dahlia in my garden: Rio Fuego in Coleus leaves

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tuesday-Newsday #53

It’s time for Tuesday-Newsday! The featured blog post this week is “10 Things I Want You to Know About Working While Living with Chronic Illness” by Rosalind Joffe of The Chronic Illness Career Coach. 

Let Me Know: If you’d like me to watch for articles on your pain condition, just drop me a note in the comments section below.

WARNING:  My goal is to provide the most up-to-date news I can, which you can then take to your personal doctor and debate the merits of before you try it. I do not endorse any of the docs, treatments, info, and meds in anything I post nor can I guarantee they are all effective, especially not for everyone. I always include the citation, source, or website so you know where it came from. As is the case with any health info, ALWAYS get your doctor's opinion first!
====++++====++++====++++====++++====++++===


*CHRONIC PAIN





PAIN Rx





PATIENT NEWS

Medical I.D.’s vs. Tattoos: A small number of Americans are getting medical tattoos as a permanent way to give rescuers important details about their medical conditions, instead of wearing an I.D. bracelet.




MIGRAINES



Study Links Colic in Infants to Migraines in Moms: Mothers with chronic headache condition more than twice as likely to have babies who cry excessively




BACK PAIN








*WORKING WHEN YOU HAVE CHRONIC PAIN

by Rosalind Joffe of The Chronic Illness Career Coach

Saturday, February 25, 2012

One Year Anniversary: Revisiting My Best Posts

A year ago I decided to start a blog to help others with chronic pain. I didn’t know if physically I could keep it up or if anyone would read it. Here we are now, I’ve created more than 100 blog posts and I’m continuing on! My goal has been to help just one person in their struggle to live with chronic pain - and I think I have done that. My goal for my second year is to double my Followers and get more comments each week. Please spread the word to those in pain about Nip Pain in the Bud!

To those of you who support my blog: Thank you!  I’d love to hear from you when you feel moved by or helped by anything I write. I sure hope a year from now I’ll still be going strong!

Now, I’m going to share my favorite posts from my first year. If you missed reading them the first time, these are the ones you definitely shouldn't miss. They are full of vital information to benefit your health, to assist you in managing your pain, and to help you cope with all the struggles chronic pain/illness can bring. You may even want to bookmark some of them to save the links for future use. Thanks again for your support! 

~* MEDICATIONS *~
I’ve written several very important blog posts about Medication Safety and being an informed patient. Here are the ones I think should be required reading for your whole family, whether they have chronic pain/illness or they are healthy:







~* PAIN MANAGEMENT *~
Of course, I’ve written a lot about chronic pain in the past year. These are the three I felt have the most helpful information:





~* SEEKING A DIAGNOSIS *~
It’s so hard when you have no diagnosis, trying to find the right treatment and manage your pain. Here are the best posts I wrote on how to seek a diagnosis:





~* MY PERSONAL STORY *~
I’ve shared a lot about my own personal struggles with chronic pain and illness in the past year, including some of my own journal writings and poetry. I hope by reading these posts, anyone who is going through the same issues will take heart, and see by own example that you can get through the hard times by holding on to hope with all your might:







~* OTHER POSTS I WANT TO SHARE *~
There were so many blog posts for me to choose from, but I just can't share them all. These last few I just couldn't leave out!:






Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tuesday-Newsday #52

It’s time for Tuesday-Newsday! The featured blog post this week is “Life Redefined: Grieving Forward” by Joanna Isbill from the site DearThyroid.org.

Let Me Know: If you’d like me to watch for articles on your pain condition, just drop me a note in the comments section below.

WARNING:  My goal is to provide the most up-to-date news I can, which you can then take to your personal doctor and debate the merits of before you try it. I do not endorse any of the docs, treatments, info, and meds in anything I post nor can I guarantee they are all effective, especially not for everyone. I always include the citation, source, or website so you know where it came from. As is the case with any health info, ALWAYS get your doctor's opinion first!
====++++====++++====++++====++++====++++===


*CHRONIC PAIN






*PAIN Rx



I wrote a blog post last year on all types of Drug Interactions which you can read here: Medication Safety: Prevent Drug Interactions



Make your political representatives hear your concerns. Be willing to speak up in an email, call, fax, or sign petitions when the time comes to act before a bad law is passed. Protect your rights!



*FIBROMYALGIA 





by Joanna Isbill of DearThyroid.org

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Critical Medication Shortages & New Laws for Pain Drugs: What Pain Patients *Need* to Know

There’s a lot happening right now in the United States with regard to the medications used by pain patients. It’s important that we are all aware of what’s going on and we know what we can do about it.


~* DRUG CRISIS: THE METHOTREXATE SHORTAGE *~

The supply of injectable Methotrexate, a drug used to treat adults with rheumatoid arthritis and a strain of childhood leukemia, could be running out within weeks. You can read about the critical shortage in an article by the New York Times HERE

The FDA says it is cautiously optimistic that fresh supplies of the drug are slated to be released this month, but doctors are worried some patients’ care will be interrupted and compromised.

What can patients with painful rheumatoid arthritis do? Check now with your doctor and find out how much Methotrexate your doctor can access. Ask if there is another biologic you could take. Get talking with your treatment team about what other options you might consider. And if the FDA is right, you may not really have anything to worry about.

WHAT CAN YOU DO IF A DRUG YOU TAKE HITS A CRITICAL SHORTAGE 

What should you do if a medication you rely on for your treatment suddenly is not available? Here’s what the Harvard Health Blog says:

“If your doctor recommends a drug that is in short supply, ask about other medications that might work for you. Your doctor may be able to find something equally tolerable and effective, perhaps in a different class of drug. If there aren’t any alternatives, your doctor, working with a pharmacist, may be able to track down a supply. When a medication is in short supply be especially wary of Internet or faxed advertisements for alternatives (often highly priced and sometimes counterfeit).”

WHAT’S UP WITH ALL THESE DRUG SHORTAGES?

In 2010 there were 178 drug shortages and this year that number is rising above 265 so far. These scarce medications are used for anesthesia, pain, heart treatment, ADHD, central nervous system conditions, infections, and more.

Why is this happening? There are numerous reasons, including an increase in demand, shortages of ingredients, problems with quality control, other manufacturing problems, and the business decision to stop making older drug that aren’t as profitable. 

You can read more about drugs shortages and what the FDA is trying to do about it, by going here:


~* NEW DRUG LAWS PENDING THAT COULD AFFECT US *~

Since last year, I have been championing all anti-Fail First legislation across the country (if you don’t know about Fail First, click HERE). However, there are many other laws which can more directly affect us as pain patients, as evidenced last year in Washington State - which totally  scares me when I read about it.

This week I got an email alert from the Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Association warning me about pending legislation in other states, particularly New Mexico and Florida. If you go to their Action Alert Page there’s a map showing the entire country. When you click on your state it reveals what laws are being voted on which could directly affect your access to pain medication.

Don’t turn a blind eye and think that you’ll always be able to get your meds with no problem. We need to remain vigilant so our rights are protected. When an unfair bill is pending, make sure your voice is heard by your political representatives. Be willing to speak up in an email, call, fax, or sign petitions when the time comes to act before a bad law is passed. 

We all have to stand up as pain patients and be heard!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tuesday-Newsday #51

It’s time for Tuesday-Newsday! Don’t miss the advice-filled piece, “Travelling a Rocky Road?” by Jan Sadler of the PainSupport Newsletter.

Let Me Know: If you’d like me to watch for articles on your pain condition, just drop me a note in the comments section below.

WARNING:  My goal is to provide the most up-to-date news I can, which you can then take to your personal doctor and debate the merits of before you try it. I do not endorse any of the docs, treatments, info, and meds in anything I post nor can I guarantee they are all effective, especially not for everyone. I always include the citation, source, or website so you know where it came from. As is the case with any health info, ALWAYS get your doctor's opinion first!
====++++====++++====++++====++++====++++===


*PAIN Rx


Experts Warn Illicit Drugs Bought Off Internet May Be Poisons: Case report says victims thought they'd ordered amphetamine, but got drug that turned their skin blue




*PATIENT NEWS

Many Doctors May Be Less Than Honest With Their Patients: Survey Finds Some Docs Not Truthful About Patients' Prognoses, Unwilling to Disclose Mistakes for Fear of Lawsuits

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has launched TSA Cares, a new helpline number designed to assist travelers with disabilities and medical conditions, prior to getting to the airport. Call TSA Cares toll free at 1-855-787-2227 before traveling with questions about screening policies, procedures and what to expect at the security checkpoint. Click the headline to access the website for more info.  



*OSTEOPOROSIS

Heart Failure, Osteoporosis Go 'Hand-in-Hand': Cardiac condition raises the risks of falls and may contribute to bone-density loss






*MISCELLANEOUS CONDITIONS











*LIVING WITH CHRONIC PAIN

by Jan Sadler of PainSupport.co.uk

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Traveling Red Dress: Having My “Moment”

We all know the story of the “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” - four friends take turns sending a special pair of jeans back and forth, keeping connected as their lives change.

This week as I was searching around the web looking for news and great blog posts to feature, I came across something that completely captured my attention. Jenny Lawson, of The Bloggess, posted a special piece called “The Traveling Red Dress” in which she wrote:

“I want, just once, to wear a bright red, strapless ball gown with no apologies. I want to be shocking, and vivid and wear a dress as intensely amazing as the person I so want to be. And the more I thought about it the more I realized how often we deny ourselves that red dress and all the other capricious, ridiculous, overindulgent and silly things that we desperately want but never let ourselves have because they are simply ‘not sensible’.”

“Things like flying lessons, and ballet shoes, and breaking into spontaneous song, and building a train set, and crawling onto the roof just to see the stars better. Things like cartwheels and learning how to box and painting encouraging words on your body to remind yourself that you’re worth it.”
“And I am worth it.”

Jenny got to wear that special red dress, and posted the photos along with that blog post. She writes that it was everything she thought it would be. And then she got the idea to send the dress on a trek around the country:

“...the red dress will begin a journey traveling from city to city so that other people can wear it and love it and feel as special and vivid and dynamic as they already are. Because sometimes we all need a little red dress to remind us of that. So today, think about what it is you need and were too embarrassed to ask for... Find your red dress. And wear the hell out of it.”

Jenny's words struck a chord with the online community. There’s now a Facebook page for the Traveling Red Dress where women are sharing their stories and are asking for a red dress to be sent to them. Others are donating dresses to the cause and mailing them out wherever they are needed. There are even photographers offering free ‘red dress sessions’ to be a part of whole phenomenon.

When I read about all this, I felt a strong pull to join. Things have been tough for me lately and the idea of being a bit outrageous and fanciful really spoke to me. I realized that I need that boost of spirit a ‘red dress moment’ could bring to me.

Here is my red dress!
I can't wait to wear it for my photo shoot.

About a week ago I posted a desperate request for red dress on the Facebook page. A few days later, completely unplanned, I stopped at a Thrift Store. As I walked to the register with my purchase... there was my fantasy dress! It's not a true red; it's more of a faded brick red in a long, 1930's style - the sort of dress that Ginger Rogers might wear. It's even floor length on me (I’m six feet tall) which is very unusual to find second hand. The best part was it only cost me $10! 

I’m planning right now for my own red dress photo shoot. As I am such a garden-loving person, I want to have flowers be a part of it but it’s not exactly the right time of year to find blooming plants. I’m giving it some thought. I still need to find a photographer and I'm hoping I'll be lucky enough to find one that will donate their time, as have others on the Facebook page. If everything comes together, I hope to have my photo shoot done before the end of March and I promise I’ll post a couple pictures to share my 'red dress moment' with all of you.

Do you need a ‘red dress moment’? You too can join in the legacy of the Traveling Red Dress. Follow the links below to learn all about it, to see beautiful red dress photos, and to be a part of it all. Embrace your self-worth and show it to the world!

~* See all the Traveling Red Dress links & photos *~




~The Traveling Red Dress Facebook page 


*UPDATE*
See the completion of my Traveling Red Dress Journey -with the final photos- by clicking below:



Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Tuesday-Newsday #50

Today’s Tuesday-Newsday is my 100th Blog Post! I hope I’ve helped inform and inspire everyone who has visited my site!

UPDATE on Fail First for Californians: We did it! Thanks to your help, the anti-Fail First bill has cleared the first hurdle and will now go to the Senate Health Committee, where it will be heard sometime in May. I will let you all know when your support is needed again. If you aren’t familiar with Fail First, go HERE.

Let Me Know: If you’d like me to watch for articles on your pain condition, just drop me a note in the comments section below.

WARNING:  My goal is to provide the most up-to-date news I can, which you can then take to your personal doctor and debate the merits of before you try it. I do not endorse any of the docs, treatments, info, and meds in anything I post nor can I guarantee they are all effective, especially not for everyone. I always include the citation, source, or website so you know where it came from. As is the case with any health info, ALWAYS get your doctor's opinion first!
====++++====++++====++++====++++====++++===


*CHRONIC PAIN



If you want to help people suffering for lack of pain relief in other countries, sign the MORPHINE MANIFESTO. Your signature will convey to government officials, health care workers, and the pharmaceutical industry that steps must be taken to guarantee the accessibility of immediate release morphine at an affordable cost.


*PATIENT NEWS




*FEMALE PAIN CONDITIONS








*AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES








*MANAGING YOUR CHRONIC PAIN

by Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar of TheTherapistWithin

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Preparing to Meet With a New Pain Doctor

(I just realized that this coming Tuesday-Newsday will be my 100th blog post! Wow! I can't believe I will also celebrate my blog's one year anniversary at the end of this month. I'm planning that weekend to share my favorite posts from my first year. Thank you all for supporting my blog!)


So it’s official... I am now enrolled in a different health insurance coverage. I haven’t yet gotten possession of all my health records from my old HMO so I’ve put off choosing a new doctor(s) until I have what I need.

However, it’s important that I don’t just sit on my hands and wait. There are a lot of things I can do to help make a smooth transition to a new doc with just a little work. This week I’ll focus on one aspect: preparing to discuss my pain. 

I’ve been looking around the web seeing what I can find to aid me in accurately conveying the level of pain in my life. I’ve found a lot of great options which you may also find useful.


QUALITIES TO LOOK FOR IN A PROVIDER

Make sure you find a healthcare provider with whom you feel comfortable. He/she should:

• Know about chronic pain and how to treat it.

• Believe your report of pain.

• Listen carefully to your concerns.

• Ask you questions and perform diagnostic tests to help identify the problem.

• Encourage you to ask questions.

• Be comfortable when you disagree.

• Be willing to speak to your family or friends if you are not feeling well.

• Work with you to develop a pain management plan that helps reduce your pain and sets realistic goals.

• Provide detailed information about risks and benefits of each pain treatment option that is recommended.

• Tell you when he or she does not know something about your pain problem or treatment


PREPARING FOR YOUR APPOINTMENT

If you go into the appointment with your pain doctor with all your records and a plan, you will have the best chance of feeling "heard" and be set up for successful treatment. Here's a link to help you with that: ~Getting the Best Out of Medical Consultations


~* TOOLS TO HELP TRACK YOUR PAIN *~

PAIN LOGS
If you aren’t already, you should be tracking your pain on a daily basis. If you have pain all the time like I do, I just write down the episodes that are above my normal daily pain level to show how it differs during the day. Here are a few pain log forms you can print out and use.  
Log 1     Log 2     Log 3

When you are tracking your pain, it can also be beneficial to use the 
L-O-C-A-T-E-S  Scale from the APF:

L:  Location of the pain and whether it travels to other body parts.

O:  Other associated symptoms such as nausea, numbness, or weakness.

C:  Character of the pain, whether it's throbbing, sharp, dull, or burning.

A:  Aggravating and alleviating factors. What makes the pain better or worse?

T:  Timing of the pain, how long it lasts, is it constant or intermittent?

E:  Environment where the pain occurs, for example, while working or at home.

S:  Severity of the pain. Use a 0-to-10 pain scale from no pain to worst ever.

PAIN APPS
I’m not a techie person, but I can’t deny that being able to track your pain instantly wherever you are on your phone is a great thing. With a quick search, I found a few pain apps online; I cannot recommend any of these personally so definitely do a little research and check their reviews. My husband put the first one on my Android phone and I’m hoping I can learn to use and get comfortable with it. If you are using a pain app you think is great, please write about it in the comments section below. 
PAIN ASSESSMENT & INTERVIEW
It’s been such a long time since I’ve seen a new pain doctor (11 years!) I can’t recall exactly what questions I might be asked and what descriptions and history are the most important for me to include. To that end, I found two forms to help me prepare, so I can be concise and accurate. You can check them out here: 

All these links and information are certainly helping me to prepare for meeting the new pain doctor I’ll be choosing soon. I hope you’ve also found valuable resources, and don't forget your rights...

~* PAIN  CARE  BILL  OF  RIGHTS *~
As a Person With Pain, You Have a Right To:

• Have your report of pain taken seriously and be treated with dignity and respect by doctors, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, physician assistants and other healthcare professionals.

• Have your pain thoroughly assessed and promptly treated.

• Participate actively in decisions about how to manage your pain.

• Be informed and know your options; talk with your healthcare provider about your pain – possible cause(s), treatment options and the benefits, risks and cost of each choice.

• Have your pain reassessed regularly and your treatment adjusted if your pain has not been eased.

• Be referred to a pain specialist if your pain persists.

• Get clear and prompt answers to your questions, take time to make decisions, and refuse a particular type of treatment if you choose.