Thursday, October 6, 2011

An "apple" of our eyes..

Who was Steve Jobs ?
..beyond a creator..or an innovator..
a dedicated father,a good friend,a mentor to many,Laurene's love,a person who asked me to enjoy my handwriting,a Buddhist,a dreamer,a visionary,had a love of Haiku and Zen,loved India..
...................I am glad the apple will live on true to Steve's dreams..and he will observe from whichever place he gets to reside in (from all angles) making sure the next launch of i'anything' is just perfect.

You will be missed..
My deepest condolences to his family..
Vaidya Priyanka

PS:Steve's address to Stanford grads will always be remembered.
Here is the link

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Kavitha and Chris

Just a short while ago,I met one of the most remarkable young women who calls this world home.
She was extremely confident,fearless and endearing.Meet Kavitha.
She was recommended to seek my advice on a medical issue that has been part of her life for the last 8 years.(..and yes,I have her permission to post..)She has MS.
What is MS ??
MS or Multiple Sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that affects the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system).

Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Multiple sclerosis (MS) affects women more than men. The disorder is most commonly diagnosed between ages 20 and 40, but can be seen at any age.
MS is caused by damage to the myelin sheath, the protective covering that surrounds nerve cells. When this nerve covering is damaged, nerve impulses are slowed down or stopped.
The nerve damage is caused by inflammation. Inflammation occurs when the body's own immune cells attack the nervous system. Repeated episodes of inflammation can occur along any area of the brain, optic nerve, and spinal cord.

Researchers are not sure what triggers the inflammation. The most common theories point to a virus or genetic defect, or a combination of both. Geographic studies indicate there may be an environmental factor involved.
People with a family history of MS and those who live in a geographical area where MS is more common have a slightly higher risk of the disease.


Symptoms vary, because the location and severity of each attack can be different. Episodes can last for days, weeks, or months. These episodes alternate with periods of reduced or no symptoms (remissions).
Fever, hot baths, sun exposure, and stress can trigger or worsen attacks.
It is common for the disease to return (relapse). However, the disease may continue to get worse without periods of remission.
Because nerves in any part of the brain or spinal cord may be damaged, patients with multiple sclerosis can have symptoms in many parts of the body.

Muscle symptoms:
Loss of balance

Muscle spasms

Numbness or abnormal sensation in any area

Problems moving arms or legs

Problems walking

Problems with coordination and making small movements

Tremor in one or more arms or legs

Weakness in one or more arms or legs

Bowel and bladder symptoms:

Constipation and stool leakage

Difficulty beginning to urinate

Frequent need to urinate

Strong urge to urinate

Urine leakage (incontinence)

Eye symptoms:
Double vision

Eye discomfort

Uncontrollable rapid eye movements

Vision loss (usually affects one eye at a time)

Numbness, tingling, or pain

Facial pain

Painful muscle spasms

Tingling, crawling, or burning feeling in the arms and legs

Other brain and nerve symptoms:
Decreased attention span, poor judgment, and memory loss

Difficulty reasoning and solving problems

Depression or feelings of sadness

Dizziness and balance problems

Hearing loss

Sexual symptoms:

Problems with erections

Problems with vaginal lubrication

Speech and swallowing symptoms:

Slurred or difficult-to-understand speech

Trouble chewing and swallowing

Fatigue is a common and bothersome symptoms as MS progresses. It is often worse in the late afternoon.

Signs and tests
Symptoms of MS may mimic those of many other nervous system disorders. The disease is diagnosed by ruling out other conditions.MS is often misdiagnosed as Systemic Lupus.

People who have a form of MS called relapsing-remitting may have a history of at least two attacks, separated by a period of reduced or no symptoms.

The health care provider may suspect MS if there are decreases in the function of two different parts of the central nervous system (such as abnormal reflexes) at two different times.

A neurological exam may show reduced nerve function in one area of the body, or spread over many parts of the body. This may include:

Abnormal nerve reflexes

Decreased ability to move a part of the body

Decreased or abnormal sensation

Other loss of nervous system functions

An eye examination may show:

Abnormal pupil responses

Changes in the visual fields or eye movements

Decreased visual acuity

Problems with the inside parts of the eye

Rapid eye movements triggered when the eye moves

Tests to diagnose multiple sclerosis include:

Lumbar puncture (spinal tap) for cerebrospinal fluid tests, including CSF oligoclonal banding

MRI scan of the brain and MRI scan of the spine are important to help diagnose and follow MS

Nerve function study (evoked potential test)

Along with mainstream medicine,integrative,holistic therapies can help with the management and elimination of the symptoms and disease.

Now,that all of you know what MS is all about.
Kavitha and Chris (who I have not met yet) have the most remarkable love story..

In her own words,published in the Daily Beast

In May 2003 I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. It took me completely by shock. I didn't even know what MS was, what caused it or whether it was terminal. I went from one neurologist to another, hoping for a conflicting second opinion. But no, they all said the same thing: that my brain and spinal MRI images showed so many lesions that they wondered how I had never had an attack. (People with MS suffer from a lack of muscle control and strength and loss of vision, balance and sensation. This is referred to as an "attack" or exacerbation.)

At the time I was in a serious relationship with a man who, like me, is originally from India. We had been introduced to each other by our parents in the hope that we would eventually marry. He was living on the West Coast at the time, while I, having just graduated from college, was living at my parents' home in Greenville, S.C. But he and I communicated constantly, through e-mail, instant messages and by phone—running up huge cell phone bills. He visited me and my family in Greenville, and we all got to know each other. He was very well educated, successful in his career, handsome, and, of course, came from a traditional Indian family. We liked the same kind of food, listened to the same music, and were very attached to our parents. Everything was perfect.

Then came my diagnosis. Shortly afterward my boyfriend dropped me like a rock. He had certain expectations for his future and felt that marrying someone with such a serious chronic disease was just not part of his life plan. We ended our relationship. I was devastated. Still reeling from the news about my health, and clinging to my family for support, I withdrew completely from the normalcy of my previous life.

And then came Chris.

I had known Chris for six years. We'd worked together at the local shopping mall one summer. He was a close friend, and we kept in touch throughout our college years, while I was living in Clemson, S.C., and he was in Columbia, S.C. When we both moved back to Greenville after college, we had lunch a few times a week, went to the movies together and accompanied each other to Christmas parties and other social events. Though we spent a lot of time together, I had never entertained the idea of dating him seriously because I didn't think my family would approve of a non-Indian boyfriend. In spite of having lived abroad most of my life, I had always expected that I would marry an Indian guy, not an American, especially not one who'd grown up so differently than I had.

Chris was born and raised in the South and had never been on an airplane. I had lived on three different continents before I was 15. He ate everything under the sun, and I was a vegetarian. He was a devout Christian and I was a Hindu. I was a Clemson Tiger and he was a University of South Carolina Gamecock. It just wasn't possible.

But while I was busy concentrating on my preconceived notions about Chris, he began picking up the pieces of my life and putting me back together. He came with me to my doctors' appointments and stuck around when I had to take my injections. He was still there week after week when I was sick to my stomach with side effects from my treatments. He became my best friend. Slowly all my stereotypes started breaking down. All the differences that I was so sure should keep us apart became reasons to be together. He taught me how to be more patient, how to change a flat tire and how to use a punching bag. I taught him how to balance a checkbook, took him on his first plane trip, and showed him how to use just the right amount of garam masala. And while Chris is still a happy omnivore and I remain a vegetarian, we both managed to gain weight after we got married. He's still a Christian and I'm still a Hindu. We attend services at both churches and temples. Our house is divided not by faith but by the arch rivalry between Clemson and USC. We celebrated our three-year wedding anniversary in July. My family adores him.

I am convinced that my illness was just a means for me to find this happiness. It was a blessing in disguise. It taught me to look beyond all the things I thought were so important. The differences in culture, religion and life experiences are not what kept Chris and me apart, but what brought us together. I'm certain that we will come across some tough times, but I'm also convinced that whatever path lies ahead of us, we will travel it together. And that is my faith.

I wish her all the love,luck and wellness that exists in this world..
You will get well soon and I can't wait to see your "mixed" baby..what a joy..
Kavitha and Chris..I am glad I can share your story for the world to learn..
Love and Blessings
Vaidya Priyanka

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Remembering Mattie

It has been almost seven years since this beautiful soul became a golden star to serve as an inspiration to the world.I had to write about Mattie(who I met just once)..but once was enough,to create the glow he stirred in my heart.

Mattie Stepanek suffered from dysautonomic mitochondrial myopathy, a genetic disorder causing atrophy of the muscles and eventual death. Three of his siblings died from the disease, and his mother Jeni suffers from a version of it as well. He appeared on the 2001 Jerry Lewis telethon. On Good Morning America he was able to meet his hero, former President Jimmy Carter.

In 2002, he told Larry King, "We're divorced from my father because he did some mean and scary things to us." When pressed on the matter, he refused to divulge futher details other than he does not see his father.

Stepanek's book Heartsongs (2001) reached the top of the New York Times bestseller list, and inspired the young musician Billy Gilman to record an album, Music Through Heartsongs: Songs Based on the Poetry of Mattie J. T. Stepanek (2003).

I have a song, deep in my heart,
And only I can hear it.
If I close my eyes and sit very still
It is so easy to listen to my song.

His books in total sold over a million copies, spurred by appearances on the Oprah Winfrey and other shows. Locomotion required a wheelchair and ventilation, assisted by a "service dog", Micah.

For further information regarding Mattie and everything that lives on in his goodnesss..
The Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation

Rec Reading:
Heartsongs by Mattie J. T. Stepanek

Messenger: The Legacy of Mattie J.T. Stepanek and Heartsongs by Jeni Stepanek

Hope Through Heartsongs by Mattie J. T. Stepanek

and several more books..

Mattie was one of the most wonderful and truly inspirational people I ever met.
You will be in awe..
Like Mattie always said,"Remember to play after every storm !"
Many Blessings
Vaidya Priyanka

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The space between the beats...

..of my heart..
(hold the horses) I have not fallen into a deep rooted romance..but,just cherishing an "awwww" feeling..It has been awhile since I felt that way..
Will not tell all of you,the real reason behind that feeling(atleast as yet)..but,it is the best medication in the world...the AWWWW..not prescribed often enough I might add.
I was talking to a very important person today...someone who makes me enjoy being "me" and continue with everything that I have my heart set on without hampering with my style of expression,my quest for perfection and my love for what I do.
There is a requirement in everyone's life for an AWWWW..The advantages as I see them are as follows:
1.You will notice that everything in life is brighter even if it is a gloomy day.
2.There will be no excuse in the world for not exercising EVERYDAY.
3.That there is a glow in your eyes that not even the best 'any professional' can diagnose the root cause of.
4.Food tastes cook often for friends and family but you happen to eat what is required and not too much.
5.That nobody in the world has the power to get on your nerves.You actually do not hate anybody.You are just 'indifferent' to them.( and the realistation of the same is actually good for you)
6.Your professional day goes by faster and you have actually done a lot more with your time.
7.Your smile is wider and has a noticeably higher frequency.
8.Your creativity is on the rise.
9.Sleep is deeper and dreams aplenty.
10.You also have enough time for your daily dose of AWWWW
...and the parable continues...
What could AWWWW be ?
Will look forward to your emails..
Vaidya Priyanka

Monday, January 17, 2011

Food Dyes and Colors -Not Attractive !!

It is time to write about an ingredient which is so common place and dangerous at the same time.One of the most common ingredients in the food we eat isn't even a food. It is a food dye.

I have spoken about and discussed this topic to everyone I know for years.It dawned on me that it was time to blog about it.
I am beyond surprised,to say the least that the United States has done nothing about eliminating them.The FDA continues to maintain that artificial dyes are safe, citing numerous studies that found no ill effects.

Commonly used food dyes, such as Yellow 5,Yellow 6,Blue Lake and Red 40 are made from petroleum and pose several risks.
Those risks include hyperactivity in children, cancer and allergic reactions.

In 2008, because of the problem of hyperactivity, the Center for Science in the Public Interest petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to ban the use of these dyes. The British government and European Union have taken actions that are virtually ending the use of dyes throughout Europe.

Food dyes also serve to deceive consumers: they are often used to simulate the presence of healthful, colorful fruits and vegetables. But considering the adverse impact of these chemicals on children, and considering how easily they can be replaced with safe, natural ingredients, it's time to get rid of them altogether from everywhere in the world.

Food dyes are synthetic chemicals and you've seen them on many an ingredient list. Without them, your cheesy macaroni might not be yellow and your fruit punch might not be red. Thousands of grocery store items contain artificial food dyes.
A highlighted example would be a package of "100% Real" potato au gratin today that gets its golden hue from 100 percent real "Yellow 5 Lake" and "Yellow 6 Lake."

There have been a lot of studies on the effects of artificial food dyes on children, dating back to the 1970s. Some showed that food dyes could cause behavioral problems in children, and others didn't. But a few years ago, an analysis of 21 of the most conclusive studies found compelling evidence that, indeed, artificial dyes could contribute to hyperactivity, restlessness, and attention problems in some children – particularly those with ADHD. What's more, the studies suggested that removing dyes from those children's diet was a quarter to half as effective in reducing those symptoms as giving the kids Ritalin or other stimulants. In other words, certain kids with ADHD might not need drugs if the artificial dyes were removed from their diets.

Kids like color; thus artificial dyes are most prevalent in products that appeal to children – such as snack foods and cereals. Parents who want to avoid artificial dyes can find it's a complicated process requiring careful examination of each ingredient label. One brand of tortilla chip may contain two dyes while the brand sitting right next to it contains none. Just because a food item is white or pale-colored is no guarantee is does not contain dyes. Trader Joe's and Whole Foods claim the products they sell contain no artificial dyes, but not every shopper has access to those chains. And of course, restaurants don't post ingredient lists on their menus!

Here are some of the common food dyes and colors and the harm they cause.
FD&C Yellow #5 - Can cause: Allergies, Thyroid tumors, Lymphocytic lymphomas, Chromosomal Damage, Trigger for asthma, Urticaria (hives), Hyperactivity (Rowe & Rowe, Egger, 1985)
FD&C Yellow #6 - Can cause: Urticaria (hives), Rhinitis (runny nose), Nasal congestion, Bronchoconstriction (combined with Amaranth, Ponceau), Anaphylactoid reaction (combined with Ponceau), Eosinophilotactic response, Purpura (bruising), Allergies, Kidney tumors, Chromosomal damage, Abdominal pain, Vomiting, Indigestion, Distaste for food
FDD&C Red #3 - Can cause: Bronchoconstriction (combined with Brilliant Blue, Indigo Carmine), Sequential vascular response, Elevation of protein-bound iodide, Thyroid tumors, Chromosomal damage, and other unspecified symptoms

Combine this food product with a few other "quick-cook" items on your plate, and you may have the recipe for incurable diseases. As it was in the beginning, a diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, unbleached whole grains, and unprocessed natural foods are what we are meant to eat. Unnatural foods can produce unnatural body responses, and should be avoided as often as possible. The body has the natural ability to repair minor damage, but if the foods we eat on a daily basis continue to pollute our bodies, the damage may be permanent

It may sound fishy, but it's true, bugs are the hottest wave in food coloring. Cochineal, which is a red beetle, has been used for decades to add a red color to food.Some of those foods are:

•Cola drinks
The way for you to know if you're consuming red beetles is to check the label. Although it won't read, red beetle, it can appear under several different names that unless you know what they are, you'd never suspect what it is.

Red Beetle Color is also called the following

•Red 4
•Natural Red
•Carminic Acid
•Crimson Lake

Well,the best way to avoid eating beetles is to educate ourselves about the various names of these harmful ingredients but easier still,is to just eat an everyday diet filled with whole grains,fruits and vegetables,natural beverages (fresh juices etc.,),pure ,clean water and seeds.

I promise to add some very important aspects of ingredients as the months roll by; so you would all be well introduced and commence a period of learning and responsibility towards your body.
Stay healthy in the New Year !
Vaidya Priyanka