The Challenge of running a support group, restoring my passion

I left the Fatty Liver Disease Support Group I created 6 years ago on Monday after 2 senior administrators left and deleted me from their Facebook. I have known both for 3 or more years and i was friends with their family as well. I was told the drama in the group was my fault for not standing up for them clearly. That I am too lenient and I am too often allowing people to come to the right answers for themselves once they have been advised on things like not using supplements. That I am the reason for the dysfunction that happens in there

I want to be clear that I understand their viewpoint. When you are on the edge waiting for a transplant or you have had one there is a desperate need to demand that everyone else NEVER get to their stage of this disease. I agree completely with this, but my confidence has come from the fact that I am unaware of a single member who came in to the group with early stage fatty liver who has actually gotten worse with the advice given in here about eating natural foods and stopping the processed foods as much as possible. You are looking for a ratio of 90% natural and 10% processed.

I did a lot of soul searching on Monday and cried a ton of tears. I was blamed for drama on the weekend that i was not a part of, i did not witness but that i received 10 emails from angry members about how things happened with deletions and how it was handled.

The issue on the weekend was actually about a celebrity who is extremely controversial that some members wanted to see as a spokesperson and other members were dead set against him.

This had NOTHING to do with the disease and the group at the end of the day. Having someone famous talk about the disease would be helpful but they should be a little less offensive to a large portion of population.

I came to a decision that i would stop running the group if i was truly damaging it by being to kind. I even started accepting that after 6 years pouring my heart and soul into this group that maybe it was time to back away.

I received a large number of emails of support from within the group Monday and I am forever thankful to those that took the time to check in on me.

Tuesday morning I believe God intervened.

1.A local city politician asked to meet with me and have me help him because he has just been diagnosed with fatty liver disease. He respects this is a business for me and wants to pay me to teach his family how to read labels, how to determine what is a gmo veggie and which are not. How to start a small garden and how to conveniently start making meals from scratch.

Once i spoke to him i was energized with my passion for this disease and helping people again. The negative messaging about whether i am doing a good job or not seemed less important.

2. In the afternoon I received a tweet asking me what i wanted to ask for funding for from a group that helps create campaigns for crowd sourcing. I told them about my visions for raising awareness on fatty liver and they see it as a very worthwhile cause and they will help me get this going.

I rejoined my group on Tuesday I was clearly receiving messages from the universe that told me this is too important to back away from.

On Wednesday I was asked to speak at a women in progress lunch on avoiding fatty liver disease at the end of April and I will also be on a talk radio show in Toronto talking about fatty liver as well.

So while i am still quite hurt by the events of this, i lost a large number of friends because i try to look at all sides of a story before i make a decision. Each one who left and deleted me thought i was supporting the other side, when in fact i saw that they all had a point.

If you have gotten worse while you are in my group please let me know. If this is a common event I will reconsider my position again. I want to help not hurt people.

Please be kind to each other and please be even kinder to your liver


Ignite Health Ontario I – 2 days to go!! Get your Tickets!

I can not believe that Ignite Health Ontario I will happen in 2 days! A thought from my brain that was triggered thanks to Ignite London will materialize in a public event to help people listen to their bodies and start taking accountability for its success. We have amazing speakers that I am proud to get on stage. Jim Mills – Former London Knights Captain, impacted by Guilles – Barres Syndrome and now running the Smile Epidemic! Lisa Merriam – 20 years old and sharing her story of mental illness and how she is fighting every day to raise awareness and diminish the stigma, Blair Rymer will teach us all some base yoga moves and we all get to participate. You will get a chance to learn about and sample Kiki Natural Maple Sap beverage! You will learn why you should consider a chiropractor, a reiki treatment, or a nutritionist. You will learn from Emory Ediger how it feels to move into a nursing home and feel alone and how you can turn that around. You will hear Megan Clermont tell her story of how she has moved from living a life of chronic illness where she spent most of her time isolated and alone as a teenager to now being a thriving busy teenager who fights back against her illness. You will learn about the Jamie Oliver Food Revolution and what my role is as ambassador and what the plans are for 2013. We will have a great presentation on Getting to know your farmer, eating local and watching out for GMO’s ! Have you ever heard of Shamanic Healing? Me neither but we will learn what that can offer for your spirit, Have you considered Hypnosis to deal with challenges like smoking, weightloss, insomnia? We will get a chance to explore new ideas there too! We have all presentations ready to go, we have 2 videographers volunteering their time, we have 3 volunteer photographers, we have a projector, we have a podium, we have snacks and beverages too. Now all we need is you to come and take a seat and listen to these presenters and walk away with one new idea to help you be a better healthier you! . Contact Michelle Clermont 226-234-4006 for more details

Risks of Pregnancy with a Fatty Liver!

I am a strong advocate for people to go to their doctors and have an annual blood test to ensure your liver enzymes are within reasonable levels. I believe in prevention and becoming aware of this epidemic.

Recently in the support group I run on Facebook someone asked  if anyone had gotten pregnant with the fatty liver disease. A few woman had but almost all of them had been warned by their hepatologist that this was a very dangerous thing to do.

1. The risk of giving your baby a fatty liver while in your womb is high. The risk that a healthy baby will also grow up to have a fatty liver is also high.

2. Acute Fatty Liver occurs rarely but it can happen  This is killing women and baby in childbirth and is very scary.

So wow this makes this quiet disease even more important for you to pay attention too. If you are considering getting pregnant , please get a full physical with a test for liver disease. If your result is that you have a fatty liver , you need to take advantage of this organ which can regenerate cells and you can reverse the disease.  here are my suggestions:

1. Reverse the disease by eating lots of green vegetables, lean proteins, a few fruits, a few low glycemic grains, and unsalted nuts for fats.

2. Stop eating processed or fast food.

3. Drink lots of Water, and herbal teas, do not drink soda pop or sugar based juices.

4. Use high quality supplements that are based in scientific proof.

Go for the blood test every 6 months until your liver enzymes are low.

Once your liver enzymes have  been clean for 1 year i would consider risking pregnancy.

It is critical for you and your developing baby that you eat healthy throughout the pregnancy and throughout the time you breastfeed your baby.

You do not want to risk giving your  baby this disease through your body or your breastmilk.

Once you have this baby commit to protecting your child from this disease by staying away from processed foods make your own baby foods or at least buying organic foods from a trusted source. Do not let them eat chicken nuggets, kraft dinner or any other convenient foods. Foods need to be homemade and full of healthy goodness for life!

Please consider this information and share with anyone who might be considering pregnancy. This is important and we need to stop this epidemic now!

Are you tired and have stomach aches a lot?

There was no way I thought liver disease when my child was complaining of stomach aches, all kids complain of stomach aches. What a great way to get out of going to school. Sometimes she would throw up and I would think it was a stomach flu, she ate something bad or had heat stroke. Never once did I think Liver disease.

She complained she was too tired to help out around the house, I thought she was just being stubborn or lazy. I never thought Liver disease.

She would take forever to get over any cold or flu bug, I thought her immune system was just weak, I filled her with vitamin C, supplements and chicken soup. I never thought liver disease.

She would have trouble sleeping at night, she would toss and turn, never able to get into a restful spot, I tried sleepy music, I tried calming her with words, I tried melatonin and gravol because she always had a tummy ache. I never thought liver disease.

In Fall 2008 ,When the pediatrician finally did an ultrasound of her stomach and had the blood test results he turned to us and said…you have a disease called NASH, go home exercise.and eat better.

I went home happy, I finally had a diagnosis for my daughter, the name of a real disease, she was not making it up!

I went to the internet and typed in NASH. I got a lot of Steve nash sites. Then i found one site that talked about it as liver disease.

I started reading and see that it can be fatal, that there is no cure and that its the 2nd stage of fatty liver disease.

Now I was angry, how could the doctor just turn to us and casually say this, no real direction no real help!

She could have cirrohsis next how close was she to that , I had no idea.

I then started searching for a diet for fatty liver disease. There was nothing. Out of desperation I started a support group on Facebook. Slowly I started getting people joining the group from all over the world. Some old, some young, some skinny , most overweight. Now I know how to deal with living with the disease and thats why I am doing this blog. I want everyone to know about and to start respecting this disease.

This is a global disease, with global ramifications. This is not going away, you cannot hide from it. Doctors are only now starting to research it and most know less than I do after dealing with over 200 people in my group with the disease over the last 3 years. I know the pains, I know the challenges with doctors, I know the ways to alleviate symptoms.

Stomach aches and fatigue are the symptoms of Fatty Liver Disease. 2 years ago it was estimated that 25% of the north american population has this disease. Now in 2011 that estimate is at 30%. Most people are completely unaware that they have the disease or that their child may have the disease.

With the increase in Sodium, preservatives, pesticides, High Fructose Corn Syrup, and other chemicals in our foods our poor liver has no way to break everything down and it starts to give up. It takes this odd unnatural item and it stores it within itself as a fat cell. It doesn’t want to make the other organs try to deal with this intruder in your body. The liver is a martyr , the liver is the hardest working organ in your body. When its compromised the rest of your body has to work harder. When its comprimised you have no choice but to change the way you eat!

The next time you are at the doctors office, the next time you take your child to the pediatrician, ask them to run a blood test to check your liver levels. You need to know if you have this disease as early as possible to avoid the later stages and to avoid more complications.

So do yourself a favor get tested,  join my group on facebook to find people that understand and please share this blog with everyone you love.

Your liver will thank you

Michelle Clermont

Fatty Liver Disease Consultant

Megan taking control and leading us to healthier lifestyle!

I am so very proud of my 14 year old daughter Megan. In the last week she has lost 6 lbs. She has set herself a goal of losing 20 lbs to get herself a product at Bath and Bodyworks as a reward for her hardwork. She is checking the scale everyday which is not the best idea but other than that I could not be more impressed by this.

She is entering every food into an internet program which breaks down all the nutrients and grades foods as A – D’s. She takes every container we use and she painstakingly adds them to the database. She is averaging A days and making sure I do as well. She is noticing how much salt and sugar manufacturers are using with the labels screaming lowfat! She is not letting us buy yogurts with too much sugar, We are checking every label for Salt , fats, sugars and fibre to make sure we eat balanced.

We are spending 90% of our time in the fruit and veggie aisle and we are back to cutting up all the fruit and veggies on Sunday to make the rest of the week easy.

We found a quickprep oatmeal that is for weight control by quakers that was surprisingly a Grade A product and not too high in sugar or salts.

We found that basic Cheerios are also a better choice than the multigrain Cheerios which has a lot more sugar.

She is running everyday not for long periods of time but she enters the time she runs into the program and it gets her a few more calories to spend on foods.

She is setting a NON FOOD related reward for her mini goals! This is perfect and the right way to do it!

We made guacamole last night for her to dip her new favorite veggie Celery into.. Celery being less than zero calories!

We have a meal plan for the week and she is excited about this change!

This came out of Megan totally and completely. I was working us toward healthier eating, but she has taken the bull by the horns! She is getting me excited with her enthusiasm and I will be getting healthier alongside her.

Megan will not be a teen that turns to silly diet plans, she is learning the right things to look for, she is insisting we target grade A meals everyday.

Her liver will thank her, her body will thank her, her self esteem will thank her. and so will I.

Thank you Megan I love you.

Join me in defining a path… have nothing to lose

I need to first take you back to where I was last August.

 I had been unemployed for 5 months, I was getting a few interviews but nothing materialized from them. 

I wanted to start a charity for Fatty Liver Disease and put all my efforts into writing that book and raising money and awareness for that disease. I was helping out Liver Charity events whenever possible.

My daughter is and was chronically ill and had just gotten out of her wheelchair in late June. A severe case of vertigo had made it impossible for her to walk for 10 months. I had lived my life completely for getting her help, and helping her cope for those 10 months. I did not know what to do with myself now that she was walking ok.

I was on unemployment and that barely covered my rent and car payment. I had to lean on family for groceries, cellphone bill, and anything else that we had to buy.

I was in a place of shame asking for that money every month. Asking for charity is certainly one of the hardest things on self esteem.

I was going to see Brandon every week but it was starting to feel like it was a waste of my time. I couldn’t make anything happen for myself no matter what I was doing and I was finding it hard to be motivated.

Essentially I was lost and depressed, I was feeling hopeless , I did not see a direction.

Brandon made me define my 5 year plan. I choked and struggled with every step. I couldn’t see tomorrow nevermind 5 years from now. We rewrote it a few times and he laughed at me when I had set all my goals for my family. Getting Megan Healthy, Support alex in his college and career plans, Take care of my grandparents, my stepdad. I had to focus this on myself not on everyone around me.

Once I did this and I started taking the steps toward my 5 year goals magic occurred in my life. Within 3 weeks…

 I had a consulting client dropped in my lap

I had a goal of a temporary customer service job and I landed a career position instead.

I started writing my autobiography and was getting outside sitting in parks and starbucks enjoying it immensely.

So trust me when I said I saw results. I had to put it all aside to make room for my career position. This needed my focus and needed to become a permanent position for me. My 5 year plan could wait.

Now its time to rewrite those goals and start moving my life into its next phase.  Do you have a direction in your life? Do you see a path?  Do you know your purpose, what legacy will you leave behind?

I will break down every step to guide you and I will provide insights into my struggles as I approached this last  summer. I will ask advice from friends who are knowledgable on topics we cover so that you have as much information as I can find.

Join me, you will not regret it and what do you have to lose?

A February New Years Resolution

This year my daughter and I both really want to focus on getting healthy and leaner. We could have started this as a January resolution like the rest of the world, but we chose to forgo that tradition.

My daughter was experiencing her very first exams and also provincial testing at school in January. This was extremely stressful for her and food does provide comfort for her in stressful moments. YES we know that eating food to resolve stress in turn creates its own stress and guilt as we try to squeeze into clothes that are too tight and think ahead to summer and bathing suits!

You can’t discount the pressure of wanting to be able to wear fashionable clothes and look great on a teenage girl! For her this is the key motivation. She wants to feel pretty and she has every right to feel that special after 2 years of nasty illness stole her social life.

For me the motivations are all health related. I am very comfie with my curves and do feel pretty! However, climbing the stairs to work everyday makes my chest tighten, a night of dancing makes my body ache. I want to fully enjoy life and all it has to offer.

I do not want to feel too big to go into a regular bathroom stall, sit in an airplane seat, go on a rollercoaster, or hundreds of other examples. I don’t want to be that person that is walking down the aisle on the bus or plane that makes people cringe and pray I don’t sit beside them and take some of their personal space in the process.

I am at a good spot in my life to make these changes. I love my new job, my kids are healthy and successful, I have a new sweetheart , and I have lots of people that will love me and cheer me on.

WII Fit will be our choice of exercise for now and it will monitor our progress. Making a list, checking out recipes and then grocery shopping tonight to arm us with lots of healthy snacks and make them fun.

February will be our starting point, just as others are giving up on their resolutions we will be charging up ours!

Wish us luck and deterimination!