In Search of Help

For those of you who are regular readers, you know that I do not lack opinions.  I take a stand, some of which are often controversial, but I figure that if you taking the time out of your day to read my blah, blah, blah, than I better offer something and it had better be damn good – most of the time.  I love it when I get to learn from people and try to offer the same.

Moreover, for those of you who know me better may realize that I burn the candle at a lot of different ends.  I work full-time at an, um, government agency that has been in the headlines a lot, teach adjunct at Georgetown, write freelance for Media Bullseye, do this blog and also spend most of my time entertaining/coaching either my children or my dog.  My close friends often ask me “How do you do it?” and I usually have some flippant answer like “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”  Well, that day feels like it is getting closer.

Here’s the part where I need your suggestions.

Since the last part of last year, I have had one major surgery,three colds, one sinus infection, an ear infection, strep throat and now — the kicker — am recovering from pneumonia.  Something tells me that I am doing something wrong because I seem to have the resistance of an infant.  And this is despite the fact that when I am healthy I try to exercise, take a ton of vitamins, etc.

I know that many of my online friends have more holistic approaches to health, so I am throwing it out there.  Given, I am in my mid-40’s, but I usually have boundless energy and cannot get past the feeling that I am doing something WRONG, WRONG, WRONG.

So, blogger buddies, Tweeps, Facebook friends:  what do you do to maintain your own physical, spiritual and mental health?  Is it diet, exercise, hobbies, meditation, yoga, bourbon (a shout out to Jason Falls)?

I am running out of ideas and thought that maybe, for once, I would use this space to not spew opinions, but rather to suggest them.  Maybe Lou Capozzi did as many predicted, and put a curse on me.

I am all ears – that is, until I get the next ear infection…

Thank you all in advance.




  1. Aw, Mark, I hate that you’ve had a tough time health-wise. While I’m no expert, some background on me before I give advice: I’m rarely sick, and haven’t taken a sick day yet at Scoop. I do almost all of my grocery shopping from the perimeter of the store (away from the processed stuff) and I read everything I can get my hands on about superfoods, micronutrients, etc. We eat a very wide variety of veggies as a result, and lots of them. I also get at least one and usually two 20 min walks a day with Ralph the wonder dog, and yes, I do yoga. Bourbon is pretty infrequent, but a glass of red wine a day is typical.

    Also, as Chip can tell you, I wash my hands so frequently they crack, and I use hand sanitizer. Might seem like a bit much, but as far as colds/flu are concerned that’s the single best weapon.

    Take care of yourself!


  2. You’re not sleeping enough. Also, your exercise routine is weak. 30 minutes on a treadmill 3 times a week is not exercising, it’s just what old people do to hide from their spouses for a spell. Start working out like a 40 year old.

  3. Seeking medical advice on teh internets can be a bit dodgy at best … with that …

    As Jen mentioned, washing hands is damned important.

    Next, I think you may have answered your own question earlier … proper sleep is vital to health. If you have sleep problems/issues, may I suggest that you get with your doctor and order up a sleep study.

    Diet is an obvious thing. Assuming no food allergies, ensure consumption of reasonable macro and micro nutrient profiles. Veggies, meat, grains, beans, milk, etc.

    IMO supplements should consist of a reasonable multivitamin, at least 6g of fish oil (get the pills), and perhaps a joint supplement like chondroitin or glucosamine. The joint stuff takes a long time to “kick in,” so don’t get your hopes up for results for at least a year. I would be wary of additional supplements. Of course, if you are already taking some sort of medication, consult with your doctor before consuming them (fish oil, for example, has distinct blood-thinning properties).


  4. Mark,
    I know this is a very frustrating situation for you. I know because I am, as my husband calls me, a “delicate flower.” I’ve stopped trying to fight it. If I don’t take care of myself and get plenty of rest, I will get sick. A+B=C.

    On the other hand my hubby, who’s always been a go-go-go type, has only recently found that he can’t completely neglect himself without getting sick. He just turned 40, and I think it’s his body’s way of saying “enough.” I wanted to share this, in case it might anecdotally be helpful to you. There’s no shame in slowing down, since you’ll ultimately be more productive in the long run as a result.

    Best of luck to you!

  5. Mark Story Says: January 12, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    Thank you all so much. I have this, several Tweets and one message to go through. Just having some alternatives to think about helps.

    Thanks to everyone!


  6. I forgot to mention a couple of other things.

    Hydration – very important, and easily ignored/forgotten during the cold weather. Filtered water tastes better, if you don’t have a filter at work or don’t want to buy bottled water, get a Brita (or similar) pitcher.

    Caloric intake/diet – this can be a bit of a pain. One should determine how many calories they are consuming and how that relates to their metabolic needs. In other words, are you eating too little, just enough, or too much? The issue at hand is if you are dieting, it can negatively impact your immune system and ability to recover from physical stresses. Part of that is macronutrient balance … you need to eat enough carbohydrates to support healing/recover. So if you’re dieting and then have surgery, or if you are recovering from an injury, you need to consider how the diet may slow down your recovery process. This is a particular issue for low-carb diets, I’ve read that one needs to eat at least 100 grams of carbohydrates per day to support healing.

    Protein intake – RDA guidelines for protein intake are thought to be on the low side, and active adults should probably consume 1 gram of protein per pound of lean body weight. So if you weight 200 pounds, are 15% body fat, you should eat about 170 grams of protein per day. The issue here is that your body needs protein for recovery/immune response.

    Sorry, it can get a bit complicated. If you start measuring your intakes, after awhile it becomes second nature and a lot easier to accomplish.


  7. Raquel Fuentes Says: January 16, 2009 at 8:35 pm

    I heard on NPR the other morning that people who sleep less than 7 hours per night were more susceptible to a certain type of virus. More sleep, less susceptible. There’s a pattern here. Maybe you just need more sleep.

  8. Felicia Akoh Says: January 20, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    So sad you have been through all these.I have a similar problem wit you but have not undergone the surgeries like you.I make sure i alawys keep myself warm all through and avoid cold drinks especially during this winter season.I would advice you to do same and you would be fine

  9. Felicia Akoh Says: January 20, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    So sad you have been through all these.I have a similar problem with you but have not undergone the surgeries like you.I make sure i alawys keep myself warm all through and avoid cold drinks especially during this winter season.I would advice you to do same and you would be fine

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