New Studio!!! 
Hi Everyone.

I closed Pilates Playground last November and made a lot of changes!

New studio, New name, New Website & More Blogging there!
So...please take a

Our new name is Healing With Movement Pilates. We are located at 2021 Western Avenue in Albany, NY. It's a great new space with more classes and happy, healing energy. Stop in and say hello...

Hope 2013 is going well for all of you and that sunshine is streaming in to all of your lives.

Thank you!

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Hello Everyone

By now I hope you are settled into the fall routine and enjoying "sweater weather"!

A few updates:


October 1st, 8th, 15th
November 19th, 26th
December 3rd, 10th, 17th

Hope to see you there! Mira is THE BEST yoga teacher in the area and we are lucky to have her.


TUESDAY OCTOBER 9th @ 6:30PM IS THE NEXT CAbi SHOW!!! Please come and bring your friends.

Be well.

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Tuesday, September 4th 5:00pm mat class: 
Hi Everyone,

The Tuesday 5:00pm mat class has a time change on the 4th.

I will be teaching this class @ 6:00am! Please make a note of this and hopefully you will be able to come in before work instead of after.

Thank you all so much for your support during my recovery. I am pacing myself.

Hope you all enjoy this last summer weekend!


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Back to Work! 
Hi Everyone,

Today is my first day back in the studio teaching. My body is a lot weaker than I realized but it is so good to be back. When life gives you unexpected setbacks it helps to just go with it. I keep remembering the phrase, "What you resist persists." So, I am not resisting. I am letting my mind and body rest. This has been a challenging year for me emotionally & physically so maybe on some level my body just had enough and is now forcing me to slow down. No more resistance on my end...

Hope you are all getting to enjoy this lovely summer weather here.

Be well.

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Expect the unexpected! 
10 days ago I noticed a golf ball size bulge protruding from my belly button that was the color of a vein and very painful. After frantic googling and cajoling my doctor for an appointment; I was told by the receptionist that I could be seen in mid September...I was fortunately seen that afternoon which proved to me that when something is meant to happen the universe makes it work. Two doctors diagnosed an umbilical hernia and told me I would need immediate surgery. I saw my future surgeon on Friday afternoon and my surgery was this past Thursday. He repaired the tear in my abdominal wall and reinforced it with a patch. The previous days were filled with abdominal CAT scans and a liver MRI along with the typical hospital prep. I learned I have very small veins and felt like a pin cushion after the first day. I also learned that I have a benign growth of veins in my liver.

It is now Monday morning. I am still in bed. It hurts a lot and I wasn't expecting that. My plan is to be back in the studio teaching on Wednesday but not exercising. The doctor sees me again on the 31st but has said NO PILATES!!! for about 12 weeks! Although I am secretly hoping I will be able to come back sooner I know that I need to listen and be mindful of these orders. Right now just standing up straight is painful. I am so grateful for the pain meds every 6 hours and definitely don't want to tear open the stitches. My surgeon said I have very strong abdominals which was like hearing I'd won a beauty contest. Go Pilates!! I am confident that my strength going in will help me recover quickly.

In the meantime, I will be doing gentle work, qigong & walking on my own. I will use this time to really focus on my voice as in instructor and practice acceptance. I am grateful for the healing process and all of your cards, flowers, texts, calls, love and support.

I have had to put some of my projects & plans on hold for now due to these new and unexpected physical limitations but plan on coming back even stronger. It's all about perspective. Today I was supposed to be at the track with my friend Jerry. I bought a new dress weeks ago, Who knew I'd be lying in bed recuperating from abdominal surgery?!

As I told Jerry, if there's a horse named Lucky Penny, bet on her to win today for me!

Thanks everyone. Peace!

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Next Tuesday August 14th is the LAST 11:00am mat class!!!

Please note the change:

Gentler Classes Are:
Thursdays @ 10:00am & Saturdays @ 9:00am

Pilates Class Times Are:
Tuesdays @ 5:00pm, Thursdays @ 5:00pm & Saturdays @ 10:00am

See you in class.


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About Mira Lechowicz: 
Mira Lechowicz, M.A., is a certified Yoga teacher, personal coach, professional holistic health counselor and wellness ambassador.
Her teaching engagements include group and private classes and chair Yoga with the senior religious of the Sacred Heart in Albany. She has been involved in numerous help and support projects in Eastern Europe promoting holistic health and preventive medicine. Mira has gained a reputation as a person with wide humanistic knowledge and the gift of psychological insight into the mystery of the inner self. She travels around the world exploring, learning and sharing her wisdom, guidance and inspiration.

Mira teaches our gentle yoga class each Monday evening at 6:30pm and will be speaking after this week's movie on Tuesday night.

I am thrilled to have Mira in the Pilates Playground family and look forward to future projects and workshops that we will be doing together.

Thank you Mira!

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Hi Everyone,

A lot of you are going to the local gym and have questions about what exercises are safe if you have bone health issues. A quick reminder from my friend and mentor Sara Meek's book "Walk Tall!" on what is safe and what is not safe in a gym setting...


SAFE---abdominal isometric exercises, free weights (e.g., upright rows, strengthening keeping back supported and/or stable, hip abduction & extension (as floor exercise or on multichip machine), back extensor strengthening, standing/wall squat, lunge (with or without weights), reverse pec-dec.

AVOID---abdominal crunches, sit ups, seated abdominal machine, ab rollers, toe touches (seated or standing), straight leg raising (except for therapeutic purposes), knee to chest, seated rowing machine, hip ab/adductor machine, stationary bicycle (except if you cannot stand for elliptical trainer or treadmill; then look for a recumbent bicycle), rotary torso, neck machine.

CAUTION---leg extensions, leg curls, butt blaster, lat pull downs, pullovers, any seated exercise, bent-over rows, bicep curls, stair stepper machine, elliptical trainers, treadmill, gravitron, seated dips, behind-the-neck press, good mornings, seated rows, clam shell and reverse clam shell, low back machine, leg press, multi-hip machine (for hip flexion and adduction), pec dec, chest press, bench press.

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Tuesday July 31 @ 6:00pm: 
This month's "Chat" is the first movie night at Pilates Playground (hopefully of many to come since I love movies!) and also the first month where I have decided to also combine the event with our National Osteoporosis Foundation support group meeting.

I am showing "Forks Over Knives". We will be exploring the important topic of how specific dietary choices can benefit our health. After all is said and done, perhaps we really are what we eat!

Our own Mira will be leading a discussion on wellness and nutrition after the movie and I will have some delicious healthy snacks since we will be starting right after class. The movie runs for 96 minutes.

Please come, bring your friends along. This movie is truly compelling and has had life changing effects on the people who have been influenced to change their eating habits after what they have learned from watching. I know someone who is a diabetic who is no longer on medication and heart patients whose cholesterol is now in the normal range. People have lost weight and bone health has improved. It's worth looking into...

Hope to see you Tuesday night.
Be well. Happy Weekend!

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Hi Everyone,

Just had to share Kathy's newsletter with you. So many of us are struggling with chronic stress issues. All we have to so is turn on the news and it begins let alone what our own individual challenges are. Here is a way to help handle stress from a primitive reflex perspective. Can't wait to get your feedback. As you know, I am a big fan of Kathy's program.

Hope you are having a nice summer...



Pyramid of Potential, Newsletter, July 24, 2012

Hello Friends,
Anxiety can wreak havoc on our brains and bodies. Sometimes it can effect our entire lifestyle as well as the people who surround us. See the email below about decreasing anxiety and the moro reflex. It brought a warmth in my heart knowing this man is feeling better!
My wife, JoAnne, recently took your seminar on Dyslexia, etc. in Syracuse. I am a A type personality (and a lawyer to boot) and suffer from persistent stress. She tested me for primitive reflexes and found that I have retained reflexes and started me on "integrating the MORO reflex" by using your prescribed exercise techniques (pp 24 and 25 of your booklet handout). While she expected that this exercise would take time to take effect, I had an almost immediate (2 hours later) response and I clearly don't seem to be in a constant stress mode and feel much more relaxed. I am doing the exercise every day and my pulse seems to be staying at my normal relaxed pulse of about 60 and I feel great!

It's a miracle!!!!!!!!

I am so pleased to hear your results!
What is happening is that for some reason you did not adequately go through a stage of development in infancy, called "integrating the moro reflex". This reflex starts in utero, and typical development will have it integrated by about 4 months. But many people like you and me grow up with this reflex happening every day, causing anxiety and other feelings due to an immature nervous system. The exercise causes an interruption to the reflex - it is the opposite of the reflex - so you are creating new neural pathways in your brain. Some other effects of integrating the moro reflex may be helping with the following symptoms:
Hypersensitivity to light and sound (immature sensory system) Allergies (an immature immune system) Visual issues
Anxiety comes from constantly being hyper vigilant and your fight or flight reaction constantly going off. The exercise will calm the nervous system and eventually stop the anxiety. Personally, I have a much better life since I do the starfish exercise daily!
To read more, Google "integrating the moro reflex" and you should find plenty of information.
Sally Goddard wrote several books on the primitive reflexes as well.
Good luck and enjoy your new life!!
Kathy Johnson

To read Richards response click here:

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"I began working with Penny 3 1/2 years ago after I had been sick for six months. Penny is a wonderful instructor who takes the time to explain the exercises and how they will help you heal. She is extremely knowledgeable and we have shared healing information that we both have learned from other sources over this time. She has helped me to gain back all the strength that I had lost with my illness. I stand straighter, have more stamina and have increased my breathing capacity because of the work that she has done with me. I have less aches and pains and my joints seem stronger. I have begun to run again, and when I push myself too far, Penny is able to help me stretch and work out the discomforts. If you decide to work with her, I am sure she will be able to improve your health and bones as well. In addition to her work, she has also become a very supportive friend. "
Susan Sneeringer

"When I learned I had osteoporosis, I knew that I wanted Pilates to be part of my new healthy regimen. Before knowing about Penny, I was instructed by someone who, I believe, did me more harm than good. (While she said she knew how to teach someone with this condition, it was obvious to me that she didn't.) And then I found Penny who is not only an expert regarding Pilates, but specializes in osteoporosis, is a professional and accomplished teacher, and also is compassionate and friendly. What a combination!"
Cindy Crounse

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Why Pilates Playground? 

STUDIO OWNER PENNY SHURE is the ONLY PMA certified Pilates Instructor in the Capital Region! Pilates Method Alliance offers the ONLY 3rd party certification examination for Pilates instructors in the world)

STUDIO OWNER PENNY SHURE is the ONLY MEEKS METHOD certified osteoporosis exercise specialist in the Capital region!

Because "You can't spell slouch without ouch!" and neither you, your children or parents should have to live with chronic neck, shoulder or back pain issues simple due to a lack of Internal Alignment Awareness! (IAA cd developed by Penny Shure is now available for easy, safe at home practice!)

Osteoporosis Safe Classes - Penny Shure of Pilates Playground offers the ONLY Pilates mat class in the capital region specially designed for those with osteoporosis and osteopenia. It's also terrific for those with back concerns since it avoids the spinal flexion motions that Pilates traditionally relies on which for some people, can be troublesome. The class emphasizes alignment, body mechanics, balance and strengthening techniques that are important for bone health. She uses a magic circle for additional resistance, challenge and inspiration, making it fun for anyone! Penny Shure is a National Osteoporosis Foundation support group leader and specializes in fracture prevention. Classes also offered in qigong, tai chi & gentle yoga!

CLASS SIZE LIMITED TO 9 PEOPLE SO YOU ALWAYS ARE IMPORTANT! At Pilates Playground, it is about YOU! The instructor doesn't do the workout, the STUDENT does!!!

STUDIO OWNER PENNY SHURE runs the ONLY Teen NOF support group in the country and offers FREE Pilates classes through her unique Million Dollar Bones program developed to teach children and teens about osteoporosis and how to build strong bones for a future of good health and posture. See for more information on MDB or "like us" on Facebook!

TUESDAY EVENING CHATS WITH PENNY & FRIENDS the last Tuesday of every month from 6:30-8:30pm. Always new, up to date, thought provocative & fun!

Go to for schedule, pricing & contact information or call us @ 518 669-9677. Pilates Playground is located @ 18 Drywall Lane in Voorheesville.

Thank you for the opportunity to teach you!!!

"Penny Shure, Pilates Instructor extraordinaire is a wonderfully gifted woman that will take you through an hour session that feels like minutes. So enjoyable and a great workout that leaves you feeling strong, refreshed and calm. I highly recommend her studio." Cathy F

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Comments from the Meeks Method Baltimore Conference 5/23/12 
"Penny Shure was outstanding…exceptionally great."

"Million Dollar Bones was just amazing and inspiring. Hope to take back to children’s school."

"I liked Penny’s “kid focused program.”

"I liked Penny Shure’s presentation."

"It was exciting to be present for Penny Shure’s work Million Dollar Bones for kids. Kudos!"

"Would like a follow-up on Penny’s MDB presentation!"

I want to thank everyone for your positive feedback and encouragement on my Million Dollar Bones program! As you know, this program is dear to my heart and being able to hear your appreciation and excitement helps me to keep reaching for my dreams of success. I know this program will do wonders in preventing the onset of osteoporosis. I will continue to educate, integrate and motivate all of the kids and adults I am lucky enough to teach!

Remember our motto: "You can't spell slouch without ouch!"


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Healthy Weight Questions Answered: 
A lot of you are asking questions about losing weight. I thought this article would be helpful:

"Weight and Percent of Body Fat for Women Weight and BMI"

Three values are commonly used to measure your body composition. Weight, the most common standard, is cheap, convenient, and fairly reliable, although it can fluctuate up to five pounds with body fluids. Weight and height are used to calculate the Body Mass Index (BMI), another common term. This differs only from weight in that it adjusts for height; BMI also varies with body fluids. BMI, measured in kilograms per meters squared, is an unreliable guideline; standards usually do not differentiate between men and women or allow for the difference in muscle or fat content. In athletic women, BMI is especially inaccurate because muscle weight is heavier than fat weight, making you seem "fat" by BMI standards. Essentially, Body Mass Index is a number value that has replaced height and weight charts. The number is even more confusing because the recommended numbers are similar to but slightly different from body fat percent. According to standard guidelines, BMI over 30 is considered obese, under 18, extremely underweight, and between 18 and 25, normal.

Body Fat Percentile
Body fat percentile provides the most accurate estimate of body composition. Body fat percentile is an indication of the percent of your body that is made of fat. Normal body fat percent for women is 20 to 30 (for men it is lower). In women, below 17 is extreme low body fat; between 30 to 33, high body fat; and above 34, extremely high body fat or obese. The recommended healthy body fat percentiles increase slightly with age.

Body Fat Standards for Women Recommended by Age Group
20 to 29 30 to 39 40 to 49 50 to 59 69+
Very low <16 <17 <18 <19 <20
Low 16-19 17-20 18-21 19-22 20-23
Optimal 20-28 21-29 22-30 23-31 24-32
Moderately high 29-31 30-32 31-33 32-33 33-35
High >31 >32 >33 >34 >35
Body fat percentile measurement methods vary in practicality, cost and accuracy. The most accurate measurement is through DEXA, an expensive measurement done in a radiology lab or doctor's office; this is the same radiographic measurement used to determine bone density. The second most accurate method is water displacement, although this requires your body to be underwater in a special tank, even more impractical and expensive. One of the simplest, most common measures of body fat percentile measurement is skinfold measurements, in which a tester uses calipers to measure fat pinches at various sites on the body. This evaluation is very dependent on the tester's skills; if done by an experienced tester, it can be up to 3 percent accurate. The other common method is bioelectric impedence; this is a machine that looks like a scale and is common in many gyms and even available for home use. This can be a very unreliable measure, as it is highly dependent on water weight, temperature, electrolytes, blood flow, and other factors. Bioelectric impedence is even less accurate in athletes with a large amount of muscle.

All these measurements are interesting and can suggest health, but should not be the basis of an exercise or nutrition regime. Remember, if you are using weight as your guide, that muscle weighs more than fat. If you are increasing strength but not changing your weight, you are becoming leaner. The following are loose guidelines for healthy weights in athletic women. The lower numbers are for petite, small-boned, less-muscled frames; the higher numbers accommodate for large bones and bigger muscle size.

Healthy Weight Guidelines for Muscular, Athletic Women (BMI 18 to 25)
Height (Inches) Recommended Weight (Pounds)
4'10" 95 to 123
4'11" 98 to 128
5' 101 to 132
5'1" 105 to 136
5'2" 108 to 141
5'3" 112 to 146
5'4" 115 to 150
5'5" 119 to 155
5'6" 123 to 160
5'7" 126 to 165
5'8" 130 to 170
5'9" 134 to 175
5'10" 138 to 180
5'11" 142 to 185
6' 147 to 190
6'1" 152 to 196
6'2" 157 to 201
Weight Loss or Gain
The best weight changes are made slowly. The slower changes are made, the more likely your body will maintain the change, as it has a tendency to return to its "steady state," or the weight it has been at for the longest. A pound is gained by eating 3,500 calories more than your body burns. To lose this pound, 3,500 fewer calories need to be eaten or 3,500 more burned off. The best way to gain or lose is change your dietary calorie intake by 500 kcal a day. This should equal a one pound weight loss or gain per week. Keeping a food diary for seven days can make you more aware of your eating habits and strategize change in a healthy way. Nutritionists and support groups can be very helpful in reaching goals for weight changes.

(From The Active Woman's Health and Fitness Handbook by Nadya Swedan. Copyright © 2003 by Nadya Swedan. Used by arrangement with Perigee, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.)

We will be having future nutrition & healthy weight workshops with our own expert Mira Lechoowicz who specializes in mindful nutrition counselling and gentle yoga. Mira teaches weekly classes on Monday evenings @ 6:30pm.

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About Robyn: 
Robyn Miller is an account executive for New Chapter, a leading whole food vitamin company. She is a talented artist, experienced organic gardener and avid reader of both non-fiction
(any alternative medicine media possible) and fiction (Stephen King ranking at the top of her list). In her spare time Robyn enjoys being at home in her garden, listening to music, traveling anywhere she can soak up some sun and spending time with her friends and family, especially her two grandchildren. Her 56 acre property with huge outdoor stage is where she hosts different festivals, grows an amazing organic garden and brings people together as often as possible. She holds several hopes and dreams for the future possibilities for land.
She spent her early adult years raising two strong, beautiful daughters and a precious son whom lost the battle to side effects of the DPT shot at 14 months old. Following this tragic event Robyn discovered her true purpose for natural health and retail merchandising. In the mid 90's she further developed her skills at VitaMart in North Carolina where she learned the ins and outs of natural health business operation. She spent another 8 years at Central New York's leading health food store, Natur-tyme, where she honed her buying, management, merchandising, major event planning and vitamin/supplement knowledge. She has a unique ability to retain crucial information and works very hard to use her passion to educate others about the importance of whole food supplementation.
Robyn currently resides in Central New York.

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TUESDAY, JUNE 26th "Chat With Penny & Friends" 
Hi Everyone,

Please join me this Tuesday evening after the 5:00pm mat class for our monthly chat.

This month I am welcoming Robin Miller as my guest. She is the representative for NEW CHAPTER vitamins. She has a lot of helpful information on bone health and eliminating chronic inflammation with the help of these whole food & gluten free supplements.

Although we are NOT selling vitamins, our good friends at Paradise Natural Foods (Westmere Plaza on Western Avenue) are offering a 25% discount on the supplements and it looks like Bill and John will try and stop in to answer your healthy food questions.

I am really looking forward to this Tuesday night and hope you can be there.

See you this morning for class....


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Rebecca Townsend & Erin Raymond 
Thank you to Rebecca & Erin for coming to PP and hosting a marvelous sample sale yesterday!!!

For those of us lucky enough to be there, the CAbi clothes were great as usual and a few of us scored some great summer bargains. I can't wait to wear my new skirt that will be perfect on these first 2 scorching hot days of the season.

And, Erin's jewelry line was magical! Every piece is custom designed, unique, vintage inspired and affordable! It was like looking through my grandmother's jewelry box and finding many treasures.

Rebecca will be here again in September and maybe Erin can join her...
Keep checking the blog for more details on upcoming events.

The studio will be showing the movie "Forks Over Knives" soon. All who care about nutrition (so I guess that is all of us!), I understand from my friend Fraida Varah who recommended the film that this is NOT TO BE MISSED. She has found it life changing and we look forward to having her speak and share at this upcoming event.

Thank You!
Drink lots of water today. It's going to be a hot one.


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Arthritis Pain? 
Foods that Reverse Arthritis Naturally....(So many people complain to me every day of their aching joints due to arthritis. Aside from the movement components necessary for pain relief I found this post on anti-inflammatory foods to be interesting...I need to add the importance of a daily cup/glass of green tea as well...For more information on that check out Dr. Leslie Chen's paper on the Pilates Playground articles page...)

Happy Reading! Remember I love your comments and if any of these foods work out for you PLEASE let us know.

Thanks. Happy Summer!

This information comes from:
Supreme Science Qigong • 300 Bayview Dr. #904 • Sunny Isles, FL 33160
Thank you Jeff for sharing...

Eliminate Pain with Inexpensive Natural Food

Fresh Turmeric Root: Bright Orange in Color will stain your clothes, but also take away the pain of arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. Not to be confused with the powdered spice, FRESH TURMERIC ROOT can be blended into dips and sauces that taste amazing. Turmeric has COX2 inhibitors similar to Advil & Aleve painkillers.

Egg Shell Membrane: Thin coating in between shell and egg has more chondroitin, glucosamine and collagen than any joint supplement. Used regularly the eggshell membrane actually helps to REGROW NEW CARTILAGE according to numerous scientific studies and has worked on hundreds of our students to dramatically help reverse Osteo Arthritis.

Organic Cherry: Brings down URIC ACID LEVELS and this is responsible for Gout, Uric Acid kidney stones and many aches and pains that people often just learn to live with. Cherry helps to remove acids and is anti-inflammatory.

Distilled Water: Actually "pulls out" calcium deposits from joints and arteries. Phone Inventor Alexander Bell reversed his arthritis with distilled water and so have our students.

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National Osteoporosis Foundation CALCIUM - VITAMIN D Update 
Home › NOF Responds to the USPSTF Draft Recommendations on Calcium and Vitamin D ›
NOF Responds to the USPSTF Draft Recommendations on Calcium and Vitamin D
WASHINGTON, DC (June 15, 2012) — On June 12, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) released draft recommendations stating that there is insufficient evidence to assess the balance of the benefits and harms of calcium and vitamin D supplementation for the primary prevention of fractures. These recommendations do not apply to women with osteoporosis or broken bones after age 50 or those with significant risk factors for fracture. While calcium and vitamin D alone may not prevent fractures, the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) believes that these nutrients are an important part of bone health management.

NOF recommends that all women age 50 and older, including healthy women and those with low bone density or osteoporosis, get 1,200 milligrams (mg) of calcium and 800-1,000 international units (IU) of vitamin D daily. This position is widely accepted within the medical community.
“Everyone needs enough calcium and vitamin D for good health, especially for bone health. Media coverage of the recommendations that does not highlight the important benefits of these nutrients to bone health could lead individuals to stop taking the needed amounts without consulting with their healthcare provider,” said Robert Recker, M.D., NOF President. “Osteoporosis medications don't work without calcium and vitamin D. We are concerned that insufficient intake of these nutrients could contribute to a greater number of broken bones.”

NOF encourages all individuals to choose calcium-rich food sources first. Supplements should be used to make up for a shortfall of calcium in the diet. Because there are few dietary sources of vitamin D, and the use of sunscreen is widespread, most people will need to take a vitamin D supplement to achieve and maintain healthy vitamin D levels.

“The USPSTF’s conclusions that 1,000 mg a day of calcium and 400 IUs of vitamin D do not prevent fractures in healthy women are not surprising. We have known for a long time that calcium and vitamin D are critical but are not enough alone to prevent fractures, and in high risk women, medication to lower fracture risk is also needed. Sufficient amounts of calcium and vitamin D are essential to the overall treatment plan for women at increased risk of breaking a bone. This includes women with low bone density, osteoporosis and those with previous fractures,” said Dr. Ethel Siris, Immediate Past President of NOF. “Many women need to add a supplement to their diet to ensure they are getting enough calcium and vitamin D; however, the media reports are confusing and will likely lead women in these higher risk groups to stop taking the appropriate supplements altogether. This would be harmful to their bone health.”

NOF strongly urges all individuals to get the recommended amounts of calcium and vitamin D to protect bone health. Patients should talk to their healthcare providers about their individual needs for calcium and vitamin D and never discontinue supplements without checking first with their doctor.
Please visit NOF’s Calcium: What You Should Know and Vitamin D and Bone Health.


About the National Osteoporosis Foundation

Established in 1984, the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) is the leading consumer and community-focused health organization dedicated to the prevention of osteoporosis and broken bones, the promotion of strong bones for life and the reduction of human suffering through programs of public and clinician awareness, education, advocacy and research. For more information about the National Osteoporosis Foundation, visit

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Summer Schedule Update 
The Studio will be CLOSED
Saturday, June 30th through
Wednesday, July 4th
Wishing you all a Happy, Healthy Holiday Weekend!!!!!


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Teen Classes 
The Teen NOF Support Group FREE weekly mat class will now be held at 9:00am on Saturday mornings. Summer is here and I know everyone has lots of fun outdoor activities to do on weekends so hopefully this new time will work out.

This also gives us the opportunity for you to connect with the adult members of our Gentle mat class.

Thank you to Sarah for the beautiful letter you wrote to Mrs. Obama.


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Hello Everyone,

Today I met with Congressman Paul Tonko and Marilyn Smith at his Albany, NY office to share MDB with him and see how this program can help improve our quality of life by preventing osteoporosis and reducing health care costs. The Congressman thanked me for a “great narrative” and has promised to share this program with the White House next week in hopes of getting Michelle Obama involved and interested in having MDB make her terrific initiatives for keeping kids healthy even more effective!

Thank you Congressman for taking the time out of your busy day to meet with me.

Penny Shure

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Thank You Kathy Johnson! 
Many thanks to Kathy Johnson for coming through a torrential rain and tornado to share a wonderful presentation of her program "Pyramid of Potential".

Thanks also to everyone who came out in the storm.

Kathy's clear and concise format of how to overcome learning disabilities is compelling. Although she claims "There is no silver bullet," I believe her program is as close to one as you can find.

PLEASE get in touch with Kathy if you or someone you love has learning issues. She has a different way of testing and her results speak for themselves.

Good night.

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Studio Updates 
I hope everyone enjoyed a Happy Mother's Day weekend...

I spent Sunday in Syracuse with my mom and all of the special men in my life. My 3 sons and husband. My mom cooked enough food for about 3 families and I ate everything! It was the best gift of all just to be with my family. We are all so busy that the 4 hours spent in the car was the best gift of all, time with the people I love the most.

I hope all of you give yourselves that same gift of time with the people you love the most. I've learned to not take those precious moments for granted and most importantly that giving yourself time to do nothing at all actually increases the amount of time we have to do everything that we are meant to do.

Happy Everyday!!! Reminder that next week I am presenting Million Dollar Bones at The Second Annual Conference on the Meeks Method in Baltimore. I look forward to sharing everything I learn with all of you.

Be well.

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The Pilates Method & Brain Development Exercises 
Last year my 15 year old son went through a series of simple physical tests in an effort to get a better understanding of what was causing his learning disabilities and his Attention Deficit Disorder. What we found was that there were a number of primitive reflexes that were aberrant. Primitive reflexes are “automatic, stereotyped movements, directed from the brain stem and executed without cortical involvement.” Aberant reflexes are those that remain active beyond 6-12 months of life. Primitive reflexes, although necessary for survival in infancy are meant to integrate into the habitual movement patterning during infancy and in so doing allow for the healthy development of brain functioning, learning and motor skills. Although he began an intensive program of study to deal with newly discovered sensitive hearing and processing issues, what fascinated me were the occupational therapy exercises that I was given to work with him on at home. Many of these exercises looked like Pilates! I have been teaching classical Pilates since 2003 and practicing myself for years longer. I have seen the mind-body-spirit connection work in myself and in others and in profoundly effective ways. Yet here was a program where my beloved Pilates method was actually being used to reverse learning disabilities! This gave the term “Movement Heals” which I first learned in my Power Pilates, NYC training a truly new meaning. Ironically my teenage son is a natural at Pilates although he gets really tired of hearing his mom tell him to “Use your powerhouse!”

We began the exercises which had to be repeated daily for 30 days before we could move onto a new series. If we skipped a day we had to start back at the beginning. Not an easy task when you are dealing with a stubborn 15 year old. As suggested by Pyramid of Potential owner, Kathy Johnson, I discussed the process with Tony because he had to buy into it. He did. When we left the first meeting I asked him how he felt. He told me he felt smart. It brought me to tears. Any parent with a child who has ADD or other learning issues can relate to the frustration and sadness you feel knowing you have a smart child who doesn’t think he/she is because of the frustrations they have with traditional learning styles. Now we had a new plan and it began with movement!

The similarities between the original Pilates mat exercises called Contrology which Joseph Pilates developed at the turn of the 19th century and the brain development exercises developed nearly 100 years later are astonishing. These brain exercises are based upon fetal and infant movement patterns. Their purpose is to inhibit aberant primitive reflexes. Both series of exercises promote the integration of primitive reflex development in order to improve cognitive function and sensory motor skills. Both encourage crossing the midline of the body during movements and demand an intense level of concentration. The habitual practice of these simple, yet specific movements and exercises have resulted in amazing positive results, many times in both physical defects that have proven otherwise to have been incurable along with behavioral issues, learning disabilities and emotional stressors. All of these symptoms have been debilitating in the sufferers and in many cases have either completely disappeared or significantly reduced by practicing these exercises.

Joseph Pilates studied the natural movements of young children and observed animals. He understood the importance of integrating these movements into his exercises as a way to maintain balance and overall health in the body. He believed we are only as old as our spines are young.

In Tony’s case we have seen improvement in his grades and his attitudes. We also found out that he is near-sighted, which is a contributing factor in his audio processing issues. I encourage him to practice Pilates and he does a lot of walking. All in all he is a new kid and has a positive attitude.

My concentration in the studio on posture and fracture prevention has brought many questions to the surface for me and has led me to continued research and fascination into the ironic similarities between these healing movements. I worry about the prevalence of chronic slouching.

Chronic slouching creates in imbalance in our bodies, poor posture, pain, poor circulation, poor aerobic capacity, depressed emotional states and can cause compression fractures in those with low bone density.

What does encouraging a “C” shaped posture do to our youngest members of the population, our infants who have no voice about how they are placed about by their care givers? Is it possible that these C shaped car seats, umbrella strollers and high chairs not only prevent the core strengthening necessary to develop strong back and abdominal muscles, full lung capacity and proper digestion; do they also prohibit the integration of the Landau Response and the Tonic Labyrinthine Reflex which develop the extensor muscles? Unless an infant is allowed to stretch out and lie prone not only do these physical challenges fail to be met, the subsequent brain development does not occur leading to poor posture, weak muscle , tone, poor balance & timing, clumsiness, poor sense of timing, poor sequencing skills, chronic lateness and disorganization.

Pediatricians are now seeing increasing cases of back and neck pain in their young patients. Could it be that in some cases this begins in infancy with frequent use of c curved carriers?

Sally Goddard, author of Reflexes, Learning and Behavior says that “Movement lies at the heart of learning.” Joseph Pilates said “The brain itself is actually a sort of natural telephone switchboard exchange incorporated in our bodies as a means of communication through the sympathetic nervous system to all our muscles.” “Ideally, our muscles should obey our will. Reasonably, our will should not be dominated by the reflex actions of our muscles. When brain cells are developed, the mind too is developed. Pilates begins with mind control over muscles. By reawakening…otherwise…dormant muscle cells, Contrology correspondingly reawakens dormant brain cells, thus activating new areas and stimulating further the functioning of the mind.” Both opinions support the mind-body-spirit connection.
Pilates wrote that “To achieve the highest accomplishments within the scope of our capabilities in all walks of life we must constantly strive to acquire strong, healthy bodies and develop our minds to the limit of our ability.” He said “Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness.”

As Joseph Pilates explained in his book, “Return To Life Through Contrology”, “Continued use of Contrology steadily increases the normal and natural supply of pure rich blood to flow to and circulate through the brain with corresponding stimulation to new brain areas previously dormant. More significantly, it actually develops more brain cells.”

We know now that the ability to move freely during infancy allows for healthy integration of primitive reflexes. Our bodies learn “good posture” through a series of movements that begin during infancy and allow for the integration of healthy movement. Our carriers and sedentary lifestyle could well be preventing these important steps from occurring. This is just another reason that the Pilates system of exercise should be an essential if not mandatory part of our wellness and movement.

Whether irony or just timing, I believe that brain development exercises are just another example of why practicing Pilates is an integral part of life!

Something to consider....What are your thoughts? I'd love to hear from you.

Remember, we are fortunate to have Kathy Johnson as our next guest speaker on Tuesday May 29th from 6:30-8:30pm at the studio. If you are interested in learning more about the brain body connection through movement and how to help your children or students or you improve your learning style PLEASE JOIN US!!!


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Hi Everyone,

Thank you all for your patience this week as we have been coping with severe water damage due to last Sunday's heavy rain. The GOOD NEWS is that my landlord is putting on a new roof tomorrow!

Saturday classes are on and I am looking forward to seeing everyone in the morning. The Teen NOF meeting is tomorrow @ 1:00pm.

Remember, GENTLE YOGA with Mira begins this month Mondays @ 6:30 and Thursdays @ 6:00pm.

I will be presenting MILLION DOLLAR BONES on May 23rd at The Meeks Method 2nd Annual Conference in Baltimore, MD and am looking forward to this.

The studio will be closed Monday 5/21 through Thursday 5/24 except for the evening mat & yoga classes while I am away.

Beginning June 1st Anne Bette will be teaching private equipment sessions
at the studio. She is terrific as some of you already know who take her mat classes so definitely sign up for a private with Anne soon!!!

Don't forget to save the date on your calendars May 29th for my monthly chat. Our guest speaker, Pyramid of Potential owner Kathy Johnson is a must meet!!!

Thank you ALL for your love, support and bringing so much joy into my life. I am truly happy each day and grateful for all of you.

Spring is here. Many of us have set goals for our own personal bests and I have faith that with continued Pilates practice and belief in our dreams that ALL of these goals are achievable!

Remember, each day is a new chance to make it happen. "Let it be." "Let it go."


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Gentle Yoga with Mira 
Welcome Mira Lechowicz, Yoga Teacher and Nutrition Coach to Pilates Playground. Mira has been teaching yoga in the Capital Region for over a decade and has a sensitive, gentle teaching style. Like all of our classes, her focus is on Safety and All of Your Individual Needs!!!

Her classes begin on Monday, May 7th and are limited to 10 participants.
Classes will be Mondays @ 6:30pm and Thursdays @ 6:00pm. They run for 90 minutes. Packages will be available through December of 2012.

More information will be available soon!


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Silpada Fun! 
A huge thank you again to Cathy Fish for her visit last Tuesday night as my special guest for our end of month chat.

The wine was flowing and the jewelery was beautiful. Thanks to everyone who stopped by to help make it such a lovely evening. We are all eagerly awaiting the receipt of our new treasure and of course Cathy's next studio event on November 27th. Just in time for holiday gift giving.

Remember, my next chat is Tuesday, April 24th @ 6:30. I will be sharing my Million Dollar Bones power point presentation that I am presenting May 23rd at The Meeks Institute's conference in Baltimore this May. Many of you are aware of my commitment to osteoporosis prevention and education for teens. Million Dollar Bones takes us further in that direction through education and community involvement.

Please try and come!!!

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Gentle Yoga with Mira Lechowicz 
Beginning in May, guest instructor Mira Lechowicz will be offering workshops at the studio on select Monday and Thursday evenings. Class size is limited so please let us know if you are interested so we can save you a spot.



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Just a reminder that Pilates Playground is closed on Saturday in observation of the upcoming Passover and Easter holidays.

Wishing you and your loved ones good health, happiness and lots of fun!


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Mark your calendars for May 29th's Tuesday Chat!!! 
MAY 29, 2012 6:30pm

Meet Kathy Johnson @ Pilates Playground!

I am delighted to announce that Kathy will be our guest speaker for our monthly Tuesday Chat with Penny & Friends series. You don’t want to miss this opportunity….

The Roadmap From Learning Disabilities to Success

In this presentation, attendees will learn the basic brain development steps that need to be considered in order to overcome such learning disabilities as dyslexia (reading), dysgraphia (writing) and dyscalculia (math). Kathy Johnson, author of The Roadmap From Learning Disabilities to Success will discuss the relationship of LD with nutrition, stress, infant neurodevelopment, motor development, sensory development (including auditory and visual), and cognitive development (including processing speed, attention, memory, and more). Attendees will leave with a general understanding of causes of LD as well as the next steps to take leading to success and independence.

Length of presentation: 1.5 hours

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Thank you Elaine & Jane! 
Elaine Jetty & Jane Kaplan, both teachers and NOF group members were kind enough to spend some extra time in the studio today brain storming with me about fun art project ideas for the TEEN group. We now have some cool art project thoughts and more recipe ideas.

This Saturday we will be building bones in the studio.

See you then!


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A Gift from Mothers to Daughters® Luncheon
Monday, September 24, 2012 I The Pierre Hotel, New York City
11:00am - 1:30pm

This 5th annual event will celebrate our Generations of Strength: A Mothers and Daughters Campaign, honor champions for women’s health and include a fantastic silent auction.

This Fall my goal is that our table includes the teen members of our NOF support group and their mothers.

This will be such a wonderful opportunity for the kids to see why our group and efforts to get our families and friends empowered NOW to prevent osteoporosis through our support group and Million Dollar Bones program is so important and inspiring to everyone who hears about it.

Let's start planning now for September 24th in NYC. The more the merrier as we raise funds and awareness for NOF!!!

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Please LIKE US on Facebook!

Keep checking as we continue to share information about osteoporosis prevention and education for kids and teens along with updates from our

Remember we meet almost every Saturday at Pilates Playground from 1:00-3:00pm for a FREE Pilates class and discussion on how we can not only keep our bones strong but how we can help teach YOU to do the same.

This Saturday we will also be making art projects to help understand the bone building process that goes on in our bodies. Hope you can join us!


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Good Morning,

I woke up this morning to read this kind review on YELP from Cathy. Thank you Cathy for your kind words that I have shared below. It means so much to me to know that you are enjoying my classes and as per your suggestion, I invite all of my readers and students who are so inclined to give Pilates Playground a shout out on Yelp, Linked In, Facebook or an email that I can post online. Suggestions, comments and input are ALWAYS WELCOME from everyone...

"Penny Shure, Pilates Instructor extraordinaire is a wonderfully gifted woman that will take you through an hour session that feels like minutes. So enjoyable and a great workout that leaves you feeling strong, refreshed and calm. I highly recommend her studio."

Thank you all for the opportunity to teach you and get to know you...without all of you, Pilates Playground would simply be one of my wishes. You all have made it come true!

Happy Day! It looks like spring weather comes in this week. See you soon.

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Tuesday evening, March 27th @ 6:30 after the 5:00pm mat class, Cathy Fish is bringing the beautiful & stylish SILPADA jewelry collection to the studio for a show and sale.

If you have never seen this fashionable jewelry (as I never had until recently when Cathy shared her catalog with me) you are in for a treat. There are pieces suitable for all ages, tastes and budgets so...

PLEASE stop in for our show. Everyone is welcome and there is absolutely no obligation to make a purchase. Those of you who have been able to join me for the great CAbi clothing shows know that it's just a lot of fun to get together.

Whether you are looking for yourself or shopping for a gift, I hope you come see the collection.


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Our Saturday morning mat class has now been extended to 90 minutes long at no additional charge!!!

We've been having so much fun playing Pilates that we just don't want to please stop by and give our longer class a try. It's a great way to start the weekend.

See you Saturday!

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Good morning,

The studio will be closed today due to the snowstorm!!!

Thank you. Have a nice day,

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Hi Everyone,

Winter has finally gotten here! The studio is closed this afternoon and evening due to inclement weather. Please check the blog tomorrow morning if the storm continues as planned for further announcements.

Drive safely.....


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Committee Member Highlight: Penny Shure
Penny Shure, owner of Pilates Playground in
Albany, NY, was diagnosed with osteoporosis
when she was 45 years old. Since then, she has
been on a personal mission to educate her
clients and community about exercise,
movement and lifestyle modifications
necessary to combat the disease. An NOF
advocate and support group leader for years,
Penny recently formed our first Teen Support Group, which has
five members (even one 15 year old with low bone density)! The
group, which meets weekly, is focused on implementing Penny’s
new “Dear Mom” campaign, a model to engage children in
osteoporosis education and prevention from an early age (see
Always looking to support NOF, Penny is creating a “proceeds
program” with her upcoming CD release. After receiving many
requests from her Pilates clients for an at home Internal
Alignment Awareness™ (IAA) gentle workout, Penny has not only
completed this project, but is generously donating $1 of every
IAA CD copy sold to the Generations of Strength Campaign. Visit or to learn
more and purchase her new workout CD.
And we would be remiss if we didn’t mention that Penny is
currently recovering from surgery to remove a benign parathyroid
tumor. Osteoporosis can be a result of hyperparathyroidism, a
condition which can cause an imbalance of calcium in the body.
The condition may rob the bones of calcium, and in some cases,
taking too much calcium or not getting enough vitamin D can do
more harm than good. We wish Penny a speedy recovery and
thank her for shedding light on this health connection (and for
reminding us to be our own health advocates). She is an
inspiration to us all and a model of Generations of Strength!

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The Spring 2012 CAbi show was again a big success!!! For all who came, thank you. We are going to be the chicest ladies about town in our new spring clothes. Thanks to Rebecca Townsend for being such a terrific fashion consultant and for making the 2 hour drive to Albany. Rebecca is helping all of us find our own unique styles.

You can't under estimate the power of feeling good in your clothes to help you feel good in your skin. Pilates works from the inside out. Fashion from the outside in. Working both in tandem along with a healthy diet and a daily gratitude list will help you be and feel your best every single day......

Be sure to mark your calendars for 6:00pm Thursday September 13th when we will be having our FALL 2012 CAbi party. Soooo much fun!


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Our teen meetings and mat classes are held in the studio on Saturday afternoons @ 1:00pm. They end at 2:30. Please arrive on time. All our welcome!


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Hello Everyone:

Our National Osteoporosis Support Group Meetings will now be held the first Saturday of every month at 12:00 noon. The meetings will be 1 hour long. They are in the studio. For more information call or email Penny!

Hope to see you soon.


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More CD Information 
Good Morning.

I am in production of a STEP BY STEP Internal Alignment Awareness cd. This takes the original IAA cd which was developed specifically for my clients who come to class regularly and want to practice at home a step further. STEP BY STEP will be perfect for those of you who can't come to class. Photographs and descriptions of each exercise will be available online.

Thanks to everyone who has purchased a cd. Remember, $1.00 from each sale goes to the National Osteoporosis Foundation's "Generations of Strength" campaign. Little by little, we ALL can help make a BIG difference by working together.

Have a nice day.

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Hi Everyone,

Just a reminder that this coming Thursday @ 6:00pm we are having the SPRING 2012 CAbi show! Everyone who attends is automatically entered in a drawing to win a FREE VALENTINE'S DAY DUET SESSION for you and your loved one. Please stop by. The clothes look beautiful and with all of the bright spring colors we can pretend that summer is just a whisper away.

CONGRATULATIONS to everyone at the studio for doing a wonderful job staying true to yourselves so far in 2012! So many of you are keeping your commitments to personal growth, wellness, healthy eating and exercise and your patience and perseverance is paying off. Keep up the good work!

Some advice...whatever it takes... reduce your stress levels, get enough sleep, stick to a schedule, do the IAA workout, make good nutrition choices and write down what you are grateful for each day. We are only sure about the moment we are in right NOW. Embrace each moment and be the best version of yourself that you can imagine. My dear friend Gina Magnan reminded me yesterday that all of our realities begin as thoughts that we have. Mindfulness just may be our most significant power.

A final word for the weekend, "Go Giants!"
Have fun tomorrow, enjoy the Super Bowl, and I don't know about you but I can't wait to see Madonna at halftime.

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As Steve told you, Dr. Norman removed a 10 year old tumor on Monday that has been producing way too much parathyroid hormone in my body for I guess, the past 10 years...They actually measured the PTH hormone being produced by the tumor before they removed it and it was a whopping 2,791 compared to my normal of 35. Normal amounts are between 30 and 80 units of hormone. The parathyroid tumors produce LOTS of hormone but normal for them is between 250 and 1000. Older tumors produce way over 1000 as mine was doing.

Again, if you don't feel well and aren't getting enough information from your doctor, please keep digging like I did until you get the answers. We all know our bodies better than anyone else. TRUST your personal instincts.

I am doing this again now by taking a couple extra days off to rest. This surgery and all the knowledge that has come with it has taken a lot out of me and I am listening to myself and resting when I need to, which seems constantly! I still have a sore throat but my neck pain is almost gone. The incision is starting to itch which is a good sign. I will probably have a very small scar at the front of my throat but it will be a reminder to me of the strength and perseverance I had to live with this illness for the past decade and to forge my own path to healing.

Although I am deeply disappointed that it took so long for this to be diagnosed and that none of the doctors I have gone to seemed to know about parathyroid issues, I will be forever grateful to Dr. Jim Norman for his Center, website, compassion, knowledge and kindness. The service and staff was exemplary! His center should serve as a model for all other medical centers!

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Parathyroid operation news 
Hello everyone
This is penny's husband, Steve. Just writing to update all of you on penny's operation this morning to remove a tumor on her parathyroid glands. First and foremost, the operation was a complete success and penny is resting in bed back at the hotel. Dr Norman and his doctors and staff were all very professional and put all of us at ease. We arrived at the hospital a little after 5am and were brought into the prep area soon after that. There was another woman, suzzanna from Toronto who is staying at our hotel and went in for the operation at 5 also. After giving us some paperwork to sign and telling us what to expect after the operation, around 7am , they told me to go downstairs and have breakfast, and she was going to be preped for surgery. I returned to the waiting room around 7:45 and about 10 minutes later, one of the doctors came over to me and said she did great and handed me a picture of the tumor. There was only one and he said it was probably 8 to 10 years old. About 10 minutes after that, they let me go into the recovery room to see her. She was having a Popsicle and happy that everything went well it it was over. Dr. Norman came in again to see how she was doing and then went back to work, since he does around 15 or more of these operations per day.About 40 minutes later, Penny and Suzzanna were released and we went back to the hotel to get some rest. Penny will be writing more about this soon, so stop back for more updates...and if anyone out there knows Dr. Oz, he should do a segment on how this tumor can be the cause of osteoporosis in younger people, and by removing it, your bone health will return to normal.

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Hi Everyone,

Gerry is teaching tomorrow's (Saturday 1/21) morning classes if you can make it. Drive safe as it looks like we are finally getting some snow!

I am prepped and ready for Monday morning's surgery. As my dad used to say, "my ankles are taped". (football humor!) No eating or drinking after midnight on Sunday and I will be at the hospital at 5:30am ready to get ride of this parathyroid tumor once and for all!

I am so excited to meet the real Penny as I think she has been disappearing into calcium overload hell over the past few years! My mom is looking forward to the picture of my tumor that the doctor takes after he removes it. What can I say? She's my mom so she likes EVERY foto opportunity of her daughter and all of her parts! Kind of like me saving Tony and Gabe's baby teeth but Not!
Really, Mom...I don't think I want to see the foto!

They say I will be able to leave after 4 or 5 hours so check the blog for my recovery update around noon on Monday. I plan on being back in the studio Thursday. Thank you all for your cards, kind words and prayers!!!

Remember, DON'T assume you need extra calcium and protein supplements because that is the general consensus! All of our bodies are different. Know yours well before you start playing doctor. And keep asking until you get answers!

Sending you shared birthday wishes and love,

Something to think about: What's your "lucky number"? Mine is 3 and apparently that is also my life path number according to the age old study of numerology.

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Dear Mom,

Happy Birthday!

It's not easy being a mom. You get that when you become one! Thank you for all of your love.

Make a wish!!!

I love you!

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A big shout out to my son Gabe and the rest of the members of the band "Bring Home Ohio": Alex, Michael, Alex, Brian and Dylan

They performed last night at Bogie's on Ontario Street in Albany and they were AWESOME! I am really proud of all of you.

Their next performance is this Sunday's Showcase at Red Square on Broadway in Albany. The show begins at 6:00pm. Like them on Facebook!

Hope to see you at the show.


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