Showing posts with label blogging for awareness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label blogging for awareness. Show all posts

Friday, November 4, 2016

Day 1 - #HAWMC - WEGO- Health 30 Day Blog Challenge - What drives us to BLOG!? (running a bit behind)

WEGO Health Blog/Writer's Challenge Day 1 #HAWMC


I've been a "driven" writer since I was abut 13 years old. I began writing poetry back then, and a few short stories. I was even the "editorial" writer for our High School Newspaper. I took on a few tough subjects, from "Holes in our student parking area", to giving our students more of a challenge when it came to subject matter and getting us ready for what we would face in the real world; after high school and college.

I continued to write in "handwritten" form, before computers. I have notebook after notebook filled with my writing. I have most of them still with me, and have been able to put much of the material on the computer.

At the age of 14, I had a neighbor who was a RN at our local hospital. I seemed to "soak up" everything that was "medical" in nature. I volunteered as a "Candy Volunteer, I guess then called a "striper" and I stood beside her every chance I had spending all of my free hours learning about the medical world. From watching them deliver babies, to taking care of those babies and Moms, and learning at that time how to "pack instrument" packs, because back then most instruments were not "disposable". We had certain instruments for certain surgeries that had to be cleaned, disinfected, wrapped together, then put in an "autoclave" that sterilized them further to be used in surgeries.

From there, my mind was made up, I would be in the medical field. Of course things change, and I got out of high school early, wanted to go to work, and married young. We had my son 2 years later, but by the time I was about 22, I knew that is not what I wanted for my life. I went on to divorce my 1st husband, and then was a single Mom, with bills to pay, and went to work at a bank in Dallas. Still I was restless because I was not doing what I felt was my calling, my heart's work, and what I was supposed to be doing in my time here. I left the bank, remarried a couple of years later, got some college under my belt, and went to work in a hospital, but in the business office.

Those 6 years there made me know even more that I wanted to find a way to be in the medical field, more hands on, and not behind a desk collecting money from sick people.
Yet, again, even after having an offer from the hospital for them to fully pay for me to go to college and get my LVN degree, at that time, I had two younger kids in school, and was unable to go to school full time, and support my family also. Oddly, enough, I went ahead and took the "entrance exam" to get into the nursing program and passed it as #1! That made it even more difficult for me to pass up the opportunity. I not only had the drive, I had the offer to pay for my classes, then work for that hospital for a year to "pay back" a portion of my college. Then I could have went any direction I pleased. Yet, family came first, and with a heavy heart I declined that opportunity.

I was friends with a woman that was the head of nursing there, and there were days she was almost unable to walk. Her feet would hurt so badly, she could barely stand on them. I found out she had Rheumatoid Arthritis. That and another young woman that worked in the hospital pharmacy, had a type of "stomach issue" autoimmune in nature, that there was little known about, much less on how to treat it, and give her the life back she wanted.

All those years I continued to fill notebook after notebook of my writing and poetry. That was the one "steady" in my life, my writing. I did go to college, and took accounting classes and business classes, and almost had my degree in business. I was struck with Migraines, that were horrific. Over the years they would make me so ill, I would miss work for days at a time. I never "hid" that I had the headaches, but I could not predict when and how long they would come on and last. In fact, I lost several jobs either having to resign jobs, due to missing so much work because of the headaches, and other health issues, including needing surgery on several joints. I had painful problems with my knees, shoulders, hands, and elbows. Again, missing work for surgeries on painful joints, in my 30's that the doctors could not really explain.

I had went to a "pain specialist" long before they were really heard about, mainly to see if he could help the migraines. I had injections into the occiptal nerves in my neck, was hospitalized, had every test available, yet no doctor could put the pieces together as to what was "wrong" with me.

At 40 years old I was an avid exerciser, daily, I ate only healthy foods, watched every pound of my weight, and did everything "right" for my health. Yet on January 8th 2001, I suffered a heart attack.

After that, doctors began "speculating" what was medically wrong, and a huge amount of "stress" was a portion of it. My 2nd marriage although lasted 15 years, put me in a horrific "trauma" day after day, and that stress my doctors seemed to feel was what partially caused my MI at such an early age.

I began to have tests, be able to see better and more advanced physicians, and around the age of 45 I had a young PCP, who finally put the pieces together, along with the proper blood work and finally was open minded enough, to "listen" to me. He found out that I had some "type of autoimmune issue"(s). He sent me directly to a Rheumatologist, who ran more tests, and determined I had MCTD, or possibly Lupus, RA, Sjogrens' & Raynauds.

I had already discovered a whole new era in "writing". Online communities, of people such as I, and that my "writing" could really be helpful through these communities, through my own "blogging" (at the time I really did not even understand what a blog was) and that even though I never was able to go into the medical field to help people on a plane such as a nurse, doctor, or in research. I COULD bring my story as well as a great deal of information to so many others such as myself, that were severely in need of answers, of the questions to ask their doctors, of information on new medications, and through other telling them their own stories.

Thus, my writing and medical "knowledge" finally came together about 10 years ago, and I began to "help" others through my own frustrations and information about the diseases they had been told they had, but were frightened to even ask their physicians for more information.

So, out of my own Chronic Pain, many surgeries, dealing with several autoimmune illnesses, tests and knowledge, was born my own blog, and my own way of helping those who are in such need for someone "listening" and truly understanding their problems.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

TODAY IS THE DAY! #GIVINGTUESDAY IS HERE.... HOW WILL YOU MAKE A DIFFERENCE? Your gift from the "heart" is the best "gift" YOU may receive of All!

The one day our entire "world" is in unity to "give" to those around us... whether you give of your time, monetary gifts, helping someone, giving blood, any and all kinds of ways to give of yourself, or of your time....

Here is some information about #GIVINGTUESDAY! And some ideas about the ways YOU can make a difference!

http://www.givingtuesday.org/




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NTKfz4Eo-oU&feature=youtu.be





http://www.arthritis.org/






 http://weblink.donorperfect.com/NMDR_Donations










#‎THXLeads2Giving‬




 

These are but a few ways YOU can give! Even if there is something not listed, or a special place you would like to support, do that... this is the one day to give as your heart tells you. I've found that giving of yourself can be the very best "gift" of all!



 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

#RA Blog Week WEGO Day 4 - 5 things I have learned About Myself since Diagnosed with RA

Another great subject to ponder! What 5 things I have learned having Rheumatoid Arthritis?


I am sure MANY and/OR ALL of us, could state many, many more than 5 things we have learned over the course of days after you are diagnosed with RA.

I've learned that even through all of the fatigue, all of the complications, medications, turmoil, the "loss" of what a normal life had been before RA was for me, that I am MUCH STRONGER, and I can DEAL mentally and emotionally with ALL things than I used to think I could.

I can "handle" helping my Mom, running errands at times, shopping, and all of the usual things we all need or must do in a day, week, month or as the years go by.

I also have had to "deal" with a new normal. I've not been sure if I could truly deal with all that having any chronic illness and/or chronic pain when I was diagnosed. I cannot DO all as I used to be able to. I've had to give up many things I loved so much. Going on an all day shopping spree, and maybe just window shopping, but I was able to go, and then come home to get ready and go dancing, or out to eat with friends.

I no longer CAN do those things, but I have found out that I can live with NOT doing some things, yet I've learned new things that now can occupy me, like advocacy, activism, and being an Ambassador. I learned how good I am at being in the realms of helping others go through what I may have or are going through too.

I've learned that there are BILLIONS of places online to get information, do research, and find out any and everything you want to learn about your health issues. But, I have learned to "watch" carefully some of what I see. NOT ALL of the information out there in Cyber Space is true.

I have to learn how to give myself injections. I also have had to learn "where" and "where not" the lab people can "stick" me to draw blood. My veins are tiny, and have lots of "valves" in them (something else I learned) thus I have about 3 places that they need to use (if they will listen) or I have to be stuck several times before they can "hit" the spot.

I've learned how to improvise, and find different ways to open a jar lid, or a can. I've had to make sure I take enough reusable bags into the market, so they are not too heavy for me to carry. I've learned to "ask" for help, which is so difficult for me to do. I just dislike having to ask anyone to "help" me, yet I have learned at times someone else has to do it, because for one reason or the other I can't.

I could go on and on about what I have learned, think about, and also cherishing each and every moment of those that I love and hold dearly. Time is truly precious. This week for me has proved that 50 times over for sure.

http://www.radiabetes.com/leading-prompts-for-rablog-week-as-of-august-18-2015/

Saturday, April 18, 2015

What are 3 Things I am so looking forward to doing this Summer! WEGO Writers Challenge - #HAWMC April 18th, 2015

First and foremost, wearing shorts, sandals and cute Short Sleeved Shirts and Blouses! That may sound silly, but after this cold weather, with always jeans, long sleeved shirts, boots, socks, coats, and so on, I am so ready to NOT to have to put all of those on for a while. Plus I have a few new Summer tops I have bought, so I am ready to take those for a "spin"!

The 2nd activity that really seems to help me physically, mentally and emotionally is being able to get out and walk every day. That becomes my main priority and a great warm weather habit for me. So, I've already been out and about doing some of that, but with the hips and back hurting so badly, I've not been able to do as much as I want. Hopefully after the Transforminal Epidural Steroid Injection into my L-5 space vertebra, and then both hips getting injected next week, that will put me back into the physical goodness I need in order to really get out there and pound the pavement, or usually laps around a local park or my own driveway also!

I love having lots of flowers, plants, trees, and I bring almost ALL of my "indoor plants" outside for the Summer. I can usually take them out as soon as we know there will be no more surprise freezes. Then they can bask in the Summer warmth and sunshine, up until sometimes September. It depends on when our cooler weather hits, but they LOVE being outside on my front porch. Now I am talking about 70 plants or MORE that I have in my house in the winter, then they all but a few go outside in the spring and summer!!! I always giggle when I see the little tags that "NASA" puts on houseplants now when you buy them. It tells you how many "plants" per square feet in your home is best for the air. Believe me, my house is tiny, so I have way MORE than enough to "clear" the air in my home. I get bummed because there are many things that I used to love to do outside, that due to the Lupus, RA, joint replacements, Sjogren's and other health problems, my ability to do a great deal of pushing a lawn mower, doing the weed eating, bending too much, even raking, hoeing, and so much I loved to do, now is no longer feasible or advisable by my physicians. But, I can certainly do other things that are not as strenueos to the body as others.

A third thing, that I LOVE to do is put my Hummingbird Feeders out, and we both love to "bird watch" all Summer long! We have SO MANY different types of birds, and we have watched them and know so many of their "habits", why they do things a certain way, and really have an awesome time all spring, summer and into fall watching the birds. Of course the Bluejay? is the Texas "bird". But, we have loads of red birds, wrens of different kinds, finches, woodpeckers, mockingbirds, doves, black birds, and Purple Martins. There are more, but of course I can't name all. We have one pair of very "yellow" birds. They come in every year at the same time. They stay together, and usually only nest in a very thick "cedar" tree across the street. In fact, it is so "sticky" with sap, plus it has such pointed and scratchy leaves, that nothing wants to go into it, but them. I think they use that particular tree because cats, not even other birds will mess them there. We think they are a type of finch, but we find it odd that there seems to be only one pair, that come back each year. So, bird watching, we now look for the nests, and have found several nests that we've watched the little ones hatch, and how the "parents" train them and get them out of the nest within weeks. It is amazing.

I like to be able to "open up" my house and have the fresh smell of green grass just mowed, hear the birds, and just enjoy all of nature that I can soak up this time of year. I am still very much a "people" watcher, so I enjoy just watching people and see what they maybe buying or wearing this time of year. It is very interesting to see the things that others buy, and then "guess" as to watch they maybe doing or where they maybe going. When you see all of the ice chests, chips, charcoal, buns, cokes, beer and so forth, usually a picnic, a visit to one of our lakes in Texas, or on a vacation with their family.

This is also the time of the year, that I want to "rid and shed" my old self, and not just be able to put on summer clothes, but to take an "inventory" over my own home. I like to do away with things that I realize I have not used in a long time, or know for a fact just need to be done away with. As I have gotten a bit older, and as time has gone by with the chronic illnesses, pain, age part that I feel I am no longer able to take care of, like lots of knick-nacks around the house, some old clothes that we feel we just don't want to let go of, but to do an "inventory" of my home, and my life. Then I feel it is time to "spring/summer clean" out my closets, rest of the house; along with some of the "cobwebs in my mind", and from my body! Even though we always have that time of "closure" and "renewal" at the first of every New Year, to me spring and summer are also a time for renewal, to take out what we feel is "weighing" us down, and lighten up the load in our homes, minds and bodies.

I know that as I mentioned above, there are many things I used to love to do inside my home and outside, that I can no longer do, because of my chronic illnesses, joint issues, and so forth. But, I DO have MANY things I CAN still do, to take stock and move forward!

So, there are MANY things I love to do this time of year! I have to "pick and choose" now due to illnesses, and chronic pain. But, I still try my very best not to miss out on what I love the most, as I've written about above!

Happy Summer to ALL!!!









Wednesday, April 8, 2015

My First "Victory" 25 Chapters in my latest book written and a huge word count over 50% finished!!!!


I 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....

Thursday, October 30, 2014

A Bit "Bass Ackwards" - Going to be a post from about a week ago... Topics for Blogging in November - Feel Welcome to Join in...

I had mentioned in a post about a week ago that last year in November one of our Health sites had put on a "30 days in November - 30 different posts each day event". I had actually thought it was for this coming November, then found out it was actually last year they did it rather than this year of which they done in 2013. So, I decided it would be a good way for me to find some "subjects" to post on that maybe a bit different, as well as getting all of you to jump in and join me. I said I would post some "subjects" for the days of the week, to get us started, and then please if you have any subject that has something to do with illness, medications, doctors, diseases, anything medical feel free to tell us your opinions.

So, I am going to kind of post the subjects that were from the last years November posts, so I can get us started with a few ideas.

Here We Go:

November 1st - IF you use "smart phones" or an I-Pad, I-Pod etc and are into "Apps" what is your favorite medical app? Do you keep up with your exercising, or calories, or do you use some type of to keep up with any type of health problem you have? If so give us the name of them, along with the reasons why you like those particular apps. If you don't use an application, then name a online site or sites you may use to keep up with information on health.

November 2nd - How about a "List" of things you "Know" you can do...

and others you "think you may do in the future"...

i.e. (I KNOW "I can tell my own personal health story to others")

vs. (I "think" I can cook, clean, go to the market, and wash the car all in the same day") - kind of a "realistic" look at what you CAN do in your daily life, vs. your sometimes a bit "unrealistic" view of what you WISHED you could do or still do in your daily life"

November 3rd - Do you have a "Mascot"? In other words, my "Mascot" is a hummingbird. Why a hummingbird? Because they can go any and everywhere fast as they can fly, they are able to bring beauty to our scenery. They don't harm a thing, and the bring joy all around when they appear around me feed out of the feeders I have up for them. So, do you have a "mascot" or something that represents beauty, strength, tenacity, wellness, and wholeness. Or possibly is there someone or some thing you might like to be, or something you maybe able to do, such as float like a butterfly, or someone you might like to be...

November 4th - How do you Feel about "alternative medicines" and do you use them?


November 5th - What are 5 things you can do that you thought once you were chronically ill you would not be able to do once you were diagnosed with a chronic illness/illnesses?


November 6th - Name 4 things that you are NOT ABLE to do anymore since you have became ill, that you truly miss being able to.


November 7th - Do YOU take YOUR MEDS as you should daily? Or do you take them on a "hit or miss" situation?


November 8th - Do you feel your medications are working to help you? If so how do they make a difference? If you feel they are not making you better, have you spoken with your doctor to try and change things around or do something different?


November 9th - How do you handle those that don't "get" what "invisible illness" means when you run into them? I am sure that most everyone of us have ran into those who "don't" truly understand or may not even "believe" we are chronically ill. Do you have your own  condensed "story" that you tell them, or do you just ignore them, put it off as "ignorance" and leave? Or do you some days feel like just "going off" on them and reading them the "riot act" when it comes to their own "stupidity" about chronic pain, chronic illness and how they treat you? I feel I've been through ALL. There are "days" I totally have the patience to "explain" a bit, and then there are times, I just want to YELL at them?

November 10th - Throughout your road of illnesses, diagnosis, medications, doctors, pharmacists, what was the most impressive turning point or inspirational moments in those times...how long have you been chronically ill?


So, those are a few to get you and I started. If you have ideas you might like to see discussed feel free to put them here under comments so we can see them. I will "answer" more of these myself also.....

Monday, October 27, 2014

#Hashtag, Lupus, Blogging, Life, and the Life of everyone who deals with Autoimmune Illnesses - patients, caretakers, family and friends...

My dentist said it was NOT an invasive as a bone graft, and once that is done, then around the middle of November I go back for another set of X-rays to see how well the jaw bones are filling in and healing where the teeth once were. I pray they will be ready for the mini implanted pins and I will get over all of this dental mess once and for all. It has just been not only a pain in the mouth, the wallet and has been a massive pain in the butt. Anyone that ever has to go through the entire process of having all of what is left of your teeth pulled, to then go directly to dentures, and them NOT hold as well as they should... YET, you must wait patiently or for some impatiently... for the bones to "fill in" where the teeth were before you can have the "mini implanted" little bars to hold them secure... I HONESTLY FEEL YOUR PAIN AND SHARE YOUR NIGHTMARE!!! It was not really having the teeth that were left pulled 5 at a time... the "laughing gas" helped to get through that. Besides I am not afraid of needles, even though they are never pleasant in especially the roof of your mouth anywhere... or even the pulling of the teeth in itself. Other than mine being tough as hell to get out (you would think the Sjogren's would have had them degenerated enough that they would come out easier. That is not the case. Mine had a tendency to break, split, fly over the room, and give the dentist a run for his money, as my Dad would have said... But, that last go at the rest of the front teeth, which I had 11 left! Then to have that sewn up and put the dentures right in over the top of all of that where they were pulled... was not a great experience either... Honestly, I still have soreness around my lower part of my nose, and upper lip, even the "hinge" of my jawbones on one side wants to almost "pop" out of place at times. Many people say I am "LOUD" when I speak, but it is surely NOT from my mouth itself being big... in fact it is just the opposite... my mouth is so small, that is why my teeth were so crowded together, even after 2 or 3 molars being pulled thinking I would be getting braces years and years ago, and my 4 wisdom teeth laying cross wise down in my mouth having to be cut out because there was no place to go to pull them out.... I have always had to use a small fork and a small spoon to eat with... there is no way I could try to get a larger spoon in my mouth... like normal people do.... I got my "mouth" from Mom's side of the family as far as bone structure - a great deal like my Grandmothers on the maternal side... yet I got my Dad's side of the family - Teeth... which we all my son, my Dad, My half -Brother, the larger two top teeth in the front, and just a bit larger teeth that just did not fit very well into a smaller framed mouth such as mine. I went for eon's hating my teeth, and you would very rarely see me smile in front of a camera. So, I did get my wish of "beautiful teeth"... after I was 54 yrs old, and had to have mine gotten rid of and had "falsies" LOL.. put in... but hey, they are MINE and they are beautiful... sometimes we get what we want, but just not in the way we expect it to.
Thus, I am trying to once again be patient, hope that tiny little hole that is driving me nuts on the top right hand, where there is that little oral-maxillary fistula or fissure... that just makes it sound HUGE, so I don't really like calling it that , but that is the
medical term for what it is.... By the the while I am still trying to figure out the           #hashtag business of #rhia or #lupus or #rheumatoidarthritis or hummm what about #drcampo wonder what that would bring up... I do have something else I am thinking about doing... and if you care to join in, I would love for you too... One of the bit online health sites had a "blog" kind of contest that everyone could participate in for 30 days during a certain month of the year. Well, somehow I got my wires crossed (what is new)  so I had posted here and on my blog all about it. Then I got to seeing some of what I had actually found online was last year during a month, not new for this year... so of course after finding out for sure from someone there, I took all of it down from my FB page and from my blog. BUT... I had this idea since I sometimes have a difficult time trying to decide what "subject" to go with and write, I would use some of their ideas that I enjoyed thinking of writing about and doing for that the month of November on my own blog. I may mot be able to do it exactly ALL 30 DAYS... but it would be fun to just pick one & try and do one a day and write about an entirely different subject each day. NOW the FUN part is I would LOVE TO HAVE SOME OF YOU GET ON THE BANDWAGON and POST also on my blog... I could post the original idea, along with my "views" on the subject, then have each of you that wanted to - to put yours under it where you click to go and make a comment!!!! I may even make one post and just keep that one going all through the month, doing the same... so if you would like to joint me, feel free to take a look at my blog. I will post a few topics to get started with, and if you can think of something you might like to blog about or read about feel free to private message me here, or on Google since Blogger is part of Google... and we will see how much fun we can drum up :)  I will decide whether to begin "here" on a blog post with the ones for November OR whether to put them on another page... I will let you know for sure this week sometimes....

Perfection we find in one rose... and perfection we seek always in ourselves and into what we feel inside is meek....

Sunday, October 12, 2014

PERSONALLY - World Arthritis Day...

Personally, I've not put much up for WAD! I have been so busy wanting to get pertinent information out there from the URL's and so on, that I haven't taken the time to "step up" to the plate and give my own feelings, impressions, and how things are looking for myself and my own issues with Arthritis, both Osteo and RA. My other AI's from Raynaud's to Sjogren's, from Lupus to MCTD, from the upheavel of medications that we are constantly changing to try and find a combination that "works" for me, doctors, new symptoms, how my Medicare Advantage Plan appears to be taking a run for my money next year I fear, to all of the "busi-ness" of life, of the accident of course we are still dealing with, left right and center, to my own personal issues with my writing, and what I want to do at home, versus what my body "thinks" I should do.

My Sjogren's issues are far from over. I still have another at least 6 weeks possibly more, before I am able to really stand to keep them in my mouth all day long, eat with them, and adjust to how they feel. I am learning to
keep them in to eat now, but the bottom plate just does not cooperate as it should. Once those mini implanted pins are set into my bone, that is supposed to stablize the plates, both top and bottom, thus I so hope and pray that is true. I know if this does not do the trick and gets them where they are more comfortable, I may be like my Mom, and have to take them OUT when she eats!!! LOL! I always wondered why when we go out to eat, (she has partial plates not full ones) that she takes both of them out. Now I totally know why she does it. When I eat of course food sticks in them, much like your own teeth BUT, it is not exactly the same. It is much more difficult to get food out of the plates once it gets underneath them and all that packs underneath them. The ONLY way to get it out, is to excuse yourself to the lavatory and clean them out. I would much rather do that though and eat with them in, rather than have them lying on the table as I eat!!! Kind of defeats the entire purpose of having them, and going through all of the trouble, time, pain, and suffering to reach the goal.

The weather is REALLY reeking havoc with many of us. I know here in Central TX we are having a dramatic change in temperature, of humidity even during one day. The humidity might be almost 100% in the morning, and by the afternoon drop to 30 percent. Plus the days are beginning to get "shorter" and I just not am adjusted to the longer days. It really does suck, or at least for myself, it sucks to have yourself in the midst of a change just about the time, your internal clock sets itself.

The Sulfasalazine, which I thought we would be up to 3,000 mg by now. Yet, due to lack of communication between my Rheumatologists nurse, myself and my Rheumatologist had not realized he told me to take 2 of the pills - 1 at a time for the first 14 days. Then begin taking 2 pills at a time, twice daily.  They are 500 mg tablets... so two of them make 1,000 mg a day, then I was to take 1,000 each time and read I could go up to 3 of the pills twice daily, which is usually what an RA patient works up to after a few weeks of the medication. So, 3 at a time would be 1,500 mg and time 2, make 3,000 mg a day. I already know my blood work was okay, because my PCP ran it for my Rheumatologist, and they told me the results when they were faxing it over to the Rheumy.

I am getting quite disenchanted with the biologic medications. First of all, my insurance can't make up its mind which ones it wants to pay for and which not. They used to pay for Humira, Enbrel and Orencia. But, they did NOT pay for Simponi, and when it is an infusion, it is hit and miss as to how and what they pay honestly. I've already tried Rituxan, and the last round, is when I came down so ill with the double pneumonia. Even though I am almost positive the medication only played a small part in the illness, with all that was going on there, my Rheumatologist is not really thrilled about taking a chance again with a biologic that seemed to contribute to me having infections. I show to already be having some chronic lung issues from what the Xrays show from the pneumonia, and it is kind of like an asthmatic chronic COPD thing, although smoking also probably has little to do with it. I smoked a total of about 10 years, and never over 1/2 pack day, most of the time less. I've quit all together, and even though we still have the "e-cigarettes", I am not even really using those. I just am not having any type of "craving" for them. Some days when I am really in horrible pain, and/or really badly stressed out, I may think to myself, damned I wished I had a cigarette, but other than that I could care less. Of course for me, I could go and buy a pack, put them away, and just smoke one when one of those "moments" come... I probably would not even smoke an entire pack in a month, probably more like two months... but if some people have even one, then they have to have it all over again... strange as it sounds its true.... Kind of all an alcoholic or any type of an "addiction" one might have... some people just cannot be satisfied with a tiny bit, and then leave it alone for a long while. Only using that, whatever it may be, only on those horrid days or moments that life feels like it is pulling itself right on over the top of you, and the darkness continues to grow and fill in like a dark black, no way see through ink or pain. 

I've been working on some other "volunteer, activist, advocate, ambassador type of projects", in between all of the doctors, medications. lawyer junk, paperwork, pain, and feeling generally like hell lately. I feel like I have found a couple of places, beside my blog and Facebook pages to truly help others and bring more awareness to all, especially when it comes to our health care laws, Capitol Hill, Congress, and all that can involve. I have come face to face, and toe to toe, with my Federal Congressional Representative Barton, and some of his staff. I have also been trying to find contacts in the office of our Senators here in TX. Actually I am trying to get the attention of both our Federal and our State Legislatures!!

Wow, talk about an education to learn how the wheels (clogs), (clocks esp. cuckoo) ,the bureaucratic bunch of bull red tape, the bend over and kiss butts groups, and talk about really learning how the "cow chews the cud" - I have so seen with my own eyes thinking that I was "up" on the political scene. Well, I have definitely found I had more to learn when it came and will continue to come face to face with the entire ordeal, full circle of how MUCH politics effects EVERYTHING!!! From business, to taxes, from your home, to your safety, from flying to riding in a car, from makeup to your hair coloring, from the BC powder I take, to the prescriptions medications.

It just amazes me the older I get, the more I know, and the more I have to learn about. There is never a day that goes by, that this old dog' seems to learn a few new tricks! I believe that is a portion of your "legacy" of having chronic illnesses, especially Autoimmune Illnesses. You are just given over a brand new educative process... because if you wait to let our "health care nation" educate you, more than likely you will NEVER understand a damned thing that is wrong with you, physically, mentally, emotionally... and within your world. Our "world" in the autoimmune "bu-si-ness", it a totally realm of birth right that has light and dark at the same time shining and blacking out our psyche. If you EVER ARRIVE at that MOMENT you "get it"... you can bet within 24 hours, all you figured out will be shot down, and went to hell in a hand basket, if it has a thing to do with AI diseases, syndromes, illnesses.... have you ever wondered what the difference it is between an "illness", a "syndrome" and a "disease"? I have given thought to it, but up until this minute I guess never decided it was a huge enough ordeal to look it up. But, since I am sitting on that "needle" the proverbial one in the hay stack... I am headed to "google" the differences. I will post them below, before I go on with my blog post.

All of these did come out of a "medical dictionary online"---
 Definition of ILLNESS: an unhealthy condition of body or mind : sickness  
 Definition of DISEASE : an impairment of the normal state of the living animal or plant body or one of its parts that interrupts or modifies the performance of the vital functions, is typically manifested by distinguishing signs and symptoms, and is a response to environmental factors (as malnutrition, industrial hazards, or climate), to specific infective agents (as worms, bacteria, or viruses), to inherent defects of the organism (as genetic anomalies), or to combinations of these factors : sickness, illness—called also morbus
 Definition of SICKNESS
1: the condition of being ill : ill health
2: a specific disease 
 Definition of SYNDROME : a group of signs and symptoms that occur together and characterize a particular abnormality 
 Definition of PHENOMENON (or Phenomena) as in Raynaud's Phenomena
1: an observable fact or event
2:  a : an object or aspect known through the senses rather than by thought or intuition b : a fact or event of scientific interest susceptible of scientific description and explanation ....
I really do not feel looking up those even in the medical dictionary helped much. They still all come out to the meaning of the odd... but when I have more time, I know there has to be an in depth reason for calling something a "syndrome", rather than a "disease"... or they would just have called EVERYTHING one word... illness, disease, sickness, syndrome, phenomena,  ...


Anyway, I got all off my own thoughts, walked away from the computer and decided to take a long, warm shower. It has cooled off here today and been on of those dreary days of a typical Fall. No sun, all cloudy and our temps have dropped down, and feels like we have had 2 early mornings, at the 57 degree range... Just plain cool first thing in the morning!! And as ALL know or most, BONES and JOINTS that have arthritic issues, or those that have autoimmune illnesses, this time of the year is not our best. Many of us go into almost a "hibernation" mode... We cringe at the thought of the "cold" weather coming in, and the grey days tend to bring on a depressive way of thinking... As we know seasonal depression is always around in the Fall and Winter... and then we have the pressures (if we let them) of the holidays, family, friends, parties, cooking, cleaning and all of that bologna ... as much as we all love family, holidays, friends, and the beauty of the Christmas decorations, trees, all of the sparkling lights... none of that really makes a difference if your body feels like heck... then your holiday spirit feels down in the dumps too.

Around here for me, it has seemingly turned to either feast or famine. I am either running around trying to get everything taken care of, and wondering how I will deal with it all... to the place I am "looking" for stuff to keep be busy. Oh, it is not like I don't have plenty to do, because I can assure you, just right here in the house alone, I have some major projects staring me right in the face.. I really have wanted to redo my entire kitchen, including putting a new counter top on. I was going to just pick one out that is already "pre-made". I noticed they sell them like that at Lowe's.... and it would be perfect for me. I would not have be to concerned about how the heck to do it... it should be more or less pre-pieced for me, and the edges and so forth there to purchase to put the finishing touches on it, I would LOVE to be able to get a TOTAL KITCHEN MAKEOVER!!! New Cabinets at the the doors and hardware, sand all down, brand new handles and pulls... the floor that I've wanted and to repaint it the two blues I've picked out. Then we still have the bathroom that needs the walls completely finished as far as the texture, and even though the lights are up, nothing has been wired in... so the bathfan and all of that I will have to have someone come and help me with that part. I just don't think Jim will ever be able to get back up into the attic again to connect everything. We have it practically finished but that most important part of making sure all is wired in properly, and not going to short out etc... I am not that sure of myself. I've put in water heaters, hung and wired ceiling fans, and done quite a bit of DIY stuff over the years, but between being "eaten alive" by RA, Lupus, Osteo etc... the idea of climbing into the attic and trying to do that sounds like something I should get an expert to do.

Now as far as painting, redoing our music room... getting rid of junk etc... all of those things I will do slowly, and could manage most of it myself... laying the carpet, and then the floor in the kitchen will probably mean getting someone also to help out.

At the time we bought the house, we put a great deal of money in it redoing it. The house was a definite fixer upper, so we redone hardwood floors, completely redid the bathroom even making it twice as big, painted everything inside and out, every room with our "wainscott" look that I am so thrilled with even today. We had to buy all new appliances, had to redo the entire water, sewer, and redo the electrical wiring. The house was in need of so much... and we did manage to do many of the things we planned. As "frugal" as I was though, money ran out before we got through.  

I realize this is "NOT" a typical Autoimmune post full of what all is going on physically, mentally and emotionally in regard to illnesses...

But, I also needed to kind of update everyone about where things stand for myself ...

My plans, and one of those IS to WRITE my BOOK!!!! I've been giving some serious thought to exactly what I want to write; along with how I want to do it. I am keeping the title that Jim came up with, because I believe it will fit when all is done..

I got a bit pissed this week. A guy who also wrote a book of poetry, about 80 poems,  had an "author's reading" and signing at our library!!! Well, everyone made a huge ordeal out of it, even in our daily newspaper.

YET, when I wrote BOTH books... I had to almost beg to get an article in the paper, and I donated copies to our library... and not one soul ever mentioned me reading them, or doing a signing... and MY TWO BOOKS contain about 3 or 4 times the amount in his...

So, I am NOT going to allow that to happen again. My plans are to MAKE SURE I do a reading and signing of my next one... and I hope to have a "full house" at the library as he did....

Sometimes this world is truly NOT fair....

Okay I close for now with I hope you have reflected today on what World Arthritis Day means to you.... and that if you got to go to events etc... that you did so full of joy and meaning... 

Keep watching because they will never get rid of me! :)

Rhia 10-12-2014
 






Tuesday, June 3, 2014

WEGO Sharing HUB - Xeljanz ... sponsored by Pfizer.



Information for Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients & Caregivers

(Great Results with Less Side Effects)

If you’re looking for information on Rheumatoid Arthritis, head over to the RA Patient Resources Sharing Hub, sponsored by Pfizer.

There you'll find information about the role inflammation plays in your body, as well as educational videos about RA. You'll also find digital resources that can help you manage your RA. These tips and tools from Pfizer can help support you on your RA journey. Additionally, you will find information about a savings card for a prescription treatment option for RA.



Check out this link to WEGOHEALTH and the latest from Pfizer on Xeljanz:


http://sharinghub.wegohealth.com/ra-patient-resources?utm_campaign=xelj14&utm_source=whcom&utm_medium=web&utm_content=header-link



Friday, May 30, 2014

Life, Lupus, Symptoms, RA, and Coping... (My Own Pretense Portion 1)

(Portion 1) I began this weeks ago. So, I've decided to post it, some at a time, rather than one huge post... Maybe I, can find some "reasoning" for things that I have questioned through my own writing.... so here it is .... the first portion....



Even though the "title" of this only names "4" items, there are SO many more, that if I posted it all in my title would be as long or longer than my blog post.

Rather than bore myself and everyone else with some title, I much prefer to get right into the "meat", heart and soul of writing this. Many of you have followed my "trail" for a rather long time now. Well, before I had a great deal to so the Facebook, or truly decided to delve into the realms of blogging for a good reason.

As with life, and everyone else, I have underwent changes.... changes in illnesses, changes in life, changes in the way I feel about life, what I want to "accomplish" during the rest of my time here, and we ALL have lists and lists... and if you are anything like myself, I have another list to keep up with the lists. Humans are just that, humans. As I began this, my first portion said we all change our minds, we all have things we have to live with, tolerate, long for, debate, are stubborn about, will give in, and some things in our lives , we tend to have a firm stance, and like that tree with the larger trunk, than any other near it, nothing will move it - not until the heavens and Earth someday are moved.

I've gone through SO MANY "adaptations" since my RA/Lupus/
Sjogren's/Raynaud's.... and oh how the list tends to grow along this past 7 to 8 years. Blood work, physicians, specialists, MRI's, CT's, EMG's, NCS... and it seems those tests with the initials also go on forever. You finally come to realize you are thrilled with you type EMG or any one of the other numerous "initials" for tests that someone, everyone knows what you are talking about! Finally you have found somewhere you don't have to try to type out an entire 15 letter word for a diagnosis or test! Boy, though when you reach that place, sometimes it smacks you right back into thinking, damned this is seriously becoming a way of life. When I know as much about the tests (or at least what those initials mean) as the doctor does, or understand all I am reading about in an article online without having to flip back and forth to "Google" a word, you have reached the point of "Face it, You have one or MORE Autoimmune Illnesses"!

So, we put up with the poking, scanning, tiny little needle like electrodes being put into your muscles, injected, directed, and all types of waves going through you... to this place you think, okay, that has to be the "last one". The last test, the last diagnosis, the last new medication, and NOW finally I can go on with my "life" as I had planned it before all of these turns in the road took place. Guess what? Nope! Not yet! Although maybe, you reach just a couple of things, that need a couple of scans, and only 1 new medication for now.

My body feels like it is on its last "leg"... my mind feels like I have thought every thought that have a been thinking seems as if it leaves me with no other thought that would possibly be "different" or of my own.

I feel submerged in a "vat" of vastness, not knowing if I can breathe or not, do I actually "see" something, feeling something, taste or touch an item, hand, piece of fruit, a fork, spoon, or a human? I am just a wanderer now... wondering as I wander about, never knowing from one moment to the next how to think, what to feel, whether I should "act" normal, or sometimes act as crazy as I have felt in the past two months.

I wished I knew more answers to so many questions that I have "backed up" in my mind. There is this place that seems to be over wrought with all kinds of questions, from things about the wreck, to things about my Advocacy and Ambassador in the Arthritis Foundation.... to my own illnesses... my teeth just seeming to fall out of my mouth due to Sjogren's, and the $8,000.00 it takes to get them fixed.

Even with insurance the BEST I can get would be 60 percent of it paid. Yet, that means trips to Dallas, multiple trips... whereas I already have enough trips there due to the Lupus and RA. There are all of these "new" symptoms, yet I have not been able to be given "why" they are here... why am I so terribly weak, why do I find myself more stiff, and feel as if I can't walk very far without falling... why are all of those happening...

Then there are the brain issues, the forgetfulness, the fogginess, the ability not to spell correctly, and the problems typing that I never seemed to have found out as to why... and I fall asleep all the time... I can be having a conversation and I fall asleep.. I try to watch a movie and I fall asleep... I have found myself just standing on the front porch or deep in thought in the yard and I have literally stood there and basically fell asleep standing. It makes no sense... some seem to think it is lack of sleep for me, but I get more sleep now than I have in a very long time. So, I cannot fathom it being a "lack of sleep".






























                                                             

Monday, January 27, 2014

Please Come By and Meet Two More of Our Blog Leaders from IFAA's "Systemically Connected"

We have two more "live Facebook" chats this week, and both are going to be wonderful..

Lorna Krump and her blog "Life With RA is a Pain" will be on January 29th at 9 pm (ET) at the Facebook General Room for the IFAA! Lorna is just an incredible Health Activist, Blogger, & lady that lives with several different Autoimmune Arthritis Illnesses. Her blog talks about life with these diseases, and so much more! I know you will really enjoy hearing Lorna!

We also have Polly, "Pollyanna Penguin's RA Blog" as she tells about her life with RA, and also gives us more details on her award winning blog! Drop by on January 28th at 3:30 pm (ET) to hear her live FB Chat!



Thursday, January 16, 2014

IFAA Blog Leader "Rhia Steele" & Her Featured Interview - I Would LOVE to See you there!

I am so totally amazed and thrilled at the turnout "WE", meaning IFAA has had on introducing all of our Blog Leaders with Interviews over the past couple of weeks! We still have many more to do, and my hopes are is that you will stop in, say hello, learn some wonderful things about these ladies, their own personal stories, and how they began blogging for "Autoimmune Arthritis Illnesses" of one kind or another! I have learned a great deal about these illnesses, along with the wonderful bloggers themselves. They come from all over the nation, all walks of life, some even "caretakers" for their own children; yet one thing in common, these women blog to help get Autoimmune Arthritic Illnesses information out there, so we can do more research, find educate and aggressive physicians quickly, who know and understand these life altering illnesses. We are wanting to CHANGE that on the average of 4.7 YEARS before many get properly diagnosed!

So, I hope you shall stop by on the (19th, which is the coming Sunday) - this maybe on Monday evening but I will give you a definite day (Whether Sunday or Monday) later in the week!

Introducing! - "Systemically Connected" the Official Blog for the International Foundation for Autoimmune Arthritis' Blog Leader - Rhia Steele!!!!


IFAA's Facebook Page" https:www.facebook.com/IFAutoimmuneArthritis
Now if she looks "familiar" (which I hope so) I do so hope you will drop by IFAA's Facebook page and say Hello!

I am more than honored to be a Blog Leader and an Active Volunteer for the International Foundation for Autoimmune Arthritis! Plus I am even more honored to be a "Guest" Blogger on the 19th!

Monday, January 13, 2014

IFAA is Pleased to Announce A 2nd "Blog Leader" Danielle Tipton in an Online "Chat"!!



 International Foundation of Autoimmune Arthritis Diseases represents YOU, I, and EVERYONE that are plagued with these horrid, still a great deal misunderstood. 


I am so pleased to "introduce one of our next "Blog Leaders", Danielle Tipton! Being the Mother of two children that suffer from Juvenile Arthritis! As she blogs about Zachary and Emily, you shall get a small glimpse of how difficult it must be to have ONE child with this disease!!! I just cannot fathom how she does it all with two chronic ill kids. Her fight is an extremely personal one, I would say. So, please join as she tells her "caretaker" and Mom's story, on January 14th, 2014 at 8:30 pm (ET).




Saturday, January 11, 2014

Go Red For Women!!! Don't take "chest pain" lightly.....

                      Go Red For Women!!!


Go Red For Women


Please support this critically important disease. As a woman "survivor" of not just one heart attack at 40 years old, but a 2ns one at 50 years old, I have first hand knowledge about just how differently MI's and their symptoms maybe for women. 

 I had NO crushing chest pain, or pain running down my left arm. I was actually a healthy eater, an avid exerciser, walked daily 5 miles plus, did not consume much alcohol, and I was at a "normal" almost a bit too underweight at the time.

My symptoms were very little. My ankles and feet began to start swelling on me, especially if I sat down at my computer for a bit. I thought not much about it, but I did notice that they continued to do that throughout the weeks before. Other than that, I had been having some "chest discomfort" for about 3 days off and on. I mean something like well, indigestion, and not really even that bad. Yet, no jaw pain, no arms pain, no other "real" symptoms that would have clued me in for what would happen on January 8th, 2001.

As I said, I had been having this "pain" off and on, and thought maybe I had a case of bronchitis. So, I rang my physician to tell him a bit, including the strange thing about swollen ankles and so forth. I had been on the phone with his receptionist explaining what had been happening, and she had me hold just a moment. I thought oh boy, they want me to come in. Nevertheless, she came back quickly, and said your doctor wants to you to get to the nearest ER now, and if you are having breathing issues, etc. call 911! Lord, I still thought this sure is a lot of trouble for a bit of pain in my chest. In fact I had almost decided NOT TO GO at ALL! If it were not for a dear friend of mine who lives in Malta.... "screaming" at me online telling me IF I did NOT go, she was going to find an ambulance to pick me up.

So, I agree. I throw some clothes on. I was totally alone (another story for another time)... and no one to drive me 20 PLUS miles to the nearest hospital. And I was out in the country enough, by the time someone came to get me, I could just drive myself. So, I grabbed my purse, keys, and cell phone, got in the car, & started to the ER, which was about 20 miles away. At one time I thought to myself "MMM.. maybe I should turn on the flashers" on. Needless to say, I began to be a bit frightened when the thought crossed my mind "What if I pass out?" Just when you need one, not one police officer in sight! So, I went through the "back way" of the town the hospital was in, and missed red lights and traffic as best I could.

I pulled up, parked, got and out and walked myself in, and calmly told the receptionist my doctor asked me to come straight to the ER, he thought I might be having a heart attack. Well, all heck broke loose! I guess my doctor may have called ahead, because they were escorting me back very quickly, right to a room, and right with IV's, EKG, Oxygen and the entire ordeal before I was even able to say much of anything. I realized when one of the doctors that I happened to know (I was a Patient REP at that hospital before this happened), when he came in after about 10 minutes or so to speak with me, he basically told me that if I had NOT gotten up, and drove myself there, the situation would not be nearly as great (even though it was not great at that moment) if I had waited even another 45 minutes. I was having a "massive" MI, from what all of the labs were telling them. There was already "clot busting" meds going into the IV, they actually even gave me an aspirin, and all kinds of things were beeping and going on around me. He told me that when I was "stable" enough, hopefully the next day, they would move me from the ICU unit their to Dallas at Baylor. Well, of course I was totally terrified!!! At the time I had NO ONE there!

My parents lived in the next town up towards Dallas, but by the time someone called them,  and they drove about 25 - 30 miles there, it took a bit. They gave me meds, pain meds, and IV's , etc... all night long, with the telemetry on watching me. So, the next morning, I took that HORRIBLE ambulance ride to Dallas! NEVER if you can AVOID it HAVE TO RIDE in an AMBULANCE!

From there I spent about 7 days, lots of labs, cardiac tests, they did an angiogram, and the old fateful "treadmill" test... of course they could not put me on the walker, and just gave me medication to up my heart rate instead.

I was totally fortunate through out it all. When ALL of the tests, work ups, labs, plus the other 100 things they did were finished, it was then known the YES the heart attack was SEVeR, BUT due to ME getting at the ER when I did, the clot busting meds, STOPPED most of the damage to the heart muscle. :):):) I did not have to have a stent at the time, had some issues with the artery above my heart going into spasms, gave me meds, sent me home, and told me to walk, eat right and call the doctor if anything else came up. :):) Talk about a miracle! This is THE time, I honestly DID see myself.... as I was laying in the ER on the gurney, when my first doctor came in, I was "watching" myself from above...  It was the oddest, surreal, but most amazing feeling I ever had.

IT maybe not that was for some, and some say they see the white lights and so forth... I just knew either my own mind kind of "detached" for a few moments, and then I could kind of look down objectively upon the situation.

So, I could go on BUT I stop there... (by the way my 2nd MI took place in 2010, only about a week or two from the date of the 1st first, just 10 years later. I had already been extremely ill, and in the 2 hospitals, and I was so totally weak, I think my heart, was so almost "broken" I feared going home. I still even after 6 weeks, was terrified of leaving the hospital. Thus the day before they were thinking of sending me home, I truly was so totally out of it, the terrible fear and stress I was in, they feel caused the 2nd one!!!



So, "Go For Red" It Could Just Save Your Life!!!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Come to IFAA & Meet Our Bloggers for a Live Chat!

IFAA is excited to announce that their blog site "Systemically Connected", will be hosting live chats for everyone to attend! There will be different ones at different times and dates, so keep watching for updates.

The first LIVE CHAT FB Blogger is Kristin! Please the her "poster" below tells the time, the date, and a bit about her and what she will be talking about when it comes to her blog, her role & her life.

I will follow up a reminder next week so you won't forget! We are so looking forward to having each of you there!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Hope to be "Hopping" for All Things Autoimmune Arthritic for 2014!!!


Time!!!  Time!!!! TIME!!! To Make Things happen in the World of Autoimmune Arthritic Illnesses and for all of the things I so believe in!



Wow! Yes, I say, "WOW"!!! First of all it is just almost impossible that 2013 has "flown the coop" and brought in a brand new year! I am always saying that it just seems like life is flying by too quickly! I blame it on everything from "getting older", to "being slower", to "wearing out earlier than I used to before I finish something", to I honestly think that "time has began to slow down"!

In all honesty, I feel it is ALL of those above and then some. Age as I have found out does several things to you. Most of us it does much more than we even want to admit to. Yet, I am talking more about what it does to our "time". Let's face it, I am not sure about you, but, I do KNOW I am "slower" at getting some things done. It takes me twice as long to get dressed and ready to go somewhere. Usually it is more when I am "dressing" to go some place special. Such as to the Casino, out to dinner, a movie, or anything "special". From the time it takes me for a shower, then to dry my hair, make up my mind "what to wear", and probably change my mind at least 3 times, to makeup, shoes, and the jewelry. Now I must say, that "men" in general have it quite a bit less to do, in order to go somewhere, even if it is a special occasion. Their concerns usually are not "what shirt", or what pants to wear. Men never have to wonder, well does this chain go with this belt, and you know the story.  One thing for being male, is that in the normal sense of things, you guys have it much simpler as far as clothing and going out somewhere.

Then it is cleaning my home, doing laundry, and everything that entails. It has not been that long ago, I could on a Saturday morning, clean my ENTIRE house, and I mean top to bottom, dress, go the the market, and pick up everything else I needed to do or errands to run. I was home before I knew it, had that all put away, out to the yard where I could mow, and have all of my lawn looking great by mid-afternoon. When I was taking college classes at night and working, I could then sit down, do my "homework" which was usually 2 to 3 hours at least to complete, and by then either be cooking dinner or usually headed for the shower, to get ready to go out dancing, to dinner, friends, or whatever our plans were for the Saturday night. Now this was all done in the SAME SATURDAY! Stay out until midnight, sometimes catch a "early breakfast", go home, maybe sleep or rest a few hours, and it was off again, with either errands, to church, out to exercise, or whatever that Sunday afternoon brought. Then it was late Sunday, time to get everyone ready for the week that followed, and off we were on Monday mornings, kids to school, me to work usually at least a 20 mile one way drive, classes at night at least 3 nights a week, and that was in between everything else that was happening with the kids.

Honestly, I am already exhausted just typing that paragraph, much less thinking about "how the heck" did I GET IT ALL DONE??? I did, so thus "age" does have to be a factor. What I have also noticed, it is not just "me" that is slower, it seems we have "more to do" than before. I don't recall having to spend as much time at the market, as I do now. Between coupons, looking for the best deals, and just all of the lists of things to do, it took time. But, I also washed my car every Saturday, went shopping sometimes, other than house hold items, and still it seems "time" was more prevalent then.

Now I think "we" as a "society" have put WAY too much emphasis on "stuff" that takes up our time, rather than allowing "us" to use our time more wisely. You would also think with this day and age of computers, knowledge at our fingertips, being able to pay bills from home, buy from home, you practically NEVER have to LEAVE HOME if you have a way to get your market to deliver! Yet, in the scheme of things, I see that COMPUTERS can often be the "demise" of time. What happens when you are "checking out" and the "computer" goes down??? Well, there is no longer a way for most places of business to check you out "manually". Some of the checkers would not even be able to figure the sales tax, or heck give the correct change! Lord forbid, them have to "key" anything into a calculator and add it up! I know you have seen the same thing all too much. Certain things in this age of fast moving technology has made certain things extremely fast. But, "faster" isn't always "better".

Then we are stressed out it seems all the times. I feel (and I know I am chronically ill) that so many of us spend more time in the doctor's offices than we ever done. I used to never be in the doctor's office every month! Even my kids, they were not ill all the time. If they had a runny nose, or an ear ache, they took over the counter medications, rested a day, and went on their way. Now, each time we take a breath, they have a new medication for us to try.

We are bombarded with OVERLOAD, when it comes to our senses!!! We are shown so many THINGS, that we MUST have, or life would just not be worth it without them. I've "pared" down some of the "stuff" over the years that is just that.... stuff! Stuff that takes more time to dust, to find a place for, to throw away once it has sat for years and collected dust. I did not NEED an ENTIRE walk in CLOSET FULL OF SHOES! I love shoes; always have! When I worked, I had some nice shoes, and clothes of course. BUT, I did NOT need to buy a new dress, blouse, skirt, and shoes every time there was a "sale". That is another thing what is up with this SALE stuff???

By the time Summer was winding down a bit, and it was "school" clothes time and supplies, there are the Halloween decorations! This is in August! Well, as they push those out the door, here comes Thanksgiving, which is basically skipped over and Christmas decor comes out the first part of November, if not earlier. And just this week, as I watched in total amazement, our stores here locally, were putting VALENTINE candy out BY THE after CHRISTMAS sale, the DAY AFTER Christmas!  Now unless I am mistaken they "missed" New Years there; plus Valentine's is in "mid-February"!!! I know because my birthday is the 15th of February! Well you can bet, Easter, Memorial Day, and St. Patty's will be all rolled up and tossed out before "spring" has sprung!!!

So, yes, my chronic "illnesses" and my age, have made me slower. I admit it all the time. I no longer can keep up the schedule I used to. And frankly, I don't want to. Yet, Lord where is there any "spare" down time now? My kids are grown and gone, it is just myself, Jim and the two dogs, I am home, he works from home, our house is tiny, we can't possibly eat that much, and for the life of me, I can't figure out where time goes.

I am up at 3am, and by 10am, I feel like nothing has been accomplished! My brain fog does not help, I do have to help Mom quite a bit, and we do live in a much "faster" paced world than just 15 years ago.

We are SPOILED to IMMEDIATE GRATIFICATION!!! Fast food, drive thru pharmacies, and doctors in some places, faster cars, television without commercials, you name it, we want it, THEN!!! Buy a physical book!??? Heck, read it then on your Kindle, I-Pad, phone... I could take a week and talk about all of those things... but you already get the picture, which also I would make right here, "looking at you" from my computer!


So, this year, it WILL BE a BUSY 2014! I have made "more" obligations, but those that I have made, will be ones that COUNT for something.

I am now officially an "Active Volunteer" for the IFAA. I plan to help out as much as the Founder and Co-Founders will allow me. I plan on blogging for Activism and for Advocacy! Not only on my personal blog here, BUT on the International Foundations of Autoimmune Arthritis Blog, "Systemically Connected", which I am already a "Blog Leader" on! I also plan on doing some things in the Health Activism realms for WEGO Health. I am "nominated" for a "Blog" award, which I am still so tickled about, along with being asked to be on the "Judges Panel" for the WEGO Awards, which will be in ceremony this March! Of course, then there is also my "book"! My 3rd book! I have not "forgotten" what so ever. In fact I am more than EVER KEYED up and looking forward to having that "puppy" ready to be published by the end of 2014! Now, if you are wondering how the "hell" "she plans", on doing all of this, ah, great question!

My plans are to use my "time" more wisely. The "time" when I am feeling like doing all of these things above, plus play some keyboard, maybe even "bang" around on my drums, after I get over this stupid hernia surgery in a week!

I HOPE that all of my "Autoimmune Arthritic Illnesses" stay at bay... in other words I hope that the "Wolf" stays the heck away from my door this year, along with the others like RA, Sjogren's and what all that focuses on.

I am a "schedule" and list maker. I make lists , for the lists, when I do lists! Yet, rather than trying to "force" myself into more, I plan on trying to encourage myself to handle things much more efficiently. Now, don't get me wrong, I am frugal when it comes to how I spend my time. But, I want what time I spend to be in the right places, for the right things.

My health first (or try to of course), my husband, Mom, and family, my home, errands, and all that goes along with those things, and then my plans are to put much MORE TIME into the THINGS I have so wanted to do and NOW I HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY! Get my "Health Advocacy, Health Activism shoes on, put my head into the "real" meat of the autoimmune arthritic issues, do some great blogging, do some very meaningful work for the IFAA, WEGO and for all of those out there that deserve to have better information.  and one add to this list!!!

WAAD14!!!!! World Autoimmune Arthritis 14!!!! Be sure to keep watching, for that is going to be one monumental event!!!

And then never shall I forget, my book. I have it probably "written" several times over. My issue is trying to put it into some type of "interesting" and "catching" way a order goes, so you, the public will WANT TO READ IT!!! IT DOES MYSELF and No one ELSE a bit of good, if they do not pick it up and say "WOW!" She really has some great things to say.... ;)

So, for now I close and I will call this my 1st "Initial" Post for 2014!!!

I hope to "SEE" each of you making comments, suggestions, asking questions, and helping me to help you!!!!


                                                                              

Monday, December 30, 2013

I am SO TOTALLY Honored! WEGO Health Awards Nominee & I am invited to be a Judge also!!!

UPDATE!!!!!!!! for Nominee and Endorsements ON THE WEGO HEALTH ACTIVIST AWARDS! DECEMBER 31ST 2013 THE DEADLINE!



Here is my "Profile" on WEGO Health Activist Awards for "Best in Show - My Blog!" Today, December 31st, is the LAST day for nominations and you can also if you like "endorse" me on my profile! This is just a huge honor for me, and I hope to make this one more step to helping ALL of you, out there, the others suffering from these horrendous illneses!




Talk about an incredible way to begin the New Year!!!! I've been nominated to receive a WEGO Health Activist Award & last week I was also INVITED to be a Judge in the panel!! I could not say about the judging part, since I was not sure I could. But, today I did get the great news!!! I will post more about this later this evening or tomorrow morning bright and early!!! Do remember if you wish to nominate someone December 31st the nominations close!!

By the way, I got nominated for my "Blog!!!!"

I am so very grateful to ALL of you for the support and well wishes you give to me!!! As I said on FB, these past few months have been a bit rocky in many ways. So, these are just so amazing to me....

Rhia







Saturday, December 28, 2013

Only a Couple Days Left to Nominate for WEGO Activist Awards!!!!!

Please be sure you "run" over to WEGO Health and Nominate your favorite Activists!!! From the "best blog", to best health "activist" geek, there is an "award" for many that you may feel that deserve the "accolades" for their vast efforts in the realms of Health and how they give themselves willingly helping to show more people about different illnesses, make others more aware of illnesses, provide enough "pull and push" to get more research, more medications, more doctors, and more activists on board the "WEGO Health Train" and help to try and give more attention to so many health issues that definitely need to be looked into so much further!!!! 

Take a look at the link below and see which of your favorite health volunteers/activists may fit one or more of these Awards! The 31st of December is the Deadline so don't delay!!!!!




Below are only THREE of the 14 Health Activist Awards being given out by WEGO Health for the year's annual awards event!


https://awards.wegohealth.com

                                                          https://awards.wegohealth.com

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!!!! 

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