Showing posts with label blog. Show all posts
Showing posts with label blog. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

More Post-Op Hip Pinning results, seeing a Foot & Ankle Specialist today & TELLING YOU, MY READER ABOUT MY BLOG!! By the way talk about one expensive accident!

If you have followed my blog, Facebook pages, or my Newspaper, you are probably aware of my fall on December 13th, that led to a fractured hip in two places, and the surgery, then PT Rehab that followed.

It seems it is never ending, and I had severely sprained that right ankle in June, in fact the weekend of my Mom's funeral. I accidentally slipped off the porch on wet grass, and sprained both, but the right one was very bad. It was black, blue, and extremely swollen for weeks and weeks. And still, if I am up on it for a long period of time, it tends to swell again.

But, after the fall and it being on that right side, I think it was my foot that actually got caught in what little device I had across the doorway to keep my pups out of the bedroom. So, I was in so much pain with my hip, it was not until after the hip was pinned and a couple of days after I noticed my foot hurt worse than my hip, and I could barely stand to touch it to the floor. They X-Rayed it twice, and there seemed to be nothing broken, but more probably torn tendons or ligaments, that the X-ray would not show. It got a bit better, but even after 8 weeks or so post-hip surgery, the foot swells and turns purple if I walk or stand on it for any period of time.

SO, I go to a foot and ankle specialist today, who is located in the same place my orthopedic surgeon that did my hip surgery is in. Which makes things easier, since they already have all of my information.

I have no clue what he will find, or not find. I just know I would like to have it looked at, so I will know whether it is going to just take time to heal itself, or what. It sometimes hurts so it causes me to want to limp on that side, which is not good for my pinned hip. I don't want to start limping, and make it a permanent thing. Also, last night for the 1st time, I had pain in my calves during the night. It woke me up in fact, and I thought it odd that the back of my calves were aching, so I got up took some medication, but I have not been sleeping very well anyway, thus I did not get much sleep last night, nor several nights before.

I tend to be "full of energy" one moment, and the next, just feel drained, and really just want to prop up my foot, and sit to watch a movie. Of course, I still face surgery, on my neck, which is giving me mortal hell, and the Rheumatoid Arthritis is bothering my thumbs and hands so much, but I need to get well enough to go to my Rheumatologist to get on some new medication.

The pain from both thumbs, and wrists now run up my arms, to my elbows, especially when typing or doing something tedious with my hands and fingers. So, it makes it difficult to sit here and type, when both arms hurt from the RA in my thumbs and fingers.

I know we have had this conversation now on several occasions, about life and how some of us wind up with all types of suffering, medical, financial, emotional, and it every realm, it seems to never end. I certainly feel that way, and I am so frustrated with it all. I have many mornings that I wake up with my stomach upset and nauseated so badly I have to take medication for it. I know I have GERD, and take meds for that, but this does not act like GERD. I am just plain nauseated, and not sure why. I have a great deal of head and neck aches, probably from where I need neck surgery, so that in itself will make me feel sick to my stomach. I also am trying to do the same eating routine that I did at the hospital, rather than eating breakfast late morning, I now try to eat around 8 to 8:30AM, then have some of that "muscle milk" or protein drink in between during the day. Maybe snack on a few crackers, or something in between, then eat dinner as usual about 5 to 5:30PM. I thought that may help.

Also, FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO DO NOT KNOW ABOUT MY BLOG, WELL HERE IS THE URL TO IT: 

http://www.autoimmunearthriticsystemiclife.com/


I feel that I may have many out there who don't know about my blog, so they never see it.. So, for awhile, I am going to try and get the information out there about my blog, because it has lots of information, not just on myself, but RA, Lupus, Clinical Trials, different Organizations, such as the Arthritis Foundation, WEGO Health, the Lupus Foundation, the Alzheimer's Foundation, The Foundation for Autoimmune Arthritis, and much more.. medications, my experiences, events happening and my newspaper also keeps up with the latest stories and so forth at:

http://news.autoimmunearthriticsystemiclife.com/#

Life Chronic Pain, Autoimmune Illnesses, Arthritis and Dementia

PLEASE read when you can and I would love to hear from you!n IF there is a subject I should do more on, or something you may want to contribute, then please let me know and I will put more up, or consider some of your thoughts and your life stories....

and to top it all off, the EXPENSE OF WHAT THIS ACCIDENT IS COSTING ME, WILL HAVE ME PAYING FOR YEARS! It is totally ridiculous the COST of that surgery, stay for 5 days in the hospital and another 28 days in the REHAB!














Sunday, August 7, 2016

Sunday's A.M Addition to my Newspaper All things Autoimmune, Chronic Pain and Dementia! And Suggestions?????

My Brand News Newspaper for Sunda AM is OUT and Here is the link:


http://news.autoimmunearthriticsystemiclife.com/#!headlines


This is MINE to Add, change, or whatever I feel my audience" wants to read, see, hear more about and so forth (as far as health issues go) PLEASE FEEL FREE TO MAKE SUGGESTIONS...if yu have another health issue, or would like to see more about something in health, let me know and I can go in and get more article and information about those topics as well as the ones I am giving you!

I am DOING THIS FOR YOU!!! "My "Audience) So, post, email ,speak up even post on the paper itself and give me your personal thoughts and issues!



Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Healthline Contest Best Blog for the Year!


Above is the URL where to add a blog, and I've added mine... you can go in and "vote" daily on Facebook and Twitter, be sure to use the hashtags:


Be sure to go into the page, and find the "blog" you want to vote for, (I put them in Alphabetical Order to start with, then you can vote once every 24 hours on your choice, on both Facebook and Twitter.... be sure to use @healthline and the hashtag #besthealthblog   !


Here is the link where you can go to vote as above!!!!!


And there are some rules and things to know as far as how to vote and so forth and that page also, if you follow the links!


Good luck to All!


http://www.healthline.com/




Friday, April 3, 2015

#HAWMC April 3rd, 2015 & My Own Experience with "Random Acts of Kindness"...

                            Random Acts of Kindness      - WEGO Health
                                            #HAWMC - WEGO Health

Last year March 2014, the 26th day to be exact, I received what was I felt the most incredible “act of kindness and compassion” that I had ever seen or received.

I was in Washington DC, as a part of the Annual Summit “on the Hill” with the Arthritis Foundation. It was on the 26th, we had officially ended the Summit, and I was awaiting the arrival of my Mother-In-Law, whom I had never met. Even though we (my husband and I) had been together for 10 years, I had only gotten to know her through call, emails, and so forth. I was also awaiting the arrival of my spouse. He was going to be going to the Dallas-FT. Worth Airport, to board a plane and come to DC to join me. We were considering this also a vacation, since I had never been to DC before; so all of it was something we had looked forward to for many months.

About noon there on the East Coast, I received what seemed like several “emergent” cell phone calls from my daughter. So happened I had been outside standing in front of the Hotel there in DC. waiting on my Mother In Law to pick me up. My spouse, Jim was going to arrive a bit later in the evening, so she was going to take me to her home, and let me get some rest.

As I went into the lobby again, wondering why it was taking her “Hilda” so long to pick me up. But, in the same time frame, I had gotten 5 or 6 calls again, from my daughter. So, I went into the lobby a bit further, to call and be able to hear. My daughter began in a very frantic voice, also hysterical, telling me that Jim, my husband had been in a very severe car accident in Dallas on his way to the airport to fly out. Well, I almost fell to pieces, but was trying to get hold of the trauma team in Baylor Hospital where he was taken and find out more about his injuries.

At that moment, time along with myself, seemed to “hit the floor” literally. My knees buckled from underneath me, and I began to probably scream, people all around waiting to go to their planes etc, hearing my cries. One gentleman, who had also been in my “group” for the entire Summit, Chris Nieto happened to be standing there, and heard what was going on. Thank Goodness for that man. He took it immediately as he truly felt he needed to help me. He knew whatever news I had just received was not good at all, and as I tried to explain, I fell to pieces. I asked him to speak with the doctor at Baylor who was on the cell phone with me. I just was listening to this list after list, of things that were “wrong”, broken, out of place, from a broken shoulder, to a “broken back”. I nick in an Aorta, almost every rib broken, and again as he wrote down each item the list began to grow further into a place I felt someone had just pushed me off of the highest cliff known to man. Chris finished up on the phone, got me some water, all of my group gathered around, and Chris looked at me and asked me what I wanted to do.

I said “I need to go to Dallas”… ASAP, yet that moment I had no idea whether Jim would live or die before I even got on the plane. Chris told me he would be right back. In a few minutes him and the “Grassroots Manager” over the Summit for the Arthritis Foundation. Laura came to me and handed me the information and a “fax” I believe for me to go get my ticket and be on the plane headed to Dallas within a few hours. No hesitation, and within an hour I and Chris Nieto who lives in the Austin TX area, was with me, headed to the airport there in DC, so we both could fly into DFW (Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport). He happened to be catching a connecting flight to go to another Arthritis Foundation sponsored trip in Colorado, which was for the Juvenile Arthritis Kids and their annual get together. He stood with me every step of the way. He made sure that I got my bags where they needed to be, got my ticket, and got me on the plane. In fact, he went and asked if I could be boarded ahead of some just due to the fact I was honestly in total shock at that time. I really could not at that moment tell you ALL that was going around and around in my mind.

Chris got me safe and sound to Dallas, helped me make sure I got my bags, and made sure I got hold of my son, who was on his way to pick me up at the airport. Then he had to get on his connecting flight, and as we parted ways, I just cannot tell you in words how much that dear man did for me. The kindness, compassion, the selflessness, all of the assistance and making sure I didn’t just totally collapse, was purely a miracle. And he was my walking, talking miracle for those first horrid hours.

He is truly a man of courage, generosity, of giving, of making sure everyone else is “lifted up” and are recognized for their achievements. He also has a dear wife, and two beautiful girls, one of which was diagnosed at only 9 MONTHS old with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. He helps at just about every event for the AF; as well as recently sits on their board of directors. Again, there is no way I could ever repay the incredible gift of help from Chris, and also the generosity of the Arthritis Foundation to fly me home immediately, no questions asked. I was on my way back to Dallas and that was just how awesome the foundation is and always will be.

I am so very proud to be one of their “Platinum Ambassadors” for 2014. In fact, since illness and some family issues kept me from going back to the DC Summit this past March, I received a box filled with a plaque recognizing my “devotion” as going the extra mile for them. I also received a great T-Shirt, which I wear proudly today, and an awesome reusable bag, plus some “buttons”, a “stress ball”, and our latest “Ambassador Outline” for all we want to do in 2015. Again, I’ve been able to keep up with Chris and his family through Facebook, and again I am still speechless when it comes to the pure and wondrous gift Chris gave to myself, and I know he would do the same for anyone who needed his help. It draws tears to my eyes of joy each time I recall just how wonderful of a man he was then, and how he shall continue to make his own mark against the horrid Arthritic Illnesses. Rhia Steele 4/3/2015

Sunday, February 22, 2015

WEGO Health Awards Judging, Chronic Illnesses, Pain & The Brave People That Find the Strength and Courage to Talk, Blog & Write about it

As I worked on my WEGO Judging over the past couple of weeks, I've found that there are some incredibly strong women (and men) out there living their lives everyday, with one, two, three and more chronic illnesses, syndrome, and pain. They have also been through the HELL of hospitalizations that lasted for months, endless surgeries, transfusions, being not even able to eat and being fed through an IV (as I did in 2010), and some of them like myself, at that time the doctors really DID NOT KNOW what was wrong with me. My own PCP has made the statement since then on several occasions that he was extremely concerned back then I was going to die. Endless numbers of specialists came to see me... most of them were of a foreign decent, and frankly I could not understand what they were saying to me. Many of them at the time, didn't really know what the hell "Lupus" was. They blamed some of my illness on the Lupus, yet, they also were treating me for what they told us later was a "collapsed" bile duct. It was literally leaking poison into my abdominal cavity, rather than it going out of my system and being filtered out by my intestines, and out as it should. I had several "tubes" running outside of my right side. Later I had to even come home with them still in place, and we had to watch the fluid that came out into the bag, to make sure it was becoming more "clear" and not bloody etc. I went through that for several weeks. For at least 6 weeks I never put a drop of food or anything to drink in my mouth. There was a huge bag of "nutrients" that was white, and I was told it was a certain concoction mixed up by the pharmacy for me. I went through nights that I barely knew where I was. In fact, I spent mt 50th birthday having yet another surgery. Jim, my son, and my Mom were there because they had told me to "call my family" in, "just in case".... "Just in Case"???? I had at least 8 or 9 other IV bags hanging and pouring into me, pain medications that I watched the clock for and begged each moment I knew I could have more.... I really have never "told" this entire story, from start to finish, here or on my blog. I have put bits and pieces about it over the years on both, as well as it will be in my book. It took my system weeks to even be able to withstand a regular sip of "Coca-Cola in it. It would put my entire stomach and intestines into a "tailspin" and the next thing I knew nurses had to come in and change my entire bed, put me into the shower (dammit they never warmed it up enough and this was the middle of February and one of the coldest Winters in TX since I had been back).... any thing that was "food" "stunk" to me. Jim would go and try to find something I could stand to even remotely put into my stomach, and even certain kinds of bread smelled so bad to me there was no way I could take even a bite. Why I am telling this now here, I am not sure. Probably due to one of the blogs I read over the past few days, and her own battle with what later was diagnosed properly as Crohn's. But, more than that, it seems each year that February rolls around, which my Dad's birthday was on the 2nd, Ground hogs day, and mine of course just passed on the 15th, almost a Valentine Baby.. and it brings all of those weeks and weeks, and honestly months back into my memory. How ill I really was, and how it truly it is a miracle I am here today to type about this.... so ALL of you... everyone of you that have the stamina, bravery, the "guts" (no pun intended), the wear with all, strength... and many more descriptive words to say how incredible you are to tell "your" story. Whether it be autoimmune in nature, arthritic, FM, MS, and all of the other Chronic Illness and Pain so many of us endure... so WE can go out and tell others "it is okay"... you are still you.... you are not "less than", that life can be full, and fun... you just have to sometimes decide upon a "new kind of normal"... that is what I have to do, and even now... "normal" can change at any given time... I am THANKFUL, to be here this morning and able to tell a portion of my story... and I am thankful for my family, my spouse, kids and Mom, that support and love me, even though I feel like I disappoint them at times... and my true friends here that also love me for me... sick, well, mad, depressed, happy, or whatever I maybe at that moment, those out there know I mean you... that support and love me unconditionally, with Lupus, with Sjogren's, now with dentures and not my teeth, with the joints replaced, and the pain pump hanging from my right side... I am still "me"... and I feel blessed.... thank all of you for accepting me no matter whether brain fog hits, or I find myself on the sofa for the day, or I am up cleaning and doing "normal" things.... I am blessed.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

How "Autoimmune and/or other Chronic Illnesses" seem to "slow you down to a snail's pace"

Lots going on here, there and yonder...mmm one of those "Texas" words "yonder"??? I have people especially ones in California ask me where "yonder" is??? Well, in TX, it usually means in the direction you are pointing! LOL!!! New word for today....  "lollop"... to "loll" around for short... or to be a bit in a lounging position and it can also mean to "bob" up and down.... I had heard this one and have used it so not really "new" to me, but it puts it in my head to use it more... I am in the process of finishing paying bills, cutting out coupons, and trying to NOT feel BAD!!! I woke up about 4 am with the worst headache, and my stomach was upset.... plus I just have no energy for some reason... and of all days... even though it is sunny outside, the wind chill has to be COLD as heck! Oh, another word I had tried my best to think of last night, and I could recall several words that kind of meant the "same" as what I was trying to come up with. Finally I got the Thesaurus out and looked up "neutered", "watered down" and so forth. Then the word I was looking for hit me... CENSORED... I think something due to me NOT censoring my writing there are times some may get offended by what I say. Now, don't get me wrong, I am not going to poignantly come out and write something meaning to piss someone off or upset them on purpose. But, if I begin censoring my writing, it is no longer what I want to say. It has made me wonder why I don't get as much traffic to my blog as I want. I realize that "links" back to other sites help immensely, to get your rankings up as far as SEO goes for sites and search engines. But, it is not even "strangers" that maybe "googling" a certain type of blog, or illness, and then they come across a link to my blog or facebook page etc. It is more about wanting ALL of those that spend time here at Facebook, Google Plus, and other places they may find out about me being a writer and published author that I am interested in. I seem to never get feedback. No matter if I write about my own health issues, about the other places I am a strong voice as far as advocacy, activist, and ambassador on, or if I am talking about my own latest catastrophic event of the day, I never get many replies back, or more comment is what I mean on the blog in itself. Does that mean people don't like it so father than say something tacky to me, they just don't say anything at all. Or is it I do hit the nail on the head for many, yet they just don't find it necessary to submit a comment on whatever subject matter I may pick for the moment. Well, unless something ridiculous happens this year of 2015 I plan on posting MORE blog posts, and working on both books daily, as well as learning a new word, getting back to my exercising since I have kind of flaked off the past several months. I do lots of running around since Jim is not able to go out, or clean, cook etc... so I get lots of "exercise" with all of that, but I need to be back on the stationary bike, out walking daily or trying once again to use my stair climber. Me and that thing have hell, but it is mainly because my feet want to slip and slide all over the place. That does make it difficult to exercise on when you are constantly having to reposition your feet.

Okay, I have done a couple of the "new" items on the agenda, and I stopped a moment to say hello to all. It is hard to believe the holidays are already past, the new year is here, and once again it is back to the "farm" to hitch up the mules, put the crops in order, get kids back to school, and put noses to the grind stone hoping for a better 2015 for many of us.... take it one step at a time, one breaths space at a time, one day, one week, one month... all at a time... slow down, stop. and try your best to "accomplish" something even if it a new word daily, that you can be proud of for 2015... read a book, write a novel, crochet, paint, learn to play an instrument, go back to college, or just spring clean your home and throw away everytthing that has NOT BEEN USED in a YEAR! I have figured out, if something is lingering around my home, whether in my closet as clothes, or dishes, or whatever might be "building up" and not being used... throw it in the recycle bin, take it to Goodwill, give it away, have a garage sale, but take your home to an entire new level... for me that does mean a great deal of getting rid of stuff that is just that stuff that sits around and is either already worn out, or I will never use, or was meant to do one thing or the other but I never got to it... and I am bound and determined, that I am GOING TO PAIN MY KITCHEN and have a new floor put in. IF it "hair lips" Harry as the old saying goes - actually it is "if it hair lips the Pope"... and I am not sure why, but that is how it has been said for eons... I already have colors picked out, and they have an already "pre-cut" cabinet top that is not all that expensive that should replace mine hopefully quite easily... so my hopes are that at the very least I get a "new updated" kitchen, floor to ceiling, and we get the outside of the house painted... of which I can do most of it myself, but I am just so slow, it will take me quite awhile by the time I sand down all of the old paint (Lord I bet there are 5 layers of old paint) on my cabinet fronts. Someone before us never scraped or sanded anything. and then when we got here, it was a hurry up, had our lease on our apartment ending, and did not want to pay another month's rent if possible... so there were somethings we had to kind of just "do half azzed" at the time, in order for us to move in that fine Winter of 2006, which we almost froze our butts off... Lord it was a cold winter that year. Jim was redoing our hardwood floors, and we were concerned about whether that coatings would dry on them fast enough for us... we really needed to scrape those cabinet fronts and doors, but time made us just get it painted and cleaned up so we could get moved in... wow, how the heck we made two huge moves, including coming to Amanda's wedding the Summer before we moved here, then Dad's funeral at the 3rd month of 2005, then we made the major move to San Pedro CA, and withing 3 months were on the road again for a long haul to Ennis....we got here on December 19th, 2005... Amanda had just had James on the 6th of December, and they all came up, well at that time it was Heather, James a new born, Amanda and Jimbo, then Jason and Danielle I believe both came over... I know Jason did... anyway down memory lane... due to me knowing what I could get accomplished then, compared to how long it takes me to accomplish anything now... is like a very long, long distance... Anyway, off to take meds, eat a bowl of cereal or something, and possibly get some writing done.... ;) ,

Covers I am working on for my Two New Books

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Annual WEGO Health Activist Awards Time Again



Yes, that is right! Time has flown by and it is now your chance to begin "advocating" for your favorite "advocate", volunteer, blog, Facebook page, and more! See the link and begin your nominations! I wish luck to all this year for nominations and wins!!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Trying to find My Way Back - to What A "Normal" Autoimmune Diseased Life Should Be...


I began this as a post on Facebook early this morning, Sept. 2, 2014. Yet, after writing on it for about a half hour or more, getting up to check on the dog, and my head pounding... it dawned on me, "Get your other stuff caught up... i.e. make some sugar free jello, make the chocolate fudge cake for the weekend, getting the "stuffed peppers" I bought the stuff to make on the day when it was supposed to be cooling down; thus this morning seemed to be the best morning. I had thought about going out to wash my car. I thought if I did maybe rather than continue to "test" and tease us, it would actually rain. Well, so far I was wrong, as it all has done lately. It seems the weather has made many of us hurt terribly. Physicians (some physicians) want to tell us we are full of bull when we say that the "weather" doesn't effect our lives as far as our pain, joints, headaches, and so forth. I know beyond a doubt that from the barometric pressure, to "cool fronts', the humidity, rain, sleet, snow, thunderstorms, you name it, many will more definitely have an effect on chronic pain illnesses, joint issues, and many of the "2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and so on, disease that follow right along with the primary diagnosis. I had been concerned lately over "Shingles". I have seen way too many of my online friends, as well as close kin folks and friend that have had a breakout of shingles. I found articles stating people that have never had them, have well over 2 to 1 (50%) chance of having shingles if you have an autoimmune illness. I've been concerned over my illnesses because I feel I can't quite find a place of "remission" in any of them. I am on the medications, I am trying to do everything I can correctly, rest, eat well (ah, that one is hard with the teeth issues I have)           This next paragraph or paragraphs if you would like to say below are what I began on Facebook. I copied what I had already typed on and then decided I am going to "stick" to my word. I am going to post the bulk of the post here, then just put a small snippet in FB, with a link back to it here in my Blog. Blogger has made some changes, some good, giving you more options and other than just add chaos & confusion. I was hoping FM would slow down a bit and give people time to catch up. Sure many of us are "hooked" on line 24/7/365. But, all too often we don't have time to sit around and figure out the "new" things on FB, Blogger, and the numerous other sites we "belong" to. It reminds me of all of the stores I frequent here in my home town. About the time you learn how to use your markets check out debit system,  they bring in one that is "better, bigger, more secure" and also confuses the hell out of me. Then you run over to your pharmacy, same thing, now they handle the entire way you check out totally different. Now try to go shopping two or three department stores! Everyone one of them, either has a new "card" for you to sign up and and get 20% discount. Yes, the first time, and then after that, all you get an email box full of junk from them daily. Then they have all of these mark-downs with an "extra 20% off" at the register, and you either have your calculator out, they might be nice and have a "chart" up on the rack telling you what the cost will be after the "extra" is taken off at the register. Anyway, when you are already dealing in trying to keep your sanity with a brain fog that seems to only be getting worse each week; the lists that have now become the lists of lists you need to take care of and LORD forbid I not forget something for someone, a doctors appointment, or even something as trivial as getting "change for the coke machine, or picking up a drink, some kind of soda that if I don't, no one else would think about how thirsty I get when I am having to drive anywhere, and in fact I cannot walk through a huge store like a Wally World's, unless I stop by a front counter and pick up a drink to sip on while I shop.                                                                                                                 

I've been telling this now for awhile to my family and friends. Not only had my physical  issues change, I seem to have slowed down to a crawl at times. My brain cannot function, I feel it takes me forever to get ready, then I look down and there is always something else that needed to be done, or I forgot to put on "the list" .... heck even times I do well to remember the name of a room, or the name of what is in that room! Store names, my own phone number, it seems that may "brain fog" add          


I thought I would post this on FB at first, then changed my mind. I is a combination of several days posts, I began days ago. I changed my mind and want to put it here first, then really tell about these feelings I have on my blog; then share them that way. I will put this on my blog, but it has been on my mind now since I went to Winstar last weekend with my Mom. As most of you know, due to all of my extensive sharing, I LOST ALL of my Teeth to Sjögren's within a year. It sounds almost impossible, and I know from everything I've read and been told, that they "damage" that could not been seen probably had been going on since I was first diagnosed with Lupus, Sjögren's, Raynauds, RA... and who knows what else. That was back in about 2009-10 when the very first real "blood work" was done, and the doctor took ALL of my years of symptoms seriously to put them together. When he did, I was sent immediately to a Rheumatologist. This gentleman, a Rheumatologist no doubt for many, many years, still even used "gold injections" on occasion on patients. But, he was far from a dummy, and further he end  around the corner there in his office to have blood drawn, urine and he did even a more extensive workup on me. But even that first day, just by an examination of my toes, fingers, wrists, thumbs, feet... he "felt" and the saw the damage. He also saw that I had Raynaud's immediately, and I had an "hyper-extension of many of my joints, almost like being double jointed. Even after that first visit, I was so upset that it had probably been going on for years and years.. my Xrays showed my toes and finger joints being bad already, so none of this happened over night, and not one doctor until my new PCP at the time, could ever put ALL of my symptoms together. It was somewhat almost a relief, yet it also very scary also, No telling what had really come of "damage" not detected since it might have been years this was going on, yet no one could explain the severe migraines, the extreme tiredness, the not being able to "multi-task" as I once could, having just about every joint either already been injected or had surgery or even been totally replaced before the age of 50! No one could truly explain how someone, like myself, a very fit woman, (walked, ate properly, exercised daily, kept my weight down, and yet I had a heart attack at 40 years old and another at 50! Nothing made sense, yet no doctor could put it all together either.. what made my new PCP at the time think "autoimmune issues" I don't know... Maybe a conversation I had with him about me thinking I had "Lupus". Anyway something finally "clicked"... thus here I am today, far into the realms of autoimmune illnesses... and the latest issues the Sjögren's... so here I am now 54 (since Feb 15th) ! battling a battle I thought I would never have... losing my teeth and having dentures... and won't hold until the "mini implants can go in, which will be another 60 days or more. I am not going to lie They are a pain in the butt, or mouth I guess. They seem odd, too much "junk" in your mouth, a pain to have to clean, then put in each morning, then have to brush them, clean my mouth and put them in, then out they come at night... you cannot sleep in them. And eating in them for now is almost impossible. Even my "bite" pattern is completely different, which I am thrilled about, because they are "pretty and I wanted pretty teeth all my life, just never realized they would have to be "fake" and not my real ones. But, I honestly felt like once I got these new teeth in they would "fill in" where I had lost many teeth, which in turn would fill out my lips more, my bottom cheeks and lines around my mouth. I was hoping to "see" a bit different maybe even more youthful (by a few years) me.... but guess what? Nope.... did not make that change nearly as much as that as I had so hoped it would. I just was so disappointed, because I did not realize with the scars from the accident years ago, and the two small scars from my fall right around my mouth. I keep thinking, well, like any other woman, there has to be a way to "tighten" up that skin, or "bleach" out those darkened scars. I even went so far as to  begin looking today and am going to research some of these new facial creams out on the market to see which ones really work, and which ones charge a fortune, yet do nothing. I come more and more to realize I must take even better care of my skin. I have always pretty well used the proper things on my face and skin, lotions, I always take my makeup off at night, allow my skin to breathe and so forth. But, I pray quitting smoking will also reduce some of those lines around mouth. I see elderly women who probably smoked all their lives, and they have all of these deep seeded wrinkles around their mouth, and I always said I never wanted to do look that. But, dammit, when the teeth are out, I somewhat do and it upsets and embarrasses me to have anyone see what it truly looks like. I know we all age, some of us more gracefully than others... and depending on how well we have taken care of our bodies, minds and spirits makes a huge difference in the way you look as you age.

So does having these illnesses like Lupus, RA, Sjogren's age us faster? In all ways, in some ways.... what do you think????? I want to know how you feel about the subject and how many of you really take great care of the hair, skin, nails, including your face? If so, how and do you feel it is making a difference??

             

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Do Your "trust" your Own "instincts" Over some of the Medical Professionals (AutoImmune Illnesses or Not)

Being Caught in an Upheaval Between An Insurance Company, A Physician's Office, My Own Autoimmune "Flaring" Body, A Pharmacy, and What to Trust? Myself, My Doctor... Any of us... we are all susceptible to "Medical Mistakes"... And How do We Avoid those? Or Can We?

I will always be one of the first to admit, "no one" is perfect. We don't live in a "perfect world". Everyone of us are human beings. It matters not whether we are highly educated professionals, or a Mom or home maker. Whether you are the President of the United States, a banker, lawyer, and of course a DOCTOR, even though we want to "think" these people are more "immune" to errors, and yes they should be, we live in a "too fast" paced world, that for the most part offers "little" time to try and "double check" every thing we do in a day's time. 
I will also say that for the most part, I "trust" my physicians. If I didn't then I would and I have moved on before. If you "lose faith" in someone whether it be your physician, a banker, or anyone you do business with, must confide in, or within the very people that you have to rely on to sustain daily life necesseties, where do you turn to, and where do you go from there?

 I was so totally hopeful that the new year would bring "hope", a new vision, less symptoms, more ability to help make changes in this system of errors when it comes to ALL of the horrid evils of autoimmune illnesses, medications, insurance, or lack thereof, doctors, pharmacies, and the entire realm of what the hell is happening to cause such grief with those that seem to just NOT care about patients, about their own people, and how we are supposed to try and "cope"? Each day seems to be worse, not better. Things seems to go from hoping it will be "less complicated", to more red tape, and less reasoning with any human beings when it comes to the health rationalizations of life. Never have I seen such a lack of regard for "humans" from the medical world. I sound like I am on one of those "rampages". But, it is very difficult NOT to feel that way, when each place you turn to, each physician, each pharamcy, every phone call to your insurance company, every email you send... each medication, every step you make, turns around to slap you in the face, and make you wonder is any of the struggle worth it? I cannot possibly be the only one feeling the overwhelming stress of things getting worse when it comes to our health, and our health care workers. More and more I see doctors who are supposed to have taken an oath to "help humans", turn their heads and watch people become more ill. When you are reading daily, that those in dire need of medications such as the biologics trying to cope with THOUSANDS of Dollars of out of pocket costs due to this once again "tier system" of how we are "told" we can have medications, it makes me literally sick! Who, and mostly NONE of us with chronic illnesses can afford to pay $5,000.00 a MONTH out of pocket to get the one medication that may help keep you able to just live your life?  It is total insanity. I realize I am NOT the only one! That makes it even more difficult to deal with. Day after day, month after month, rather than watch "head way" being made, what we see is a government that absolutely DOES NOT care about their own people! Anyone that can take office, and turn their backs, to line their own pockets, in the name of cutting benefits so much that in 2015 Medicare Advantage Plans will CUT paying physicians/medical professionals (the "term" used in the original article was "insurers". That is so it does NOT sound like it is our doctors/medical professionals that are getting cut - another "loop hole for them) 20%! How can I (WE) even begin to rely on that kind of nonsense? What happened to taking care of your own people? It is very obvious greed, greed, greed and more greed fills our nation and our world. I was going to put this up on another "friends" feed, but there is no reason I should "push" my own issues off on those that may not feel the same way. The entire dilemma that has prevailed over my life in the past 3 months, is one that sounds like it belongs in a tale of horrors. Even when I "KNOW" for a fact everything I am "saying" is true; as I go back to either read it or email the ordeal to a friend, it is so hard for me to say "yes" this is really how it is! Where did we as a nation and world go so horribly wrong? When did it get to where "money and power" rule over it all? And where do you really find answers? I of all people, have always been able to "stand" within the power of faith and hope. I don't pretend to "cram" my own beliefs down anyone else's throat. Never have, never will. Everyone has their own personal and private feelings when it comes to how they view hope, faith and all of what might be considered "religious" in nature. But, the problem I feel is the "lack" of it all. There is little hope left. Medically speaking, is just one issue. Turn on your news every day. What do you hear that gives you any kind of true hope? Because we are finally backing out of wars, where we probably may have stayed out of them in the first place? Thousands that die daily due to lack of water, lack of food... and now we face yet another HIGHER scheme of things on the very thing that sustains us? FOOD!? Why? Because we lack water, we are facing drought circumstances that we have never seen in our own country since before the 1800's.... how can our "elected" officials sit around on Capitol Hill and justify the ridiculous insanity of "cutting" benefits for those that can barely afford to buy decent food to sustain us, much less "pay" for medications that although should be considered a "necessity" become things that are more a luxury. 
Those of us on a "regular salary", or disability, or making minimum wages... even those making a bit better salary, cannot possibly afford to pay THOUSANDS, even HUNDREDS of DOLLARS a month out of pocket for medications! I often wonder whose fingers are in whose pockets? If you could be one of these "minute" insignificant "bugging" devices that could fit in a clock on a wall, or under a lamp in some of our places in government, in our local doctor offices, within the pharmaceutical companies in the world, in the very places that things such as "lack of caring" goes on, how shocked would we be? How shocked would you be, just like a dear friend of mine told yesterday on her FB page. Her doctor wants her to have a "special type" of MRI on her heart. Yet, when the doctor calls the order in at the hospital, he is told, "that procedure" can't be done there. Now you tell me, if he is a doctor and he is that has been dealing with a hospital, outpatient or whatever type of facility in the same area for any length of time, he knows "what procedures" that place can do or can't do. Doctors are around for the most part long enough to know whether they need to send a patient to a "special facility" for a specialized type of MRI on the heart or not. SO, why all of a sudden does he get this type of information, that he must relay right there to his patient? He has to tell her that "I'm sorry"... for "some" reason, I can't get it done at that hospital? Then do they fully expect for us to say, Oh, Okay, well, if you find some place that it can be done, give me a call? How ridiculous does that sound? 
Just as ridiculous as a NURSE in my own PCP office, that has been seeing me now for well over 4 years, "hide" and NOT intervene as that nurse basically is allowed along with a "PA" there to tell my husband "well, if you don't like my care, take "her" meaning me, to the ER! What the hell kind of doctor is that? Talk about losing confidence in your physician! Then he is not even courteous enough to "check" on the situation and try and find out what the hell went wrong, and why the hell would ANY "PA" get her "feathers so ruffled" due to a patient and her spouse being concerned and just questioning why a certain treatment would be given, when there is a very strong chance that very type of medication is exactly what got me in the situation I am IN in the first place? If a doctor, or PA, or nurse, is that big of a "chicken" and they are NOT willing to try and get hold of the matter to straighten it out, and thus TAKE CARE OF THEIR PATIENT, who should have been NUMBER ONE, then how the hell do you trust any of them? If this had just been one incident, or a "new doctor" or someone "not familiar" with my complex case, I "may have" been able to justify a portion of their lack of brain power and intelligence. But, when you cannot even have your physician call you, return a call from you, trying to find out what the heck is going on, why would I bother to put my life in this medical "so called" professional's hands? 

I've written an email to a friend of mine explaining the total amount of crap I went through over the past about 7 days! I am going to post most of it here, and I know you are going to think I have to be making this story up! But, BEFORE I get more into that, let me tell you what just happened! Here it is BEFORE 8AM in the morning. My phone rings, and guess what? It is from LEXINGTON KY! NO NAME on caller ID, just that town name. A "woman" announces she is from "Humana" and asks for my Humana ID number!.... in the first place, it is BEFORE 8 AM CENTRAL TIME! IN THE 2ND PLACE, WHY WOULD I (I did NOT call them) give out my insurance ID number to someone I have NO idea is, what they want, and why they would call ME at this time of the morning? I told her I WOULD NOT give out that information, and in the 2nd place I AM SICK! Where were they this past two weeks when I tried to get them on the phone and get my ENBREL??? You sure can believe I jumped through 50 hoops to get anyone on the phone, it took them 10 days or longer to even get medication to me that I should have had 7 weeks ago or more. I probably WOULD NOT BE SICK, if HUMANA would have DONE THEIR JOB! Now, I hang up, and I call THEM BACK! Guess what they tell me... THEIR OFFICE IS CLOSED! NOW how can "they be closed" when they just called me and asked me for my ID number? Ever since I FINALLY GOT MY ENBREL LAST THURSDAY, I have had A PHONE CALL EVERY DAY SINCE FROM THEIR PHARMACY wanting to TELL ME HOW THEIR NEW SERVICES COULD HELP ME!!! THEY COULD FREAKING HELP ME BY DOING THEIR DAMNED JOB, GETTING ME my medications and not delaying me to the point that I am almost to the place of being ill enough to go to the hospital! THIS is the very KIND OF CRAP THAT I HAVE HAD MORE THAN ENOUGH OF! 
How funny it is WHEN I NEED THEM... forget it... you cannot get anything off of their website (although they always say go there), you can't get anyone on the phone, but boy they surely can call you day, night and weekend to tell YOU about HOW THEY CAN HELP YOU!!! 

Now, back to the Other issue at hand.... I've told most of the story... from this, I did NOT get my Rituxan.... due to HUMANA NOT wanting to pay at they should... the entire 'BIOLOGIC" ISSUE. So, when I am severely ill, with flares 6, 7, 8 weeks later, at my doctors office... and the PA decides even though I say nothing about any type of "infection"As far as I was concerned showed no and had no signs of a "sinus infection. Yet, she insists on giving me an antibiotic, after I am already very immune compromised due to NOT having my medication, having 2 flares, and she gives me of all things "Omnicef"! Now I am not sure how many of you check out medications. I am sure for the most part, all of us, or the majority of us with these autoimmune issues DO watch what we are given as far as medications. In the first place, many of our "autoimmune medications" do NOT mix well with other meds. It can cause all types of complications, thus we are probably for the most part pretty good about double checking medications, especially "new" ones we are given. BUT, as I say, what about those that are elderly, or they don't have access to look up medications, or they just "trust" what their doctors say, and take the medications. We are supposed to be "pro-active" about our own health. Yet, as I have found out, being pro-active with some physicians is just like stabbing yourself in the foot. They HATE patients that are educated! They DO NOT want to be questioned, and they fully expect US to believe them hook, line and sinker, without any disagreement. 
Well, even though I did NOT think I had this "sinus infection" I began the antibiotics a week ago, tomorrow. I took 2 that day, and Friday morning I took one. By Friday evening, something was just not right. I could tell my stomach/intestines/colon were not "happy". Of course antibiotics, many of them can upset your stomach. Sometimes if you "eat" with them it is better, but sometimes you are NOT supposed to eat with them. This happened to have been one that still I was quite disturbed over getting. Without being extremely ill with signs of an infection, it still did not seem right I would be given such a broad spectrum, high powered medication. I even mentioned that it had been YEARS since I was given these type of meds. The ONLY time I've taken them is when I go to the dentist and I am having work done. He prescribes "2" for me to take one hour before I go in for dental work. He does that due to me having "knee implants", shoulder implant etc.... Dental work "can" lead to an infection sometimes of those types of implants. BUT mine have been in place long enough now, that really it is not a huge concern. In fact the other dentist that does other dental work on my teeth, says that taking those now is kind of "old school". He does not even prescribe them, unless the implants are very new, less than a year old, or there is major dental work, that could possibly lead to a greater chance of infection. So, even with two dentists right here in town, there are two totally different opinions about giving this even when it could be "slightly necessary". Well, within 24 hours of taking these antibiotics, I began to have what I consider not just slight diarherra, but what I consider a type of "colitis' symptom, due to the medication 'Killing out" all of the needed bacteria in the colon. I went through this in 2010. After several abdominal surgeries, due to an issue with my gall bladder, and a collapsed bile duct, that landed me in the Methodist Hospital in Dallas for over 6 weeks... I got this type of colitis. I will NOT go into the gory details of it all, but I will tell you that I had NO CONTROL over it. I literally woke up wrapped in blankets, cold, and was covered from head to toe with diarrhea... this happened night after night... and I was so ill, I could barely even stand... the nurses would try and put me in the shower, half cold water, and had to clean me up, head to toe, several times a night (and I was NOT eating anything)..I was totally being fed with an IV line...

Well, that experience all came rushing back into my head once I realized that the antibiotic I had been put on is one of the worst for causing this type of colitis.....

Here is more information on it:   http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/antibiotic-associated-diarrhea/basics/definition/con-20023556

this is just one article. There is LOTS more, just do a Google Search if you would like to found out more....

Needless to say, I was very FAMILIAR with the signs and symptoms of this potentially can be "deadly" type of colitis.  It is NOT something to mess around with, especially if you already have a severely compromised immune system. At this time, mine is certainly severely compromised. So, as you or anyone in my situation would do, of course you are going to "question" why would you try and put me on yet another "same family" of antibiotics that COULD be causing this? Here they are as  I have in a redundant way said trying to treat me for a "sinus" infection, and I am worried about this type of bacterial colitis! thus coming back to me on the phone Monday morning and saying the PA is calling in "Keflex" was not what I expected to hear at all. I thought I was going to hear at the very least they would put me on Flagyl or Vancomycin, and then also possibly do the "test" to see if I indeed had this type of bacterial colitis. Never did I expect that she would in an almost flipant manner tell me that "the PA went to school, and SHE knows better"! Well, ummmm let's see here... did I excuse anyone of NOT knowing their job? NO what I was "questioning" was "what she was treating me for and why?"... Are you giving me "more antibiotics" thinking okay well the "sinus infection"??? Yes, again, the nurse NOT taking the message stating THE PATIENT IS CONCERNED ABOUT whether she has a colon problem, a stomach bug problem, or is it antibiotics causing this.... not one word of "can we try to see who is asking what" and "why" one person in an entire office can't put two plus two together to get a proper message through.

Now comes another issue in all of this. For six WEEKS, I have non-stop tried to get through to Humana about the Rituxan, what the deal is, why they are NOT paying as they said they would.... and  you can bet I heard everything but the right answer. Most of the time, I was either speaking with someone who has NO CLUE about a "code", about it being used for RA, or even what it was used for. After I finally drove the infusion center, and my Rheumatologist's office nuts trying to get SOME TYPE OF BIOLOGIC to take.... knowing that each day that passed meant me having more and more change of a severe flare, I worked my fingers to the bone trying to get medication, it was days and days and days and more days of waiting, paperwork, more waiting, more paperwork.... and then FINALLY last Thursday it comes in. I take it about the same time I the appointment to try and get the flare under control, before it got worse.

NOW, every freaking day, sometimes twice a day, and like this morning BEFORE 8AM my time, Humana (wow they really exist) CALLS ME! They leave messages, they want to talk to me this morning BEFORE 8AM, and the "woman" asks for my ID number before she even told me who she was,  or what she wanted. I politely, told her I was SICK, and they sure as heck did not make any connection with me while I needed them, yet now all they do is call day and night with their stupid automated calls, wanting to have me "call" them back"... for what????  there is NOTHING they can do or say now that will "fix" what I did need, when they cared to not even answer me back or call me back.

Yet, the huge looming question remains, how the heck do "we" fix this? Unless you have money, power, people you know.... and whatever else it takes to "get" what you "need" out of this kind of issue.

I am so totally disgusted with all of them.... and as far as how to "handle" any of getting these issues fixed... I am at the place, that I honestly don't see that anything will get better for us... only worse.....

With my "current health" as it is, and NO support from the very physicians that SHOULD be giving me support, I may not be able to make the very trip that I've looked so forward to and that is to go to DC in 4 weeks to give my "story", just so others someday do NOT have to deal with these things. Yet, I can't go if I am too ill to go!

I am so totally and utterly upset over the entire ordeal, that I am to this place that I am ready to give up! WHY! should I FIGHT for something that I have NO WAY of  Winning???? As far as I am concerned ALL of my efforts, ill or well.... sick, or feeling good are all for none.... This battle is just not one to win....

I am not sure I even want to continue to post on this blog, or FB, or participate in any type of organization anymore.... It seems it causes more aggravation, All I see is doubt and dismay in others eyes, and I hear it in their voices and I see it in what they are going through....

For me, I am beginning to feel and see this is a no win situation.... and for others they may have far better luck than I... but I know when it is time to throw in the towel....










Saturday, December 21, 2013

Annual Family Christmas Letter for 2013....

                   How Can It Be Christmas 2013 Already?



I’ve been contemplating over writing this “annual Christmas Letter” for weeks. Although it is a tradition, and I am not one for altering traditions; life in itself gives you no choice BUT to alter, change, move, forward, backward, and sometimes even upside down, as far as the traditional sense goes.

I do just sit here in wonderment of just how quickly this year has flown by. It seems each February that rolls around (my birthday month), makes that year fly by swifter than the one before. As kids we fuss that it takes such a long time for holidays, a new school year, Summer to arrive, time for us to have our driver’s license, time to graduate… 
After you are out of school, in a job, possibly have a spouse, a family, and all of the hustle and bustle that goes with those things, time seems to “turn a page” in a greater way than the years before. Marriages seem to go by more quickly, kids grow up just all too fast, and then you are again by yourselves, with an occasional visit from the kids and the Grand kids. 

As I watch my own Grand kids grow, they are also growing from one stage in childhood so fast, and the next thing you know, they are like my Grand Daughter Heather. Here she is a teenager and getting her driver’s license as they turn 16 in the blink of an eye. My oldest Grand son James jut turned 8 on the 6th of December. As I looked at all of his  birthday pictures on Facebook earlier this morning, my memories were of him, just practically a newborn a few weeks after we moved back to Texas in 2005. I am amazed as I think about them visiting at that time, with their first newborn son together; yet now their is the 2nd one Logan, who is sure not a baby anymore either. It was so cute to see Logan right beside James every step he made in those pictures! He follows his “big brother” around everywhere he goes. Then again I see Heather, the oldest as a young woman, not the tiny 2 year old child she was when I first met her. Time has flown by, and it does just seem to fly more quickly with each turn of a page in life. 

We tend to take “time” for granted. So, rather than spend this moment of time fussing about how time flies by, I’ll spend these few moments to let you know a bit about the homes of our families.

Mom is doing well. In fact, she is doing much better than the rest of us in many ways. Her health is good. But, she did go through a bit of a scare with her heart earlier in the year. She had been a bit short of breath, but she called me one morning to say she could not even walk to the mail box without being very winded. So, I called, got her into the doctor, and they thought it was her heart. They wheeled her over to the ER at the hospital next door. Her EKG, blood work, and all indicated she did not have a heart attack, so that was a good thing. In fact her doctor kept her overnight, and monitored her heart, along with doing labs every few hours to make sure nothing was awry. He wanted her to see a cardiologist just for the sake of making sure all was okay. in fact I took her to my own cardiologist, who is just wonderful. Dr. Meg Sullivan put Mom with a couple of other tests, and one was an echocardiogram. There was a “severe” abnormality of her mitral valve, which would not have been caught on an EKG or blood work. It was “sloppy” and loose, thus blood with oxygen is not all getting where it needs to be, thus causing her to be out of breath. The first “echo” was showing this in the “severe” range. That usually means open heart surgery, the only way to repair that valve. I think they have some doctors doing it with a scope, but I am not sure just how well that is going yet. Anyway, I asked Dr. Meg if we could do something “else” before we consider going through a huge surgical procedure. Mom was of course stunned and certainly NOT ready to even think about open heart surgery and I was also quite stunned myself. I think our cardiologist saw that neither of us were exactly thrilled and in fact both of us, Mom and I were in shock. That was the last thing we expected to hear. So, the doctor did suggest that Mom could “increase” one of her medications, Lasix, so it would take MORE fluid from her body. With that, even less sodium intake, adding more Potassium to her schedule, and “decreasing” the amount of fluids she drank daily. Believe it or not, it worked! The Lord was certainly on her side and all of ours. Two weeks after she began this routine, they did another ultrasound on her heart. Not only did the issue go from “severe”, but decreased that “sloppiness” so much, that her mitral valve was almost “normal”, rather than appearing diseased! Talk about miracles! That was a miracle. So far, that was at the first of the year, she has not had any real issues again. I am sure it may come to give problems some day, but for now, she had a 6 month check up about a month ago, and all appears to be well. I was extremely thankful. Mom has been so very fortunate health wise, that I am not sure she would stand to go through something that dramatic as far as a surgical procedure. She is having some horrible pain issues with her right shoulder. It has gotten so bad she is unable to even comb her hair. I’ve been fussing for her to see our Orthopedic surgeon. I feel it could be her neck, since I went through much of the same with mine. After having a shoulder replacement on the right, then also having cervical neck surgery due to continued pain in my right shoulder blade, I fear her issues could be cervical neck related also. Other than this issue with her shoulder, and of course she is having more problems with arthritis, and a bit “feeble” like having to watch going up and down stairs, holding onto rails more, and that kind of thing, she is doing very well to be 78 years old. She sends her love to all.

Both Jason and Amanda; along with Amanda’s husband and three children are all doing okay. Jason recently took a job not far from where Amanda and her family live; about 30 minutes out of Corpus Christi. So, he spends quite a bit of time with her and her family. I  am happy that they have one another close now. They have been close to each other, ever since they grew out of that “kid sister - older brother” stage years ago. It is wonderful to see them enjoy one another and have a good relationship. She stays on the go as usual. Never a dull moment with the three kids and their friends and families. She just doesn’t know “yet” how to sit still very long! Reminds me of “me” when I was her age. 

Jason decided to change a few things in his life. He is out of the career for now of any type of law enforcement, and is now working for a company out of Corpus Christi in the oil business. He seems to like it, and it seems to be less stressful, of course than the law enforcement jobs. Jason has some issues health wise with what seems to be symptoms of Fibromyalgia. He has had “aches and pains” with his joints for several years now. As of this past year it seems that some other symptoms have cropped up. These newer symptoms seem to exemplify more in the range of “FM” (Fibromyalgia)/“CFS/ME” (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome). He has been taking some medication that seems to be helping and our hopes are that he shall continue to see improvement, and be able to continue on with all of his dreams and plans for the future. 

Well, “our home”. Actually things have been not nearly as “upside down” on the health front as the past few years had been. In saying that, I have had “new symptoms” and side effects from the Autoimmune Arthritic Illnesses. They have not been the most pleasant to say the least. I suddenly developed “double vision” the first part of this year. We first thought it was because I was not getting much sleep. So, I was overly tired most of the time, thus it was effecting my eye sight. I went through several doctors/specialists, lots of tests, including a “temporal artery biopsy”, and in the end, one of the best specialists in the field told me, “Frankly, he thinks it’s the Lupus, but is not sure exactly why it is”. He put a totally different type of glasses on me, with spheres in both lenses. They do a great job correcting the double vision, while I am wearing them. With them off, I still see “double”. Although we are still a bit baffled by it all, we also know when it comes to these autoimmune illnesses that have kind of “taken” over; there sometimes it just “not” a “diagnosis” or “explanation” but to say it is one of those. 
I have made change in the RA medication. I am taking “infusions” every 4 to 6 months. The hope is that this medication will somewhat control the RA pain AND our greatest hope is that it will slow down the progression of the damage to my joints. I have my thumbs that are just in terrible shape. The use of my hands continues to get worse each year. Until I have just about lost all use, or the doctors insist on “fusing” the thumb joints or replacing them, I just do things to help assist me in opening things, buttoning, holding and so on. My only other “oddity” is that I recently developed an “oval lump” on my lower left abdomen. I was at three doctors, had a sonogram, and no one could figure it out! (what’s new)… Finally, one of my regular physicians’, PA (assistant) saw me again, and “bingo” she found the problem right away. Of all things I have a “hernia”, actually I now have 2 hernia’s, one on each side; left and right. Only me! From all I have read and been told, hernia’s (inguinal hernia’s) are EXTREMELY difficult to find in females. Plus, they are usually “genetic” in nature. When we are in the womb, well before even “sex” is determined there are two tubes that form, and after that then the “sex” of the baby happens. But, those “tubes” especially in females can be “weak”. That weakness tends to run in families. So, as my PA told me, my own daughter could be subject to having a hernia or hernia’s also. It is only genetic as far as they know, more on the female side. Even though male babies, often have a hernia(s) when they are born, or very small. But those in themselves, supposedly are not “genetic”. I thought it was “wild” but I did some research and that is exactly what I found. I guess we learn something new no matter how old we are. Life to me stays absolutely fascinating for that reason! No matter how lousy I feel, or what is going on, I still love learning something new all the time! Especially when it comes to the “medical realms” of life. 

Jim, is also having one heck of a time with a shoulder/neck problem. He recently had an MRI, and in fact we have not gotten the results as of the time I am writing this letter. Our hopes are, and fingers crossed, that he is not facing surgery. But, it just does not look good. He stays in a tremendous amount of pain, and of all things, the pain is almost unbearable each time he sits down at the computer to work. Well, being the he designs and develops web sites as a career makes it a bad situation all the way around. I pray that rather than be some that needs surgery, that it may be something that is a “chronic inflammatory” process, which possibly corticosteroids in a larger dose, for an extended length of time, and some powerful NSAID”s maybe the answer. Surgery is just not something he wants to face at all. Plus he is without health insurance at the time. As anyone knows that works for themselves, with things in a mess as they are in our country with the health insurance situation, we are not sure how we will face something surgical in nature. But, I know that our “Higher Power” is watching over us, and “He” will make everything happen as it should be. 

I swore I wouldn’t make this long, but here it is, long as usual. I’ll just say a couple more things. I did have my 2nd PUBLISHED book go out earlier this year. I now have TWO books published, and they are on amazon.com   …   I use the “pen” name of “Rhia” or “Rhiannon” Steele. Both are Poetry/short Prose books, and are named “Ramblings of A Seasoned Soul” and the other is “Time Tattered Musings”. If you want to and have a moment look them up and you can “Look Inside the book” on Amazon, on both and read a couple of pages in them. My hope was to have a “3rd” book out by now. My “dream” to  be a “published” author has came true twice! Yet, my ultimate dream is to have the journey of my life in a book published. I have the entire “story” in bits and pieces all over my computer as well as in my blog online, and dozens of “handwritten” journals I’ve kept since I was around 14 years old. Every time I try to “begin” the book though, I just never quite come up with how I want that very first paragraph, page; the first chapter to sound. All of us have “a book” in us, is what I had a dear friend say to me. In a way that is so true. We “all” have a story about our lives, and how we got from point “a” as a youngster to point “b” in our present, plus we have ideas about point “c” where we hope to be in the future. But, some just never write it. I want to take that step and tell my story. Much of it, I’ve never shared with anyone. Much of it, I have shared but with only those I felt could totally understood where I came from. Yet, everyone that knows me well, especially Mom and Jim, have continued to encourage me to write “the” book, book… as I call it. 

I hope to accomplish that “dream” and write the “ultimate”, “Book, Book”, this year. That is if the “Lord willing and the creek don’t rise”, as the saying goes. As far as the “rest” of our family, “Tazzy” and “Bubba Gump”, our two “fur kids” are just as spoiled rotten as ever. They are getting older also as we can tell. Tazz, our Pug, is the oldest. She came with us from Seattle. That was in 2005. She was about a year old then. Bubba, is a
“Chi-Weenie”, and he is a character. They both keep us laughing, and talk about “separation anxiety”. They “cry” if I or Jim leave to go to the store! Bless their hearts, they are so accustomed to the both of us being with them. But, they are a joy, even though they can aggravate the heck out of us as times also. Just like 2 kids for sure!


My “projects” are many. It seems I always have my “fingers” in a different pie. I recently became an “Active Volunteer” for a non-profit Foundation that is trying to help bring awareness to Autoimmune Arthritic Illnesses. I just “graduated” from a several month class learning about the Foundation, and all they are accomplishing. It is truly an amazing story. The “founder” began about 4 years ago, after she was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. She wanted to make a difference and she has truly already done “miracles” through what started out as a “Buckle Me Up Movement” and a bracelet she made with a “belt buckle” at her apartment in San Francisco. From there it has grown to her and 4 “co-founders”, became an official non-profit foundation, and is about 35 volunteers strong and growing quickly. She has honestly accomplished things in 4 short years that many would never accomplish in a life time. And ALL of us have one or more Autoimmune Arthritic Illnesses. The Foundation is International Foundation for Autoimmune Arthritis. I would love it if you have a moment to take a look at their website. Even it does not really tell just how incredible this truly is and how many lives she and all of us as a team shall touch! You can visit the website at: 
http://www.ifautoimmunearthritis.org  …
Also, I will be doing some blogging on their own blog, which is called “Systemically Connected”. Plus my own personal blog, “Gaze Thru Pain - Lupus/RA & This Foggy Brain” is the name of it, and the URL to my blog is :  
http://rhiannonsrisetodreamstate.blogspot.com 
I have to laugh, of course, as I say every year; I’m not going to make my “Annual Christmas Letter” so long! Of course it is always long, and probably longer than usual. I find as I write, there is lots more that went on during the year, than I think did. 

My hope… Our Hope is the you and your families are healthy, happy, and enjoying one another throughout the holidays. May you find peace, joy, and most of all love throughout 2014 and beyond. Know that we think of you often; even though we aren’t close physically, in our hearts and spirit we are always right there.


Much Love, Merry Christmas and A 2014 that shall be Wonderful!  Rhia,Jim, Tazz, Bubba… and All of Our Family!!!! 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Just to Mention a Couple New things on My Blog...

I am not exactly "patting myself on the back"... BUT I will say that I am eager to know what you truly think about the new "background image" on the top of my page, under the name and description of my blog! I had began working on the 'idea" for a couple of months. But, nothing I could think about or picture in my mind, was exactly what I WAS going to do. I didn't want to do the "same old thing". Yet it needed to be new, fresh and reflect what my blog is all about.

I thought about graphics and photos. But, those would be too MUCH in color. Even if I made the opacity extremely light, it still maybe too dark for others to read the Title and the Description, So, I opened up my "trusty" Photoshop program, that I have not played with or done anything in, for a long while.

Thus I had a picture in my mind of "words", words, turned and kind of "twisted and "turned", arced one way, then the other, much like our lives our and our bodies "feel" when we are afflicted with these diseases.

So I picked a color scheme I felt would match my blog background color, fixed a new file in PS (PhotoShop),  and began doing some thinking and rendering; then came up with a beautiful array of colors that matched the back ground colors of the entire blog page. I made a mistake at first in my "pixel" sizing of the graphic. For some reason I thought it needed to be longer and a bit thicker for it so that way it would match up as it is supposed to. I didn't at first think about resizing from the beginning because at first I figured I'd more than likely be "blurring" the names of the dieseases, or "skewing" it where you could "read" them but it would be more in the background of your mind, while the readers are actually looking more at the title, the blog posts, and so as I began to arc words up and down, turn them in one way, then the other, in rotation.

About 3 hours or so later, plus a couple of questions answered by the "Pro" here in the house, Voila'! A new background Image all of my own making... ;).

It is posted hook, line and sinker on my blog. I am so thrilled to have it up now. I also found out a couple of new things that I was able to also use here, and I hope it will help get me and my blog more out in the advocacy world, where I can hopefully do some good...:)  Pray for good vibes!!!! :):)

Advocacy in the realms of "chronic illnesses", takes a great deal of tenacity to get your thoughts, research, your own experiences with those around you....

Please leave a quick comment and let me know what you think ;)
                                                                                 











Wednesday, December 4, 2013

More Exciting News & My Blog Posting Helping Elsewhere....



Excited to Blog Elsewhere for An Extremely Important Cause 



Even though I am working to get my "first post" up, since I have been accepted to be a "Blog leader" for IFAA's blog, "Systemically Connected", I wanted to tell all of you! I've been so thrilled about this, that I can't stand to wait any longer!!!! :):) After getting to "graduate" this week from IFAA's "class" to become an "Active Volunteer" for them, I just have to include that I will be posting on their blog from time to time also. When all is in place, I will also have my blog link up in their website, and I'll be listed in the "Systemically Connected" Blog Writers! :):) I am just so overwhelmed, and in a good way about all of it. As just about all of you know, my "advocacy" and helping others fight these autoimmune arthritic illnesses, as well as all of the AI illnesses is NUMBER 1 for me!! Thus my writing, getting a couple of books published, and now as I hope "possibly" to have book number 3!!! able to be published by the end of 2014!!!  (I am not promising anything, because you never know what is in store) but my plan is to try and have it written, and ready for publication late 2014 or early 2015.  That one is so very important because it will be my own journey through the lifestyle of those with chronic illness and chronic pain... and a bit more about my life's path... Anyway, I realize with "health" there are no guarantees... and I fear the Rituxan maybe wearing off sooner than expected. I am having the same pain I had before I had the infusions over the past week, so I pray it is just the weather being so nuts, and not the medication "stopping" to work before the 4 to 6 months it should last. ...more to come... I want to get my blog post on this up and then get busy on a couple more things for today!!!! 



By the way, both IFAA and Systemically Connected have link right on the front page on my blog here. You will see them down on the right hand side below my posts.....



Rhia

Monday, September 13, 2010

Chronically Ill Unite September 14 to Blog About Invisible Illness Issues

9/9/09 – SBWIRE – SAN DIEGO — Who would guess that nearly half of the U.S. population lives with a chronic illness? But according to a study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation over 133 million people have an illness or condition, most of which are invisible, and many that cause daily pain. Illnesses can range from Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy to diabetes, multiple sclerosis to fibromyalgia, or painful conditions like back pain and migraines.
With 75 percent of internet users using the internet for health information (Pew Internet Project, 8/08) and many of them seeking support, thousands of bloggers now post daily journals about the emotional challenges they face with daily chronic pain.
National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week, September 14-20, 2009, invites bloggers to have a significant role in their awareness campaign. For example, part of their outreach has been featuring guest bloggers on their own web site invisibleillnessweek.com , as well as inviting bloggers around the globe to commit to blogging about invisible illness issues. To help spread the word they have also create a meme, “30 Things About My Invisible Illness You May Not Know” that people have posted on Facebook, blogs and other social networks.
Lisa Copen, who founded National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week in 2002 says, “Though our illnesses and symptoms may vary, we still have a great deal in common. We can learn from one another about coping and finding the balance of taking care of ourselves yet living life to the fullest.” Copen says patient blogs aren’t depressing like healthy people may assume. “Illness bloggers don’t typically dwell on the logistics of symptoms, lab tests, or hospital stays. Instead, they write on everyday topics and how their illness impacts their families, finances, careers. They may discuss patient advocacy issues, but they also write about vacationing with an illness or dating when you have a chronic illness.”
Invisible Illness Week was recently the host of Grand Rounds, the largest medical blog carnival on the internet.
Over 300 people have officially committed to blogging for Invisible Illness Week so far and many are sharing on their Facebook notes page or other social network. Copen encourages those who do not have a blog to shares something about their illness with Facebook friends, a few Twitter posts, or even in the comments section of the invisibleillnessweek.com web site.
If you would like to join this unique opportunity to blog for awareness about invisible illnesses, see www.invisibleillnessweek.com for details. Invisible
Illness Week’s highlight is a 5-day virtual conference with 20 speakers that can be heard online for free on a topics such as marriage with illness, applying for disability, setting boundaries, and when your child is ill.
Copen is also the founder of Rest Ministries which sponsors the event and IllnessTwitters.ning.com for anyone who “tweets” on health or medical conditions.