Have A "Game" Plan?!! IFAA Does! Rocking Autoimmune Illinesses Right Out of the Stadium!!!!


IFAA ready to kick Autoimmune Arthritic Illnesses right out of the door!





International Foundation For Autoimmune Arthritis - Standing On Your Side of the Field!

This is one of the most incredible non-profits I've ever seen! Although "small" right now, they can just about outdo any of your larger non-profits in the way they gets things going! Another HUGE plus, EVERYONE in the entire non-profit HAS ONE OF THESE AUTOIMMUNE ARTHRITIC ILLNESS OR MORE! So as you ask yourself about things such as earlier detection, earlier doctors, labs, tests, medications and even almost more than that, EARLY EDUCATION AND COMMUNICATION can and will lead to an earlier remission, or even possible a chance of not even having anyone to deal with these illnesses again!!! From their "showing" at the White House, making a huge impact on Congress, to being able to have the ability to find other ways they can change the face of AAI's forever, this group refuses to take "no" for an answer! Please visit the link above and see just how the IFAA has already changed and will continue to change many lives!


From My Home to Yours...

http://www.123greetings.com/events/thanksgiving/wishes/let_us_be_thankful.html


I hope this comes up ;)

Thankful... Grateful... Blessed... A Holiday for Reflection...

What Will You Reflect Upon this Holiday Season...



Well, as superficial as this is to be a morning to be thankful for so much. Right now I am very thankful my new I MAC came in yesterday afternoon very late may I say.  LOL! I sat here on pins and needles all day long, listening for the FEDEX truck. Of course I must have been the very last stop on his delivery schedule. It was almost 4pm before I finally heard that truck from down the street! I had hoped all day long that my computer was not sitting in a broken down truck, or got left in Hutchins accidentally at the hub and so forth. Well, my fears were squelched because it arrived safe and sound. Gosh, thankful?! I am thankful for so many things in my life. My husband, my family, friends, as horrible as my health seems at times, I am still up right walking, and bless people's heart I still can speak, some probably think too much!  I am much like most of us. It is purest "human nature" to fuss, gripe, whine, moan and groan. Whether it is about family, spouses, kids, finances, jobs, bills, health and healthcare for sure, and the list is endless of things that tend to grate our nerves. But, today is one day to reflect upon the many, many blessings we have in health, family, homes, kids, and in life. As I said a moment ago in a post, it is a cliche' to say, "It could be so much worse". Well, yes, in our heart's, even though there are days our minds don't quite follow, we know it could be a great deal worse. As we open our newspapers, or look at our favorite news reader; perhaps listen to the "nightly news", all around us is much, much worse. Some of it almost too terrible to even speak of. We have seen it so much, heard it so much, talked about it so much, from politics, to foreign nations, from job loss, to the horror in our nation from human willing to hurt others like themselves, that we truly have become complacent to it. Or, I don't think so much as we've become "complacent", for myself I just almost don't want to "stomach" more of the same. There seems to be very little to no "good news". We don't hear about the puppy saved down the street, or how a town completely rebuilt itself after a flood, fire or some horrific incident. Oh, we hear about the horrific incident all right. In fact to me that is the main problem ALL we HEAR and SEE are the "bad" things happening around the globe. I've questioned that numerous times, whatever happened to "good" news? My husband answers because "good" news doesn't sell. For the most part, people want the "blood, guts, and horror". Take a look at all of our movies, our television shows, the games that our kids and that some of us as grown ups play on our latest video's boxes. Is there much good anymore? What happened to "Pac Man or Woman"? What happened to "Mario"? What happened to "Pretty Woman", or "City of Angels"? Look around and yes there is violence, horror, man kind against their own, floods, droughts, fires, loss... a great sense of loss... and no one knows more about loss that each and every family with military folks. Those people know loss. Even though they may not physically have someone they "lose" as far as that route of eternity. Yet, they suffer "loss" from all sense of direction, when they come home from what they have had to endure, see, hear and do. So, as you spend time today with family, with friends, with just your spouse, or possibly maybe just yourself... let's try to reflect upon all of the true goodness we do have. Even though it "could" go away tomorrow, try in the next days ahead to "hold onto" those good thoughts. The world CAN be a better place. Just look around, and you might just see something good right at your own door step. Happy Thanksgiving, and I am very Happy to have my family, and my "online" family! Be blessed, Be safe, and please ..... Don't get too sick on all of the fantastic food!  Rhia                                                                                                           

Thanks for, A Few Thoughts, & To Your and Yours....

I'm just "stringing" a couple of posts together from FB right now. As you shall see below fingers crossed my new computer is coming today. But, as you know that is an ALL DAY affair setting it up, getting my desk back in order, transferring my files onto it from the external drive and hoping I have not lost anything.... So, I shall post a couple of things I wrote in FB the past two days, and in the morning I hope to be ready to "shine" and "scream"... well my computer to "scream" with speed, LOL, not me!!!!

So here are the posts, and I wish you a wondrous holiday... be safe and hopefully as I said in one of these "flare and as pain-free" as possible... Rhia



I just thought of one thing that I was reminded of with it being Thanksgiving Week! Some of us will be with family, friends, some home with our pets. Some of us will be right here with out online friends and family. I am Thankful for the fact that I am so far NOT lying in the hospital as I was when I was 15. I spend 7 days during Thanksgiving holidays in High School having my right knee completely cut open and the meniscus taken out. I was in traction with my leg in a huge heavy cast that was from my bed as far as it could come up in my leg to my toes. I was in that thing 3 MONTHS! Then spend a very long time getting my muscles back to where they did not look like toothpicks. So, that day, my Dad, bless his soul, came to Dallas, and forgo his turkey dinner with Mom and all the family so I wouldn't be alone while I ate mine from that hospital bed. Right now as that memory floods over me, that was THE BEST Thanksgiving of my life! And right now I miss my Dad more than anyone could ever know. He would be 91 if he were still here with us.... May all of you find that one thing you are so Thankful for.... Be Blessed, Be Safe, and Know you are LOVED! 


I've had a couple of really BUMMED days! My computer that was supposed to be here yesterday didn't make it. FEDX had not updated anything on their site until later yesterday evening. So, all day I had no clue even where it was in the delivery. It left Sacramento on Friday, and after that all it said was it was to be delivered on the 26th. I am already SO aggravated with this old laptop. I just can't do much of anything on it. It is SO SLOW, it is worse that "dial up" days I think! So, that had really thrown my schedule off. I wanted to get Thanksgiving "Cards" online out, but I have all of my cards for Xmas to make out. Plus I have NOT even BEGAN my annual Christmas Letter. I have been sending a letter in with out Xmas cards now for years. I made it a tradition a long time ago. I don't believe I've missed very many.  But I don't really even have any "software" on this old thing to do it on. We wiped this drive fairly clean and began using this computer for our music. We had Garage Band on it, and did our clips, and all of our recording and so forth on here. Then Jim can bring it in and send it to his computer where he can actually put it all together for a song. So, things like "pages"(which is like Word) and so on have been off of here for a long time. And the music files have made it very slow, but we don't want to lose any of those. Thus, we cleaned everything off we could, and set this one up temporarily for me until mine can get here. FINALLY fairly late in the evening, yesterday, FEDEX, updated their website. My computer is in HUTCHINS!!!! (YEAH!!!) So, that means it is just down the "street" from me well almost, but it has arrived at the local hub and should be out for delivery TODAY!!!! Thank Goodness! I got up yesterday and was just not about to sit at this thing and be able to not do a thing productive! So, I made my "annual" fruitcake, did some cleaning, and watched some Xmas movies last night with my two puppies... Now if the computer gets here today, then that means all day getting it set up, my desk back in order and things have way back to whatever normal is around here. My thoughts and prayers are with ALL of YOU! 

 Please be safe! I realize many may be traveling or have family traveling and weather is very bad in many places around the nation. Enjoy family and friends, have a very warm, loving and hopefully flare and pain free as much as possible holiday! And Eat a little bit of everything!!!!! We are taking Mom over to Waxahachie tomorrow to a huge buffet over there for dinner (more like brunch).  So we don't have far to travel and right now our weather as far as traveling right here is good. May all of you be blessed and overflowing with all of the things we should be thankful of. Later in the day, whenever FEDEX delivers my new computer, (I think I am still in shock) LOL!!! I'll probably be away for a bit while we set it up. But I will be "screaming" with speed when the new one is here and ready!!! WOOOOHOOOO!! I can finally catch up hopefully! 



"Hectic Home" for the AAI Holidays???!!!



"Hectic Holidays For All of Us in a Foggy Brain Haze!"


ONE HECK OF A TYPICAL MONDAY MORNING! 50 plus things to do and I don't know where to begin first! With this being a holiday weekend, which for us as far as the "day" itself, is not all that much trouble. We are taking Mom and going over to Waxahachie to eat at the buffet there at Ryans'... and more than likely we are headed to Winstar for XMAS!!!! I have a new coupons for 2 nights if we wanted to stay in their NEWEST 500 room HOTEL!! I hear it is fabulous! ;) Of course that is a while away. That will depend on weather how all of us feel etc. If we do we can't go but 1 night. I would not leave my dogs but for one night alone. They already have separation anxiety if just one of us leaves for an hour. So one night with us gone is about all they can handle. Even at that it is gotten to where we have to keep them only in our kitchen. We started having issues about a year ago with them peeing where they are not supposed to. Both of both have been house broken for years and years. But, something went on with them a while ago, that every once in a while for no reason one of them will pee in the floor, like behind our sofa etc. I have tried everything, but they get better. Like now this past few weeks has been so much better. But sometimes they will start it and do that for weeks, and then they seem to stop again. So we just don't just in leaving them if we are both gone for an entire day or so with the run of the house anymore. We did for a very long time, until this issue came along. IN fact they have gotten a bit older and I hate going off even over night without one os us here. But, they are always very safe and my kitchen area is huge! So, they are not just crammed in a tiny spot. They have lots of room in my kitchen. Anyway, enough of my moaning and groaning... then either I am having a flare start, or I am just too stressed. I am just on overwhelm.. and I know all of us are. The holidays are an incredibly stressful time for everyone! Then when you are chronically ill, with Autoimmune Arthritic  illnesses such as RA, Lupus, Sjogren's, plus the other hundreds of these diseases & that includes those with chronic pain on top of the entire ordeal,  it puts our "stress" into a whole new category!!!  Then add on how your entire "schedule" gets all turned upside down. For instance, I have a "set" time everyday that I take my medications and eat something for "breakfast". Well that is after the 1ST ONE with all of the pills, as my husband says. Then I also have a set time or day of the week that I clean, mop, sweep, even water my plants, and so forth. Well, this past couple of weeks from all of the "added and unexpected stuff" as in weather change so dramatically, Mom and a medication issue, my computer crapping out on me, Jim and his shoulder still not well, I am not feeling ll that well myself, and the list of "extra and unexpected" just just hindering the "regular" one. Then I had gotten blown out of the water with the holidays so quickly upon us! I haven't written my annual "Christmas Letter", there is fudge to make;  fruitcake that needs to be made early so it takes up all of the flavors. That doesn't include the other one of many things I am just now thinking of, which is we usually make "goodies" that we either put in a basket or a decorative tin. WE take those on Christmas Eve to our close neighbors (about 6 homes) and have made that one of our traditions for Christmas! Then I JUST remembered (another THING forgotten due to my COMPUTER crapping out) is our ANNUAL Sleigh Bell by Wallace we order every year. Since the first Christmas we were together we started buying these sliver and gold sleigh bells made by Wallace Silversmith's. In fact last yesterday we "celebrated" 10 YEARS of them! In fact they added a little note inside the one last year about they saw the we had ordered from them every year.  Actually a store in Kent WA that we found the first Xmas called Silver Superstore. That year it was so late and almost Christmas by the time we found them, that we got the very last one they had for that year. So, now they email me about 2 months ahead of time as a reminder. Well, until a moment ago, I had forgotten that I had not ordered it yet. Som I just told Jim while we were standing on the front porch I needed to come in and order it before they rub out. Low and Behold in my inbox, there was a reminder for me so I would not forget to order it!!! Now call that "ESP" or not... anyway I sure as hack just ordered it! :) If we do NOTHING else we made a promise that we would ALWAYS get our Sleigh Bell no matter what. :)

So, as I make out my TO DO LISTS, and the LISTS to "remind" me about my lists... and that list to make sure I don't forget about all of the other lists... I realize that in "reality" I am going to have to take one breath at a time, do ONE thing at a time, and also "step" into these moments to know there is no way I can do it all. Either I need to "cut" some things down smaller, or less, possibly try to NOT do some things, and then NOT feel "guilty" because I could not do it all.

As much as I sure as heck (like EACH of you) want to think I am "super human" especially with all of my "bionic" parts, one would think I was Super Human... I am admit I'm not... no longer can I do it all, be it all, make EVERYONE happy all the time, and be able to go on and not stop to find out I am just worn to nothing and come into a huge flare. Which I fear I am having now. Between sudden cracks in the corners of my mouth, my throat soar, and feeling just out of it... I feel as if I am definitely 'flaring" .
So I remind YOU! PLEASE TAKE CARE OF YOU FIRST!!!! I know, I know, we hear it constantly... but if we don't we honestly not of help to anyone if we make ourselves ill. So, some times as difficult as it is to say NO... that two letter word needs to be a GRAND word in our vocabulary.


I close for now in saying, that we are super at all the things we DO get done! We are NOT a disappointment if we aren't able to do it all.

Living Life In An AutoImmune Illness "Zone"....

Life as we have lived it... and now Life as WE that deal with AutoImmune illnesses Live it Differently  - Yet Happily!



As some of you know, I live in TX, just below the Dallas area. WE are having our first blast of very COLD weather today and over the next few days. We are now under a Winter Storm Advisory, with possibly sleet, ice, and some snow. Usually we get more ice than the fun stuff, snow. As I was talking about on FB, how I can "predict" the weather almost better than the forecasters can, the memories came pouring back to me of when I was able to go snow skiing. For years, before I had all of the illnesses happen, we went snow skiing, every year the week of my birthday. It was our annual vacation, that I saved up for as soon as I got home from the one we were on. I put money back in a "Christmas savings" fund every week for the entire year. Part we used for Santa and Christmas and the other was for our trip. Those are still some incredible memories for me. That was a time when I was on those skis, I felt completely "FREE". All of the snow and the forests, and just a quiet feeling of peace always came over me as I started down the mountain. Don't get me wrong... I took some hellacious spills. We always made videos so we could laugh about each other and our "Oh Crap" falls. You knew when one of us was going to take a very funny fall, because "Oh Crap" was all you heard! ;) Anyway, below is the post from Face Book that I wanted to share with everyone here. 


This may not sound like a "post" about autoimmune arthritic illnesses, yet it has all to do with then for me. Now I can no longer snow ski. In fact there are many things that have been crossed off my list, because I no longer do them. Mowing my lawn, and tilling the garden. Going to the lake and being in the sun. Making plans like a trip for something to do months away. I never know even a week before something is planned if I am going to be able to go or not. There are times I feel so bad that I cancel doctors appointments. I am just too fatigued to go, especially if the appointment are in Dallas. 


This comes to the place of why I can't do things any longer. It is certainly not age. There are MANY people I saw on those slopes as Wolf Creek Pass that were in their 70's. I am sure some of them lived close, so they have much more practice. But it is just the point "age" does not necessarily cause someone to stop doing things they enjoy doing. As you are reading this, I am sure you are thinking back to the times that are special to you also. Vacations, visiting family or friends, gardening, riding a bike, just a number of things that so many love to do, and do it. Age is not the factor at all. 


But, having an illness that can even strike when you are very young, in your teens, can stop you from doing many things that you loved to do, or would love to do. Is it a difficult thing to handle? You bet it is. I know I speak for not just myself but ALL of us with an Autoimmune Arthritic Illness, or any type of Autoimmune illness and/or Chronic Pain/Chronic Illnesses such as FM and CFS that also take away so many things in life that either we once took for granted; or at least never gave a thought that we would not be able to do them "the next time". Yet, it can strike anyone. Even though "women" are probably 80 more times or more to come down with one of these illnesses, men are also victims of these diseases. So, they do not discriminate when it comes to gender, age, or race. I have read articles and I am sure to do those studies that African-American people are more prone to these illnesses such as Lupus than other genders. I am sure researchers have been studying that one a great deal to find out why a nationality would make a difference. Also, why so many more women are much more likely to get the disease than men. 


My point to this is one, I did have some great memories flow through my mind when it comes to snowy weather. I also have these "blasting" memories of how much these horrid diseases take away from our lives. From changing relationships, families, jobs, and everything about your life basically, all of us can't help but be angry at times about it. Even though like myself, we come to accept it for the most part, I still feel at times like a piece of me has died... has left me... and changed me forevermore.


WE do learn to deal with it. I have in most ways. You find ways to compensate for what an autoimmune illness takes away. You learn new hobbies, or a different way to do them. You discover another way in a relationship to be close, and educate your spouse, and your family so they will truly understand the "why" of the things you can't do. 


As I often talk about my life, a flowing river, where there are bends, turns, white rushing waters, and then the bridges I flow under. The climb to the top of life's mountain. I scratch, crawl, and inch my way up, and sometimes I slide back down, as the rocks and stones may scar me, I still look up and know that is where I am supposed to be. 


For the rest of the year, and into the next year, I hope each of you who suffer and are inflicted with these still misunderstood life altering illnesses, such as RA, :Lupus, Sjogren's, MS, Still's disease, MCTD, UCTD, JA, pernicious anemia and the 100 other AI diseases out there, can look UP and reach up to see that you also can stand atop your own "life"s mountain".... and reach up to the stars... and feel whole again... even if that means you must "change" how you enjoy life in a new way!!!!



This below is a Face Book post from this morning... I wanted to say it also along with the above writing.... 


 I imagine you are probably getting it up there worse than we are. they have changed the forecast so many times the past week, I was not sure what it was going to do.  But my "bones" always let me know... My thumbs and fingers have been extremely bad this past week or so. Not just pain... now it is more of them not wanting to bend, I have like almost "zero" flexibility. I can't hold onto things That has been going on for a while now. That is partially why I suspected MS along with all of the other ailments. I have just lost so much grip and strength in my hands, arms, fingers, and I notice it lately even in my legs. IF I am up for a long while at the house doing things, or I go to "Wally World" and walk for a long while in there, my legs feel like "rubber bands" of jello ... I feel as if I am going to just collapse. I guess partially illnesses, partially all of the surgeries, and then I guess I have to account for getter older!!! Even though that is NT one I really want to ADMIT!  Kind of like my memory... if I forget, or can't remember, I blame it on the brain fog...  better than saying maybe I have dementia... You stay warm up there and out of this weather... and of course avoid all of the "no driving fools" that try to drive in ice. No way most Texans from in this part can drive on ice. HAHAH Many of them can't drive on dry pavement, much less wet or icy!!! Speaking about "black ice" on the roads. One year we were coming home from snow skiing in Pagosa Springs, CO... at Wolf Creek Pass (some great memories of snow skiing for me)... we left Santa Fe... and already knew it was a possibility the roads could be bad. We got to the main highway from Santa Fe (I-40) to head to Amarillo state and all of a sudden we felt the van just slip a little... it was a solid sheet of thin ice on the roads and of course you can't see it. Anyway, we slowed down to a crawl. In fact we happened to have borrowed a friends van so we sure as heck did not want to be in a wreck, much less a friend's vehicle.. suddenly here comes an 18 wheeler SIDEWAYS beside us just flying past. He jackknifed it into the medium and then here comes several cars, and they were not expecting it. Each one that went around us were in the ditch when we got up ahead. In fact, we drove on to Amarillo, but it took us something like 12 HOURS to get there. We called 911 and reported the accidents, but the entire way there were cars and 18-wheeler in the ditches. It was nuts. Believe me I felt that the Lord was helping to drive that van for sure.

Fibromyalgia new theory on Adrenal/ Thyroid glands & certain chemical levels could be a cause...

http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/steps-authentic-happiness-positive-psychology/2013/nov/11/fibromyalgia-indisputable-proof-claims-uk-research/



One of the largest mysteries I believe in the last decade has been(  FM) Fibromyalgia  and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. There has been a tale to tell on every piece of the wide spectrum of these "illnesses", from it is that women are "nut" cases, it does not exist, to it comes from some type of tests on rats that was supposed to have been answer, & then it was finally and formally called FM, an illness.

Most of us that have an autoimmune arthritic disease (es), have probably had this be a "diagnosis" somewhere during your hunt for the "real and definite answer"... may not be "red" but truth is what we seek.

Then there is the huge dilemma that has been the talk of any and everyone that has FM and/or CFS(they seem to run hand in hand) from the Whittemore - Peterson clinic I believe right at the state lines of Nevada and Colorado. For several decades the talk about how almost every "well" person in town came down with this "yuppie" flu, I believe was one of the many names it was called over the years. Yet, as I think about the "glands" in our bodies and how much they control everything, it would make perfect sense that at least as far as the symptoms, "they fit the bill." Our Adrenal glands, including the pituitary gland, the thyroid gland, the adrenal glands, I think Just lately I found out there are like 400 glands in our bodies. Those two adrenal glands are vital for us to live. They control weight, appetite, have lots to do with hormones and how they are regulated in the body. They control your temperature, and without them would would quickly perish. But due to fatigue, lack of being able to withstand temperature changes,  and many other things that keep our bodies running.

If you are interested in more information as to not only adrenal glands but the endocrine gland system, you maybe quite surprised at what some of them are. Ovaries for one are an "endocrine" gland.

Onto this new article and FM. I've always in my own thoughts (I am NOT a doctor and do not perceive to be) just IMOHO, they are some type of an autoimmune disease.  AFter all think about HOW MANY OF US at one time or the other, or even now have, have had that diagnosis. Then how many of us felt we were given that as a "junk" or "Trash Can" illness, so we would shut up. Then they fill us full of antidepressants and tell us it is "stress" and "anxiety"... we need to just "chill" . As I sometimes say "just another brick in the wall"... now they are trying to convince you it is ALL in your HEAD! And the very sad thing is, there are doctors out there today, that have heard all of the reports, yet they still throw out FM, when they can't seem to find something to "stick". I thought the portion about "lab work" and those quote "normal" ranges that come from the labs frequently. And as I said on a post of FB, I've had it happen twice to me as of lately. I called them on it after I did some research, and U was correct. That "so-called normal" range was NOT normal for me at all. Both cases caused me to have to stop one medication and the other I had to take a new medication for. Had I not pointed those out to the doctors, it may have been looked at later, or possibly not until I had further symptoms. So, it is just another reminder to WATCH OUT FOR YOU! It is a critical thing each of us with these types of chronic illnesses MUST do, to have a better quality of life....

Technology - In Every Way & the Miraculous Way the Medical World Uses It

Man Kind, Medicine, and Technology...



To Start Off with a bit of an update of my turmoil the past couple of days and a walk through how technology is revolutionizing our Medical World... Well my new I-Mac is on it's way. I decided to forego the Macbook Pro or Macbook Air(as cool as they are), even though I really wanted a laptop. But, I got to thinking about it, and I have my I-Pad! It works as well as a laptop, and is lighter and smaller to carry around. So, even if I were to travel, that would suit my needs, or our needs if Jim goes and needs to be able to watch the client's and their servers. So, I have a 22 inch I-Mac that I wished the heck would hurry up and get here. I was so totally bummed out yesterday. I had been trying to work on my old laptop, along with an external monitor like I did before. This is a I-Book G4, that was bought about 2004 or so, for me. When I was doing web design work, and helping with the business, I needed a new computer and they bought this for me. It only has a 13 inch screen and thus the eternal monitor works to have a larger amount of "real estate" to work on. But, at that time this was one of the faster on the market! In fact Jim and his partner at the time, Mark was almost jealous because mine was faster than theirs. :) But, you don't realize how quickly technology changes until you have to step back "in time" to a computer that is even 7 years old. I know my I-Mac that got zapped two days ago, will seem like it was as slow as a snail compared to my new one on the way. but, being on this laptop has made me appreciate that technology has made so many advances in a time when all kinds of things are happening at a lightening pace. If I think back just a few years ago, I recall no cell phones. In fact the first one I had with the big "bag phone" by AT and T. Man and the "minutes" were expensive. When you think about technology and the medical world, wow, how many things have changed dramatically in a very short period of time. In my lifetime, I've watched knee surgery go from a very huge scar left from the surgery, traction and staying in the hospital for seven days, to arthroscopic surgery, with three tiny little scars and going home the same day after being operated on. Even our MRI, CT, PET scans, mammograms, bone density tests and just take a "run" through in your mind of all of these amazing types of tests that have only been here a short period of time. When I was about 20, I recall have to have a "brain scan". I was taken into the hospital, upstairs at our old hospital here in my home town, before they built our new facility, to a room where this huge machine took a very long time to "scan" my head. It seemed like hours I had to lay there very still, and I recall the imagines, and thinking then just how "out of this world" that seemed. Well in these times, we have advance so far in those realms, that our scans now days can show minute changes in skin, in organs, in our spines, joints, all of our bodies, and do so instantly. Even X-rays. There is no wait in knowing the outcome of an X-ray. Yo know the results usually before you even walk out into the world again. Advances in lab work, in equipment in our Emergency Rooms (save more lives than ever due to the amazing technology), having things like "Care Flight" available, nurses and doctors having better educations, better skills, using computers now for everything from our medical records (enabling doctors to immediately share a patients medical information), to telemetry. We can have kidney stones literally "blasted" to pieces rather than having to undergo being literally "cut almost have in two" as it was not long ago, when my uncle had stones several times. The old fashioned "basket" would not collect them, thus opening up the body was the only way to get them. Surgeries of all types and those changes. Just recently the "De Vinci" surgical computerized system has been introduced. That computer can almost do the surgery in itself. It helps physicians be able to do detailed procedures that once were impossible to do without cutting the body open and exposing the areas that need to be operated on. From pace makers, to internal pain pumps and stimulators. From "open" heart split your breast bone and wire you back to close that incision up to going through a tub inserted into the major groin artery along with a tiny camera saves hundreds of thousands of the once open heart surgeries that were once not long ago a necessity for any type of heart ailment just about. In the complicated world of "autoimmune illnesses" the advancement of tests, medications, and the knowledge now out there has grown by leaps and bounds. I realize that all of us, as patients, feel and know there is NO MUCH MORE work to do about these illnesses and the devastation and have the reek u[on every aspect of our bodies, the physical, our minds, the mental, and the emotional costs are still extremely high. Advancement just in the communication about these illnesses needs to be ramped up by a huge percentage. With early, and I mean extremely early ways to find evidence of these illnesses, we could not only slow down, or put them into remission but actually STOP these horrid illnesses before they ever have a chance to cause any type of damage. Again we have advanced in a huge way comparatively to just a few years ago. The ability to have researchers all around be able to collaborate data from clinical trials. The clinical trials that can now test new advances in medications, that just a few years ago did not dream of having the majority of them or the use of many medications we do have and them being able to be used to treat autoimmune arthritic diseases is saving lives each day. Having "Lupus" even when I was about 35 years old, first of all was a "death sentence basically. LIttle was known about the disease or what it did throughout the body. But, it was known that is was as serious as cancer, if not more. Don't get me wrong, these autoimmune diseases can still be "deadly" and are just as serious, if not more today. But, the difference is the way we are beginning to have so much more knowledge, more doctors that are studying these puzzling illnesses. With our vast changes in the way the world communicates often with the click of a "mouse", moves information to all the world, that once had to be shared by "snail" mail, or written in an article, yet the magazine article may not be seen for a month or more. Now, as soon as the news is out, more often than not, we know all about it via the internet. We are living more years as a whole now. That average age of people has risen dramatically. So, that means not only have we made many advances in all walks of life, but we also have to continue to move forward flowing down that river of human compassion, understanding and knowledge all over the world. WE are no longer just a "nation". We are no longer separated by oceans of water, for we are a united world, that in the blink of an eye, you can be speaking to someone overseas with a few key strokes, the touch of a phone number, or even see one another and speak over the internet on a messenger. Next time you are on Facebook making a post to "friends". Think about where those "friends" are. Whether in another town, another state, or another country, instantaneously you are "speaking" to them, with no "lag time". Each day our world becomes closer together. Each day we should never take that for granted, for it as mind boggling as it is, we even reached to out other planets, to find somewhere out there in the endless vastness of space to find if "life" exists there, and how that may sustain us someday.

(Edited AAI & Decisions of Life) "Murphy's Law... or more like Rhia tumbles once again down the hill..

Dammit!!! I am so Miffed and Ticked off! Something happened and an electrical transformer blew and shut everyone's electricity off!!!!So, when that happened EVEN with a surge protector! So, I am trying to use an very OLD laptop that sucks!!! We are in the process of ordering me a new one, so I am stuck with this for now. I wanted to let everyone know. PLEASE BARE/BEAR or (maybe I sound like a "grouchy old bear)...  with ME a couple of days. I have some of my files on this one, but I have lots on my external hard drive that this old lap top won't work with!!!!It takes what seems like hours to even post here!!!! I am just feeling like hell just opened up and swallowed me today!! Everything that could happen I think happened, I dropped all of some of my pills in the floor and on the cabinet. I went to the market, and dropped a few of my plastics (card) in the floor. You name it, it has happened. Then as I said all of a sudden the lights were gone, and I heard the "bang". And I was the one that called it in. We had no lights for about an hour. lights came in, everything great EXCEPT ME!!! I am not sure I will make another blog post until I get the new one. And I will post this there so anyone coming to my blog will understand. I sat in the floor and literally cried my yes out under my desk, I was SO UPSET!!! This is the LAST thing we needed, We are already strapped for the green stuff, and now I face this. And this is no "loaf of bread" to buy...


UPDATE to the DAY from Hades : 


I did get the new IMac ordered earlier this week. :) I also did get to finance it for UP TO 6 months and no interest charges. That is awesome! I hope to pay it off the first of January, but at least I have an option and do not have to fork over money to them for interest. I got the message this morning that it is on it's way via Fed Ex. It's coming from California. They say "estimated" to arrive by next Tuesday! Let's freaking hope it makes better times than that since Fed Ex has it now. I pray for tomorrow... LOL.. but I have a feeling it will not be delivered tomorrow even if it does arrive in Dallas by tonight or early morning. Although if I would have not stood around trying to decide which one I wanted it may have arrived today. Yes, I know, patience is a virtue... and all things that are good, are worth waiting for... and the days go by quickly, it is a weekend before a holiday, relax... you can do a few things on this "dinosaur" of a laptop. Actually I could do most of my stuff on my I-Pad, which is faster. Yet, the I-Pads' keyboard and myself do not see eye to eye. I have a difficult time doing a huge amount of keying in on it. I do recall that I could use  my wireless (and by the way solar powered) keyboard with it. Although by the time I go through all of that, my new IMac will arrive and it will be a mute point. Besides I have PLENTY I can FIND to do at home. From moving Winter clothes to the front of my "walk-in" (might as well say go in inside ways if your lucky) closet (we have to "invent" closets in this house when we bought it, there were NONE) and putting the Summer stuff at the back, if possible. PLus I can look around and see that as MUCH as I love "knick-knacks" , keepsakes from trips, and just in general vases, glassware and so forth that have some kind of sentimental value to them for me, I have TOO MUCH STUFF now! Our home is very small. And believe me, I've had to get in the "extreme" parts of decorating when we moved in. LOL, and in some ways not just "extreme" more like miraculous ways to make space for everything. I still love it, don't get me wrong, but with all of the problems with my hands these days not wanting to cooperate due to the RA, and the advanced damage in my thumbs especially, I just can't keep all of it washed frequently and/or dusted, and I am beginning to look around, feeling like I "pack rat" as we call those who save everything. 
I know my husband Jim, would say that my type of "rat packing" is more or less a great thing of sorts.  If I save it, then i have some way in the back of my mind I will re-use it. If not then it goes straight to the recycle bin. If it can't be recycled in this silly small town, then I take it either where it can, or give it to a place here in town called "Souls Harbor"... sounds like the name of a place to be "harbored" from being out in the cold or something! LOL! Actually that name has been with it ever since it opened I guess. I recall as a child my parents taking things there. Everyone in town says first thing if you are talking about getting rid of something, take it to Souls Harbor. Actually as crazy as it may sound... many things for instance like my "precious" old computer chairs, old vacuum cleaner, along with several items that either "need" a slight fix, or we decide we don't need that are larger items such as that, we put them in the front lawn out by the street, with a "free" sign. By the time you go inside and come back out in less than an hour it will all be gone!   There are a couple of men that collect scrap metal, old washers, dryers, and furniture... and take it where it can be recycled. As far as anything else, these new light bulbs, plastic bags (if I even have any, I use only reusable ones for the most part), in cartridges, old glasses and anything that can be recycled that I know about, I do so. 

Needless to say, part of this post is definitely about autoimmune illnesses and how they effect our daily lives. Things such as clothes now days with the closet so small, must be arranged as much as possible so I can reach them, or even get to them. I have two racks on one side, and the top one is almost impossible for me to reach up to now, thus my "current" season clothing is put on the lower racks so I can reach them. About the dusting all of "memorabilia" I have. That is another nightmare now days. I was able to do so fairly frequently. Now I do well to get the floor vacuumed, dusting around just where I need to, baking or cooking, doing laundry, and just the daily chores we have in life, much less making more work for myself by having to clean and dust intricate items, or just finding a spot t store them in.  It is about time for me to have a "throw out" party. Everything that I feel is in the way, is not in 6 to 9 months, has been not read (although I find it very hard to get rid of any books)... but magazines go to our local library, good clothing either to our local place that take clothes to help others, or again our Souls Harbor takes good used clothing in and sells it for pennies. 

I know many of you are thinking this post rings a bell with you. Women especially tend to be more sentimental about items such as that. We want to save them for a good memory, or to hand down to our kids, or thinking we just can't throw out something that could be useful for something someday! Then you are ran over by a Mack Truck of Autoimmune Arthritic illness/(es) ; only to discover we may have the "mindset" to keep those things, but our bodies have a totally different opinion!

        

Holidays and Autoimmune Arthritic Illnesses

After bringing up the subject of "holidays and Christmas" when I posted about sending card to the troops, it also again this year made me stop and try to figure out how we "do" the holidays this year. It seems to of course be an annual question now. Used to we always did the exact same thing. My husband and I cooked the entire gamut of a holiday meal. From sweet potatoes, to turkey with home made cornbread stuffing, we did it all "A to Z". So, our first several years together, even though it was just the two of us, our one pup back then Tazzy, and our two cats (who have now passed away, D-Link and Lightening) it was a spread of food, fit for any King! :)

As we moved to California, the day before Thanksgiving there, I had an accidental run in with one of our cats - Lightening. Actually not a "bad" something he did, but our landlady had some guys working on the windows. We were in a upstairs, 2nd story tiny apartment. My husband had just left for work and I heard one of the cats "crying". So, I went to see what was wrong and he was barely hanging on outside the bedroom window. He had gotten on the ledge and it had the screen off of it, so he slipped. Well of course instinct to me said help him, but what did not dawn on me, as that he was totally flipped out. So, as soon as I went to grab him, he bit down into my hand so hard that it pierced all the way through the skin under my thumb. I had several very deep wounds. He had seen it was me and he let go. Bless his heart he was scared about almost falling, and he realized he had hurt me. I was screaming to the top of my lungs, and crying, and calling his name…. so of course he knew I was hurt also. Blood was going everywhere. I grabbed a small towel and wrapped it around my hand. Then called my husband, who of course had a brand new job, that he had just began only about 3 weeks before that… it was a nightmare. He did turn around and come back home. We did not even know where the nearest hospital was there in San Pedro. We have just not been there long enough to know where anything was other than the market, and a few stores on the main road. I knew I needed a tetanus shot, and possibly antibiotics, plus the pain was so intense, I cannot explain how badly it hurt. Any kind of animal bite is extremely painful and since these were very deep gashes it was a nightmare.
Anyway, we already had most of what we needed to cook with and our neighbors had gotten to know us a bit. They were not going anywhere and we had asked them to come over, but since that happened we went to tell them it was off.  So, they came over and helped my husband cook!! It was so nice!!

Now just a few years later, neither of us "feel" physically like cooking that huge of meal in the about past three years. After promising not to succumb to "old" age, or getting "too lazy" to cook for the holidays. But, I guess I have had to "admit" to myself and to everyone there is just no way I can take all of that on… We have to freeze most of it, which is fine depending on what it is, or make my Mom keep some, or give it to the neighbors.

These illnesses change each of our lives in so many ways, in each and every day. Even the smallest of tasks that we used to be able to do without blinking an eye, now become some kind of monumental feat… including dinner for a large family. Just another one of the many, many ways Autoimmune Arthritis "hits" us in the gut with a hard punch at times. It was a horrid reminder over the weekend before when  i took Mom to the Casino. I never gave a 2nd thought to wearing my black patent platform pumps with this very long skirt (maxi-skirt) as I guess they still call them. Yet, as the day wore on, I knew that would be my last time wearing those heels for any length of time. Just to go to church, or something for an hour or so, or if I am going to be sitting down a lot, will be only time I'm ever able to walk in them. Those hours and hours and hours…. and probably about 8 to 10 MILES by the time you walk from one side around to the other and then back and forth again… you definitely get a work-out!

Even that…I was able before to have no problem getting to be checked in, bags to the room, parked and all done. Not anymore, just doing the Huge Hotel walk in itself, and getting around to the elevators that are several turns around from the check in/reservation desk. Then I was the one that did all of the parking, and walking, and then walking and picking Mom up at the door… I am now trying to resolve myself to the fact that some things I will still be able to do, but I must make a very "detailed"plan so I will not wear myself out before I can even have fun.

So, with every turn, around every corner… from the mountain top you trip and side down, only to crawl back up scraping your knees… still to shout Victory when again you reach the top… to when the oceans tides seem to want to blow you into the vastness or when the soft sands of hope caress your feet…. all can just "never" be… So, Accept and Rejoice in what you CAN do, and allow those things you CANNOT do, to be swept into the oceans of where you never have to worry over them again….

Christmas Cards to The Troops

For the last 4 years now, I've been participating in this. I just decided I needd to do "something" to show how much I appreciated these brave men and women that put their lives on the line each moment in order that our country, our world and all of us remain safe from those that want to harm us. It is a MASSIVE undertaking and without them I doubt seriously we would have FREE nation!


So, here is the deal, as the link below will explain:

The deadline is NOVEMBER 25th. Just buy some Christmas cards (I go to the Dollar Tree) here but any of your stores that sell things like this less expensive and pick out as many boxes as you feel you have time to write something in and get sent in by the deadline. I always promise myself I will buy them early or buy some at the end of the holidays this year for the next year, so I can get a head start to write in them. It needs to be a "handwritten" note inside the card. As much or as little as you want to write. NO stamps are needed, and you can put stickers on them, even put your email address in if you want, etc… I sometimes have included an email address.  Anyway, the guidelines are also listed in the URL:
http://www.operationchristmascard.org/Participation_Info.html

This is one of the most precious things I think I do now for the holidays. To give a kind word or a few words to let those who are far away from home, family and loved ones fighting for all of us…

Please even if you only have time to do even a few cards, it is truly worth it. Where to mail them is in the site.


The Latest In Clinical Trials


"A Way To Provide Help and Hope for you and for others with AAI illnesses and other AI diseases also "



I received a new "Clinical Trial" email yesterday with the current list of Clinical trials you can search through to find that some may be a fit for your illnesses, along with where those are located, what they involve, and to see if you may qualify for one.

These can lead to helping not only the patients who get involved but sometimes leads to helping many others because someone stepped up to the "plate" and decided to do one of these.

You can either "join" for free, or just do a "search" with key words, and then the closeness to your location in miles or zip code.

Here is the URL:

http://www.clinicalconnection.com/SearchStudies.aspx


I recently spoke with a gentleman that happened to have Lupus. We met at a meeting, and when I was telling someone about my own experiences with "prednisone" he asked "Do you have Lupus?" Of course I said yes, along with several other autoimmune arthritic illnesses. We got to speak that evening for a long while and it is amazing the people that seem to be put right into your life just when you least expect it. He had been originally from the Houston TX area. He had participated in a clinical trial and talked with me about it.

He said he had a good experience with the one he participated in. I had wished that someone could have pointed me in the direction of these trials when I was first diagnosed, or barely diagnosed with one of several AI illnesses I have, so I may have been able to STOP or slow down some of the damage that is now too late as far as medication wise now. So, my own experience led me to surgery on several joints, and replacements on three large joints, and a 4 level cervical fusion, discectomy & two artificial discs replaced two of the severely damaged ones.

My own Rheumatologist in fact does research, and also teaches, plus still sees some of his patients. He had talked about a project "one of the clinical trials" that were putting together, and then I found out the place he teaches and does research at in Dallas, is also very well known for all of their clinical trials.

As for myself, before I had found a "great" Rheumatologist (who I thought I might lose in fact to his research and teaching), fortunately I didn't, by the time I really got to know about all of these "trials" I was in a good spot with medications, doctors, tests, labs and so on.

So, rather than let other people get under the radar and not be able to possibly enroll in a clinical trial, I try to make sure and put the URL up when they send me a current list via email. There are absolutely so MANY of them going on, and if you are fairly near a big city, I almost guarantee you can find something that may be of help to you.

Of course there are "trials" on ALL types of illnesses, but when you search for RA, Lupus, Sjogren's, MCTD. UCTD, JA, Still's Disease, Ankylosing Spondylitis, Psoriatic Arthritis, you certainly will find an entire host of trials for those illnesses.

Of course there are so many other Autoimmune Illnesses such as Multiple Sclerosis, and that list is into the hundred's that I am sure there are plenty of trials to go around for many.

It can be a way as I said of helping your own situation, possibly others also, and make way for hopefully a quicker and accurate diagnosis, more medications, possibly more ways to put these illnesses into remission, stop them before they begin, or possibly CURE those that are now suffering from them.


(Off The Cuff) well sort of, Talk About Having the Heck Scared out of me this morning!

Morning All! I had been checking email this morning and reviewing the weather, latest news, FB posts and so forth. Then I come here to see what is happening, and I could get into the "backend" of my blog. But I could not SEE the actual BLOG itself!!! I just about had a heart attack! I thought something had happened!

I could not get it to come up in either browser. I kept trying and trying, was just about ready to cry. Then I went into another area of the backend where I can make changes etc. From there I can also view the blog, and FINALLY, it came up. I guess I happened to be in here while Google was updating blogger or something. It is NOT a great way to start out your day for sure.

I hope that my "off the Cuff" post to the blog, will kind of give an "introspect" to "life" as someone who has "autoimmune arthritic illnesses" yet still does want to live life as "normal" as they can. That is IF there is a normal to any life these days.

Bear with me this morning. I think Blogger is updating something and I am trying to figure out the proper key commands to get the "emoticons" to work on my blog. I used to be able to "code" them with the ASII coding. Of course then they make them easier for FB, Myspace, and other places like the Messengers. But, I am still thinking I should be able to use them here on my blog without having to use HTML code to do it.

I am up to my eyeballs in "overload". After only being gone overnight, I came in yesterday and just was "aggravated" all day long. For one thing the "brain fog" was terrible. I could not type, think, I was dropping everything, spilling everything, and everywhere I look even this morning seems to be a pile of junk I need to either throw away, do something with, dust, clean, vacuum, check on, fix, make, wash, clean or whatever!!!!

Then having to think about going to the surgeon with this hernia is not making it any better. Especially when Jim's shoulder and neck are NO better! We maybe facing him having an MRI and no insurance. Even though we found that the "Hope clinic" will get it done for a very reduced rate, it still means over $300.00! PLus on top of all of that, I have a few teeth that are not "right"…. I fear I have another cavity at the gum line on a top front tooth… and then several they pulled, seem to have the teeth next to them either have chipped off or something, they are cutting into my tongue and cheeks when I eat or talk! LOL!!! Well heck, good way to lose weight and not have to have people listen to me griping and whining. I know several that would probably be overjoyed at the idea that I couldn't talk for a few days.

Then the dogs are not really well. They are getting a bit older and the younger one, Bubba Gump, is ALWAYS COLD! Bless their hearts they are not happy campers about this sudden change in weather. I am having to give them Claritin and Benadryl for allergies. Then all of my plants (and I mean over 50)  had to come in due to it getting cold. Well, they aren't happy either! They are all pissed, and their leaves are turning brown, yellow and I am pulling so many leaves off of them, I fear I will lose them!!! My house is just a wreck. I got to looking around yesterday, and I need to have a major (throw away) session! Our home is tiny. About a 1,000 square feet! We have to "make shift" closets, because there really were not any when we first bought it. Don't get me wrong, we are still thrilled with it. But, I seem to have become a pack rat I guess. I look around and it seems I have just too much "stuff"! The older I get the more I want to "reuse", "recycle" etc. And that is a good thing! There are MANY things I do that really help the environment, conserve waster, and save money that is for sure. But, I think I have also almost gone overboard and I catch myself "saving" this, that or the other, thinking "Oh, I'll find something to use "this" for?" Then 3 months later it is STILL SITTING HERE, piled up and NOT used! Thus, I am going to get a HUGE box and begin recycling right to the recycle, or to Good Will, or we have a place here called "Soul's Harbor". It is kind of like Good Will. They take all kinds of "stuff" and resell it, for a tiny amount. In fact many people go there for "odd" things such as old china, and things you probably might find at a "thrift" store that has been in the community for decades like this one has. It was here when I was little, thus it has accumulated LOTS of "stuff"… as they say one person's trash is another person's gold mine!

In fact, we laugh at my Mom. She tends to go through these phases of getting "bored" I think more than anything. So, she goes through every closet, every drawer, and starts "boxing" stuff up. Then 2 months later, she unboxes it all, and then puts it all back in another box! In fact she has really "thrown" so much away, or given it to Soul's Harbor, that I don't know where she even finds anything to box or get rid of anymore! Heck, I've taken so many things for her and gotten rid of them, I am surprised her house is not completely barren. But, as I said, I think for her, it is something "to do" to keep her busy, especially if she can't get out due to weather, etc. So, I just smile and let her talk about how she is getting rid of this, that and the other. Then fuss because she doesn't have any new clothes etc. Bless that woman's heart, she happens to be one of the most DIFFICULT people in the entire world to BUY FOR! OMG, my Dad bought all kinds of stuff for her, and she always took it back, or gives it away. No telling how many things I've gotten for her, thinking it would make her life easier, or it was something she could "really" use, and guess what? She either gives it away, gripes about it, or gives it back to me rather than use it.

I can recall after I was grown and married, Dad calling me a couple of weeks before Christmas telling me to "go by Mom" something from me for Christmas! And as I always told him, she will not be happy with it if the President gave it to her. She can't even buy anything for herself she likes. She winds up never wearing it, or taking it back, or again just giving it away. Clothes and shoes are the worst. No lie, I spent a YEAR, or more trying to find a PAIR OF SHOES, that woman could wear and LIKE! We have been shoe shopping more times than I can count on both hands. And every time she would buy some, go home, leave them in the box, and gripe about them for some reason. She wore the same pair of worn out "sandal" like shoes through "ALL" seasons, and I could NOT find any shoe especially closed in for the Winter should would wear. So, about a year ago, we were in Belk, over in Waxahachie. Well, the lady in the shoe department over heard our discussion. Again Mom took back yet another pair of shoes, to exchange. Well, the woman said she had the perfect shoes as far as "comfort" that Mom could ever put on her feet, BUT they are not PRETTY! And they aren't. They are the "clog" type of shoe, and are a black suede leather enclosed of course in the front. But believe me, they are not made for "dress wear". They ARE made strictly for comfort!

But, low and behold, the lady brought a pair out in Mom's size. She put those shoes on, and never took them off!!! She put her old worn out shoes in the box, and wore those out of the store! I almost fainted!!! I thanked that lady about 10 times!!! OMG, talk about a relief! And believe me she wears those suckers everywhere with everything.

NOW! If I could ONLY FIND her some pants, tops and dresses she liked that well, half of my life's problems would be SOLVED!!!

So, even though this is kind of "Off the Cuff"… it is also about how we, each and every one of us with these Chronic Daily Autoimmune Arthritic Illnesses, STILL DEAL WITH DAILY LIFE! We have ALL of the daily "stuff" to do, along with trying to KEEP OUR OWN BODIES, from DESTROYING US! It is a difficult battle, and not one for the weak at heart…..








A "New" place called "Off the Cuff" on my Blog and the First Official Post on It!


I hope all of you have a had good past few days. If you have "missed" me, as I said on Facebook, then I am happy to know you did! LOL! If you didn't then that hurts my feelings a bit. ;)
                                                 

"Off The Cuff" 


As I wrote on FB, Mom and I were gone overnight to the Winstar in OK! By the way, if you have not been there, or have no idea about the place, well, it makes some of the casino's even in Vegas look tiny!!! It is supposed to be the Biggest Casino in the WORLD!!! And if it isn't they are trying their damn hard get there. It is well over 2 MILES to walk through it from one end to the other! You ca n imagine when you walk through the slots for hours and hours how much exercise you get! AND IF IT IS NOT big enough, they are adding yet ANOTHER hotel (They have 2 and a smaller motel), plus adding about another 100 or more slots. I just cannot fathom to tell you how large it is. I've been to Vegas and as far as the "casino" itself, I don't think any of them are as large.

Now, for one. I had an idea this morning (through all of the fog that is in my brain) that I would do something called "Off the Cuff" in my blog. Mainly I write about Autoimmune Arthritis, Sjogren's, Lupus, Chronic pain, illnesses and other AI diseases. I post all kinds of things from the latest information about treatments, articles from some of the foundations, and so forth. But, I also like to throw in some of the more "personal" pieces of me. I talk about my own illnesses, and treatments, plus all of the things that go along with them in life. I have always wanted to "help" others "see" that through my own experiences, they also can have a "good life", but NOT FEEL GUILTY about being "chronically ill". It is very difficult to go through life, with a daily illness and not have it "consume" you. I know, because I have to work everyday NOT to allow it to do so!

So, I wanted to say first of all, I am thrilled for everyone that makes an effort to come here. I hope that since I have given the blog a whole new look, and the way you can see it, that it will be much easier to read, and use. So, that is my first step. Bear with me, because I know I will be making more changes as I go. For one, I will be adding more URL's that pertain to the Autoimmune Arthritic Illnesses. Along with treatments, non-profits, places for you to get information on them and so forth. I am also adding other "blogs" that I enjoy. They are also about these illnesses, how they effect their lives, and they can help you understand some of the things in your own life that happens.

Okay, on this first "Off the Cuff" post….

Mom and I went to Winstar in OK, as I mentioned above. We left early Sunday morning, and drove arriving about 10 a.m. It is about a 2 and a half hour trip. So, at about an hour and 15 minutes of it, we have "our morning" stop every time we go. There is a "McDonald's" at the half way point we always stop and get our "breakfast"…. LOL!!! Usually it is the same. Biscuit and sausage or an English Muffin and sausage, plus coffee! We are "big spenders" as you can tell! It also gives me a moment to get out of the car, rest my legs etc, especially if I am doing all the driving.

From there of course as I said above the place is "Gianormous"… if that was a word! So, we have our particular door we park at, and as always that is our first stop. We were spending the night on "their dime" this time. Winstar had sent us free rooms for 2 nights, thus that is when we stay overnight. Which is better for me if Mom and I go alone. I don't get so tired out from driving both there and back the same day. Well, we played for hours and hours. In fact, I pulled out a $20.00 bill when we arrived. At 4:30 that afternoon, I STILL had my 20.00 plus some on a ticket! LOL! So, I was in good shape in that respect. It is just hard to believe how many people are there, and how huge the place is. Around 2:30 pm earlier I had went around to the hotel that is "attached" to the Casino. (They have a brand new 500 ROOM one behind it!), checked in so we didn't have to worry about that later. We didn't even go up to the room at that time. We went back to play, then ate around 7pm, and by 7:30, (I had pulled a stupid stunt and wore the "wrong" shoes this time), my feet were hurting so badly, I thought I was going to have to go barefooted to get the car, take it behind the casino to park at the hotel entrance, then let Mom out with the bags, parked it and then finally got back in.


  Anyway, needless to say, by the time I got up to the room, my feet were in such bad shape, my little toes were almost bleeding, and I had two "stone bruises" (like blood blisters) under my big toes. I had worn a pair of black dress heels that are a bit "platform". I have a brand new black and grey striped very long skirt I wore and needed those heels really to wear it. But fortunately I always take another pair of shoes, which I took my sandals so that way, I can wear those when I have my feet worn out! I know stupid, but I know you "girls" understand what I am saying. I so rarely "go out" like that, so when I do get to go, I want to be "dressed to the nine's"… So, for me it was a huge ordeal to get to dress up and wear those heels too. Of course I am paying the price for it, but still it was "partially" worth it… :)

Anyway, a couple of "odd" things that happened. First of all, we had already gotten to the room, had talked, changed clothes, and was watching television. Mom was already asleep, and I heard this "KNOCK!!" at our door. Well, I knew there should be no one knocking, and I looked out the peep hole, and saw no one. I just figured someone was at the wrong door by mistake, and went back to bed. Well, it happened 4 MORE times that night! Each time not a soul was there, that "I could see". There was no way I was going to open that door at all, and it was dead bolted and locked down, so I was not really worried. I guess I should have called the front desk, but it was wee hours of the morning and I just said to heck with it and went back to bed. The one thing I did realize is that our room was the first room out of the elevator as you began down that hallway. So, someone could knock, then just step around the corner so you could not see them, and maybe they thought if they knocked long enough someone would be stupid enough to answer. Plus even though the place is huge, I also know at times, Mom will even say, that sometimes a "guy" will be looking at me, and of course I don't see it. I DO watch my surroundings of course when we go alone, but as far as noticing someone "watching" me while we gamble I am not aware really, but she is. So, when we checked out yesterday morning I told them, and mentioned where we were as far as the elevator. I kind of got to thinking about it on the drive home, and felt like possibly someone noticed we were "alone", not had anyone with us, like Jim in other words. Maybe someone did happen to be watching and followed us. Then thought maybe I would be stupid enough to open the door if they knocked enough times. I thought about it because when we got in the elevator that night on the way up, a guy got in right behind us. He saw what floor I pushed, and when I asked him what floor, he say the same as we were on, the 11th. Well, at first it did not really bother me, but the guy just kind of acted "odd". Plus I don't recall seeing him go down "either" hallway… you could go left or right after you got off the elevators. Our room was just off to the right, by them. So, it dawned on me, he may have followed us from the Casino to the elevators. I was so tired and my feet hurt so badly, that I probably didn't think about it. I had left Mom in the lobby with our bags, and went to park the car. Stupid me, didn't think about just letting the valet park it. I was thinking I would get in the handicapped place and it would be close. Well, hell they were all taken of course, and I had to park a good ways off. But, I thought he may have seen me let Mom out and then followed us as we went up. Maybe not and maybe it was someone just being as ass. But, usually in a Hotel at a Casino, there aren't kids, and at that time of the night, people are either asleep or down stairs gambling, and why our room???
Needless to say, I did not get much sleep. Between the damned knocking, and my feet itching and burning… by 4:30 (my usual wake up time) I was up and trying to get a bit of coffee down me (which their coffee thing in the room sucks)… so we could go down to find breakfast. That was another thing. The Casino built another HUGE buffet. BUT, they actually closed the other one, which they need both. And the new one does NOT serve breakfast at all. Yet, not one soul in the casino could tell me where they serve breakfast! It was nuts. So, we went down and decided to just check out, get the car, put our bags in it, and then drive around to play. Well, low and behold, right across from the registration desk is a brand new restaurant, and a very nice one, with linen napkins and the whole nine yards. In fact I think one of the glass pieces they had was a "Chihuly" piece, and it was totally amazing! Anyway, we had a wonderful breakfast, I got the car, and we drove back around to the front of the casino where it was closer for us to get into it, and then leave when we got ready. The Hotel is SO FAR away from the front entrances of the casino, it takes something like 15 minutes just to walk back to it. Thus moving the car is definitely a must.
The other "odd" thing that happened was just terribly weird. Mom and I were playing and I turned around to see where the nearest place was to get a drink. I noticed two or three of the main casino guys that are on the floor to help with machines etc if something goes wrong. They were standing around this man, who had been playing on a machine to the right of me, across the way. They were really having one "serious" conversation it appeared, so I figured maybe the machine grabbed his ticket, or something like that. In fact, after I got up, got us some tea and came back, my machine "fouled" out and took my ticket and would not play either. I waited almost 45 minutes for someone to come fix it and that was after asking 4 times. Anyway, after these men talked to the guy playing for awhile, I noticed a "security guard" standing right there by this guy. He kept on playing and appeared to be the same machine, but that security guard did not leave his side. I even asked him if he could get someone to come help me, and the entire time the guy kept playing, but that guard stayed there. That was very strange. I never did figure it out. Anyway, just odd for sure.

We had again got over to the Casino EARLY by about 7:30 or a little after, so by 1:00 pm, I knew I had a drive ahead of me to come home, so I was about ready to leave. LOL, I think Mom would have stayed if I had said let's stay, but she does when she is NOT losing, and she is winning a little …:)

So, we walked past the "high rollers" room, one of several they have. This one is mainly $5.00 and $1.00 slots, and of course they have others with the $10.00 and up. Anyway, she wanted to go in and look around, so we did. She decided she wanted us to put a hundred dollar bill in one of the dollar ones and play it! So, we did. We played on several of the slots in that bank of dollar ones. She had so much fun doing that. LOL, of course we were not fortunate to win, but it was cool to watch her have a great time.

We left after that, and traffic was a bit heavy through Dallas, but we made it home without a scratch. I was glad to be home, and my two dogs were just so happy! They just would not leave my side. I was glad to see them and Jim. I had missed him and hated he did not get to go with us this time. He usually does, but he still has the neck and shoulder ordeal bothering him, plus he is trying to catch up on work also, so he decided to stay home this time.

Anyway, that was my Sunday and Monday, and it was good to get away; although when I get home, then I feel like I've been gone a month! It seems I am SO FAR BEHIND… with online stuff, my volunteer stuff, my blog, email, doing laundry, cleaning house and it never ends… and then I have not been to the market for my "monthly huge" bill of groceries, so I have got to get coupons in order to do that. I am so far behind on my "stockpile"! It sucks!!!!!

Also, one other thing. I may have mentioned my "lump" on my left lower abdomen several times. But, as I said, my brain fog is bad today. My brain is trying to swirl and take in about a million things I need to do, and I just can't get it all straight. I went of course to the PA, a sonogram, a Gynecologist, then back to the other PA in my PCP's office. She, the last PA, FINALLY found out I do have two hernia's… yes not just ONE, but TWO of them!!! The left one of course is what sent me to be looked at. Honestly, I really thought it might be a tumor. I have "stomach cancer and colon cancer" in the family, so I was kind of concerned. Then when the sonogram showed nothing, honestly it concerned me more! I have to see a surgeon and was supposed to go tomorrow. But, I am postponing it until next week. I've got so much to catch up with, and I can see him here in town on a Monday or FRiday, rather than having to travel out of town, which takes more of a day up. So, as I find out what the deal it I will let you know…

Okay, other than I am SORE, TIRED, and BRAIN DEAD… I am happy Mom and I spent the time together…

I'll get my head back on straight in a day or two…:)

Rhia


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A Flare, The FLU - I PRAY NEITHER!!!!!

I HOPE I am NOT in a FLARE!!! 

I have had to cancel me going to our High School's last football game with our big rivals over in Waxahachie, our county seat. We had planned to go several weeks ago and I bought tickets yesterday. BUT, it was NOT supposed to RAIN darned it! So, I have felt a bit "off" today for some reason. Just had a headache, my stomach not all that great.. and NOW it appears we will have rain about time for the game. Well if it were something extremely important, then I would "push" aside the warning signs of either a flare or my worst fear the flu. I have not gotten my flu shot yet and I've in the doctors office twice in the past 10 days. They were out of the vaccine this last time I was there, thus I have not went onto Wal-Greens and gotten it. Now I almost feel feverish, cold yet kind of clammy, and my legs and lower back are achey. So, bless his heart I guess he will have to go alone. He has called everyone we can think of, and of course the one time he tries no one is available In fact, one of the guys from his meetings has Lupus. He is in a flare right now actually. My husband called him earlier in the day to see if he was going. We had talked about catching up at the game and all sitting together. I met him Halloween night at the "birthday" meeting, and happened to mention the BAD "P" word! Prednisone… and something else was said and he happened to say he knew that P word well, he has Lupus!!! Wow, it is amazing how to "meet" other "birds of the feather"  Anyway, I DON"T want EITHER!!! And sure as HELL not the flu. Last time I had the flu, I got double pneumonia AND WHOOPING COUGH with it! I was on the sofa for about 8 days and could not barely crawl to the bathroom and back. It is a nightmare…. so at that time I had not been diagnosed with any type of AI diseases, but a PCP there already suspected it and was going to send me to a Rheumatologist there in Seattle. We came to Ennis before I went thus found out probably a great deal "too much" later about the MCTD, Lupus, Sjogren's, Raynauds, and the RA. Anyway, keep me in your minds over the next 2 days. I and my Mom are supposed to be going to a Girls overnight trip out on Sunday/Monday to OK, to Winstar! I am going to be extremely miffed if I am too sick to go! :);) Autoimmune Arthritis Illnesses??? "Ain't they grand?!"