Thursday, April 30, 2015

Where do you Go? Hip, lower back pain - CT Scan shows "something" yet it seems like now enough to cause this type of pain...

I've been going over and over this stupid CT Scan from a month ago. I wished I could get more information, but when I look up what is being told on it, I am getting a "google" search of all types of issues. Some of them may pertain to me, and others I am not sure of.

I am sure of a couple of things. I almost am to the point I cannot sit at my computer. If I sit here more than 10 minutes, my hips, butt and lower back just throb, burn, ache, and it feels like very deep bone pain.

Nothing has really changed since the injections (Transforminal Epidural Steroid Injections) which were two weeks ago, as of tomorrow. I thought I had felt a bit of relief that first couple of days afterwards. But, then I began to notice my hips once again feel like they are on fire if I sit for very long at a time. I can get up, walk around for awhile, then the pain comes back, resonating kind of from my tailbone, down into my hips, around the outer part of my thighs, and often into my calves and down into my heels. I notice if I try and get out in the yard to pull weeds from the flowerbeds, pick up things and put them in our trash cans outside, try and break down small limbs from the trees and also trash them... after a bit, again that deep down kind of like a burn starts again. So, if I sit for too long, especially here at the computer, or if I go and walk or stand is the worst for a long time, my hips and very lower back just hurt like hell.

I am still in the thinking that I have two problems... the hips and then my lower lumbar spine about where it joins at my tailbone. That is actually where the CT picked up some issues, I have vertebra I think, that has "slipped forward"... plus I have the Retrolisthesis

which is also meaning it has slipped the opposite of what many of them do... plus I have known about my "crooked spine". Now the levoscoliosis I guess is enough that it shows on the scan. All of which even though don't appear on the CT as being horrendous, as before they have done Scans, X-rays, MRI's that show not so bad. Then they decide to open the joint up and take a look, and sure enough the "arthritic" degeneration and damage was where it was not seen on those scans. 

It has been exactly two weeks ago today, since I had the "Transforminal Epidural Steroid Injections" in my very last Lumbar spinal vertebra L-5 and then I believe S-1 shows issues also.

I thought right after the injection that it felt better. Yet, after a couple of days, I began having the same types of issues, pain when I sit for very long at the computer, pain if I stand too long in one place, or even if I walk for a long distance, especially like shopping... where you stop, then walk a few steps, and over again....

My thoughts are that I have two issues, as I've said all along. I feel both hips are a part of this, simply because this is what has happened a couple of times over the past 6 or so years. It seems about once every two years my hips act up, probably more like bursitis. Which, my orthopedic surgeon seems to think that "bursitis" of the hip would not cause all of the pain I am having! WELL, I have news for him. I've had it before and it hurts like hell. So, where he gets off thinking that my hips are not the issue and my back is, I am not sure...

Anyway, I am headed to Dallas in just a bit to follow up on those injections. While I am at my pain specialist, I will ask him what his opinion is on having this discogram/discograph... that the ortho doc seems to think I should have....

When I return, I will update everyone on the situation!

WEGO Writer's Challenge! "You have made it!!!! 30 days and 30 posts! #HAWMC

Wow! What a fast month this has been. I realize I post on my blog daily most everyday of my life. Unless I am sick, having surgery, or out with myself or family at the doctor's I keep my blog very current. Often times more than once or twice in a day. Depending on what I am finding online, there maybe several posts in a days time.

This has been a wonderful and thrilling April 2015! thank you WEGO Health for the chance to be in this "writer's challenge" and I hope to be able to do it "annually" for as long as you offer it. The prompts were fantastic and it really gave me a much broader sense of what to write about. Sometimes as an author and writer, and blogger, I feel I get "stuck" saying the same things over and over again.

So, having another party give me the "prompts" helped to open my mind and heart up to write about some things I may not have thought about. So, I commend all of you for the hard work, for the "tweets" for all of the other writers, bloggers, and authors out there that I have gotten to know over this past month. That is another awesome thing about the Writer's Challenge. I've been able to "meet" new people, and see what they say about some of their own battles with all types of health problems. I thoroughly have enjoyed all of what I've read and I have learned so much from each of you. That in itself is such a wonderful blessing.

Oddly enough, now that we have become an "online" world, where "everything" can be known within a few short clicks on the keyboard, makes our world seem to be a much smaller place than it used to be. So, I may make friends with someone right here in the North Texas area, or maybe someone in Australia. I love being able to know people from other states, and countries. To see how their health care is, how far ahead some are from us, especially the UK, when it comes to Autoimmune Illnesses. They seem to be several steps above us, with new medications, research, clinical trials and more.

It is difficult to pick any one thing about the "prompts" or the entire Writer's Challenge that I could say I was not that crazy about. I felt that you did an incredible job of really making us dig deeper, and really think about different things when it comes to our own health issues.

I loved ALL of the prompts. Of course there were a few I liked more than others. I have to say the "acronym" was one of the biggest challenges. I liked it, but it was one that I guess may have been down on the scale of being a favorite. Yet, I learned things from it also, so it maybe a "less favorite" but I did partially enjoy the challenge.

The product review for me is somewhat a difficult one. I feel that I may not really understand exactly what you guys and gals were looking for. I tend to write and blog more about medications, research, new clinical trials, and so on. So, it took me awhile to decide whether the "favorite" products should be something more on the "medicinal" side, like prescriptions, or more like things we buy over and beyond the physicians, medications and so forth. For instance what I use on my mouth, corners of my mouth, my skin due to the Lupus, discolorations and so forth. Some I am sure have other types of devices that may use, such as a "zipper pull" or something to help get things off of tall shelves, and so forth. I am sure many have types of gels they use for sore muscles and so forth. So, I tend to go into the "mini implanted titanium rods" that hold my dentures on the bottom very tight. After losing all of my teeth within a year to Sjogren's, those have been lifesavers for me.

I would love to see even more types of "prompts" possibly on a more personal level. You already have given us quite a number of those that required us to open up more about our battles with health problems. But, I could see maybe a prompt next year that asks us to open up and tell some of the even more hardships, and things we go through that we may not write or speak about much.

Other than that, hats off to everyone! From all of the gang, of gal and guys at WEGO Health, to everyone who participated in the Writer's Challenge for this year, I commend all on their awesome posts, and what they said and chose to say that truly gave me new insight to myself and other illnesses, medications and how many of us are so "near" one another with our stories.

I loved many of the prompts. The "word cloud" was new to me and I really enjoyed it. The "Hindsight is 20/20" I truly liked. Stress Awareness, "telling someone "off" when they hurt your feelings", and the "travel" prompt was great also. It is difficult to pick one over the other because all of them were enjoyable. 

 I will be so excited to see what you "prompt" us with for next year! "If I am here, able, and still kicking, I look forward to participating in April 2016!!

I do hope and pray that by the time we do this again in 2016, my 3rd book will be completely written and published!!! By the way, that is another thing doing this has helped me with... material to use in my book. It also has given me some very good ideas about what to say, how to say it, and gotten me in the habit of the daily writing. I hope to take that even further, so I can finally finish my 3rd book (my own autobiographical journey) through the madness of chronic illness, autoimmune diseases, chronic pain, and all in between!

Again, I am just elated, yet a bit sad that it is over!


Again WEGO Health, I've had a blast with these this month! I appreciate ALL everyone does for us as patients! You guys and gals rock!  Rhia

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

"I Wish I would have known? - WEGO Health Writer's Challenge - April 29th, 2015 Wednesday

Today's "prompt" for the next to the LAST day of the 30 Day WEGO Health Writer's Challenge, is "What I wished I had known in the beginning of my patient journey?" In other words, when you were first diagnosed, what do you wished you could have known, asked about, done, been more capable of understanding and so forth.

One thing that comes to mind is I wished I had known more about different types of "Rheumatologists". Our physicians (and I say this often) have almost "specialized" themselves out of the everyday field of medicine.

Rather than have as we did not that many years ago, a doctor, or physician that could see you for a flu bug, take out your appendix, deliver your kids, and give your kids their immunizations. My kids are now 35 and 30 years old. Yet, they both were delivered by our regular physician, that did all of those things. Even if one of mine had been Cesarian, he could have delivered him or her.

A medical doctor was a doctor of "all". Unless you had something that was really extremely unusual, they did not send you to a specialist to "set a broken arm". If you needed stitches, they did not send you to a plastic surgeon. When babies were born, you didn't have to go to an OB/GYN. Even some surgeries, were performed by your regular physician, unless it was some "off the wall" type of surgery.

I began to notice, right after my youngest was born, that doctors began to "not" do everything. If one of mine had an ear problem, off to the ENT doctor we went. If you needed surgery, let's say "female surgery", a hysterectomy, you saw your OB/GYN.

Then when it came to cancer, you were sent to any number of "cancer" specialists. It began as kind of an "umbrella" physician, an Oncologist. Then you began to see that branch out into "breast cancer" specialists, brain cancer specialists, intestinal cancer specialists, and the list continues on.

If you had a joint that needed surgery. It maybe that your regular "Orthopedic surgeon" may not do a "hip surgery" or "elbow surgery". You had to take yet another step into the "Orthopedic Surgeon" who specialized in that particular joint.

Now, it is almost insane. When I hear or see just home many "specialists" there are depending on what is wrong, it can make your head spin.

So, had I known that a "Rheumatologist" that worked with RA or Lupus patients, maybe totally different than one that was more into other autoimmune illnesses, I may have seen the proper doctor a great deal more quickly than I did. My very first "Rheumy" as we call them, was very up in age. In fact, he still gave "gold injections" and this was about 2007. So, at the time, seeing him may have been the right thing to do. He "named" off after extensive lab studies, and also seeing me several times, a "few" different autoimmune illnesses that I have. He began with MCTD ) "Mixed Connective Tissue Disorder", Raynauds, Sjogren's, possibly Lupus, but he was not "set" on RA. As I said he was really up in age, but honestly he was one smart "cookie".

Yet, due to his not wanting to be as "aggressive" with the latest medications such as the biologics, I make the decision to find another Rheumatologist that would be. Well, little did I know, until after seeing 5 or 6 different ones, finding someone that would "treat all of them", in an aggressive manner was not easy. Each one either specialized in Lupus, RA, and so forth. Plus they were not much into the latest of medications.

So, had I truly known the factors surrounding getting into the proper Rheumatologist, I may have been able to "prevent" some of my problems that were getting worse, due to not being treated.

I also wished I would have began researching the medications, treatments, and doing my own blogging sooner. Even though I had done a great deal of research, when it came to the Sjogren's especially, I didn't do enough, soon enough I fear. Had I really known just how quickly Sjogren's was completely destroying my teeth, I would have searched for either a dental specialist on Sjogren's, or made sure my Rheumatologist did know about Sjogren's and was more apt to let me know just how bad it could get so quickly. By the time I knew just how bad my Sjogren's was, it had already rotted my teeth from the inside out. It was not until after the first two broke off at the gum line, and I went in to get a full mouth digital X-ray, that my teeth were goners. There was no more patching to do. There was basically nothing left to try and "save". So, wishing Sjogren's had been one of these that a really got adamant about, maybe, just maybe, I would still have some of my teeth. Now, my dentist told me, that even if I had known around 2007 more about it, since there are really no "medications" designed to fight it off, and the two I took really didn't do much. It was already too late. Thus, I spent all of 2014, getting the entire mouth of rotten ones all pulled, getting dentures, then going onto having "mini implants" for the bottom dentures, so they will stay in place.

I also wished years before I got an "official" diagnosis with the autoimmune illnesses, I had really pursued the reasons why, at well before the age of 40 years old, my joints were in need of surgery. I had 3 knee surgeries, an elbow surgery, a shoulder surgery, and many of my joints injected from about the age of 21 to 40! The answer I got for the most part when I did try and ask "why". was always met with, "Well we don't really know, But I feel you probably have "arthritis" that has surfaced early due to "genetics". Well, it was true, my Dad and Mom both had arthritic issues fairly early in life. Yet, nothing like mine where anything I did hurt.

So, more research, a better understanding of doctors, and asking more questions are things I do wished I would have done differently, more, better, etc. when I think back on when all of my health problems first began.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

#HAWMC WEGO Health Writer's Challenge - April Tuesday 28th 2015 - Favorite Health Product

What product in relationship to my own unique health issues us a favorite of mine?

This particular subject has came up over the past couple of weeks several times. I really don't think I've ever given it much real thought, other than of course the special medications I am on for the RA, Lupus, Sjogren's, Heart Issues and so forth.

After it has came to this place of m being questioned, I've given serious thought to what items that I absolutely buy and use specifically for the autoimmune diseases, and or the symptoms that are always causing me some sort of grief in my daily life.

Even though the Lupus I have is not necessarily the "skin" type, I still have huge issues with discoloration on my skin, blotching, red spot, I do get the "Lupus Wolf Mask", my lips and especially the corners of my lips seem to always be very pink, or splitting. They have been horrible the past almost a month about splitting at the sides of them. I also have ulcers that develop due to the Sjogren's. It is also another "skin attacker". Our medications, for instance the Prednisone I take daily has a terrible effect on the skin. It can cause the red spots, thinned skin that is so easily bruised, plus a whole host of skin issues.

So, trying to find a product or products for my skin in different areas is difficult. Many either are too greasy or oily feeling. I put it on, and rather than sink in, it just feels like I have rolled in "lard" and have it all over me. So, I have come to find that if it is 100% Cocoa Butter, then I seem to be able to use it, and a huge plus is I can use it on my lips, the corners of my mouth, on my hands, arms, legs, just about everywhere, and even though it may feel "thick" at first, it starts to soak right in and give your skin a smoother feeling, without being greasy or oily.

I also LOVE the smell of cocoa butter. I have had several people just lately tell me they don't like the smell of it. But, I do. It smells so wonderful, so that is another huge plus. Anything that has a nice smell to it, you tend to use it more, because you like that scent also. 

I have my hands it seems in water, or cleaner all day everyday. So, another issue is finding something that kind of soaks in and does not just wash off as soon as you wash your hands. The Cocoa Butter does that for me also. I can put it on, and even though I am always cleaning something, washing something, it tends to stay on through a several hand washes before I have to apply it again.

It is not inexpensive for the most part. Even buying the more "name" brand of Palmer's Cocoa Butter products are a bit more thrifty than many of the items out there now days. In fact I was just in the process of placing an order online earlier this morning, and  was glancing through some facial products, lotions and so on. Even on Amazon, some of those items are so expensive. They really know how to "market" to women. I know there are many of us that easily spend three or four times as much as we have to on items for our skin. Whether it be for the face, for the body, feet, hands and cuticles, that is another good point about Cocoa Butter. You can use it just about any and everywhere on your body. So, it is an "all purpose" skin smoother, softener, and I have never had any rashes or breakouts from it. I use it on all of my "scars" from the many surgeries I've had. It does fade those also. It may take awhile depending on the type of scar or incision you have, but with Cocoa Butter, you do find most scars begin to smooth out, lay more flat, and then fade within a short period of time. There are many "scar" fading products out there. Especially when it comes to stretch marks. Again some of them are horribly expensive. There is also some you can get as a prescription, but the main ingredient in it that does the fading smells horrible. I have a tube of it, I do use where my neck has almost a purplish red permanent tint to it. It runs up the sides of my face, under my chin, and even up behind my ears. The ingredient in the fading cream besides smelling horrible, also has to be used with care, as far as where you use it on the body. So, that is another point to consider. 

I know there are "generic" brands out there. I keep the "swivel sticks" by Palmer's with me all the time. I have one in my purse, and another on my desk. I also have the cream and lotion in jars or bottles that I use also. But, I have found that although the generic brands are okay and they work also, it seems Palmer's Cocoa Butter, tends to be a bit creamer, tends to have even more of that wonderful smell, and it not "gritty" feeling. I bought a "generic" brand of the stick one a couple of weeks ago. I noticed immediately when I opened it, it felt a bit gritty, rather than as smooth as my usual brand.

As I said they make several different formulations of it, depending on where and what you are using it on.Even on my toughest parts of my body, like my cuticles is another place I have terrible issues with, this tends to help them to heal better, and again without the high cost of having several different types of creams for different areas of the body.

I feel that the Cocoa Butter for me, is almost a "one stop" shopping article. Just about anywhere I need to use it, I am able to, and I don't have to worry over buying multiple lotions, creams, and then being concerned on where I can or can't use them. 

I would recommend anyone that is battling either cracked skin, heels, cuticle problems, discolorations of the skin, fading surgical scars, stretch marks, or for a general lotion, to try 100% Cocoa Butter. As I mentioned there is one very popular name brand product, and since it is not expensive I would say to try it, rather than a "generic brand". But, a generic brand if it contains the same ingredients would probably give you the same results. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Monday #HAWMC - WEGO Writers' Challenge! H. E. A. L.T. H. - April 27th 2015

Talk about a post to think about. So many "words" for so many illnesses, symptoms, medications and the like. So, I shall give this one a try today  - come up with an "acronym" to describe my activist journey.

"Hoping Extreme Activism Leans Towards Healing"







This was is not as easy as one might think. To really use only what "letters" given or a word for example, such as this without putting any other "in between" words such as "IN' An, The, and so forth takes some thought. So, since I do at times "feel" like I want to take my own "Activism" to the "Extremes" so one day, what I have accomplished does lean towards others "healing".....

Great one WEGO!!!!!!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Oh MY!!! I almost missed it!!! I had my days Mixed up.... #HAWMC - WEGO Health Writer's Challenge

This has not and never will be an easy thing to do. "We" and I am speaking us that are chronically ill and/or having Chronic Pain. All too often others that mean well, can sometimes really say or do some very hurtful things to us. Some, they may mean it to be that way. Yet, often family and friends, really don't want to make us feel badly, yet they do.

I know my Mom will come up with some "hair brained" idea from "television". She will "partially hear or see" something that she thinks may just be the answer to our prayers for me to "be well". A I have tried to tell her hundreds of times, those "gimmicks" are just that. They are trying to get your money, and the majority of the time, whatever it is, would not work.

So, I have gotten to the place, that rather than "appease" her or anyone with these solutions, I inindate them with the "truth". I have taken the Arthritis Magazines to her. Health magazines that cover what is really going on. I also print things from online. I have taken many examples of the "truth" behind my illnesses, my pain, and why I do or don't do some things. What she and others do is try to tell me "what I should or should not do"... I guess that bothers me more than anything.

NO, maybe I should not have been on the chair today putting up a new mini blind. BUT, if I don't, who will? There is NO ONE I can call at the drop of a hat, that can come over and resolve my daily house stuff, that I have to do. My coffee pot went out this morning. I also needed a different size mini blind. Then I saw the one in the next window was also broken, thus I needed two of them. Did I really "feel" like going back to "Wally World" this morning to get those things? No, I wanted to be here, home and writing. But, once I saw that I needed those, plus the curtains in my bedroom needed laundering, so down they come, and into the washer and dryer. I realize that there are things I can't do. I know about how "far" I can push "me" before I am doing something "dangerous". I have osteoporosis, and it is in the "severe" category. So, climbing on a chair hanging blinds, and getting curtains down to launder, then putting them back up is not the smartest thing in the world to do. But, again I HAVE TO! It is up to me. This is our home, Jim is still not able to do much of any of that at all, whatsoever. Thus, I do what I can.

So, when I go over to someone's house, or see them in the store, and they ask me what I've been doing. I tell them. I know one day a lady I know caught me in a "not so great mood" at a store... She began going on and on, about her toe was hurting, and she was upset because her nail lady could not get to her, and she didn't know what she was going to wear out dancing that night. So, I looked right at her and said, "Well, at least YOU CAN HAVE YOUR NAILS DONE, and you can I am so sure color your hair today. Besides run over to Beall's, they are having a sale. Maybe you can find a dress you like, or an outfit. Then I told her, at least you get to go out, dancing, to dinner, with friends on the weekends. I sit at home, ill many times, and can't even go to dinner on my wedding anniversary, the 10th one at that. She kind of backed up and looked at me, and then said, "Well, I guess I didn't realize that you and your husband had that many health issues?" Well, she didn't know because she was too busy running her mouth about her world, her life, her job, her kids, blah blah blah... and so on, and never once asked about my life.

So, when I get "that look" using my disabled parking sign, or I ask someone to help me with my groceries to the car, I just stare back and should say, yes I AM ILL - YOU may NOT see it.... yet it is there... I am to the place, if I go into the store, sometimes I don't have makeup on anymore. Maybe I am not dressed to the "nine's" at times. By the time I do what I need to do at home, then have to shower, dry my hair and dress, many of my "spoons" for the day are used up and I need another handful just to make it through the market, and the pharmacy.

So, people that DON'T KNOW, rather than stare, ask me. My life is an open book. I will tell you all about my Lupus, RA, Sjogren's, knee replacements, shoulder replacement, losing ALL of my teeth this past year and have dentures due to Sjogren's. Ask me about the fatigue, the cold sweats at times, the times that I so wished I could just sit down in the middle of the floor and CRY until either the pain stops OR I can't cry any longer..

Before you "cast" a stone.. try to make sure the target is what you think it is. So, yes, if after a round of "high dose 14 day Prednisone", I have a couple of pounds, I can see, so I know others do too. It may take me a month to get off those couple of pounds, but they will come off.

And if I "can't" go out to dinner, or out shopping, or if I decide there is no way, I can do laundry today, then know when I can, I do, and always will.

#HAWMC WEGO Health's Writer's Challenge "How to "Smile" & Try and Feel Better Even Though Things are NOT as They Seem! How to Handle a "Bad Day"

I will attest, WEGO Health and the bunch, you have came up this entire month with some incredible "prompts"!

This is truly a great one also. 5 Tips to overcome" a Bad Day"!

I would venture to say (I guess at the moment I speak for myself), having chronic illnesses and Chronic Pain is almost something "negative" we live with daily. Of course some days are worse than others. We have our "memorable days". Those that we wished we could bottle up, and be able to open and have a sense of remembering them in touch, sight, smell, feel and thought! Of course all of us have those great memories. The idea of truly being able to capture them "hook, line and sinker" as the old saying goes could make them even more capable of giving over to the times when things feel like you are on top of the ever shaking mountain, and could conquer the world.

For me, I usually know very quickly, if I am going to have "one of those days." When I arise from bed, and everything hurts, I realize I have 3 or 4 doctors appointments, things my Mom needs done in that next few days, it is not sunny outside, OR it is HUMID and MUGGY; which brings on even more pain, that is when I feel like crawling under my bed, with my "granny blanket" as I call my favorite blanket with the silk on the edges, and hide for at least 24 hours, maybe more.

So, when things start off like that, I head to Facebook first, to find something "positive", "
funny, strange, thoughtful or whatever some friends have posted, that make me smile because they just have that ability. For instance, I have a dear friend who has a very busy
Fibromyalgia group. She seems to always know, when I need something to smile about. So, often times when it feels like I am "drenched from the fog of a lousy day" she has sent a "bundle of virtual flowers" and a small note to say "I totally get it and I understand". So, my first tip for "one of those days" is to "look" for something positive. If you have a FB page with friends who tend to find either positive things, pretty cards, or something funny to post, go and see if they have posted something. Usually if you scroll through the new posts, you will find one that just "fits" to make things feel a bit better. My next thing is that rather than allow all of that "garbage" to float around in my mind, I write down a list of what has to be done! Whether it is for just that one day, or for the next few very busy ones ahead, by writing them down on a list (I suggest literal paper and your favorite pen) rather than typing them out, making that list helps to put things into perspective. I feel I can better handle it all. I kind of purged it out of my thoughts by writing it on paper with my favorite pen (by the way, no one touches my favorite pen)! So, my 2nd way to make it a bit better is to write a list of what needs to be done, so you can kind of rid your mind of all of the stuff that is floating around almost eating at you.

My next thing I try to do, is take a look at the local weather. As silly as that sounds, once I have down a list of what needs to be done etc, then I want to know what to expect if I am having to go out and have things to take care of outside the house, the weather sometimes really makes a difference. Right now it is "thunderstorm, hail, high wind and possible tornado" time in Texas. So, if there is a 90 percent chance of thunderstorms, that are probably involving hail and high winds, then I decide what things I can do here at home done, and avoid going out in terrible weather. I know the day is only going to be worse, if I am fearing my new vehicle being hailed on, or going somewhere and having blinding, drenching rain, lightening and thunder all around. So, my 3rd thing to make for a better day is to KNOW what to expect weather wise. The weather makes such a difference "physically speaking" also. If I am already hurting, stiff, and feel lousy, then I see the weather has a high humidity, a barometric pressure that is nuts one way or the other, then I can "expect" the pain and stiffness, and "blame it on the weather" or at least partially know for sure, it is NOT helping.

Writing seems to be my way of truly ridding myself of the gunk in life that causes me great grief. So, my 4th idea is usually to write in my blog about all that is really eating at me, or post on Facebook, and ask my friends to keep me in their thoughts that day. Sometimes I just write and not post it. I hold onto it for a bit, to see if I really want to just rain pain down on everyone else. At times a post where I am griping, whining, fussing, and just letting it all out, is perfect for my Facebook page. When I can tell that others are also having a crappy day, pain wise or whatever, empathy goes a long way. Now, when I say empathy, I mean those people that REALLY understand what you are going through. Not the "acquaintances" that don't get it, because they are either not chronically ill, or have chronic pain. But, those friends who are often in the trenches of hell in illness, right along beside you. Or if you see there are other dear friends that are really having one of those days also, then I try and send a post to help lift them up. That empathy, can work both ways. If you are able to put aside your stuff for a bit, and tell someone else you totally understand, and you wished you could fix it, make it go away, or be better you would. Sending a little picture of something cute, or pretty, flowers, kids, beautiful scenery, anything that is positive and just can cut through that bad stuff for a moment, always helps to make me see, "I am NOT the only one having a heck of a day". So, writing and then also uplifting someone else can help me to put my own stuff into a better perspective.

Sometimes for me, since I love to bake, if things are really horrible, and I want to jump off the Earth, I go and bake something wonderful. Getting everything out of my face and out of my mind, and baking does that for me, can turn a bad day into "okay, I can deal". Then there are times, that I will just think to myself, pain or not, fatigue or not, do something constructive. I in fact have been having one of "those days" now for about 2 WEEKS! So, yesterday, as bad as I felt, I cleaned my house. I "swiffered" my hardwood floors, then I mopped them with my hardwood floor cleaner that smells like lemons. I got out my duster, sprayed some lemon dusting spray" on it, and went over pictures on the wall, around base boards, under the bed where all of those dust bunnies hide, and over some of my furniture etc. I am not talking a huge spring clean, but one where you can do just enough, that gives you a sense of you accomplished something in spite of the junk, and take a smell of just how "clean" and fresh your home smells. That lemon smell, or any type of citrus, just makes everything to me smell like a fresh spring and summer day. Plus, I could visibly "see" that my effort paid off. Things looked neater, cleaner, and I moved around stiffness, pain and all, which helped to take my mind off the pain, the stiffness and I got some exercise with it also.

Those are 5 that come to mind at first. Sometimes I just have to get out, and go walk. I may spend a half hour trapesing up and down my long driveway, ranting and raving to myself, about how life had just wronged me that day. Again, any way I can "purge" my mind of "the stuff the binds me" helps to turn a bad outlook around. Some days I take a drive to where my Dad is buried. He has been gone now 10 years, which seems impossible, but I go out there, and in all of the quiet, peace, the sea of colors with flowers everywhere, and I can quietly "talk" to Dad, there comes some peace of mind.  I may take new flowers to put out on his grave and my Grandparents. I enjoy doing that, so it helps to turn the day around also. When things are just ALL out of sorts, and I am dropping stuff, spilling, stuff, hurting badly, and everything I touch seems to turn into a huge mess, I give up, go set on the sofa with my two pups, one on each side, and chill to watch a movie. Having them beside me, and getting my thoughts off of all of the bad stuff, also puts me in a place of, "Okay now I can handle some of this stuff". Maybe I have some kind of small treat. A cookie I love, or a bite or two of a cake, pie, or something I've baked. Others I may go outside, hopefully with my gardening gloves and literally just pull the weeds, and stray grass from around my flowers. That helps to take my mind off of things.

The very best thing I can do, when it's possible, it try and just get completely away for a day or overnight. If I've had some really busy weeks, things have just been too hectic, too full of illness, doctors, medications, fighting with insurance, and there seems to be no end, then I get my Mom, and we go for at least a day visit, usually to the Casino in Oklahoma. We usually have "complimentary" rooms for a night or two. So, if time permits an overnight stay. As I had said before, being able to just totally get out of the house, of out of town, and away from all of the stuff that can just put you into overload, as soon as I pull into that Casino parking lot, and enter the doors, everything else seems so small in comparison. We are not much as far as gamblers, and usually play the "penny" slots, and my Mom likes the 25 cent slots. But, it is the people, we watch others and see how excited they are, or when you here the cheer from one of the tables, and know someone just did well, or just to relax and eat at one of their great eating places, and walk, walk and walk. The one we go to usually is now once again I believe considered the "largest casino in the world". I can attest to the fact, that a lap or two around the entire casino area in itself, not including the three huge hotels, and then the smaller one they call "The Inn", can give you all the exercise you need for a day or so. Plus there are no clocks, no windows, and with all of the sounds, lights, people, music and noises, everything else pales in comparison. I leave there still kind of in a "trance" almost. Even though it is only a day or one overnight trip, it can smooth the "edges" off of life's rigid times.

It will be interesting to read how others rid themselves of a bad day! I know WEGO Health keeps me busy, and they help to take my mind off of the "bad days" also.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Saturday April 25th, Wego Writers Challenge 2015 - "Wordie" #HAWMC

This was really cool!!!! I enjoyed doing it. Wow, I added quite a few words, but I can see making one huge very quickly with all of the primary words from a blog!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Not the "usual" in my blog - but this is just NOT Right, no Matter How you slice it!

I'm not one to get into the "political" issues around just anything. When it comes to illnesses, and our governmental ways, I've learned that I MUST get involved and speak my mind. It is up to me to have my say. The only way I can do that, is not hide my head in the sand, but to speak up, speak out, give my opinion, and when it comes to "morals" then I feel it is even more ridiculous for me not to stand up for what I feel is right.

I have read this story about these two guys, who are "gay". However you want to say it, they are together as a couple, and even moreover they have "twin sons" they know each one "fathered" one, and the other the other one. They know the Mom, who carried the twins and knows the story also.

I guess even though I had read about it, I had not realized until very recently this is in Texas! Which is neither here nor there, expect it makes me want to even speak up MORE for these men. How ridiculous is it to "take away" biological "parents" from two loving, upstanding, "fathers", who above all HAD THESE BOYS BECAUSE THEY WANTED TO! It took a great deal of courage to go through this knowing how "homophobic" others can be. It is certainly not as bad as it used to be, but here in TX, I would assume to say, more people than in many other states, probably are more to leaning to be "homophobic" than others.

So, here these proud young Father's are, to be loving and caring for precious little sons, and some stupid Judge say they cannot be on their birth certificates, and further more are not acknowledged at all as far as being "biological" to the twins. Talk about one stuck up, ridiculous, homophobic, stick in the mud, head in the sand, and "non moral" people... this judge has to be heartless and headless it sounds like.

I was looking to see if there is a petition or somewhere we can "sign" on stating that we as others in this nation stand up and give these Dad's the legal rights as parents should have. Being "gay" straight, or whatever does not a parent make for sure!! but, wanting, loving, raising, providing for their needs, keeping food in their mouths, and a roof over their head, saving for school, college and watching them grow and have dreams of their own is what these men should be able to do... WITHOUT SOME OLD FART judge stepping in the way....

There should be NO argument whatsoever... these are their sons... period....

I hope others will also stand up and speak their peace on this. These guys deserve a happy life as parents, just as any male/female couple does.

When the Physicians Allow You to Hurt Like Hell - and play this "hurry up and wait" Ordeal - Intractable Pain....

I did not finish this BEFORE leaving the page yesterday, so everything I wrote after this initial post was lost. I had asked if anyone had one of these "discograms".... and if so was it as bad as what I am reading? It just seems like this is not a test to take lightly. Plus you may end up in worse pain than you already are. I went to my Orthopedic surgeon this week. He was the one that actually put my new right shoulder in and then done my 4 level neck surgery about two years ago. As awesome of a SURGEON AND DOCTOR as he is, he "patient repoire" SUCKS!! He "hates" an educated patient. I had written before that him and I have gotten into it, before he did my neck surgery. I had given him my own thoughts after doing a great deal of research, even on the "reverse shoulder replacement" and he just didn't appreciate "me" a layman, even attempting to let him know my thoughts on the situation. He basically told me I was "stupid".... and later on, after the surgeries were done and MOST OF WHAT I SAID, was TRUE about my situation, he had in his own weird way had to 'APOLOGIZE" for making it sound like I was stupid. I never got a total I am sorry, or apology, but in his own way, he kind of smoothed everything over. Anyway now I've found more information on "sacroiliitis.... that sounds also more like what is going on with me and my very lower back, almost at my tailbone, and then into both hips and traveling at times down to my knees.... I just did some research on it, after a doctor in CA had "tweeted" me about what I posted about my lower back and hip pain... I found out this issue often is looked over, and the doctors "miss" that this is the issue, and blame it on a lumbar spine thing instead. Well, as I've told both doctors now, I feel I have two issues.... maybe my very lowest lumbar vertebra and my S-1 -S-2 have issues.... BUT there is something going on with my hips themselves, or another issue causing the severe hip pain. He had the audacity to tell me that the severe pain I was having in my hips, no way could be caused by bursitis... or the like... which is bull... I KNOW I've had hip bursitis several times and it hurts like hell!!! Now here I sit, in fact I just tried the very "test" this doctor said to try in order to see if this is possibly this sacroiliitis or not. And both sides put me almost in a scream to try and "test" to see if that is the cause. So, now here I am NOT gotten any relief and in fact, I am WORSE TODAY!!! And I don't see my pain doctor until next Thursday. I am in tears with severe pain. It matters not if I sit, stand, walk... right now the sitting is the worst. But, if I go out and walk a bit, then it also hits me like a razor sharp ball of fire into my very low buttocks, and hips, then down the sides of both legs.... I cannot take much more of this crap.... I am almost to the place of intractable pain again..... Why is it, no matter how badly we hurt, it is always this "hurry up and wait" game with physicians????
I've done enough research through out all of my chronic illness and pain issues now for so many years, I could almost be a doctor myself... or a pretty good researcher....

Yet, this is beginning to be the end of how much I can take. I realize ANY of us are in all types of pain. Often we are in such an overload of it, we would do just about any and everything to stop it.

What do you do? We know that going to an ER with "chronic pain' is just about like peeing out of the back of a moving truck bed. We know that most of our physicians, want to do a billion dollars worth of tests, scans, injections, treatments, and all or none may work or not work. I have said over and over again, that no matter where they have ever done "CT Scans", or MRi's, EMG's, EEG's.... all types of nerve tests... blood work. and yes there is some thing that show up. Yet, only when a surgeon FINALLY GOES IN - that is when they see JUST HOW BADLY MY JOINTS ARE SCREWED UP!

I've been told that by several of my physicians over the years. So, again, I will repeat, since it is worth repeating, TESTS DO NOT ALWAYS mean they are TRUE AND CORRECT! Tests are usually as good as the person doing them, and then whomever does the reading of them...

A very good example just happened to me this week. I had a CT can about 4 weeks ago, on my lumbar spine. It did show some problems in my lumbar spine, and although not just HUGE issues, my pain doctor said it could be enough to cause the pain I am having.

I go to my Orthopedic Surgeon this week. He was "supposed" to have a copy of the CT Scan. Somehow, between me going into that building, and seeing him in his office, my CT Scan results suddenly disappeared. I KNOW it was there with the paperwork I brought in. I saw it, and I said it twice or three times... his office somewhere lost it, put it in another chart or something. BUT, He did DO regular X-Rays on my lower lumbar spine and hips. He could tell me MORE by regular X-rays about my lumbar spine, and so forth THAN THE CT SCAN EVEN WAS SHOWING... and He had NOT even seen the scan. So, that just goes to show, with a simple couple of X-rays, a physician that KNOWS what he is looking for, can sometimes find something before ordering other very expensive, more invasive tests! I thought he had been reading the CT Scan. Then he mentioned about possibly having one done. I said well I just had one 4 weeks ago and I brought it in with the rest of that paperwork. Of course NO he had not seen it, but it did see the problems. He began to tell me that due to the extreme amount of pain I was in, there was no way that my hips could cause the pain. I say BULL! When I was this bad before, my hips were injected into the bursa with corticosteroid and it worked, two times at least. 

Anyway, it went on to prove to me, in all honesty, when a proper physician sees some tests such as this plain X-Ray.... they can go by that and what the patient says, rather than order $1,000.00's of dollars worth of tests, that if not read correctly would not show how bad it really was.

So, I have tried just about any and everything to "keep my mind" off the pain... between baking, writing, doing emails, reading and so on... nothing is helping. Here it is Friday afternoon, and I have another week to put up with this mess.....

Could I scream????!!!!! YOU BET I COULD!!!!!!!!!

"Fitness Friday" - WEGO Health Writer's Challenge for April 24th, 2015

Oddly enough here I sit writing when I actually am supposed to be out walking with my spouse! Due to all of his health issues, pain and so forth from the severe accident a year ago last month, it has taken him a very long time, well a year, to get to the place he feels he CAN somewhat take a walk. And the thing is before his accident I walked daily, 7 days a week, at least a mile. I walked my drive way back and forth every morning, rain, shine, just not in the cold... joints and bones HATE the cold weather.

Now, I had for various reasons almost stopped my "daily routine" of exercise, walking, and riding an elliptical when the weather does not allow me outside... Between all of my own heath issues, the long drawn out process (a year also, really more) to FINALLY have MY DENTURES and THE LOWER ONES ARE REALLY ANCHORED down NOW!!! What a miracle.  I thought that day may never come. In fact, I was just in my dentists office today. I had some issues with some of the material he had used when making the little places in the denture fit over the little mini implanted posts. So, I went in and he fixed that for me...

He did say all looks very well. That he could see I was taking care of the posts inside my jawbone, along with the dentures. So, he was so pleased with that. Gosh, I should be ELATED! After over $12,000.00 worth of work, plus blood, sweat and some tears They should be make out of gold, platinum and "precious stones"... LOL! I guess that would weigh me down so much, I would not be able to open my mouth, OR worse I would NEVER be able to shut it!!! As if I don't talk enough to drive a preacher to drink, Lord knows I don't need anything to make me keep my mouth open anymore than it already is.

So, my own exercise routine kind of went astray for a bit. I say that but in a way, I have been almost getting MORE exercise daily between shopping, cleaning, cooking, laundry, vacuuming, sweeping, dusting, and as that list continues on and on.... Days like when I vacuum then "shampoo" my carpets. They are not wall to wall, we have hardwood floors, but our huge area rugs in three of our rooms take a great deal of elbow grease to clean them. Well, I like to go over them twice, if possible. But, the last two times I confess I only made it once on them.

Anyway, I consider things like laundry, making the bed, chasing after our dogs, and cleaning up after them every day, all of my pulling weeds, tending to about 80 houseplants, that now need even more care because they are outside for the Spring and Summer. Still that means everyday watering... thus that is a workout in itself.

I will say since my husband began his regime of daily walking. He goes out about 4 to 5 times daily, and makes several laps around the driveway. I usually go out and do the same with him. Plus, I am beginning my own walking habit daily again since this weather is beginning to be warmer, yet not too warm.

I do some stretching exercises, and wished there were many more things I could do, like I used to be able to. As with many types of chronic illnesses, especially autoimmune illnesses that tend to strike you in the joints pretty often, there are many things I could do, yet no longer are feasible. I was never very "Athletic". But, about the time I turned 21, I wanted to be in better health, look better, and be able to wear "cute" clothes back then. I had a tiny bit of an issue with my weight as a teenager. I was never "obese", but I had about 20 pounds on me, right after my son was born. I was determined to shed ALL of the weight (which was about 20 pounds) that I had gained in the pregnancy. Then I also wanted to drop another 10 pounds or a bit more, in order to just look good. Not too thin, but to get to where I felt "good" about my own self, when I looked in the mirror. And that became a way of life for me. I walked at least 5 miles a day, took aerobics classes a couple times a week. Back then I did all of the lawn work, mowing, and everything in between. That was in addition to a full time job, two kids, and I at that time was going to college at night to hope to have at least an Associates Degree. Anyway, up until 2007 when my joints that were already giving me problems began to get so worn and I was in so much pain, I finally had to have both knees replaces, along with shoulder,
and other joint issues, that kept me from snow skiing, now I am really not supposed to mow, but I sure have been thinking about trying lately. Also at the time I was walking so much, and watched every bite of food that went into body. They used to tell the waiter or waitress in restaurant, to bring me a "head of lettuce" and a bottle of fat free Ranch Dressing and all would be fine!

So, my main exercise program now is to do my walking daily. Then I also take my chores and errands, and when possible I spread them out, so that every day I have something I could be doing that requires a bit more work. Whether that be the laundry, or vacuuming, shampooing carpets. I have LOTS of weed pulling outside to do now. Along with caring for all of my other plants and flowers  I also try to make my way around the market, or a big store like "Wally world" almost a "workout". By making sure I hit many isles, and try to make the most out of all of those steps too.

One of the "largest" work outs I get, unfortunately, I don't get to go that much is walking around the biggest Casino's in the world - the Winstar, in Oklahoma. Talk about getting your miles in. If I lived closer, I would just go there several times a week, just to walk and get so much exercise. I wouldn't even gamble, it would be just the walking all over that probably estimating 5 miles from one end all the way to the other.

I wished I could say I had this fabulous gym that I went to, and done Pilates each week and so forth. But, I must stick with my "fast paced walking" along with all of my daily chores and errands as my "exercise" to stay fit.

As it stands, between my same old walking, and housework, yard work errands, this is my "method of madness" when it comes to exercise

Thursday, April 23, 2015

WEGO Writer's Challenge Month April 23, 2015 - "Our Choice" of what to Write About

I have a smile as I start this. With WEGO allowing us a "write about what you you choose today" could possibly be a very lengthy readers challenge!

As I always warn people, I don't think I am even capable of writing anything "short". Even my emails can consist of enough words to be a "Novella" at times. That is the "writer" in me. Some people have "bugs" in them... I have "writer" and "voice" within my nature. The "bug" thing was to be a "ding" from that show that was on about all of the different "creatures" people had picked up, and then got very ill due to them. From fleas, deer ticks, to all kinds of worms, and so forth. That show was eery, but also interesting.

Anyway, as I mull it around in my mind what subject I may like to talk about, one item that tends to comes up in my everyday life is, "loyalty". When I say loyalty that could mean anything from being a "loyal" customer to a department store, to a loyal friend.

I was raised "old school" I guess you may call it. My Dad taught me (he was born in 1923 and lived a bit of what he remembered through the Great Depression), although he was very young; that everyone gets their commendations for being truthful, honest, loyal, committed, and to keep their word. On jobs, my Dad first of all was not all that thrilled about me having to work when I was young and my kids small. He was so totally raised in such a different time frame, that women did for the most part stay at home, and did all of those things, and men earned the paycheck and took care of bills.

Well, we all know that as "great" and fantastic is that may sound, for the most part, if you have a family, it takes two and sometimes MORE than to put kids through school, feed everyone, make mortgage payments, car payments, and unless you are fortunate enough, you never have "cash" to buy a car outright. You usually don't have "cash" to do many things for your home, your kids, and family outright, because everywhere we turn, things are so much more expensive. Cars (new) are no longer $2,000.00 cash. Heck you can barely use that for a down payment. If you are lucky, it will be that, but if not, you can expect more.

Same way with homes. My parents paid $50.00 a MONTH for their tiny 2 bedroom home, that included taxes and insurance for 30 YEARS. I am talking about a home that is barely 1,000 square feet. OF course they paid that off many, many years ago. My Mom still lives in that home also.

So, the idea of a "small town" everyone knows everyone, and used to provide a running tab at a local store that you paid at the end of the week. Or the small town, you got an awesome deal on local items due to the "Mom and Pop" stores that did line our city streets. Shamefully most of those are gone. Unless they have really worked to KEEP up a "self-owned" store; they have been overtaken by the HUGE "one stop shops" of these last several decades.

So, onto what I feel my post today is all about. Not long ago I had a situation where I felt that I needed to "honor" a particular group and my own "loyalty" to me, was to make sure I did all I could to promote things for these people. Well, I was asked some questions, and due to my background of feeling like I needed to remain loyal to one, the questions asked from another seemed to be "fishing for me" to use the first event to also "help promote" the 2nd event.

Well, I guess that is where I see things a bit differently than what happens in this time of life. I was told that it was not that I was being "not loyal" to first first event, if I used it to gain information, and "promote" at the same time another event. I felt uncomfortable with this, because to me, I was "using" one to help the other.

I was then told, that is was all a part of "networking". In other words, using "resources" from one place, whether a job, an event, a group or whatever, using your information from one to help the 2nd was "okay" and not "cheating" your original group you were doing things for.

I guess  my "idea" is that for instance, I was working at a women's clothing store. I had been an employee for a few years, and I was "loyal" to them. I felt that was the proper thing to do. But, later down the line, I was approached by another women's clothing store, that would be a "rival" to where I worked. They asked me to send some clients there way by telling those who come into where I work, that they could go over to the "other" store and pay less, or get a discount, or something of the sort. Or say I was "moonlighting" at a competitors store, while I was supposed to be supporting who I worked for.

Those are kind of what I am talking about. I consider "networking" a tool used let's say by several organizations that do similar things. Maybe they are both in the place of "research" when it comes to a new stomach bug, or a new medication. If "they" as companies decide to "combine their efforts", then to me that is fine. It is on the "up and up", the Boards of both will determine all of what will happen, thus that is great and dandy.

But, if one or two employees from one place, go over to a competitor, and give out vital information about themselves to the rival, or in any way try and "get their foot in the door" by having someone who works there do it for them, to me that is NOT networking. It is just not correct. I feel it is something that if you cannot be "loyal" as a representative, then you should not be there at all. No one should "feel" even say best friends.... there are 3 of them. One tells the middle one about a certain free item, or better buy, or tells them that the "3rd" friends information could be used to help the other... to me that is just poor character, and no one should ever be asked in any shape or form, whether you volunteer, whether you work somewhere, any thing where it involves something helping the "rival" then to me that is just not how I was brought up. You GET MERIT for a job well done! You get where you are destined by being loyal, upfront, trustworthy, and not "back stabbing" someone else per'se.

Now I realize with this nation and our world in such a horrid mess all around, that these types of activities go on daily. Whether it be a "news" station trying to one up another, or a clothing retailer trying to gather inside information about a rival by asking someone to do the "snooping" around etc.

There are usually at least "two" sides to every story, and usually more than two. So, what one person deems, "networking" even though they may not have really used the entire truthful way to obtain a "foot in the door" or not, everyone sees things in a different light.

This is NOT about any one situation that has involved myself, but my daughter has ran into in even on a "school level" as far as her kids go. She sees it all the time, those who sometimes "get their way" and they are not as qualified as another child, then hard feelings develop.

If this does not make sense, blame it on my Lupus/RA/Sjogrens Brain fog!!!  This has came to mind to me on several occasions and I really have never written my opinion on the subject..

There is no "right or wrong" here... just different beliefs, and often times it totally has to do with the "time frame" in life, how you were raised, and so on....

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

"RA" is not a "serious" of a medical issue as before? Really!?[mycred_affiliate_link]

The REALLY sad truth from this story, and from others, is that "some" people actually believe this. If we are not limping and carrying a cane, or in a wheelchair, have a walker or even go out in the public looking "half decent" with makeup on and your hair not a mess. The very first thing I hear is WOW, you must be better!" Better from When? Really? Better from when I was almost screaming in pain earlier today with my back and hips? From 2 weeks ago, when I just didn't feel well enough to "dress up with my makeup"? The other sad fact, and I know it to be true... if you are ill, in pain, especially chronic pain, and you are seeing your doctor, at times I have went in, maybe deciding not to look so horrible... so I do put a bit of color on my cheeks and a swipe or two of mascara... you can almost bet the doctor does NOT take you as seriously as they do when you walk, crawl, or come in looking like the "death has been warmed over".... not all of them, but I have seen it more times than not... so, especially if I am going in for something like chronic or new pain, bad enough I am willing to do just about anything to get rid of it.... I sure as heck don't go "looking" okay. I don't put makeup on (I don't usually feel like it anyway)... but I realized years ago, you as a whole may not be taken as being in that much pain, if you are not wincing and in tears.... also MEN are taken much more seriously, as a whole when they go into the doctors office, especially with pain, than women. We, as women have seen it, been there, done it, bought the shirt, jacket and book... Men have it much simpler. As a whole, they go in and tell their physician the issues at hand, and usually they will get the treatment they need. At times women must jump over hoops, and hope for the best. It is better than it used to be, but how many of us have been told... you are too emotional, you think about it too much, maybe it is hormones, are you stressed, maybe you just overdid lawn work, or have you been out and about shopping to much?? Those are just a few.... So, when this story came to me via email, I knew I needed to share it. I will also put this up on my blog..

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Hobbies - #HAWMC - Wego Writers Challenge - April 21, 2015 (this is actually a day early for Wednesday the 22nd.

Over the years I've had many different types of "hobbies". I've always been on the "creative side", thus anything with an artistic or creative flare really suits me.

I learned how to crochet and do counted cross-stitch when I was in my early teens. I love to read books. I love to do all types of flower arrangements. You never know what I may come dragging in the house! From a piece of an old log, that I used to put flowers, ribbons and greenery on. I have 3 of them. I've done Christmas themes with them. I've also done Easter themes, and even one year did a "Shamrock Green" for St. Patty's day. I usually have some type of wicker broom, weather, or even some different very straight types of limbs from trees, that I've made sure are dried, wired those together, and put all types of decor on them. I always have one of those hanging on our front door.

I have oil painted, and was told years ago, I definitely had an "eye" for it. I've played the piano since I was about 7 years old, love to just mess around on the drums, keyboard, and even "write" lyrics and come up with the music for them. Of course writing is one of my all time, best loved, hobbies. It began also when I was quite young, and has been something I've done all my life, through every winding road, on a bus headed for Seattle, a plane headed for Washington DC or Vegas, on road trips, and I've been known to "scratch" down a few words to a poem on a piece of paper or a receipt while sitting at a red light.

I have a "huge" hobby, than really probably is not really considered one. But, it began as kind of a "hobby" for me. Then out of what I felt was necessity, being into research about all types of medical problems, from medications, to illnesses, to research over so many things that effect us on a physical level, along with usually a mental level also. Thus, as a hobby it began, yet now it is not only a hobby, that I absolutely love; it has helped me attain I feel some doctors that I trust, given me direction or suggestions when I need them, and also possibly helped some of my physicians to better understand my health issues at times, more than they do. After all, doctors as a whole, are all too often swamped with other patients, calls, pharmaceutical representatives, prescriptions, and the other 1,001 things they must do in the course of a week. So, I have watched a couple of my specialists truly be almost relieved that I do "have some understanding" of my conditions, so they can then decide of a course of action to take when it comes to treating me.

I am someone who loves to bake! I just absolutely love just about everything "sweet"! So, I am almost in "hobby heaven" when I am in the kitchen preparing for some awesome new recipe, for a new pie, cake, cookies, you name it. I love doing it.

I enjoy "people watching" at times. Not to be nosy, or like I want to say anything to them etc. But at times I find it very interesting the items people buy, whether at the market, large stores like "Wally World" or shopping malls. You can truly learn a great deal about someone by what they may have in their grocery cart,  or what kind of clothing they try on in a department store. Perhaps you are out for a stroll, or you are enjoying the outdoors. It is interesting to see what people are doing when they are outside. Are they exercising, playing with their kids, just having some quiet time, listening for nature in all of its glory. No matter where you are, where you go, people can be so totally amazing to watch.

I do like doing some like gardening. I have LOADS of "house plants". If I counted, I would say at least 80, maybe more. Believe me in the winter when they all have to be brought in, our small home looks like "jungle fever" has hit it. I love to be able to take a small plant, and after a bit of love, food and care, it can grow into something so beautiful. I used to love to mow, rake, do heavier gardening types of things, but now with my health issues, some of those things I am no longer able to do as well, if at all.

I am a "giant" DIY person... (do it yourself). Nothing thrills me more than to be able to "repair something", or fix something. My Mom never ceases to be amazed at all I can "do", "fix"... repair. The DIY is "almost" as good as me saving a HUGE amount on groceries, clothes or whatever it maybe. I NEVER and I mean NEVER EVER pay or will pay full price for anything. I am an avid coupon clipper and shopper. I've saved anywhere from 24% all the way up to 85% on certain things along the way. I watch for those "clearance" markdowns, with an additional amount off, and then all of the coupons I can use also. So, for me, "saving" a great amount of off something I really need or want, is a hobby for me. The MORE I save. the happier I am. Don't get me wrong, I am not the "Queen of Coupon-o-holics. I a not one of these buy 50 newspapers, or dumpster dive for them in recycle bins, but I do get mine of out my own newspaper, and then I frequently print MANY coupons. I also NEVER only in a very rare situation pay for "shipping". I always do and about 98% of the time, I do not pay any shipping. So, that is yet another almost hobby for me.

If I sat here and gave some "foggy brain thought" a bit more, I am sure I could come up with several more things I so enjoy doing and consider them hobbies.

A piece of why I do advocacy and activist, and volunteer work, is because they are kind of a hobby to me. Yet, I don't want to sound condescending when I say that. I guess what I really mean is from my first experiences of blogging, and getting into Facebook, then later finding out how much I would love to be a "voice" for others when it comes to illnesses, pain, and even other things in life... kind of back then, were a hobby of sorts. Since then it has turned into much more than a hobby. I feel it is truly a part of my life daily.

WEGO Writers Challenge April 20th, 2015 - Reflection... Your ambitions, hopes and how things have came together for you - Reflection from Life, to Chronic Illness

Each of us, no matter whether we are an activist, voice, Ambassador, Volunteer, all have some set of "what we hope to help do, and what we feel we may gain from doing those particular activities.

Whether you give out lunches in your home town daily to the elderly, or you have a blog that is all about how you want to help others through horrendous illnesses, whether it be mental, physical, or emotional... for the most part, when do you any type of event that is "volunteering" it comes from within your heart and soul.

Most of us "expect nothing" back. We don't expect a "pay check". For many of us, notoriety, fame, being "patted" on the back is really nothing we feel is necessary. We "GIVE" because that is what we want to do. That simple act of "random kindness" gives us feeling enough inside knowing we did something "extra" for someone's day. Maybe that door you held open for someone behind you, helped them put a smile on their face, in the midst of a terrible day. That "E-card" to a friend who is ill, who maybe overwhelmed, who may be feeling like life is a bit too much, and their comes that special card, just when they need it the most.

So, reflection back on my life and all of my "volunteering" even when I was 13 years old and was the only "Candy Striper" at the hospital at that time. Those days there taught me so many valuable lessons about life, people, the medical field, and gave me a chance to give of myself freely.

From there, whether it be a shoulder to cry on, a friend needing a lift due to their car being on the blink, sharing a cup of coffee with someone upset, just telling the checker and the guy doing the sacking at the grocery store, "Thank You!" and that you appreciate their help.

I've had to "overcome" some issues when it comes to I guess you might call it "pride". Before I had all of the joint issues, surgeries, Lupus, RA, and so on, I usually took out my own baskets from the stores. It was just something I did, and of course many of our stores now don't even offer the service. Fortunately, our local grocery store that is here in Texas always offers the assistance, which is a good thing. I know for the elderly people it is a huge help, and when I am having issues with my back, or joints having had surgery, or just not feeling well. It truly does help to have someone take the basket out and put your groceries in the car. A great example for me just a couple of days ago. I noticed our market was really busy. They were trying to keep up with checking and getting the merchandise sacked. So, at first I told them, don't worry about it, I will just take it out myself this time. Well, I should have allowed them to. First of all, the way the parking lot is designed, you are on a slight slope as you come out of the store. Of course that makes it a bit easier to push the baskets. But, when I have a huge bill of items, or heavy items, that basket will try and "run away" from you outside. I had a gentleman that had his two young children with him, stop and help me hold the basket that day. I was so elated to see we still have some awesome people in this world. I commended him with a huge thank you, and I also commended him for having his two kids, and they were younger children with him at the store. Often times, you don't see as many men with their younger children especially at the store. So, it was just an all around "thanks" for everything I witnessed there within a few moments of this gentleman.

So, whether it maybe reflection on advocacy work, or having someone help you out when you least expect it, for me, my reflections are on those that do some wonderful things and their not expecting a "thank you" for it.

My "hopes" are that I also continue to "share" a helping hand or a thank you.  My goals are to become that "author and writer" of a book that truly will help others. Some of those things have suddenly within the last weeks came together.

Then there are many "detours" that come along, unexpected, that can delay all of those ambitions, hopes and what we feel we truly need to accomplish in our time here.

The chronic illnesses of course have all too often caused a delay in some of my goals, dreams and wishes. In fact, there are some of those things, that I may never be able to do again. At times that really bothers me. Yet, I also try and look back to remember when I DID do that thing, or I DID get to go to that concert, or vacation... or something as simple as now I am looking forward to being able to get away for a night, and have my Mom and I take a couple of hour trip to the Casino and possibly spend the night.

I also hope that my own health will hold out, so I can become a better advocate, activist and an Ambassador. I hope to be able to go back to Washington DC next March and once again "give voice" for ALL of us with these horrid arthritic illnesses.

I can also reflect on the facts that I feel I've "built" a very good repoire with the "non-profits" that I advocate for. Or really I should say I feel they have truly "taken me under their wing" and given me some amazing opportunities to be the advocate, activist, Ambassador and Volunteer that I want and will continue to want to be. So, I say a huge "Thank You" to all of those that are so incredible in the realms of health and helping others. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Writers Challenge Sponored by WEGO Health April 19th 2015 - IF You Could Travel to.... Where might that be & How to do deal Chronic Health and Travels

WEGO Health has really "hit the nail on the head" with their "prompts" for their April 2015 Writer's Challenge. It seems each one of them brings out things I may have not really written much about. Thus now I am getting new ideas, even for my own book I am working on.

Thus, if I could or already have been "anywhere" I travel to, or I've already been there, where would that be?

I have several "1st thoughts". I LOVED Seattle! The 5 years I spent there was better than fantastic. The city, the people, the food, all of the wonderful views, and spectacular places to go see and do things, it just seemed like the "panacea" of life I was looking for. It has been 10 years since I moved back to Texas, and I still miss Seattle.

Then there is portions of California that I truly loved. Lancaster/Palmdale CA were absolutely where I felt I should be. That was in 2001 that I drove myself all of those thousands of miles, only really "knowing" a couple of people. Yet, within days of being there, I had found a couple of dear friends, a place to live, a job, and felt that was my "home". Then Jim and I lived in San Pedro for a short while. I loved it there also. The weather was perfect, and it was also a beautiful place to be. Although I really miss Lancaster and Palmdale, now I know that is just not where I belonged, and neither was San Pedro.

We spent a week in Hollywood Florida! It was like paradise! I had so hoped the job Jim went to interview for, would pan out. We had found the house of all houses, that was about 3 minutes from the beach! It was also a place I could have seen me settling into. I could see a Sunday morning, $2.00 breakfast on the beach, with a Mango Frozen Daiquiri in my hand. Yet, again as much as I loved it, and I think it was more the unbelievable house we found, I just cannot say it would have been where I wanted to be.

I've now been to Washington DC! It was awesome, and I would definitely enough another visit, and hope to again pretty soon, but it's not my "home" either. Same for Pagosa Springs CO, and the "Wolf Creek Ski Lodge".... and I do wished I could go snow skiing again. Stupid body, has to be jointed "disjointed", with all of my replacements, knees, shoulder, and so on, that part of my life I've fondly had to give up also.

Now Las Vegas 0 Loved it and definitely will go back - hopefully soon. It was like "no other" place I had ever been. I just basked in the glow of "neon" signs, lights, sounds of the slots, and all of the great entertainment, huge Casino's, hotels, it is a place everyone should go to at least once in their life.

I've been on vacation in several different states, and of course all around Texas. I truly felt my "hometown" of Ennis TX (Home of the Bluebonnet Festival, Polka Festival, and the All Concrete Motorplex Drag Race Track, would never be my "stopping off" point in life. I guess life changes and we must "go with the flow" as the saying goes. It is not that I just despise this place. I am not really a huge "city" fan, and am more of a "small town" feel type of person. Yet, when I left on that bus in October 2001 headed for Seattle, I truly felt I would never reside" in Ennis again. At the time I had been through way too much "drama", gossip, not being able to "be me" I guess you could say. If I happened to wear a top and show my belly button ring, tongue ring or a tattoo, I was the "Queen of Debauchery". Thus, after leaving here, all of that melted away. I could show a tattoo, or wear a mini skirt, without feeling like I committed several small crimes at once.

So, now to the main question, if I could go anywhere, or had been already, where would that be? Well, I've never traveled abroad anywhere. I've not been "overseas" at all. I truly believe if I was able to go somewhere it would be somewhere such as Tuscany. Of course I am not sure if what I've seen on television and in the movies are a true look at somewhere like that. But, to see an incredible countryside, with lush green all around, and ride down a small cobblestone street, with the smell of fresh bread, beautiful flowers, and people taking life a bit slower would be where I would love to be, at least for a while. The look and feel of those huge Cathedrals, and buildings that have been standing for hundreds and hundreds of years, decorated ornately, and something such as a Castle that I could go to and look down over some incredibly beautiful country side and small town would truly be an inspiration for me. I feel I could go to some place such as that, and be inspired to write, to oil paint again, to play music when I could, and I honestly feel that my "body" might even partially "heal" itself. I know just changing your "destination" does not really mean you will be totally healthy again, but I do feel I would have a "better" me in some place such as that. So, through all of the places I've lived and visited, I would consider moving back to Seattle possibly.

Yet, my "dream month" destination, or possibly longer would be some small place in Tuscany. When I go and flip through the pictures doing a search, seeing all of the incredible buildings, cathedrals, artwork, everything just like it was pulled right out of a pictureest view, all of the statues created by those who have long passed away, yet their legacy lives on and on, within the halls and streets of such a magical place... As I said, just the idea of stepping into a scene such as that, almost melts the stress away, as I sit here writing about it.

I do have a few things that I've learned about travel now that I am plagued with this ridiculous autoimmune issues, especially about riding too long and so on.
Wear comfortable clothes, whether it be on a plane, train, bus or traveling by car. Don't set yourself up, where you MUST set for hours at a time. Try to pick a way to travel, and of course by car this is the best, where you can get out every once in a while, stretch your legs, back, and be able to move around. The longer many of us have to sit in one place, it gets to where it just hurts too much. Try to travel as "lightly" as possible. Gosh, when I was younger, I would pack my "entire closet" for a weekend! Now, I've learned to pair down a great deal, pick pants, a skirt, dress, jeans or whatever, but make sure you can interchange several tops, a belt, scarves, or something to be able to have one "outfit" that can be several depending on accessories. I LOVE HEELS! And I take them even when I may not wear them.  But, do your best to wear the most comfortable shoes you can have, and some that you can also interchange with outfits. Again, so you are not carrying around two suitcases full of shoes. Try and keep taking makeup, hair products, (now most hotels have hair dryers and ironing boards), so find out what they do have so you don't have to carry extra items. Find a way that you can do your makeup nicely, but fairly quickly. I tend to carry again every piece of make up product I have, and I am too overloaded and probably don't use it anyway. If you have medications, always have them in their bottles, labeled, and if it is something you must keep refrigerated, be sure to ask for a fridge, or make sure you can get one if staying at a hotel, and also like my medication came with a freezer bag to freeze the solution in, and put my medication in there. It will last a good deal of time, then you can re-freeze it when you get to your destination. I know many guys are not for "stopping" if they are driving on a vacation and so forth. But, just put your foot down, whether a spouse, friend or whomever, and take those bathroom breaks, coffee, soft drink, eating breaks. Don't overdo as I said above being confined for way too long and not getting out if at all possible. Tag luggage well. Plus, if you do have "joint problems" and are flying. Request a wheelchair with an attendant to help you through the maze at the airport. Last year I took that suggestion when I flew to D.C! That was the best thing I could have done. I never would have made it all alone, with luggage etc and walking myself. Having that wheelchair really saved my life. Don't be embarrassed, I decided not to be. I would do it again, if I travel by plane.