Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ups and Downs

I think this moodiness may just kill me. I have been so moody lately. My husband is really a dream, works 10-14 hrs a day then comes home and does the dishes or whatever else I need and lately I have just been so bitchy. I hate being that way, reminds me of my mother, but I can't control it. Like right now it is 3 am I am sitting here with tears streaming down my face. I have no idea why. Well, maybe exhaustion. I overdid it Thursday helping my friend with her computer, which I really wanted to do for her I just don't think either of us expected setting up her new computer to take so long. It wasn't the physical stuff that took so long, although I was laying on my stomach under the desk at one time folding cords up and tying each individual one up with a velcro strip. The other stuff, setting the actual pc up. First we couldn't get the cable modem to work. I spent 20 mins on the phone with someone out of country, finally he says "I am going to give you a ticket number because when I reset your modem we will lose the call. Resetting the modem should fix the problem but if it doesn't just call back and give the ticket number". So I wait the three minutes, call back give the ticket number and the new representative says to me right away "did you try the standby button? press and hold it for three seconds and then try the internet". Fixed. Geez. One thing our cable company offers is a free antivirus software called CA Internet Suite that I really think is fantastic so why should she have to pay for Norton? No reason, so I uninstalled Norton and downloaded the CA. Downloaded Picasa. If you haven't discovered Picasa yet it is another free program this time by Google. It is for photos. When I changed from my laptop to my new PC (thank you again Marty, I love u little bro) I uploaded all my photos to web albums on Picasa and then downloaded what I wanted to back onto my PC. All the others are still on my private, unlisted, web albums where I can access them any time I want but they aren't clogging up my computer.
So back to my moods, sorry I tend to digress at 4 am. I feel like I went through the entire range of emotions in less than 12 hours, happy, excited, angry, royally pissed off (same thing?? I don't know, not in this case), insulted, and then just exhausted, in pain, and crying. I took two xanax so I am starting to feel calm and hopefully sleep will come soon. I really must make an appointment to go back to my primary care doctor to see about a mood stabilizer, I feel like I am all over the place. I have been told this is quite normal for bipolar. I'm not sure. Ideas? Comments?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Kim's Pink Kiss Cookies (meringue)

These are my sister in law, Kim's recipe. However, when I made them I used 3/4 cup of splenda instead of sugar and sugar free jello. Also, I tried to make them the regular way with sugar first, but the egg whites wouldn't thicken enough. My friend, Ronnee, told me to chill the bowl, and it worked!!!! oh, and I skipped the chocolate chips cause I forgot them. Also, I had to cook them for about an extra 45 minutes, seriously. Must \ be the crazy humidity here, I had looked at a few recipes online that said that could happen. I ate one after 30 mins and tasted like a big marshmallow. Probably not so great to eat uncooked egg whites, oops!

3 egg whites (let eggs come to room temperature)
1/8tsp salt
3/4 c sugar
1 1/2 tblsp strawberry jello
1/2 c chocolate chips

Beat egg whites and salt til fluffy. Add sugar and jello, beat til stiff. The mixing process must add LOTS of air or it will not work. No kitchen aid mixers.

Fold in chocolate chips. Drop with spoon onto lightly greased then floured pans.

Bake at 250 degrees for roughly 25 -30 minutes. Observe for pink chalky color.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Crippling pain ... Fibromyalgia

denylady: I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia a few years ago, but no doctor explained to me how ill this makes you. Even if I do too much house work or try to do something a bit strenuous it can put me to bed for a couple of days as I become so ill.

My feet are the worst thing, the pain on the bottom of my feet is awful. I can only walk short distances, when I tell doctors they just look confused and can't seem to give me any advice.
Can you shed some light on this illness for me as I get so depressed as I feel no one understands how I feel?

Dr Carol Cooper: You're right - nobody really knows how or why fibromyalgia makes you feel ill, or even exactly what it is.
On the whole, one of the best treatments is to pace yourself and gradually increase your activities till you get back to near-normal levels.
Strenuous activity, as you've learned, is counter-productive because you pay for it afterwards.
If you're depressed, an antidepressant and/or counselling might be an idea. Even if you're not depressed, antidepressants can help - it's been discovered that in small doses (too small to work against depression), some antidepressants help all sorts of chronic pain. If you haven't talked it over with your GP, that should probably be your next step.

And have you had a look at the useful site
p.s. For those of you who don't know fibromyalgia sufferers have decreased levels of seratonin, which is why antidepressants tend to help, they increase levels of seratonin in the blood (so does chocolate!).

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Admiration of Strength and Courage

My cousin is a fighter. That I have always known. She's the oldest of seven kids. was a second mother to all of them. I think all but two have lived with her at some point including me. She's worked two or three jobs when she's had to in order to support her family.

She's five foot tall and has never been afraid to tell someone how it is even if they are six foot 250 pounds. I used to make her crazy. I was the kid who was so shy I sat off by myself while the other kids played kickball at recess. I would never stand up for myself, which is what made her crazy. She taught me how when I lived with her. For which I will be eternally grateful (although others who find my bluntness rude may disagree).
In some ways we are so much alike. Neither of us have ever been able to hide our dislike of someone. Both of us count loyalty as one of the top traits we both admire and expect in a person. In some ways we are not alike. Nine months ago she had a car accident. She has a dislocated jaw she was supposed to have surgery on today (postponed due to more problems with...), she has swelling of the brain, she is having some kind of problem with all the discs in her back from top to bottom that I don't understand, neuropathy of the brain stem, some kind of eyesight problems, including temporary blindness at times. and the list goes on.
I thought I knew pain. I can not begin to fathom the pain she is in. But she still works at least weekends as a waitress. I don't understand how she does it. I can't help but compare our situations and find hers extremely worse, yet she has the steel to still work, as a waitress nonetheless. On her feet probably 8 hours a day. This blows my mind. I think I am green with envy. I have to say that today, my cousin is the person I admire most. For she makes me look inward, find myself lacking in steel, and determined to do better. 

Strenth and Courage author unkown

It takes strength to fit in.

It takes courage to stand out.

It takes strength to feel a friend's pain.
It takes courage to feel your own pain.

It takes strength to hide your own pains.
It takes courage to show them.

It takes strength to endure abuse.
It takes courage to stop it.

It takes strength to stand alone.
It takes courage to lean on another.

It takes strength to love.
It takes courage to be loved.

It takes strength to survive.
It takes courage to live.

~~ Author Unknown ~~

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Job Quest Part I

There are people who have worse physical disabilities than me. In fact, there are millions of people who have worst disabilities than me. I see actor Christopher Reeves directing films, it's inspirational. I watch So You Think You Can Dance and there is a woman trying out who lost her arm, but still dances, another dancer who is dancing in spite of not being able to hear the music. But, I am not these people. I list the types of jobs I've had in the past:

  • permitter (drove 300-500 miles a day to building departments all over the state). Obviously this is impossible because I can't drive anymore due to the peripheral neuropathy in my hands.
  • convention & meeting coordinator / party planner. Wow, I was so good at this job. I'm not just saying that I am incredibly creative and we through some fantastic parties for some fantastic people. But this job is out too, it requires 18 hour days that include lifting, climbing, and even creativity such as floral arrangements and other arts & crafts type that I love. The whole of this job just eliminates itself as a possibility.
  • Working at Disney booking hotel reservations. My favorite job ever. Talking to guests on the phone 8 hours a day and typing information into the computer that long also. Sitting 8 hours a day is impossible given the muscle spasms in my shoulders, neck, and head. Plus, I am unable to do the typing. I could use my voice recognition software to type for me, but the problem with that is I can't talk to the customer and talk to the voice recognition program at the same time. Someone or something would certainly end up confused!
I want to be Christopher Reeves, the girl who dances in spite of not being able to hear the music. I want to be that inspirational. For now I struggle. I write my blog. I get letters from people that tell me I am inspirational and I have helped them. And that feels so incredible I can not describe it. Yet, to be inspirational and to help people does not help my husband move us above poverty, keep a roof over our head, food in our mouths.
I consider the perfect jobs:
  • being paid to blog. I can do it from home in my pajamas. I can do it if I am in the worst flare. My hands can look and feel like I spent the afternoon punching a wall. I can toss my cookies all day, and I don't need someone to drive me there.
  • Walmart greeter!! I'm pleasant, oh, but I can't stand more than a few minutes, let alone hours. Damn.
  • job sharing like an administrative assistant position, or even a sales position. But, the location would have to be somewhere I can get to on the handy bus, and I need to be able to use the Dragon Naturally Speaking program for typing. Which means my cubicle would have to be pretty sound proof so as not to drive other employees nuts.
Now what I need is a plan who to talk to, what organizations can help me.
This I will leave for part 2.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Neuropathy Quiz By Patrick Lowe, D.C.

 Rank Each Question 1-10

1 means it rarely happens or is very very mild

10 means it is Severe or Constant

___My hands feel like I am wearing invisible gloves on them or my feet feel like I am wearing invisible socks on them.

___I feel like someone is stabbing me with a thousand pins or needles.

___I am sensitive to being touched, causing sensations of burning, freezing or electric shocks.

___I am tormented by numbness, tingling or loss of feeling in my arms, hands or legs

___My hands go weak, I drop things.

_____ Total Score

Single question scoring

1 to 5 in any question you probably have mild to moderate neuropathy

5 to 10 in any question you probably have moderate to severe neuropathy

Total Scores

2 to 5 may indicate mild neuropathy

6 to 15 may indicate moderate neuropathy

15 or higher may be considered severe neuropathy

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Diabetes Friendly Double Chocolate Cheesecake

24 sugar-fre Oreo cookies (about a pack and a half) crushed
1/4 cup butter or margarine melted
4 packages, 8 ounce each, cream cheese, softened
1 cup Splenda
2 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 package, eight squares, bakers semi sweet chocolate melted and cooled
4 eggs

Heat oven to 325°F. Mix crumbs and butter, press onto bottom of a 13 x 9 pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Beat cream cheese, flour, and vanilla with mixer until blended. Add chocolate, mix well. Add eggs one at a time, mixing on low after each just until blended. Pour over crust. Bake 45 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool completely. Refrigerate four hours. Serve with fresh berries if desired.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

My Breasts Are Lumpy: What Does It Mean?

I have fibrocystic breasts. I am also at high risk for breast cancer, as there have been multiple relatives with both of breast and other types of cancer on both sides of my family I have a micro-cluster of calcifications that I'm told is precancerous yes if I think about this, it does worry me some. My problem is with the fibrocystic breasts they are lumpy. According to the Mayo Clinic fibrocystic breast disease is a very common noncancerous benign condition the cause of the condition is unknown. However, it is thought to be associated with the change in hormones in premenopausal women. It is also associated with the hormone fluctuations during a woman's menstrual cycle.
Fibrocystic breast syndrome may or may not come with pain . The pain can be intense and is generally in the upper outer quadrant of the breast. Moist heat, a reduction in your intake of caffeine and a good support bra may help relieve your symptoms. According to Dr. John Lee's book, "What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Premenopause," natural progesterone cream applied at a dose of "15 to 20 mg per day from ovulation until a day or two before your period returns will usually result in a return to normal breast tissue in three to four months." Dr. Lee further advises that once the desired results have been obtained that you should taper your dose of natural progesterone down until you have reached the minimum dosage required for you to maintain your results. Dr. Lee , also recommends the use of Vitamin E, in doses ranging from 400 IU to 600 IU per day, to reduce symptoms associated with fibrocystic breast changes. Other vitamin suggestions include Vitamin B6, a B complex, and magnesium.

What to Do When You Find a Lump in Your Breast

First, don't panic. Calmly call your physician to schedule an appointment and ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is the date of your last period?
  • When did you discover the lump?
  • Is there a family history of breast problems?
  • Have you had any previous breast problems?
  • Have you had a previous breast biopsy or other breast surgery?
  • How does the lump feel? Is it hard or soft? Does it feel grainy?
  • How big is the lump and has is grown larger or smaller since you discovered it?
  • Do you have any nipple discharge?
  • Are you taking any medications?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Managing Chronic Pain: 10 Steps from Patient to Person

Making the journey from patient to person takes time. The isolation and fear that can overwhelm a person with chronic pain grows over time. And the return to a fuller, more rewarding life also takes time.

It’s a journey with many phases. The ACPA describes these phases as Ten Steps.

The ACPA’s Ten Steps For Moving From Patient To Person.

STEP 1: Accept the Pain
Learn all you can about your physical condition. Understand that there may be no current cure and accept that you will need to deal with the fact of pain in your life.

STEP 2: Get Involved
Take an active role in your own recovery. Follow your doctor's advice and ask what you can do to move from a passive role into one of partnership in your own health care.

STEP 3: Learn to Set Priorities
Look beyond your pain to the things that are important in your life. List the things that you would like to do. Setting priorities can help you find a starting point to lead you back into a more active life.

STEP 4: Set Realistic Goals
We all walk before we run. Set goals that are within your power to accomplish or break a larger goal down into manageable steps. And take time to enjoy your successes.

STEP 5: Know Your Basic Rights
We all have basic rights. Among these are the right to be treated with respect, to say no without guilt, to do less than humanly possible, to make mistakes, and to not need to justify your decisions, with words or pain.

STEP 6: Recognize Emotions
Our bodies and minds are one. Emotions directly affect physical well being. By acknowledging and dealing with your feelings, you can reduce stress and decrease the pain you feel.

STEP 7: Learn to Relax
Pain increases in times of stress. Relaxation exercises are one way of reclaiming control of your body. Deep breathing, visualization, and other relaxation techniques can help you to better manage the pain you live with.

STEP 8: Exercise
Most people with chronic pain fear exercise. But unused muscles feel more pain than toned flexible ones. With your doctor, identify a modest exercise program that you can do safely. As you build strength, your pain can decrease. You'll feel better about yourself, too.

STEP 9: See the Total Picture
As you learn to set priorities, reach goals, assert your basic rights, deal with your feelings, relax, and regain control of your body, you will see that pain does not need to be the center of your life. You can choose to focus on your abilities, not your disabilities. You will grow stronger in your belief that you can live a normal life in spite of chronic pain.

STEP 10: Reach Out
It is estimated that one person in three suffers with some form of chronic pain. Once you have begun to find ways to manage your chronic pain problem, reach out and share what you know. Living with chronic pain is an ongoing learning experience. We all support and learn from each other.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

First Appeal Denied

I'm sure you can guess I am pretty disappointed right now. Here I sit speaking into a microphone which translates my spoken words into type written ones, yet, the great powers that be tell me there are no reasons why I could not continue in the sales position in which I was previously employed or a similar position. 

This is from the Social Security website:

What We Mean By Disability

The definition of disability under Social Security is different than other programs. Social Security pays only for total disability. No benefits are payable for partial disability or for short-term disability.

"Disability" under Social Security is based on your inability to work. We consider you disabled under Social Security rules if:

  • You cannot do work that you did before;

  • We decide that you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s); and

  • Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.

This is a strict definition of disability. Social Security program rules assume that working families have access to other resources to provide support during periods of short-term disabilities, including workers' compensation, insurance, savings and investments.

In this, what the Social Security office specifies as a strict definition of disability, they specifically say “you cannot do work that you did before." I'm baffled, for lack of a better term, baffled. I will appeal, which means next step going in front of a judge. It can take up to two years to get a court date. I'm frustrated, I know my husband is frustrated. I feel bad for my husband. He works 50 to 80 hours a week so that we can scrape by. Then, when he is off, he helps me around the house by vacuuming or mopping. At least he's frustrated with the system not with me.

Next week. I have my first visit with a new neurologist. I will keep you informed.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

What are the signs of diabetes?

Some common signs and symptoms of diabetes are:

  • tired all the time
  • always thirsty
  • sudden weight loss
  • blurry vision
  • always hungry
  • vaginal infections
  • numb or tingling hands or feet
  • wounds that won't heal
  • urinating often
  • problems with sex

Thursday, October 1, 2009

My Grandma

Anyone who knows me can tell you what a huge proponate of Breast Cancer Awareness I am. In fact last year for my birthday I received two big gift bags of “Think Pink” gear. The year before, pink pots and pans (which inspired a pink kitchen that thrills my husband). In fact, october is my favorite month. Breast Cancer Awareness, aka “Think Pink!” month is like my Christmas – pink everywhere.

What people may not realize or know is I am not a Breast Cancer Awareness fan or supporter because I love pink, rather I’m a pink fan because I’m a breast cancer awareness supporter. In 1979 my Grandmother, Virginia Phoenix, died from cancer that started in her breast. She had a large lump which, I understand from my Mother, she ignored for quite a while. By the time she went to the doctor it was too late, the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes then her entire body. I was eleven at the time so I don’t remember much about her… her smile, her thin curly short thin gray hair. Large family dinners at the holidays with a table that seemed to stretch for miles (Grandma had 8 children some of whom had large families themselves), her love of the color lavender or purple.
This is why I love pink. Right now I want you to feel your boobies. That’s right feel ‘em. Better yet, have someone feel them for you. And, if you haven’t had a mammorgram recently pick up the phone and schedule that too. YES, RIGHT NOW….. GO!!!!

Chicken n Veggie Orzo

I was hungry for a different kind of chicken noodle type soup one day and started fooling around. I didn't come up with a new soup recipe but I did discover this and it is sooooo good, I promise you. My husband who does not care for zucchini or red bell pepper really likes it.

2 chicken breasts
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium tomato diced (about 3/4 - 1 c)
1 medium zucchini diced (also about 1 c)
1/2 c diced red bell pepper
1/2 c green onions (the green end) chopped
1 c orzo
2 c chicken broth
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1 tsp thyme

Cook chicken in olive oil. While that is cooking chop veggies. Remove chicken from pan when cooked. Put orzo, veggies, broth, garlic, and thyme in pan. Set timer for 7 mins. Chop chicken while that is cooking. Add chicken to pan when orzo finished and stir. Enjoy!!