Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Thoughts on the Arthritis Foundation Visit and the Summit on Capitol Hill, and others that were and are there this week!!!

....  Plus we will be able to get some of those extremely important issues covered like the "biosimilars" (which also is going to be on a state level of legislature also). the business about affordable medications, more from the DOD about our armed service people coming home and facing some of these often crippling illnesses, plus get the Pediatric Rheumatologists more plentiful for the children with Juvenile Arthritis, JRA etc. There are MANY "Eggs" in the basket once again this year, so I am happy to know that I will be an important part to helping to possibly gain more access for patients on medications, get more research and development off the ground, and as the AF says, get to the point that everyone on the "Hill" and not there to understand that "Arthritis is Unacceptable".... I appreciate ALL of those who were able to go to DC. I still am so bummed that I missed it. But, I guess I now know "why" or part of why I was not able to go. My health a huge part of it, plus there were several things I needed to be here at home about already this week, and I still have more. I had the CT Scan yesterday, so as I said in a previous post, I hope they "find" what the problem is. If that can be done, THEN as stupid as it sounds, I think I will somewhat be relieved. I, along with many feel when we go into our doctors complaining of certain symptoms, especially pain in some ways, that if there is not some "thing" they can point it to exactly, that we are not believed as much as if we go in, they do labs, scans and whatever, find something "tangible" to say "this" is what is causing that severe pain... then we feel it is far better received all too often by our physicians, family, friends and so forth. We ALL are all too aware of "silent illnesses" that don't just "show" and even in testing at times those tests are just as good as the people doing them, reading them etc. So, I know for me I just think if they can "pin point" something in my lumbar spine, like I suspect some "compression fractures" due to the osteoporosis, then my doctor will be more apt to "see" that YES I am in more pain and my pump should be upped. But, of if that stupid scan does not give a "bird's eye" picture of something obvious, then will he still take me "seriously"??? He should, he has been my pain specialist now since about 2008 or so. He is the one that got me on the right medication, and then put the pump in when we reached that place in late 2010. Wow, it is hard to believe it is coming up on 5 years since the pump was placed on my right side! Time flies by much too quickly. But, I also still suspect part pf my issue is with my hips. I've had them injected with corticosteroid on several occasions. In fact the last time, both hips were so bad, I asked my orthopedic surgeon to inject both at the same time! He did, and I got better for a long time. So, if the back shows something then I will be "relieved"... and yet if something still seems "off" then I will see about my orthopedic doctor maybe doing a CT scan of them, or sometimes just X-rays are good enough in hips to show the degeneration. Like my hands, thumbs, wrists and feet, and toes. All of that show up in a regular X-ray.

So, I also of course below talked about the issues with my Mom's sister, and it is at the point, that I just hope she hangs on until tomorrow. I am taking Mom their tomorrow, and then we will go to my doctors appt after that.
I just have not gotten a good enough information, that I really know. I am under the impression that when they call in "hospice" that usually means things are heading downhill fast. So I certainly don't want my Mom to put this off ... I think she just has a difficult time seeing my Aunt in the shape she is in, so she kind of puts off visiting,  because of how hard it is on her. But, time is of the essence now for sure. So, no more putting it off, even if I have to drag her kicking and screaming LOL... tomorrow to see my Aunt and Uncle.... Please any and everyone share your visits to the "Hill" with myself and others... I would love to hear from you!!!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A Bit OF "Personal" Goings ON I wanted to share....

In between all of this, I have not mentioned that I got a call from Mom last night. Her last living sibling, her sister, who is about 3 years younger than Mom, has been battling "terminal" stomach cancer for a long while. Well, my Uncle called Mom and told her that my Aunt now has Hospice coming in all the time. I feel from what he said she does not have much longer. So, this week is so nuts for myself and Mom, that I hope and pray my Aunt Geri makes it till Thursday. They live in Mesquite up by Dallas and it is not far from my Pain Doctor. I have an appt with him on Thursday afternoon. So, our plans are to go up and visit my Aunt for a bit, then go on over to my doctors for my appt. This is a horribly busy week for me, and I am already feeling run down. I had the CT Scan done earlier this morning, and now we shall see what that has to say. I fear it will not "show enough"... which as stupid as this sounds, I hope it DOES show what the heck is causing all of my added pain!!! My pain doctor is going to "up" my medication in my pump, so we need to know where the freaking pain is coming from. I feel it could be from "compression fractures" due to my osteoporosis being so severe. But, I am also having major pain in both hips... and then down the back and sometimes front of my legs, all the way to my heels. So, please keep my Aunt, My Mom and our family in your prayers. This is my Mom's last "close" family member, besides myself and my two kids. So, she has lost my Dad, both her parents, and then her brother and sister in law. I know she is taking this much harder than she lets on. I am worried about her too... she kept repeating herself and asking me the same questions over and over today when I dropped by, so I know she is just upset, plus I feel she may have some "dementia" herself. Both my Grandfather, he had Alzheimer's and my Grandmother had dementia... so it runs in her family... also my daughter and her husband and kids are really going through a tough time right now.... more on the level of a job situation, and has to do with the oil business. Her hubby has worked for this company for 10 years or more... and there is lots going on for them also... so I would really appreciate your positive thoughts our way...



Of course, everything always is either feast or famine and we don't realize at times when something either keeps us "home" rather than going where we feel we should be, or having to be some place and you never expected that either. I've been waxing and waning now for months with this "new" type of almost at times unbearable pain. But, this is my hips, my lower back, then down my legs almost into my heels. It seems to be worse on my feet, or if I stand or walk a bit more than around the house. Yet, now I notice if I sit here at my computer in my chair, I also begin to hurt and I have to get up and walk away... so it is almost damned if I do, and damned if I don't.... I shall update my post as things happen.... until then keep all of us in your thoughts and prayers.... Rhia

Monday, March 23, 2015

Arthritis Foundation Annual Summit on the Hill in DC Happening NOW!

Get your fingers in gear and get ready to do some "E-Summit Advocacy" things, if you were not able to attend the Summit. I feel this will be an incredible couple of days that will certainly help to enhance the future treatments, research, physicians, tests and reasons to why these illnesses attack so many of us!

LOTS of things going on today on Capitol Hill - Check your FB and Tweets!!!!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

I am with you and the Arthritis Foundation in spirit and in thoughts and well wishes!!!

Since TOMORROW is the HUGE "Summit on Capitol Hill" Day for the Arthritis Foundation. This is just one of the many "Annual" events AF puts on throughout the year. There is the "Jingle-Bell Run", the "camp" for the Juvenile Arthritis Patients, there are also other walks that are done around the various states. In fact here in my part of Texas, we will be having a get together in April! I am so hoping to be able to go! So, since I am sure there are many people out there that are "aware" of the Arthritis Foundation, and that they are a non-profit for Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis, they do any and every thing imaginable to HELP US as Patients, Caregivers, Family Members, Friends, and those that have children with JRA or JA/Still's Disease. From being up front and personal with our Nation's Congress, the AF is always reaching out to help with some bills, laws, and even the different states platforms when it comes to patients with these illnesses. AF addresses the disparities involved, trying to find ways to get more researchers, more medications, more educated physicians, nurses and all medical professionals, and also work on some things with the DOD which involves our own troops that come home all too often with some type of "Arthritic" illness that takes its toll on their lives state side. The AF brings "patients" in as Advocates, and Ambassadors, takes them to Capitol Hill annually about this time in March each year, to visit the different Representatives in our areas, and "educate" them about our illnesses. We also tell them how they can help immensely by "supporting" the Arthritis Caucus or even being a member of it. We talk to them about the "real day to day" hellish at times living we face. We explain how things need to change in order for us to be more able to work, to take care of us, our families, and participate in many activities, but without the proper treatment EARLY in the game, and a proper well educated physician that knows his or her stuff, we often wind up totally disabled, totally unable to take care of ourselves, or much of our things, and then the quality of our lives are painful to not just us, but spouses, children, family and friends.... OF course we all totally understand that these types of medical ideas - whether a research study or clinical trial, maybe a drug that is needing approval from the FDA, thus possibly more of a wait to get it on the market, the VAST
arena" of prices on these "new medications" and how can patients possibly afford them? When you are speaking of a medication, one injected at home weekly, at the "cost of" $4,000.00 a MONTH, plus insurance either will NOT PAY any of it, OR the "co-pay" you would owe is so astronomical there is no way you can even pay that. Then the money it takes to get a research project off the ground. Researchers may spend years and years on ONE idea, ONE cure, ONE reason... for the illness in the first place. Then that may hit a wall, and after all the money and time, nothing comes of it anyway.
So, in front of the scenes and behind the scenes the Arthritis Foundation has brought and continues to bring patients together, in a bond, a purpose, and driven to "change" what is now just purely unacceptable. As I have thought of each of you all day long today, knowing that each of you are there and are "taking my place" to get the word out, to get Congress to really "listen" and act! I feel this will be a very incredible Summit this year and MANY things will start to be accomplished over the next few days.
My prayers, thoughts and well wishes to all of you there. PLEASE POST, email, tweet and so forth any and everything you can if you get a chance! I will be closely watching Twitter, FB, and the others, watching for any thing that may get posted. smile emoticon So, if you don't have time send the pics and so forth to me, and I will definitely be here, trying to do all I can to support the AF and all of you..... my well wishes and may all of you stay warm, healthy, and safe! Rhia Steele

Clinical Trials - Cure Click and more information

Saturday, March 21, 2015

AS YOU Go to DC Next Week to Represent ALL with so many health issues, may WE ALL do our part to BREAKTHROUGH the disparities that hold back Cures...

Well the "day of infamy" is almost upon many of us! That is the packing, preparing, and getting on that flight to Washington DC for several activities going on there this coming week! I believe our Congress will be a bit on overwhelm at times with all of the health activists, Ambassadors, Volunteers, and many that will be telling their own personal story about their chronic illnesses, the different disparities and challenges they face, some daily, and how much more we need in research, in new technology, new medications, more specialized physicians, of course which all take lots of dollars to be able to fund some of these extremely needed actions. Life is already a huge enough daily challenge, to work, take care of family, kids, go to college, and participate in the "daily" life of living. Then you add on top of that, chronic illnesses, chronic pain, being unable to get the doctors and medications you need, further more possibly not being able to even get a "real and proper" diagnosis FIRST so you can receive the treatment you need. The amount of "challenges" that those of us with chronic illnesses face, especially when the diseases are often arthritis, autoimmune, or both, and we still have so many UNANSWERED questions about these illnesses. Are they genetic in nature? Is there something on Earth, in our water, food, land, air, that is causing so many more of us to become ill with these chronic diseases? It is almost unbelievable to actually think about the growing numbers of those (and especially once again women) at an alarming rate being diagnosed with autoimmune, autoimmune arthritic, arthritis, FM, CFS. MS. Myasthenia Gravis, and then the other "ailments" that follow along with these "main illnesses"... brain issues, heart problems, lung problems, bones, joints, spinal issues, and then with Sjogren's the "dental" problems that are so very severe so quickly, that within months, like myself you find you are losing every tooth to this horrid disease, and there is not a thing to do about it, but have dentures. You cannot stop it or even slow it down. I tried. I was meticulous with my dental health, always had been. but, even as meticulous as I was, also using the couple of medications available, along with keeping my mouth moist, chewing sugar free gum, you name it I tried it, yet I still lost ALL of my teeth in less than a year to Sjogren's. So, each and every person, whether you get to go to DC this week and tell your story, or you are sitting at home, possibly too ill to attend, and you do your "advocacy" work from your computer, you send emails, you send snail mails, tell your own elected officials, and not just "federal" but our STATE Officials, and even Local governmental officials need to be a part of this growing, ever enlarging issue of autoimmune illnesses, and rare diseases. All also goes along, with people getting the help they need, so they can afford their medications, they can afford and be seen by the proper physicians, they can afford the surgeries, or whatever their treatment needs to be, even like myself, trying to PAY out of MY POCKET over $15,000.00!!!!! cash for my dentures to be put in properly... there are not many people around with that kind of available money to spend in one whack at a dentist! THIS NEEDS to be PAID FOR MY HEALTH INSURANCE! IT is A HEALTH PROBLEM, NOT DENTAL THAT CAUSED ME TO LOSE EVERY TOOTH!!! But, we ALL need to stand up and say NONE of this is RIGHT, NONE of this is ACCEPTABLE, WE should have the medical, dental, eye and more CARE of PROFESSIONALS and experts that can help us live somewhat of a normal life. The ALMOST INTRACTABLE PAIN I've been in over the past week, SHOULD NOT BE!!! I SHOULD not have to wait, I should have been able to have my medication UPPED the next day, not a week later! I HURT! I HURT to the point, that it's stopping me from doing what I love the best, my advocacy, my writing, my helping others.... my taking care of my own home, shopping. and helping Jim and my Mom... ALL of this is just WRONG! AND ONLY YOU AND I can MAKE IT RIGHT! So, for ALL of you whether you will be in DC next and able to "stand on the steps of the White House" as I used to say, and plead my own case and the case of others that could not attend, or if you are home, and not able to attend you still MATTER! YOUR VOICE will STILL BE HEARD! We must RING OUT, CRY OUT, and say ENOUGH IS TOTALLY ENOUGH! WE are one of the MOST INTELLIGENT NATIONS in the entire WORLD! There is NO REASON that our incredibly talented researchers, doctors, professionals in these fields can't find solutions, but they need funds to get these types of things running and off the ground. Again, I wish ALL next week an incredible and memorable trip to DC. May your voice RING true for all of us... from patients, physicians, family, friends caretakers... researchers... may we FINALLY BREAK THROUGH the "thick headed" thinking of some, and get brilliant things accomplished! As tears roll down my face, I beg of all of you to stand up and tell your story... to stand up and tell a story of a friend, family member.... stand up and be heard!

Friday, March 20, 2015

RA Connections - in the Texas/OK area - IN April!

This is awesome!!! Everyone in these areas of Texas or OK this is the time for you to get even more involved!!! I am planning on going to the one in Addison TX for sure! #RAConnections

Excited, Thrilled, Disappointed, Upset, Mad At Autoimmune Illnesses, and sometimes just upset with life in general - Not able To go to The Arthritis Summit next week!

I've not said much to anyone about my current situation with the autoimmune illnesses, pain, the severity of pain, a headache now that just won't go away, and all of the stress these autoimmune illnesses have caused me over the past month.

I always know, for ANY of us, plans sometimes change within a day! When you have a chronic illness and/or chronic pain, every day can be a challenge! WE can have our "great days", our "good" days, our "okay" days... and honestly it seems more days that it is SUCKS! These illnesses completely destroy our lives as far as whatever normal is.

They take us by the hand, heart, body and soul, and sling us around to the 4 corners of the Earth. We never know if we will land standing up, or sliding down that damned steep hill, with the rocks, twigs, gravel, and all scarring if not our "bodies".... our minds for sure.

I realize that "autoimmune illnesses" are NOT the ONLY diseases that are chronic and hit us in a haphazard way of life. But, they tend to be really good about waiting until we have some awesome plans scheduled, then totally ripping them to shreds within a breath's space.

I've been fighting with what I have felt was a Lupus flare now for weeks. I've also come to the place I MUST get these bottom teeth, "implanted" and anchored down. It is way overdue, and it is causing me to have all kinds of stomach issues, since there is so much either I can't eat, or I can't chew properly, thus I either avoid those things, or try to eat them, and almost choke, or they go down half chewed which is horrid for my stomach.

So, I knew I was facing a possibility  of not being able to go to the Summit with AF next week, which SUCKS big time, since I am one that made a "Platinum Ambassador" and should be there to represent all of us that had that honor, and be there to do what I am supposed to and that is to get those in Congress, "educated", "on-board" "possibly involved in the Arthritis Caucus" and backing the Congress people that are in the Caucus.

Plus I feel it is also my duty to lay out the "agenda" for AF 2015, and the things we need and hope to accomplish, from the issues involving now our "state" representatives, more on the realms of the DOD and the role in arthritis for our men and women that come home and develop these illnesses, to getting research out there in a more advanced way, and to "teach" ALL, public, government, professionals, the medical world, caretakers, patients, ALL about how "arthritis is NOT ACCEPTABLE" for anyone to have to live with.

So, to NOT be able to carry out what I feel is my duty to do, has really put me in a tailspin of hurt, worry, and let down. I feel I've let down the AF, the Ambassadors, and let down everyone who has stood beside me all last year no matter what helping me to see, even though I felt I was not doing enough, I was doing plenty, even when I felt like I wasn't.

Now I have developed something as of day before yesterday, that came on very sudden and hit me like a brick wall. I am not sure if it is a bad flare, or what. But, between a headache that is the WORST HEADACHE I have ever had in my life, that will NOT GO strength is none, I do well to walk across the house, I am freezing one moment, burning up the next, and I am in extreme pain from my head to my toes.... I feel as if someone has beat the literal hell out of me with a baseball bat, then ran over me with a car a couple of times. From my thumbs, all the way to my head, and all the way to down my toes, I HURT! A very DEEP BONE ACHE, that is relentless! Plus I ran low grade fever all day yesterday, and this morning, I can tell my body is fighting the fever, because I feel so damned lousy... I am hot one moment, chilled the next, cold the next, sweating the next... and our very HIGH Humidity is NOT helping it at all.

Anyway, I honestly am not up to sitting here, so I will close this for now, and explain more over the next couple of days.

But, I DO INTEND on doing EVERYTHING I CAN FOR THE E-SUMMIT!, and posting to social media and so forth as the AF storms Capitol Hill on Monday and Tuesday! I wish all of them luck, and hope it turns out to be an incredibly awesome Summit!!! Go Get Um!!!! I will be there in spirit....

Cure Click- Alzheimer's Clinical Trial - Thought some maybe interested in this!

Even those this is not "autoimmune" at this moment, I know many of us with brain fog issues, or that have had Alzheimer's in their family, like I have had. My Grandfather had full blown Alzheimer's and my Grandmother developed dementia also.

This can be done online, so I don't believe there is really somewhere you must "travel" for this clinical trial.

The link is above, and feel free to ask questions, if you have them. I know I participated in the "initial" trial information and I am supposed to let them contact me for more information, due to my answers to the first round of questions online.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Sjogren's and Dental Issues!!! Needs to be a Priority!!!!

I realize that this is in Oregon and one of the dentists that is trying to get ORAL HEALTH a priority in Oregon's Health Authority I gather much like Texas and our (DHS) Medicaid and so on, this is kind of the same thing. The HUGE ISSUE and of course I ran into this right middle of the road like a brick wall - that even though ALL of my DENTAL ISSUES were caused by an Illness SJOGREN'S - NOT ONE Dentist even took my Medicare Advantage Plan or any type of Medicare Coverage plus even if I could have went through numerous appeals, Humana probably would have not covered but about 40% of the 15,000.00 PLUS - (turns out to be over 15,000.00 due to the dentist "leaving off" the charges for the LAST 11 TEETH pulled the day my dentures went in... which was another $147.00 EACH for the 11 - making it another about $1,517.00 or so OVER the ORIGINAL "treatment plan" I agreed upon and signed before the work began. This is a total outrage!!! There is NO WAY ANYONE, and most certainly MOST ON MEDICARE OR DISABILITY can AFFORD OUT OF THEIR POCKETS $15,000.00 IN DENTAL BILLS!!! But. I had NO CHOICE!!
As I have posted over the last year when all of the mess began with my teeth suddenly "rotted" off at the gum line and then falling out! I had 4 of them within 4 months happen... well after the "whole mouth X-ray" revealed ALL of my teeth were doing the same.... So, here I am with all of these Autoimmune diseases, already a HUGE chance of infections due to the illnesses and the medications I am on... and by the way that $15,000.00 was much higher when I went for 2 other opinions!!! That was the Lowest in the ballpark figure...

Anyway, I have told myself and said it here also... WE MUST FIGHT FOR DENTAL HELP!!! When a chronic illness brings on this kind of destruction, there should be coverage through medical insurance... the proof of how the teeth "rotted" showed it was definitely Sjogren's that caused it... so there is NO question as to a medical issue causing the dental stuff...
Anyway, this article caught my eye from Oregon... and I wanted to share this with you also... this is another HUGE PRIORITY (among ALL of the others we have with Autoimmune and Autoimmune Arthritic Illnesses....

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

FIX Medicare NOW!!!!

PLEASE Take a moment and go to this site!!! You can "automatically" send several of the "key" team of Congress that are the ones that really can get a handle on the issues with Medicare!!

., March 31st is almost here! Please help us


 , March 31st is almost here! Please help us  



Saturday, March 14, 2015

Cure Click! There'is A New Way "in town" to find Clinical Trials in your area!

There is a brand new way you can find those "Clinical Trials" that you may have wanted to try and enroll in, but wading through the "red tape" of those, trying to find ones in your area, for your particular type of illness can be a very daunting experience!

Now here is "Cure Click"! It can make your search for a clinical trial much simpler, and allow you to possibly participate without wading through pages and pages on websites. If you have any questions, feel free to post, or contact me. Below is more information about the program, and more explanation on how this could be the answer you have been waiting for as far as a Clinical Trial Experience!  Rhia

Biosimilars! The future of much more affordable medications for Autoimmune and Arthritis Illnesses, as well as others.... A Texas Bill to be Passed

I wanted to share with my friends about a very pleasant and surprising phone call I received yesterday evening. It was from the Central Arthritis Foundations (Texas area) Senior VP. I have the honor of meeting her last year at the Arthritis Summit in DC, along with several other incredible people! Each have touched my life in so many ways. She was talking to me about the Summit, plus we have a "bill" in the Texas legislature about "governing" over the "bio-similars" here in our state. Rules to make sure patients get these when they are available, for the reasons why they are being made, which is expense, a major factor for patients. But, the bill is to protect the patient, the physicians, the pharmacies, so that things run smoothly, and patients get the "alternative" if available and if that is what their physicians deem to be okay for them. Anyway, we are having some of our Texas Arthritis Advocates go to Austin next week, and "testify" in front of the legislature about the bill we are supporting, and so forth. If you are here in TX, and these medications will some time in the future apply to you, someone you know and so forth, I wanted to let you know the number of the bill, so you can be familiar with it. It is Bill Support HB 751 / SB 542. OF course the biosimilar medications will definitely be a huge thing for those of us with autoimmune illnesses, arthritis illnesses, as well as other diseases also. They will be something that can help many of us get medications we need, but at a lesser price, which makes them available to many, many more of us. As we go along with this particular bill in our Texas Legislative body, you will see it come up I am sure along the way. It is one you will probably want to keep your eyes on, and we hope we have all the support we can here in TX, in order to get these medications to our fellow Texans as they become available. So, I was invited to go to Austin next week and "testify" in behalf of the AF. I am not sure as of yet, if I will be able to make the trip. I missed Pam's email I believe due to of course "spam" filters, so the original email didn't get to me. She resent it yesterday, so I am looking over the information now, and if things work out, I may consider going down to Austin next week to go in front of the legislature in support of getting this bill passed. I am excited to know over these next 10 years or so, we will be seeing hopefully MANY more of these types of medications, that will save patients billions of dollars and also allow them to have them much more affordable. I wish everyone a good weekend. It is dreary and appears as if we could almost have thunderstorms. The humidity has to be 100% PLUS!!! Insane for sure... from one extreme to the other... and between my own joints and pain, Jim's issues since the wreck, and even my two dogs... I saw them struggling somewhat with "stiffness" and some pain in their joints too. I will "post" more about this bill on my blog and the information on it so you can also do your own research!


Support HB 751 / SB 542
To Allow Texas Pharmacists to Substitute Interchangeable Biological Products,
Help Remove Barriers to Lower Cost Drugs and Ensure Patient Safety.

What the legislation does:
HB 751 / SB 542 updates the Texas Pharmacy Practice Act.

Provides Texas pharmacists with the ability to dispense safe and less expensive biologic medications to patients, by allowing substitution of an FDA-approved interchangeable biologic for an innovator biologic brand product.

Current Texas law does not allow pharmacists to substitute any biologic drug products; therefore, pharmacists will be required to obtain advanced approval from the prescriber before they are allowed to substitute an FDA-approved interchangeable biologic for a brand name biologic.          HB 751 / SB 542 removes this hurdle.

The current pharmacy practice act has specific rules that must be followed to ensure safe generic substitution of traditional drugs. HB 751 / SB 542 updates these laws to include a similar process to ensure safe biologic substitution. Biosimilars are expected on the market in 2015.

Assures that only FDA-approved “interchangeable” biologic products may be substituted without prior prescriber consent. This is similar to substitution requirements of generic substitution.

Retains the authority of physicians to call for Dispense as Written or DAW. This is identical to the authority they have with generic substitution.

Ensures pharmacist communication with the patient about the substitution, in the same way they are notified about a generic substitution.

Because biologic products differ from generics in complexity and are not identical chemical products, HB 751 / SB 542 ensures there will be transparent communication between pharmacists and prescribing physicians to ensure the patient’s medical record reflects which specific product(s) have been dispensed. This information can be relayed after the prescription is dispensed to alleviate the need to wait for pre-approval, as current law requires.

Why support HB 751 / SB 542:
HB 751 / SB 542 recognizes the growing use of interoperable electronic health records and electronic prescribing records, allowing such systems to be used by a patient’s health care team to communicate regarding a patient’s complete medication history.

HB 751 / SB 542 will streamline the substitution process by allowing pharmacists to substitute an FDA approved interchangeable biologic without first seeking approval.

HB 751 / SB 542 will increase access to lower cost drugs for patients. Biosimilars are forecast to lead to a $44.2 billion reduction in direct spending on brand-name biologics from 2014 to 2024, according to the Rand Corporation.

We are among the Texas patient and provider groups that have studied interchangeable biologic substitution and agree with the principles for safe substitution included in HB 751 / SB 542. Please vote yes!

HERE IS the information from the Arthritis Foundation and some of the other organizations supporting the bill.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Changing of The "Plans"... asking for positive thoughts....

Please keep "positive" thoughts my way as I try to delve into my 3rd book. I've been working on it off and on for a long while, and really began to watch it somewhat take "shape" after the first of 2015. But, I was also trying to juggle writing it, all of the errands, bills, groceries, shopping, house cleaning, cooking... and of course that list goes on and on... along with all of my activist, advocacy, Ambassador, and volunteer work. Now, I have tried to come up with more ways to make some of the daily "drum" of life, play a different tune for me. I've re-organized (or I trying to) how I deal with the daily things that all of us must do, and also be loyal to my own blog and book... PLUS remain a huge VOICE as  I feel I must in the realms of my advocacy, activism, volunteer, and ambassador work as well. I never want to "negate" how critical I feel it is to give true "voice" to those out there with these often daily, chronic illnesses, pain, and make sure I am doing my part to help in that also. So, as I try to "coordinate" more, "combine tasks more"... and give myself plenty of "quality time" to write. I can't write 10 sentences, then have to get up, leave, run errands, go to the market, do laundry, and 4 hours come back and pick up where I left off... my mind just does not work that way anymore... with all of the brain fog, as well as stress, and the "business" of life, I have to allow myself to "tune out" some of those things, and let go of some of the stuff I tend to lay way too much priority on, that I need not. I don't have to have every dish, every towel, every floor, every inch of my car.... all in "perfection" .... some of that type "A" personality, must go... I've had to face that my mind just won't and cannot deal with way too many "irons in the fire" at once. When I do that, then I am more concerned about "doing" other "stuff", then do the "stuff" I WANT and need to do... LOL... no that does not mean I am going to have bare cupboards, do no cooking, never clean, or do laundry, not do all of the daily items, but I can do them in a bit different manner, thus freeing a "chunk" of time up to write, to do my advocacy work, to work on my blog... and so forth... thus that is my plan, and goal... of course like all great ideas, that may not come to fruition either... but I can try... plus I've tended to "neglect" the fact that I am in a GREAT DEAL MORE PAIN, than I wanted to admit to myself and my doctor. There is something going on, whether related to the RA, Lupus, my hips, osteoporosis... or what ever... that is causing me a world of hurt, that was under control for a long while. So, that may mean reconsidering my "autoimmune medications"... and also opting for more medication coming to me from my pain pump, in another small increment. I had it put in around October 2010... and for the 1st year, we "adjusted" it almost monthly... then we got it pretty well working as well as it was going to.... and 2 years ago, I went through another spell, where I was in "intractable" pain... again lower back, hips, legs... we adjusted the medication then, and there has not been a change since that time. So, I did tell my specialist last time he refilled my pump, that I was "jumping up" on the scale of pain... and he did "up" it a tiny bit... which is always how they have to handle it... but even with that, I am still in too much daily pain... and even though I and everyone knows we are NEVER completely "free" of pain... it just does not happen... so... I am going to ask him next week - Jim has an appt with them on Monday, about coming back in and having him "Up' the dose again. From there, I will be probably working with my Rheumatologist on trying a different "combination" of meds for the RA/Lupus.... but I really don't see him until May... yet I can email him, and sometimes he makes changes in between visits, since he is so swamped with research, teaching and seeing patients... that our visits are usually far between... Anyway... that is where I am at this moment... and I shall put one foot in front of the other... (by the way I have MY BOTTOM DENTURES FINISHED A WEEK FROM TODAY!!!!!!)))))) THAT WILL BE A HUGE HELP ALSO.... Thanks all... Rhia Steele​

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Advocacy, Ambassador, Activist, Volunteer - All out of a Desire, Passion and Compassion to help others... and the heart of my own dilemma this Annual Arthritis Summit 2015

I have something to share with my dear "Online" and "Off Line" Friends. Each of you have been and continue to be a true inspiration to me. Whether it is about something I write, my books, poetry, my blog, my pursuits as a patient with several chronic illnesses and chronic pain issues, wife, now also a caretaker for Jim after the accident, that will be a year ago March 26th. It seems impossible but most of you recall I was actually at the Arthritis Foundation's Summit on Capitol Hill last year, when I got the "call" that everyone dreads... an accident, all the way back in Dallas, my husband. Basically, "ran over" by an 18--wheel tractor trailer from behind. I am STILL and always WILL BE EXTREMELY THANKFUL for the Kindness, the compassion, the friendship, and the honor that all of the ones there at the Summit, as well as those in the Foundation who helped me get aboard a plane in DC just hours later, headed back to Dallas, to Baylor Hospital. The outcome I was not sure of, and I was so very blessed by those who directly helped me that fateful day. Chris Nieto​ was and still is an angel. He helped me with everything from taking all of the information down from the Emergency Room Trauma doctors, to making sure Laura helped to get me board the plane, and he happened to have been flying back to Dallas himself, so he, Serena, and others from the Summit gave me such a "foundation" to stand upon, as my entire world literally crashed down around me. I look back, and I crumbled to the floor as my daughter told me about the wreck, and Chris began to read off the "numerous" injuries Jim sustained. From almost EVERY RIB broken, to his back basically "broken in two" - - from C-7 through T-7 back surgery done within hours of the accident. A concussion, fracture of the shoulder, possibly a leg, a "nick" in the aorta, and the list just read on and on.... Anyway, all of 2014, we spent either with him in the hospital and the rehab hospital over 3 months. Then several more months of going back and forth several times weekly for rehab... and just a score of doctors visits... plus of course all of the "red tape" that yet has not been settled...

So, moving forward... I was HONORED to be given such an incredible title in my advocacy work, as "Platinum Ambassador" for the Arthritis Foundation. I spent time when I was not either ill myself, or having all of my teeth pulled, and replaced, or any number of other things, to be able to attend the "conference" meetings, make some relationships with some of our Congress People, and do all I could with a true passion to HELP ALL of those out there like myself, suffering from these dreadful diseases....

After my DC visit in 2014, I was so totally elated and felt so privileged to perform one of my "long time" dreams, and that is to "stand on the White house steps" and TELL MY STORY! Well, that dream came true last year in March, 2014. My plans were also to BE BACK  this year in just two weeks, and again be able to STAND with such an INCREDIBLE Foundation as the Arthritis Foundation, and be a part of their wonderful advocates!. When I found out at the very end of 2014 in December or so, that I WOULD BE ABLE TO GO back to DC I was on "cloud ninety nine"!  Of course, my health has waxed and waned, I still have yet to COMPLETE my entire ordeal of these "mini dental pins" in my bottom dentures... due to all kinds of complications, including an "oral-maxillary communication" in other words a "hole" between my mouth and my sinus cavity... and infections etc... yet, I had bought new boots, had all of my clothes lined up, my "ducks in a row" all ready to go back to DC in two weeks!!!

Well, these illnesses "don't care"... they don't care if YOU have PLANS... they don't care if you have to "miss" something you so want to do, they don't care what else is going on in your life...  if "they" decide you will be sick, then sick it is... YES, you can try and push through it, you can try to ignore a flare, or not deal with medications, or not rest, and just do as you wish. But, when it is time for a chronic illness/pain issue arises, it WILL put you DOWN... and you have no choice... you cancel parties, plans, dinners, you don't celebrate holidays when you should, or you miss birthday plans... as we speak of often in the "spoon theory"... you have so many, and you can "borrow" a few... but when there are none, there are none.... thus... due to my own personal bout with several health issues due to the RA, Lupus, Sjogren's, and so forth, my "health" has been not so great, and I've been trying my best to "ignore" the ugly truth... but much to my disappointment... I am still not well, I probably am going to go through some major medication changes, now I am FINALLY going to have the bottom dentures pinned... after all these months of waiting... and not being able to eat much, or if I talk much, the bottom ones slip and slide around thus, I have heck even keeping the top ones from slipping also... my pain level has jumped through the roof. We are not sure if it is lower back disc compression fractures due to the osteoporosis, the RA and my hips, other leg, nerve issues, or what... plus I have just all of a sudden soared in having several Lupus Migraines... they have gotten so bad... and with Jim not able to drive, and his own medical issues with the  Paraplegia causing bad balance problems, where he can't bend forward, or he would fall, he can't go down stairs without help, there are just many things we take for granted daily, that after something like his accident, are things that are just not possible, no matter how small they may seem. He is not able to get things if they are pushed back far into the Fridge, or in a cabinet. He can't climb up to get things out of our very top cabinets... and so that makes it also very difficult for me to be gone for several days... we thought we had that all taken care of, and that person now is having some other family medical issues, thus I don't have them to come and help him out while I am gone, as we thought. So, between all of the "little things", the big "elephant" in the room of course is... I with very deep sorrow and disappointment, must bow down and not go physically to the Arthritis Summit this year. It took me over a week of crying, kicking myself, feeling guilty, being mad, sad, and all of the other billion emotions wrapped around this for me to just have to admit that I am just not physically able, and with family things also, to go this year. I will of course be ON BOARD 500% as and "E-Summit" Attendee... and PLEASE ALL OF YOU take a moment, and go to the link I have provided several times and send in your letter. They WILL BE HAND DELIVERED to YOUR Representative. So, it is vital you get to say your own personal things about these dreadful and unacceptable diseases. I hope to be able to "pinch" myself, and wake up from this nightmare... but no - not a nightmare... it is just the truth and I had to face it... one thing I have "gleaned" (honestly many) but one thing that I have learned about my personal advocacy, activist, volunteer and ambassador work, is that it comes from A VERY DEEP PASSION AND DRIVE and it just as important if not MORE IMPORTANT than a "regular job" People that do this type of thing do it from their hearts, minds and spirits.... we "live" to help others... no "glory"... no "personal gain" honestly... but out of the sheer passion of knowing WE HELPED - WE GAVE VOICE to a patient, or patients... that is WHY MOST of us do this... out of the desire, love and compassion to help others feel better, and live a better quality of life....


Please see this URL to SEND IN YOUR LETTERS!!!

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association’s Statement on FDA’s Approval of First U.S. Biosimilar Drug

American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association’s Statement on FDA’s Approval of First U.S. Biosimilar Drug

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

How DO You Deal with Doctor's Offices, especially the Nurses and Staff When they just REFUSE to HELP YOU get proper care

It it to the point we sometimes must question "why" our doctors, dentists, an other medical professionals get into the business of "patient care". My family has had several events over the past month, and 99 percent of it all, is due to "lack of doing their job properly"! Of course we had the horrible weather in the area for several days over a couple of weeks prior, but all of that has been behind us since last Friday at the very least. I had to make the TWO trips to Dallas, two days in a row, because my internal pain pump, although "refilled" seemed to not have been "updated" properly. Thus it was not set correctly to give the proper dose of medication and so forth. I had to drive like a bat out of heck... trying to NOT get a ticket, because they were closing early that day, and I had to have it done, due to the fact they were not going to be there from like a Friday to the following Monday. So, I through my teeth in, jumped into some jeans and a shirt and headed that way. Well, I got there within about 45 minutes. Traffic happened to have been good at the time. I told the receptionist I was there, and to let the woman that would get this resolved I was there. Well, they had a waiting room full, but they were coming and going pretty quickly. The nurse came out at least 6 times, and I was sitting in the chair RIGHT BESIDE the door to the inside offices! So, there was no way she could miss me. So, over an hour passed and they were almost ready to go to lunch! Finally the nurse comes out and says, "Gosh I didn't see you!" WE thought you had not made it yet.... duh!!! Really!? So, I go in finally, get that done, and was back on my way home... but rather than being a couple of hours, it was more like 4 since the receptionist never told the woman in the back.
So, the week before that is when we had all of the really terrible snow, ice, sleet, especially in the Dallas area. Many offices including that doctors office was closed off and on during that week, and then the next also... but I had called my medication in - giving them PLENTY of time BEFORE the weather got too bad, to send the script over to the specialty pharmacy so they could get it out in priority mail. That would have came in within a day or two at the latest. Well, I never heard back, and this was like 3 days after leaving messages both with the doctors office and the pharmacy. When I would call the doctors office, all I got was recordings. Yet, they never mentioned they were out due to weather, no one ever called any patients... they just "assumed" we as patients would either "not come in" for appts, etc. Talk about nuts!!! Some people travel several hours away to see him... and to think I go and it takes about an hour... and that is bad enough... so this was like a Wednesday. I called through Friday and never got a soul on the phone, and no one answered any of my messages. On Monday, I call, and leave word again. I had checked with the pharmacy and they had not received a script yet. Then, they were the ones who first told me that the doctors office had been closed off and on for several days, and didn't get many of the scripts out! So, I call AGAIN the following WEDNESDAY, a week later (and I was to run out of medication on that Sat/Sun BEFORE) and finally I get someone to call me, and tell me "Oh it is not your fault, we just weren't open due to the weather"... no duh? Really!!? And not one person thought to try and get a list of patients and call them... it is just nuts... It took a over a week, several phone calls later, and I finally got my medication. So, last week Jim's monthly visit and to pick up scripts was supposed to be I believe Wednesday. Well, he calls because that was the day here the weather was horrible. Snow, Ice, Sleet... both here and Dallas were no place to drive... so he tries to call them and again, no answer, no message saying a word about being open, closed, etc... nothing... it is NOW Wednesday! They promised him last Friday they would mail his scripts to us, and set his appt up for later in the month. We asked them to at least send it priority mail, and oh no they didn't want to be put out that much, and besides they had told us they would be open last Friday afternoon (they usually close on Friday at lunch and only work half a day) so we asked if we could drive up and get the scripts... well NO they were NOT going to stay open Friday afternoon after all... they changed their minds. Okay, well Jim is running out of meds, and they promise they will go out Friday, and we should get the scripts if not Saturday, by Monday at the latest. YESTERDAY!!!! Tuesday! NO SCRIPTS!!!! NaDA! He calls, and the nurse tells him, well we mailed them on Friday, but we think the mail man didn't pick them up until Saturday!!!!!!! You have got to be kidding me!? So, we shall see once again a WEEK later than this should be, actually more than that for him... but those scripts better arrive.... this is insanity.... and if they would have DONE THEIR JOB right away, like with mine... I would have had my medication right on time, no problems... and so would Jim... but it is like they just don't care! Well, if you "hate" your job, or just don't want to do it, and don't care that people can get extremely ill, wind up in the ER, suffer needless pain... for more than just a day...or more than once.... but several times.. and each time I gripe (because it is usually ONE of the nurses that pulls this and we know it) - she does it I think for spite... yet even though I had been told she was being "replaced" that was months and months ago... and she is STILL doing the same thing.... It sucks....

PLUS>>> I can guarantee you, this doctors office has all kinds of signs posted about "what they will and will NOT do" if you don't make an appt on time, or don't call in ahead to cancel, or whatever... they will charge either an entire VISIT, or they may deny you medications, until you "reschedule" AND come in for the visit. Even if you are 10 minutes LATE (usually I am on time, but I have had to call and let them know I am stuck in traffic)... and all kinds of if's, and or but.... if the "patient" does NOT comply!

What about the PATIENTS TIME?! When you go to a physician, especially out of town, that is YOUR time... you get there, you are on time, and then you sit and wait for 5 hours! I've seen it happen to us even right here at our PCP office! He would be hours late, keeping you sitting in a cold cramped room, not even have a nurse to come in and say why.... but that is supposed to be OKAY?! OUR time is just as important as their time... we also have family, jobs, other schedules and appts. in our daily lives also.... it has always been beyond me to see some of the ridiculous stuff the medical profession will state to "patients"... yet it seems we have no "recourse"... if it happens to us....

Another great example just recently for me again. I called my dentist office LAST WEEK! I wanted to make sure I had the "dollar amount" right to finish up my "mini implanted" pins for the bottom dentures. I have the "treatment plan" that was initially drawn up BY THE DENTIST HIMSELF! We in fact, due to "HIS" mistake, paid for 11 MORE TEETH at $147.00 EACH to be pulled after my dentures came in and all of the back teeth were gone! By then, I had no choice! I couldn't just walk away and say forget it. Here are my full set of dentures, that I have to have... already have paid thousands out of pocket to get this far... and yet even though HE LEFT THAT OFF THE TREATMENT PLAN - about CHARGING for EACH TOOTH left in front when my dentures came in!!! I could NOT get them to come down, to give us a break on the price... you add it up $147.00 x 11!!!! NOt Cheap and WELL ABOVE AND BEYOND what I "agreed" to when I signed that treatment plan..of course they "had me over a barrel" by then! If I went somewhere else, I am not sure any other dentist would have touched me since this other one had so far done all of the work!PLUS my new dentures were sitting there, that gosh cost (just themselves) almost $3,000.00!!! And they can't be in unless the rest of those teeth are out! So? I am stuck, whichever way I turn... thus again, they get their way...

So, before the dentures were put in and while he was pulling some of my top molars, a piece of "bone" between my maxillary sinus PASSAGE and MY MOUTH!!! I WOULD GO TO RINSE MY mouth out and WATER would pour out of my nose!!! So, I called, went in and he felt like it would "close itself" off. So, I was put on another month worth of antibiotics, and we "hoped" it would seal itself off. Now, this is also where he had to "split my gums" and then they were sewn back together, and he removed stitches 10 days later... so it was "sealed" with sutures initially.

Well, weeks went by, and nothing stopped. Same thing, between the "air" I could hear coming in and out, and the "feeling" of water from my mouth, to the sinus cavity, to my nose... it kept happening. We waited about 8 weeks, and he decided to go another procedure, to close it off. It was called a "buccal" flap (and here is a very good look at what the heck was going on and can lead to scar tissue in the sinus passage etc...

So, I went through that and believe me, he gave me "gas" BUT THAT DID NOTHING!! This was a painful scary process sitting in a dentist chair. Honestly, at that time when I think about it, he should have immediately sent me to a "true trained ORAL SURGEON)... one that could have at least given me "twilight" or something... it was nuts... But I went through it...

again stitches, and again taken out 7 to 10 days later... well guess what??? Nothing closed... EVEN WITH my new dentures in, covering it over... (now this had been like 4 months at least) and it didn't fix it..

Well, next is a "bone implant or graft".... and he was sending me to what I thought was an M.D. - a "true oral surgeon" like that can put you to sleep in an "OR" setting... I went and had my wisdom teeth cut out at 19 years old at the Baylor Dental College, and the head Oral Surgeon did my surgery.... and I was expecting to see someone like that... besides if I had gone there, my "insurance" since this was not caused by a "dental" but "physical illness - Sjogren's) may have paid for some of it...

But, he sends me to an idiot about 25 miles away, that is a crazy person. First, they told me NO CHARGE for me to come in and be seen and have a consultation. 2nd I had just had Xrays done of that area less than a week or two before showing the bone piece missing, which was about almost an inch between the maxillary sinus and my mouth.... but he insists on taking another Xray - and then charges me almost 200.00!!! too do NOTHING! HE wanted (HONEST to the Lord) to DO THE EXACT SAME THING MY DENTIST DID THAT FAILED! PLUS he knew nothing about "Sjogren's" and less about autoimmune illnesses, and he acted scared to even touch me, due to all of my "medical issues".... so again here I am STUCK... if I DON'T PAY UP, then there goes my credit score... he absolutely (and he is another one I sat waiting on him until after 5 pm in the evening, and my appt was like at 2pm).... and he could not do a damned thing to help me... PLUS he tried to go ahead and schedule the procedure.. and told me it would cost about 3,500.00!!!!!! NOPE you read that right!!! $3,500.00!!! REALLY!!!???!! You have to be joking right..?

I literally hurried paid, AND ALMOST RAN TO MY CAR... I felt like I was in the "Twilight Zone" of hell with dentists!!!!! Nuts, insane, no compassion, no care... and he is old as Methuselah... he had been a "dentist" for eons...

As I drove back home, late in the evening, my husband and family worried... I finally jumped on the cell, and told my husband I was fine, mad but on my way home....

Again though, no RECOURSE!!! Where are those PATIENT RIGHTS!!?? I sure as hell have not seen them.... and there are more, but these really stick out...

Now back to my "current" dental status. I called last FRIDAY, to get the proper charge, and make an appointment (by the way after about 6 months enough scar tissue filled that hole, and even though the bone is probably still missing, the air and any liquid seems to not be coming through... but it took it that long to seal itself over... and that is insanity... I could have and already had massive issues, with lots of maxillary scar tissue in that sinus passage. I had been told that after having a CT scan of my head and neck... they could see the chronic scarring from one sinus infection after the other when I was a bit younger.... but I could have had a massive infection, and/or all kinds of things can happen when you leave that "open" for bacteria etc to get in.... it could have even caused osteomyelitis... or a bone infection.... that URL above will give you a good look into why that was nothing to mess with....

Okay, it is NOW WEDNESDAY of the following week! The receptionist had the audacity to tell me, "Well, that plan was done almost a year ago" and prices have went up! WHAT!!??? So, she said she would talk to the "office manager" and call me back... well, here it is almost again a week later... no call... nothing...

and again, what is my recourse....???? Those mini pins HAVE to be put in because my bottom dentures WILL NOT STAY IN PLACE without them! So, they have to be "modified" to snap down onto those pins, and until that is also done, my top dentures tend to "move around" if I am not careful. Even with the "Fixodent" powder, and everything like "training" your muscles to help hold them in... if I allow my mouth to dry out in the least way, or I have a long conversation, or if something "gets under" that top denture due to the bottom one shifting around, they both will literally fall out!!

How the hell can I deal with that? Plus I am NOT able to EAT PROPERLY YET! I can't "chew" most stuff, but very little on one side... I have had to stop eating many things that are healthy and I love... many fresh fruit, veggies, just so many things that I think I "might" be able to eat, and there is no way... either the dentures move, or something happens so if they don't line up, then there is no way to chew food... I can't bite anything off. I have to even take lettuce and Jim cuts it up almost like it is chopped parsley or something tiny, just so I can have salad... but things like cucumbers... forget it, can't eat apples, no matter how small I cut them up... it is insanity....

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Fatigue, Stress, Pain and the Realms of Autoimmune Illnesses bringing on more or worsened flares

I had just read and article about how many of the medications used for RA; along with Lupus, Sjogren's and many of the other autoimmune illnesses can possibly lessen the disease progression, when it comes to the joints, organs, and body. Yet, there is still a huge issue, that seems is not often controlled, or controlled enough with these. That is fatigue.

Fatigue, and I am speaking of the bone-tired, extremely weary, almost daily type of severe fatigue, that sleep, rest, nor many of the medications we use help or help enough. Those of us with Autoimmune illnesses know this so well. Even though our "minds" want to give us that extra "push" of energy, just like the "spoons" theory, or any type of "idea" such as comparing how many "units" of energy we have, it at times seems to never be enough. We run out of physical "steam" long before we complete all of the tasks we wish to.

It can bring a spiral of feelings and emotions when this happens. Guilt, hopelessness, feeling "less than", or as if you are letting a spouse, job, family, friends and yourself "down" because you just cannot shake that bone tiredness.

Even though we have many things that are out there to help try to battle the bone tired fatigue, and the almost unbearable pain at times, we still are never quite "over" it... or have total relief from any of it.

I've tried to envision having a period of "remission" since day one of finding out about the autoimmune illnesses/syndromes. I really can't think of any "long period of time" that "all" symptoms were gone. It just has not happened. I feel I battle 1,2,3 or more symptoms all the time. They are there underlying, waiting on the time when I am most vulnerable, and then come on with a stronghold.

It matters not, if it is Lupus, RA, Sjogren's, Raynaud's, Pernicious Anemia, MS... and the list goes on for 100's of different AI illnesses, one of them are always right in my face, setting on my shoulders, making my body scream out... I may not "scream" out loud, but my BODY is begging for a "vacation", a time of NO symptoms, to be let off the hook, to take a sabatical from the aches, pains, mental fog, fatigue, rashes, mouth ulcers, skin problems... all of them or even one of them feel like I could just lose it at any given moment. The old adage that we are never given more than we can bear... some of that maybe true... but when you are truly suffering from a daily, moment, hour, minute, breaths space, or with each step you take, something feels wrong. You "feel" whether physically, mentally, emotionally, or any of the combination of those may just push you right over the cliff! I went through that with the most horrid migraine headaches for many, many years. From the time I turned 17 until about 7 years ago, those headaches ruled my life for the most part.

I might be out headache free, whether working, dancing, out shopping, cleaning house, or whatever, and be hit with such a vengance of pain and nausea, that all I could think of, is whatever it takes - GET RID of this FREAKING HEADACHE!!!! Anyone who has any types of these headaches, or those that deal with chronic pain and/or illness(es) can totally relate. I have honestly heard of some with such intractable pain that take their own lives. They have reached a place that being on Earth they feel is just hell... and nothing will ever change that. I never thought I would be able to go even a week without one of the damned things. And I spent many day and nights, either at home, sick as a dog with them, or sick at work, with my head on the desk, or in the ER, begging for them to just make it stop. I went through every type of treatment, doctor, and medication known to man for them at the time. From pain medications (Butalbital) was one my doctors used quite a bit back then, to chiropractors, PT, other stronger pain medications, to an Ergot(which I am highly NOT able to take especially due to my reaction that I had, then my heart attacks) , to having the occipital nerves in the back of my neck injected... you name it, I tried it... and nothing really "worked"... some of them would at least get me to a place that I could withstand the severity of the pain and nausea, but other than when I was pregnant with my son, then 5 year later with my daughter, I thought I would bear the burden of those things on my back until eternity.

Well, I suffered for many years. They would wax and wane... from time to time, I would find deliverance from them, and other times, I felt I was constantly battling a severe headache. Yet, when I FINALLY begin to get treatment for the Autoimmune Illnesses, had several joint replacements, including a shoulder, and also surgery on the other shoulder and elbow... and also cervical neck surgery... and the adding of an incredible pain specialist, now I have what I call a "Lupus Migraine"... they come on when I flare badly with the Lupus. Yet, usually an injection of a corticosteroid, like Solu-Medrol will knock them out. It make take a few days, usually at least 2 days, sometimes 3... with that and then the "high step down dose" of prednisone for 10 to 14 days, will remedy one, until I flare again. I've learned over the years, that just like arthritis, autoimmune illnesses, chronic pain, joint issues... when the WEATHER acts up, you can bet I will have a severe headache, and of course usually the joint pain, stiffness, etc... all come on with high humidity, a dramatic change in the barometric pressure, a dramatic drop or rise in temperature, etc... 99% of the time, can be "diagnosed" by many of us before the weather even reaches us.

So, my own conclusion now about the migraines that I have are "inflammatory" headaches. That is why a corticosteroid injection can get them under control, whereas regular "pain medications" no matter how strong or weak... just will not reduce that inflammatory process behind a "Lupus Migraine"... and FYI that is MY OPINION... and what I have gleamed from them, and the injections. So, I don't know if physicians would agree, but I do know my PCP, takes me seriously. When I call with one of these headaches, he has me immediately come in, get the injection and the script for the step down dose of Prednisone.

Why the headaches somewhat "improved"... well improved is not really the term, they have "changed"... who knows... possibly any and all of the things that have come about with the AI and chronic pain issues... I just know now... or usually (I have had an extremely bad one, and I am not shaking it as quickly as usual.

But, I could probably name dozens of reasons of why they have migrated to being different, age, hormones, illnesses, medications, weather, living in a different place, stress, and on and on....

Friday, March 6, 2015

FDA APPROVES 1ST "Biosimilar"! Great News!

This is just awesome news! Although this particular one is not related to Autoimmune illness, it is definitely a prosperous beginning to getting "biosimilars" into other types of illnesses, including RA, Sjogren's, Lupus and many of the other 100's of Autoimmune illnesses.

Here is another link that gives you a huge amount of information on Biosimilars. They are NOT a "generic" form of other "Name brand" medications. I am sure many of us are thinking this. But this website below DOES tell all about them, all of the huge non-profits like the AF, IFAA, AARDA, Lupus Foundation and many more that are supporting this effort.

This can mean many more of us that have these illnesses be able to have a more "affordable" type of medication in the near future.

So, take a few moments to look over the website, and also the link above is the news press release for "ZARXIO"....

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

YOUR VOICE on Capitol Hill at the "Virtual Summit" can be heard! YOU WILL BE HEARD! E-Advocacy and more for the Arthritis Foundation

Okay Guys and Gals!!! I am asking for YOUR Participation in this EXTREMELY IMPORTANT situation. As most of you probably know I have made "Platinum Ambassador" for the Arthritis Foundation for 2014-15. So, I am headed for Washington D.C. March 22, through March 24-25th... for the Annual "Summit on the Hill" by the AF. We will be going personally to Capitol Hill to both the Senate and House of Representatives, to meet with as many of them as we can. If we don't get to meet personally with them, we still usually meet with their "health legislative" assistants, and other staff that can help to deliver our information and message. It is IMPERATIVE THOUGH that ALL OF YOU that can't be there, really and truly KNOW YOUR VOICE COUNTS!!! I know many of us have become disenchanted with "Congress" - our Senators and Representatives for many reasons. Yet, I know PERSONALLY FOR a FACT that YOUR VOICE DOES MATTER!!! I have seen the results of what letters, phone calls, messages, and meetings can do for all of us in the matter of Arthritis, whether osteoarthritis, RA, Juvenile RA, Still's Disease PLUS ALL of our other "Autoimmune" and other health issues. BUT, WE need YOU to also raise your voice and be heard. We will be DELIVERING YOUR LETTERS PERSONALLY to the Senators and Representatives that you can follow from instructions below, and fill in your personal parts, tell your story also, or however you want to personalize it. The Arthritis Foundation NEEDS "Virtual SUMMIT people" and that is YOU. Even if you are going to DC, still please use this letter to be given to your Senators, and Representatives. ONE VOICE can MOVE MOUNTAINS! I have witnessed it, and continue to truly believe we do matter. BUT, if you DON'T contact them, then they do not know your situation and how YOU feel. So, I am posting here, on my blog, on my Pinterest, on my Instagram, on Twitter, everywhere I can about how to be a part of this critical movement! This is for ALL of us, with these horrible illnesses, that need help with getting good physicians, the MEDICATIONS WE NEED and making them AFFORDABLE FOR ALL! This is about those in our nation, many of our Armed Forces Come home with arthritis problems or develop them..... and many of our youngest of this nation are also patients, with Juvenile Arthritis. I want to urge each of you to take a bit of time and send your letters. I am including all of the instructions in an attachment and at the URL that is provided. If you have questions feel free to ask me, either through Facebook, or through message or email me. If you would like me to help or if you have a message you want me to take your letters with me, and I will make sure they get delivered. 

Here is your link to sign on to be an "E-Advocate" for the Arthritis Foundation. This gives you a voice via emails and so forth so you can be heard at the National Congressional Level. It is not time consuming, you don't even have to leave the house, but this is a way to be able to speak up and be heard by your Congressional Leaders that you voted in. Let them know how you feel, and what you feel is good for yourself and the nation when it comes to Arthritis, RA, Osteoarthritis, and ALL of the other diseases that are often in tandum with arthritic illnesses. It takes a few moments to sign up and be heard for the rest of your life by those who can help to make things better in the realms of your health.…/sign-up-to-be-an-e-advocate.php

Then this is how you can "attend" the Annual Summit on the Hill as a member of the "Virtual Summit"... this link provides you with a sample letter that you can also personalize, add your picture, and tell your story about your health issues when it comes to arthritis, whether a patient, caretaker, family member, or just want to be a "voice" to help others.


You can download the "letter" from that link, and all of the instructions are there so you can send it back via email to those that will be taking YOUR letters directly to Congress. WE are giving a VOICE to YOU, even if you can't attend... as I said, if you have questions, need help, or however I can assist you, feel free to email, message me, or post and I will be more than happy to help out in any way I can.

 ALSO!!! SOCIAL MEDIA is a HUGE way to get your messages across. MANY of our Congressional Members have Facebook pages, Twitter, Instagrams, and so forth. That is another way you can also make contact with them, so be sure to also look that up. I have both of my Senators and my Representatives Facebook pages, and I've sent Tweets to them and emails also from their websites. Sign up for their newsletters. That is a great way to find out how to contact them also.


Here you go!!! "Proof" is in the "pudding"!!! this study is compelling to show that a few "Tweets" or other type of Social Media use can capture your Leaders Attention on a Subject ...