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Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

Not the news I wanted

I went to my allergist for my six month appointment. She was hoping to label me “in remission” but I’ve had a few setbacks so she’s ordered blood tests and added claritin to take in the morning with the zyrtec at night and return in 6 weeks.

Well, that was the plan. I ran out of zyrtec before I could get to the store so I was taking benadryl every 4-6 hours. Went to bed Wednesday night missing my dose I take about 11pm before bed and woke up with a few welts on my hand and arm. In less than 8 hours I was breaking out and I was taking benadryl. Took a dose at 6 pm last night, just as soon as I got home with the meds, and I was broken out even more this morning.

This is not good. I’m really depressed about it. Between my insurance and me, we’ve spent over $50,000 to get me in remission. I was really hoping. If I don’t take antihistamine my immune system goes into overdrive and starts to attack me. It was 3 years ago when I first went to the allergist. I was allergic to everything, especially myself. I really hate this.

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A broken heart

The death of Debbie Reynolds the day after the unexpected death of her daughter, Carrie Fisher has been blamed on a broken heart but there are those who question if something like this is even possible. It is possible especially if you are older and not in the best of health. What we feel—pain—it is very real. It can outweigh physical pain easily and in itself cause physical harm. Our bodies can only take so much trauma before it kicks back.

 

My 4th great grandmother on my mom’s side died this way. It was recorded in a journal kept by a farmer in the community that both she and her husband had been sick—most likely influenza. The family story that has been handed down through the years is that he passed away first and as she lay with him, she wished to die and did so on Christmas Eve just after the US Civil War. They were buried together in a single grave—very fitting from what I understand as a testament of their love for each other.

 

This interview done last year was one of the best in my opinion for Carrie Fisher and Gary–I love Gary too. Both actresses will be missed.

 

 

A broken heart is very real. Be good to yourself and Happy Gardening! 🙂

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Dangers of medications

I miss writing—writing about fun and interesting things-not about health or politics. Last week I had a reaction to my medications. It took me about 3 days to get back to earth so to say and another 2 days to get back to clear thought. I’m still dealing with some of the side effects.

 

Dilantin is a quirky medicine. It has a very narrow therapeutic threshold (I’ve written about this before) and causes several side effects but my problems have always been that it doesn’t play nicely with other medicines. This is why in the past that I took very few medications with Dilantin. I like to know what to expect before it happens but that isn’t always the case—I need to up my game because the pharmacists and doctors haven’t been paying attention.

 

One medication that I take for my stomach and colon (let’s call it med A) increases the effects of another medication I am taking for my urticaria (let’s call that one med B).

So we have med A increasing the effects of med B which in turn increases the effects of Dilantin causing a very dangerous mixture. The effects are minimal as long as the dosages are small but when they are increased it becomes scary because I didn’t know what was going on. I can’t even think when it happens as in draw conclusions.

 

Anyway, I’m better. I can actually walk and not fall down and I’m not sleeping for 48+ hours at a time. I rearranged my dosage times and left off one of the urticaria doses. It’s working so far. I had to give up driving for a while until this settles down. We will wait and see.

 

Sometimes we don’t know how our bodies will react to certain medications given that each of us is different. Often we play the game of trial and error until something happens. In my lifetime, I have had at least 4 overdoses and at least 2 underdoses-that is what I can recall at this moment. These were not my fault as in there was nothing I could do to prevent them. The overdoses usually happened because an increase of medication. Sometimes it is hit and miss and misses can have consequences. With the underdoses-we can have changes in the way our bodies metabolize so we have to closely monitor what is happening which usually results in blood tests but they aren’t as simple as checking for blood sugar.

 

I hope to write about something that is more fun next time. Happy Gardening! 🙂

 

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What I am about to write is true and personal. For several years I watched my mother lie in agony and pain, and I could do absolutely nothing (or so I believed) about it. I felt helpless. She took the strongest pain killers and yet they seemed to do nothing but do more harm. She suffered from rheumatoid arthritis (among other things) that was so bad the circulation stopped in one of her thumbs and an index finger. They first turned blue and then black. Both had to be amputated. All of her joints were so messed up that she could not sit or stand. Her body reminded me of the old circus freak shows. It is bad to say but it was horrible for her to live through.

 

I moved back to care for her. The meds that she took caused all sorts of complications and her autoimmune system began fighting itself-that may sound familiar. This was before she had a stroke. I could tell you some of the most grotesque stories but if you know of someone who has suffered like this, then you already know. It caused me great pain to see her like this and to know I was her caregiver and patient advocate and that she depended on me for everything. I couldn’t make things better—it took a toll on me.

 

I wish I knew then what I know today. Since that time I have cared for other people and watched and learned. I’ve read and discussed things that I never dreamed of back then. What I am about to say is not going to sit well with everyone but this is where reality comes to life—where it meets the pavement so to say.

 

What if I told you that there is something that would have helped my mom, something that would have given her quality of life-in my opinion-and helped her to live on without the complications? It may have even lengthened her life with less pain and again, with quality of life.

 

Stigma was a topic in a recent post. We apply that word to things we don’t usually accept. I live with epilepsy which has been stigmatized during my lifetime-less so of late. Hippies of the 60s were unfairly stigmatized as were those who were categorized in this group whether they were hippies or not. Remember, it only takes one’s perspective to categorize someone. Ok, you get the idea.

 

Some things are acceptable depending on the group of people you are with and some things are never acceptable. I used to think everything was black and white, red or green, purple and yellow, etc. I never thought I could help my mom as each day I watched her face one battle after another and waste away before my eyes. I can’t play the shoulda, coulda, woulda game but there is a chance that I could have helped her.

 

Welcome to the 21st century where it is not taboo to speak of cannabis oil and treatment with cannabis. Sure, there are people who still believe it is off limits and that it is the devil weed but if you had a child who suffered severe tonic-clonic seizures that were not controlled by any other medication… are you going to tell me you will not try cannabis oil that has been proven to help stop or at least slow down seizure activity in some patients? I would do it in a heartbeat! I would get cannabis oil or cannabis in some form for a child, my mom, anyone who is in my care who needs it. I would not hesitate one bit. Before you leave my post, I would like you to read on.

 

We have been fed a bunch of malarkey. I believed for a long time that it was a gateway drug. I need to say that there are those individuals who go on to use “heavier” drugs but truth be told, they were headed in that direction any way. It’s the nature of the beast—think addict and you get the idea.

 

Last year, Georgia passed a law that allowed patients with limited illnesses to possess and use cannabis oil such as a child with uncontrollable epilepsy…HOWEVER, the governor and lawmakers failed to provide a way and means for parents and patients to legally obtain cannabis oil. Ever since then there were certain lawmakers and residents of Georgia that have literally been fighting to get a legal way to get help for these patients. One was via new legislation which has failed at every angle. Number two…people have been traveling out of state to “legally” obtain  cannabis oil but illegally transport it back to Georgia. The governor sternly warned there would be consequences for these actions.

 

  • So, why sign a bill into law that helps those who need treatment but not allow them to get treatment?

 

Well, that’s what everyone here has been asking. Another bill was submitted that added more ailments and provided instate cultivation so that patients could get adequate treatment. It came to light this week that our lovely governor would not sign any instate cultivation bill while he is in office…and he doesn’t leave until 2018/19 so…this is the proverbial rock and a hard place.

 

Ok…onto the last of the story. Since the governor has championed support in the state senate (more like strong-armed), a sufficient bill will not leave committee. There is nothing that can be done for another year and this is only February. Think of how many more people will suffer and die because of this insane approach. I learned today that parents will publically put their lives on the line to transport cannabis oil for their children, loved ones, those who are suffering in order to force the governor’s hand. This will get ugly but how does one tell a parent that they cannot get the treatment the child needs? That’s like have a life-saving drug in the pharmacy out in plain sight but no one can purchase it…

 

Whatever stigma cannabis had in the 70s, 80s, 90s…that stigma needs to go away. My mom would have benefitted from this, both her pain and her arthritis and she would not have had the side effects from the drugs she was given. We allow alcohol to be consumed like it is water as long as you are old enough but cannabis??? Alcohol is so much worse. 

 

I wish I knew then what I know now and let me say that people who refuse to provide treatment to those in need, even those who get in their way, should face stiff consequences—even jail time. FYI, these are my opinions. People are suffering and dying and we are supposed to stand around and watch? No.

 

May your gardens grow with lasting abundance–always! 🙂

 

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Are we having fun yet?

I have been suffering from an autoimmune issue where I am allergic to myself—really. I have had an awful itchy rash from head to toe since July. It is called chronic urticaria and it takes all of my energy just trying to deal with it. My allergist is a really nice lady. She is confident that I will go into remission soon…lol…even if she has a patient that hasn’t been in remission for over 10 years.

 

I never knew I had this but evidently I have had it all my adult life just never to this extent. Usually a shot and series of prednisone and I’m good to go but not this time and I can’t find what triggered it—as in what I am allergic to. So…my life has been miserable to say the least.

 

Some days are pretty good and some are downright awful. I have tried everything including a new medicine that is used to treat leprosy—no kidding. I had to go off my blood pressure meds for this and I was taking so much antihistamine—a double dose plus 2 doses of Benadryl and nothing made it better. I tried meditation and other things and then I began to bleed under the skin—bruising for no reason other than my veins began to leak. I was concerned that my AVM might rupture so we dropped off the Benadryl and all pain relievers…eeeeeeeekkk!!!! 😦

 

Then I began to notice that I felt like I was producing more adrenaline than I should. I feel like the hair on my body is standing on end all of the time. I can’t control it. I did some reading. Mostly in men if there is an increase in adrenaline then there is a drop in testosterone. Hmmm. That’s interesting. While the two don’t really work together they affect each other. So I began to wonder if I bring up my testosterone level if the adrenaline will ease up. It is worth a try.

 

I added some magnesium, zinc, and calcium along with some B12 to my daily routine. It’s best to get vitamins and minerals from foods but I need to experiment to get this stopped. I’m able to exercise more and I actually had a decent day for a change—not great but decent. I found that there have been suggestions that excess adrenaline can lead to autoimmune dysfunction but usually it isn’t caught before people begin to suffer from rheumatoid arthritis for one but there are many other things out there in the autoimmune disease category.

 

Someone suggested the Paleo diet plan and I looked into it. It’s pretty good. I tried the AIP diet but my doctor said she would rather me just to eat healthy so I stopped—it is a little difficult to just jump in if one is used to eating about anything. So, I’m trying to get good nutrition. One thing that is important is to get enough probiotics in my colon and then feeding the good bacteria. So often we take in probiotics but we forget that the bacteria need certain foods to sustain itself and there are better foods than others. Sounds complicated and it has been.

 

I just know that I’m tired of the itching and discomfort and everything I have been going through. I have been at the end of my rope, crying with pain and itching. The next stop if this medicine doesn’t work is a drug that costs a lot of money and my insurance may not pay for it. We will see. Fingers crossed that this will go into remission with this medicine that I am on. Oh, and I have to carry an epipen around—are we having fun yet? 🙂 I hope everyone is doing better than I am.

 

May your garden grow full of love and goodness. 🙂

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Dogs are remarkable

My first dog will always remain special in my memories of her. She was part hound and part birddog. Her mother stopped in our yard to have her pups and I wanted to keep one of the pups. My dad finally gave in and she was a welcome addition to the family. She was my dog. I loved her. I was about 5-7 when she came to live with us. We had other dogs—all were left with us in the same fashion where someone dropped them off because they were unwanted. I have many stories I could tell about her but she died such a terrible death. She got her leg hung in a wire fence and she was there for days and got blood poisoning. We took her to the vet…I remember when it happened but she was too far gone. She was my baby. 😥

 

Dogs are special creatures. They can be trained for many different jobs. Jobs like those used for guiding blind people, or health companions—some can detect the onset of seizures before they happen—and there are those who are trained to detect cancer cells in urine samples. Yes, believe it or not there is a 97-98% accuracy. Hey, I remember when pregnancy tests were not that reliable. Here is the story I read (link).

 

Science is remarkable. We are still learning and there is much we do not know.

 

Thought I would share in case you haven’t heard about this. 🙂

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In the blame game that we seem to constantly play I ask you, “Who do you think is to blame if I choose not to wash my clothes? Can I blame my neighbors or maybe my daughter or how about my cat?” That’s a good one! 😀

No. The only one responsible is ME!

“What if I CHOOSE not to have my children vaccinated against a disease that has been mostly eradicated? Can I blame the pediatrician? Maybe the person who gave my child the disease? Who is to blame? I know…my ex-mother-in-law…” 😀

I don’t like playing blame games but we really need to become responsible and wisen up to things that are happening around us. I cannot fathom what people will choose to believe or not believe. Maybe it’s the nature of the internet—I don’t believe that. We have the responsibility to learn what is correct. This is not brain surgery or nuclear fusion (or other complex facet of science).

 

wikimedia – By Uwe Hermann (http://hermann-uwe.de/photoblog/sugar) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

My parents remarked about the wonders of modern medicine because they saw the terrible diseases or heard first-hand about them. They praised vaccines. I was vaccinated for smallpox (3 times), polio, tetanus, typhoid–those are the ones I remember. I caught measles, mumps, and chicken pox and I remember when the community came together to take the polio vaccine–cubes of sugar were on serving plates and people were lined up to get into the old school building. My best friend thought she would take several cubes because they tasted so good, lol. Later, I had my children vaccinated all except for chicken pox—they caught it before the vaccine was widely available.

 

It’s one thing to guard against the unknown—holding a constant vigil—but it is another to choose not to protect against what is known. I have a problem with this. There are many who cannot be vaccinated because of medical reasons—basically either suppressed immune systems or those that are developing. Some are allergic to what is in the vaccine but there have been changes in this area. Who would risk someone else’s life because they are too righteous—think too highly of their own life? Should we not think of others, too? To believe that it is better to get a disease than to be vaccinated–I can understand this point a view in a way but what happens when you don’t develop an immunity to a disease? This is part of history–civilizations have been all but eliminated because people didn’t have immunity. 

 

Here is where the anti-vaccine followers received fuel for their fires. A doctor/researcher had a hand in fraudulent data linking autism to the vaccine known as MMR. Problem 1:  His results that he claimed could never be repeated—not in any form or even close—but that did not stop this doctor/researcher. As the blaming community became a bigger thing, parents wanted to crucify someone and he was only happy to help. It was later discovered there were selfish and nefarious reasons behind his quest but unlike many studies that are filed away and forgotten, this guy’s work still has an effect because people have used this information to start more fires and yet his work has been removed and his credentials revoked. It is synonymous to repeating a lie often enough that people believe the lie.

 

The parents who are not getting their children vaccinated are not the ones who are poor or do not know better…many of them are very affluent and choose this lifestyle. You can’t just point fingers at a certain group and say they are the conservative ones or liberals or are republicans or democrats. I had someone tell me yesterday that it was all those “organic people”…(shakes head)  One of the biggest problems is that people believe anything they hear or read whether it is in an email or on a news channel or on facebook or other social media. They choose to not question the validity because they believe it has to be true. It is like a cancer that is affecting everything it touches. And, it even affects members of the health community, too. Some doctors tell their patients to not vaccinate their kids. (shakes head again)

 

Given everything I know, I would rather risk autism (if there were such a link found and there has not been) than to risk my child having the disease or giving it to someone who is in risk that cannot vaccinate. I made that decision a long time ago and have made other risky decisions but I did the best I could for everyone and not just my child.

 

Have a great day and use that noodle upstairs! 🙂

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It’s time to make a difference…to make your voice heard…it’s time to do something for our EARTH!

 

 

🙂

How does your garden grow? Are you caring for it? Is it healthy? We all have a stake in the gardens of the world. Doing nothing means choosing to ignore and this inaction is actually detrimental to all of us. It is our responsibility to reach out to each other and make positive gains in taking better care of OUR Earth!!!

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I have taken a hiatus of sorts again—wasn’t planned—I stepped away from the usual everyday things and spent some time with myself. I like doing that to see where I am exactly. I used to stick to a rigid schedule—a timetable for everything.

 

I believe in speaking out when I see things. That is who I am. I am making progress in taking control of certain areas of my life. We say that half of the battle is in our minds and it is—sometimes I think it is more than half. I am still an activist for certain causes—I don’t think that will change. I have become more vocal but I try to choose my battles and make them few. One area I see as a problem is what we call rape. When I wrote about my coming forward and reaching out to get help recently, I had no idea of the magnitude that rape plays in today’s society as in how much it is in the public eye and how prevalent it really is. I had not heard what all was going on at universities across our nation. There have been incidents of rape on college campuses for years. This includes date rape if you are wondering. These attacks have gone mostly unreported and are still under-reported in my view—I didn’t report my incident that happened on a college campus—I wasn’t raped that time but I was taken advantage of and was almost assaulted by someone I did not know. It should have been reported. I should have done that and given an account of what happened but I was scared just like girls AND guys today are scared to come forward. It isn’t easy to do the right thing because when something happens to you, you become the center of attention for something that is horrible and people will blame ‘you.’

 

I hope to write a more in-depth post later about a certain woman who appeared on CNN to talk about rape and how she blamed the “victims.” This is why I didn’t report the second incident when I was sexually assaulted. In her eyes, I wasn’t raped. It didn’t matter that I have suffered from it and that it was forced—and I did not give consent. I fought off the person as best I could but I was unsuccessful. In her eyes, I should have just said, “No.” I cannot believe I heard the things that came out of her mouth but this will wait until another time.

 

Another situation that has been discussed in the news is about women having to get permission from the father to have an abortion…I’m not addressing ‘right to life’ or abortion—we all have our views and that’s fine. However, when interviewed about the bill, the sponsor was critical of women who have been subjected to domestic abuse and said they must get permission from their abuser and possible rapist. If that’s not a bunch of horse hooey I don’t know what is. He said an abortion should happen only when the mother’s life is in danger or when it is a “legitimate” rape. People believe crazy things like that a woman’s body will not allow her to get pregnant if she is “really” raped…that’s about the biggest pile of malarkey I have ever heard. There are plenty of cases this happens where the woman gets pregnant. If she gets pregnant, does that mean it wasn’t a ‘real rape?’ I have some beach front property I would like to sell if you believe this. These people must have flunked biology or something because it only takes an egg and one sperm to make a zygote that leads to a baby, yada, yada. I thought that was simple biology.

 

I can weigh in on the topic of rape because whether someone believes I was attacked or not, I was legitimately attacked–taken advantage of. Both were scary incidents and the second one still gives me nightmares. There are other times that have scared me but sexual assault is something that doesn’t go away easily. Can you imagine being a woman who has been raped? That’s enough to try to deal with but what happens when you get pregnant by someone who raped you? The abortion bill that was to be decided would require her to PROVE that a LEGITIMATE rape happened–their words. I don’t know about you but if you attack me and I get pregnant—you have no rights to anything about me, my body, children, babies, nothing! You don’t get that right. You gave that up when you took advantage of me. This is where my mom would begin her talk about her belief of sterilization/castration for men who rape 😀 😀 😀 . I carry a lot of my mom in me–both humor and being very serious at times. 😉 I’m so glad she never knew. 🙂

 Candle

“Candle” by Shawn Carpenter (link) via flickr

[Terms of Use – Creative Commons (link) – no changes]

 

I am a survivor. I’m not a victim. I have been victimized many times but in the end, I survived and I am still surviving. To tell me that people who are sexually assaulted against their will are not victims or have not been victimized…that is wrong…terribly wrong. My heart cries out when those who stand up and call people liars because those people have suffered so greatly. Who are we to allow such?

 

Look around. What do you see? I still see inequality in so many areas and it stems out of lack of respect for each other. To think I was raped 25 years ago and didn’t come forward because I was scared people would say exactly what that woman on CNN said—that’s a quarter of a century later! We have made leaps and bounds of progress in other areas. Please don’t put us back to prehistoric times. Support survivors whether it is with grief, assault, all types of survivors…illness…PTSD…we need to stand together and not apart. And, please stop this thing about legitimate rape. Rape is rape—forced assault—someone taken advantage of. You can spray cans of sanitizer and perfume and whatever—it doesn’t change the fact of what happened. Reliving that horrid experience over and over is bad enough but making women feel insignificant and without control is not acceptable. After all, that is what sexual assault is about—someone taking from another so that they have control–they want to make the other one weaker.

 

Let’s support survivors and stop victimizing them. 🙂

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Everywhere I look, I see where the girl who ended her life is being applauded and memorialized and iconized—everywhere. Why? ‘Death with dignity’ is what the headlines read. Just a few months ago, Robin Williams killed himself and everyone was horrified that he would do such a terrible thing even when it was revealed he was having problems with depression and Parkinson’s disease along with the drugs he was taking to combat the Parkinson’s.

 

Why is it ok to assist someone who has marked everything off his/her bucket list and it isn’t ok for someone to take his/her own life without assistance? Hmmm. There is a terrible double standard at play. I will not even get into the abortion issue but that’s another one I am baffled about. Also is the thought that it’s ok to murder someone as long as you are insane when you do so… Justifiable homicide by reason of temporary insanity they say…I have yet to figure that one out because if you can kill someone, then you are crazy in my book. No, it isn’t simple black or white, yes or no, right or wrong but death should not be hailed as a pleasure drug and that’s what it sounds like. Keep reading…

 

To come to the point of dealing with death—the act of killing someone—you have to make it right in your mind for you to deal with it—a coping mechanism as we learned in school. You have to analyze the scenario and make it so that you can live with that decision no matter if it is abortion, assisted suicide, non-assisted suicide, even murder and self-defense.

 

I was reading in one of those ‘dark’ nooks of the internet, this one called Reddit (be careful there) where the discussion was about ‘death with dignity.’ Several self-proclaimed ICU nurses (you never know the truth of what one writes on there—not really) wrote into the discussion about how they wished there was a way to end the lives of some of the patients…some cited reasons of seemingly compassion for seeing people suffer but some were because they thought the families were abusing the system—one even said the family wanted the patient’s meal tray at the hospital and SS check. The nurses were saying that all of these families basically didn’t care. While that may be the case, no one really knows if someone cares. And, no one knows what a loved one who is suffering actually wants. No one can weigh my heart or brain for that matter and see the love that I had for my family whom I watched suffer. I’m sure there were nurses who thought I wasn’t loving enough or cared enough or whatever but that is someone judging someone else…it can’t be done…or shouldn’t.

 

Just like someone who has cancer and wants to die with dignity. They want to spare their family the grief of watching them suffer but it is our way of dealing with death—humanity’s way. If we take all of the suffering out of life there is nothing to live for. You may not understand that. If you don’t, find someone who suffers every day and who also wants to live despite the pain. I watched my mom suffer day in and day out and she didn’t complain because she would rather have the time with her family in pain than not with her family. I urge everyone to think about not just your personal desires but also the desires of your loved ones—not just now or the next day but in the future when you are not around. If we make death so attractive and do not consider all of the ramifications, we are short-changing life.

 

Ten or 20 years ago I would probably be sitting here applauding the girl who sought to end her life with assistance—more than likely. Things change. My thoughts on death have changed because it isn’t easy to make that decision—or it shouldn’t be. It should be a difficult decision and I fear the more we iconize those who choose death with dignity the easier is to sweep those people out of our lives. I don’t want someone to dictate to me that I should cut my life short and neither do I want to be told that I must prolong suffering. I don’t want to be pushed into anything or feel that if I don’t end my life early enough that my children will suffer.

 

Suffering is a natural part of living and we need to embrace that part of life. When we do away with all suffering, what is there to live for? Yes, I do understand. Suffering has been the motivator in the lives of scientists and doctors, nurses and caregivers…the compassion to relieve the suffering. That is why vaccines exist and cures…it was only later that big pharma got involved and meddled with things so that money was the motivator but that desire to relieve suffering was the basis that started it all.

 

Have a great day! 🙂 Hugs to all.

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