Posts by christy:
- Infected meat
- Some processed foods (deli meats, hot dogs, soft cheeses)
- Unpasteurized milk
- Food products made with unpasteurized milk
- Raw vegetables and fruit
- Unborn babies
- Elderly people with weakened immune systems
- People with kidney disease, diabetes, and chronic liver disease
- Muscle aches
- Stiff neck
- Body weakness
- Blood test
- Urine/feces test
- Spinal Fluid test
- Rest/increased fluid intake
- Hospitalized in some cases
- C – Change in bowel or bladder habits
- A – A sore that does not heal
- U – Unusual bleeding or discharge
- T – Thickening or lump in the breast or any part of the body
- I – Indigestion or difficulty swallowing
- O – Obvious change in a wart or mole
- N – Nagging cough or hoarseness
It is estimated that each year, 48 million people in the US fall ill due to contaminated food. Listeria is a bacteria that is found in water, soil, and some animals (mainly cattle and poultry). Symptoms can appear anywhere between 3 and 70 days but usually they appear within a month. In some cases, Listeria can lead to meningitis (inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord) or septicemia (blood infection).
People who are at risk:
Cancer is a disease in which abnormal cells divide and multiply uncontrollably. These cells do not respond to growth-inhibiting signals so as they multiply, they lose shape and boundaries. When these abnormal cells divide, they are formed in excess, which creates a tumor. Sometimes these tumor cells detach and enter the blood system or the lymphatic system. When this occurs, the cancer can spread to other parts of the body which is known as metastasis, which means the spread from one part of the body to another.
Genetics – although rare, some cancers are inherited by an abnormal gene passed down from one generation to another
Smoking – leading cancer causing agent is tar – tar has over 50 know chemicals which are linked to cancer
Sun – ultraviolet radiation (UV exposure)
Other Carcinogens – some examples are asbestos, lead, pollution, etc.
The American Cancer Society developed “C.A.U.T.I.O.N” as a way to identify cancer symptoms.
The American Cancer Society estimates 1,596,670 Americans will be diagnosed with cancer in 2011. This year alone, they are expecting 571,950 Americans to die from this disease.
I’m saddened every time I hear of a newly diagnosed case. Last year, my daughter’s 1st grade teacher found out that she had breast cancer. In September of 2009, I watched my friends 9 year old daughter lose the fight against brain cancer. It seems that the more and more people I talk with, the more cancer becomes an everyday topic. We have to find a cure! If you are a woman, make sure you get a yearly pap smear, breast exam, and a mammogram (my gynecologist recommends a mammogram at 37 years old). If you are a guy get your prostate checked. If you smoke, try to quit. I know that preventive care can’t catch all types of cancer but it is the step in the right direction.
I hope everyone has a fun and safe 4th of July! We are having some friends over for a BBQ and then we might head over to Schnepf Farm in Queen Creek. Luckily, the weather shouldn’t go any higher than 106° today.
Lately, I have been browsing other chronic pain blogs and so far, my two favorite blogs are:
I really enjoyed Connie’s “Tips To Brighten Up A Doctor Appointment”.
- The receptionist should say hello to me when I sign in (or nod to me if she/he is busy on the phone or with another patient) A smile just makes you feel welcomed.
- Have current magazines in the waiting room. Include subscriptions to various types. It’s not fun to sit there for an hour or two with a golf magazine from 1999.
- Be sure that the waiting room has comfortable chairs. Lots of people going to a doctor’s office, don’t feel well. Don’t add to their discomfort with hard or sagging chairs.
- Staff should wear name tags and introduce themselves. It feels awkward to tell an unnamed person that I have hemorrhoids.
- Nurses and medical technicians should wear neat and clean medical scrubs. I always wonder if someone remembered to wash their hands if their clothes look dirty.
- Ask me how I’d like to be addressed. Don’t assume I feel comfortable being called by my first name. (I do, but a lot of older people don’t.)
- Have some reading material in the medical office (read #2). Most of the time, you’re going to be waiting a while for the doctor to come in after you’ve seen the nurse or medical technician.
- Don’t act like you’re in a rush, even if you are. Please give me the time I deserve in your office. I may have questions or problems that I need to talk to you about, Doctor. It may take me a while to warm up to you.
- If you’re going to explain something complex to me about a prescription or a treatment, provide me with something in writing so I’ll remember it. Be sure I can understand your writing, or better yet, have printed copies ready.
I’m really glad she shared these tips because, starting in August, I will be a hospital volunteer. I can’t wait to experience the hospital environment. It is the perfect opportunity while I wait for a space in nursing school. Yes, there is a wait of 1 1/2 to 2 years after submitting all the paperwork. I’ve been on the list for over a year now so I should be a nursing student by Spring 2012. YEAH!!
My other favorite blog is The Truth About JRA by Robin.
I really believe that better health can make a HUGE difference in the way we feel. Seeing that I am 25lbs over weight and a total Chocoholic, I really need to make some changes. My husband and I are starting plans for a garden in our side yard. I would LOVE to go to the Take Back Your Health Conference in Arlington, VA but with many things, the cost will hold us back. For right now, we will begin our garden and slowly work on eliminating the junk food from our house.
Have a great weekend!
I know many people have similar costs but I’d like to share ours. I debated for awhile before sharing this. Do I really want the world to know what we pay per month? Would I upset someone by saying that our medical expenses are high when they might be paying more? Well, I decided that I would share them anyways. I need to hear someone tell me that, “Yes, we pay the same amount or thereabouts.” When I talk with people in my neighborhood, they just shake their head and say, “WOW.” Is our family the only family that pays this much? Are we doing something wrong? Is there another route we could take that wouldn’t cost so much? I just don’t understand why our medical costs are so high.
Well, here are our medical costs. My husband works for a small company so I know our medical coverage is higher than a person that works for a big company. We pay $1,153.18 per month for our family of four. This doesn’t count Kevin’s appointments with his pain management doctor. So, now we were at $1,253.18 per month. Could it get any worse? Yep!! Our insurance company refuses to cover one type of medication he needs, so now our total number adds up to $1,453.18. But wait, we aren’t done yet. We still have 4 prescriptions at $15 co-pays.
Our total monthly medical expenses:
- Insurance Premium: $1.153.18
- Kevin’s Doctor: $100.00
- Kevin’s Medicine that is covered: $60
- Medication they won’t cover: $200
Now, I know some will say, “Go to a different doctor.” Well, when Kevin made his first appointment, the office staff said that the doctor had submitted all the paperwork to our insurance company and that she should be recognized within the next 3 months. In the mean time, Kevin was forming a great doctor/patient relationship. Since our co-pay for a specialist is $60, we decided that an extra $40 was money well spent. Now, the medication you might ask. Well, the medication works! What else can we do? Without this medication, Kevin wouldn’t be able to work. So we weighed our options, 1.) pay another $200 per month or 2.) go on disability? We chose option number 1.
After paying this monthly bill for over a year, we realized that something needed to give; we were drowning in medical bills. A little while ago, we started looking into private insurance. After crunching numbers, we decided to take the kids and myself off of his companies plan and go the private route. Private insurance will cost $478.99 per month instead of his companies at $1,153.18. We still pay the other costs for a monthly total of $838.99. Unfortunately, I was diagnosed with Hypothryroidism last year so my new insurance plan won’t cover any “pre-existing” medical problems. My “pre-existing” was discovered 6 months ago! We buy my medicine for $25 per month and are crossing our fingers that I won’t have any serious issues with my thyroid.
I’m so upset because our daughter needs braces on her teeth and Kevin’s teeth are rotting because the medication causes dental problems. Unfortunately, we can’t afford the $500 down and $150 per month for braces or $3,500 to repair Kevin’s teeth. We aren’t saving to go on a vacation; we are saving in order to pay more medical bills.
I know soooooo many people are in the same boat and it is frustrating!! Why do we have to pay so much money? Why are we spending all this money to find out that doctor appointments and medications are not covered?
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I know I’m behind on articles but after 10 years of renting in Arizona and Costa Rica, we are finally homeowners again. I’m excited but I will miss the freedom that comes with renting. Homeownership also scares me since my husband has a chronic pain condition that will most likely get worse and not better in years to come. Since I don’t work and it will take another 1 ½ before I’m accepted into nursing school, I know we will have to sell if something happens with Kevin’s hands. Life with chronic pain is sooooo hard.
Last week, I watched the movie, “Under Our Skin.” Aside from freaking me out, I couldn’t believe how many people have Lyme disease and the amount of pain caused by this disease. I’ve heard about Lyme disease but I always thought the doctor would happily prescribe a medication similar to the pills they use for strep throat and, voilà, cured! Well, after watching this movie, I couldn’t believe how wrong my thinking was.
It is easy to treat but the hard part seems to be with diagnosing. In this movie, people had to fight the doctors to get them to believe that Lyme disease was a possibility. One woman said her doctor got mad when she suggested the idea. Since the doctor didn’t want to look at the possibility, it allowed her disease to progress into the later stages. I don’t understand why a doctor would get mad for the suggestion.
I was also shocked by Marlena’s story. She loved ballet and was in the Nutcracker several times. Her Lyme infection got to the point where she couldn’t hold a knife or walk. The doctors told her parents that it was in Marlena’s head and that she needed to stop the act; there was nothing wrong with her. While her parents fought for her, the Lyme bacteria entered her brain. How heartbreaking! What if the doctors did listen the first time? Would Marlena be dancing now? One will never know but it is hard not wondering.
Lyme disease is spread by a tick bite which causes inflammation. Ticks are infected by biting deer or mice that carry the disease. The first report of Lyme disease occurred in Old Lyme, Connecticut in 1975. Under Our Skin (2009) argues that chronic Lyme disease does exist but sadly, Infectious Diseases Society of America still doesn’t recognized chronic Lyme disease.
- Bulls-eye shaped rash around the bit site
- Muscle pains
In the later stages, symptoms may include:
- Polymerase chain reaction (PCR)
- Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)
- Western blot test
If left untreated, long term complications can include:
- Nerve damage
- Paralysis of face muscles
- Overall pain
- Vision problems
- Memory/concentration problems
- Sleep problems
If you believe you have Lyme disease and/or have been misdiagnosed, please find a doctor that will listen to you!! This needs to be treated before long term complications occur.
I’m trying to keep this blog focused on the topic of chronic pain but I’d like to bring this topic to attention too. In 1979, 6 year old Etan Patz disappeared in New York City on his way to the bus stop. In 1981, 6 year old Adam Walsh was kidnapped from a mall in Florida. Then in 1982, Wayne Williams was convicted of killing 29 children in Atlanta, Georgia. With all the media attention and lack of communication from state to state, Ronald Regan announced that May 25th would be recognized as National Missing Children’s Day. This year marks the 29th anniversary.
I will always remember the day Mikelle Biggs disappeared. She vanished around the time I found out that I was pregnant. This was when I realized that I needed to make sure my kids knew about safety from an early age. Safety tips are so important!! I know they aren’t fool proof but like the saying goes, “knowledge is power.”
Date Missing: 1/2/1999
Missing from: Mesa, Arizona
Date of Birth: 5/31/1987
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has created a program called, “take 25”. Please read the safety tips below or visit their website.
25 ways to make kids safer
- Teach your children their full names, address, and home telephone number. Make sure they know your full name.
- Make sure your children know how to reach you at work or on your cell phone.
- Teach your children how and when to use 911 and make sure your children have a trusted adult to call if they’re scared or have an emergency.
- Instruct children to keep the door locked and not to open the door to talk to anyone when they are home alone. Set rules with your children about having visitors over when you’re not home and how to answer the telephone.
- Choose babysitters with care. Obtain references from family, friends, and neighbors. Once you have chosen the caregiver, drop in unexpectedly to see how your children are doing. Ask children how the experience with the caregiver was and listen carefully to their responses.
- Learn about the Internet. The more you know about how the Web works, the better prepared you are to teach your children about potential risks. Visit www.NetSmartz.org for more information about Internet safety.
- Place the family computer in a common area, rather than a child’s bedroom. Also, monitor their time spent online and the websites they’ve visited and establish rules for Internet use.
- Know what other access your child may have to the Internet at school, libraries, or friends’ homes.
- Use privacy settings on social networking sites to limit contact with unknown users and make sure screen names don’t reveal too much about your children.
- Encourage your children to tell you if anything they encounter online makes them feel sad, scared, or confused.
- Caution children not to post revealing information or inappropriate photos of themselves or their friends online.
- Walk the route to and from school with your children, pointing out landmarks and safe places to go if they’re being followed or need help. If your children ride a bus, visit the bus stop with them to make sure they know which bus to take.
- Remind kids to take a friend whenever they walk or bike to school. Remind them to stay with a group if they’re waiting at the bus stop.
- Caution children never to accept a ride from anyone unless you have told them it is OK to do so in each instance.
- Take your children on a walking tour of the neighborhood and tell them whose homes they may visit without you.
- Remind your children it’s OK to say NO to anything that makes them feel scared, uncomfortable, or confused and teach your children to tell you if anything or anyone makes them feel this way.
- Teach your children to ask permission before leaving home.
- Remind your children not to walk or play alone outside.
- Teach your children to never approach a vehicle, occupied or not, unless they know the owner and are accompanied by a parent, guardian, or other trusted adult.
- Practice "what if" situations and ask your children how they would respond. “What if you fell off your bike and you needed help? Who would you ask?”
- Teach your children to check in with you if there is a change of plans.
- During family outings, establish a central, easy-to-locate spot to meet for check-ins or should you get separated.
- Teach your children how to locate help at theme parks, sports stadiums, shopping malls, and other public places. Also, identify those people who they can ask for help, such as uniformed law enforcement, security guards and store clerks with nametags.
- Help your children learn to recognize and avoid potential risks, so that they can deal with them if they happen.
- Teach your children that if anyone tries to grab them, they should make a scene and make every effort to get away by kicking, screaming, and resisting.
Do you live in Arizona? Search and see if you have a registered sex offender near you.
I love neuropathy awareness because my family has been greatly affected by this condition. My husband and I have had to make many life altering decisions. Our second daughter was 2 ½ years old when the doctor diagnosed my husband with bi-lateral idiopathic neuropathy. This was around the time that I wanted to start trying for a 3rd child. Sadly, we knew our life would never be the same so we decided that expanding our family was no longer a good decision for us.
Ever since I was little, I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, drive a minivan, take my kids to soccer and dance, and have a position on the PTO board. Neuropathy changed my dreams. I knew that my life was not going to turn out the way I had wanted.
Shortly after our decision, I went back to college to pursue a career in nursing. Life hasn’t been easy in our family and there were many ups and downs but through all of this, we are still together fighting this condition. My childhood dreams didn’t come true but now I realize that I can still be happy, I just need to alter my life. I love this quote from The Jessicaretor Show, “when life isn’t what you expect, reinvent yourself.”
Now, I’m making new dreams that involve helping people with chronic pain, helping raise awareness, and helping them realize that they are not alone. I wish I would have found a support group in the beginning but I didn’t think anyone would understand what I was going through; after all, my husband was the one that was suffering, not me. Now, I know, this wasn’t true.
Is your spouse or family member suffering from chronic pain? Please let us know how you cope. You can leave a comment or send and email to: email@example.com. Ok, enough about me, what is neuropathy?
Everyday, millions of Americans suffer from neuropathy. According to the latest 2011 report from The American Diabetes Association about 60-70% of diabetics have some form of neuropathy. Neuropathic pain occurs when there is damage to the nerves that are outside of the spinal cord and brain. In neuropathy patients, normal pain signals are sent incorrectly to other pain centers. Usually, neuropathy is defined as peripheral neuropathy.
- Peripheral – nerves that are distant from the spinal cord and brain
- Neuro – nerves
- Pathy – abnormal
There are more than a 100 different types of peripheral neuropathy. Some of the more common ones are: find examples
- Mononeruopathy – problems with one nerve
- Polyneuropathy – problems with many nerves
- Autonomic neuropathy – problems with the nervous system that controls the controls the eyes, lungs, heart, stomach, intestines, bladder, and the sex organs.
- Radiculoplexus neuropathy – problems with the nerves close to the hips and shoulders.
Sadly, physicians have a hard time finding the underlying cause.
- Burning and/or shooting pain
- Tingling and/or numbness
Causes vary but some are:
- Traumatic injury
- Medication side effects
- Metabolic problem
- Amputation – phantom leg pain
- Vitamin deficiencies (vitamin B)
- Spine surgery
- Multiple sclerosis
- Anti-inflammatory drugs
Since neuropathy responds poorly to standard forms of treatment, pain may become better or worse over time. In some patients, neuropathy can cause serious disabilities. Hopefully, through awareness, we can help find a cure!
According to the CDC, there are 50 million adults and 300,000 children suffering from arthritis. Annually, arthritis costs $128 billion in medical care and lost earnings. Arthritis is still the leading cause of disability. There are over 100 different types of arthritis.
Both of my parents suffer from arthritis. In 2007, my mom was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and my dad has suffered from gout for as long as I can remember. The difference in my mom’s body over the past 4 years has been sad to watch. In 2007, my mom was able to lift up my 3 year old and sit down on the floor with her. Now she spends most of her time using a walker. This weekend we had a Mother’s Day brunch but she ran late because she was having trouble walking and couldn’t get into her car. It has been very hard to watch my mom age so quickly. My dad’s gout has gotten worse too. Although, he says it hasn’t, I can see in his face that this isn’t the case.
Arthritis is the inflammation of the joint/s, which causes pain, stiffness, swelling, and limited movement due to the breakdown of cartilage. Each joint contains cartilage (flexible connective tissue) which protects the bones from rubbing together. When arthritis attacks the cartilage and the cartilage wears down, this causes the bones to rub against each other. Once the cartilage is damaged, it won’t be able to repair itself. Unlike most connective tissue, cartilage is unable to self repair because it doesn’t contain blood vessels.
Gout is a form of arthritis that predominately affects males in their 40’s. It causes an abundance of uric acid to accumulation in the blood stream which then forms crystals in the joints. Known as one of the more painful types of arthritis, it usually starts in one of the big toes. Luckily, with a change in diet, exercise, and water intake, it is one of the most treatable forms of arthritis.
If you have any of these signs and symptoms, please see a doctor to rule out arthritis.
- Joint pain with no know injury
- Joint tenderness
- Joint stiffness
- Excessive fatigue
- Grinding sounds in the joint
- Grinding sensations in the joint
- Warm/red joints
- Difficulty with usual activities.
Currently, there is no cure for arthritis but preventative care can make a difference!
My husband, Kevin, is constantly working on making this program better and more user friendly. As comments and suggestion roll in, he adds new features. Here is a list of what he has added since April 5, 2011. Please click here and download or re-download the latest version. When you are downloading the new version to replace the older version, you will need to re-load you database. Under the File menu > open > click on the file you named. It will have the .pmt extension.
- Brand new First Time Run wizard to help create your first database
- Updated with new icons.
- Added tool tips to the toolbar icons
- Tied in the help Contents to lead you to the help pages on the website.
- Added new preferences for closing the application
- Minimizing button to minimize to the tray.
- Added preference to configuration the application to auto-start with Windows.
Also, we have added a Facebook page for updates too!
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In April of 2005 my husband, Kevin, had surgery on his right hand to remove a ganglion cyst. Two months later, he had the same surgery to remove the ganglion cyst from his left hand. Both procedures were supposed to be simple but the ganglion cyst in his left hand had nerves wrapped around it causing his surgeon to cut and cauterize some of those nerves. When we went to the outpatient center, we were told the surgery would take 20mins but after 45mins, the surgeon walked over to me and gave me the news about the location of his nerves. Looking back, I knew the surgeon was concerned but I shrugged it off. Now, I understand why he had that look in his eyes. He knew that my husband’s life would forever change.
After the surgery, my husband experienced more pain than he did before the surgery. We were concerned but we figured this was the normal healing process. When we went to the surgeon’s office for a follow up visit, my husband stated that the pain was worse. The surgeon sat down and explained that he did everything he could but the nerves had been damaged. Confused and upset, we asked for all of Kevin’s records and then we left the surgeons office.
A few weeks later, with records in hand, we consulted another doctor. After a battery of tests, Kevin was diagnosed with bilateral neuropathy. The diagnosis was bilateral because the doctor found out, after reviewing Kevin’s surgical records, Kevin had nerves wrapped around the ganglion cyst in his right hand too. Unfortunately, that meant my husband would forever suffer from incurable pain. After the diagnosis, Kevin was referred to a pain management specialist for further treatment. That day, we left the doctors office devastated. Both of us were in our early 30s, we had two young children and we knew our future would be filled with an incredible amount of medical bills with no cure in sight.
Since August of 2005, Kevin has been and is still going to monthly pain management appointments. At every appointment, he has to fill out the same paperwork which consists of questionnaires and his list of medications. Kevin knew there had to be a better way for him and his doctor to track all of this information making doctors appointments easier, safer, and more efficient. While sitting in the waiting room, watching a fellow patient struggle to fill out his mandatory questionnaires, Kevin came home and started planning a software package that would eliminate the paperwork.
Now in 2011, after 2 years of creating this pain management software, Kevin is ready to release his first BETA!! I’m so excited and proud of all the things he has accomplished while fighting his chronic nerve pain.
Please download the BETA and give us feedback either positive or negative.
Pain Management Tracker Software includes
- virtual medicine cabinet
- mood ratings
- Tracks side effects of prescribed medicine
- Tracks how pain is interfering with daily activities
- visual line graphic of pain
- Printable forms for easy review