Showing posts with label rheumatoid arthritis. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rheumatoid arthritis. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

RA my Enbrel came in, Lupus flare, Neck surgery coming up, 100% flattened disc, bone spurs, and joints giving hell, along with being tired and feeling lousy.

I FINALLY GOT THOSE two mini blinds up in my living room. This time I didn't step "hard" off the step stool. Thank goodness. But, the wood in this house is so HARD it is extremely difficult to put a screw or nail into the wood! It was definitely made from some extremely hard type of wood for sure. Anyway, my neck and entire body knew that storm was coming. I've hurt for several days and day before and yesterday was really bad. I had to make myself get up and do something. 

So, I baked a Lemon Pound Cake, got those blinds hung up finally, walked Peanut for a bit several times, and forgot I was completely out of any fresh fruit, and didn't even have any of the fruit cups or canned fruit I keep usually just in case I run out of fresh and don't feel like running to the market. It was almost 3PM by the time it dawned on me, but I threw some different shoes on, went to HEB & picked up a cantaloupe, a couple of plums, a couple of Gala Apples, and a HUGE Mango! I "hoped:" the Mango and cantaloupe were both good. I was almost too tired to get them prepared, but I finally decided I would get that cantaloupe scooped out, and cut up that Mango and they are both awesome! Sometimes the fruit is very good and sometimes very BAD! I hate when I pay expensive prices for fresh fruit, and it tastes like "cardboard". 

Then I picked up a red bell pepper, some tomatoes, and a cucumber. I've been eating salads again almost every evening for with dinner. So, I decided to add a couple of things that I've not been eating lately. THEN I FORGOT to get a new head of lettuce of all things. But, I still have enough for another salad tonight if I want one, so I am good until tomorrow at least. But, by the time I got to the house, and started to take those two sacks in, I was so tired I could barely pick my feet up off the ground. I don't know if it is just all of the running to Dallas Monday to see the Orthopedic Surgeon, plus last week the drive to see my Rheumatologist up there, and today I see my Cardiologist... but I feel just drained of all of my energy.

 I was on the sofa although awake but watching "True Blood" (I REALLY got into that series) and drinking coffee. I had quit drinking coffee for a very long time. Then after it began getting warmer, then I decide to drink coffee again. Usually one cup in the morning. But, it seems to upset my stomach, and that was one reason why I quit a year or more ago. It just does not set well sometimes with my stomach. My ENBREL CAME IN YESTERDAY! It was here on the porch when I got home from getting those groceries. BUT, I am about "half in fear" of starting it. When I was at my Rheumatologist office, we were talking about me being on a couple of the other RA injectables. It dawned on me, that when I was on the last one the Orencia, that is when I suddenly developed the cellulitis in both of the tops of my thighs. One week the left one began to have the lump in it, and then about 10 days later the other side in almost the same position began to have a lump. Later that turned into going to a surgeon, who had to open that mess up, and finally he messed up so badly (THANK GOODNESS he retired about 6 months ago) that I had to go to the wound care up at Charleton Methodist for 8 weeks I believe. They had to clean those out and put that special stuff in them to get them to get rid of the infection and finally close up, but I was dealing with that for almost 6 months or more. The Orencia, I feel was "contaminated".... I developed those places within a few days after the injection, in the about location I had been injecting them... and I felt it is was much of a coincidence that they came up a few days after the injection, in the same location from where I was doing those injections. 

Now, I do my B-12 injections monthly, and never have had any issues with those. And I am even more cautious that the doctors offices, when I give myself injections. I clean them several times all around on my thighs with the alcohol preps, and make sure everything stays completely sterile, and always cover up that spot with a band-aid for 24 hours. As most of us know we "carry" strep and staph or many of us do on our skin. It is almost impossible in the world we live in not to have some type of things like that on the surface of our skin. So, cleaning it is essential so not to "PUSH" those germs under the skin. Anyway, this one is in an "injectable pen" which is much easier to deal with, but honestly it to me hurts more than using a needle like I do with my B-12. I use the allergy needles for that and I never feel a thing. So, I put it in the fridge, and decided I would go back over all of the instructions today, and I am taking a shower in just a bit, so after my shower then I will take the first dose. I had to do this one once a week. My neck is definitely "worse". 

I believe I said that last night or night before last. LOL,,, I cannot keep up with the days anymore... it is 100 percent collapsed now and 1 of the ones he worked on before "may" be needing a bit of work, plus this time even on X-rays I showed several bone spurs. He said he definitely knew I had to be in pain, plus I can barely turn my head side to side. So, we are looking at probably the "middle" of April depending on how quickly the insurance approves it. Which they had already approved it last year, then due to Mom and then my hip fractures, I could not have the neck surgery. I think I just kind of "pulled" the muscles/ligaments around my neck and below it. It is much better today, except when I step a certain way. But, it is mostly doing okay thank goodness. Hell, now my elbow on the left arm, that was bad and I had surgery to attach the tendons back onto the bones, is beginning to "pop". It needed surgery at least 4 or 5 years ago, and I just took a couple of steroid injections, and decided to put it off. It is not hurting, so that is a good thing, it is just popping when I bend it or straighten it. If it's not one joint it's the other... LOL....

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Rheumatologist visit went well, start Enbrel when insurance approves it, still pissed at Congress, dealing with severe pain in many joints & trying to get the word out for everyone to write Congress & let them know about the business of insurance, cutting "entitlements" and more...

I had a very "good" visit with my PA yesterday at my Rheumatologist office. She FINALLY BELIEVED AND SAW JUST HOW SEVERE my RA has gotten since September last year. She immediately saw the severe swelling and inflammation in 16 of my JOINTS! 
 
I also have "synovitis" in between several of my finger joints on my right hand, swelling in my ankle is somewhat from the RA, and the stiffness, weakness in both hands, my ankles, hips, feet all related in some way to the RA and Lupus. She has put me on Enbrel. She felt the Xeljanz would not "touch" the severity of the RA now. She said if the Enbrel worked somewhat in about 8 weeks or so, she may consider putting me also on the Xeljanz also, to help the Enbrel. She said we would "try" to get me off the daily Prednisone, due to my osteoporosis being so bad, and she agreed it probably has something to do with my fractures of my hip. My Orthopedic surgeon said the same and so did my PCP. They felt although the fall was very hard on that hip that I may not have had a fracture if I had not had the severe osteoporosis that I do. 
 
I see my Cardiologist next week, and if she says it is okay for me to be put back on one of the pills for osteoporosis, although mine is already severe, it "may" help to protect me from just having a joint "break first" then me fall. That happens at times with severe osteoporosis. It happened to my Grandmother. She did not fall 1st then her hip break. It broke and then she fell. My parents next door neighbor also had that happen. She was just walking down the hallway in her home, and her hip broke. So, thus the reason for trying to get me off the Prednisone and hopefully on one of the pills, like Fosamax. I cannot have the injections again. 
 
Once you have those for a few years, due to the other issues that can cause, with a particular type of complicated femur break, I would have to just go on the pills instead. I see my orthopedic surgeon next Monday to hopefully begin getting me prepared and okayed by my insurance for my neck surgery. I am in so much pain, honestly all over, I can barely stand to move, yet if I sit for just a bit, then I am so stiff, I can barely get up and try to walk. So, it's damned if I do and damned if I don't. Plus now not only am I fighting those damned red "paper wasps" already, but the yellow jackets, and last night those damned "salamanders" showed their asses on my porch. I happened to have my fly swatter and knocked the hell out of him. Hopefully that is one less, it was a grown one so those are the ones that can breed the little devils that can breed in dozens very quickly. Then the gnats are nuts, the "May flies" are crazy, fire ants... dammit without any "winter weather" all of the "bugs" are just everywhere. We still don't know what this "bite looking rash" is... she thinks maybe some type of dermatitis, but I still think it is shingles... just not as strong of a case of them due to the Valtrex, which she said they do use for the shingles. I hope the insurance approves the Enbrel quickly and gets it out to me... I am in such severe pain, it is horrible....

These are the very issues, like insurance and the Enbrel, and "cutting things like Medicaid and other entitlements to those who need the insurance so badly due to severe and chronic illnesses, many that need expensive medications and continued medical care that means "Specialists". We also NEED the NIH to be able to have funds to continue research on so many illnesses... things are just a damned mess with our government and only us, the PEOPLE can do something about it!

Monday, March 20, 2017

NIH CUTS IN SPENDING??? TAKING MONEY OUT OF RESEARCH FOR US WITH SO MANY ILLNESSES, My own priorities and doctors, Rheumy visit coning & Neck Surgeon, and updates for all

Been a very BUSY and beautiful weekend for me! I FINALLY got that OLD A/C OUT of the window and cleaned that mess up. In fact, I went out this morning to take the trash to the road and someone had already picked it up and taken it thank goodness! I mowed my front lawn, knocked down about 5 BIG old WASPS nests from last year! BUT, those darned things showed up this weekend! I've been waiting, and are already trying to build nests! I had one can of wasp spray but went and bought 2 MORE, which will probably NOT even be enough. The honey bees are also about to drive me nuts.... I am having to watch them, because they may try and rebuild the hive in that old bus. The guy that came and got them last year told me to watch out this time of the year. If I saw many, then let him know and he would bring a box so they would go in there rather than building in the bus again. It took him about almost a month all in all last year to remove all of the hive he could get out, get the QUEEN then all of the workers etc. He came back over like 3 weeks time, and kept getting more and more that he waited to come into the hive, and he got LOTS of bees. He said he felt like that may have been 50,000 or MORE when he finished up. It was scary but amazing! 

But, the damned thing "follow" me around. Yesterday I was working on my porch (I ALSO GOT OUT ALL OF MY HOUSEPLANTS ON THE FRONT PORCH) OMG, TWO OF THE HUGE ONES were difficult, but I have that dolly I can put them on and take them out on it... so I did that, weed eating more in the back lawn, sprayed for weeds again... put out more moth balls around the house and the storage building,did laundry, went to the market, I never made to washing the car, or getting to the cemetery yet... I HAVE THE FLOWERS, for Mom and Dad and my Grandparents all, but the weather was terrible at first, then the wind has been so bad, and that is fine for my parents... but my Grandparents are located where the wind is terrible so I have to actually tie down and anchor the flowers around the bottom of those "vases" on theirs so they will stay in... the flowers have been in the back of my car now for weeks... maybe I will get to that either today or sometimes this week. I have my doctors appt tomorrow FINALLY with my RHEUMATOLOGIST!! When they see how TERRIBLY MY THUMBS AND FINGERS, KNUCKLES ARE SWOLLEN ESPECIALLY ON MY RIGHT HAND I HOPE THEY DO SOMETHING. 

I am getting to where I lose more and more use of that hand daily. My grip is terrible. I barely can carry anything with that hand, and it stays so stiff, sore and swollen... if I get out and do anything, that involves my hands and fingers/wrists, they will swell and just almost not bend they are so stiff. BUT then next week I see my neck surgeon and my Cardiologist, and hopefully I can get the neck surgery done very SOON! The ONLY thing that SUCKS, IS that I MADE A RESERVATION TO GO TO WINSTAR on SUNDAY, NEXT SUNDAY, and my DAMNED APPT WHICH I DIDN'T THINK ABOUT WHEN I WAS MAKING IT IS ON MONDAY! So, I am not sure if I will change one or just "time" the drive back from Winstar to my doctors office, and drive back from there and see him. He is in Dallas, but I will have to really watch my time due to Dallas Traffic.

 It will be kind of mid-morning, my appt with him is at 1:15, so the drive usually takes around 2 hours from my home... so back to that Dallas area, would probably be about the time I would leave the Casino anyway. ALTHOUGH, NOW they are showing we MIGHT HAVE LOUSY WEATHER!!! OF course, always happens when I have something to do that means Dallas driving or if I make plans to run up to Winstar!!! GGGRRR... but that is TX weather this time of year. Anyway, I have got to look some stuff up and have 50 things, on my list... of course I maybe lucky to get 2 or 3 of them done today LOL... but hope all is well with everyone!!! BY THE WAY, DID EVERYONE HEAR ABOUT THE PRESIDENT WANTING TO CUT SPENDING WITH THE NIH???? THAT MEANS LESS MONEY TO HELP WITH RESEARCH TO CURE MAJOR LIFE THREATENING ILLNESSES! HE WILL build a damned wall, BUT does not CARE ABOUT OUR LIVES... WHAT A DAMNED JOKE! It makes me sick to even hear his name, what an ass... I SAID THAT IF HE WAS ELECTED WE WOULD BE IN A WAR IN LESS THAN 3 MONTHS, AND HE WOULD SCREW UP MEDICAL ISSUES FOR US... AND IT APPEARS MY PREDICTIONS COULD BE HEAD ON STRAIGHT!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

PLEASE JOIN ME in My DAILY NEWSPAPER "All Things Autoimmune"! News you Can Use for all types of health issues... and more...

MY LATEST ENDEAVOR TO KEEP YOU, MY AUDIENCE, UPDATED ON THE THINGS THAT MATTER TO YOU AND YOUR HEALTH MOST, FROM RA, LUPUS, SJOGREN'S, TO FM, CHRONIC PAIN, AND SO MUCH MORE!

Autoimmune Arthritic Systemic Life Daily – Rhia

Please join my Daily Newspaper that can give you much insight into the latest information of Autoimmune, RA, Lupus, Sjogren's. Chronic Pain, FM and many more health issues, from the latest news, medications, and information YOU can use! I am currently working to really "update" and make it "customized" for YOU, my audience! Thank you, Rhia Steele "All things Autoimmune"


Friday, January 29, 2016

#TheRealRD Rheumatoid Arthritis Rare Remission - Daily Pain and Suffering

#TheRealRD #7 - Remission is Rare and Daily Suffering Is NOT!


As I read over the 7 ideas that the #TheRealRD asked for bloggers to blog about for RA Awareness Day, which is on February 2nd, and also happens to be Groundhog Day, and was my Dads Birthday, yet he passed away 10 years ago.

Ive come to know and understand the true chances of myself, and thousands of others out there like me, who suffer from this Autoimmune Illness, have MUCH pain, sometimes daily, and we KNOW all too often no amount of medications our Rheumatologists give us, the pain, the stiffness, the swelling, the lack of use of that particular part of your body like your hands and wrists become a severe problem. Take someone like myself that is a published author, and avid blogger, trying to set at the computer daily, for often hours at a time, if you intend on keeping a blog up to date, and writing a 3rd book, I must be at the computer.

Yet, daily pain keeps me from making my goals, that I had set even two years ago. So, when I saw this opportunity to write a blog post in honor of February 2nd, RA Awareness Day, by the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation (RFP), I am thrilled for the opportunity.

Honestly, and I am sure many of us could write about all seven of the topics. I have been through so many different medications and combinations, that either did not work, or caused severe other health problems, mainly all types of infections. I feel we do NOT have nearly enough research funds to get to the root of this hideous life altering disease. I also know so MANY others may not know that RA can effect all different types of organs in the body, from the heart, causing the heart attack number to DOUBLE for those with RA. It effects the joints, and usually many joints. Feet, toes, fingers, wrists, thumbs, the spine, the liver, lungs... It is a systemic disease, of which can harm any and/or various other vital organs of the body.

The daily pain is what many do not often understand though. Those who do not know the treatments, may not realize just because we are on medications, that does not mean, that all that often the pain subsides. I spoke with a member of my Rheumatologist staff two weeks ago, and when I explained to her the amount of pain I live with was high on the 1 to 10 score, she looked at me and said that is NOT Acceptable! No one should live most of their daily lives in that much pain!

After speaking with her it dawned on me that I DO accept an unacceptable amount of pain most days of my life. I have gotten to the place I think this is just how it is, I WILL have to just LEARN to ACCEPT that on a scale from 1 to 10, pain at an average of 4 will have to do, which is so WRONG! A level daily of 4 for most people not used to chronic pain would be excruciating! And it is not right for me to have to deal with ongoing pain of that magnitude day in and day out, yet what do I, or WE do about it?

I have a great Pain Management Doctor, who has implanted my pain pump, and will up the dosage as I need it, plus he gives me oral medication for breakthrough pain. Yet, I feel that is part of the problem. I have TOO MUCH breakthrough pain, on almost a daily basis.

MANY of US as Chronic Pain Patients, whether from RA, Lupus, other bone and joint problems, spine and back issues, severe nerve pain in different regions of the body, for many reasons, from diabetic nerve pain, to nerve pain and other types of chronic pain, that even our doctors do not know WHY it is there or sometimes even HOW to treat it properly - we are told that WE MUST LEARN TO COPE with a CERTAIN AMOUNT OF PAIN! It is not that I do not agree with that, I do. NO MEDICATION will take away ALL of the pain. YET, with the proper treatments, diagnosis, sometimes surgeries, some combination of medications, certain types of exercise, some diet changes, and some natural types of therapy pain can be diminished much better. IT IS FINDING that right combination of all of those or part of those things that can give us that type of relief, BUT it make take weeks, months, even years to get that all adjusted and working. There is NO ONE treatment, or magic pill, to just take and chronic pain subside for good.

All too often I feel that RA is a very misunderstood disease. Even though we have LOADS of information about medications, ads on the television, and in magazines, I feel that as a society those that are not patients, caretakers, or close to someone with this horrid disease do not fully understand what it can do. It as not as simple as taking an NSAID over the counter, or even taking one medication that is a prescription. At times, some of us DO fine the correct medication, or combination of medications and find relief. Yet, those that do, are far and few between.

I have been through an entire gamut of all types of medications for RA and Lupus. In fact, I just saw my NP from my Rheumatologists office 2 weeks ago. As we spoke about my pain, the daily swelling, stiffness, I am losing more of my grip in both hands, the weakness, losing the ability to do everyday things, buttoning a shirt, or even zipping a zipper... I have watched my body especially my hands, wrists, fingers, thumbs are very bad, feet, ankles and now my spine begin to degenerate even more than ever before due to RA.  She made a remark that upset me when she said, that I had tried all kinds of medications and none of them seem to work. What upset me about it so much, it was like she was blaming ME for medications not working! Some of them caused too high of infections in me. I had double pneumonia at least twice, then had cellulitis in both thighs, that then turned into double abscesses, that took 4 or 5  MONTHS to get well. I had to make a weekly trip 35 miles ONE WAY for weeks and weeks to a Wound Care Specialist in order to HEAL those abscesses! It delayed me in having a cervical neck surgery I needed badly, as well as my internal pain pump had a permanent motor stall, and I needed surgery to replace it! But not one surgeon would touch me until those abscesses were basically well, and I was free of infection.

So I spent months without most of my RA medications, plus a couple of months without my pain pump working, and suffered endless weeks of having to have wounds the size of a silver dollar and as deep as half my thumb getting debrided until they finally got well. Our pain is NOT just as simple as from a joint. It is not as simple as taking one pill. There are so many medications, yet like myself, daily, I am in pain. Especially for the 1st few hours of the morning. As joints start to be effected MORE by this disease, then the pain can become almost unbearable, and at times, even in my lumbar spine, I have enough degeneration from this hideous illness, that it hurts so badly, I cannot even sit to type, to write, or often not be able to have the quality of life I so want to have.

Honestly, I cannot recall unless maybe a very rare occurrence that I have read or heard one person tell me, I am in remission, and I have finally no pain from Rheumatoid Arthritis. I do not believe the cases are out there, and if they are, very, very rarely do they happen.

When I saw the article about raising awareness on February 2nd by the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation, and that I could participate, and tell my feelings on 1 of 7 subjects, I wanted to tell my feelings, and story, because awareness is something we so desperately need so much more of.

#TheRealRD

You too can learn so much more at ...

www.rheum4us.org








Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Nervous Day as I head to see my Rheumatologst in Dallas and we decide on "options" as far as medications....

He is a very busy and awesome Rheumatologist. But, too busy ow, since he has went back to doing research, teaching AND seeing  few patients.... I've been disappoinnted a couple of times, when they "mis-scheduled" me and I had to see the PA, or NP... never of which I like, nor I believe... they never "check" me over, and never try to "look at" my chart to see what I have, have not, what my Rheumy has done, not done, wants to do etc... they just fly in the room, ask a few questions, and run out... with see ya next time... then I have to come home and send an email to my Rheumy, and tell him I do NOT like how I was treated and tell him what is going on....

Anyway, supposedly I get to see him for the 1st time in a YEAR! Yes, it has been a year since he actually came in the room to see me.... and there has been SO MUCH that has happened, from the cellulitis, to the blood work issues, to double pneumonia, to the abscess on my thigh, to the other lump on the other thigh... to swelling in my fingers, ankles, thumbs and wrists that hurt like hell... my back... and the list goes on and on... so I have MY LIST ready for him today... and I hope to get my MONEY's worth since where he is now does NOT take my Insurance! The last visit, that over the phone I was told would be about 80.00 for an office visit, since I am a very well established patient, when I got through was $270.00!!!!! Yea, like I could afford that... I was so mad, I was in tears... NO ONE bothered to tell me that until I had already seen the PA whom did NOTHING for me at all what so ever... and I leave more broke than when I went in, and not any help at all....  

Anyway, I will post more after the visit this afternoon, so keep me in your thoughts...

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/

Monday, August 31, 2015

IFAA - Register to Walk! Physically or Virtuallly!! You Can Join in!


Who out there lives in or near (or will be in) NYC on September 20th, 2015?

There is a great event that day hosted by American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA) to raise awareness about autoimmune disease. International Foundation for Autoimmune Arthritis, official hosts and event coordinators of World Autoimmune Arthritis Day, is attending to support the event and to raise awareness about a much needed AARDA program "ARNet" (Autoimmune Registry Network).

If you will be in NYC on September 20th please sign up to join the IFAA Buttahflies and meet IFAA Executive Assistant, Kerry Wong and other IFAA Representatives. Sign up by yourself or with family and friends but sign up if you care about autoimmune arthritis awareness and have a fun day with IFAA and AARDA!

http://www.ifautoimmunearthritis.org/upcoming-events.html

Thursday, July 2, 2015

FROM THE IFAA - Results from an in-depth study to IMPROVE EARLY & ACCURATE DIAGNOSIS of Autoimmune Arthritis diseases, as well as other AI disease that often are in Tandem!




Here is the link to this extremely important study of the importance of EARLY and ACCURATE Diagnosis when it comes to Autoimmune Arthritic Diseases, and other Autoimmune illnesses that often are in "tandem" with them. This report had hope of educating more of our Medical Professionals, Dentists, and Others, about these illnesses and diseases. It is SO Crucial to have an EARLY and ACCURATE diagnosis, so more Aggressive and targeted medications and treatments are done early, before so much damage has been done.

We have also seen and witnessed over the past couple of years SEVERAL often "very young people" are either extremely ill or even pass away due to the possibility that they were not diagnosed early enough, and had the proper treatments. That is just another reason why the report and others to follow are critical for all of us that suffer from these hideous diseases, syndromes, and illnesses.

Please see the report in its entirety at the URL below:

Early Symptoms of Autoimmune Arthritis Investigation

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Please send an email, snail mail, or post to their Social Media Sites about the Arthritis Caucus and how we need their support!!!

Dear Senators, Cruz, Cornyn and Congressman Barton...


I post this because Vets are also extremely critical patients in the Arthritis realm. They all too often come back with all types of arthritic problems after their tours are over. The DOD helps to do research on these issues and I wanted to also let you know this is critical to thousands and thousands of your constituents yearly. So many hours of time are lost on jobs due to these horrendous illnesses, along with people not able to support and care for their families. Medications are much too expensive and without those most of us are unable to have any type of "normal" life. I urge you to help and join and/or sponsor the Arthritis Caucus. WE need your help and support!   I would , be happy to send more information about how the devastating illnesses effect Texans along with the rest of the nation. May is National Arthritis Awareness Month! 1 in every 5 adults, 300,000 children & countless families are affected by arthritis. It accounts of $156 billion annually in lost wages and medical expenses. 

I also sent a tweet about these issues.

This is Arthritis Awareness Month! We need YOU to also ask for support from your own Congressional Leaders.

You can now tweet them, email them, snail mail them, and post to their Facebook pages. Most all of them now are also on Social Media, so that makes it much more simple to get your voice HEARD!!!

So this for ALL that suffer everyday from these horrendous diseases, that absolutely destroy our qualify of life... they have mine and I know MANY others that also feel their life is almost nothing due to these illnesses.... 

You can go to the arthritis.org site or here are some "sample" twitter posts:


THESE ARE ALL SAMPLES OF TWITTER POSTS AND/OR FACEBOOK POSTS BELOW, PLEASE ADD YOUR STORY ALSO AND PERSONALIZE THEM....

  • ~300,000 babies, kids & teens have #arthritis or a rheumatic condition? http://blog.arthritis.org/news/arthritis-awareness-month/ #ArthritisAwarenessMonth

  • .@insertrepnamehere in honor of #ArthritisAwarenessMonth, please support the #arthritis community by joining the Arthritis Caucus! 


    or you can go to their Facebook pages:


    • May is National Arthritis Awareness Month! 1 in every 5 adults, 300,000 children & countless families are affected by arthritis. It accounts of $156 billion annually in lost wages and medical expenses. http://blog.arthritis.org/news/arthritis-awareness-month/ 

      TO LEARN MORE GO TO:

      http://blog.arthritis.org/news/arthritis-awareness-month/

    • THERE ARE ALL KINDS OF WAYS YOU CAN HELP, BY BLOGGING, TO ALL TYPES OF SOCIAL MEDIA AND USING IT TO SPREAD THE WORD!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Arthritis Foundation Being an Ambassador & Just how incredible of a Foundation it is.

I've talked a great deal here on my blog, as well as on Facebook, in emails to friends and family, along with spreading the word here in my hometown, and even in our local newspaper, I've had a couple of articles published.

I know at times when we think "non-profit", charity organization, or other ways they are often referred to, it gives the idea that they "collect money through donations" and use those to help others, possibly for some research, and so forth.

Actually, that is not all that the Arthritis Foundation does at all. They are an incredible Foundation, created by some fantastic people, that have changed the face of arthritis throughout the world. They bring "patients" and "caretakers", even our youngest of patients the kids with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, and have them involved in the annual "Summit on the Hill" each March on Capitol Hill in D.C. in order to have more funds, more awareness, and more support through Caucus' and those Representatives that can help to make research, awareness, and also others types of assistance available for patients, families and caretakers.

They are a true leader when it comes to "arthritis". Whether it be Rheumatoid Arthritis, Osteoarthritis, and Juvenile RA, and/or the complications of those to a standstill. They feel that anyone that has to suffer from these horrid diseases, that can't get the medications and care they need in order to have a normal life, as being totally not acceptable in any shape or form.

They are warriors in the battle of these horrid illnesses and diseases. They have made an impact through not only the Federal Levels of government, but also in our States legislation to chance things so that "we" as patients can have affordable medications, access to the proper care, making sure that "generic" medications are virtually the same as the original name brands.

Not only do they hold the annual Summit each year and see each and every Senator/staff and/or Representatives, they have also changed things that were very wrong with insurance coverage for people with these illnesses, and helped to stop the "insurance" companies from telling the doctors what or what they cannot give to their own patients.

They have also along with the Department of Defense started a program years back, where our women and men that come out of duty home, all too often to suffer from some type of arthritis and/or autoimmune illness, have a "face and name" in that respect. There are studies about why so often a "well" soldier comes in from a stent of duty, only to realize they have been "taken down" by some type of arthritic ailment. The chances of that grows higher each year, with troops coming home to be in much more pain and suffering than to be in the wars.

The "AF" Arthritis Foundation provides dozens of opportunities for those who wish to become a "voice" by being able to become an Ambassador, help with other volunteer efforts, write letters and emails to your representatives, attend different events, such as the "Jingle Bell Run" and the latest which is the annual "Walk for Arthritis".

Over and above all of those, they also have events for those kids with Juvenile RA. They have week long camps, are also there at times to speak to the Congress, and help in some many ways when it comes to fighting for a cure for these diseases.

So, whether you are able to give a few hours of your time to help out, send out emails, hand out information to others in your community, do a local fundraiser, get the word out like this through blog postings, social media, your local government, newspapers,attend a "Town Hall Meeting", or however you can give of your time, all of those things and so much more are crucial to "solve the mysteries" of these life altering diseases.

Please go to:



                      and be a "Champion of YES!"

I will post more about my own "Ambassador" role, and in fact I was made a "Platinum Ambassador for 2014! Which is another one of those incredible honors bestowed on those that give of themselves and of their time to make a difference for "every one"!

 Below explains more in detail of just how crucial it is to be a "Champion of Yes!

 

Champion of Yes.
Our Voice Resonates Loud and Clear
All-In
We are all driven by a passion and commitment to work that goes beyond the call of duty.
Expert
We continually strengthen our longstanding track record of leadership, and apply our authority to initiatives that are escalating technological, medical and scientific advancements every day.
Bold
We are tenaciously and aggressively attacking arthritis and its effects, with a loud voice and loyal persistence that will never back down.
Ever Present
We are here for the long haul —when, where and how people need us — maintaining relevance in every field and facet that affects arthritis.
Brave
Together, in the face of darkness, we possess an optimistic outlook and winning spirit that courageously leads us.
arthritis.org
Arthritis is a thief. People with arthritis know this full well. It steals everyday joys and long- term dreams. It isolates and ostracizes.
It is painful. It induces a spirit of No.

As people close to the Arthritis Foundation, we know that it doesn’t have to be this way. We are in a unique place of authority and action, with the purpose of finding a cure, but also fighting for the everyday victories.
We Exist to Conquer Arthritis
The Arthritis Foundation is focused on finding a cure and championing the fight against arthritis with life-changing information, advocacy, science and community.
Plan for Yes
We chart the course for the arthritis community, helping families develop personalized plans for saying Yes — day after day.

 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Arthritis Foundation and Our "Victory" from the 2014 Summit!

I am so elated to know my "voice" was in part what made the "Summit" on Capitol Hill a Success Story for Us as Patients, Caregivers and more, along with such an Amazing Success for the Arthritis Foundation!!!!!



It is with pride that I talk about my own personal story and share it through the Arthritis Foundation. I know in my heart they truly care about us as patients. I am so pleased to be able to help out. I am also so proud to be in a very "elite" group which is the "Platinum Ambassador's" for AF!!!!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

PLACES I FOLLOW IN MY TWITTER - "Twitter" Hashtags...

As our "methods" of finding information online, or passing information around online continue to evolve, it is sometimes almost impossible to keep up with what everything means... we now have "twitter", and also "hashtags", we have Facebook groups, pages... we have Pinterest, blogs, Linkedin, we can "follow" some page, group, non-profit, we can be volunteers, Advocates, Activists, Ambassadors, we can be the ones ill with chronic pain, chronic illnesses, and the thousands of online sites you can get to for information about everything from doctors, medications, Pharmaceutical Companies, we can find kin folks, friends, classmates, ancestors, family trees, online books, online instructions... we can order online & get things in email, or by "snail mail", or pay bills online and have it in "real time" post to our accounts.

Our "daily" online world changes what seems like every moment. If something happens in a country thousands of miles away, we can know it in an instant. We can save hundreds of thousands of lives in knowing about large storms, violent eruptions, medical history in the making, watch surgeries online, watch directions of how to online, see our friends and family online, talk to everyone online.





I find I have a difficult time keeping up with exactly what some of our newest "ideas" mean. About the time I "almost" figured out Twitter, and hashtags, then this new "hashtags" main came out, and I am trying to figure out the proper way to use them. It seems they can be an "instant link" to every "search term", site, Facebook page, everyone on Twitter... technology in the making when you breathe in and out, something new has happened. So, I am "listing" some hashtags that you might find useful in a general sense of your searching for different things.

I will add to this list as I go along. In fact I may put this into a different "page" so it will be on top and available for you....

           
#AARDA

#Chronicpain

#sjogrens

#partD

#RA

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Ennis Daily News Local Paper Arthritis Foundation and Myself - Article

After lots of jumping through hoops due to out local paper having new people coming in, I got the article about myself and the Arthritis Foundation in and published this past weekend. I didn't realize it was printed, because "Rhia's Law" if it will happen, it will happen to me... I didn't get my paper thrown that one day, out of ALL days, that one day I didn't get the paper as usual. That NEVER happens usually....


Anyway. I will thrilled to see it, and also thrilled to hear one friend of the family who told us about it this morning at the doctor's office, which is how I found out that it had been published!!!

I went straight to the paper and picked up a copy, and when I went into the market, I had several people stop me and say they had seen it in the paper over the weekend!!!!! Which made it even better!!!!!

I am kind of upset that they "shortened" it a bit, because it was longer. But, I think due to the fact he had left it out, and it had not been published when I first sent it to them, he made sure he got it in immediately.

Again, I owe so much to the Arthritis Foundation and especially to Laura Keivel, who has truly made me feel that I have found "my voice" in being an Ambassador for the Foundation. "The Lord Willing and the Creek Don't Rise" as the saying goes, I hope to be back in DC, for the Annual 2015 Summit on the Hill, in March again. If at all possible I plan to be there every year my body, my mind, my spirit, and everything involved allows me to...

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Talk About News to Make You Shout! You must read this and be sure to go to all of the links!!!!


I was so blown over by this announcement from the Lupus Research Foundation I had to rub my eyes, blink and look again to make sure I saw what I saw Correctly!!! This is such phenomenal news I was just taken aback.

And further not only do we owe the NIH hats off to this incredible research opportunity, but everyone below along with all of the researchers individually, those folks that are on board for activism, Ambassadorship, Volunteers... everyone who tries their very best to stand up and say that what we have now as far as help for these illnesses are simply NOT acceptable, as the Arthritis Foundation puts it. Hats off to all that have been and will go back to the "Hill" in D.C. to open up and tell their stories, or the stories of those loved ones hit by the horrific illnesses. People like myself that try their best to live a "normal" life when there is never any sense of "normal" when you have a chronic illness/pain and especially when it comes to an autoimmune type of illness. I am so thrilled to put this on my blog and share it with my readers!!!! Be sure you go to ALL of the links and see what is being said about this incredible Undertaking... the FIRST EVER of ITS KIND to do something to stomp Lupus and RA, along with many other AI Illnesses into the ground.... Again I am just totally almost speechless.

AMP Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus:

The partners

http://www.arthritis.org/
Government

  • NIH
Industry

  • AbbVie
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb
  • Merck
  • Pfizer
  • Sanofi
  • Takeda
Non-Profit Organizations

  • Arthritis Foundation
  • Foundation for the NIH
  • Lupus Foundation of America
  • Lupus Research Institute/Alliance for Lupus Research
  • Rheumatology Research Foundation


http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/Press_Releases/2014/9_24.asp

 

 

 

http://www.rheumatology.org/ 

 

 

I will be posting more about this tomorrow and also more "Kudo's" to everyone participating om this historic event for RA and Lupus!!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

PLEASE Start COMMENTING!!!!

I have lots to catch you up on over the next couple of weeks. I promise I will. I am on a new RA/Lupus medication, that is not a biologic. I will explain what my Rheumatologist told me, and how he has come to the conclusion, that if I can, maybe trying to stay away from a biologic, other than trying Orencia, would help to possibly reduce the number of infections I continue to get. I had been ill from way before Christmas last year, and was ill when I went to D.C. at the end of March! I was having a flare, but I was also I believe even then developing bronchitis that turned into double pneumonia. But, until I was running 104.5 degree temperature and almost out of my mind hallucinating from the high fever (I NEVER have a fever)... thus now I certainly know what to look for if I expect I might be having a new infection coming along.

I am so grateful to ALL of you who come here and read my blog posts. I know you do, and I see who comments and who does not. I will say that up until the last couple of weeks, there was not a good way I could see the comment if there was one, and I certainly had not a good way to see who commented at all, and what they said.

Now Blogger has made some much needed revisions in the Blogger software, and I just have to catch up as to what they have changed, and how I can use what they have done to make my blog even much, much better.

We have a few more things to work out with doctors, finding a "good" pain specialist for Jim and a Neurologist who will take his insurance and take care of problems as they arise. We think we may FINALLY have a couple of good referrals, but we shall see. When it comes to doctors, tests, hospitals, insurance companies, and pharmacies, you never know what the outcome will be.

I am still working on getting my jawbones strong and well enough to withstand the little mini implants that my dentures will snap down on those and be able to let me eat with them in and they not especially the bottom one coming falling out, I am getting there, but it is just taking patience to allow those all to fill in and heal before he can put those implants in and they stay strong enough, and my jawbone strong enough to hold them in. So, I still have at least until November to do X-rays and see where we stand.

I have just completed being a "Consumer Reviewer" that I had been nominated to do and then was asked if I wanted to do it, and of course I said yes. It was a true learning experience but it has provided me with lots of new avenues of advocacy, ambassador, and activist can mean, and how much my opinion and all of our opinions Do MATTER!!!!

On Monday, Jim's birthday.... the 22nd we have an appointment at our lawyers office to go over what will be going on for the depositions. Then on Tuesday we go back in and give our depositions.  Since it is in Ft. Worth, our plans are to stay the night, and possibly go out to eat or something in celebration of Jim's birthday... and who knows... we maybe also celebrating the nightmare of this wreck stuff to finally be coming close to an end... and it coming out in our favor in a very huge way!!!

It is a bit nerve racking, thus I have not talked about it much. I just felt until we are close enough to possibly know when we will know the outcome. So keep us in your thoughts and prayers, as Monday and Tuesday are very significant for us in regard to possibly getting favorable results from the law suit.

I shall put on more tomorrow... as I get some of my other
chores out of my face...


Hugs, Rhia and by the way.. once and again, thank you my dear friend for taking a moment to post here :)                                                                              

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Arthritis Foundatiion Jingle Bell Run in TX and Many Surrounding Communities In December!!!

The one closest to me is in Ft. Worth! I would love to see one of the girls I made friends with in DC while I was there in March!!!! Here is the URL and all of the information.... Please come and join or give your donations....:)

Ft. Worth's appears to be on December 6th


http://fortworthjinglebellrun.kintera.org/faf/home/default.asp?ievent=1112128







 

http://www.arthritis.org/programs-events/jingle-bell-run/




Saturday, August 16, 2014

New Post - My Letter to Congress in Regard to Arthritis, Autoimmune Illnesses, Medicare, Advantage Plans, Medicaid & Just How We Lack All We need to have a "Quality of Life"

I just completed this email below. I've been working on it for what seems like weeks. Due to ALL of the doctors visits, Jim going to Rehab twice weekly, my visits with my dentist to get my dentures (which I am already having "flare" issues I think with the Lupus, Sjogren's and RA) & numerous other things that have had to be taken care of, I've had to write this in between all of that. Finally, this morning around 1:30am I woke up needing a drink of water. Not realizing my foot was so "asleep" I got up and immediately went to the floor, with a very "twisted" left ankle, that left me in tears. I tried to go back to bed, but there was no use. So, at 4 am I got up, and decided to finish the email, and try and get some things done on the computer and on line that have had to be put on the back burner due to all else going on.

I am sharing the email with you. I am also sending it to my own House Representative, and to several others in the Federal Government that I feel can and may try to do something to help not just myself but ALL of us. Here is the email. My hopes are that YOU will write your own and also email it. The Arthritis Foundation sent out a newsletter about 10 days ago asking for us to all send in our stories to the email address that will be listed below this one I sent....

Good Afternoon to All In Congressional Representatives,

First of All, I want to thank, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) recently who announced a bi-partisan initiative, called the “21st Century Cures: A Call to Action”. This will certainly help to shed some new light on chronic illnesses, and especially those new diseases and illnesses, that at this time, like many types of Arthritis, (Rheumatoid, Osteoarthritis & Juvenile to name a few), that have NO cure at the time, little known about “why” those who all of a sudden get the diseases, why others may not, what medications we need in the future to either put these illnesses into remission, OR CURE them…. even STOP them before they ever do the severe damage they do to all of us suffering daily dealing with ALL of this issues these horrid illnesses bring into our lives. I hope many of our other Congressional members will stand beside HECC Chairman Mr. Fred Upton and Representative Diana DeGette and help to make this “Call to Action” a huge success for the thousands and hundreds of thousands suffering from various forms of Arthritis and Autoimmune Illnesses.

I am an “Arthritis Patient", that suffers from several various forms of autoimmune arthritis, as well as osteoarthritis. My list of diseases, illnesses and syndromes; Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), Sjögren’s, Pernicious Anemia, along with many issues brought on by thee illnesses, such as a heart attack at 40, severe pain, swelling stiffness that all have consumed my quality of life at times so much, that I feel the diseases rule my daily living. At the age of 15 I had my 1st knee surgery. At that time, they knew little about Juvenile Arthritis (JA), and the experts really did not know much about RA, and all of the other arthritic and autoimmune illnesses here in our nation. So, I went for years from one physician to another, trying to find out why all of my joints were “falling apart”… by the time I was 40, I had already had a left elbow repaired, a left shoulder repaired both knees had surgery at least twice back them, plus all of the other “symptoms” that most doctors at the time “blew off” especially when it came to women. They for the most part thought if I woman complained about aches and pains, she was either nuts, a hypochondriac, was having “female” issues, or was depressed. That was the huge one. The answer from most doctors to a woman with “mysterious” health issues was to determine they are depressed and fill you full of anti-depressants that did nothing for the “physical issues” that overwhelmed you. Still I would hear, even with the severe migraine headaches I had, the weakness, & still other signs and symptoms that should have never been looked over, but taken seriously.

In 2009 I FINALLY began to get some “answers” that made sense. I was not nuts, depressed, making it up, had female issues etc…. I had an “autoimmune issues or issues” that were ruining not only my joints, but also causing he severe fatigue, all of the joints and surgeries I was having… including both knees completely replaced and my right shoulder had to be replaced, along with a 4 level cervical surgery, for degenerated disc disease, and now my thumbs, fingers, toes, and ankles are “eaten up” by RA.

I’ve jumped through hoops and hoops for a very long while over my medications for these diseases. When you have a serious illness, and medications come out that may “halt” or at least give you a huge percentage of reprieve, so your quality of life comes back & your doctor feels the medication is necessary, there should be NO ONE at an insurance company, or throughout Medicare to tell your doctor differently. These ridiculous amounts of forms, paperwork, having to be put through 4 or more medications that DO NOT work before the ONE that does can even be considered, makes for a patient becoming worse by the day, paperwork and red tape costing precious doctors time, insurance people who have no clue what the entire thing is all about, and it is a vicious cycle of “stuff” in order to finally either get the medication you NEED OR be turned down, which really is asinine. I have been through I cannot tell you how many “pre-authorizations”, sending medical records, my doctor having to fill out forms which they should not have to, talking for literally hours on the phone trying to get to ONE PERSON who can “fix” the problem… and on the computer sending emails, sending messages, and as I said, all the while suffering from these horrid diseases that each day wreck my joints and my body a bit more each day. Any type of “autoimmune arthritis” such as RA, effects NOT JUST the joints. They are “ systemic” in nature & can effect the heart, lungs, kidneys, your hearing, your eyesight, your memory, your blood, your stomach, intestines, and so on. Just about every part of the body can be effected by any type of autoimmune illness, and can reek havoc in just a short time without proper care.

One of my horrors with one of these “Autoimmune Arthritic” diseases is Sjögrens. This is just one that they do not know nearly enough about. The doctors know it effects the mucous  membranes, which we have all over our bodies. Our mouth, which is how saliva is formed. It keeps our eyes moist, our intestines, and many “linings” in our organs have these types of member in them. Without them, organs like the inside of the mouth, dries out so badly, you cannot even speak, swallow, and the worse cause horrendous “dental caries” and other issues! Yet, I was not informed of just how quickly and how badly my teeth might be effected. I brushed daily, tried my best to chew sugarless gum, sipped on green tea all day long, and used the special toothpastes and all of the “remedies” for dry mouth. Yet, about a year ago, all of a sudden one evening we were eating dinner, and an entire back of a molar just fell off in my mouth! Within the course of 3 weeks I had 3 more teeth with break off at the gum line, or a half of a tooth break off. Then suddenly almost every tooth had either a large cavity in it, OR would crumble off on the edges, and I knew I had to get assistance quickly because I was losing all of my teeth, and in a time frame that was not going to allow me to wait even a month or two.

So, I began trying to find an “Oral Surgeon” and/or an Oral Surgeon/Maxillary surgeon that would take my Medicare Advantage Plan “Humana Insurance”. Well, I have yet to find ONE dentist, oral surgeon, and so forth that will take my insurance, EVEN THOUGH this problem is caused from a physical ILLNESS, NOT just regular dental caries. This is a serious matter, that I spent weeks and weeks calling dental offices, and researching online, first of all, WHAT I truly needed done, and a Dental Doctor that could do the procedure, and try to help me get some of it paid for by my Medicare Advantage Plan. I literally spent days and days sending emails, making phone calls, sending messages to dentists offices, all to no avail. In other words, (unless you have had to price these types of dentures called “mini implants”) I was going to have to cough up anywhere from $8,000.00 to some the charge $16,000.00! Now these are the dentists that have been through enough “training” to do certain types of “oral surgeries”, not the Physician Dentists, the true Oral and Maxillary Surgeons MD. I am sure when you look at the fact they usually put you under complete anesthetic in an operating room, and have several nurses and so on assisting them, they charge I would say $25,000.00 and UP! By the time you pay his services, a anesthesia doctor, all of the charges for an “outpatient” stay at a day surgery or hospital setting, I know from the extensive surgeries I’ve had due to all of these horrid, life altering chronic illnesses, it certainly would be a great deal more than $8,000.00. And “they” MAY be able to get my Medicare Advantage Plan to “pay”… with some pushing, pulling, red tape, & lots of time before I could have anything done, BUT the insurance ONLY PAYS 60% of any type of “dental” procedure no matter if the problem has been caused by an Illness! So, that means by the time you added up all of those “extra’s” involved where I would have to travel back and forth from Dallas many times to get it all done (so far I have had about 5 appointments to do all of this, and still have another at least 3 to go)… thus you are looking at the cost of gas, parking, and what if something happened after hours or a weekend? Like a dry socket, of which I had one, and also the start of an infection. But, I am within 5 minutes of my dentist/oral surgeon, thus I can be in there and getting care within an hour or two. And I am sure if something happened over the weekend that called for attention, he would go to the office and see me. Now, as it is, after an almost “deadly” car accident that my husband (who more or less has been my “caretaker” now for almost 10 years) last March. An 18-wheel tractor trailer “ran over” him from the back. Aa of now he is barely able to walk, much less drive anywhere. So, I have only myself to depend upon. My 2 children live 8 or more hours away, and my Mom, who I am “watching after” and helping out at times, can barely drive to the grocery store and back home that is about 10 blocks or less, thus there is NO way I could have been going to Dallas, being “put under” and driving myself home.

This part of my story only touches the “iceberg” of what I’ve had to endure. Lupus, RA, Sjögren’s, Raynaud’s, Osteoarthritis, Migraines, two heart attacks, one at the age of 40 (now they think the Lupus may have caused them, but that was years ago before I was diagnosed), plus all of the complications that go along with these illnesses. They can “attack” just about any part of the body, from the brain, to kidneys, to your heart and lungs, blood vessels, skin, and that list just goes on and on. As I have come to find out also, once they “finally diagnose” you, more than likely you have “several AI’s, causing the problems. (AI- Autoimmune diseases). We NEED HELP! WE NEED more RESEARCH, TRAINED PHYSICIANS ON THESE ILLNESSES, including DENTISTS, MORE MEDICATIONS, TO BE DIAGNOSED EARLY BEFORE all of your body is falling apart from them. We need to find out what causes these chronic illnesses, whether heredity, or caused by something later in life. The number of people (WOMEN rank MUCH HIGHER in getting any of these than men), grows each day. Some of us, like myself, may have been ill for many years, 10 years, or more BEFORE they finally get a doctor who takes the time to sit down, and put together the pieces of the puzzle of someone with one or more of these illnesses. But, doctors are overwhelmed, underpaid, and just do not have the time, even as specialists, like Rheumatologists, to really EXAMINE a patient, and there past medical issues to find out their patient is ill with a disease that could have been there for a decade or more, By the time mine were found out, I had already had both knees replaced (after several arthroscopic surgeries), an elbow surgery, arthroscopic surgery on both shoulders, my right one now replaced completely. I have osteoporosis, and mine is “severe” in range. I have the bones of someone 80 plus years old.

This past 6 weeks have been especially an extremely fought time for me. Due to the Sjogren’s literally eating away from the inside out, and no one knowing it until it was too late, I have had to endure having two sets of 5 at a time teeth pulled, much of it difficult due to the teeth being so brittle, thus difficult to excise, then after going through a couple of times trying to make sure the complete regular dentures will fit right for now, I went through a couple of visits for that. I finally got my “new teeth” just this past week on August 12th, 2014. Yet, I still had 11 teeth that had to be pulled all at once, then my gums were sutured shut, after my dentist had to do some “filing” to my bone so the dentures will fit properly, and then my gums were sutured closed in the front, top and bottom. I did then immediately get my dentures put is, but of course with extremely swollen gums, suturing and a great deal of bruising due to all of the local anesthetic being put in the syringes, then the extracting in itself, my gums developed some very sore spots, and even several mouth ulcers. Those I get with Sjogren’s to my dismay. I HAVE to be able to wear these teeth, since I have none of my own now. And I cannot have them “modified” to be held in with the “mini implants” until the bone is completely healed from where all of the teeth were extracted first. This process could take 90 to maybe even 120 days. My problem is trying to have my own mouth accept them, due to the issues of ulcers, and other problems I develop in my mouth due to the Sjogren’s. Then even at that there is already over $4,000.00 paid all of my pocket to get this far with the dentures. Then in another 90-120 days, there will be another $1200.00 (what was “left off accidentally the original treatment plan to pull all of the 11 teeth left) that we were not expecting, then another over $3,000.00 just to have those four “mini-implant posts” put into place in my gums, then the dentures modified to fit properly on those posts. If I could wear the dentures as they are now, I may not have to incur the last $3,000.00 plus BUT I can already see since I am suffering from ulcers, (probably a bad flare of the Lupus, Sjogren’s, and RA) from all of the trauma to getting this far with the dentures, and all of the other very stressful things going on in my life at the present, it has brought a bad flaring up of the autoimmune illness. When this happens, I can have everything from those types of very painful mouth issues, severe Lupus Headaches, severe fatigue, swelling of my joints, the “mylar rash” on my face, & numerous other symptoms that are from these illnesses. It is shameful the amount of time, the loss of quality of life I have sufferer and continue to suffer, the lack of enough research, medication, doctors, and other medical items that may help to put these illnesses in permanent remission, or not get them at all, then I have to fight “tooth and nail” (no pun intended) to get my Medicare Advantage Plan to pay a dime, especially when it comes to anything to do with the huge burden of expense of all that I have endured with my mouth, and the Sjogren’s that causes it. I want to see this change, for myself, and also for many others, some I have met recently that are going through the same situation that I am. Most of them like myself, really taking on a very heavy financial burden because they cannot get Medicare or a Medicare Advantage Plan to cover any of this even though it is a “medical” problem, not dental per se. For some $9,880.00 plus (because I already had several teeth that rotted down to the gum and had to be pulled before the procedure of getting my mouth ready for the dentures) may not think that is a great sum some of money. BUT, someone living on Social Security Disability, and the spouse (my husband) that had been my “caretaker” for the most part, then he was in a severe, almost life taking vehicle accident on March 26th, 2014 and spent almost 4 months in the hospital, with many complicated injuries including his spinal cord. Thus now he had massive health needs, puts even more of a burden on my life and on his that I an barely begin to tell about. He was hit from behind by an 18 wheel tractor trailer that day, and rushed to Baylor Emergency in Dallas, where he was operated on for basically a “broken back”, 7 broken ribs, and the list of injuries goes on and on. So, us trying to take care of one another is a daily struggle. Again we begin all over to try and find proper physicians for him through the system, and much like I have come to find out, many doctors are refusing to take any Medicaid patient, and now even worse, are refusing to take Medicare patients, due to not getting paid properly, and in a reasonable time length.

I would like to see for one Medicare or these Medicare Advantage plans cover MORE on something such as Sjogren’s, that is not “dental” in nature, but caused by a physical illness. I would also ask that rather than put up a road block, where the patient cannot get through to anyone at Medicare to explain the problems, or be able to get our doctors and dentists to be able to help get these types of things paid for just as any other type of chronic illness. I cannot express enough the huge amount of emotional, physical, mental, and financial anguish I have been through, and still have more to go just to be able to eat. But, my teeth are what can sustain my life, and without them, I am at risk for all types of other physical and emotional issues.

I realize we have many people in our nation, and around the globe in need of all types of medical attention. Yet, in a great nation such as the United States, our people should not have to bear such a hardship, and not have anywhere to turn to get any type of financial assistance with something so critical as your teeth. I did NOT cause this, the disease did.

I ask you to see if there is a way to change this system, give help to get things like this paid for or at least a good portion paid for by Medicare and/or a Medicare Advantage Plan. I ask you to get the funds out there to get more specialists, so we have enough doctors to are qualified and trained, that have went through a major study of these life altering illnesses, and can give us back our quality of life, and find these illnesses and have the ability to treat them before 5, 10, of more years go by and the damage has already been done.

I feel I do my part by voting, by participating as a volunteer, activist, and Ambassador for several organizations that are trying to change the face of Arthritis, Autoimmune Diseases, and all of the other medical problems that come with them, I sign petitions, I send letters, make calls, and send emails. I am somewhat limited to do what I can medically and monetarily, but in the ways I can try to stand up and make a difference, I give it my all. Now, I ask you do to the same. Stand up for all of us that want our quality of life back, to be able to do the simple things in life like eat, do a hobby, work in a garden, or whatever you may want to do, by giving the way with funds, research and voting for bills that will reduce the terrible burden off of those like myself.

Thank you for your time and for listening. I hope my “one” voice can help to make a difference.