself upright, you can walk. A decent pair of shoes is helpful, but not always necessary. Your bare feet would absolutely LOVE to wander around on grass at home or in a park. But for the most part, any type of foot covering will do. The “barefoot” movement has created a growing industry of minimalist shoes. For many years, the shoes I have worn not just for walking but also for dog agility are Vibrams, otherwise known as gloves for your feet.  Neither option is free, but they do allow your feet to work the way nature intended. 

Walking helps to strengthen the spine and improve mobility

As we walk, the motion helps push our body fluids throughout our joints and muscles. You’ve heard the phrase “Use it or Lose it?” Well, it’s true. Think about the last time you got out of your car after a several hour drive. If you are like me, you are a little stiff. It takes a few steps and some regular movement to loosen things up. If you stay more active each day, your body won’t have the opportunity to freeze up. Dr Steven Hulme shares more information here

Walking reduces stress

As the saying goes: “Walk it off!” Research has proven that walking helps people feel better and especially when outside, is an instant mood booster. As you walk, you can either try to work though any problem … or … you can allow yourself to concentrate on the birds and flowers and trees and nature all around you. Is that bird just chirping? Or is he saying something to you? Ha! Listen and find out. Blue Cross has a nice article here.

Walking improves your cardiovascular system 

As you walk, Your calves act like a pump and they help to circulate blood back to your heart. Better circulation means lower risk of blood clots. Walking is one of the easiest ways to increase your physical activity and improve your health. Frank S. Ring from Walking for Health and Fitness has more information here.


It is my believe that unlike running, walking is something that you will be able to do until the day you die. If you do nothing else but start walking every day, it is very likely that you will lose weight and build muscle. And then if you choose to adopt a healthier lifestyle by being more careful about the food and drink that you ingest, I guarantee that your health will improve, you will lose weight and your body will change for the better. A simple way to start your journey to better health is to walk for exercise every day.

There you have it … a bunch of reasons to get out, put one foot in front of the other and walk as exercise. So, off you go! Grab your partner’s hand, your dog’s leash or your baby’s stroller and take a walk. Proven benefits that you can enjoy for the rest of your life.


The photo at the top of the page is my typical view while on my daily morning walk. If you would like to learn about how daily walking benefits your dog too, check out my companion article here.

Suggestions to help keep your sanity, peace of mind and immune system from running off the rails.

Suggestions to help keep your sanity, peace of mind and immune system from running off the rails.

Let’s start with this:

“The number of prescriptions filled for anti-anxiety drugs spiked 34% and orders for anti-anxiety and anti-insomnia medications also increased from mid-February to mid-March and peaked around March 15, according to a new report released Thursday.

The increase “demonstrates the serious impact COVID-19 may be having on our nation’s mental health,”…

– Webmd.com article found here

While not totally surprising, it’s still a sad statement and in many ways could have been avoided. I’m not going to debate the necessity of the stay-at-home orders. My research and findings are about how we can all stay sane and keep our immune systems healthy and happy.

Everywhere I have looked, I continue to see references to immunity. The vast majority of deaths attributed to the virus were people who had one or several underlying health issues and therefore were immunosuppressed. So, obviously, staying healthy means maintaining a healthy immune system. 

Let’s start by looking at some of the signs and symptoms of stress, depression, anxiety and fear. 

Stress and Chronic Stress

  • Irritability, which can be extreme
  • fatigue
  • headaches
  • difficulty concentrating
  • difficulty sleeping
  • feeling helpless
  • a perceived loss of control
  • frequent infections or illnesses

Find more information about stress at webmd.com here

Depression

  • Loss of interest in otherwise pleasurable things
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Decreased energy
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Aches, pains, cramps
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Changes in appetite or weight

Find more information about depression at healthline.com here

 Anxiety

  • Panic attacks
  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Pounding heart
  • breathing problems
  • upset stomach
  • extreme fatigue
  • increase in blood pressure
  • muscle aches and other pains

Find more information about anxiety at healthline.com here

Fear

  • sweating
  • trembling
  • shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • pain or tightness in the chest
  • headaches, dizziness, feeling faint
  • confusion or disorientation
  • fear of losing control
  • feelings of dread
  • fear of dying

Find more information about fear/phobia at nhs.uk here

After researching and compiling these lists, what I find most interesting is the similarity between all four. When you review the lists, do any of these sound familiar? I think most of us would (sadly) have to say “yes.”

 If you are experiencing many of the symptoms from any of these lists, I hope you will seek professional help. I am not a doctor — and I don’t even play one on TV — my goal here is to provide information that might prompt you to do some research to help improve your own personal condition. Another goal is to help you find NATURAL ways to help calm you and improve your overall well being, which can also boost your natural immunity.

So, how can we improve these symptoms of stress, depression anxiety and fear so that we feel better AND help boost our immune systems?

This one didn’t make any of the lists, but I think it should: turn off the “news”!!

“It’s important where you get your news” someone recently told me. I couldn’t agree more. But instead of arguing about which talking head is telling us fact or fiction, how about we just turn them ALL off? Ingesting too much “news” is a major culprit of increased stress, anxiety, depression and fear. Sadly, instilling fear seems to be one of MSM’s (main stream media) favorite games these days. Tuning OUT/turning OFF all of the chatter will be helpful to all of us. 

#1 on many lists: Be Observant.

I like this one. Instead of ignoring your body, listen to it! Check the list of signs and symptoms again – my guess is that you will find a few things that you are struggling with. Understanding what is happening might help you find the right solution to feel “better” or “normal” again. Hopefully some of the suggestions offered here will help you manage and improve the symptoms. 

I recently wrote an article about how to boost your immune system. Interestingly, the list to help you reduce stress, anxiety, depression and fear has a few crossovers to the list I wrote to help boost your immune system. Check out the list here and think about adding a few of the activities to your daily routine. Hopefully, that list and the suggestions I offer here will not only help you feel more relaxed mentally and physically, but will also strengthen your immune system.

Get Outside and Exercise

This one is so important that in addition to the article I wrote about boosting your immune system, I felt compelled to include it here too. Just about every article I read about how to reduce stress, anxiety and depression and fear included exercise. Why is that? Exercise lowers your body’s stress hormones – such as cortisol – and helps release endorphins, which are chemicals that improve your mood and act as natural painkillers.

I don’t know about you, but there were several nights when I was really struggling to sleep. My mind was racing, and I was unable to shut it down. Luckily, my 3-ish mile morning walks with my dogs allows me the opportunity for fresh air, sunshine, time to think/meditate and to give me the ability to commune with nature and neighbors. Pippin’s energy now has us doing an additional 30-minute walk at night and it has really helped me to shake off much of the day’s stress. All very good stuff.

So, take a walk, get on a bike, dance to your favorite music or practice yoga. All of these activities will help improve your mind and body. And, if you are outside, you get the extra benefits of fresh air and sunshine – both HUGE immune system boosters.

Check out more great information about how exercise can reduce stress from the Mayo Clinic here.

Read a Good Book

When was the last time you visited a library? I know most of us will buy online but there is something truly awesome about a library. If you don’t want to leave your house, there are a gazillion online outlets for downloading books to read and books to listen to. I recently discovered Chirp, which offers discount audiobooks. First, I downloaded several self improvement books and then I treated myself to a classic and one of my favorites – A Tale of Two Cities. For almost 17 hours, I was consumed by the awesomeness that is Charles Dickens. If you haven’t read a classic in a while (or ever) I highly recommend you pick one and learn why it has withstood the test of time. Here are some great options.

Get your hands dirty and grow something!

“Getting your hands dirty is actually a good thing. The more soil you get under your fingernails, the more you are exposing yourself to bacteria. And, the more bacteria you expose your system to, the harder it will be for them to invade your body.”

– stress.org article found here

Lucky for me, I seem to have inherited a green thumb. Both of my grandmothers were gardeners and if you drive by my mom’s house, there is no doubt that she loves the chaos of flowers of every color beautifully arranged around her yard. And, I don’t know about you, but I just can’t wear gloves when I am working in the yard. I need to *feel* the dirt and the roots and leaves and the flowers. My guess is I have probably ingested a bunch of dirt along the way too – not on purpose, but if you have dirt/potting soil up to your elbows and your nose itches, things happen. Turns out that can be helpful too. I absolutely love this.

Another great thing about gardening, as if there aren’t enough great things already, is that when you are busy digging and planting and watering and enjoying, you are actually doing a form of meditation, which will help to create a sense of calmness and well being. My Grandma Mitchell used to hum while she was gardening. Maybe you will too.

Learn a New Language

If someone could explain the allure of Candy Crush, or any repetitive “game” like that, I would appreciate it. If I have some free time, I prefer to read and actually learn something. A few years ago, I discovered Duolingo – a free program that will systematically guide you through the process of learning to read and speak a new language. I kinda fell off the wagon when I had my hip surgery, but I am hoping to pick it back up soon. I really enjoyed the learning process. So maybe try Spanish one week, French the next week and one of the 22 other languages they offer during the third week and then decide which one really speaks to you. (Ha – pun intended). You can get started here.

So there you go – SIX great ideas to help you relax, refocus, and reenergize:

  • Tune out the Noise.
  • Pay attention to You.
  • Move your Body.
  • Engage your Mind.
  • Grow Something.
  • Learn something New.

I hope this information will help you find something that will calm your mind, body and soul. There are links to just about every source I found/used, but if you would like more information about anything listed here, please feel free to contact me.

How to show your immune system some love.

How to show your immune system some love.

As the coronavirus continues to spread around the world, there is so much uncertainty about what’s to come. What we do know, however, is that roughly 98% of the people who contract this virus will recover. That’s great news. Sadly, for the 2% who succumb to this disease, one of the words we continue to hear is that the majority had some sort of Immunosuppression. In other words, they were struggling with other health issues like hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes and obesity.

We are constantly exposed to infectious diseases, bacteria and viruses (antigens), all intent on running amok and wreaking havoc. Without any built-in defenses to keep these invaders at bay, we’d all last about five minutes on this planet. Thank goodness we have an immune system. A strong immune system is the backbone of overall good health and the best way to keep us from getting sick or at the very least from staying sick. I have done some research into the immune system – what it is and how we can keep it as robust as possible. I hope you find this information helpful.

Definition of immune system: the bodily system that protects the body from foreign substances, cells, and tissues by producing the immune response and that includes especially the thymus, spleen, lymph nodes, special deposits of lymphoid tissue (as in the gastrointestinal tract and bone marrow), macrophages, lymphocytes including the B cells and T cells, and antibodies

Definition of immune response: a bodily response to an antigen that occurs when lymphocytes identify the antigenic molecule as foreign and induce the formation of antibodies and lymphocytes capable of reacting with it and rendering it harmless

Our immune system is an amazing and very complex network designed to fight off any viruses and bacteria that our body comes in contact with each and every day. However, if our immune system is weak, dysfunctional or unbalanced, when we are faced with a virus or bacteria instead of combating the “bug” easily, our immune system can go into hyperdrive creating what’s called a cytokine storm. At this point, our body is attacking itself. Learn more about the cytokine storm here.

Here are some easy ways we can show our immune system some love and keep it working at its best:

Wash your hands.

Yep – we have all heard this a lot lately, but it’s a great start to keep the bad stuff from entering our system. Be sure to wash for at least 20 seconds using good old-fashioned soap. Living with dogs and feeding raw, I usually wash my hands a lot anyway. Now I am making sure to wash a lot more frequently and more thoroughly. Learn more about the CDC’s guidelines for hand washing here.

Get enough sleep.

Sigh … seems like we are all struggling with this. I know I feel better when I have a decent night’s sleep. My Fitbit tells me that my sleep pattern is cyclical. Several “fair” or “good” nights followed by 3-4 “poor” nights. Quieting my mind seems to be my nemesis. However, when it comes to our health, sleep plays an important role. While more sleep won’t necessarily prevent us from getting sick, skimping on it could adversely affect our immune system, leaving us susceptible to a bad cold or case of the flu. In a study in 164 healthy adults, those who slept fewer than 6 hours each night were more likely to catch a cold than those who slept 6 hours or more each night.

Sleep is also important because our bodies are busy repairing and building our immunity to thrive. Our damaged tissues and cells are being healed and restored. If we don’t get the right amount of sleep, then we are more susceptible to disease and infections. Learn more about how sleep can help our immune system here.

Don’t smoke.

True confession – I used to smoke – a total of maybe 5 or 6 cigarettes in my 20s. That’s about all I could tolerate. For those who do still smoke, you should know that the cold you just can’t seem to shake might actually be hanging around due to your smoking habit. Not only does smoking cause serious health conditions like cancer, but it also lessens your body’s immune response, making you more susceptible to infections. You may also find it harder to shake everyday illnesses that are no big deal to most healthy adults. Tobacco products damage virtually every system of the body, and the immune system is no different. Read about the ways smoking affects the Immune System here.

Find ways to manage your stress.

My life hasn’t really changed that much with this “pandemic”. I am self employed and have worked out of my house for almost 30 years. However, it has changed enough. And, the more I read and learn, I am really concerned about what life will look like in a few months, not only for me but for the rest of the world. This has caused many sleepless nights (see above).

Interestingly, short-term stress, the “fight or flight” response, can actually stimulate your immune activity. The immune system is crucial for wound healing and preventing or fighting infection. Read more about this interesting study here.

Keep in mind that today, we are not really dealing with short-term stress but the long-term kind that throws our bodies out of whack. What we should be striving for is homeostasis. Learn more about homeostasis here.

Our bodies are better at fighting infections and viruses when they are not also dealing with emotional and psychological stress. Today, it feels like we are all struggling with emotional and psychological stress by staying at home, staying away from friends and sometimes family and not knowing when or how this will “end”.

Some experts claim that stress is responsible for as much as 90% of all illnesses and diseases, including cancer and heart disease. Because the effects of stress are cumulative, even ordinary, day-to-day activities can eventually lead to more serious health issues. High stress levels also can cause depression and anxiety, again leading to higher levels of inflammation. In the long-term, sustained, high levels of inflammation point to an overworked, over-tired immune system that can’t properly protect us.

Find is a great list of things you can do to reduce stress here.

Eat well.

Eating “well” does not mean eating a lot. It means eating the most nutritious and appropriate foods to fuel our bodies.

“We can really boost our immunity through diet alone. Consistent intake of the micronutrients that help our bodies fight disease, is a natural solution to infection prevention,” says Cassie Majestic, M.D., an emergency medicine physician at UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange, California. “Micronutrients, or vitamins and minerals, are vital to disease-prevention and health development.”

Find 15 foods that boost the immune system here.

Eating well also means cutting out or at least cutting back on processed sugar. Sadly, there is sugar hidden in so many otherwise “good” foods. It makes me crazy to check ingredients on items like peanut butter only to find that sugar is the SECOND ingredient on some popular brands. Really? Time to start reading labels! Recently, I discovered Crazy Richard’s peanut butter – originally purchased for the dogs but I think it’s the best flavored peanut butter that I have ever tasted. What’s in it? Peanuts. Go figure. Check out Crazy Richard’s All Natural Peanut Butter here.

Add Vitamins to your Diet.

In a perfect world, we would eat a perfect diet and our food would supply every nutrient our bodies needed. While I do try to eat well, it is far from “perfect” … whatever that means. My mom started us on vitamins when we were kids and I have taken supplements most of my life.

Here’s the bulk of what I currently take – I buy these from my holistic chiropractor.

Start with a good multi: Catalyn by Standard Process. Find more info here.

Add a great Vitamin C: Optimal Liposomal Vitamin C by Seeking Health. Find more info here.

And the more I learn, adding Vitamin D3 is essential. Check out Metagenics with added Vitamin K here.

Some specific information about Vitamin D3 (found on the Medical Newspress website):

One of vitamin D’s most important roles is keeping your immune system strong so you’re able to fight off the viruses and bacteria that cause illness. Vitamin D plays an important role in immune function.

2 things you NEED to know when selecting a D3 supplement:

  • 1. Never take Vitamin D without Vitamin K2
    • Just as important as vitamin D3 is taking vitamin K2! Taking Vitamin D without vitamin K could actually be harmful to your health!
    • When it comes to calcium metabolism, vitamins D and K work together. Both play important roles. Vitamin D gets calcium into your blood and Vitamin K gets it to the bones and prevents the calcium from accumulating in your arteries, kidneys or heart.
    • You don’t want rogue calcium going to the wrong places, causing joint stiffness or arterial plaque. Vitamin K2 insures that your body uses calcium properly.
  • 2. Most D3 Supplements are NOT absorbable.
    • When D3 cannot be absorbed, your body is unable to assimilate. So, do your research and find one that is absorbable for maximum benefits.

Find a full list of important vitamins and minerals that you should think about adding to your diet here.

Get off the sofa and exercise.

Here’s a headline for you:

Hospital analysis finds nearly 50% obesity in small sample of COVID-19 patients

Data was provided for 178 patients, about 12 percent. Of that group, 90 percent had an underlying medical condition, including:

  • Hypertension: 49.7%
  • Diabetes: 28.3%
  • Chronic lung disease: 34.6%
  • Cardiovascular disease: 27.8%
  • Obesity: 48.3%

For patients aged 18 to 49, obesity was the most prevalent underlying condition, according to the study. Nearly 60 percent of those hospitalized were obese. Read the entire article here.

Walking has been my form of exercise for over 20 years. I figure that as long as I am able to put one foot in front of the other, I will walk every day … hopefully with a few dogs. Two years ago, when my bad hip was so very painful, I was still walking my dogs. And, even with the current “pandemic”, I am walking each day soaking up fresh air and sunshine and racking up some serious Steps. Find a great list of how walking is beneficial here.

If you have the ability to get out of your house, please DO! Keeping up regular, daily exercise at a time when much of the world is in isolation will play an important role in helping to maintain a healthy immune system. Learn more about how exercise helps maintain our immune system here.

And last, but definitely not least, find a really good CBD product and take it every day.

A couple of years ago, a remarkable thing happened when CBD became legal in all 50 of the US states. If you remove CBD from the THC coming from the cannabis plant or the hemp plant CBD is now legal to use as a nutritional supplement. Since that time, of course, the market has exploded with interest and this conversation today is about the physiological effects of CBD on the human body. Truly, CBD is not just another nutritional supplement.

CBD tends to be very effective in strengthening the immune system. CBD is an immune suppressor, so it has positive effects when the immune system becomes hyperactive or weakened. A hyperactive immune system causes overreaction when met with allergens or diseases and can even self-harm the body. This is the cytokine storm that I mentioned earlier.

The endocannabinoid system is said to control and regulate the proper balance between humoral and cell-mediated responses. Therefore, the stimulation of ECS through active cannabinoids like CBD helps in enhancing the health, balance, responsivity and functions of the immune’s system. The CBD and ECS are extremely involved in maintaining the optimal functioning immune system.

The Zilis UltraCell CBD is a great addition to help keep your immune system running smoothly and at it’s best. With the high absorption rate of between 85-94%, we get the full benefit of each and every drop. Check out the full line of Zilis CBD and CBG products here. If you would like to try any of the products you can order directly at Zilis.com/lisagraham or you can contact me for more information.

If you would like to dig deeper into how CBD helps improve the immune system, here are a few more resources:

How CBD can help improve the immune system

What is Homeostasis

Cannibis and Immune System

I hope this list will be a resource for you to learn many of the natural ways that you can improve your own immune system. In addition to helping fight off the current coronavirus, for better general overall health, you will do yourself and your immune system a big favor if you implement most of these suggestions.

Are you paying too much for your CBD?

Are you paying too much for your CBD?

The human body contains up to 60% water. And we all remember the old saying that oil and water don’t mix, right? That’s why I can’t understand why anyone would buy “regular” oil-based CBD.

A 2018 study at the Mayo Clinic found that the absorption rate
of the Zilis UltraCell product was anywhere between 80-95%. 

Drop of UltraCell Raw

At Zilis, we like to say “It’s not how much you take, but how much you absorb”.

Every morning, I give one drop of UltraCell Raw to both Darcy and Pippin. The recommendation is to rub along the gum line under their nose for the ultimate absorption. You can also drop into their mouth or into their food and they will absorb the CBD, but the best, most effective method is to rub on their gums. Find the Zilis UltraCell Pet Dosage Chart here.

After administering to my dogs, I put 3 drops of UltraCell CBD and 3 drops of UltraCell CBG under my tongue. That’s probably closer to .25mL (or less) of each product per day. Interestingly, Zilis recently sent out new information about their recommended serving size – it’s gone DOWN. Initially, like so many other products, they recommended 1mL/day. Now? They recommend .25mL – .5mL. 

Because of the very high absorption rate of the Ultra Cell products, you can actually take LESS and get MORE of the benefits from this high quality, full-spectrum CBD supplement. 

Tests have shown that for most of the CBD oil products on the market, on average only 5-10% is ultimately being absorbed. If you take one of these products, your body will NEVER USE a staggering 80-95% of the CBD oil.

Math was never my favorite subject. I am very creative and like to think big and have just never liked to fuss with the little things. Like numbers. Science, however, is another story. My most difficult and yet most intriguing class in college was Human Physiology. I have no idea why I took that class – I was an art student! It was way out of my comfort zone, but I really loved all that I learned. Perhaps my curiosity about the human body is why I am fascinated with CBD and how it works. So when tests show that for the majority of the CBD products on the market, very little CBD is actually absorbed, it just makes me wonder.

So, help me out and let’s do the math together. 

Option 1: Well-known pet product

  • $80.00 for 30mL ($2.66/mL)
  • Serving size for a 50lb dog is .5 full dropper/day
  • Cost per serving is $1.33
  • This bottle will last 60 days

Sounds good, right? Well, we now need to do a little more math.

As studies have shown, only 5-10% of the CBD oil is actually absorbed. 

We will use the high end of 10%.

  • Well-known pet product cost per serving is $1.33.
  • 10% absorption would mean that your dog would benefit from only .13 cents of CBD per serving.
  • $1.20 worth of this product’s CBD is eliminated/wasted PER SERVING.
  • That means you are actually eliminating/wasting $72.00 out of the $80.00 bottle. 

That’s a very expensive bottle of olive oil. 

Option 2: Well-known people product

  • $75 for 30mL ($2.50/mL)
  • Serving size is 2 full droppers/day (droppers are .5mL each)
  • Cost per serving is $2.50
  • This bottle will last 30 days

This seems to be a little more expensive, right? Let’s do the math again using the 10% absorption and see just how much. 

  • Well-know people product cost per serving is $2.50
  • 10% absorption means that you would benefit from only .25 cents of CBD per serving. 
  • $2.25 worth of this product’s CBD is eliminated/wasted PER SERVING.
  • That means you are actually eliminating/wasting $72.50 out of the $80.00 bottle. 

That’s a very expensive bottle of coconut oil. 

Now, let’s try another product.

Option 3: Zilis Ultra Cell

  • $150 for 30mL ($5/mL)
  • Serving size is .5ml/day 
  • Cost per serving is $2.50
  • This bottle will last 60 days

Seems much more expensive, right? Well, here is some new information that might shake things up a little:

With this new information, let’s do the math again using the lower end absorption rate of 80%. 

  • Zilis UltraCell cost per serving is $2.50
  • 80% absorption means that you would benefit from $2.00 of CBD per serving. 
  • Only .50 cents worth of this product’s CBD is eliminated/wasted per serving. 
  • That means you are actually benefiting from $120 worth of CBD in that $150 bottle.

Even my very-challenged Math Brain, that hasn’t taken a math class since high school, is telling me … ahhhhh … now that’s more like it. 

So, I may not be a very good mathematician, but it sure seems to me like the Zilis UltraCell products are worth just about every single penny.

Interested in learning more? Please contact me!

What is CBG and why should you take it?

What is CBG and why should you take it?

CBG may be the activator that “turns on” the power of CBD. 

Cannabigerol (CBG) is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that plays an important role in the biochemistry of the cannabis plant. CBG acts as a chemical precursor to other cannabinoids such as THC and CBD. This conversion typically takes place 6-8 weeks in the flowering cycle. CBG is present only in trace amounts in most cannabis strains, however some hemp strains are specifically cultivated to generate higher yields of this cannabinoid.*

CBG interacts with both the CB1 and CB2 receptors, potentially inhibiting the intoxicating effects of THC. CBG has also demonstrated an ability to increase anandamide, commonly referred to as the “bliss molecule,” an endogenous cannabinoid that helps regulate a wide range of bodily functions, including appetite, sleep, mood, and the immune system. CBG inhibits the reuptake of anandamide. In case you’ve forgotten, anandamide is one of our own endocannabinoids, known by its street moniker, the “bliss hormone”.  CBG allows the effect of anandamide to last longer.  And as far as I know there’s no such thing as too much bliss!*

CBG displays a multitude of potential health benefits including working as a neuroprotectant, having antioxidant properties, aiding with skin ailments as an antibacterial and antifungal agent, appetite stimulation, treatment of gastrointestinal disorders, inflammation reduction, shows promise in fighting cancer, and lowering intraocular pressure, which may benefit glaucoma patients.*

Despite the medical appeal and consumer demand there’s one big hurdle to face, though: CBG is notoriously expensive to produce, so much so it’s been dubbed the “the Rolls Royce of cannabinoids.”*

*Please see references below.

Do you want to feel better in 2020? Get started on one of the very best CBD products as well as the ONLY CBG product on the market!

Zilis 2-pack of Ultra CBG and UltraCell CBD

  • US Hemp Authority Approved
  • Absorption of up to 94%
  • Full Spectrum
  • Organically Sourced

But wait there’s MORE! 

Contact me to get started!

References:

https://www.leafly.com/news/cannabis-101/what-is-cbg-cannabinoid

https://apothecarium.com/blog/nevada/2018/7/24/cannabinoids-101-cbg

https://www.forbes.com/sites/janellelassalle/2019/09/11/why-cbg-cannabigerol-expensive-produce/#51b796b22f77

Can CBD change your life?

In November of 2017, when I was struggling with pain in my hip/leg, my nephew, Blake, suggested CBD to help manage the pain.

I said “no thank you – I don’t want to take anything like that”.

I smoked a little in high school and was not a fan of how marijuana made me feel. Blake said that CBD was nothing like that, but he couldn’t convince me to try it.

A few months later, after doing some research, I decided to try it. I went to the local health food store and they suggested Charlotte’s Web. So, $120.00 later, I walked out with a small box, got in my car, pulled out the bottle and squeezed a few drops under my tongue. The taste was earthy but not bad. A little later, I think I felt a little bit of “calmness” but at the same time, I also felt some tightness in my chest and my heart seemed to be beating more quickly. I think I attributed it to a pain response because just about anything I did (sit, walk, get up, lean over with dogs, lie down) hurt.

The next day, I took another dose and got the same tightness in the chest feeling. I think I tried it one more day and decided that CBD didn’t work for me and I started giving it to Riley, my 12-yr old Golden Retriever, who was suffering from seizures. After that, pain relief for me consisted of a couple of beers in the evening and hoping that my body was so exhausted at around 11pm, that when I finally crawled into bed and adjusted my leg in such a way that my hip joint didn’t hurt, I would fall asleep and the pain would subside.

Looking back, I now know that my response I had to Charlotte’s Web was actually an allergic one. Not sure what in their formula was an issue, but it was enough that I stopped taking it. And, it was enough for me to say no to my sister-in-law, Debbie, who suggested in March of this year that I try the Zilis UltraCell CBD. Read that story here. I am very glad that Debbie insisted (she’s evil that way), because the UltraCell CBD has definitely made me feel and move much better.

What’s my point?

First I would say do your research. I read a lot about CBD and about CBD products. I relied on several websites as well as the local health food store’s recommendation to select Charlotte’s Web. But I also learned that not every CBD is the same – formulas are different and in many ways, HOW they work is different too – read about the water-soluble UltraCell here. After signing on to sell Zilis UltraCell, I have been reading as much as I can find. Check out some articles I found here and some videos that I found here.

Second would be to try the product yourself and be prepared to take it for more than a few days. For me, I don’t think my reaction to the Charlotte’s Web CBD was going to change. So, it was a good thing that I was given another product to try AND that I was encouraged to keep taking it. For me, it was almost 3-4 weeks before I could feel a difference. If you are interested in trying the UltraCell CBD or the new UltraCell CBG, please contact me.

Third thing to remember is that it probably won’t be a lightning bolt of “WOW! I feel AMAZING!” but more likely a gentle spark in your head when you get up and realize that you aren’t as stiff, or you realize that your Type A++ personality is a lot calmer, or you can finally button your shirt with your arthritic hands. Keep in mind that stress wreaks havoc on your body. The longer you have been under severe stress, the longer it will take for your body to find some sort of balance, or what we now understand to be “homeostasis”.

And finally, I’m sure you want to know if CBD can change your life – if it’s really the amazing cure-all for anything that ails you. The answer is probably not.

But then again, the research and the first-hand testimonials that I have read or heard might tell another story. For my mom, she can now button her shirt without using a button hook helper. She has been suffering from severe shoulder pain and has been wearing pain patches for years. She no longer wears the patches and she can now raise her arms a little past her shoulders. She was struggling with anemia for almost 2 years. Her doctor suggested that she had several small lesions in her small intestine that were bleeding and should be cauterized. However, her last several blood panels are showing continued improvement in her iron levels. She did give up the NSAIDs (but not her wine) and she is faithfully taking the Zilis UltraCell CBD every day.

So, for my mom, I think the answer is yes.

Read and Learn!

Just about every day, I will find a new article about CBD and the Endocannabinoid System and just recently, CBG. It is all very fascinating and it’s not uncommon for me to come up for air and realize I have spent a couple hours reading or watching some informational video. That’s usually when a dog gives me a nudge as if to say it’s time to get up and DO something. I will probably add to this list as I find more …

CBD Survey Results: Cultivating Wellness.

Project CBD releases the results of one of the most extensive CBD user surveys to date. In early 2019 Project CBD began collecting responses to a survey we designed to figure out who is using CBD, how and why people are using CBD, what kinds of products they are consuming, and whether or not CBD is working for them. The analysis in this report (available in its entirety here) covers an eight-month period and encompasses over 3500 responses. Find the results here.


CBD Guide: 12 Important Facts You Should Know Right Now.

Both consumers and entrepreneurs are intrigued by CBD, and both need to know more. CBD has become a craze but most people know little more about it than it comes from the hemp plant and it’s believed to be very good for your health. All types of brands are racing to get involved. CVS and Walgreens both recently announced plans to sell CBD products. Coca-Cola is said to be exploring the idea of adding CBD to their beverages. Even Oreos has jumped into the mix. Read the full article here.


CBD & Cannabis for Pets in Pain

A veterinarian’s advice on how to use cannabis to treat pain and inflammation in your four-legged companion

The state of veterinary medicine has advanced significantly in recent years and thanks to the availability of more effective medicine, many pets are living longer than they would have years ago. With age however, comes the onset of problems such as arthritis and other forms of pain and inflammation. Read the full article here.


17 States with Legal Cannabidiol (CBD)
(as of July 12, 2019)

While 33 stated have legalized medical marijuana, the remaining 17 states have all passed laws allowing the use of cannabidiol (CBD) extract, usually in oil form, with minimal tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and often for the treatment of epilepsy or seizures in seriously ill children. CBD, one of the 400+ ingredients found in marijuana, is not psychoactive. Read the full article here.


Cannabinoid Deficiency

Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency (CECD) is a condition where an individual produces a lower amount of cannabinoids than experts consider to be essential in the promotion of health, vitality, and well-being. Read the full article here.


The Endocannabinoid System: The Most Important System You’ve Never Heard Of

If you haven’t heard of the endocannabinoid system (ECS), or perhaps you have but you aren’t that confident in your knowledge of it, then don’t be embarrassed. Back in the 1960s, the researchers who became interested in the bioactivity of Cannabis eventually isolated many of its active compounds. It took another 30 years, however, for researchers studying animal models to discover a receptor for these ECS compounds in the brains of rodents – a discovery that opened a whole world of inquiry into why the ECS receptors exist and what their physiological purpose is. Read the full article here.

Raw Feeding

For almost 20 years, I have been feeding my dogs a raw diet. And interestingly, over the past 20ish years, it seems that many “dog food” companies have been creating formulas that are getting closer and closer to a natural diet for our dogs – raw meaty bones. When anyone asks me about feeding raw, I give them several references and tell them to do their own research before starting to transition their dog. The one reference I always give is the Raw Feeding group. This group originally started as a Yahoo Group and has migrated to Facebook. You can find them here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/rawfeedingcarnivores/ You will want to join and read for a few weeks. They also have a tons of great info under the Files link on the left. I have been a member of this group for as long as I have been feeding raw.

Here is a very good post that I wanted to share – it is a basic guideline to get you started:

1) quantity 
2) proportions 
3) types of meat 
4) how to feed 
5) transitioning to raw 
6) what to avoid 
7) when to feed 
8) things you’ll notice 
9) things to watch out for 
10) cost

1) Quantity: Feed 2-3% of ideal adult body weight per day.

(eg: 25kg dog = 500g-750g, or 55 pound dog = 1.10 pounds – 1.65 pounds food per day). More for young, energetic, active dogs. Less for older, slower dogs. After a while you won’t have to measure and weigh everything – you’ll be able to judge by how your dog looks. (On a healthy dog you should be able to feel the ribs but not see them, except perhaps the last two on certain breeds, eg: greyhounds). 

Note: Puppies need to be fed either 2-3% of expected adult weight or 10% of current weight (though this is not so precise), and pregnant and nursing bitches should be given as much quantity and variety as they want to eat.

2) Proportions: Feed: 80% meat + 10% bone (in the meat) + 5% liver + 5% other organ (kidney, lung, pancreas, brain, eyeballs, spleen, genitals, etc.) You don’t have to do this everyday. This should balance out approximately over the month. 

Note: heart, skin, stomach and intestines (and sometimes lung) are fed as meat. 
Note: too much organ at once can cause diarrhea. Too much bone can cause constipation. You can add raw fish and whole raw eggs (including shell) occasionally. These will provide Omega 3 oils and Vitamin E which are beneficial to your dog. 
No veggies, fruits, grains or supplements of any kind are needed. (Dogs can get all the vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats and enzymes they need from raw meat)*. 
*If you don’t feed oily fish regularly or grass fed red meat, you can supplement with a good fish body oil (not liver oil) or salmon oil, one with no soy and minimal Omega 6 and no Omega 9; one that delivers 300mg EPA+DHA total (minimum) per serving.

3) Types of Meat: Feed whole animals as much as possible or appropriately sized portions of whole animals. 

Feed whole chickens or chicken halves or chicken quarters, turkey legs or breasts, rabbits, lamb shanks or shoulder, goat or pork racks (ribs), shoulders, back, neck. beef heart, whole fish, etc., according to the size and requirements of your dog. 

There is no danger of choking on large pieces of meat, but avoid smaller, swallow size pieces of meat, such as turkey necks that can be swallowed whole and stick in the throat. Dogs have no trouble crunching and digesting raw bones. Only cooked bones are dangerous. Meat can be offered frozen, cold or at room temperature. Even meat that has gone off (by our standards) is probably fine for your dog. (Think about how your dog can bury meat and dig it up weeks later and eat it). For convenience, freeze daily portions of meat in freezer bags. Take out of the freezer several hours ahead of feeding time to defrost. Give to dog.

5) Transitioning a dog to raw – don’t waste time converting slowly.

Get rid of the grains and give them raw meat right away. Older dogs can be switched ‘cold turkey’. No need for a slow transition, but it’s best to start with one kind of meat and stick with it until the dog has got used to the change.  For example, start with chicken (take skin off if it causes loose stools) and introduce a new meat after a couple of weeks. Don’t give liver or other organs until your dog is used to the new meats. 

Puppies can start on raw as soon as they are weaned, from 4-8 weeks. They can eat whole prey including bones and adapt more easily than mature dogs.  (Raw meat is better for their steady growth and avoids sudden growth spurts caused by the carbohydrates in dry dog food, which is why dogs brought up on raw do not suffer the joint and bone problems of many other dogs). 

Note: avoid letting your dog decide the menu. If your dog doesn’t like what you give him, put it away until the next meal, or the next, or the one after that. He won’t starve and will eat when he’s hungry. Eventually he’ll learn that you are the pack leader, not him, and he’ll eat what he’s given. If you give him what he wants every time, you’ll just make a fussy dog. If they absolutely refuse a meat, you can try lightly searing it or sprinkling some cheese on top until they get used to it.

6) What to avoid: Cooked bones / leg bones from large animals

Never give cooked bones – these can pierce and tear a dog’s intestine. Never give weight bearing bones from big mammals (eg: cow leg bones) as these can break teeth. (If you like you can scoop out the marrow with a spoon and give it to your dog). Avoid giving plain bones – always make sure it is hidden in the meat. Wild game (eg: wild boars, venison, possibly rabbit, wild salmon) should be frozen for 1-2 weeks to kill parasites. Human grade meat from slaughterhouses should be fine, but if in doubt, freeze first. 

Never give ‘swallow size’ pieces of meat. Dogs do not chew their food, they crunch, break and swallow. 

Check that the meat you give is not enhanced – no added salt (no more than 80 mg). Try to give ‘organic’ meat or meat that has not been treated with antibiotics as much as possible, though unfortunately this is way too expensive for most people.

7) When to feed: find what works best for you and your dog but no need to feed regular meals. 

In the wild, wolves eat when they can. This may be smaller animals every day or so, or larger animals once every four or five days. Most or our dogs have got used to eating once or twice a day, but if a dog gets programmed to a rigid feeding schedule, he can start to vomit bile which he will produce in expectation of food. To avoid this do not feed according to a tight schedule. Vary the amount of food each day and the feeding times. Some people prefer to let their dogs self regulate. They allow the dog to eat as much as they can and then don’t feed them again until they are hungry, maybe two or three days later. These dogs tend to establish an ideal weight by themselves and never eat more than they need. Work out what works best for your dog. 

Note: Feed puppies 3 times a day until they are 6 months, twice a day from 6 months and once a day after their first birthday (roughly – go by the dog). Pregnant and lactating bitches, as already stated, should eat what and when they want.

8) Things you will notice after switching to raw: Your dog will drink less water (meat is 60-70%+ water), and will poop far less than before (no wasted carbohydrates). This is normal.

Stools will vary according to diet – it won’t be the same every day. Loose stools are fairly normal and should not be confused with diarrhoea. They may change colour and consistency and occasionally contain mucus and bits of bone. Over time you’ll work out which meats suit your dog’s digestive system best. 

Your dog will soon have better energy levels, but will also sleep better after meals. His coat should become shinier and he will get to a better weight. His immune system will be better so less need for medical interventions. His teeth will be cleaner and whiter and lose the tartar. He will develop better jaw and muscle strength. He will be much happier, and for the majority of dogs, switching to raw is like going to doggy heaven! He will not become more aggressive or prone to attacking other animals. This is a myth.

9) Things to watch out for: allergies and other problems.

99% of the time your dog’s pre-existing health issues and allergies will disappear when you switch him off a grain based diet and onto raw meat. Even dogs that are allergic to certain meats, are less likely to be allergic to that meat on a raw food diet. Many dogs on dry dog food diets that have allergies, clear up completely on a raw diet. However, if you see any of the following signs it may be worth changing meats to try and rule out possible allergens: constant vomiting or diarrhea, unwillingness to eat, lethargy, excessive blood in vomit or stools. If in doubt – see a vet.

10) Cost – it needn’t cost more than what you feed already.

If you shop around it’s usually possible to buy good meat for less or same price as you’ve been spending on dried dog food (kibble). Supermarkets sometimes have deals on certain meats, frozen meats, etc. but try to make sure they are un-enhanced with salt or additives. If you visit slaughterhouses or butchers and ask they may be able to give you free stuff, but don’t just rely on bags of fat and unwanted bones. Get organs and body parts that are not normally used. Some people prefer to rear their own meat (rabbits, chicken, etc.) for their dogs, while others are lucky enough to find road kill or hunt their own.

My Hip Resurfacing Surgery

My Hip Resurfacing Surgery

Lisa's New Hip
Lisa’s New Hip

Written on July 28, 2018 – about a week after my surgery:

How I spent my summer vacation. 

Hip resurfacing surgery (July 20, 2018) went well and I am now working on the recovery part. Hip joint now doesn’t hurt but the muscles that were cut are extremely angry. I am off the opioids (yeah!) and am moving slowly … but surely. Previous hip pain was sucking the life out of me and I am looking forward to getting my life BACK!!!

Written on January 25, 2019 – about 6 months after my surgery:

This is the surgery that I selected to have done to repair my very arthritic and painful right hip. It took lots of research to find Dr. Thomas Gross, an orthopedic surgeon in Columbia SC, who has performed over 5000 resurfacing surgeries. January 20 was my 6 month anniversary and I am not ashamed to admit that this surgery kicked my ass. Those first 6 weeks were very humbling.

In my follow up visit at 8 weeks, Dr Gross cleared me to start rehab, so Mike and I joined a local gym. I met with the trainer, we came up with a plan for my workout, and on my first visit, I hit the arc trainer (similar to an elliptical).  I set the time to 10 minutes … on level 1 … and I was extremely light headed when I was done. Holy crap. Its a good thing that Planet Fitness is the “no judgement zone.”

Fast forward another 4 months. I am still mindful of my gait, but I am now walking pain free. My doctor said that after 6 months, I can start easing back into my sporting activities. Guess I was stretching the definition of “easing” because Darcy and I just finished three agility weekends in a row of traveling and trialing. All were fun, we were able to visit with friends and it was very evident that Darcy was very happy to be out running agility again. Because I was running with pain for several months and then we were out for over 10, we have a lot of work/training to do to be the amazing team we were becoming before my hip made other plans. I am now more determined to not only recover, but to be better, stronger, faster, and healthier than before, and considering the results of so many others who have had the resurfacing procedure, I think it is quite possible.

Stay tuned …

This was written on July 21 – one year after my surgery:

I was seated on the edge of the operating table wondering why there were nurses on either side of me holding my right and left arms. They smiled and one said “here you go … the best beach-side summer cocktail you have ever had”.

When I woke up, I was in a different room and another smiling nurse greeted me. “How are you feeling?”

“What? I don’t know. Wait, do I have a new hip??”

“Yep. You have a new hip”

That was one year ago. July 20, 2018.

Lisa, Darcy and Pippin at the Biltmore
Lisa, Darcy and Pippin at the Biltmore

In the last 365 days I have been humbled, frustrated, overwhelmed, encouraged, enlightened, amazed and determined. I had been walking so badly (due to the pain) for almost a year before my surgery that I really did have to learn to walk again, to find my gait again, to remember head up, shoulders back, one foot in front of the other, heel/toe … and no slouching. It took months to get there.

At 8 weeks, I had a follow up visit with my doctor, Dr. Thomas Gross, in Columbia, SC, and he asked me if I was glad I had had the surgery. At that point, I wasn’t really sure. When he asks me again, it will be a resounding yes. I am very thankful that we found the best doctor in the country who performed the hip resurfacing surgery that will hopefully be my one and only.

One year ago today, we were in this RV heading home from the hospital in Columbia. I was frail, vulnerable, overwhelmed and needy and tried to rest on the sofa while Mike drove the whole way home. I don’t say this enough, but I am so very grateful for Mike’s love, support and encouragement, even though I cursed him those first few days after we got home when he insisted that I get out of the chair and walk a little … and then a little more.

A year later, I am walking better, moving better and feeling better each day and hoping the effects of that beach-side summer cocktail never wear off 🙂

**About 7-8 months after my surgery, I was doing much better but still feeling stiff and was not moving as well as I thought I should be. My sister-in-law, Debbie, had just signed on with Zilis and insisted that I try the UltraCell CBD. I was very hesitant at first, but after using it for about 3 weeks, I definitely noticed a difference. I am also using the UltraICE product, which contains turmeric and other anti-inflammatory botanicals. The combination has been very helpful. Click here to learn more.