Sunday, 30 October 2011 / Published in Guest Blogger

Joint pain is one of the most common ailments that individuals experience as they age. Lack of activity or too much activity without countering the effects of these can lead to dysfunction that determines the stability and mobility of the joint. If a joint moves poorly due to tightness of the connective tissue or inflexibility of the muscles that move it, it will lose its capacity to create fluidity of the body’s skeleton. We are intended to move using sequential patterns of muscle action for functional and athletic activities. When mobility is restricted, these normal patterns are interrupted and what replace them are compensations that are hard on the structure and can be a source of pain.

What is the solution to this aging issue? We can manage the change in function by performing exercises that mobilize the joints and improve the flexibility of the muscles and connective tissue. This allows a joint to move fluidly through its range of motion without undue pressure on anyone particular portion of it which can ultimately reduce the degree of wearing. Flexibility is as critical to the function of your joints as air is to the function of your lungs. Enabling the body to find correct movements by improving posture and flexibility is a long-term ticket to a healthy skeleton. Appropriate physical activity is essential to function.

The best way to identify your areas of tightness and mis-alignment is to be evaluated by a professional who understands postural position and movement patterns and will assess joint mobility and function. In addition to performing stretching and strengthening exercises, learning and maintaining good posture will support the balance of the muscles around the joints. When standing, the feet should be hip width and parallel to one another. Finding weighting in the ball of the big and little toe and center of the heel will help you evenly activate the muscles up the leg and position the pelvis properly. This should allow the hips to have a slight bend in them with the middle of the shoulders lined with center of the hips when looking at the profile. Finally, the middle of the ear should align with the shoulder with the gaze level. This is a neutral stance that you will not hold all of the time, but if you learn how to be stable here and improve flexibility, your movement quality will improve. And this translates to happier joints for life!

Sunday, 16 October 2011 / Published in Guest Blogger, Personal Interests

If cancer could happen to me, the picture of good health, it can happen to anyone, at any time. I learned, and continue to learn, many life lessons

We are our own best health care advocates – I can’t emphasize the importance of annual mammograms enough, even if you are convinced you are at little to no risk for this disease. My only risk factor is that I am a women – I had no other standard indicators for risk of this disease. I was (and am) physically fit, I was young, I have no family history, I don’t smoke, and the list goes on. Each risk factor they identify – I had none of them, except that I am a woman. Even the doctors were convinced that the palpable lump in my breast was nothing to be concerned about, and I agreed, but I also wanted a definitive answer about what it was. They were as surprised as I was when it came back as positive. Read last week’s blog entry for more information on the diagnostic process I pursued until I had a definitive answer.through this experience. As an extension of last week’s blog entry, I wanted to share a few key lessons that I learned.

Pursue Information – I learned that many doctors are reluctant to introduce patients to new information. It is not their job to educate us, it is their job to treat us. It is our job to educate ourselves. There is an abundance of information available at our fingertips, and it is up to us to filter through that information, and net out the information we need, and the questions we need to ask of our doctors. Doctors will answer questions once they are asked, they just won’t offer information for fear it will overwhelm us. So, come into your doctor appointments armed with questions, and if needed, ask a friend or loved one to join you, so they can help interpret the answers to those questions. When we are the subject of the discussion, sometimes our thoughts wander, and it helps to have someone else there to stay on track and take copious notes.

Take the Time – Even when they’ve heard my story, how my persistence saved my life, many people tell me that they are too busy to have annual mammograms – that they can’t take the time to have the screening. Between demands on our time at home and at work, we are all very busy – children need a ride to soccer, hockey, football or the like, or you need to have this proposal done for work, etc. I promise you, the one hour you take out of your busy schedule, once a year, for this crucial screening, is well worth it. Your family and your work colleagues will miss you a lot more if you don’t do it.

I recognize how fortunate I am that I pursued a more definitive answer to the initial medical response “We don’t know what it is”, and that my cancer responded to the medical technology that was available to me at the time. I also know many who are not as fortunate as I am. Medical professionals are very well meaning, but no one cares more about our own survival than we each do. Take the steps required to ensure you are proactive in early diagnosis, educated in order to ask questions to better understand your disease and your options for treatment, and take ownership over your own health and health issues, as best you can.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011 / Published in Guest Blogger

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The Susan G. Komen Denver Race for the Cure occurs the first Sunday in October each year. This year is especially significant for me, as it represents a major milestone for me – 10 years since my diagnosis in 2001 – a milestone I wasn’t sure I would reach when I was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer at the age of 40.

It came as a real shock, given that I had my baseline mammogram the year before, which had not reported any issues. In addition, I had no contributing factors – other than being a woman – that would have put me at risk of Breast Cancer, particularly at such a young age. I had no family history, I exercised for more than an hour every day, I ate a balanced diet, and I had no health issues. In fact, it was only first discovered in an annual medical exam as a palpable (nickel sized and shaped) mass, and neither the Nurse Practitioner nor I were overly concerned about it at the time. I wasn’t actually encouraged to check it out immediately, but I decided that I should anyway, and scheduled a mammogram at the same place that did my baseline mammogram. That mammogram did not show any “interval change” from the baseline mammogram, but they too could feel the disk shaped mass, so they did an ultrasound. That too showed nothing. Again, I was not encouraged to pursue it further, but I called my Doctor’s office, and the nurse said I could see a surgeon for a biopsy. I was still not worried at all, but just didn’t want to ignore it. I saw the surgeon, who scheduled me for an excisional biopsy. That biopsy came back positive for Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma. Further pathology showed additional information about the characteristics of the tumor, and its spread, which helped direct the proper options for treatment.

One thing that hit home in this process is how random cancer really is. I was living under a false sense of security that if I did all the right things, and had no significant contributing factors or behaviors, I was at a near zero risk of Breast Cancer – it was not even a remote concern for me. I realized, after all I experienced and learned, that if it could happen to me, it could happen to anyone at any time.

I am living proof that the messaging and awareness around Breast Cancer gets through – even if it is not at a conscious level. I am certain that I was as persistent as I was, and am alive today as a result of that persistence, because of the awareness that the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the Race for the Cure brought to me over the years, and continues to bring.

Sunday, 09 October 2011 / Published in Individual Health Insurance, Underwriting

When one applies for individual health insurance, the plans are “underwritten” to determine if the applicant qualifies for coverage. If “pre-existing” medical or lifestyle conditions exist, the applications might be “rated-up,” have a condition “excluded” or “denied.”

Issued Standard is the best outcome of an application. It means the policy has been issued, at the price you were quoted, with no modification to the coverage.

An Exclusion is when the health insurance company offers a client a policy but excludes something from coverage. Some common reasons for exclusions are on-going medical issues, such as a knee that needs surgery or a severe case of Asthma. Other reasons for an exclusion might be for the removal of any type of internal fixation (breast implants, screws or plates), certain types of activities like rock climbing and much more.

Rate-up is when a client is charged more than “standard” by the insurance company. Some typical reasons for this are high blood pressure, high cholesterol, body build, tobacco use, poor driving record, etc.

If the pre-existing condition is such that the insurance company feels they cannot issue a policy, the client is Denied.

This whole area of pre-existing conditions is where I spend a lot of my time in finding the right match for my clients. Different companies have different underwriting guidelines. I have actually gotten preferred ratings for many clients who have received a denial from another.

If you have concerns about pre-existing conditions, give me a call at 303-541-9533. I cannot find individual health insurance for every situation, but I promise that you will be better informed for having contacted me.

Wednesday, 05 October 2011 / Published in Long Term Care

I just applied for Long Term Care insurance and want to share with you the reasons why I did that.

* Americans are living longer; many of us will reach 90+.
– With longer life expectancy, the chances of needing day to day assistance greatly increases.
– 400,000 Americans are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease every year.

* Your health insurance does not cover Long Term Care and government programs like Medicare pay only for short periods of care. Medicaid covers only the very poor.

* Having Long Term Care insurance may mean you can stay in your own home longer or, if necessary, have a more comfortable assisted living experience.

* Expensive personal care expenses could quickly ruin even the best thought out retirement plans.

While I could have sold the policy to myself, I elected to work with Russell Porter, CLU, CLTC. Russ is a specialist in the area of Long Term Care Insurance. Together I believe we found the right plan for me.

Here is a government site with more information:

If you would like to find out if this type of insurance if right for you, please give Russ a call at 303-926-7012.

Dr. Don SchmidtCanyon Chiropractic Center - Boulder, Colorado
Thank you for saving us money on our health insurance! We really appreciated your willingness to 'hand hold' us through the process. It can be a daunting task to choose from all the available insurance plans out there. You made it almost easy!
Don MartingMartin Auctioneering - Longmont, Colorado
I can't thank you enough for helping me and saving me a significant amount of money. I truly believe that you had my best interest at heart.