Showing posts with label charity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label charity. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

WEGO Health Blog Challenge for November 2016 Day - 16 - What kind of suggestions I may give to others who are starting out as "Activists - Advocates - Volunteers

" What Kind of Advice I May have for those who are starting out in the Advocate, Activist Role and are "Rookies" wanting to know a few tips."


Wow, that is a very great question! I wished I had "asked" more questions when I began my ongoing pledge, and began down the road of activism, advocacy and being a volunteer when it comes to just about anything involved in the health field. When it is a chronic health issue and/or chronic pain, there are SO MANY websites, blogs, non-profits, articles and more that can begin you on your journey.

Yet, here are a few things I've learned and "taught myself" along the way.


Try to pick "one or two" illnesses, health needs, healthcare related issues, such as insurance, medications, physicians, and so forth. I am the type of person who wants to "do it all", "be in it all", help everyone, be there to assist everyone I can. I found out very quickly, especially if you, yourself Are "Chronically Ill", or are a Caretaker of someone ill, that you can definitely be in way "over your head" and in burn out quickly if you try and take on too much at once. So, try a few different avenues, such as being an advocate for a certain group, such as Diabetes, Autoimmune Illnesses (RA, Lupus, Sjogren's and so forth), heart diseases in women, children's health, becoming a blogger, posting on Social Media, on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and such. This may help you find your "niche'".

You may prefer to do "drives" such as the "Jingle Bell Run" for the Arthritis foundation, in many major cities across the nation, or one of the other drives, many do walks and runs, women's breast cancer, heart problems, other cancer's. If you are good with people, then you may find helping to raise awareness AND raise MONEY for one of them, could be what you feel good at.

Write! Tell your story! If you are chronically ill, you maybe already on a Facebook group, or one of the Foundations's groups, where you can tell your own story, which often helps to inspire others.

That is the ONE thing that I found out of everything I do in my years of activism, Ambassadorship and Advocacy, is TELLING MY PERSONAL STORY, either on a social media site, or possibly at a group in your town or city, or even in your newspaper. Get your own experiences out there, Those help others to see they are not alone. They have people that DO totally understand, and can support them.

Often now many of the non-profits go to a "Summit" Annually making a trip to Washington DC, in order to tell their stories to CONGRESS! We need Congress on our side for helping with medications getting passed possibly, or funding to get a new medication researched, or raising awareness of just how many people are ill, not working, and are so ill daily they are not able to cope with a job, and YOU are the ones that NEED TO again TELL YOUR STORIES TO CONGRESS!!! Those stories are exactly how we get the government, whether, local, state wide, or National, and make them understand how crucial the help and role the governments play in assisting non-profits, can possibly help others to feel well enough to work, to someday find a cure, or even STOP THE ILLNESSES, BEFORE THEY EVER HAPPEN!

So, above are the few things I've learned about getting involved, remembering you are not a "super-activist" so you can't do it all at once, then find your niche, and off you go in search of all of the help and awareness you can get in the activism direction your heart desires.


WEGO HEALTH

 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Christmas Eve 2014...

Well, I am not sure what to say honestly when it comes to the reflection back on 2014, how I feel about the holiday season, and just how quickly it has seemed to "pounce" upon us.

From my "up" moments of being in Washington D.C. in March this year, to the tragic call from my daughter on the 26th of March telling me my husband had been in a very bad car accident with an 18 wheel tractor trailer on his way to the Airport in Dallas to fly out and be with myself and his Mom...

From there, this year has been filled with so many up's and down's.. either I am not well and are having flares, or the entire ordeal with my teeth and the Sjogren's, it seems we just never had a "break" of good luck any where we turned.

Of course I cannot say that entirely, because we are blessed that Jim survived the accident, and even though he is considered "paraplegic" he can walk with a cane. He still has many issues, including balance issues, but still he for the most part can get around with a cane, unless it is somewhere big or if we are going to do something in Wally World, which is a huge building to try and walk through with a cane.

But, between his plight and issues from the wreck, and then the Sjogren's literally eating my teeth away from the inside out... and the "forces" that are waxing and waning back and forth over the settlement of the accident, of course our finances are also worse than tight for sure.

We have been able to scrape by, but with some issues he had with a change in some main lines where the "servers" are that "host" the clients websites he has, we may have lost at least 2 clients, which were the two that usually were continually wanting updates and so on, thus those were the two that brought in a bit of a salary, although small, but yet better than nothing for sure. Now we are looking at the fact if we lose them, we really will be in a bind financially. They took away the medical benefits Jim was getting while he was in the hospital. Get this, they took MY OWN disability and counted it towards "income" for him... and then when we are probably 300 percent under the poverty line, they said my check was like 12.00 a MONTH over the limit thus they dropped his medical coverage. So now he also has no medical coverage at all. That means any doctor he sees has to come out of our pockets, and they are getting more empty by the day...

I also realize we certainly are not the only people in TX or in the nation that are fighting back hard times as far as finances. Many have been out of work so long, or have had to go through what savings they may have had to just live. So, I am not complaining for just my family, but for the many others out there with either the same or worse circumstances.

My "hopes" are for the coming 2015, to be even a better advocate, and good more activist and ambassador work through the charities and non-profits that I truly believe in. I know for many people, now days it is difficult to know where you might like to donate, and wonder if your money truly goes for the purpose intended.

My Mom is a very good example of someone that is not sure where to donate to. It gets to the point that she gets phone calls every day almost from one or more places asking for donations for "this, that or the other". With things in the world as they are now, even though we hate to think so, there are people out there, who take advantage of either elderly folks that may not understand what they are asking about, or they do give and then have their identity stolen, and so forth. I have had to warn my Mom time and time again to NOT give to anyone that is soliciting over the phone or knocking on her door. We even have a sign up on her door, plus I have put one on mine also that says NO soliciting, and that means don't ask about "lowering" utilities, or getting donations, or "insuring your water pipes" (now that is one I cannot fathom anyone falling for), but constantly somehow they have her name down and probably know she is up older and think that the can finagling her into giving out information that they can use for their own gain.

----------   ******** Beyond Christmas Eve*********-------------

Try December 30th 2014 - and beyond....

I figure if I want to get much more in BEFORE 2015 Rings in, I had better get these fingers to moving a bit faster. Probably more like pull my head out of my butt, and out of the 29,000 other places it is, and try to put down something that may make some sense out of my own life, and possibly others...

Not one of us is a "mind-reader", a "fortune teller", a "profit" (or I guess I am not sure about that one, I feel the Lord could actually send a profit down anytime he wanted to)... but when I talk about the word "profit" I am more meaning someone who tries to deliberately con someone out of money telling them they can "read their tea leaves" or follow the life lines on their hands... or read the Taro cards... and it is NOT that I don't believe that things such as that or people such as that can exist, it is more that I feel there are not near as many of these types of "world palm readers or fortune tellers" than they try and allow themselves to be. Each of us have our own unique ability to "feel" when something is right or wrong I think. Whether you truly tap into that ability is where the hairs split, as the saying goes. You can take that pathway and follow your gut and heart, and learn a whole lot about yourself and your fellow man and woman. Or you can choose to put on blinders, have tunnel vision, and only see what is directly in front of you. To me, that is not really a great way to live. Of course it is a frightening thing to "feel" something, or to "think" something about your life, or a loved ones life. But, it does not always have to be in the "blackest of black ink darkness".

You may find yourself, if you open up thinking about the "awesome" happenings in life... yours, family's, friends... or even strangers on the street. My family on my Mom's side have that type of "uncanny" ability to feel almost too much at times. My Mother really has it, yet she does not open up a great deal and talk about it. Yet, there are times something really strikes her in a dream, or as a feeling, and she does what I do, calls and checks on whomever it is she is overwhelmed with in the dream.

I've ran into more of a "night terror" wall, when it comes to if I wanted to call it a "dream world". I began trying to research the issue as to why almost every night of my life, I have a propensity to have not just night mares, but more what I call night terrors. Many nights, I wake my own self up. Either the night terror carries me to a place that I feel I am suffocating, or I am being "flogged" not exactly by a "strap" but more of a flog with words. It usually has to do with people in my past. Either people I went to school with, or have known from various jobs in my life. When I first finally got completely out of the abusive in every sense of the term, relationship with the "2nd" jackass I had been married to for far too long, I had them nightly. I almost could not lay my head on a pillow and try and sleep. For I knew in my dreams he would come after me in one way or the other. Usually through a window, with a knife, sometimes trying to run me over (which he did try in reality a couple of times)... just horrid night terrors that I thought would never go away.

When I decided while I still lived in Seattle, to venture out on my own, have my own apartment, take care of myself only... I thought the nights would be worse with terror. Yet, it seemed that I overcame them for the most part. There was something about living completely alone, and taking care of just me... that settled my unsettled soul. I could sleep like a baby, but just had hell working due to all of my health problems. Thus, as the health problems grew worse, even then the night terrors seemed to have died down a great deal.

As the tides of my life once again changed, moving fore and aft, to the South, then the North, from the East to the West... it seems my life has always been one that I must "Roll with the Changes"... Maybe that is one of the reasons I love that song so much... because all my life I've lived through a dichotomy ... where one part of me, seems to move one way, yet a portion of my life tends to be in another dimension. That may sound all too profound to even comprehend, but I've been called both a dichotomy and a conundrum .... which I used to really be pissed about. I took both as a huge insult, thinking that people saw me as some kind of "nut" who could not get their life straight enough to stick to the program I guess you could say.

I was very wrong in that thought. As the years have went by, I am truly both of those words and so much more. I can parallel a shooting star and head in a very straight and narrow path, or at times, I can be in all different paths, much like a comet's tail that tends to "flare" off in different directions, yet all at once. That portion of me reminds me of a huge firework exhibition, where some of them go straight up into the heavens, and then come down in a fountain of color. Sometimes red, green, pink, blue, purple... every color in the rainbow...

Now why my brain takes me off on several courses when I write, I guess is only something another writer, author, will understand. Many of us multitask in our daily lives. We deal with jobs, bills, kids, hobbies, houses, and so forth. Often juggling several different items at once during our daily jaunt through out what we call life. Yet, for a writer, it is sometimes what is "multitasking" in our brains. For myself, I may write a line or two, when something else hits me, just due to what I had put down the sentence before, thus I am off on another pathway through the minds of what many deem as insanity. Maybe to be a true writer, you must deal with the insanity before you can sanely write.

As I think about and write about the things I want to have in my next published book, I find myself getting lost in the circle of the ring of infinity. Where one thing may end, yet another begins at that particular jumping off spot. Such as I maybe penning something down about a particular autoimmune disease or symptom, yet that takes a turn, and around the next bend could be something "related" but sounds completely different than a "stuffy old autobiographical" book that has already been written, just out of a different mind set than another illness/author may write it. That does not mean that ANY book, about how one lives through these chronic illnesses that have captured our lives, bound us down inside of our homes, minds, and it seems the only contact we have with the real world maybe social media.

When I was listening to Laura Hilldebrand speak about her biography she wrote, about someone else and she also took me to a place in writing that I never quite thought about before. No matter if we are writing fiction, a novel, a movie script, music, or a biography, a "piece" of you flows through those words. You find a common ground between who or what you are writing about, and lace it between the person you are, and the outcome is a pure mixture of both... your view point about someone else, yet through the eyes of someone who has also gone through the hills, valleys, the darkness and light, the favorite inter-sanctioned places that whom you are writing about has been. You relate, you can empathize, your individual yet, duo of souls can dance together, in a seamless binding of what pain, power, gain, richness, poorness, and all that have motivated one soul to do well to another. If in your own heart you know "It is well with my Soul"... a Baptist hymn from a long time back, then you have meshed all of your own feelings, with someone else.

This may also mean about the way you write your own "auto-biography". As you pen those words, the ones that tug at your readers heart strings, gives them the emotions, the good, the bad, the unthinkable, the peaceful... all you have wrapped up in that book binding it is a gift that shall mean a hundred different things to a hundred different people that reads it.

I ran into a really "terrible" but in all honestly excellent way to explain what I mean. I made a post on social media, Facebook. My intentions were to absolutely honor the person that I was speaking of... for he had passed away extremely suddenly and was one of "us"... with Lupus, with RA, Sjogren's and he suffered from several vital organs that were all involved with the illnesses. So, I was posting something from one of the organizations that I am an Ambassador for (Platinum Ambassador now)... a portion of a newsletter that was sent to me, from the Foundation to pass on freely to social media, friends, emails, wherever I might like and to whom I might want to pass onto... I had just "pulled" the entire "newsletter" from my email and made it a graphic basically. There were no "clickable" links posted with it. Of course the Foundations name etc was on it... a portion of the article was commending not just myself but all of the North Central Texas Regions advocates, activists, Ambassadors etc. for getting several more of our Congress people on board. We felt this was an incredible feat since we had mid-term elections that "hit" us in losing several that were on our "Arthritis Caucus"... and were "helping to advocate" for us from the Federal Congress. Well, when I "cut it out" and copied it into a .jpeg it never dawned on me that on the very bottom of the newsletter it had a "donate now" button on it. I really did not pay it much mind or give thought that someone would misinterpret what I was trying to say.

I had been trying to say that our "fallen Advocate" would want us to push forward, to be proud of what we were and will accomplish. He would not have wanted us to wail and loose site of what our "jobs" were all about... which was advocating to win the fight against Autoimmune and Autoimmune Arthritic Illnesses. Thus to me, posting that newsletter, that actually came out the same day he passed away to me was "honoring" what his wishes would have been. Well, most of his "advocate" and volunteer work was done with one non-profit, charity. So, someone got the "impression" even though I carefully worded it that I DID NOT MEAN monetarily, but more in our advocacy work he would be sad if we didn't show what strides we made... thus having 5 new Congress People on board for him would have been as his saying "Onward and Upward"... but of course SOME PEOPLE have to READ things into what was posted and think that I meant for people to "give" donations in "His name" to this particular Foundation. Which happened to be the one he did most of his volunteer work for. Which that NEVER even entered my head... I meant in "heart and soul" type of work not anything that had to do with making a "donation" in his memory anywhere, unless that is something personally people want to do... then that is between them and their own hearts... not for myself nor ANYONE to decide. Well, it got back to me very quickly, of course.

And I "flew off the handle"... it hurt me so deeply that here I was trying to put something up "good" that this gentleman would have himself been so proud of in his memory, but just because I did not think to cut off the bottom that said "Donate Now"... and as I said it was NOT any type of link to click at all to donate a thing... but others got their panty hose in the crack about something that was supposed to be uplifting, kind and from the heart. NOT EVERYTHING in life has to be ABOUT CASH!!!! I think it hurt me that anyone would feel the "need" to ask me, much less even think that is what I meant. IF they would have READ MY POST, that went along with that graphic, they would have IMMEDIATELY known I was NOT ASKING FOR DONATIONS IN THIS MAN'S NAME!!! For no one... no charity, no non-profit, no where, no how, but someone had to "go there"...

Then once all was "explained" and said, done and as far as I was concerned over with... to CLARIFY things and not have any more WONDERING... I took down the graphic, left up the post with an explanation as to why the graphic was NOW by itself and took the "Donate now" off of it!!! Someone asked me why I "bowed down" to that crap....

It is not that I "bowed down" at all. What I did was STOP the stupid rumors coming from those mouths that did NOT have the courage to ask me. They went behind my back, told someone else, and then they had to come and ask me... Which was total nonsense. As I also put in the post, if for any reason, anyone has an issue with myself, my posts, or what my intentions are, ASK ME!! Don't beat around the bush, walk around the mountain, and get someone else involved in it. I could have answered the question and all would have been done... Now I am still somewhat perturbed... and I notice not many have said much on my Facebook page after that... well it could be the "holidays" and people are out and about .... busy... thus are not posting as much. But, I feel someone got the butt up over the dash board for nothing... and now they are trying to back track out of it.

Okay--------- to be continued

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Where Do You "Turn" When you are already "Char-Broiled" by Illnesses, the Insurance companies & Our Medical "Entity"?

How To Turn Over And Change A World of "Not "for" the People, but for The People's Money?



There was a time that I felt "age" and technology moving so very rapidly caused many to not "get the drift" of insurance, medical charges, medical information, & all that goes with that. Well, I am here to tell you right now "age" has nothing to do with any of those things being "confusing". I've found out quite recently, even the medical facilities, doctors offices and insurance companies themselves have no clue as to what they are doing! I've had to get a "crash education" in "diagnosis codes", in the "technical parts" of insurance, medical billing and coding just to get my bills coded, and paid correctly. Two of which I had dealt with since LAST AUGUST~ After 3 APPEALS including myself, my husband, and 5 other people at the University Hospital, working on these, WE NEVER did get Humana to pay those 2 infusions correctly! They continued to try to bill the "Rituxan" as "Part D", which is NOT CORRECT, and then they billed again, and Humana tried to code it strictly as if it were for Cancer, not RA, so that screwed everything up. Alas finally last week, after resorting to ALL avenues even the hospital threw in the towel. They helped me with financial aid for those two bills totaling over $3,000.00!!! They also have me "approved" NOW for the Rituxan infusions until August of this year. After Humana pays all they are going to the hospital will pick up the balance for me. :) Which is awesome news! BUT, in the mean time I was 7 weeks or more late with any biologic! I came down totally ill with two different flares, RA and LUPUS! Along with all of this serious dental stuff that is going to require a Dental Surgeon to probably have to pull all of my teeth, put in a couple of implants, and then put the teeth onto those implants! I go tomorrow to the dentist, but I know just from what I feel and see, I doubt there is anymore "patching". My teeth literally one day seem fine, the next they are breaking off at the gum line, splitting into halves,   and they are almost like coming apart, pieces sloughing off, and it just happens. No rhyme, nor reason. It is the Sjögren's, but all of that was discovered too late. My teeth were already headed down that road probably before 2008, when I first was diagnosed with these Autoimmune illnesses. Plus there is "little" they can do for Sjögren's. There are two pills, I've tried them both. I am still on one of them, but it is not helping really. I constantly have to sip on green tea or something, and I have to constantly chew gum (sugar free and with xylitol" in it) or my mouth is so dry, I cannot swallow, talk, nothing... plus I am constantly having ulcers, sores, sore throats, you name it... . I've already lost 4 teeth in just about 6 months, and I know right now, if these cannot be fixed tomorrow, I could lose at least 4 again, if not more. Now to find an Oral Surgeon, that can "file" this as a medical condition, which it is and it is well documented with ALL of my doctors and now two dentists, that Sjögren's is the issue, and I did have a woman at Humana TELL ME yes they will cover this IF it is a medical condition... and I even got so far as to having them send me a letter stating they will... I may still face having all of my teeth pulled, two implants put in top and bottom, then they almost "snap" the plates in on those to hold them. Regular "dentures" are not the answer for anyone with Sjögren's. Due to no saliva they will not hold in place, and would make my mouth probably less wet, etc. I also have osteoporosis, and it is in the "severe" range. So, that will also be a factor as to how they fix the problem. I could have to have "bone grafts" or some way to fix the bone, if I have lost enough that the implants may not be able to be put in! This is a living nightmare! And the sad damned thing is NOT ONE doctor, or really dentist until I began to discuss it, has tried or talked to me about this horrid disease. Yes, I have it. Yes, it is reeking havoc with my mouth, teeth, bone and gums, but till this moment has anyone offered a "real solution". The ONLY person who has even attempted to find out what HAS to be done, is ME! Plus, this is like major surgery. I am sure the oral surgeon has to put me to sleep, pull those teeth, and then I am not sure about the implants from there, and putting the teeth in. That all depends on my bones in my jaws, as to how it all plays out.... and now I face a major trip 4 weeks away to DC! I certainly cannot go with my teeth literally falling out of my mouth daily now a piece at a time! But, trying to get ALL of this done... no way, no how in 4 weeks! Plus, if things are not bad enough, I have this flare, I was put on steroids again, after an injection, the PA thought I have a sinus infection, which has been wheezing. So, she put me on "Omnicef" but a generic form of it. Well, I have not had any of the "Keflex" type of medications for many years. So, I am on it since Thursday. Friday I noticed my stomach not "right"... but it has not been anyway with the flare mess. So, I take the antibiotics, and by yesterday I have such a horrible, horrible scary case of the big "D" word, I cannot stay out of the bathroom! So, I get concerned, look it up and come to find out, this is probably a "form" of colitis, a secondary infection in my colon, due to it allowing other bacteria to take away too much of my "good bacteria" out of my intestines! I was not that concerned, but it kept getting worse and worse... and it is just I won't even go there... but BAD!!! So, I had already taken some Imodium a couple of times, then read this morning it is better to "talk to the doctor" BEFORE taking any of the anti-diareall's !!! Well what another mess we have here "Sherlock"! I certainly can't even leave the house like this, and now I have another problem on top of everything else. My Enbrel came in Thursday and I took it. But now I woke up yesterday feeling like someone literally knocked me on the ground, and took a baseball bat and beat every muscle in my body. There is NOT ONE place I can touch myself, that does not "hurt"... it is insanity! And who knows, is it one of the flares, medications, something new I am developing???? No biologic for too long, then a new one that I've never had??? I can guarantee "my guess" is probably better than the doctors as this point! That does not include everything that is on the "books" for me this coming month! I honestly fear I will be having to miss the DC fly in. I just don't think with my mouth situation, the flares as bad as they are, and everything else going on with me, I can take a chance to fly to a strange city, going through a 3 day seminar, then stay on through the following Sunday to see Jim's Step Mom. Hell, I can't even go to the store as I am this morning, much less drive to even Dallas! These diseases can really make your life a living hell. When you add on top ALL of the STRESS, with insurance, bills, just having surgery 5 weeks ago, and a few other things going on with "family", that I just found out yesterday, and that I am extremely upset about, my brain is at either go insane completely, throw in the towel, and cover me up for good. And NONE of this includes Jim's ENTIRE ORDEAL with a neck that probably needs surgery, a lower back problem that is not much better, and NO INSURANCE! And don't get me started on the "Indigent" Health help in our county!!! Talk about a joke! That is another complete chapter for my book, if not two chapters. SO!!! IN A NUT SHELL NANCY! You are correct, and it is even WORSE than many know. I just read yesterday afternoon, that "Obama Care" due to the "new insurance crap" may even make getting anything paid through Medicare, and especially Medicare Advantage Plans (i.e. Humana, and the others) even more difficult. They are planning to pay the providers "less"! Well hell, they don't "pay" them as it is. That is why our doctors are starting to not accept them! Because they bill for a 100.00 office visit, and the insurance pays them $3.00!!! or something ridiculous! I realize the medical system is screwed, doctors, facilities all of that is WAY< WAY over priced. BUT it is because the insurance companies PAY NOTHING, thus the circle begins, round and round. And who is stuck in the middle of it? Well us for one as patients! BUT who is it FUELING THE FIRE??? THE GOVERNMENT, MEDICARE! Absolutefrickinly! Yes new word... we have our dear CONGRESS and our Centers for Human Services (not Humane", but Human) to thank for this bill pile of bureaucratic bull red tape. And then it all falls on our shoulders, and we bear the scars all over us where they have just "shredded" humans out of any kind of true health care! It is a total fly over the planet, into another universe, complicated, ridiculous, "corporation greed" let's make money, NOT HOW WE CAN HELP PEOPLE! Thank you to ALL of our Congress, and I mean all of them... local, state, federal.... we vote them in and they vote us as "null and void"....

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Blogging My "Real" Life as an Autoimmune Arthritis "Victim"

Some May find my "Blog" a bit Different, so I want to give more of "me" to you... 



I realize that my blog may be a bit "rough around the edges" at times. I would much rather tell it like it is daily in my life. I prefer not to "sugar coat" daily living with autoimmune arthritis, chronic pain, and health issues that almost control my every waking minute!

So, rather than try to sit here, and find ways to give people a look at what myself and my family go through in reality. Doing that to me, is giving you, as another victim of these horrid illnesses a chance to know it is "okay" to be angry, upset, have bad days, say what you feel, not sugar coat your own reality, not have to try and hide the fact that your life is also just a mess at times because these illnesses overtake every step you make.

When you have a flare, nothing is "nice". Everything "sucks". Life is truly Hell! So, I could write about my medications, or find anything else to sit here and say, but that would not be what I need to give those who are following me a "false sense" of the days when you feel like you've been run over my a train! Times when you are on your sofa, or in bed, wishing you could have a break from pain, fatigue, shingles, mouth ulcers, rashes, stomach issues, kidney problems, medications that cause side effects, and this list goes on and on.

When these Autoimmune Diseases decide to enter your life, nothing, and I mean NOTHING is the same!!! You have to "adjust" your life in all ways. There are things you can't do sometimes. Like go out with the girls shopping, or meet the guys after work for a beer. Family get togethers, may find you smack middle in a horrible flare, or worn down from a new infusion, thus you feel guilty yet you feel like you will just have to sit this one out, (probably more like lay this one out). Your "normal" routine of life is completely turned upside down. Often you wake up with pain, and stiffness, that makes you have to take additional time to get up and get going. You find yourself slower at everything. It once took me about half an hour to get dressed to go somewhere. Now I better start at the very LEAST 2 hours ahead of time. Sometimes more than that, depending how I feel that day. You may not have the strength to do laundry, vacuum, dust, clean the bathroom, and make a fabulous dinner. More than likely if you get a couple of things done, and a meal on the table, that is a "good day". Shopping becomes a living nightmare. If you have a huge market or are going to a large store such as "Wally World" by the time you get in from the parking lot, you feel as if you walked a mile. Then if you are truly shopping with an entire list of things, that means "hours" of going through that humongous store!!! Then if no one is with you, that means taking that entire basket full to your vehicle, loading your purchase into your vehicle, and then trying to put a basket somewhere hoping one of their places for baskets is close!!! Plus, I bet many of you have this happen... I have a "disabled parking" plackard. My orthopedic surgeon wanted me to have one when I went through all of those knee replacements, then just all of the other illnesses, shoulder replacement, neck surgery... so I have one.
If you are not absolutely limping, have a crutch, or in some way look "disabled" boy are there the "looks" that you get from others!!! Thus the business about you do not look "disabled" or sick! Now I am one that uses mine sometimes, and at other times I park in a regular spot. If I am alone, and I am there to buy a large bill of groceries, or I am in a flare, not well, weather truly bad, I use mine. But if my husband's with me, or I am feeling okay etc... and especially if there is only one left, then I just ry to park in a normal spot so someone else can use it.

There are so many ways our lives are different. Some of those differences are just almost too difficult to deal with. Vacations you may miss, your hobbies that you used to love. I have a dear friend who loves sports. She used to play baseball, softball, and loved so many sports, yet RA has damaged her wrist and hand, thus that ended her ever playing ball, or other sports she so loves again. I hear story after story. For me, things such as running, snow skiing, mowing my lawn and doing yard work is out of the question. Bless my neighbors heart, he sees I've bought plants, or need to weed the flower beds, or mow, and he insists on doing all of it, and never wants to take a dime for helping. But I know he and his wife and two kids have a difficult time making ends meet, so I always give him money and tell him it is "for the kids"... LOL Then he will take it. :)

Sometimes we see family and friends all but disappear from our lives. It could be for several reasons. One might be there are those that just don't do well around someone who is "chronically" ill. Not in a bad way, but they can't take watching you in pain and suffering. So, they tend to not be around as much as they may have been. Others are just "busy". Since you have "slowed" down, and they are still in that "run, run run" mode, they don't want to be slowed down due to your illness. It sounds horrible but I know it's true. Others just fear the entire ordeal. Either they "fear" it is contagious (sounds ridiculous, but I had someone ask me if it was), or they fear it will cause them to be in a "mental anguish" if they see you in a state of illness. Some are in disbelief that you are that sick. Some family and friends are in "denial". They feel you are making all of it up. They feel it is just like, okay so your knees hurt, or your wrists hurt, well others have "arthritis" & they are up and doing fine. Some think you are a hypochondriac. And that if you would just stop all of those "harmful medications" and take vitamins, eat "right, exercise,  you would "feel better". Or there are those that every thing they see online or on the Television they think it is what you need! My Mom is bad about that? She doesn't sleep, so she watches those stupid "info-mericals" all night. Then when I go over to her house, she has all of these names of rubs, pills, etc. that should "help me". So, I have to come home, get online, prove to her the stuff is pure "quackery" and let her know none of it will help me, nor anyone else! Bless her heart, she is still in that "zone" due to her age, that every thing she sees, hears, reads, she totally thinks it is the truth! She gets phone calls from sales telemarketers constantly. She used to listen to them6, and believe every word they said. I had to put a "no solicitors" sign on her front door. Again she was constantly bombarded with people trying to "pave her driveway", or "insurance her water pipes", or "save her money on her Electric bill".

Speaking of my Mom. I am here to help her. I am an only child, thus I feel it is my responsibility since my Dad passed away in 2005 from complications of a knee replacement. She was and still is in many ways completely clueless about the world. Even small things like using a "debit" card, or putting gas in her car, calling in a prescription refill & putting it in the "automated system". She would not even learn how to use a DVD player we bought her. Dad did it all. Bill paying, handling money and investments, from putting gas in the car, to mowing the lawn, or taking care of just about any and everything. Which was great, BUT he NEVER taught Mom how to do any of it!!! So, when he passed away, it was total chaos here. We did move here, from Seattle, so we both would be close enough to help her. Of course I was already in need of several surgeries, so my first couple of years here were spent in the operating room and recovering. I helped her until I finally got my total disability rewarded, then it I could finally get to the doctors I needed to get to. At the time though I had not gotten the "autoimmune arthritis" diagnosis. It became apparent as the orthopedic surgeon was in my knees, shoulders, and so forth that this was not some regular "osteoarthritis", there was much more there in damage than it could have done so quickly and so early in my life. It was not long after a couple of surgeries on my shoulder and both knees, that my PCP put it all together and diagnosed the "autoimmune arthritic" illnesses. I began to have all types of symptoms.

Back to Mom now that I've given you a bit of "history" about her. So, I also have to do many things for her. It is not usually a huge issue, but there are days, or even weeks that I am busy enough, or have a flare, that trying to take care of "me", and then trying to take care of the house, and then all of her things going on, becomes almost overwhelming. You would not believe the mess that I had to go through with her insurance and the surgery center to get her surgery bill paid correctly! I spent over 6 months trying to get the to "code" the surgery correctly so the insurance would pay. I was treated like trash, I was spoken to like I was an idiot, I was "lied" to, because for 3 months I was told the "supervisor" had to handle it, and she was "out" with surgery. It was all a bunch of bull. I even went out there face to face and they basically said I was wrong, and I needed to just leave. That was in front of all the people in the waiting area! Well, I knew that the orthopedic surgeon did have his own personal funds in the center. Several of our doctors got together and opened it, with another company's help. So. I went to the "big boys". I wrote a letter explaining ALL of it. I had names, dates, what they said, etc. and I told it all. I took it to my doctor's office. About 2 days later, not only did I get a call from my doctor, I got a call from the head gentleman over the entire center, with a HUGE apology!!!!! They were "grafling" at my feet, trying to make amends for the stupidity and ignorance of their "staff" the worked with filing insurance claims. Plus not only was Mom one of the patients that had the same insurance and they had tried to say they owed money that they didn't owe either. The point of me talking about this, IS because all of that took my time up, and lots of it. Even when I was home, ill and certainly not feeling like talking to those "morons", I did it, because it had to be done.

I realize that I certainly not the ONLY HUMAN on this Earth with some type of chronic illness/pain. I also have come to a real eye opener. That is we have a tremendous amount of our population all over the WORLD suffering from Autoimmune Arthritic Diseases!!! And in bringing those facts into the entire realm of this blog post, they also are subject to losing friends, relatives, not having a care taker, or they are a "care taker" for a family member or even possibly a close friend!

So, how do we "balance" the situations? We NEVER know when a flare or symptoms are going to pop up. We may feel great in the morning and have shingles, fatigue, pain, or any number of problems within hours. So, it is almost impossible to try and "estimate" how much or how little you will have the "physical" ability to do. The ONLY way I can do things, is try to make arrangements ahead of time. But, if somethings happens to me, or I am ill, I try to have an "alternative" plan ready. Fortunately, up until about 6 weeks ago, my husband can "step in" and take Mom to the doctor, or run an errand, or whatever she might need, he can handle it.

Of course as "Rhia's Law" might have it, my husband has been in terrible pain. Between going to a clinic and having a MRI, that shows the pain in his shoulder is coming from his neck. Well, I can certainly relate. Same Story with my last surgery. Almost my entire cervical spine was a mess. I had a 4 level discectomy, fusion and 2 replacement discs. So, I totally understand his situation. But, now my "caretaker" is out of pocket. I've had to basically "buck up" and pull not only My "Weight", but HIS and MOM'S also. Now he is in bed with some type of horrible flu, bronchitis or something. It happened suddenly night before last, and I pray I don't get it. I've disinfected everything in this house 10 times! And I am staying as far away as I can. I fear if I catch what he has, I'll be in the hospital with my immune system as it is. I've already been exposed to more than I care to think about having to be at clinics several times with my husband and Mom.

So, WE (WE - as in ALL of US with AUTOIMMUNE ARTHRITIC DISEASES) can and do have a great many "mountains" to climb. We also know about those deep valley's. They can take you in so quickly and put you right down at the foot of the mountain you just climbed up. Of course we also have "rewards" in the sense of the term when it comes to "us", "we" when the time comes for us to assist those like ourselves into a direction of wellness!!! When we use our voices, social media, writing, blogging, sharing, volunteering; ALL of those things are divine intervention that shall lead to better and quicker diagnosis, much more aggressive and earlier treatments, that then can HALT some or much of the damage these diseases do!!! It is "too late" for me. I have so much "damage" that even though we are trying to aggressively work on it, I already have most of my joints either replaced, and the others will probably have to be, hopefully not, but it is a good possibility I face that in my future.

BUT, until the moment I can no longer type (so I will find a program I can speak into and it will type for me), my heart, my soul, and my mind is set on the GOAL of HELPING others! Standing up with other like minded wonderful people that also share in my heart's goal!!! Through our struggle, and trepidations. we have found STRENGTH today and we stand United in our goals to change the face of Autoimmune Arthritis Diseases forever!

So, this is much of "my life"... day to day... and now the part here at the last is the very best. It is my new opportunity I've found with the IFAA, as an Active Volunteer. I've also been able to be able to give my own story to WEGO when I was invited to be on a panel. My blogging shall also continue to be not only here but on the IFAA's blog site. And with the upcoming WAAD14!!!! there shall be AMAZING THINGS FOR EVERYONE TO GET INTO THE Online CONVENTION in early 2014!!! There will be more upcoming information as we get closer to it! So, I'll post more when I know details... Take care of YOU!!!! Then you can help others....











Saturday, December 21, 2013

Holiday "Lost" Spirit & The Apparent Lack Of Giving of Self To Find Your Light

Taking The "Money" Out of the Holidays to find the true Reasons for This Wondrous Season




I usually have posted my "annual Christmas letter" by now. I decided this year to wait. I was not sure I even wanted to post it here and on my blog. I have first hand watched so many people that are dear to me, both "right here" and those that are my "FB Family", go through so much pain, suffering, fear, shock, and dreadful things especially within their health, that I find it very difficult to try and make this holiday season "Happy" and feel "Blessed". How do you feel "blessed" when it is like the entire universe has fallen in on you, and that black hole that the universe came from, has now swallowed you up in it, and pulled everything in on top of you??? I know, I know... Faith!!! I've lived in the footsteps of "faith", "hope", & trying to just "be". I have tried my best to "take all the bad" and try to see that positive side that is supposed to come from the resonating facts that it seems nothing lately is very good. In fact if anything, there is just too much "bad". I managed to write my Christmas Letter this year and I did put it in the Xmas cards I sent out. But, even as positive as I tried to be, I feel the ones who read it, will think I want them to "feel sorry" for us, or think I am griping and moaning. Or they will think "Wow" what a mess? I am holding on by my "fingertips" to the rope of faith that always in the past, has "sustained" me, no matter how bad things got. In my past life, things at one time or the other probably have been "worse" in many ways. But, as far as health wise, for myself, my family, and so many of you, it cannot get much worse! I hear it, I see it, I read it daily, everywhere you turn, people are hurting. I know in other ways we hurt also, but I am speaking more about the "physical" pain so many of us are dealing with. From all of the drama around autoimmune diseases, which seem to be running rampant in our world, to those I know that are so dear to me battling cancer, several with diabetes that have now had to begin having dialysis due to kidney failure. These are people in the prime of life! Many my age, and like myself, they are seriously ill in one way or the other. Yesterday, I open our tiny daily paper, and TWO guys 19 YEARS old, were in the "Obituary" column! I was just flabbergasted to say the least! I could not believe my eyes. And what makes it worse, it has been that way now for months. It seems like each day, I open our "Daily Paper" there are people who are in there early 50's and some much younger that are passing away! I realize Ellis County is not tiny, but it certainly is not some huge county with many large cities in it! We have no "cities", but more like towns. Even our county seat, Waxahachie, is not a huge city by any means. So, how can so many people, at such a young age, in a smaller community like this, be so very ill?? It seems like insanity! I had a talk with Jim after seeing the "evening news" yesterday, that all we hear on the news or read, is "bad". Nothing "good" is ever broadcasted. As we talked about it, he said it is because "good news" does NOT sell! In other words, our news is full of the "bad" because that is what brings readers and watchers in! How sad is that? As I began to repute his statement, I began to wonder if what he said is really true? Have we become a society so complacent, so weary, so looking for the dramatic and the shocking, that "good news" does not sell? I have to think he is probably quite right. Look around. Even with the "spirit" of what this season is all about... greed, money, more about "how much" you buy and give for gifts, how "pretty" your tree or decor is, how many gifts under the tree, how many parties you attend, with the latest dress and accessories on... along with how many toys the kids get, how much you spend on your kids, getting them the "latest and best" and most wanted toys on the market, not sparing what you spend at all. I've watched my "debit" card purchases lately be so slow in going through the system. I thought about it, and it is because SO MANY people are going DEEP into Debt, for the New Year that is not even here yet! Those credit card limits are moving to the max fast for many, because rather than being about the "pure" meaning of this holiday, the monetary portion has become number one! The part about the birth of Christ, and what His journey on this earth meant, until the day His "mortal" life was taken, so He could stand in the place of us for all of our many transgressions. I know that the "season of giving", pretty lights, and festive decor are a part of the celebration of His birth. But, we have become totally wrapped up in buying, spending, and thinking about the material things, that the spiritual has been thrown out the window, bath water, bucket, baby and all... as the old saying goes... Rather than getting "better", it seems to just get worse every year. I've witnessed it here my hometown for weeks!!! No matter WHEN I go to the market, or any store in town, no matter the time, the day, everyone is packed like sardines in the stores!!! I have to wonder how people are shopping constantly??? In the middle of the week during the early morning, and early afternoons, the stores are full! I told Jim it appears that people just stay in town, and it is vicious circle... they just drive and shop from one store to the other and must never go home! It sounds like a joke, but heck how can people afford to be in stores constantly??? I try MY BEST to STAY away from shopping!!! The longer I can remain at home, out of all the stores, the less money I am throwing out the window. I've found that "stuff" that I used to think was so necessary, I have come to not need nor miss at all. So, when I began to "make do" with what I have at home, I dramatically lowered our "cost of living" each month. Yet, even with all of the coupons, sales, free stuff, stock piling, and shopping as wisely as possible with always a list that I try my best to never swerve off of, we are basically in the hole monetarily like everyone else. Between the two of us, just the medical bills have been ridiculous the past month or two. Jim has no insurance, so when you are a "cash pay" patient, it does not take long for the "cash" to run out! And we have just about "cash paid" ourselves to be considered in the poor house. I am rambling on. I so wanted this to be about the "sunny" and positive light of the season. But, when every day you run into those that have the same horror stories in their own lives, it makes it difficult to find the "light" in that black hole of darkness. I still "stand" on my rock of faith. But, at times it feels like the waters of life have "broken" down that foundation some. I lately, have not felt as strong and sturdy on my faith's foundation as I usually do. Maybe all of us feel this way, but just don't want to admit it... So, call me a scrooge... or think I am crazy, maybe feel like I am giving myself a "pity party", but no this is not about "me" but about the "droves" of us all around, everywhere I look... I DO WISH YOU a Better Day, and beautiful warmth of family, friends, food, peace, understanding, good health & most of all love during this holiday season. I also pray with all my heart, we each find "our" foundation sturdy once again... As I try to cast my burdens off my shoulders, and give them over to my Higher Power, I pray we are all healed, mind, body, heart and soul.... Merry Christmas!!! Rhia





"Resolving Resolutions" for 2014 & Weird Weather, High Humidity in December, & RA/Lupus PAIN!!!

It's Time for A Chance To Touch Others Lives, even through Autoimmune Illnesses, You CAN make A Difference!



As I am deciding as I do each year at this time what I shall decide to try and "change", do more of, less of, try new, stop the old... in other words... what some call my "Resolutions" for 2014, I actually don't like the term "resolutions". Simply said, more often than not, it is a "cliche'" and those things usually don't get accomplished. I'm not saying "we" just make them for lip service, but it has become this tradition to make your New Years Resolutions. Whether it be to eat healthier, quit smoking or other bad habits, visit family more, exercise more, get stress under control, and the list of those things we want to try and do or not do, to make our "New Year" a fresh beginning. As we press forward quickly into the 2014 year, and I do mean QUICKLY; as most of us, I also am reflecting upon 2013. I managed to get my 2nd prose and poetry book published! That was a great achievement! Yet, I am somewhat disappointed as myself because I did not get as far on my "life's battle with AA illnesses" as I wanted to. Last year 2012, I had made a promise to myself to have it ready for the last look overs and edits; then have it ready to publish in February 2014. At that time, the task seemed very possible. I was thrilled to have made myself a goal in date form. So, I put my eyes on the road of writing, yet got wrecked and knocked off that driven path several times over the course of 2013.

As I had begin to say in another blog post, that I still have not "published", I had been writing about our little neighborhood and town in general. Usually right at the first of December, every house on my street has some Christmas lights and decorations, including us. It is like we almost have an unspoken tradition on the block that we all put something up for the holiday, even if it is just lights. We have icicle lights that look amazing on the front of our tiny home. I had decorated my two beautiful planters last year with wrapped "presents", Xmas Flowers in silk, and had lights around those also. I had little sacks that I put the tiny battery operated tea lights in, in every window in the front, and always turned them on all night about the last two weeks before Christmas. A door decoration, our tree with our at that time 10 "sleigh bells" we order each year as a tradition from our very 1st Christmas together, little decorations that I hang up above each doorway in the house, cup towels decorated for the holidays, and my Christmas Bedspread set that is just beautiful with these "golden colored" sheets I use with it. At one time Jim and I even made a new Christmas puzzle together to hang up. It seems we either got bored with those (I have like 40 we put together, put on a backer board, and I have them hung up in the house. I have three "logs" that I had gotten from a huge limb that fell several years ago from one of our trees. I took the saw and cut off a fairly thick section about 14 to 16 inches long or so. Then I take Xmas flowers, ribbon, tiny decorations, cotton for snow etc, and decorate all three of them. One for each room we are in the most. Kitchen, Office and Living Room.

But, as of this morning, one neighbor has his lights up. Not one other home is lit up, including ours. As I began to reflect over the past couple of months in our own little world, there are MANY, MANY of us who just almost "missed" the fact that holidays are here! From the horrible things happening in our nation; destructive storms and weather, to wildfires, droughts, floods, crops destroyed by bugs. People are still hurting from job loss, homes being foreclosed on, trying to just feed a family, money is tight for a huge amount of our nation and around the world. I had a conversation with a close friend of mine. She had told me her husband, who has been with a company for 11 years, had his Christmas bonus cut down to ONLY 10% of what it always was!!!! This company is NOT hurting by any means. It had the financial ability to treat its employees right. Yet, one bad apple in the bunch, with greed as green as a gourd in a "management" position, took away from those who have worked for it, so he made himself look good. Thus his "bonus" is quite "stuffed", and the others that have been loyal employees for years, are facing Christmas, with children, and no idea until the last moment, they are not going to have the bonus they are expecting. GREED! It is all over this world!

As I look around at my sparsely decorated home, and see that we are certainly not alone, it instills in me, that we must open our eyes, and open our hearts to make a difference in this nation in the coming years.

Whether we are advocating for a medical and health causes, government cause, specific health problems, domestic violence, and all of the other 100's of Charitable causes we contribute to, we are giving of ourselves to make a difference in the quality of life for others. To me, giving of yourself, through being a volunteer for an organization you truly believe in, is one of the kindest, compassionate, and self less things you can do.

With "one" person's voice, we can "change" the world! One leads to two, two lead to 10, and from there it grows, shapes, expands and becoming a beautiful thing.

We can all give a bit of cash here they and yonder, but to give of your time, of your heart, and do it freely without an provocation but because you want to make a difference in the lives of those who suffer and who will suffer without OUR voices uniting together!

So, as we reflect on what is truly precious in our holidays activities, or as you think about some of those "New Years Resolutions" give thought to giving of "your time" as a volunteer online to something, someone, any cause that touches your heart and soul! Within those moments that you give of yourself freely, you shall find a peace that does pass beyond all you could ever understand....

Hopeful for a better year in 2014.... 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.