Tuesday, January 27, 2009

On to the Next Phase

If you have not gathered by now, my life with NF2 has become a series of phases over several years. I often consider this rebirth as occuring in late 2004 after the radiosurgery. That is when things really became serious and I was confronted with making a treatment decision due to very substantial growth of one of the tumors. The radiosurgery that I held so much promise for did not go as smoothly or as easily as planned unfortunately. As a result, I was left with some devastating side effects I had to learn to adjust/adapt to.

But when reflecting back on it deeper, my transforation dates all the way back to July 1999 at my diagnosis. Even though though the events since 2004 dealt me a heavy blow, initially there were the phases of acceptance and learning to survive being different (as I lost my hearing).

All this has been emotionally and physcially taxing and have taken their own time to heal. With a good handle on the physical and mental challenges now, I am able to focus on the next steps (fundraising for research and alternative treatments).

So I have tried out both radiosurgery and brain surgery. What else is there?

I am not to the point of desperation yet where I feel the need to try out drugs in clinical trials or chemotherapies. Call me selfish, but I am doing well enough that I do not want to offer my body for experimentation. Having gone through cancer treatment years ago and having experienced difficulty with different medical drugs, I just do not want to put myself through anymore for a reason which would not benefit me personally. I know that sounds bad but I rather run a marathon than be a martyr.

The other option which has come to light over the past year is a supplement from New Zealand which a researcher has discovered to suppress NF tumors in mice. (Propolis Bio 30)

I first read about it back in 2007 around the time of my surgery. Since then, at least 50 people in the country have been giving it a try and have not experienced any side effects. The only reactions have occured in patients allergic to bees.

So to play it safe (as I have seen the result of horrible allergies and have had negative reactions to certain drugs), I scheduled a bee allergy test which was performed yesterday. I was tested for different strengths of 5 different bee venoms. My prayers were answered as I did not have a reaction to any of the venoms. Therefore, I am very happy to report that I can also begin taking the Propolis Bio 30.

There is not enough information yet to know if the supplement will actually shrink the tumors (although in some of the mice that did happen). The point in taking the supplement is to keep them from growing further and thus protect my quality of life by keeping the tumors from compressing critical structures (resulting in negative side effects). It could very well be like every other option.....What works for one person, may not work for the next.

Yet at this point where I stand, I have nothing to lose (except money ;o) ) if there are not any serious side effects from the supplement. What I have now is worth preserving! It sure puts life into a proper perspective. So currently, I am on a path to be as healthy as possible. I just gotta kick the sugar habit like the chocolate chips I ate today! LOL At least they were dark chocolate which has antioxidants that are good for you. I gotta stop using that excuse now that I get a healthy dose of antioxidants in actual "good" things for my body (berries, purely pomegranite juice, green vibrance drink, and FRS liquid and sport chew supplements). I don't NEED the chocolate now but it sure tastes fine!

For more information on these supplements, visit the following links:

FRS energy

Green Vibrance

Purely Pomegranate

Propolis Bio 30: Manuka Health Industries

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Announcement/Implementing a Goal

I am 99% committed now. The final step is to work with Deb Hanlon of NF Inc. to get officially registered for the Eugene half marathon on May 3rd.


I completed the first couple steps already:

a) to write it down on a sheet of paper posted next to my computer


b) to commit myself to a training program and to write/report about each run

I tell Harley each time I successfully complete a run and I have also been reporting it as my status on facebook. So those are 2 big things to help commit you to a goal (writing it down where you will see it and be reminded of it everyday & getting started on the project and reporting your progress).

To be completely honest, while I am running I get determined to finish and complete it because I don't want to report that I failed. It is empowering to be able to say that you followed through. When you commit to other people, it holds a lot more weight than if you only committed to yourself or kept it secret. It is a HUGE motivator.

I was exploring some more half marathon tips/training (geared to the first timer) and I came across some great advice from www.DailyRuns.com.

Here are the tips which I have begun implementing:

"Staying Motivated"

"Speaking of goals, write yours down. Why are you running this half marathon?"

"A few more tips for staying motivated:"

"1) Chart your progress. Sign-up for a free online tracker where you record your workout, speed, time, distance, energy level, heart rate, and even the mileage on your shoes.

2) Sign-up for your race. Why wait? Go online today and sign up for your race, confirming your commitment to make it happen.

3) Tell everyone you know you're running a half-marathon. There's a two-fold advantage to this strategy. One, people will be impressed. That's always fun. And two, now you're on the line to report how you did in the race. Extra laps, anyone?

Running for Charity

4) Another motivator is to make your race about more than just you by participating in a charity drive."

Today I officially announced on facebook what I am doing. Up till now, I had only mentioned going on training runs but did not say why.

I also discovered an online training log through active.com where I can document my progress and keep track.

My final step is to actually get registered (which NF Inc. is helping me with) and to setup my fundraising page this week. That is a big one. The physical training is one part but the actual fundraising is another which can be emotionally and mentally demanding.

I have taken a short break for the past month and a half - 2 months to re-energize in this area. I am a person who cannot be "on" 24-7 and I need to ease back for a little bit before taking on the next project.

As you know, I am also a patient of what I am advocating for and to be effective I must get in touch with the realities and possiblities which are part of this disorder. For the most part I have been pretty lucky (lucky that my face is not badly disfigured, I can still see out of both eyes, I am able to eat normally and can eat what I want;no feeding tube, I am able to do physically demanding activities still and am not dependant on a cane or need a wheelchair, aside from some memory loss I am still a pretty smart person and my brain pathways have continued to improve since the radiosurgery in 2004, I have only had 1 brain surgery so far, I have not had a spinal surgery, I have only had 1 surgery overall and I am the amazingly late age of 37, and I did not begin losing hearing until my late 20s and became completely deafened in my early 30s). Yet, others are not so lucky and the NF2 community has had to deal with some deaths over the past few years (one as recently as Dec 26th, 2008 of our beloved web master who was only 33). Further, someone is always going in for a surgery or treatment and the anxiety is high for everyone. It happens so often that it is hard to keep track of everyone who is having surgery! So believe me when I tell you that I am extremely blessed and lucky make it this far with only 1!

All this really wears on the soul and morale. I think I can speak for many when I say that the question repeatedly pops inro our heads "Is the same thing going to happen to me? What more is to come and how long before it happens?"

But I am getting off of topic now. The issue I wanted to bring forth is about the steps to actually implementing a goal. I hope my marathon training provides you an example of how to get started and I would be honored to have you follow along with my progress.

Why am I running a half marathon by the way? (I never really mentioned it.)

A) May is NF awareness month and I felt responsiblity for representing us in the NW. The Eugene marathon in Oregon is the only NW marathon in May where I could get this kind of exposure (I will be wearing the green run4NF running jersey.) Thanks to Deb Hanlon of www.run4NF.org for notifying me about the event. I am the first and only person with NF2 in the NW region to do this (a few of us throughout the country who are able have been taking on marathons for our cause over the past few years).

B) Since I walked the full Seattle marathon in 2006 with Team in Training, I had been approached to complete a marathon as a fundraiser for NF. So I had been thinking about it since 2006 but building myself up over the years. (I had brain surgery in fall 2007 so I had to hold off of a major endurance event.)
I did not know back then that I was going to try running one. I could only run for about 10-15 minutes at a time. In May 2006, I ran 3 miles around a high school track in the Relay for Life and collapsed from weakness. My legs gave out and I could not stand up. It was rather embarassing as the paramedics rushed over in front of the everyone attending at the stadium and track.

C) I really like the spring and Eugene is a nice area that my parents live near. I can take a weekend trip to visit them, raise NF awareness, and pursue an ambition all at the same time! (hehe I guess I like to multitask!) ;o)

Alright! Enough taking about it now! I gotta go out and DO!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The"supreme" health drink

Earlier I was discussing white tea and I did not really get into explaining why it is so beneficial. Of all drinks, white tea is highest in antioxidants which are important in fighting "free radicals" in the body which contribute to disease, cancer, and aging.

In order to acquire the white tea with the highest concentrations of antioxidants, it is critical to purchase the most recent harvest and to store it correctly.

The following site which I included in my last post is absolutely fantastic and explains all this in detail. If you are interested in becoming a white tea drinker, this is the perfect place to start learing about it.


Little Changes - Shooting for the Optimum

I am on rest day today of the second week of half marathon training. My 2 runs this week went pretty well but I have been tired and stiff in the morning. As such, I opted out of water aerobics this morning. I am not that exhausted but the frost on the ground and a chilly house was enough to deter me from jumping into a cold pool today.

To warm up and get my energy levels fired up this morning, I am drinking a mug of winter spice white tea. I am not a coffee nor caffiene drinker but there are certain healthy exceptions (white, red, and green teas).

To learn about the health benefits of white tea (considered the "supreme" health drink), visit these websites:



Another couple health rituals I starting trying are the "Whole Body Cleanse" system by Enzymatic and consumption of "Green Vibrance" by Vibrant Health.

I tried the Whole Body Cleanse system for a couple days this summer but it did not work out too well as I was deep into my distance walking training for the 31.5 mile hike in September. I discovered it was not a good idea to start it when you plan to walk many miles and be far from any bathrooms for hours at a time! hehehe

But right now is early in my training and I have decided to keep to week 1 of the schedule to ease into running several times a week so that my body can adjust. I am only running 3-4 miles a day which takes me 30-40 minutes. Therefore, right now seems like the most ideal time to try it out (2 week program). I felt I needed it because last night I bloated up like a 3-4 month pregnant person for whatever unknown reason! Could it be that I just put too much junk into my system from the holidays? Then I topped it off with almost daily consumption of 2 extra dark fine chocolate truffles, a couple pieces of carrot cake last week and then black forest cake this week because I thought I could "afford it" with my increase in weekly running?

In any case, that was not too fun blowing up like a blimp last night! I actually topped the scale over what I have been at for the last 3 years or more!. So something had to be done and something was definitely wrong. I am hoping this cleanse will get my system back on track and a fresh start with a healthy body.

For over a year now, Harley has been trying to get me to drink "the green" powder and I have refused. I like to eat vegetables but that is different than drinking a cold green vegetable. I don't know. I just felt turned off by drinking something green. (chuckle) It smells like a vegetable too which makes it even more of a challenge to change your mind about. But we discussed it last week and he mentioned that he puts juice in his to make it palatable. "Hmmn" I thought. "In that case I can give it a try."

So Monday night I bought a carton of Peach, Mango, Orange juice to try it out this morning. It still was not incredibly appealing but I was able to gulp it down. Unfortunately, I put the powder in first and then the juice (in an old washed out smoothie container) and half of the powder stuck to the bottom. I did not discover this until I had almost finished the drink. So I added about a quarter cup of water, replaced the cap, and gave it a good shake to loosen the powder and mix it up. Now the concoction was almost all water and the green powder. It was not at all flavorful but I managed to swig it down quick. I DEFINITELY will be trying out different juice combinations to produce the most pleasing cocktail. Light Strawberry Banana V8 is my favorite juice so I think I will give that a try.

Green Vibrance by Vibrant Health:


Why am I even considering drinking this green stuff? Well, regarding the training for the half marathon, I need the best possible energy levels and endurance I can achieve. Regarding NF2, I need to maintain the best overall health possible to ward off any ailments that compromise my system and to be ready with the greatest level of immunity for further surgeries or treatments. Really, my goal and what I would like is to hold off ny surgeries as long as possible or forever.

So who will win....me or the NF2? I will fight and even drink the "green" juice to maintain the quality of life I have been given back.

Addtional Note about the NF2:

Monday I finally consult with an allergist to see if I have an allergy to bees (I have never actually been stung!). The reason is to find out if I can undergo a trial with a supplement which was been shown to suppress NF2 tumors in mice. The supplement known as Bio 30 Propolis is made from honey bees in New Zealand.

Apparently the flowers in New Zealand are more "pure" and concentrations of the bioflavinoids are higher than those harvested throughout the rest of the world.

To read the October 2008 release of the article "NZ firm's dollar-a-day bee compound halts tumour growth in cancer trial patients", Visit


Monday, January 19, 2009

1 week down, 15 more to go!

I past the first week of the half marathon training of an intensive and fast 10 week schedule. That was the test....to see if I could at least make it through one week. Surprisingly, it went pretty well and I still made it to water aerobics class one day and kept up with my 3 day weekly weight lifting.

I completely forgot to stretch (or rather was running short on time) Friday night so I worried about really feeling sore yesterday and today. So far I am a little sore (more like getting old kind of stiff in the morning) and a little tired but not bad.

Yesterday was rest day so there was nothing rigorous and just really mild leisurely walking along Alki when we visited West Seattle.

When I got up in the morning I started to get the weakness episode again which feels sort of like a cross between a head rush and a passing out where you collapse. By now, I have become accustomed to this feeling and can kind of control it. It is similar to when you are aware that you start getting narced while scuba diving. The few times that has happened to me while diving, I could feel it coming on and knew the signs. Therefore, I was able to stop what I was doing, focus on something, and ascend.

In the case of the weakness episodes, when I feel it starting, I usually grab onto a wall or stationary object while trying to focus on something straight ahead in my visual field. After the feeling seems to peak, I try to get myself into a position of rest such as lying down or sitting. My legs seem to give out during the episode so getting the pressure off of them seems to alleviate it and help me recover more quickly.

So this happened to me yesterday morning and I have concluded over the years that this is from dehydration. On my rest day (Wednesday) after water aerobics, I went to soak for about 8 minutes in the hot tub. I got very warm and when I got out, the same thing happened to me but more intense.

Luckily, I knew what was happening so I was able to hold onto the sturdy hand railing of the tub until I could make it over to the wall. Once I was confident it had passed, I worked up the bravery to move over to a chair to sit and rest for a few minutes before walking to the locker room.

Anyway, these incidents seem to occur when I may have not had enough water intake. So when I felt it coming on yesterday morning, I immediately lied back down and as soon as it passed, I drank the glass of water I had waiting for me on my dresser.

Seeing this occurred twice in one week, I can predict that it will happen again or maybe even more often during the training. I determined it would be a good idea to always have a glass (plastic) of water waiting for me next to my bed for when I awake.

This fist week has been an experimentation to see how I feel, test if I could run regularly (13-14 miles in a 4 day week), try out different clothing layers and my new running shoes I got for Christmas, monitor and make little adjustments to nutrition and supplements, evaluate how my body responds to repetitive running added to my weight training, and test my comfort and form while running with Katie.

At this point this is what I discovered:

My body felt OK with the first week of running 4 days a week. The final day of running, my mileage was increased from 3 to 4 miles but I ran 4.5 or 5 miles because I did not see the mileage marker and passed it. I actually felt really great on this run and better than the previous 3 running days which is really promising. Hopefully that means my body is already adjusting and adapting to the change and will be able to keep up!

The temp varied from 46 degrees to 39 degrees. I have no need for wearing thermals at these temps. On 2 days, 3 layers on the top was too much and I had to stop to peel off a jacket. What worked best on the coldest day (Friday) was a pair of running tights with a thin moisture wicking long sleeve shirt under a fleece jacket accompanied by a running ball cap. This was the most comfortable ensemble at 39 degrees. The Salomon waterproof trail running shoes are working great but I will most likely need to change to a running shoe for pavement to use in the marathon.

Lunch has been light and mostly just snacks such as a V8 and cheese stick and maybe a yogurt. Breakfast has been cold cereal (sometimes with a banana) and a graham cracker slathered with fat free strawberry cream cheese.

For supplements I am trying hard to remember to take my vitamins (multi, C, Iron, and calcium). In the morning before I eat, I try to take 3 collagen +C supplements. I drink an oz of glucosamine joint juice with 6-7 oz of low cal fruit juice. Depending on how I feel the next day and if my hips are sore, I may take 2 "Move Free" tablets. On occasion I will add in a potassium supplement as needed (such as the day of or after my long run). Lastly, FRS (promoted by Lance Armstrong) makes a wonderful line of products that I am really pleased with. Normally I will have one or two sport chews before a run or workout. On the day of my long run, I tried the juice concentrate a half hour before my run and then a sport chew. I REALLY believe these work! Before training, there was one evening I did not have a chew before lifting and it was most worst workout! I was really tired and had to lift less and even do less reps!

I was able to maintain my weight routine with the running this week. I did not decrease the amount of any weights and even added 5 lbs. on a couple exercises. I realize that I will most likely not be able to continue this as the weekly mileage increases. I really hate to drop it all together for the 4 months leading up to the marathon. I REALLY need the constant weight training in order to have stability and be able to do some of the things I want to do. I think as the mileage increases, the amount of weight will need to decrease until after the event. I may eventually change to actual "toning" exercises to keep the muscles in practice than serious "strength training". This is something I will have to figure out as I go along.

When I trained to WALK the Seattle marathon in 2006, I did not do any regular weight training. At that time, I was working on building up my endurance again and started to run in little short spurts. I was unable to do any more strenuous/elevation hiking or diving yet. I was still using a walking stick to walk in many areas (the marathon helped me build up and eliminate using the stick).

Originally I had planned to take Katie on a run once and MAYBE twice a week. She has done very well though and seems to be adjusting nicely. I still am a little nervous that she will trip me as has happened in the past. We changed to a longer and lighter leash which really seems to help the whole tripping and yanking on the leash. Our last run was the best which was our 4th for the week and she was excited to go! I know however, that I will have to run by myself as the mileage increases because when we trained to hike 31.5 miles last year, the high mileage days and weeks became too much for her.

Today is supposed to be a 3 mile run day but we might go diving. I don't want to mix a strenuous training run and dive on the same day (such could contribute to decompression sickness). Missing one run day is not worth getting a major medical complication over. If I miss it today (Harley is off work today and it is his birthday), I will try to see if I can make it up on Wednesday. Doing so however, would cause me to run 3 days in a row without a rest day for recovery.

The plan is to run 4 miles on the second day this week but I may keep to the week 1 mileage as I am ahead of schedule in the training program (it is now 15 weeks pre-marathon and the training program is for 10 weeks). This gives me a little more time to adapt to regular running and also a rest week before the tower climb in March.

Until the next report, have a wonderful week! :o)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

New Event/New Training

Yes. I am at it again. Training never stops for me as I have mentioned before. I and many of us with NF2 train to just function as normally as possible. It really helps keep me motivated by having a variety of events to accomplish with a cause attached.

I will again be racing to the top of the Columbia Tower on March 22nd as a fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society which I have been involved with since 2006. This will be my 3rd year and I hope to scale the skyscaper in 14 minutes. Last year my time was 14:16 and the year prior was just over 15 minutes.

Of course I have been mildly training for it since I finished my long distance hike in September. I thought I was going to have another brain surgery so I was concerned about keeping fit and being able to bounce back right away in time to do the tower again.

Fortunately, I did not need another surgery last fall. So I was able to just carry on (lifting 3 days a week, water aerobics once a week, 15 minutes on the stair climber once or twice a week, and a weekly run 30-50 minutes in length.)

I have pondered it for quite awhile and Sunday I finally made the decision to actually run a marathon now (a half marathon in Eugene, OR near my parents).

I still need to register (for both events) but I labeled yesterday as the official start of my 10 week half marathon training.

Am I scared? Heck yeah! LOL As I mentioned before, I really am not a "runner". Running has always been something moderate for me and a means to supplement training for something else or a small part of keeping in shape.

Running this distance will be a HUGE challenge for me...the greatest by far (more than walking a marathon or 31.5 miles). First of all, I have not really talked about it, but I get double vision within the first 10-15 minutes of running that STAYS with me the whole duration and there after! I found out in September that it is here to stay and something that I need to learn to deal with and compensate for. I do this by looking down at the ground about 3-5 feet in front of me most of the time. When I look ahead to the trail the double vision is worse and it is hard to calculate my footing and not get disoriented. I can only make quick glances to see where I am.

The second issue is that I am unable to run indoors on a treadmill. Therefore, all of my training runs must be done outside which proved to be a challenge at the end of December when we had lots of snow followed by lots of rain and flooding.

There were a couple weeks when it snowed that I just could not do my weekly run. One day it was just too icy and within 5 minutes I tripped over Katie's legs when we were trying to avoid another large patch of ice. After that, I determined it just was not worth getting injured and would wait out the couple-few weeks until the snow and ice were gone (afterall, I cut up my knee again).

The week before Christmas I did try running on the treadmill hanging on to the handle bars. Wow! It is just not made for that! After 10 minutes my shoulders and arms ached terribly from all the jarring! So I hopped off and rode the cybex machine instead.

Now the snow is gone and it is starting to dry up. My usual path on the Snoqualmie Valley trail is most likely flooded right now or muddy. Last I walked on Redmond Ridge, the trail through the woods had quite a few puddles. Fortunately there are some paved trails around for me to run on.

I never imagined I would ever run in a marathon. Yet, it just feels like it is the next step for me. This summer I was able to make it through a 10K. a 10K = 6.2 miles and is almost half of a half marathon. I have read over the past couple years of a technique where people run for a few miles and then walk a mile. The walking helps them recover and re-energize. In fact, people who have done this technique resulted in better running times than had they ran continuously the entire course.

So my strategy is to try this technique and run every other mile. That way I am doing what I know I can accomplish which is to run a 10K and I know I can certainly walk it. I am going to pursue the regular half marathon training and see how it goes for me. In any case, I will finish the half marathon somehow. I am committed to it.

I am going to try my best to journal my training here so keep checking in!

Here is the half marathon training schedule I found online:
The marathon is May 3rd so I am just a tad early into training which is good.

10-Week Half Marathon Training Schedule
Week Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Total
1: 3 Rest 3 3 Rest 4 Rest 13
2: 3 Rest 4 3 Rest 5 Rest 15
3: 3 Rest 4 3 Rest 6 Rest 16
4: 3 Rest 5 3 Rest 8 Rest 19
5: 3 Rest 5 3 Rest 10 Rest 21
6: 4 Rest 5 4 Rest 11 Rest 24
7: 4 Rest 6 4 Rest 12 Rest 26
8: 4 Rest 5 4 Rest 9 Rest 22
9: 3 Rest 4 3 Rest 8 Rest 18
10: 3 Rest 3 Walk 2 Rest 13.1 Rest 21.1

Revisit of My Goals

When I came home from surgery in the fall of 2007, Harley and I talked about goals. I felt kind of corny but he wanted me to tell him and write down my goals. Although they started out kind of simple, my goals grew throughout the year.

Here are the 3 goals I wrote down and posted next to my computer that I wanted to achieve in 2008 (and yes, I accomplished them all and added to the list as the year progressed)

1. Improve handwriting and learn to write again.
2. Climb the Columbia Tower
3. Run a 10K

Within the last hour and after reading the newsletter by Mac Anderson, it reminded me to write down my new goals for 2009.

Here is the list I have written in blue ink posted next to my computer monitor which I see every morning and several times a day.

1. Lose 7 lbs.

2. Finish painting the entire main floor of the house. (I got a start with a trial run on 2 walls and I restored an area downstairs and made a pantry in 2008; so far since my balance began improving, I have taken on 3 painting projects in the house. The first was really a challenge because I had not built up enough strength yet for stability which makes painting really difficult.)

3. Climb the columbia tower and raise at least $100 for LLS (the requirement is $50 so I doubled it, last year there was no requirement and my sister and I raised about $1900).

4. Run a half marathon in May/raise $5000 for NF2 research (in May I decided to do a 31.5 mile hike to fundraise for NF2 research. My initial goal was $3800 which I raised to $5000 and reached over $5200).

5.Complete 20-30 dives for the year (scuba).

6. Wake up early and go to bed early in order to maintain a consistent sleeping schedule.

7. Blog every week (you may have noticed I let it slide over the last couple months). The key is to be consistent.

8. Help organize and clean the garage (a task we have put off for 5 years).

9. Finish putting together the glass and wood curio cabinet which we have been carting around for years and has been collecting dust in storage.

#10 I need to do some more thinking about. I know there are other things I wanted to accomplish this year but I have forgotten at the moment.

See what happens when you don't write them down!

Be A Serious Goal Setter

I recieved a great newsletter from Mac Anderson this week which was just in time. I do not really believe in New Year's Resolutions. Rather I believe in goals.
What's the difference?

New Year's Resolutions for many people are just sort of a fad...like a fad diet. It does not last. Sure. I am certain people approach their New Year's Resolutions with whole hearted enthusiasm and drive. But all too often the spirit and energy to acheive the resolutions fades or they get forgotton.

If you do make "New Year's Resolutions" modify your thinking of them as "goals" and write them down some place where you can see them everyday and be reminded of what you set out to achieve. Then when you see them often, you will think about them and ask yourself how close you are to obtaining it and if you are doing what you need to in order to pursue that goal.

Below is a wonderful discussion by Mac Anderson of Simple Truths on goal setting from his new book "The Power of Discipline":

Why are some people more successful than others? Why do some people live happier lives and accomplish more in the same number of years than the great majority?

If I had to pick one answer to these questions, I wouldn't hesitate ... my answer would be self discipline.
Albert Gray said it best, "The common denominator of success - the secret of success of every person who has been successful - lies in the fact that they formed the habit of doing things that failures don't like to do."
Gray "nailed" it!

Because self discipline affects so many facets of your life. It affects your ability to reach your goals; it affects your personal health, your time management, your ability to manage your finances and even your character.

Brian Tracy is one of America's leading authorities on the development of human potential. He speaks to over 250,000 people a year, and is also a best-selling author who has written 25 books.
I'm honored that Brian has written a book for Simple Truths titled: The Power of Discipline...7 Ways It Can Change Your Life.
Take a quick look at the table of contents...

Introduction 5
Self Discipline and Goals 8
Self Discipline and Character 26
Self Discipline and Time Management 40
Self Discipline and Personal Health 50
Self Discipline and Money 64
Self Discipline and Courage 76
Self Discipline and Responsibility 92

Today, I'd like to share a brief excerpt from Brian's chapter on Self Discipline and Goals. Enjoy!
An excerpt from The Power of Discipline
by Brian Tracy

Your ability to discipline yourself to set clear goals, and then to work toward them everyday, will do more to guarantee your success than any other single factor.

You've heard it said that, "You can't hit a target you can't see."
"If you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there."

Wayne Gretsky said, "You miss every shot you don't take."

It seems that only 3% of adults have written goals and plans, and they earn more than the other 97% put together.
Why is this? The simplest answer is that, if you have a clear goal and a plan to achieve it, your focus is fixed on a set course of action. Instead of becoming sidetracked by distractions and diversions, your time is focused on a straight line from start to finish. This is why people with goals accomplish so much more than people without them.

The tragedy is that everyone thinks they already have goals. But what they really have are hopes and wishes.
A wish has been defined as a "goal with no energy behind it." Hope is not a strategy.
Goals that are not written down and developed into plans are like bullets without powder in the cartridge. People with unwritten goals go through life shooting blanks. Because they think they already have goals, they never engage in the hard, disciplined effort of goal setting, the master skill of success.

USA Today reported on a study a couple of years ago. First, researchers selected people who made New Year's resolutions. Then they divided these people into two categories: those who made New Year's resolutions and wrote them down, and those who made New Year's resolutions, but neglected to write them down.

Twelve months later, they followed up on the respondents in this study. What they found was astonishing! Of the people who made New Year's resolutions but neglected to write them down, only 4% actually followed through on their resolutions.

However, among the group that took a few minutes to record their New Year's resolutions, 44% followed through on them. This difference of more than 1100% proves the simple act of crystallizing resolutions or goals on paper increases likelihood of success.

In my experience of working with several million people over the past twenty-five years, the disciplined act of setting goals, making plans for their accomplishments, and then working on them daily, increases the likelihood of achieving your goals by ten times, or 1000%.

This does not mean that goal setting guarantees success, only that it increases the probabilities of success by ten times. These are very good odds to have working in your favor.
Click here for more information on The Power of Discipline.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Epiphany About Life

"Your life is an occasion Mahoney." Mr. Magorium then cups his young apprentice's face gently in his hands, "Rise to it!"

- Dustin Hoffman as Mr. Magorium in Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium

Whoever you are, where ever you are, and whatever you do, life is not to be feared but lived! As Mr. Magorium said, "It is an occasion". Now go on and savor it, pursue it, and make the very best possible occasion you can muster! After all, "anything is possible". :o)

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Want to Recycle Old Cards?

Feel good cleaning out while helping a cause that will only cost you to mail a box of used cards.

This does not directly deal with NF2 but applies to everyone. However, last year I read an article through an MS society newsletter about how important it is for people with disorders of the brain to eliminate clutter in order to have efficiently functioning lives. So this definitely applies to people with NF2 also.

I am a HUGE packrat and save WAY too much! I have saved all of my cards for years and have had a difficult time letting them go. Some are just so pretty or too cute that I cannot bring myself to throw them away. As a result, I have an overflowing, heaping pile of cards people have given me crammed in my cabinet.

What good are they doing in there? LOL Like I ever look at them until I find it is time to try organizing and doing some spring cleaning. Still, I just cannot bring myself to throw them out. I don't really have the time or patience to make new cards of them either.

So what is the solution of not wasting them and feeling good about offloading them?


That's right! You understood me correctly!

St. Jude Hospital for sick children has a wonderful program where the kids make new cards out of them to sell as part of the fundraising efforts for the hospital. Isn't that fabulous?

Here is the info and website:


We are accepting used, all-occasion greeting cards from November 15, 2008 thru February 28, 2009. You can mail your donations to:

St. Jude's Ranch for Children
Card Recycling Program
100 St. Jude's Street
Boulder City, NV 89005

To learn more about St. Jude's Ranch and their card recycling program, please visit the website: http://www.stjudesranch.org/help_card.php