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Cancer... AFTER the Treatment Ends
By Carol LeBeau
10/11/2012 4:37:57 PM


My oncologist smiled broadly as he entered the treatment room.  “Congratulations, Carol,” he exclaimed. “You’re now considered cancer-free!” While his words elicited a sense of relief and gratitude, I couldn’t help feeling a little empty and sad as I walked to my car. 

It’s been nearly a year since my diagnosis, surgeries and treatment…a difficult year, but the worst is over, right?  I should be happy, optimistic about the future and grateful to God for each new day.  Most days that’s the case but some days, I’m ashamed to say, it’s still hard. 

I take comfort knowing I’m not alone.  In fact, there’s new front in breast cancer – after the treatment ends.  Many women among the growing ranks of breast cancer survivors face long-term issues that are often overlooked.

Here’s what one woman had to say: “The second-hardest phase – after the initial diagnosis – is the minute your treatment ends.”  The 43-year old, 10-year breast cancer survivor adds, “The reality sets in that you have to live with this the rest of your life and the safety net is gone.  That’s when you really freak out.”

Amen to that, sister! Despite all the pink ribbons and billions spent on breast cancer research, there’s surprisingly little data on issues that linger or emerge in the years after treatment ends.  Although the odds of relapse fall with time, truth is, they never completely disappear.

Some patients who had treatment years ago are encountering delayed side effects such as heart problems, nerve damage, osteoporosis and like ABC’s Robin Roberts – secondary cancers.

Nearly 90 percent of respondents to a survey conducted by Cancer Support Community said they had at least one physical, psychological or social problem.  Mentioned most frequently were fatigue, sexual dysfunction and sleep issues.  Twenty-four percent of those surveyed reported being depressed – about twice the national rate.

More research needs to be done to help women, including distress screening and studies on the long-term side affects of treatments…but the upshot is pretty clear.

As with many chronic illnesses, a woman’s life is forever changed after a breast cancer diagnosis. 

So, all of you courageous breast cancer survivors out there…congratulations!  There’s reason to celebrate.  But as you bravely smile and are grateful to be cancer-free…count me among those who understand the tiny hint of caution in your eyes.

Cancer isn’t over when the treatment ends.


Contact Carol by emailing her at Carol@palomarhealth.org.

Friendship and RESPECT - Good for the Soul!
By Carol LeBeau
6/16/2012 2:10:02 PM


I was warned recovery from breast cancer surgery and treatment is not a straight line.  I’ve been on the journey for more than three months and I’m still dizzy from the roller coaster of emotional ups and downs.

On the down days, hibernating at home is often my coping mechanism of choice.  But even I know social isolation doesn’t help and can even hinder the healing process. 

When my pal, Maggie saw me mired in a self-pity quagmire, she took action.   My perennially positive, take-charge friend of 30 years put together a fun and funk-free evening I won’t soon forget.

It started with an early supper downtown San Diego’s popular Athens Market.  From our cheerful window seat, Maggie and I people-watched while dining on the best Greek food in town.  (Go for the grilled salmon or chicken kabobs!)  We ate until we were full and laughed until we cried.

And the party was just getting started!   After dinner, we took a short walk to the Lyceum Theater at Horton Plaza – where Maggie had tickets for us to see a musical revue called “Respect.”  I had no idea what I was in for.

For two fun-filled hours, I forgot about the cancer and got caught up in this delightful musical celebration! Respect: A Musical Journey of Women is hilarious and exuberant – a high energy, historical and hysterical look at women’s changes from 1900 to today as told through our favorite Top 40 songs.

We laughed out loud as a narrator and three breathtakingly talented singers took a lively and engaging look at music’s depiction of women over the years as they go from codependence to independence – from “Someone to Watch Over Me” to “I Will Survive” and beyond!

Interwoven between the music were monologues of real women’s stories – which gave even more meaning to the songs. I don’t know how they did it, but the band and vocalists seamlessly squeezed in 63 song excerpts in a fast-moving, fasten-your-seatbelt two-act show.

Respect was created by Columbia University professor Dr. Dorothy Marcic, based on her book, “RESPECT: Women and Popular Music,” through which she analyzed all Top-40 female song lyrics since 1900.

The show included hits like “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend,” “Where the Boys Are,” “I Am Woman,” “At Seventeen…” just a wonderful, musical trip down memory lane.

How blessed am I to have a friend like Maggie – someone to get me off my duff and remind me there’s still reason to smile and plenty of joy to go around whatever else is going on.

Contact Carol by emailing her at Carol@palomarhealth.org.

Don't Worry, Be Happy!
By Carol LeBeau
5/12/2012 2:29:24 PM


I received my cancer diagnosis January 2 of this year.  “Slow-growing tumors in both breasts,” said my doctor. It was like living a nightmare as double mastectomies and lymph node dissections were performed less than a month later.  The good news?  The cancer had not spread and my prognosis was good.  Treatment would not include chemotherapy but a five-year course of anti-estrogen therapy would give me a nearly 86% chance of being alive in 10 years.

The bad news?  For the next few months I felt like I’d been hit by a truck – physically and emotionally.  The sense of loss, sadness…even impending doom hung over me like a dark cloud.  For weeks, even though my physical recovery was going well…I could find no joy. 

It didn’t help that I’m one of those “cup half-empty” people.  Given the chance, I will assume the worst.  Psychologists might refer to me as “melancholic.”   My parents tell me I was an irritable baby and a moody child.   Happiness does not often come naturally for me.  Not a great psychological combination with which to tackle major surgery and a life-threatening illness.

Fortunately, my family, friends and faith in God’s sovereignty carried me through those first weeks.  As I emerged from the fog, good books, “Frasier” re-runs and laughter-filled lunches with my gal pals slowly began to lighten my spirit.  But some days, it was tough to get out of bed.

One day, as I flipped through a copy of Palomar Health’s The HealthSource magazine, an ad for an upcoming class caught my eye.   It was called, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” and as I continued to read, I became even more intrigued.

“Research shows, said the magazine ad,” that being optimistic can add years to your life!” It was then suggested the reader join Dr. Alan Larson as he discusses the science behind happiness and how a positive attitude promotes good health.”

I knew a better attitude is what I needed to get back on the road to health so off I went to the Pomerado Outpatient Pavilion to get an attitude adjustment. I hung onto every word as Dr. Larson, Medical Director for Integrative Medicine at Palomar Health spoke about how optimists live longer than pessimists and how real happiness isn’t based on circumstances.

“In our national culture,” says Dr. Larson, “we place a high value on accomplishments and external measurements of ‘success.’”  He continued, “It’s no wonder we often associate “happiness” with external factors such as educational achievements, income levels, personal health, age, race, etc.”

With an entertaining and informative PowerPoint presentation, Dr. Larson went on to explain how scientific research fails to validate these goals as genuine keys to happiness.  Every one of us in that packed classroom was reminded that emotional well being comes with self acceptance and simply being content with what we have.

It hit me like a ton of bricks as I realized it was time to move beyond my circumstances and find joy in what I have.  I came away from Dr. Larson’s presentation with a treasure trove of evidence-based “tools” for personal happiness including:

  • Regular Exercise
  • Keeping a Gratitude Journal
  • Service to Others
  • Quiet Meditation or Prayer
  • Expanding Your Social Network
  • Choose a Positive Perspective on All Life's Events

I love how Dr. Larson put it, “These are habits of a human “being,” not a human “doing.”   During the class, we tried our hand at laughter yoga, relaxation techniques and a brief lesson on stress reduction.  We all received a much-needed reminder that reducing stress can help lead to long-term happiness. 

Bottom line, happiness is clearly associated with good health and well being.  Studies continue to confirm that happiness can actually ward off heart disease and other disease conditions. 

So, what the heck…feeling sorry for myself sure won’t get me anywhere and it won’t help you either.  So take a deep breath, count your blessings, help someone, say a prayer and let’s join together – don’t worry…be happy!

Check out the latest issue of The HealthSource magazine or visit www.PalomarHealth.org/classes for more incredible classes and learning opportunities through Palomar Health.

Contact Carol by emailing her at Carol@palomarhealth.org.

MASSAGE - Great for your Health!
By Carol LeBeau
4/5/2012 1:59:03 PM

I just made an appointment for a massage.  And I don’t feel a bit guilty about telling you! Turns out…that relaxing rubdown comes with medical benefits.

Let's face it, massage has a reputation for being a decadent treat for people who love pampering. For years, I agreed. Though, there were times I justified the extravagance. I remember my first massage. Tom and I were celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary at a resort in Sedona. A couple's massage was part of the weekend package. Why not? After 10 years, we could use a little relaxation and romance!

The following year, I decided to run the San Diego Rock ‘n Roll Marathon.  During the training, my hamstrings seized up. I cried like a baby as Wayne, the sports massage therapist drove his elbow into my hip – using trigger point therapy to relax the spasms in my muscle. It worked, but it wasn’t much fun.

For many of us, a massage is self-indulgent unless it’s for therapy or a special occasion.  Well, you may not want to wait for a vacation getaway to book your next massage.  New studies show massage has a variety of tangible health benefits.

Research over the past couple of years has found that massage therapy boosts immune function in women with breast cancer, improves symptoms in children with asthma and increase grip strength in patients with carpal tunnel syndrome.  And get this!  Giving massages to the littlest patients…premature babies…helped in the crucial task of gaining weight!

The benefits go beyond feelings of relaxation and wellness many of us experience after a massage.  The American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society now include massage as one of their recommendations for treating low back pain.

New research is revealing what really happens in the body after a massage.  There have been many theories about how massage works…from releasing toxins to improving circulation.  But these have been fairly nebulous, with little hard evidence.

Now, one study, for example, found a single, 45-minute massage led to a small reduction in the level of cortisol, a stress hormone, in the blood – a decrease in cytokine proteins related to inflammation and allergic reactions and a boost in white blood cells that fight infection.

And it’s not just the alternative medicine community singing the praises of massage.  The studies on the health benefits of massage are so compelling the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is spending close to $3 million on massage research this year.

The NIH’s Jack Kline says, “There is emerging evidence that massage can make contributions in treating things like pain, where conventional medicine doesn’t have all the answers.

Stay tuned.  The massage therapy field hopes the growing body of research will lead to greater insurance coverage for its treatments. 

Contact Carol by emailing her at Carol@palomarhealth.org.
Girl Scout Birthday
By Carol LeBeau
3/13/2012 2:03:52 PM

Courage.  Confidence. Character. 

Three words that pack a powerful punch.  Three traits not often found in a world often defined by a wimpy, whiny  “me-first” mentality. 

Those three words just happen to be the mission of an iconic organization that’s been serving girls for nearly a century.  Girl Scouts is about to achieve a major milestone and I think we should celebrate!

Happy Birthday Girl Scouts!  100 years on March 12!  For any centenarian, that’s a big deal, but for those of us whose lives have been enriched because of our Girl Scout experience, we feel especially proud.

Like millions of women, Girl Scouts was a major part of my young life.  I got my start as a Brownie 50 years ago in the northwestern suburbs of Chicago.  After moving to Iowa, I continued my involvement through the Junior and Cadet programs.

I was blessed with parents who encouraged me to join Girl Scout  (my Mom was my first troop leader!) echoing the Girl Scout belief that there was nothing I couldn’t do (for which I had the aptitude) if I were a girl.  50 years ago, that was saying something!

With all that going for me, I was able to overcome many of life’s obstacles…shyness, insecurity and a weight problem so serious, the kids at school used to call me “Carol the Barrel!”   Those were tough growing times, but Girl Scouts gave me the courage, confidence and character to get beyond all that and become the woman God created me to be. 

And guess what?   After 100 years, I’m here to shout Girl Scouts is as relevant today as when Juliette Low founded the all-girls organization in 1912!

Today’s Girl Scouts are more than cookies and campfire songs.  Through their annual cookie drive, girls learn valuable hands-on entrepreneurial skills.  They also get the science and technology training they need to compete in a high-tech world. 

By the way, technology isn’t just for boys anymore…and, for that matter, neither is leadership.  While it’s good to see so many girls and women flourishing as today’s leaders, there is still an untapped resource of leaders in many of our girls who could do great things is only they get the chance to discover and develop those skills.  Girl Scouts provides those opportunities.

Look, the mission of Girl Scouts is critical, now more than ever.  While the culture attempts to pull our girls down a dead-end street of uber-sexualization, celebrity worship and  “YouTube” videos that can destroy their reputations…Girl Scouts continues to promote “courage, confidence and character” in our girls…the real keys to success and significance.

In honor of 100 years of serving girls, Girl Scouts has declared this the “Year of the Girl!”   So join me in celebrating the birthday of an organization that’s helped millions of girls reach their full potential.  Girl Scouts gave me what it took to dream big.  Let’s make sure every girl gets the same chance.

As chair of Girl Scouts’ 100thbirthday celebration in San Diego…be a part ofour year-long party. To get involved, go to sdgirlscouts.org.   All you former Girl Scouts out there remember, once a Girl Scout, always a Girl Scout.”

“On my honor, I will try
To serve God and my country
To helps others at all times
And to live by the Girl Scout Law.”
---Girl Scout Promise

Contact Carol by emailing her at Carol@palomarhealth.org.

Kindness is the Greatest Wisdom
By Carol LeBeau
2/10/2012 1:30:54 PM

Ah, February! Love is in the air! Valentine’s Day brings cards, flowers, chocolate and romance to millions of couples.  The question is – will chocolate-covered caramels and moonlit dinners keep love alive? 

Tom and I recently celebrated our 27thwedding anniversary at a lovely waterfront restaurant with a spectacular view of San Diego Bay. It was a perfect evening.  A stunning sunset…fabulous food…even our server was a delight. In fact, when young Marissa learned it was our anniversary, she couldn’t wait to tell us all about the love of her life.  

As it turns out, Marissa is newly engaged. She and her fiancé plan to marry this summer. Her pretty face turned radiant as she described her Prince Charming.  “He’s super-smart and makes me laugh,” she effused.  As Marissa detailed his impressive list of attributes – good looks, athletic build, great job…I couldn’t stop from interjecting, “He sounds wonderful, Marissa, but I’d love to know, is your fiancé "kind?”    

While she may not realize it right now, the answer to that question could determine the success or failure of young Marissa’s marriage.  At her age, neither did I.    

Tom and I met on a blind date…dinner at Souplantation with the mutual friend who set us up! Like Marissa, I was drawn to Tom’s many positive qualities…his athleticism, military background and eyes so blue I could swim in them. His cute, southern accent and devilish sense of humor were irresistible. But over time, it was Tom’s kind heart I grew to love. 

Good jobs can come and go. Good looks mostly go. And sometimes, during the tough times, it’s hard to have a sense of humor. But kind words and actions are ageless and can soften the blow of most any difficult situation. 

As a young woman, I had no idea the impact kindness could have on a marriage. For one thing, it’s contagious! My tendency to be picky, negative and cynical is often neutralized by Tom’s ability to be kind, even during times of conflict. 

Many experts extol the virtue of good communication in a marriage relationship.  But communication skills are effective only when both parties approach problems with a spirit of kindness.  With more than half of marriages ending in divorce, many scholars now agree the most important ingredient for a successful marriage is kindness. 

Kindness means looking for the good in all the ordinary dealings with a partner.  My Tom may not be big into rose bouquets or romantic poetry…but I never know when I’ll find my gas tank’s been topped off or the dry cleaning dropped off. He even changes the toilet paper roll! (Sorry gals…and his brothers are taken!) 

Kindness also includes building positive experiences together. I can count on Tom (who can’t even stand sand between his toes) to cheer for me on the beach as I compete in a rough water swim.  Tom, on the other hand, loves golf…on the links and on TV. I’d rather watch paint dry. But it makes Tom happy. And what do you know, watching the U.S. Open (with Tom’s personal commentary!) is actually a fun way to spend time together on a Sunday afternoon.  

Some experts contend it’s important to tell your partner everything you feel, but kindness means some things simply don’t need to be said.  Marriage counselor, Daniel Wile, says there are some differences, even annoying differences, in all relationships…even the very best. “Most,” he contends, “can be quietly accepted as part of the relationship.” Enough said. 

We can also appreciate and acknowledge kindness from our partner. It’s not that difficult to say thank you, but so easy to forget. Not surprisingly, when I remember to thank Tom for a tender touch or doing the dishes, I’m likely to be on the receiving end of another act of kindness. Kindness begets kindness! 

Finally, kindness involves helping each other.  That should go without saying, but it’s not always easy. Selfishness and pride can often keep couples from experiencing the joy of supporting one another.  

If you want more out of your marriage, follow singer Glen Campbell’s advice: “Try a little kindness.” You can start by taking advantage of everyday opportunities: 

* Say “Good morning!”
* Call during the day just to say hi.
* Run an errand.
* Listen to your spouse and be quick with words of support and comfort.
* Speak gently and respectively.
* Do favors.
* Spend time together before going to sleep. 

There are so many ways – planned and unplanned…to behave kindly toward your spouse. The more you do, the closer and healthier your relationship will be. 

As for Marissa, I’m excited about her upcoming nuptials. It’s going to be a magical day for the two young lovers. My prayer is together they grow to find the magic can last if only they show each other a little kindness.

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.  If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”  ~Dalai Lama

Contact Carol by emailing her at Carol@palomarhealth.org.

Dealing With E-mail Forwards
By Carol LeBeau
1/3/2012 2:19:00 PM

It’s getting so I dread opening my e-mail. It’s not the day-to-day business correspondence or updates from friends and family that bug me. It’s those annoying, e-mail “forwards!” The seemingly endless flow of forwarded attachments, chain e-mails, religious and political commentary…usually part of mass mailings from someone I don’t even know – drive me crazy! 

I can put up with a quick quip or the latest cat freak-out video. But my patience runs low when it comes to those touchy-feely, super-sweet videos telling me how to live my life. You know, the still-photo displays of spectacular seascapes or soaring eagles reminding me “Life is short…eat dessert first” or “Learn to embrace your inner child.” They make me want to gag.   

So imagine my response when I opened an attachment recently from some random acquaintance, and there it was…a video loop of winter wonderland photos containing 45 life lessons. As my little finger instinctively reached for the “delete” key, the first photo caught my eye – it was beautiful…a stunning snow-covered landscape I couldn’t resist.  

As I clicked through scores of lovely snow scenes, I began reading the list of lessons.  Oh, a few bordered on the insipid, “When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.”  (Actually, that’s a true statement.)  But several bits of advice rang true. From the lengthy list, here are several snippets of what I think is pretty good advice to take into the New Year…12 lessons for 2012. Enjoy! (I promise I won’t forward the attachment!) 

1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next step.
3. Pay off your credit cards every month.
4. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
5. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.  (OK, this one’s sort of sappy…but it’s true!)
6. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
7. Make peace with your past, so it doesn’t mess up the present.
8. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.
9. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
10. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
11. Over-prepare, then go with the flow.
12. What doesn’t kill you…really does make you stronger.

And a bonus lesson – my personal favorite: Everything can change in the blink of an eye…but don’t worry, God never blinks!  (Hmmm. Maybe I’m a little more touchy-feely than I thought!) 

Happy New Year!

Contact Carol by emailing her at Carol@palomarhealth.org.

Handling Holiday Stress
By Carol LeBeau
12/6/2011 3:52:48 PM


I found it while going through the “piles” on my desk - a birthday card from my husband.  Along with his sweet message was a gift certificate good for one 90-minute “acu-massage” at Indigo Acupuncture in Coronado. My birthday was seven months ago and I’m ashamed to say I’d completely forgotten about Tom’s thoughtful gift enclosure. But my joy at discovering the lost coupon quickly turned to disappointment as I read the fine print.  The certificate was within weeks of expiring!   

But when Char Self from Indigo Acupuncture returned my frantic phone call, the news was good and bad! The good news? The popular massage therapist and acupuncturist was able to fit me into her schedule. The bad news? Her only available slot was on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving! You’ve got to be kidding! Who has time to relax for 90-minutes two days before Thanksgiving??!! 

Determined (and too cheap!) not to lose my gift for good, I grudgingly made an appointment with Char wondering how in the world I was going to fit it all in. But as I melted into a pool of peace in Char’s tranquil treatment room, I decided I could worry about the holidays later. 

In the days following that blessed break at Indigo, everything began to magically come together.  I felt great!  With laser-like focus, I was able to compile my lists, make decisions and get things done, without feeling overwhelmed.  It had to have something to do with the 90-minute “vacation” that got me out of the rat race long enough to recharge my battery! 

This really shouldn’t come as a bulletin! We all need to take a break and take care of ourselves if we want to be effective, productive and joy-filled during the holidays and all year long. 

Think about what “fills” you up - a long motorcycle ride? A funny movie?  Lingering over lunch with a dear friend or taking a walk along Sunset Cliffs.  Don’t feel guilty about taking a little time to do something you love.  Balance those activities with those that “drain” you (cooking, shopping, decorating and difficult relatives) and you’ll find you have enough energy for all of it! 

Whether it’s relaxing with a massage or with a bowl of popcorn and your favorite Christmas movie, give yourself an early holiday gift and you may just find you have more to give during the holidays. 

Joy, peace and love.  That’s what this time of year is supposed to be about.  Take a break from the madness and the “reason for the season” may just extend right into the New Year. 

Happy Holidays.

Contact Carol by emailing her at Carol@palomarhealth.org.

By Carol LeBeau
11/2/2011 2:54:43 PM


I first saw it while driving along the Strand in Coronado just south of the Naval Amphibious Base … a weird, sort of bicycle-looking thing zipping along the popular bicycle and running path. The guy riding the device was standing up, and for good reason – the contraption had no seat! “It couldn’t be a bicycle,” I thought. Maybe it was a scooter. But the rider was pushing against enormous pedals using a motion that mimicked that of the elliptical trainer at my gym.

Maybe I was hallucinating! Fortunately, a quick Google search assured me I wasn’t losing it. I typed in “bicycle” and “scooter” and up popped the site for something called the ElliptiGO – a device that replicates outdoor running without the impact. The ElliptiGO was developed by ultramarathoner Brent Teal in his Solana Beach garage. Cool. Mystery solved! I saw a few more of the bizarre bicycles after that, but wrote it off as just another crazy southern California fitness fad.

So, imagine my surprise a few weeks later when I opened an e-mail from my brother, Carter, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Attached was a photo of my little “bro” riding … you guessed it … an ElliptiGO! “Sis,” he wrote. “Have you tried this thing? It’s great!”

My brother works for “Push, Pedal, Pull” a high-end exercise equipment company with stores nationwide, including Cedar Rapids. According to Carter, the ElliptiGO is a big seller and growing in popularity in the Hawkeye state and beyond!

Inspired by his injured running partner, Teal designed the ElliptiGO to provide a low-impact, outdoor running experience with comfort and safety advantages over a bike. “The upright riding position,” says Teal, “provides a more natural posture that puts significantly less strain on the neck and shoulders.” And because there’s no seat, there’s no seat pain!

And, compared with an indoor elliptical machine, the EllitiGO has the key advantage of allowing riders to be outside enjoying the fresh air… not trapped in a sweaty gym.
But elliptical training in the great outdoors will cost you between $1,800 and $2,400.

Since the birth of the ElliptiGO early last year, Teal says more than six thousand have been sold, available through 175 retail locations in the U.S.

Please pardon the cheap, shameless plug … but one of those retail outlets is “Push, Pedal, Pull.” I’m sure Carter would be happy to set you up from his store in Cedar Rapids. It’s the least I can do for my little brother!

Contact Carol by emailing her at Carol@palomarhealth.org.

Mayor Sanders Sheds 85 Pounds
By Carol LeBeau
10/4/2011 3:40:30 PM


He may just be San Diego’s “biggest loser!” In less than two years, Mayor Jerry Sanders has lost nearly 85 pounds! No diet. No surgery. No magic bullet. The mayor’s secret weapon for weight loss? Walking!

I met Mayor Sanders one morning on the last leg of his morning walk through Kensington to learn more about the mayor’s new passion.

Carol: What kind of mileage are you doing these days, Mr. Mayor?
Mayor Sanders: 50-60 miles a week. Five miles on weekdays and 20 miles – two five-hour walks – on the weekend.

Carol: Wow! You’re a fitness rock star! How did this happen?
Mayor Sanders: Two years ago, my doctor said I was too fat!

Carol: Has your weight been a problem?
Mayor Sanders: Always. I’m only 10 pounds from my ideal weight of 180, but there’s still a fat boy inside my mind!

Carol: Well, from inside my mind, you look pretty trim! Is it just from walking?”
Mayor Sanders: I also do gym workouts twice a week and watch what I’m eating.

Carol: Must be tough on your schedule … the “rubber chicken” circuit and all?”
Mayor Sanders: I just don’t eat everything I see. I do eat more salads, lentils, brown rice and lean meats. But no more potatoes and fries.

Carol: No more fun food?
Mayor Sanders: I love Trader Joes’ “Popped Chips.” The whole bag is only 300 calories!

Carol: Is your wife supportive of your healthier lifestyle?
Mayor Sanders: Rana’s a runner – extremely fitness-conscious. We “batch” cook healthy meals on Sundays and nibble off them all week.

Carol: And your staff?
Mayor Sanders: Oh, they poke fun … eat M&M’s in front of me, but they also munch from my stash of apples and bananas in the office.

Carol: About those 5-hour walks? Do you ever get bored?
Mayor Sanders: Nope! I “zone” out listening to Pink Floyd on my iPod and collect coins along the way. I tell Rana it’s for our Italy fund.

Carol: I know you walk every day. Do you ever just want to sleep in?
Mayor Sanders: Sure, but I’ve found the best walks are the ones you don’t want to do!

Carol: Some might call you obsessive, Mr. Mayor?
Mayor Sanders: Hmmm. That’s what Rana tells me. But my Dad always said, “anything worth doing is worth over-doing.”

Carol: Walk on, Mr. Mayor!

Contact Carol by emailing her at Carol@palomarhealth.org.