I Very Much Relate To This Article

Sure, I’ve had a hysterectomy (for different reasons altogether) – but that’s not the point. I am the best record keeper for my rare disease, which is still undiagnosed after over 5.5 years. All along I have told doctors exactly what is wrong and why it’s happening, and sometimes they can confirm it after a few years of treating me. The problem is that we don’t have all of the tests and scans necessary to figure out the etiology – our science hasn’t caught up. It’s not my fault. It isn’t the doctors’ fault either. However, my biggest obstacle is getting anyone to listen to me. Telling me that my tests are “normal” and therefore there’s nothing wrong with me is counterintuitive to my paralyzed face and spasming neck staring back at them.

Source: If my doctor had ignored my intuition about my pregnancy, I’d be dead

If my doctor had ignored my intuition about my pregnancy, I’d be dead

 

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strong as a suffragette

I am grateful for campaigns that aim to teach the masses that it’s wrong to prey on other people simply because you can, be it because of social status, mental capacity and reasoning or physical ability. However, the message is still too slow to spread. As I was reading the blog of this very brave woman who has chosen not to remain silent, I am struck by the fact that we women (and girls) have to constantly have a recording running through our heads, and that is, “What can I do to not be attacked?” With what happened to the suffragettes, they had to be aware that simply demanding the right to vote would result in verbal slander, humiliation, beatings and rapes. It was their punishment for being female and wanting to vote. In the present day, we women still have to think about what we can “handle” when we go out into the world – can we handle being verbally assaulted, humiliated, raped or beaten?

Really, the question should be, “Why do we teach men and women that it’s a woman’s fault for being verbally and/or physically assaulted?” If she just would have stayed silent, if she just would have found a man to walk with her, if she just would have stayed inside when it started getting dark, if she just would have had water to drink instead of a cocktail, if she just would have smiled at that man, if she just would have NOT smiled at that man, if she just would have carried a gun, if she would have just taken self-defense classes, if she would just not gone to school…well, the list goes on and on. But where is the recording for those that carry out these acts of violence against women?

Product Review for NatraCure

This is a review for two different products offered through NatraCure, a company that focuses on various products to support pain control. The really great thing about their site is that you can choose an area of your body that you would like to focus on – neck, foot, ankle, back, etc. – and they narrow down the product choices to the ones that are most appropriate for that particular area.

http://natracure.com/

The first item I’m going to talk about is the Soft Gel Toe Stretcher and Exerciser. The material is incredibly flexible, and is actually infused with “7 botanical oils: avacado, olive, jojoba, grapeseed, canola and soybean.” They take it one step further with adding “green tea, willow fragrance and aloe vera.” I am telling you, if you have a cat or dog fascinated with your toes, they are really going enjoy your feet after you’ve had your toe stretcher on because it has such a pleasant smell.

These are very easy to get around your toes because of their flexibility. Pay attention to the instructions and the warnings. For instance, it’s NOT good to let the stretchers be on your toes for more than 10 minutes. The packaging says that the product is “diabetic-friendly,” but at the same time, it’s important to know your limitations. This does restrict blood flow to the toes a bit, even with the flexibility, and that is exactly what diabetics (and patients suffering from gout or good ol’ edema) need to be aware of. Even people with no issues with swelling or stunted blood flow should not go past the 10-minute time limit. Be kind to your feet.

My issue is that I’m in bed for about 22 hours of every 24 hours, so I’m having problems with the tendons in my feet shortening and stiffening. My big toes also tend to bend sideways as if they have been crammed into the toes of pointy shoes from the ’80s. These stretchers are fairly comfortable to wear. I’m not sure if they will help my big toes with realigning, but I’m going to keep using them daily.

http://natracure.com/body-part/foot/gel-toe-spreaders.html

The next item is the Magnetic Shoulder Support. I was warned before it was shipped to me that females who tried it found that it was too large and the “one size fits most” fit them poorly. I explained that I’m a good Midwestern woman raised on corn and built like a horse, so I doubted that I would have a problem with the fit.

The middle picture is the sling laid out flat and inside out. To wear it, you put the white stripes against your shoulder, then fasten the cuff around your arm with opposing Velcro pieces. The long, skinny part travels around your front and back and is closed with opposing Velcro pieces under your arm that is not being “treated” by the magnets.

This was fairly easy for me to put on. I estimated how tight I would need the sleeve, then slipped my arm and shoulder in, then closed the flaps under the other arm. However, I could see that if someone has mobility or fine motor skill issues, they might need assistance putting this on.

As predicted, the piece fit me just fine. One thing to be aware of, though, is that the fabric is 75% Neoprene (the same material divers use for their wet suits) and 25% Nylon, so right out of the package, there is an overwhelming chemical smell. I am particularly sensitive to chemicals and so I found it necessary to hand wash this before wearing it.

I wanted to try this product because for three years, all of my surgeries were done on the right side of my body, so I always had to rest and sleep on my left side. My shoulder really took a beating. I had to go through two rehab series because of an impinged nerve, and I could stand to go through rehab again – but I remember all of the exercises, so I’m trying to take care of it at home.

The idea is that the magnets (1,000 Gauss each) combined with the fabric that provides gentle compression will possibly “help stimulate blood vessels and blood oxygen levels and may help speed up the natural healing process.”

After wearing this for five days and up to four hours a time, I have not noticed an improvement in my range of motion or the pain. I don’t think that wearing it is doing me harm (I take it off for my rehab exercises), so I’m going to continue strapping it on for another week or two. It’s possible that it will be an appropriate treatment for other issues with the shoulder; I can only talk about what is affecting me directly.

The Magnetic Shoulder Support can be used on the right or left shoulder because it’s designed to be interchangeable.

http://natracure.com/body-part/shoulder/magnetic-shoulder-support.html

This seems to be a great company that is focused on care for our most common trouble areas. My interactions with them have been pleasant, upbeat and thorough. I wish them every success as they continue to test and add products to serve the acute and chronic pain communities.

Movin’ On Up!

I’ve been added to this network for bloggers who are focused on chronic illness. I am hoping to continue entertaining everyone with my stories about doctors, dating and down time (because I’m in bed for at least 22 hours a day). Occasionally you may see product reviews or ads, but please know it’s still me and my voice and my forthrightness about what is happening in my world.

Many thanks to the creators and curators of Chronic Illness Bloggers for directing traffic and addressing specific needs, and allowing me to take part in it.

Here is the home page:  http://chronicillnessbloggers.com/

New Blab Coming Soon

This happened on Thursday – Nikki and I finally got to chat and see and hear each other! Then Friday hit. Obviously Nikki was able to type this up, but both of us ended up feeling really crappy and so didn’t get much accomplished. However, we are really looking forward to having an honest chat about topics that are near and dear to us, and we hope they are to you too. Feel free to post ideas in the comments section or to send emails to healthcarebuddy@zoho.com with “Blab Brainstorm” as the subject line.

AS I LIVE & BREATHE

My good friend & fellow blogger buddy, Chelsea, & I were experimenting with Blab yesterday.

In the near future, we want to start up a few sessions & want to invite our followers & friends to participate.

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Chelsea Handler Is My Soul Mate

I just finished watching season 1, episode 1 of the series “Chelsea Does” titled “Chelsea Does Marriage.”

Okay, there are a few ways in which we are not so similar. First, she’s a well-known star. Me, I’m lucky if my sister’s dogs remember me. Second, she can drink like a fish. I can’t because I have all of these crazy diseases (but just for the record, Chelsea, in my 20s and early 30s, I could have kept up swimmingly). Third, she’s not a fan of “fatties.” Since I’m stuck in bed, I’m the opposite of skinny, and I am severely limited on physical activity.

But here is how we are so similar: First, we share the same first name (and it’s spelled correctly). Second, we are very close in age; I’m actually 9 months older than her. Third, we both are very outspoken. Fourth, our father figures have told us and the men we have dated – if we like the men enough to bring them around, which rarely happens – that we are very strong women, and require a strong man.

Getting into the particulars, Chelsea and I feel the same way about the wedding dress, the wedding ceremony, and what comes before and after the big day – we just don’t get it. I never imagined a wedding day or what I would wear as a dress or even what it would be like to want to be hitched to someone for the rest of my life. I was lucky enough to be asked to be a part of the wedding party when two good friends got married, but it was very non-traditional. She wore a black dress, we went shopping for her black knee-high boots, and her wedding march music included “Flash’s Theme” by Queen. He wore a nice button-down shirt and even got a haircut for the big day. I think how my friends treated their special day was about the same level as I would want mine.

Chelsea and I have done a lot of dating and have had a lot of sex. In fact, I felt a little sorry for her because by my calculations of when the show was being taped, I was actually getting more ass than she was. That just goes to show that men have no standards – I mean, c’mon, I’m a bald woman who is confined to bed for about 22 of every 24 hours, and guys still wanna slip me the mickey.

But we’re kind of getting to the point in our lives (and Jesus H., don’t say it’s because we’ve hit 40) that we want to see how different our lives would be if we actually had someone in our corner. And we also want to be the type of people to say, “Yes, I love ______ deeply and he is my best friend.” We need strong men who aren’t going to act all butt hurt about everything that makes us us. We don’t want to be life coaches. We want men to be comfortable in their own skin and to look around and say, “Oh, I’m going to take care of this” instead of us having to beg, plead and bully someone to put on his big boy pants and do it, and do it right the first time.

Chelsea, I totally get it on Eric Bana. He is very masculine and he loves his wife deeply, and he doesn’t let anyone cross the line or share that space he saves for his wife. I think that when spouses are that loving, we see a certain relaxation in their faces. I’m not saying that I imagine their lives are perfect or they have no struggles. I’m saying that they know that if shit goes down, they have this life partner who is going to go through the shit with them instead of making a run for the life boats. Ultimately, we want someone to have that same look with us, and we want to see it on our own faces for a change.

By contrast, we are turned off by men who are overeager. We smell insincerity as if it’s a noxious blend of Avon perfume and cigarettes. We know when men are rubbernecking to make sure there isn’t somebody better than us lurking around that they might rather hook up with, and we simply don’t have time for that. We also don’t deserve to be abandoned.

The love we give to the men who truly deserve it is hard-earned. Chelsea and I have sharp tongues and a very thin filter. Fellow humans give us our best material, so men, if you fail us, your fall will be very painful. If you live up to the task, it will be like seeing the sun for the first time.

I don’t know about Chelsea, but I’m still taking applications.

Lastly, <sigh>, here is an article where the reporter tried to put Chelsea in a box. “Is this reality television or a documentary?” I would choose neither. Just let it be.

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2016/01/chelsea-does-netflix-review/426951/

Did You See That?

“The X-Files” is gearing up again, and to piggyback off of that, the CIA has released documents and pictures from the 1940s through the 1960s pertaining to UFO sightings and encounters.

The technology that was available during those decades pales in comparison to what we have now, and the world is certainly much smaller – getting a report from, say, the UK or the Belgian Congo can take seconds or minutes as opposed to weeks.

There are times when I feel like an alien, explaining my mysterious disease and strange allergies. However, I did not feel a tug at my heart looking at these photos, so I can only guess that no one has captured my mother ship on film (or the CIA hasn’t released the reports).

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3422014/The-truth-really-CIA-releases-thousands-declassified-X-files-aliens-flying-saucers-unexplained-phenomena.html

Why Kindness Heals – By James R. Doty, M.D.

I have had really great doctors, and I have had really terrible doctors. One doctor that I knew was great and was adored by all the staff and patients took his frustration out on me one night after surgery, and I was devastated because he was delivering bad news on top of it. I didn’t “fire” him because he was the only one doing my surgeries, but it changed our interactions.

Doctors, may the force be with you. It’s not an easy path, and there will be stumbles, but I hope that you have rewarding interactions with your patients.

Kindness Blog

As a physician specializing in neurosurgery at an academic medical center, I appreciate the unhappiness many patients have with the present healthcare delivery system that is rushed, bureaucratic, non-caring and technology-focused.

In the U.S. we spend more per capita than any other industrialized country, yet the outcomes are some of the worst in the world, with the highest levels of patient dissatisfaction.

What is the solution? Francis W. Peabody, M.D. said in 1925 that,

the secret of the care of the patient is caring for the patient.”

These words are even more true today and are now backed by an ever enlarging body of science that demonstrates that kindness, compassion and empathy have a profound effect on healing. This new body of evidence spanning psychology, neuroscience, and even economics reveals that as a species our default mode is not one of self-centeredness but that we are wired…

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A Step In The Right Direction

There’s a little release party going on for Barbie, and it signals a change in awareness and acceptance. Hooray for that! All of those years of articles explaining that Barbie’s measurements would leave her on all fours with missing ribs to account for her mind-blowing tiny waist have finally been heard. Barbie will come in petite, tall and curvy, as well as different hair colors and skin tones to be a more realistic reflection of our American society.

http://nytlive.nytimes.com/womenintheworld/2016/01/28/meet-barbie-in-her-new-forms-petite-tall-curvy/

I quite like Quartz in general for human interest stories, including the Barbie makeover. Here is their take on it (and incidentally, whomever dressed Barbie in the first shot should be shot, because the cutesy tank top says “Be Your Self,” with no hyphen to indicate that it should be “yourself,” as in, one word with a hard return between syllables):

Curvy, petite, and tall Barbies will do nothing to empower our girls

I think they may have felt a little pressure and saw true competition from the Lammily doll, which was created through a crowd funding site and is now going into large-scale production. The Lamilly has far more realistic measurements, flat feet and honorable career outfits. I hope that the “new” Barbie doesn’t push the Lammily out of the market. Options must be celebrated, and small businesses supported. It shouldn’t take crowd funding to get a sensible role model to girls and boys for mass consumption. Every little message we send out into the universe regarding women’s bodies, who owns them and who has a right to dictate what they should look like makes a difference in how children create their own values. Why not embrace inclusive standards rather than exclusive? (BTW, some of the pics on the Lammily site depict girls reflecting on periods – something you’ll never see Barbie doing, but every female with a functioning uterus and ovaries goes through. Why not make it a safe and open topic?)

http://lammily.com/

Just as a side note, I happened to access my blocked call list today because I had to add another solicitor in my phone (they always find a way to get around the “Do Not Call” government list), and I noticed that Nashville called yesterday. That was the first time in three weeks. I guess he got tired of being milked for money by the fake profile Russian and Chinese “girls.” He’s going to keep singing the same song about how he’s never broken up with anyone, and he just doesn’t understand what’s going on. Sure ya do, Nashville. You got caught jerking off. Here, I’ll get you a Barbie doll…………