Showing posts with label Lupus Foundation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lupus Foundation. Show all posts

Monday, November 28, 2016



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Monday, November 7, 2016

WEGO Health Bloggers/Writer's Challenge 2016 - Day 7 - How I chose to start my Advocacy Work & How I felt when I made that decision

Day 7 - WEGO HEALTH Blogger/Writer's Challenge 2016

"How I Chose to become an "Advocate" & How I felt about that decision"

I had really already been a "voice" in many ways well before I was diagnosed with RA, Lupus and Sjogren's. Before those came into play, I suffered with Migraine's from the time I was 17 years old.

I was also wanting to be in the medical field almost all my life in some way. Early in life, my thoughts were on becoming a nurse. As time went by, I married, had my son, then a few years later, remarried, and had my daughter, the idea of going to school full time in order to become a nurse was almost impossible. I was mainly the "bread winner" of my home, and my paycheck really needed to be there in order to pay for the house, car, and for all that my children needed as they got older. 

I had a chance when the kids were around early teen years to go to Nursing School full time and it be completely paid for by the hospital I was working at, in the Business Office. I did pass #1 on the Exam to get in, but then it was the "money" issues, of me having my paycheck completely cut out for at least two years, that made me have to decline going to college full time. Although I took classes at night and got my Associate Degree in more of a business light, the medical field has always been in my "blood". 

I seemed to "absorb" all things "medical" in nature. After being formally "diagnosed" first with MCTD, then soon that changed into Lupus, RA, DDD, DJD, Raynaud's "Hyper-joint mobility", Sjogren's and that list grew on, I then "knew" first of all, the Heart Attack I had at 40 years old, had to have something to do with the RA and Lupus. Although when I was 40, I was the "picture of health" ate properly, exercised daily, watched every type of food I ate, was the exact weight I should be, yes, I had a heart attack. At the time the doctors said the huge amount of stress I was under had caused it, which I am sure played a role, but I was SURE back then, that my Migraines, joints issues, that had already caused me to have several major joint surgeries, plus other things in my health that just did not add up, yet not one doctor took me "seriously" for another 10 years or MORE, before I finally got the diagnosis of "autoimmune disorders". Thus at 50, I suffered another heart attack. 

Now, back to my advocacy work. I was already writing a book about my "health issues". The doctors that had been great, and those that treated me like I was some "air-headed, over anxious blonde" because as we have come to find out "Chronic Pain and Illness can often be UNSEEN by others in our lives - Invisible to those around us, even physicians". 

Back then women were also kind of considered "off the wall", depressed, anxious, stressed and that ALL of their "illnesses" were basically psychosomatic, rather than being looked upon as most men were. A man walks into the ER or doctor's office complaining and they are taken seriously. Back then and still it happens, woman can do the same, and we get the answer YOU need a "shrink"... this has changed for the better and does not happen as much, but back then most women were just "crazy", when they complained, especially of pain. 

So, when I became interested in finding out how I could get MY voice heard, other than my writing, I turned to Facebook to do some research. I also began doing searches on the different illnesses, diseases and syndromes, and came to find out there was an entire realm of "advocacy" places, where the PATIENT'S VOICE was CRUCIAL!

No longer was it just the professionals that were hailed upon for answers, but us, those that suffered with these diseases had a voice in groups, by jointing some of the organizations, and even going right up to Washington DC (which I had long said I wanted to stand at the White House Steps and TELL MY STORY) ... and I came to find out, that is exactly what patients were doing! That the Arthritis Foundation, WEGO Health, the Lupus Foundation, the IFAA, and so many other of the non-profits were "enlisting" us, everyday, regular patients to tell our stories, and move those that could help us by money for research, by giving people access to clinical trials, helping to get our voices to the experts, thus that is what I did.

I dove in head first, to a couple of organizations, and I was excited, thrilled, terrified, star-struck, and scared all at the same time! When I was able to attend the Arthritis Foundation's "Capitol Hill's Annual Summit" and DID GET TO tell my story to some of the Congressional men and women, I truly felt that I had accomplished a greatness. That is when I also wanted to tell everyone else, that they TOO, right from their home and computer, can also make their voices heard. They are important, and crucial to making the diseases stand out, where we can get answers, get proper diagnosis', get the care, medications and specialists we need in order to survive all of the horrid illnesses, we've had to endure for much too long.


Thursday, October 15, 2015

What "Out of the Mouths of Babes" Taught Me this Morning about Lupus and Advocacy!!!!

I have to post this in regard to ALL of us EFFECTED by LUPUS!!! My daughter called a little while ago, as most know she lives about 8 hours away around the Corpus Christ area, and she was talking about Selena Gomez having Lupus. I told her I had just began to read that, and she said that the woman she works with, has a son who is 24 years old, and he was diagnosed with Lupus... recently he almost died due to it almost shutting down his kidneys.. and then "out of the mouths of babes comes" This is not a "rare" disease, it effects so many and there needs to be much more awareness about it!!!! As I almost fainted because of course here I am her Mother who has it among other A illnesses, and of course I am a huge Advocate for Lupus and RA...Sjogren's and so forth. So, the "point" here it dawned on me, that first of all of course she knows that I have Lupus, but her thoughts have been it is a "rare" disease, and she knows that I help to spread awareness and then it dawned on me - 

UNTIL WE make LUPUS a COMMON HOUSEHOLD TERM like CANCER - never will all of our advocacy be enough.. even those out there educated about it, with a family member with it, like a Mother, and all she knows about me, it still to her seems to be a "rare" issue - then when she said, but Mom is is NOT - the news always makes it sound like some "rare" disease but it is far from being rare... it touches MANY people's lives daily and then she said and they give "chemotherapy" medications for it - that Selena Gomez is on a much smaller dose, but it is a "cancer" drug that is used"- now my kids know that I am on medication and neither of them live close enough to "see me" when I am ill, or see what the doctors say, and so on 0 but of all of the advocacy work I do- I "missed the boat" in telling my own daughter that I am TOO on chemotherapy type medication just also in a much smaller dose.... I felt as if in my own way, to those closest to me, I have FAILED miserably in my "activism" and voice for these diseases..... again that is when it dawned on me until we QUIT having people think of these diseases as "rare" and they become as "well-known" as cancer, heart disease, diabetes etc.... then we shall never HAVE ENOUGH AWARENESS out there.... I told her that kids as young as 9 MONTHS old can be diagnosed with JRA.... and I did not have time to explain more about how that is found, but it surely hit me square in the face, that our activism, advocacy, and awareness need to be MUCH, MUCH more...Lupus as I said, needs to be a "household" word......

So, I now am even MORE AWARE that we need MORE AWARENESS! All too often these types of illnesses are considered "rare" yet as we know now, daily, we hear of many, many more cases, and people that have it Lupus, RA, Sjogren's and such for YEARS and they do not get diagnosed until after they are much more ill that they should have to be!

This to me is just NOT ACCEPTABLE and it should NOT BE acceptable to any of us.... whether you have Lupus and so forth, or a family member with it or a friend, and so on, awareness is they key to finding a cure, a reason for, how to STOP LUPUS before it attacks someone so young, that their kidneys fail..... Her comments to me certainly gave me chills down my back, to think I was diagnosed about 2009 or so with Lupus, RA, etc... and even though I have made it very well aware to both my kids and my Mom and other relatives, friends and such... and even put my heart and soul into all of the Advocacy I can, it is NOT ENOUGH1 STANDING on those White House Steps in 2014, and telling CONGRESS having these disease is NOT ACCEPTABLE and yet each day we grow it seems almost further from education people about this not being some very rare something, but it is a part of MANY and THEIR EVERYDAY LIFE!!!!!

I have to keep DIGGING away and trying to do all I can to spread information about Autoimmune illnesses and just how deadly they can be.....

WE must ALL do so!


Friday, July 31, 2015

How to React to an "invisible bacteria" invading your body, when Autoimmune Diseases are involved & how do you know when you are "well"?

Good question! For myself, YES, it is!  Whether it is a "missing" bone out of my spine, that was found after 55 years of life, or an unusual "lump" on the top of my let thigh, my entire "medical" life always evolves around being unusual, unique, complicated, complex, and some doctors almost "fear" having to treat me at times.

We all in the world now share an added sense of "something is worse now" than 20 years ago. Bacteria now that invades our bodies have mutated and changed so much, many of the well known medications to treat these bacterial infections no longer are able to do so. I found that over the years our bodies do have an extremely interesting way they fight certain things... like this lump on the top of my left thing. IT is my own immune system although compromised, that began getting that infection "rounded up" an circled to push it into this lump, in order to try and stop it from spreading more. So even with a body and immune system that tends to not work properly at times, I still have enough of my immunity, that the body tries its best to fend off the bacteria, thus the "lump" under my skin is cellulitis. But, unless you know about it, or it breaks to the outer skin, it can go possibly not noticed. Of course when the lump came up and began to grow so quickly I knew there was something very wrong.

things with myself and my Mom are just insane. Between my own needing for back surgery, and now to find out my Mom, who we thought has a hip problem, find out it is also her lumbar spine and arthritis. So, between running to doctors, to therapy, for tests, some local and some in Dallas, and then me to come down with the cellulitis, plus I have not even gotten the chest X-ray so I can go on Xeljanz. My "TB" blood test came back "inconclusive" but they feel it is because it did not get tested quickly enough, thus that happens. But, until I have the X-ray, my insurance will not approve the medication.

Of course the sweltering temperatures are not helping... we are under a heat warning for at least the next 5 days and more... looking at temps above 105 plus the heat indeces bringing it up to 110 and above at times...

Things are just a mess right now and I am about ready to throw in the towel, throw my hands up, and then hide under the bed for the next month or so... Gosh knows when it rains it pours... and my doctors all agree, I am a "complex and complicated" patient... YA THINK???

I apologize for not posting more here, but due to my health issues and then all of Mom's things, I have really not been able to sit here for very long to post... I decided I did need to come in and post a few things and share why I have been "lax" in my postings lately....

Here are a few links also I want to share with you...

By the way, talking about "Fish oil" and such especially for your pets, dogs in particular, I had a friend tell me about her dog, who was very, very old and had severe issues with joints. She had put her on "Canna - Pet" which is "industrial hemp powder".... I tried it for Tazz a couple of months... and it just helped her immensely. I was so surprised and thrilled. BUT I was NOT thrilled with the PRICE! The stuff is like $30.00 for a month's supply. In fact, it would be 60.00 a month if you gave them 2 a day... anyway, I did my own research on this "hemp powder" and began to find that there are many "humans" that use it for all types of problems. Especially joint pain, and inflammation... even allergies and so forth. So, I looked on Amazon and found a bottle of "100% hemp powder".... and this has NO THC or whatever the initials are for what is in cannabis that humans use to smoke... it contains none of that... so there is no "high" anyone would get, and it would never show up in the bloodstream or urine. So, I ordered a fairly large canister full at about $10.00. Well, the price right there was much better, but I was not sure how well it would work... It works just as well if not better than those capsules, costs a heck of a lot less, and both dogs even like the taste of it. I can take a treat, or a piece of fresh fruit etc... and roll it in the powder and they just love the flavor. So, I've been giving it to them every morning, and then I put a bit on their food.... I can see both of them up playing, and doing things that before they just almost could not do, especially Tazzy.... I wanted to share this with all of you, and also the fish oil they love too. I feared they might eat their food, but they eat better with the fish oil on it.... LOL!!!! Anyway, a bit of information for some of you..

Lots of great news above... from information about Fish oil and its benefits, to a new Lupus medication on the horizon, Miss Teen who has made her dreams come true in spite of fighting Juvenile Arthritis, and more... I think you will like reading these...

Friday, May 22, 2015

WOW!!!! Talk about OVERWHELMING!!!!!

I wanted to reach out to all of you that come and read on my blog. I realize that I was not getting it "out there" like I needed to.

Then between becoming a voice, advocate, an Ambassador, A Platinum Ambassador, Activist, and volunteer, I began to be able to have a better audience.

I have several to thank for this but I will say THANKS ALL OF YOU!!!

Right now I have had MORE page views than any other time of this blog... and I have had 335 so far today!!!!!! 

That is just totally mind boggling!!!

I am in support of a great deal of Organizations who are moving forward to make life different in good ways for so many chronically ill, chronic pain patients, autoimmune illnesses, arthritic illnesses... and I know being a "part" of those has helped me "round my field" of my "audience"....

I feel I should shout out to a few, but I hope I don't leave anyone out...

My heart felt thanks and more to...

The Arthritis Foundation

WEGO Health

Cure Click (a part of WEGO)

WEGO "Health Hero's"

International Autoimmune Arthritis Foundation

The Pain Foundation

The Sjogren's Foundation

The Lupus Foundation

Lupus Research Institute


Power of Pain Foundation

Alliance for Lupus Research

and the list goes on and on... I probably need to update the list on my blog right now.... to ALL of you... thank you for your believing in me, for listening when things really suck, for "celebrating the good things", for showing me new ways, and a new day when it comes to living with some of the horrid diseases and illnesses.... Without all of you, all of THIS would not be possible!!!

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!!!!

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"....

Tuesday, December 2, 2014


My "giving" today will be "giving everyone" an idea of how to give on this "Giving Tuesday!" Whether you are giving a "tip" to your guy that takes the groceries to your car, your beautician a larger tip, giving to one or more of your favorite charities, giving a lift up to an elderly person out of a chair, giving a hand putting a neighbors trash out at the curb.... maybe giving a hug to everyone you see today, and a handshake and tell them you appreciate their "service"... at the pharmacy, the bank, the doctors office... whether you give a lunch today through a local food bank, or donate blood to the blood bank.... it is not how LARGE OR SMALL the gift is... it is the "giving" that counts. Give a compliment, give your heart, give unselfishly, give information, directions, information, there are SO MANY ways, you can give of you, your time, yourself... just give... 

I have posted some places on my Facebook page that are non-profits and so forth that you can give to...whether it be the Arthritis Foundation, The Diabetes Foundation, to AIDS, to the homeless, to the people who need, and to those who just need a smile... give hope... for giving of oneself, is the gift of hope!!!

This NATION and this WORLD above ALL NEEDS HOPE!!!! It can start with "you" and "giving Tuesday!!!!" 

And it would be so incredible if giving Tuesday, turned into giving Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, the holiday, the month, the season, the year.... just one "good deed" can bring millions... so please take a moment, and give... a prayer, a "thumbs up"... Hope... 

With my gift to you today... Rhia...