"Through my heart's work of writing, I share with you, my complex journey a top the mountain, sliding down, crawling up, & living through the realms of Autoimmune Arthritic Illnesses. Taming "The Wolf" Thru each Day, One Step at a Time … Together We Are Learning to Survive. Please follow along, to New Beginnings - looking Thru the Window Pane of Pain in life where we shall find our journey leading us to - New Perspectives
We even as pet owners, don't "think" that one of our fur-babies" might be in pain. In fact my little terrier Peanut, "suddenly" started holding a back foot up, and he can't stand to put it to the ground. I was in the shower, and before I got in he was fine. But, when I came out int the living room, I noticed he was having a hard time getting up.... I went to him and asked him if his foot or leg hurt, but I believe it's a nail he probably hung while I was in the shower, and him and Bella were playing and he probably pulled a nail to the quick... They will NOT behave for me, if I try myself to cut them, and Bella keeps her front ones "groomed herself.. but taking them to the Vet is also a pain, they are just nuts in the car, and they are like two bulls in a china closet to get them out, in the car, out at the Vet, inside, and then to the car again, and home... But. when I saw this article in my newspaper today, it dawned on me, pets show :pain" in different ways".... I can tell which one of mine maybe hurting or not feeling well, but the other acts completely different. Anyway, a reminder to keep an eye out for a limp, or licking a paw, or Bells "whines" and mopes .... He is better today... I am glad. I thought I may have to take him to the doctor, and I FINALLY JUST GOT TO GET THE LAB WORK DONE YESTERDAY!!! Just 2 or 3 weeks LATE! I have felt like heck, this weather is really effecting my joints etc badly
I've been a "member" and follower of "Creaky Joints", and "Arthritis Power" plus following Seth Ginsberg for a very long time. He began his venture of these websites, due to his own struggle with pain and arthritic illness that began very early in his life.
I've always admired his tenacity, and the way he gives each of us, the patients a "VOICE' about our own Pain problems and Arthritis health problems, and there are many. I can definitely attest to the MANY types of Chronic Pain, that myself and MANY of us have to try and deal with daily. Which includes trying to get to the proper doctors, get the medications we need, get insurance to pay for the help we need, all the while also fighting "Congress" on the Federal and State Levels, so we can continue to get the "Best Healthcare" for "Chronic Pain" possible. I believe that many people that have not experienced health conditions such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Osteoarthritis, Juvenile RA, along with several other "arthritic" conditions, don't get the "horrid" pain all too often patients live with. Of course, pain, is not the only factor that effects every part of ones life. We often live with stiffness, joint swelling, mobility issues, medications that cause some "harmful" effects, such as corticosteroids. Like my PCP says to me, Prednisone is a "necessary evil" for me. Yet, I already was predestined to have osteoporosis, thus with my body frame being small, the medications, along with RA and Lupus, have me at the "severe" range of osteoporosis. This simply means, THAT is more than likely why my hip fractured after the fall I took in December last year. If I had not had osteoporosis, I may have came out with just a very bruised thigh and hip. Yet, it was fractured in two places. Also, those of us with this dreadful disease also run the risk of "not enough bone" to have surgery on. I have ran into that one with my neck. After this 2nd surgery, now I face "not enough vertebral bone" to even "repair" anymore. So, this 3 level surgery I had in April HAS TO WORK, as my Orthopedic Surgeon put it. If not, then I run the high chance of having a "totally fused" neck, where I could not look UP or down... or move my head very much side to side.
I had a very informative "phone conversation" with several of the people from the 50 State Network and the Patient Counsel all a spin off by Seth, as well as The Global Healthy Living Foundation this afternoon. I feel very privileged to be a part of these foundations. I hope to help further educate patients, doctors, find ways to get bills passed at the State and Federal Levels of government, along with other ways in which they help patients, there families, and close friends and help to pave the way for more guidelines on several extremely important topics that effect many of us, from "biosimilars", to "all ways" that patients are effected by health insurance or lack of, medications, finding doctors that can help, and ways to cope with the red tape involved when you are chronically ill,
Most that know me, know my own personal journey through the pitfalls, the times of doubt and sorrow, and the sometimes triumphs over these diseases. All too often patients like myself, have "several" pain problems, not just one. Which makes our life a living hell at times. We fight for treatments, medications, insurance that pays, along with every step we take. When you are chronically ill and/or in pain, it's difficult enough just to get out the bed each morning, much less take the stresses of finding proper care, proper medications, trying to get insurance to pay, and now fighting the government so we continue to be able to get the care we need on ALL LEVELS.
The 50-State Network Patient Network, along with Creaky Joints, and The Global Healthy Living Foundation are helping to get our governmental bodies "on board". I am also now a member of the "Patient Counsil", and will update you more as I move forward in my own venture and learning about everything. They provide a great deal of information for patients, as well as those who are playing other "active roles" in these foundations Rather that taking away what we need to survive and try to thrive through all of the days of outrageous pain, we are out there fighting for not just ourselves but ALL CHRONIC PAIN PATIENTS, LOVED ONES, FAMILY, JOBS AND MORE!
I am hoping to become more active in a role with the 50-State Network, already involved in Creaky Joints, and to learn more about the Global Healthy Living Foundation. As the days go by and I learn more, I will definitely keep you posted, on how you can contribute. In the meantime, all of the links are below, so YOU can go to the sites an find out more also.
By the way when I was reading through the documentation from "Creaky Joints" one "phrase" really stuck out to me. Of course much of it is brilliant and so helpful to patients, caretakers, families and close friends. We've all heard the phrase "Do No Harm" which is of course the main "vow" of physicians. One of the things they pointed out though was that does not "just mean" physical harm, but mental and even "financial". I felt that really "struck" a nerve with me. With the very high cost of surgeries, and the ones I've had are always over the $100,000.00 dollar range... yet, unless you really "ask" for help, either for a payment plan, or "financial aid" of some type, often you are NOT offered it. I've found out there is NO SHAME in calling a health care provider, especially with a huge "bill" from surgery etc. and asking for some type of help. Often if you "pay it all" at once, they will give you a percentage off the bill, or like myself, on this "Bone Stimulator" that I was not told runs $5,000.00 AND ONLY LASTS ABOUT 6 MONTHS, and is NOT reusable for future surgeries. So, my part was going to be over $600.00, and that is just a "drop" in the bucket of bills, from hospitals, doctors, the Ambulance, ER, Anesthesiologists, Radiology, and so forth. I called and found out that I "qualified" for complete "assistance" for the entire 600.00. Yet, if I had not "asked" they never would have "offered" for sure. Just on portion of what we deal with on so many levels, with any chronic illness.
Also, those of you who deal with the stresses of "Arthritic" illnesses may want to check out the app "Arthritis Power". The details are at the URL listed below... and you can also get it at the "App" Store at Apple.com or on Google Play.
Please visit the sites, and see just how incredible these places are along with seeing how YOU the PATIENT can be on board also, to fight the "good fight" for all!
Kratom, it was shown to me by a friend on Facebook,
that swears by it. She said it has totally changed her life, and given her freedom from Chronic Pain, and many of the horrible effects of other medications, she has been able to either cut down on or stop.
There are several "strains" of this "herb"... that is derived from a leaf on plants found in
"Kratom is a plant that takes its origin from several countries belonging
to the Southeast Asia. Also, known as Mitragyna speciosa, it is a
traditional remedy in Thailand and other nearby countries for several
The strains are different, and some are used for anxiety, others for pain, stress, to be even a "pep"pill, and give you energy.... each one seems to do something different, and it depends on the type, and how much used for whatever ailment you may deal with...
So, here are a couple of links below and I would LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU!
IF YOU HAVE SEEN THIS PRODUCT, USED IT, KNOW MORE ABOUT IT, PRO'S OR CON'S I REALLY WANTED TO GET INFORMATION FROM THOSE WHO HAVE EXPERIENCED IT!
THESE ARE just a few links and there are many more, and many about the different "strains" and what they are used for....
I share this with you! Since I will not be able to attend the AF Summit on Capitol Hill due to having cervical neck surgery, I am definitely going to be an "advocate" online! This link takes YOU to a letter, that you can personalize So, even if you can't make it to the Summit, you can and tell your own story about how AF is effecting you, your family and so forth. I sent mine in yesterday! ALL of these will be taken to Capitol Hill and given to Congress at the Summit! YOUR can MAKE a DIFFERENCE even from your home for the AF Summit on Capitol Hill!
HONESTLY, I FEEL BADLY THAT I AM NOT ABLE TO BE THERE THIS YEAR AND REALLY WANTED TO ATTEND! I LOVED IT IN 2014, AND HAD HOPED THIS YEAR THINGS WOULD ALLOW ME TO GO. MY NECK SURGERY IS ONLY A PORTION AND COULD HAVE WAITED, BUT I ALSO HAVE A MOM, WHOM I FEAR COULD BE SUFFERING FROM SOME TYPE OF DEMENTIA, OR WORSE ALZHEIMER'S. THINGS ARE NOT GOOD AT THIS POINT, AND I FELT SINCE I AM HER "ONLY CARETAKER", I COULD NOT LEAVE HER THIS TIME. SO, I MADE THE CHOICE TO TRY AND DO EVERYTHING I CAN TO "MAKE A DIFFERENCE" ONLINE, THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA, TO SENDING LETTERS TO MY REPRESENTATIVE BARTON AND TO CONGRESS, AND LETTING THEM KNOW MY STORY!
YOU TOO, WILL MAKE THAT DIFFERENCE. YOUR LETTERS ARE ALMOST AS GOOD AS BEING THERE ON CAPITOL HILL!!!!
I "think" I may have "Costochondritis".... I started having pain under my RIGHT arm a couple of days ago, and kind of around to the front of my right chest... it hurts to take a huge breath in, or if I hold my arm a certain way etc... it can bring on the pain. I noticed a moment ago, I had the hiccups... and OMG! WHEW!! Did that ever make it worse..... I figured I must have "pulled" a muscle underneath my right armpit and then around and it even hurts some into my back, but not like right at the arm, where your armpit meets your chest, and then a bit around to the front. an NO, I do not think this is a "heart related" issue at all. I already thought about that, but since I've had 2 of those, I am pretty well, educated on certain things to look for if heart related... that is why I am trying to stress this is under my right arm, kind of around to my right chest, and then into my back some also. I went to pick up Tazzy - my Pug, a couple of days ago. I have to help her onto the sofa,She no longer can jump, so she puts her feet up on the sofa and then I gently pick her up so she can get on the sofa. The other morning, I kind of had an "off" moment, where I lost my balance in helping her up. I really didn't think much of it until I began to get out of the shower a bit later and OMG I was like WHAT THE HECK????? Then of course I have been so busy doing about 15 of more things around the house etc... so I am already sore and achy due to all I am trying to accomplish also. But, ALL of it woke me up at 5AM! MY hips, lower back, my shoulders, under my right arm, and I was so achy and so stiff I didn't think I could even get up and do anything. I really didn't do a whole lot today, other than a few very "easy" things.... anyway, I had not even tried to look up what the "symptoms" might mean, so a bit ago, I though in between a movie and getting some sherbet I would look it up. I think it appears almost like I do have "some swelling" on back on that side... it appeared to kind of look "puffy" comparing it to my left side under my arm. The Costochondritis and was about the 1st thing that popped up and that seems to kind of describe what I am feeling. I gather since I am on pain meds, corticosteroids etc... that unless something else plays out or I get worse, or have different symptoms it will dissepate on its own over a few days. If not, I have an Ortho doctor appt on Wed to discuss my "test results" from the discogram, plus Mom is going to the same doctor about her hip severe pain, and cano't barely stand any pressure on it Then we also see our PCP at the same time o Friday, next week... so I will have a chance to ask about it, if it is still here by then.... Happy Fourth to ALL!!!!!!! May our Nation and World over find peace and harmony, and NO threats of any kind.... that is truly my 4th of July holiday wishes... I am probably spending mine either doing some stuff around the house, or resting, depending on how I feel tomorrow morning.... Hugs, Rhia Steele
This just totally blew me away! I've fussed and griped for YEARS about how each and every time I've had to have a "joint surgery" and how badly I was in pain; plus do to my joint history, the, the DJD. the DDD, the RA, Lupus and the list goes on and on, when I go in with a joint hurting, it usually means we are destined for surgery, maybe even replacement. I recall when my left elbow gave me so much trouble, and not long after my left shoulder began to drive me insane with pain, loss of range of motion, stiffness, and the entire gamut. I went through all of the tests, the MRI's. the CT's, with and without "contrast", X-rays, medication and nothing usually worked. I may have some relief from a corticosteroid injection into the joint, and that may last for a day, month and sometimes even a year. On my right shoulder, I had several rounds of injections, way before we did any type of arthroscopic surgery. Yet, even though all of those "expensive" tests, that were supposed to be the "gold standard" when it came to diagnosis, may show some damage, spurs and so on, BUT, when every surgeon that did my various surgeries actually got to "see" the massive amount of damage in the joint, they then understood why I was so adamant about NOT using those tests as much, as more "heavily weighing" from my long term symptoms, them actually getting worse than ever better, and that there much more damage in the joint than any type of scan, MRI, and so forth ever would show them. In fact, my orthopedic surgeon who did both my complete right reverse shoulder replacement and my 4 level cervical neck surgery, told me himself. The damage was so deep, and it was extremely bad, but there was no way it would have shown on any test. Sam thing with my neck, it was the same with my elbow on the left, my shoulder on the left, and both knees. It never failed that the doctors would always tell me that what they actually saw by doing the surgery, was far more worse, than any type of a scan, MRI and so would have ever shown.
I have also said that I felt that any "scan", MRI, X-ray and so forth is only as "good" as the person it with experience and knowledge to read them. I can just tell, from all I've heard about and read, that often things are NOT found, or they are far worse, than what the "radiologist that read them said.
It just stands to reason, if someone has the "education" yes, that is a huge part of it. But, when you are looking at something as complicated as the inside of a joint, or any organ for that matter, if you don't have not only the knowledge but experience to totally "see" all of that entire ordeal, then all too often, I felt things were ""missed" because of whomever read them, didn't have enough experience or possibly training, to not miss something. Again, this is not just joint related but any type of scan, and so forth, things could be missed, and could cause serious issues if they are not caught in the beginning.
Same way with "blood work"... they are coming to find with many diseases, that all too often that "blood work" again that is supposed to be another "gold standard" for diagnosis, MAT NOT BE accurate. It could have been not processed quickly enough, or no refrigerated in time, or blood work has been known to get "mixed up" and maybe what was read had nothing to do with you. Many may not realize it, but on some of the very complicated blood work that they do, it may be actually "shipped" even out of state to be processed. Some of these tests either take extremely high dollar equipment, time, and the person to make sure it is done accurately. Again, there can be a mix up, something not processed in time, left out too long, or any number of things could "go wrong" before the actual test is ran, and the outcome that is "right", could be wrong.
I know I am NOT the ONLY PERSON who has been through this very issue. Even when I had the double hernia's. I had 2 doctors, a sonogram tech, a PA, ALL miss the HERNIA"S!! I knew they were there. I even told them exactly how to locate them, and why they would not locate them if I lie down, they would kind of "settle" down into my abdomen, and then they were difficult to locate. Yet, I have one huge lump on the left, and the one on the right had just began to show. I finally went to a regular SURGEON. He "found" them immediately and said I needed to have them both repaired before they got worse. The one on the left was already getting fairly large and the right one was headed that way.
Yet, even with a sonogram, 2 doctors, and one PA all doing an exam, none of them found them whatsoever. Yet, I was persistent, that I would NOT take "no" for an answer. I had at least ONE hernia, and I planned on getting someone to freaking listen!
Well the week after seeing the surgeon, I went in and had a double hernia repair.
So, went it with my elbow, my knees, both shoulders.... no matter how many scans, tests, reports, experts, and all that are involved WE, KNOW our BODIES better than anyone else. And if YOU FEEL SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT, then do NOT TAKE NO FOR AN ANSWER! CONTINUE TO go onto other doctors until someone can give you an explanation that at the very least makes sense!!!
This day and age about "people" not being "educated" about medical problems, especially chronic ones, has far past us. The majority of this nation and around the globe, with the internet, and so many "reliable" web sites, doctors, specialists, documentation, everywhere can absolutely have a great deal of information about "possible" things that could be wrong, to others letting them know possibly how they dealt with a certain treatment, or surgery... and YES, there is also some BAD information out there too You must use you "brain and common sense" when it comes to weeding out the "good info" from the 'bad info"....
So, I totally understand doctors that get a bit annoyed with a patient that comes in and begins to tell them they know what is wrong with them, because they read it online, they heard it on day time TV, or several of their online friends have the same issue.
I get their point. But, when I go in, I don't begin to "rattle off" what I've found online, I usually go in with a "list".... and I ask questions, about certain things I may have read online. Yet, I try not to put my foot down and say "I know what it is because I found out about all of it, here, there or yonder. But ALWAYS TAKE A LIST!!! I can guarantee even though you may have a photographic mind, and like myself I used to be able to do all kinds of things and multitask. Yet, now days, as soon as I walk into the doctors office, I've without a list I would forget have of what I went to ask about. Thus that list helps to keep YOU focused, and also let them know what kinds of things maybe going on with you, that can help them to make a better "guess-ta-ment" or find the answers to whatever is going on with you and your health.
So, now I get to the article below. Which talks ALL about the VERY thing I've been fussing and griping about!!! A very SIMPLE test, that is certainly NOT INVASIVE, and it MUCH CHEAPER than many of these other tests, that give the doctors, a much better look at what might really be going on, especially when it comes to joints, inflammation and on forth.
So, PLEASE take a moment, and read this below!!! Then PLEASE share it with your own friends and those who have been through hell and back, sometimes for YEARS trying to get a right and accurate diagnosis!
I have already got it where I can print it and take it to my own doctors!!! I think they all need a "wake up" call.
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.
JUST officially HIT Chapter #25!!! In the latest book I am writing!!! I
now have 47,383 WORDS!!!! I am so elated. Much of it of course will
have to be gone through, spaced, and so on... going to take a great deal
of going over, and over.. and then going over it again to have it to
the "publication date"... But, having that much into "copy" for now is
exciting!! Jim just looked up the "typical" word count for a book such
as this, and it is between 80,000 to 90,000 WORDS. So,
I am at my half way or more point in the writing process... I have to
admit I HATE proofing!!! I get so tired of looking at it over and over..
so I always have Jim also proof it for me several times also. That way,
hopefully between the two of us, it is "readable" and makes sense. I
know with this "brain fog" that seems to be growing worse by the day, I
tend to find myself "repeating" something that I may have written a few
weeks back. Now, to "take up" for myself, often that is because some new
light has been shed on the subject, or I've gotten more news, did
further research and so forth. Thus I may post on the "same subject"
several times. But, I do find myself "forgetting" much more than I used
to just a year ago. It really concerns me... BUT for NOW I am going to
feel very "elated" that I've made the half way point in my book that
shall be titled "It's Not ME! It's the Disease! ( actually when we
first came up with the title, we almost wanted to ad in "It's not ME
Stupid! It's the Disease! Yet, I don't want to make people feel stupid
or any thing like that... because these illnesses are extremely complex,
and my entire reason for writing them, this one especially is to help
make people understand these illnesses better.... also I am now Kicking
the Can around on making this a "2 Part" book... In other words, publish
this first one, yet move on forward and write #2 - like they both
should follow one then the other.... I am still thinking on that one...
and I'm not sure how I feel about this whole "Volume 1, Volume 2 etc
ordeal... I am not a huge fan of it in the movies, and the only time I
really loved it is in the 4 books "Twilight, New Moon, And The Twilight
Saga, Part 1 and art 2" Those really and truly "fit the bill!" But, of
course I will always be a writer and author and if by the Grace of God
Go I, my intentions of course are to publish more in the future. But,
I've thought about taking a stab at writing "thrillers" based on
"medical things gone bad" etc... there are so many things out there now,
that would make for incredible thrillers with the medical issues today,
that I have really given that I very big possible yes... plus I am
still writing on the "Texas Sayings" so it will of course be much
smaller but I am also going to publish it too....
Not overly thrilled this morning. My Pug woke us up about 4:00am sneezing! I bet she sneezed 25 times. I got her over to me, and pinched her nose really softly, covered her up and started rubbing her head and neck. She finally stopped sneezing for a bit, then began again. I decided to just wrap her up and put her out on the sofa, and I would stay out there with her. Then of course my other one Bubba, was crying, he wanted out there with us. So, I got him, and wrapped him up in the bends of my knees like he sleeps all the time, and FINALLY they both went back to sleep. I tried to, but then I thought it appeared to be getting light outside, so I went to get up. Then headache and nausea hit me all over again. So, I went and got the last little drink of "coke' (the original full Coke will most of the time help my headache and also settle my stomach some). I didn't have much left, so then I poured me a glass of green tea, and debated about getting back on the sofa. I had been on the run yesterday part of the day, and it was also my Orencia day. Not sure if some of that made me fatigued and not feeling well or what. Anyway, I went in the afternoon around 3:30 om and had my hair trimmed back up so it would style correctly. And she sprayed a bit of some kind of hair spray on it. I don't use much hairspray and the one I have I use mostly because I love the way it smells. But, whatever she used, really got to me. Even though she didn't put much on, right away I began to feel the headache and of course then the nausea coming. There are certain smells, even in really good perfumes and so forth, that just don't settle well with me. I guess due to having migraines all my life, and now that my stomach really acts up so much, the combination of the two just put me in a fluster last night. Then the dogs, didn't help.... having to tend to them... just like kids at times, I was up a couple of hours getting them settled back down. Now today I feel like I am paying for it. For some reason, and I am not really sure exactly why, I am just having a heck of a time "dealing" with life in general. Not feeling well makes it worse of course, but I am not really depressed, but I am just not really thrilled over anything at this moment. I think I got bummed a bit about the weather being so crappy and we didn't get to go to the Casino last Sunday, may be part of it. Plus I just feel as if everything I attempt to do, either takes me forever, or like a shower, sometimes by the time I take one, get out, dry my hair and get dressed, I feel worn out and it seemed to take 8 times longer than it used to. I think I was hoping for 2015 to be so much better than the past year. And for sure, it is nothing like 2014 at this moment. But, I believe I thought I would have MORE GOOD days, and less bad ones. I think I was wishing for the entire ordeal with the wreck to be over and done with. The thought of having to drag out this "lawsuit" crap another almost year, really is not settling well either. Even though it does not actually in many ways effect our "daily" lives, it does in others. I feel we are in a "holding pattern" not knowing what will happen if anything, wanting to get the mess over with and not have to even remotely think about dealing with a trial... that could drag things out even longer, and the longer that drags out, the less our lives feel any type of "normal" to me. Even though it has probably been more of the "economic state" of our nation that has effected Jim's clients, in many ways, I know we are losing a couple of clients more than likely due to some ways all of this effected how Jim tries to work. With all of his own pain, and dealing with his balance, he can't drive, and who knows when he might, if ever, along with all that faces us both, it just feels like we are totally unsettled every day that dawns. I REALLY wanted us to go to Vegas for our wedding anniversary. That will be in April on the 6th. It will also be 10 years of Dad's passing away on March 27th. Time flying by also really is getting to me. Each day that I don't feel well, means another day I don't get to live my life to the fullest I want to... (wow, I just have this eerie feeling of deja-vue) like I've written those exact lines before, in the exact place... wow that is a strange feeling for sure... each and every element of our lives have been ripped, torn, mangled, and we try every day to find some kind of "normal" again. Yet, there is not one thing normal about life for us really whatsoever. I am truly pissed at myself, because of all the things I've wanted to do in 2015 the number one was to finish writing my 3rd book. I find myself, either not having the time, getting interrupted with other stuff, then it takes me forever to get to where I left off, and when I finally do get to write, either I feel what I am saying is boring as hell, it's not how I want it to come out, or I am all over the place, rather than focused, or I am either too tired and fatigued, or I have a bad headache, or a flare going on... the list is endless. What makes that worse, it ALL of it sounds like an "excuse" for not getting the book written. But, when I look around at our home, all the things we need to finish, that we have not been able to, from painting the outside to finishing the floors in the bath and kitchen, to completely doing the laundry room walls, to remodeling the music room... a billion and one things we want to do, yet one or both of us physically are no longer able to do.
Just as we find ourselves in a rut, in the same old place we have tried NOT to be in, to break old habits, like for me, POSTING HERE, and just putting a link from here to Facebook. Not writing it all in Facebook. That is not how I want to do things, yet old habits just don't go away overnight. Plus "this" also is something I need to put in my book. It is how every aspect of daily life is totally surrounding, or surrounded by something to do with autoimmune illnesses. Either physically, mentally, emotionally, somehow, someway, I feel these diseases rule over my way of living. People can say, "just put that aside", do some Yoga, don't worry as much, blah, blah blah... you can bet that is all wonderful advice, but not easily followed when you have chronic illnesses and chronic pain. They are like a "plague"... they just don't "shoo" away like flies off of a pie. They mix you up in a blender, or roll you around like dice, then spill you out all over the floor and you are trying to pick up the pieces and put them back together again. Believe me, Humpty-Dumpty has an easier shot at it, than the majority of us with any type of autoimmune disorder.
I can go from feeling like a thousand bucks, to feeling like a penny in the middle of a busy road. Ran over time and time again. Worse? Not even knowing why? The illnesses, medications, new symptoms, your mind playing tricks on you? Maybe you are finally just going crazy, and insanity will be the "new black" (or possibly going to the "nuts house" in your little black dress!)
Often times I want to act as if certain things in life don't really upset me, or make me feel disappointed. Yet, inside I realize that is not true at all. I am totally disappointed with so many small things in life, that I would feel as if all I did was whine, mope, fuss, gripe and bitch if I was show to how I truly feel in regard to our daily living.
I find myself disgusted with our world in general. I am also very sure I am NOT THE ONLY one either! All over this nation, and our globe something horrible is happening. People are more disgusting everyday. When you turn on the nightly news, and 90% of it is "bad", how can you not be effected by those things? I know that as population grows, of course it seems that we have more bad than good in life. The needless shootings, looting, those taking advantage of our elderly, poor, and people that may lack the education... war, let's face it, whether (and I am to the point of being sick of hearing "boots on the ground") but if they are or not, we are still very much in a constant state of "war". Hell, we are at war all too often with our very own nation. Rather than work together for the common decency of everyone, the greed, the power hungry, non caring, lack of any morals, and horrid attitude many have for their own kind, humans, is purely disgusting. We wage war right here in our streets... What makes that even worse, is often times it is family members that take their own flesh and blood, then kill themselves. I have heard suicide defined as being a very "selfish act". I didn't understand that until over the past twenty years or so of my life. Or course it is a very selfish thing to do. If you have parent's, spouses, friends, brothers, sisters, and other family members that love you; then you decide not to deal with life anymore, and you "leave" this world in a manner of taking your own life, you have now cheated all of those that love you. No longer can they see you, talk to you, be around you... you have taken away something that was so precious to them, YOU! So, it is a very horrible way to do those that love you. I know with suicide victims, often times those people are not considering that they are being selfish, they just want to end what pain they are in.
Life continues to buzz by faster than a speeding bullet, and faster than a rocket. I hoped 2015 would begin anew, and slow down a bit to allow me a breath or two. After 2014, and ALL that I, along with family went through, my main hope for 2015 was to be more "well" physically, mentally and emotionally. I hoped life would "slow down" to a bit more of a sprint, rather than an all out marathon race, and with that would also come a bit of respit from so many bills, my teeth, Jim's accident, attorney's stuff, going to all of the doctors, and again we could see the light of dawn, after such a black ink darkness of the past year.
It's not that things have been "bad" as of yet. Although the first of every year brings another set of stressors many of us have to deal with. If you own a home or property, like myself, you probably owe property taxes by the end of January. Like many, my house insurance is usually due about that same time, along with income tax filing for many, worrying about a brand new insurance for my Mom and myself (we changed from Humana Medicare Advantage over to United HealthCare HMO Medicare Advantage plan)... and I knew there would possibly be a few kinks in the entire change especially for me, since I have so many medications to have filled. Of course all of that had been resolved with Humana over the several years I had it. In fact, I guess I had Humana from 2006 forward up until this new year 2015. I had finally narrowed down most of their stupid hoops that myself and my doctors had to jump through. So, as I knew I am having to go through a few red tape situations in order to get my medications refilled.
I am also dealing with something involving my stomach. I am not sure exactly what the issue is. I realize that all of the medications I must take daily, does not help at all. Yet, I've been taking the majority of them for years now, and as long as I take my Meclazine for the vertigo issues, I rarely had severe nausea issues. Over the past 5 or 6 months, it seems I am nauseated more than not. I am even taking Promethazine and now having to take it daily. Part of it, I am sure is stress. Stress over my own illnesses, medications, bills, and what needs to be done. Stress over Jim's health situation and knowing there maybe many things we come to have to realize that he will never be able to do again. A piece of me truly thinks that many things like driving, walking a long distance with just the cane, doing most things are the house chores, especially anything to do with finishing up the remodeling, laying floors, painting and so on. His balance is still so "off" that there is no way he can stand on a ladder what so ever. He can't keep his balance for very long at a time now. As much as I want to believe it will get better this year more; since it will be a year in March on the 26th since the wreck happened, I just don't think that any more time will make him any better doing some things. As we have both learned since his accident, balance is almost more important to "life" and what you do every day, than walking, running, picking things up, getting on ladders, bending over. Even riding our exerciser which is kind of an "eliptical" one, we saw immediately it was his balance that really through him off to the place I have to stand beside him in order for him to ride it. So, strength at times is not as huge of an issue is the balance situation is.
Along with this almost daily nausea I am having, also comes a fatigue that can at times be worse than my experience with it through the years since being diagnosed with RA, Lupus and so forth. For about 2 or 3 years I didn't sleep much at all. I was up and wide awake by 4 am at the latest. Then all of a sudden, and we are staying up a bit later, but here lately I am not waking up until 7:30 am most mornings. So, I continually feel I am running behind. When I was getting up several hours earlier I could get more accomplished. Now, by the time I am up, and turn around it is 2 or 3 pm. The days just seem to be going by even faster than last year. I also know that with the RA, Lupus, Sjogren's and so on down the list of my health issues, my stomach issues could be taken as a part of those. Severe headache, nausea, the fatigue... the muscle pain, and joint pain, all sign and symptoms of most autoimmune diseases.
Yet, you know how you feel at times when you just "KNOW" something else is going on. I can't explain it, but whatever is going on now, seems to be "different" than the symptoms of what I've been diagnosed with.
For one thing, I've had an "extra" beat with my heart now for a long time. I never really was concerned about it. My cardiologist knows, and she has me on medication that keeps it under control. But, a few days back, I had a new type of happening. It was like my heart would be fine one moment, then it wants or feels like it runs really fast for about 4 beats, and then goes back to "normal"... it happened through out the day one day last week. In fact I was so concerned about it, I had called my doctor. She could have see me the next day. Then I woke up with the most severe headache, and fatigue, with the nausea so bad, I had to postpone the appointment. I actually have one with her on the 13th of this month, so I decided to wait until then, unless it happens again before my appointment.
I had came across a story about a woman that was born with a heart defect. They found it when she was 3 months old. For many years, it was under control with medication. When she was in college she began to have problems with it, and later when she was about 39 years old, had to have a heart transplant. It was truly an inspiring story, yet some of her symptoms that she had really blown off as nothing were exactly the same thing I've been feeling. The severe fatigue, she was having bad headaches, and being very nauseated, plus noticed shortness of breath. Well, I had been noticing over the past few months that I complain about sometimes feeling like I am short of breath. I also passed it off as nothing, until I read her story. Now, the one reason I would think it could be heart related is for one, all of the AI illnesses can effect the heart. Two, I have had two heart attacks already. So, that kind of caught my attention, as I was trying to piece the puzzle together as to what is going on with me. Honestly, I have preferred to ignore it. So, other than some "Google" research, I have tried to put it out of my head.
There are way too many things on the agenda I need to attend to, and having some type of heart issue, is NOT what I want to deal with at all. Of course, I realize no one wants to think they might have something going on with their heart. But, what I do have to face, is that statistically I am more likely to have problems, than those without AI illnesses, and/or that have not had 2 MI's already.
Of course, I've received the honor of being able to travel back to Washington D.C. in March, for the "Summit on the Hill". The Arthritis Foundations Annual Event, where we go in as patients or patients families, and tell our Congress People about our stories, and what we want to see accomplished to help those out there like us, that may not be able to actually tell theirs like that. I went through the whole year last year and made "Platinum Ambassador". So, that gives me the opportunity to get the "grant" from the Foundation that pays for my flight, lodging and just about everything other than "personal items". So, that being said, and also as I began this, I am totally elated at the honor of getting to go back again this year. Yet, it brings on a whole new agenda of "good stress", honestly. I've got to be concerned about driving my own self to DFW, which is about 65 miles or so from my home town. Parking in long term parking, getting myself to the proper place for my ticket, going through all of that nightmare, and then getting to DC in time for Monday mornings first meeting, which is at 10:30 am. So, thankfully I do get to fly in on Sunday!!! They confirmed they would cover an additional day for me to come in, since I am flying from a fairly long distance away. But, even with that, trying to pack where hopefully I won't have to check a bag, getting their, settled in, and then having to fly out on Tuesday evening, AFTER our last part of the day on Tuesday. So, again that makes for a very long flight home, getting into the airport back in Dallas very late. Then driving myself back home in the wee hours of the morning from DFW. Fortunately, maybe traffic won't hinder me either way.
I've also got the "stress" about my birthday on the 15th of February. Of course it is much better to at least "look forward" to having one, rather than NOT looking forward to it. Yet, to know I will turn 55 years old in just a couple of weeks really terrifies the hell out of me. As my Mom and I just talking about it. How quickly the years have seemed to pass by. How it seems like just yesterday my kids were born, or I was little and having my birthday parties, and all of those years of youth have just melted away like a molten river of lava down a steep hillside.
We (meaning I) at times became complacent in life. I guess in our younger years, we are so entirely engrossed in jobs, school, college, kids, homes, bills... and everything we incur and that occurs during our robust years of a more youthful time in life. So, we turn around once, look in the mirror to see a young adult making their way through this place we call the world. As we make another turn, it seems the decades have past us by all too quickly. Then if you happened to have came into a life of some type of chronic illness, whether it be cancer, or an autoimmune illness, heart problems, diabetes, and many other conditions that can crop up in the blink of an eye, we begin to want to look back at what "we" did or did not do to cause this. Then all of a sudden, classmates we graduated with lose parents, or worse the classmates pass away. Nothing "stings" quite as badly, as finding out someone who is YOUR age suddenly has gone to be with others in heaven. That one can really stab you where it hurts. It is definitely a wake up call.
So, with all of that comes the "what ifs".... what if I had not married and went onto nursing school? What if I had completely finished my 4 year college degree? What if I had stayed in California, or Seattle? If I "had" or "had not" done certain things, would I not be suffering from the ties of disease that bind me now?
I find myself with way too many questions in life, alas not nearly enough answers for them. I feel often "less than" because I honestly don't have the energy and stamina to "do more", "be more", participate more. What if I could still go snow skiing, on more trips and vacations, and was not so tied to the strings and arrows of chronic pain and illness?
Then I actually witness someone more than likely as ill or if not even more chronically ill than I am, and it appears they can get more done. They do have the stamina, strength, energy and wear with all to withstand and write best selling books, or poems. Or they do much more in their activist advocacy activities.
I have PROMISED MYSELF, and to my very BEST that I CAN do INTEND on completely finishing my BOOK by the end of the year and having it published. That is where I stand, and my stance is. If that means "robbing spoons" from other daily things I do, then I need to learn to manage my time wisely. Putting MORE of my "spoons" into the writing of the book, and taking some time away from things such as Facebook, plus other items I tend to do, rather than writing.
I WILL always be posting here... and never will I allow myself NOT to continue my blog. It is truly my LIFELINE to ALL OF YOU! And it is for ALL OF YOU that I WRITE THIS NEXT BOOK!!! For myself also, but more for all of those out there struggling through the mysteries of life, and the good, bad, really bad and depending on someone to help guide them through the darkness of despair over chronic pain and illness.
You see, it is NOT just our physical bodies that are so terribly effected by these chronic diseases. It is the very core of our being, our hearts, minds, soul, family, spouses and friends... so it is a journey that is to terribly long and difficult to deal with to feel alone in doing it.
So, today... I dedicate each page of the book I am writing to YOU!!!!
The time at which a sick person takes to his bed, or during which he is confined to it by disease.
In astrology, the figure of the heavens erected for the time of a person's first taking to his bed from illness. Prognostics of recovery or death were derived from this figure.
The word 'decumbiture' comes from a Latin word meaning 'to lie down'.
2) libertine MEANING: noun: A person who is morally unrestrained. adjective: Unrestrained by conventions or morality.
ETYMOLOGY: From Latin libertinus (freedman), from liber (free). Ultimately from the Indo-European root leudh- (to mount up or grow), which also gave us liberty, livery, and deliver. Earliest documented use: 1384.
A THOUGHT FOR TODAY: In those parts of the world where learning and science has prevailed, miracles have ceased; but in those parts of it as are barbarous and ignorant, miracles are still in vogue. -Ethan Allen, revolutionary (21 Jan 1738-1789)
and now my own "thoughts" about the Thought for Today....
I find the "Thought for the Day" quite interesting. Being that it came from the 1700's, and at the time of course we were not "barbaric" at all, but we also were not out of the woods as far as having a good grip on large corporations, large manufacturing, or items that would make us appear to be very far on the other side of science and learning. We have always been a great deal ahead in some countries as far as our "learning curves" compared to places such as some places in Africa, or down in South America. Yet, look at "Stonehenge" and the "Inca's" and the "housing" or tiers that they "built" or the pyramids... all of those things were designed by "a learned and scientific" society. I believe that those people that built Stonehenge, or the Inca's, and many other people like the Egyptians believed in miracles, yet they also had knowledge behind them also. So, it just seemed very interesting even in the early 1700's that Ethan Allen saw that those who are more attuned into "miraculous" happenings seemed to be less "educated" than some. I guess there are two sides to the coin when it comes to scientific beliefs, knowledge, and the other side of the coin, believing more in a miracle than in it being based with some kind of real explanation. What may seem a miracle to some, can often be explained away as it being a specific answer, rather than it being spiritual or something that happens where knowledge nor science can explain it. Yet, when you look up at the heavens, can "science and knowledge" truly "explain" all that we see and know up there? Some would certainly agree that "all" things can be given explanation to, and not be done like a magical force. Yet, I think as our constant, every changing world is today, more and more even those with the most knowledge can see that some things that happen just cannot have a concrete reasoning behind them. Thus, there are other forces at work in our world that cannot be seen, touched, or felt. But, are here, and logic must fly out the window... I am sure I am not making much sense at this moment, even though I know what I am trying to say... even in the entire jurisdiction of the medical world, there are items that are just not explainable by modern medicine. We see this with physicians and in our medical domain all the time. Doctors at times admit they may not truly have a plausible "why" or "why not".
When you start to delve into our issues with chronic illnesses, chronic pain, and how many things we still have to school ourselves on, it is an endless and boundless "land" on which we stand. Even as many researchers, teams, advocates, non-profits, doctors, students, and schooling as we have to offer up the best explanations as to why some of us, especially female in gender, fall into the role of living with "autoimmune illnesses". I've often wondered "why" it is more of a "female" set of disorders, syndromes and illnesses, that do not effect the male population nearly as it does our women.
I've also pondered upon the reasons as to why my life's journey didn't take me further into the places of medicine. The medical field has been a fascination of mine since I was about 12 or 13 years old. I've told the tale often about living next door and growing up with a neighbor who was a nurse for our hospital forever and a day as it seemed. Our next door neighbor was the very BEST NURSE in her time on this planet. She is almost a "lost" soul now. I am NOT knocking nurses at all. There are many out there that do the job, BECAUSE THEY CARE! But, much like Teachers these days, between the worry of red tape paperwork, the number of horrid illnesses out there they must be so careful about, and now things even worse due to diseases out there we have no "medications" for... antibiotic resistant infections, like Ebola, and even forms of TB, Pneumonia, and others. It is a frightening era in nursing and the medical field for those that deal one on one with patients, body fluids, and everything that they could have just a tiny "mishap" and be one of those in the hospital, rather than working there.
Yet, this lady took me under her wing. She was a 2nd Mom to me all my life, from about the time I was 6 or 7, until I graduated and married at 17, she had me so engrossed in the passions of medicine and nursing that I had plans for many years to do just that. I wanted to go to school to be a nurse. This woman (I will call her Dee Ann) had 2 sons, and then decided to go to nursing school. At the time being an LVN was a good position. RN's of course were more of the "leaders" and supervisors, but being an LVN appealed to me because when I was old enough to become a "Candy Striper" I got "hands on" experience of watching babies be born, "autoclaving and sterilizing instruments", watching surgeries, caring for the newborns, and even making Christmas "stockings" that babies born on Christmas Day got to go home in a "stocking" Dee Ann and I made. She taught me how to sew, how to crochet, how to do just about everything at the hospital that she did. At the time, I was probably the only girl racking up hours and many hours at that as an "aide"... more like an advocate, or volunteer. But, I would spend my entire Summer Days 8 hours or more if they let me right beside Dee Ann, learning everything there was to becoming the very best nurse possible. There were no "disposable" instruments. Everything was sterilized, washed, and then packed in certain ways depending on what those instruments were for (an in what type of surgery and so forth), then wrapped in special wrapping and put into a very large "vat-like" autoclave. They were then in there, and steamed for a certain amount of time to completely finish the sterilizing process. Then they were labeled by date and what type of pack it was. I got to change diapers, take the newborns to their Mom's, hold them, feed them, watch them be born, and even would watch through the window of the Operating Room when they were performing surgery. Those were some of the best years of my younger life.
Why I had the notion to decide and marry so young, I don't know. Love is love... but hind sight is 20-20 as they say. I still at the age of almost 55 years old, "kick myself in the butt" at times wondering why I didn't go ahead to nursing school. Even married, I could have went. Then when I was working in the business office at a hospital for 6 years, again I had the opportunity to go to nursing school all paid for, and I passed the test and could have went. But, I had two kids in school at the time, and being away from a full time job for 2 years to go to school full time, was a bit of a daunting situation for me. Even my 2nd marriage was full of ups and downs, in the later years more downs than ups. I felt I had to "support" my kids and home first, thus I decided NOT to go to nursing school. Even after passing the test number 1 at the college there, and was a front runner, I declined. It was one of the most difficult decisions I ever made in my life. I did go to college at night for several years, completely a degree in accounting. Yet, accounting was just not in my mind as the passion I felt for the medical field.
And it still holds true today. If things were different, and I was not chronically ill, and now a bit OLD to decide to go off to college and become a nurse, I would go in a heart beat.
Alas, life takes us on many journey's. Often we may not understand the reasons why until later in our lives. Then there are times we never quite figure out why or why not in what we consider this daily walk of the "game of life"... all too often now it seems it is a game all right, but I feel as if I am on the losing team.
I can "see" the many "curves" in my river of flooded waters and then at times, just a trickle of water over the rocky bottoms of my life. I can blame it on love, on family, on Dad NOT pushing me enough, on the "time" in life when most women didn't think about college, and then on seeing that now I am chronically ill and probably would not be able to be the nurse I would want to be.
Any and all of the excuses in the Universe have never allowed me not to feel a bit bitter about not fulfilling that dream of destiny I had for myself and for the many I feel I could have helped.
I realize now, more than ever, I can "fulfill" a portion of that dream. All of my wide array of medical knowledge, and the years I've put in, along with what I have done to "self educate" and learn about my own illnesses has given me a light to the path of advocacy, of activism, and to help other through my own journey. I've been able to do some things that I helped to kind of fulfill a portion of that dream of "helping others".
As I ponder over all the things that flow and swirl around in my brain, I still live with the idea that many times I've put off something, thinking, well I still have time... to do this, that or the other... or things will be different or better... yet life is very short... as young people we so often can't see that... and as our years pass by so swiftly, we begin to live with "regrets" of why or why not, of how we did or did not, of all the things in life we now know are "missed opportunities". Of course I don't and will never "regret" the wonderful times in my life, and the things I have been able to do, accomplish and say that I did, like publish two books, and hopefully a 3rd this year... but still as mere humans there are so many things we "miss the boat" on... and when you become chronically ill, or arrive at this crossroads in your life where you can recall those times, it can be a mixture of happiness and also sadness for what you "might have" accomplished... never take a moment for granted... they all fly by so quickly.....