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The dark side... the one we don't speak about...

Monday, August 08, 2011

Those of you who are familiar with the language of the 12 steps and particularly with OA (Overeaters Anonymous) know that it is referred to as a disease of isolation. This is because when the disease is in charge, it encourages us to hide from others while it goes on its merry way... pulling us into binge eating.

This is why among the tools of OA are a lot of connections with other people: call someone (Sponsor or another OA member), write about it, go to a meeting, etc.

Compulsive eaters (like me) have physiological responses to certain foods, the way alcoholics have them to alcohol, or drug addicts to their own substances of abuse. In the case of food, it is a slippery slope.

All that said, regular followers rejoiced with me over my Friday evening behavior... not being attracted by the ice cream or the chips. I celebrated it on my blog. But you notice that I brought two foods that are weaknesses into my home. The Mounds bar disappeared that night. The peanut butter remained, to call my name from the cupboard.

Saturday morning, in the middle of the bike ride, I had "second breakfast"... in order to "make weight" for my annual maintenance. This included a healthy wrap. But it also included an icy sugary coconut mocha coffee drink.

I made weight. A finish line. Goal met... which brings in the celebratory mind-set.

The physiology of the extra sugar and fat, though, added to the downward slide. emoticon On Sunday I wasn't feeling so hot. Even after writing my "going forward from here" blog, even after my morning workout... in the afternoon, I caved to the craves. I recognize that I was eating partly in an attempt to make myself "feel better". I ate things I don't normally. It added up to maybe twice my daily norm, in terms of calories (yes, of course I tracked it).

The thing we don't often blog about but those of us who are subject to binge eating and compulsive eating live with is the fear of relapse. We know how easy it is to gain not the two pounds I needed to gain... but ten, twenty, or fifty or more... because once starting down this slide, if not arrested at once, if we cave to the crave for a longer period... it keeps on going, and going, and going. Fed not just by food, but by shame and feelings of unworthiness.

Today, that's not going to happen. Remember about kicking perfectionism to the curb? Essential!

Today, I shall treat myself gently, as a human being, not a monster. Today I will nurture me, with foods I love that are good for me, too. Today I will have my normal activity. Today I will rejoice in being alive and in a day of recovery.

Life IS good, even when we have rocky patches. Spark on! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KIKI0531 8/10/2011 11:29AM

    What a wonderful blog. I just happened to come across this while on another friends. Words from the heart. Very comforting specifically the latter part where you tell yourself to treat you kindly. Thank You.

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BESTSUSIEYET 8/9/2011 10:51PM

    I love the idea of nurturing yourself with healthy choices! Good for you! We all need that mindset!

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MIZCATHI 8/9/2011 6:29AM

    You are always reflecting and turning an negative into a positive - thank you.

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J-ALEXIS 8/9/2011 6:05AM

    OA is fabulous! As is your comment, "Remember about kicking perfectionism to the curb? Essential!" We ARE human, and many of us that battle with our weight are afflicted with a true disease--binge eating disorder. Recognizing that we must not be perfect is important. It is much too stressful to believe perfectionism is the only way. And for many, like myself, perfectionism can lead to stress and stress can lead to binging.

Your words are well-written and clearly expressed the battle that you dealt with. I can soooooooo relate.

Thanks for sharing!!! It means a great deal and offers us "food for thought."

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MEDDYPEDDY 8/9/2011 2:05AM

    I will compare it to alcohol - after six years or sobriety I fell very at ease and secure with alcohol, I can feel the temptation to be "Normal" but I have no cravings - it is more the psychological thing that I sometimes long to have that symbol for "the good life" that I lived with. But it is not hard and my fear is not pesent all the time.

With food it is so different. As you say, I can never no if its only "one bite" or the start of an earthslide, a total collapse that will make me eat and eat and eat... I dont know if the people who surrender to always weighing their food and never eat ouside plan without discussing with their sponsor - maybe they get the sam secure feeling as I have with alcohol today. But I have not reached that kind of abstinence and to me the fear is always nagging my heels... thanks for writing!

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AMJSATURN 8/8/2011 11:57PM

    I can say this also, you are not alone .

Thanks for putting into words what I feel and never ever would verbalize let alone write for others to read.


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MSLZZY 8/8/2011 11:39PM

    So true! HUGS!

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WATERMELLEN 8/8/2011 7:03PM

    Sure does resonate with a whole bunch of us here! Your absolute candour is the very best indication that yup, you'ver really licked this: temporary error, "oh well" and right back at it!!

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LEANJEAN6 8/8/2011 5:23PM

    emoticon--Yeah!! You deserve to care for yu!!! Lynda

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KATIE33MAHALA 8/8/2011 2:24PM

    You are a strong woman, I hope to be even half that strong, and with even just a little of your willpower! Its hard finding that place, to feel good, to feel like its not just a constant battle, to find exceptance! ( for one's self)

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KALIGIRL 8/8/2011 12:30PM

    "rejoice in being alive and in a day of recovery" - can't do much better than that!

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_LINDA 8/8/2011 12:11PM

    You are awesome!! GREAT attitude and response to a cave in. This is the strategy success is made out of!
Well done!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JOURNEYTO60 8/8/2011 9:39AM

    I love how you really try to learn the premise of our actions and use your tools to face and overcome obstacles. Your blogs are helping all of us!

My daughter was visiting this week and has had a stressful couple of weeks, pulling things together in her young life. I took especially good care of her and then realized that I have to take especially good care of myself to be there for my family, friends, and students. I don't expect everyone else to be perfect, so I can't expect that of myself. I can expect a really good effort and consistency!

It is exciting to think that we can all find support here!

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SHARON2014 8/8/2011 9:29AM

    How timely this blog is for me! I have been giving in to cravings and excuses the past 2 weeks.

"Today, I shall treat myself gently, as a human being, not a monster. Today I will nurture me, with foods I love that are good for me, too. Today I will have my normal activity. Today I will rejoice in being alive and in a day of recovery."

emoticon emoticon

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1CRAZYDOG 8/8/2011 8:59AM

    Wish I could give you a real hug, but SPARK emoticon being sent to you.

You are wise to recognize perfectionism is something that has to be kicked to the curb. That's a HUGE one for me. It is an obstacle to starting things, continuing things and/or finishing things. If it's not done perfectly than it's not worth doing . . . BAD attitude!

Just know you're not alone, your have TONS of support here and soooooo glad you blogged, because that's making things REAL. Only when we do that can we step forward.

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DEBRA0818 8/8/2011 8:29AM

    How I wish that I could be normal and use food occasionally for entertainment and comfort, but unfortunately, I usually blow right past satisfaction and end up in the ditch. As you say, fueled additionally by shame and feelings of unworthiness. I applaud your ability to take such a sensible view of the weekend. You're doing the next right thing!

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Living in the now

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Having done the year of maintenance weigh-in yesterday, I might be tempted to think of that as a finish line. A new day has dawned, and with it the next phase of the journey called life.

Today I am contemplating how wonderful living consciously, mindfully, in the moment is. I've been thinking about the elements that make living this way possible. I hark back to the six elements of The Solution by Laurel Mellin.

This book has been on my shelf since 1997, and I have blogged about it before, but it is worthy of a recap. What popped it into my thinking was the break conversation in the middle of the ride with Becky's Bikers yesterday.

One of our number brought up how interesting it is that our various journeys in life tend to be wrapped up in one metaphor or another. She didn't use the word metaphor, but I will, as to me, the weight thing *has* been my metaphor of learning to live fully.

Hers, and her family's, she said, was wrapped up in cancer... and learning everything she could to combat the genetic tendencies through healthy behavior. As I go back over and review The Solution, I find that these elements really apply to life in general. Whether our journey is wrapped in food, in some other addiction... in relationship issues, or specific health issues... we are all on this journey.

I think of the six elements as being six journeys in and of themselves. The author divides the elements into three categories: Mind, Body, and Lifestyle.

1. From weak nurturing to strong nurturing. This is where we parent ourselves... figuring out what we really need, as opposed to "stuffing" discomfort with an avoidance behavior.

2. From ineffective limits to effective ones. This is where we take a stand to define ourselves, rather than letting others define us.

3. From body shame to body pride. Here is where we encourage in ourselves the recognition of how wonderful the one body we've been issued in life is, and treat it with respect and honor.

4. From poor vitality to good health. This is where we face the music, go see the doctor, get underlying health issues that may be getting in the way identified and hopefully resolved. We make and follow plans that will work around / work with those issues and allow us to live fully anyhow!

5. From unbalanced eating to balanced eating. Here's where the whole "doing it" of nutrition comes in. We know what we need to eat... this step supports how to do it... how to achieve balance in content, timing, appreciation of the bounty that is food. Binges disappear as we establish that balance.

6. From stalled living to mastery living. Living in the moment and living with our priorities comes here. Identifying activity that is MEANINGFUL to each of us, and making sure it is a part of our days. What are we waiting for? If not immediately masters, we can be working toward that mastery... reading, going to classes, joining a club, or working appreciatively can all be part of the journey to mastery.

We have focus on different parts of these journeys at different times. Choose your focus.

Life's good. Spark on!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BESTSUSIEYET 8/9/2011 10:54PM

    Love it! Thanks for sharing!

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KALIGIRL 8/8/2011 12:30PM

effective limits
body pride
good health
balanced eating
mastery living

We might not achieve each one every day, but that's why we practice

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BOOKWORM27S 8/7/2011 7:03PM

    emoticon emoticon

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SUNNY1432 8/7/2011 3:31PM

    Thanks for the review, I missed it the first time, but I think I may need to go check this one out!! emoticon

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LEANJEAN6 8/7/2011 2:48PM


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_LINDA 8/7/2011 12:42PM

    Great summary!! Thanks for this lifestyle in a nutshell
summary! I am hoping to someday focus on something other than my health and be able to move on and get off the surgery treadmill and really start enjoying life and what this body has to offer when normal.
The Spark is with you!

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MOBYCARP 8/7/2011 12:34PM

    Living in the now is a challenge to many people. Some people tend to live in the past, and thus not appreciate the present. Others tend to live for the future, overlooking the joys of the present while preparing for the mythical time when things will be better.

It's a fine balance to hold on to awareness of the past, and to prepare prudently for the future, while still savoring the present to its fullest. Five years ago, this balance was beyond me. Now, I have it part time. I still find it easy to slide into overlooking the present while being over-concerned about the future; but I'm happier when I can live in the now.

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JOURNEYTO60 8/7/2011 12:25PM

    I am putting The Solution on my reading list. Thanks for posting! I am at the point where I entered into SP for weight loss, but realized I could find ways to improve in all aspects of my life. This past year I started the work. This next year I would like to put it all together and work on wholistic plans. You have provided great advise. Thanks again!

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Goal Met

Saturday, August 06, 2011

emoticon I weighed in after eating TWO breakfasts and a snack and fully hydrating... I wore my jeans and heaviest sneakers and just for good measure put a roll of quarters in each of four pockets, and my car keys in one, too.

I made my weight... about 3 pounds under goal... I might have made the five pounds even without the quarters. So my consultant dutifully filled out the paperwork and in a matter of a few weeks I will get a check in the mail. emoticon

And I feel stuffed. I haven't eaten lunch... will probably defer that meal... oof.

Bike ride this morning was great... it was foggy out, but by the time we got home it burned off. Now I'm thinking... nap.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LINDAJOYWK 8/8/2011 6:38AM

    Awesome!!! Congrats!

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MIZCATHI 8/7/2011 7:55AM

    Everyday I read your blogs to get a kernel of wisdom and how to do it!

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_LINDA 8/6/2011 11:45PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 8/6/2011 8:47PM

    That's terrific!! What a nice problem to have had . . . . virtue IS rewarded!!

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NANA717 8/6/2011 6:54PM

    WOW!!! Contratulations!!

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MOBYCARP 8/6/2011 3:44PM

    emoticon emoticon

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What's more important... your money or your life?

Friday, August 05, 2011

OK, so I posted a strange status. And you're getting a "two-fer" blog while I explain something that happened in my brain.

Some of you know that I'm a Jenny Craig maintenance client. The program / contract I signed with them had a provision that if I was within five pounds (up or down) from my goal weight on their scale, one year after having attained it... I get half my sign-up fee back. Any of you who has ever paid the freight on one of these "premium" weight loss plans knows that half your sign up fee is a significant bonus.

When I weighed in last month, I was 7 pounds under my "goal" on their scale. And tomorrow is that one-year of maintenance weigh-in. And as I am a daily weigh-er, I know what I was on my own scale that morning, and this morning. I have not gained those two pounds in the intervening month.

My consultant at the JC center is on my side, and made the suggestion to make my weigh in appointment later in the day than usual and make sure to eat lunch right before, and be well hydrated. If this does not do the trick, I have another friend who has actually done the experiment: two rolls of quarters makes a pound on the scale. There are pockets in my jeans, folks.

Still, being a compulsive eater, I found myself at the grocery store tonight thinking of deliberate ways of eating to gain. This is the tricky bit... you'd think this would be an ideal spot to be in. It's not.

Standing there staring at the ice cream, NONE OF IT APPEALED TO ME! emoticon I envisioned myself eating the way I used to, the way I did almost daily to gain the weight in the first place... and I just said to myself, "I wouldn't enjoy it. I would be eating it for entirely the wrong reason. I'm not hungry for it, I'm not craving it... why would I put myself through that?"

I went to the chips aisle. And the same thing happened! I looked at my old favorites, sour cream and onion flavored chips, and caramel corn and cheese popcorn... and I found myself reading the labels and saying... nope, it just does not call to me tonight.

I did end up with two "treats" in my cart. Natural peanut butter. And a Mounds bar. Both of which I've indulged in: 2 tablespoons of the peanut butter, spread on a wheat tortilla for supper... it was heavenly and the whole Mounds bar for dessert! I am still in the same boat on the scale, fully clothed... I may just have to put those rolls of quarters in my pocket and call it good.

The real surprise (to me) is that at least for today... I'm eating like a naturally thin person: if I am not hungry for it, if it doesn't appeal... it's not going into my mouth. I'm worth more to me than that. And hopefully, that means, "I'll take both my money AND my life, thank you!"

Will update after the fact, and let you know what happened at the scale. emoticon

Life's good... Spark on! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LINDAJOYWK 8/8/2011 6:44AM

    You have come a long way!

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WATERMELLEN 8/6/2011 8:46PM

    Love this blog: too funny (and very very telling . . . you're thinking like a thin person!!)

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KE11YJAE 8/6/2011 12:30PM

    I think being two pounds two low is a wonderful problem to have. Great job! And I need to start saying no to the junk food. Well good luck at your weigh-in

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MNTWINSGAL 8/6/2011 11:06AM

    I sure wish I could find that place in my mind where I could go to the treat aisle and have a hard time finding something appealing. But I guess it's always something, isn't it?? Personally, I'd rather have your weight problem than mine....but yes, I do think you should get your maintenance bonus. If loaded pockets is what it takes, then go for it!

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_LINDA 8/5/2011 10:37PM

    Imagine having to cheat the scale by adding weight in your pockets. Is that a successful weight loss program or what?? That is great news not being tempted by all your old favorites!! You have come a long way..
Good luck with the weigh in!!

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DEBRITA01 8/5/2011 9:31PM

    Oh, the games we play...LOL. Stick with your mindful eating and take those quarters along to alter the scale reading. You've earned the cash incentive by being under your goal a year later. emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 8/5/2011 9:34:31 PM

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LEANJEAN6 8/5/2011 9:01PM

    Woo Woo! I hope it goes well! Yu certainly deserve that $$$$--Lynda

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PENNYAN45 8/5/2011 8:57PM

    For 7 pounds under, they should give you 75% of the money back!
You would think they would congratulate you on your extra weight loss.
I suppose they're worried about someone going too far in the other direction???
Do they think you are anorexic now?
Should we be worried about you?

(I say do whatever you have to to hit THEIR number on the scale.)

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BESTSUSIEYET 8/5/2011 8:41PM

    Being more than 5# under doesn't seem like it should penalize you ... I hope you don't end up 6# over in trying not to be under!! But nevertheless, congratulations on your healthy lifestyle becoming more "normal" than over-indulging!

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MOBYCARP 8/5/2011 8:37PM

    Yeah, just put a dumbbell in your pocket, that's the ticket!

I hope you find a way to get the money without messing up how you eat.
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SAMI199 8/5/2011 8:31PM

    Good Luck-that is a big bonus.

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Are the furries making me sneeze?

Friday, August 05, 2011

I spent the first several decades of my life in denial about the connection between the physical world around me and my health. My behavior? Pshaw! Nothing to do with my weight. Certainly nothing to do with an illness!

You'd think it would be obvious: lilacs in bloom? Sneeze, drippy nose, headaches! Iris in the house? Similar.

When I first went on a serious weight loss program, a healthy one... it showed me the clear link of calories in/calories out. That was the basis for all further learning. It took a while even after that to bring in the "allergy" connection.

You might think I was really, really stupid or ignorant. What I was was religious. I was raised in a faith of pure idealism, where your thought / prayers controlled your physical health. It "seemed to work" for me as a child. What it really did was calm me and enable me to wait out whatever it was that ailed me. No drugs, no diagnoses... I lived to adulthood, married, even bore a child with this faith intact. Until I first lost the weight, I didn't have the recognition of the connection... I buried it deep.

Bottom line, I learned that the rules of the physical world work. No matter that my parents "exempted" me from biology for religious reasons. The rules work. I'm obviously blessed with a strong enough genetic makeup to have survived, and in fact some studies show that letting your kids eat dirt (to use a metaphor of my mom's) makes them stronger. However, now, as an "over 50", having shed the religion that encouraged me into denial... I pay more attention to what's going on around me when I start to see symptoms.

This week, I'm noticing things. The kittens have been here since last Friday after work. I have started to notice more sneezing and drippy nose, scratchy throat at times. Not as pronounced as my sister's (who swelled up in a matter of minutes). It has taken a more prolonged exposure. Not horribly severe to the point of taking my Zyrtek. I will have to observe for a while, because there are always multiple factors: weather fronts do things to me, too.

When I go to work, I'm fine there. I keep the kitties out of my bedroom (perhaps this was prescient on my part) and I wake up clear. I am washing my hands more (I always do when handling animals, this is not new).

Will I have to give them up? Unless things become markedly worse, no. But I will continue to alter my behavior. This much I have learned... "the rules work"... therefore, follow the rules.

Life's still good... Spark on!

emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WATERMELLEN 8/6/2011 8:51PM

    Love love love cats. And they love me: inevitably, if I'm in the home of someone who has a cat, the cat makes a beeline for me: they know.

But: I'm really really really allergic. And that's why I don't have a cat, much as I would love to. (An orange one, long haired . . . yeah!!)

Hope you and your kitties can work it out. I keep telling myself I've "outgrown" my allergies . . . and hope you have or will also . . . .

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MEDDYPEDDY 8/6/2011 3:23AM

    Love your balanced thoughts. To me, if I found that I continued to have reactions, I would probably try to place the kittens somewhere else. But that is because of my recent experience of mental vulnerability - I hve learned that to cope I have to take away all pressure on my system that I can. On the other hand, kittens (and animals in general) give me so much joy so it might be worth a little sneeziness.

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_LINDA 8/5/2011 10:43PM

    So sorry you might be allergic to your cute kitties :(( Hope you can figure out something..

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MOBYCARP 8/5/2011 6:53PM

    Well, bummer! emoticon

Three of your siblings have no problems living with cats. But the one who does, is the other redhead who had freckles in her youth.

If you do end up having to get rid of the cats, I'm sure you'll be able to find them a good home. They're terminally cute.

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KALIGIRL 8/5/2011 1:05PM

    Sorry to hear you may have a reaction to the furries. I'm hoping it remains mild and you can build an immunity.

(I'm also hoping a little of your folks old-time 'religion' rubs off - the brain is a powerful thing!)
Namaste my friend.

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DEBRA0818 8/5/2011 12:15PM

    Barb -- Your kitties are so cute, I hope you can keep them! Each person is different of course, but I will say that my husband was allergic to the two cats I had when I met him but he acclimated to them in a relatively short period of time. He also had to be careful to wash his hands frequently, and took the occasional Bendryl, but we all lived happily together until their demise.

Good luck to all of you!

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BESTSUSIEYET 8/5/2011 10:05AM

    Uh oh! That would be a bummer! But I'm glad you are wise in putting 2 & 2 together! Keep on watching ... Hope you can find a way to co-exist happily!

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DEBRITA01 8/5/2011 9:32AM

    Being aware of how we contribute to what happens in our life is important. So is faith....just not blind faith. Great approach to a happy and healthy life!
Keep making those observations ...and hopefully, you will be able to keep the kittens that you are growing to love.

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WORDLILY 8/5/2011 8:38AM

    Oh, I hope you're not allergic to the kitties! But from what you're saying, it would totally make sense.

Thinking, pondering, keeping your eyes open and seeing the cause and effect -- this is a good approach.

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