dahlia in my garden: Rio Fuego in Coleus leaves

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween to all! Click HERE for a little video we made with our cats for the holiday to bring you a little scary delight. Enjoy!

My Jaspurr sends you his Howl-O-Ween greetings...
and wonders if he missed any treats!



Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tuesday-Newsday #88


It’s time for Tuesday-Newsday! The Featured Blog Post this week was chosen in honor of Halloween: “The Fright Files: Stories of Medical Mistakes,” from the PFAM Blog Carnival hosted by Oh My Aches and Pains.

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. As is the case with any health info, ALWAYS get your doctor's opinion first!
====++++====++++====++++====++++====++++===


*FDA and CDC ALERT: UPDATE ON MENINGITIS OUTBREAK

If you received a Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injection between late May and September, by now you should have been notified if your clinic used any of the tainted steriods. To find out exactly what you need to know, click HERE and scroll down to the red headline.


Infusion Resource, a compounding pharmacy in Waltham, MA has been administering steroid injections, something it wasn’t licensed to do. 
UPDATE: Infusion’s products are not linked to the outbreak, but the company, has surrendered its license voluntarily and is asking patients to return any medications they still have as a precautionary measure






*MEDICATION NEWS



update: When Pharmacies Refill Rx Without Permission:









*PATIENT NEWS








*CANCER NEWS












*FEATURED BLOG POST

from the PFAM Blog Carnival hosted by Oh My Aches and Pains

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Meningitis Outbreak: The Very Latest Facts







++  ==  ++  ==  ++  ==  ++  ==


What do you need to know if you had 
Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injections 
between May 21 and September?

~* Not everyone who got steroid injections will develop fungal meningitis, which is not contagious to others, but is very dangerous to the affected patient.

~* Fungal infections can be slow to develop. Typically symptoms have appeared 1 to 6 weeks following the tainted injection (the CDC says most of the outbreak patients became ill in the first 42 days), but it’s important to know that longer and shorter periods of time have been reported. This means that even if you are not sick right now, look at the date you had your injection and realize that symptoms may not develop for several months. Please remain vigilant. 

~* Symptoms of the fungal meningitis include fever, new or worsening headache, sensitivity to light, nausea, chills, and stroke-like deficits (including slurred speech and unsteady gait). Be very watchful for any unusual symptoms. Inform your loved ones so they can help you watch for symptoms which you may not notice. 

~* If you need to be treated for fungal meningitis you will receive intravenous drugs in a hospital. Treatment can take months and the drugs can have severe side effects which need to be closely monitored. In the linked articles above, the last one is a personal account from one patient who is going through treatment, so you can find out what to expect.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tuesday-Newsday #87


It’s time for Tuesday-Newsday! The Featured Blog Post this week is The Challenges of Living with Invisible Pain or Illness,” by Toni Bernhard.

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. As is the case with any health info, ALWAYS get your doctor's opinion first!
====++++====++++====++++====++++====++++===


*FDA and CDC ALERT: UPDATE ON MENINGITIS OUTBREAK

If you received a Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injection between late May and September, by now you should have been notified if your clinic used any of the tainted steriods. Last Tuesday-Newsday #86 at the end of the post, I listed out the things you need to know. Just click the link and scroll down. I pray none of you are affected. 







*MEDICATION NEWS









*CHRONIC PAIN






*OSTEOPOROSIS









*MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS










*FEATURED BLOG POST

by Toni Bernhard

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Swallowing pills can be difficult... I’ve found a solution


I have a very difficult time swallowing pills that are large, odd-shaped, or rough. Just like my mom, I really struggle with it. With prescription medications, I have no other option but to get them ‘down the hatch’ somehow, so I psych myself up for a moment and keep a large glass of water handy. I also like to have another person nearby, just in case I get a pill stuck and need help.

When it comes to supplements, my Mom and I work as a team. We’ll haunt the aisles of the local pharmacy, trying to peer through the bottles and determine what size and shape the pills are. If we think we can swallow them, we buy a bottle and take it home to give it a try. At any given time, we end up stuck several bottles that we just can’t choke down (I have three unwanted bottles in my cabinet right now). If we can’t find a family member or friend who wants them, then into the trash they go - a huge waste of both supplements and money.

Recently, we found a fish oil pill which was small and perfectly round. We were both thrilled; it appeared they would just fly down our throats. Unfortunately, they flew right down our windpipes! Both of us ended up choking at the same time (neither of us knew it until later) and we each had to cough it out. It was so scary! I never touched those again.

I have the same problem with multivitamins. I feel really silly, but I’ve been buying Adult gummy vitamins to make up for the months I had avoided taking them. Calcium pills also tend to be large and intimidating, and with my diagnosis of Osteoporosis I cannot avoid taking them. However, to be honest, I have skipped days because I just couldn’t bring myself to try to swallow whichever brand of calcium I was trying at the time. Given my situation, I just can't allow that to continue to happen. 

As people who suffer from chronic pain/illness, it’s vitally important that we maintain our nutritional balance. I don’t want to make this an advertisement, but I do want to share what I've recently discovered and is now working great for me. My husband has started selling Youngevity health products and he told me the company offers liquid options for both calcium, multivitamins, and several other supplements. I decided to start out with the calcium and it’s working great for me! No more standing in my kitchen, staring at a pill and trying to psych myself up to take it. 

If you want to read more about how this solved my pill swallowing problem and to find out what other products they offer which could help you, just click HERE.

If you are someone who has absolutely no trouble swallowing pills, Youngevity products can also benefit you, so you might like to click as well.

Wishing you all a healthy weekend!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tuesday-Newsday #86


It’s time for Tuesday-Newsday! The Featured Blog Post this week is the replay of a webinar from Invisible Illness Week, “Avoiding Destructive Relationships When Chronically Ill,” led by Leslie Vernick.

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. As is the case with any health info, ALWAYS get your doctor's opinion first!
====++++====++++====++++====++++====++++===


* FDA and CDC ALERT: MENINGITIS OUTBREAK *

If you received a Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injection between May 21 and September, by now you should have been notified if your clinic used any of the tainted steroids. Scroll to the end of this blog post for an updated list of what you need to know. I pray that none of you will be affected.


MENINGITIS UPDATE:






*MEDICATION NEWS




See part two of this story HERE





*CHRONIC PAIN NEWS








*NECK and SHOULDER PAIN






*PEDIATRIC PAIN









*FEATURED BLOG POST

Webinar from Invisible Illness Week, led by Leslie Vernick

++  ==  ++  ==  ++  ==  ++  ==


What do you need to know if you had 
Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injections 
between May 21 and September?

~* Not everyone who got steroid injections will develop fungal meningitis, which is not contagious to others, but is very dangerous to the affected patient.

~* Fungal infections can be slow to develop. Typically in this outbreak, symptoms have appeared 1 to 4 weeks following the tainted injection, but it’s important to know that longer and shorter periods of time have been reported. This means that even if you are not sick right now, look at the date you had your injection and realize that symptoms may not develop for several months. Please remain vigilant. 

~* Symptoms of the fungal meningitis include fever, new or worsening headache, sensitivity to light, nausea, chills, and stroke-like deficits (including slurred speech and unsteady gait). Be very watchful for any unusual symptoms. Inform your loved ones so they can help you watch for symptoms which you may not notice. 

~* If you need to be treated for fungal meningitis you will receive intravenous drugs in a hospital. Treatment can take weeks or months, and the drugs can have severe side effects which need to be closely monitored.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Benefit of Pets, especially for People in Pain

What do a dog, a cat, a bunny, a hamster, and a tarantula all have in common? They were all blessed last Sunday at the St. Francis’ Day ‘Blessing of the Animals’ service at my church. These pets were being honored for their place in the lives of their owners for the joy, comfort, and companionship they provide. However, science is proving pets are more than just our buddies, that their connection to us goes much deeper than we even realize. There are ongoing discoveries yielding evidence which show having a pet boosts both your mental and physical well-being. 

In my struggle with daily chronic pain, stress, and in the past my battle with depression and anorexia, my cats have given me more succor than I can ever say. There is no way to describe the peace and calm I gain when I stroke my purring cat. When I was in a dark fog and wanted to shut out the world, there was no way to avoid two insistently hungry cats whom I love, which made me feel needed and pushed me to be less isolated. When I’m in pain, just having my cat rub against my leg and show me his attention helps me to focus outside of myself, away from my pain. Seeing the two cats play and enjoying the humor of their actions makes me laugh, and I’ve written before about the scientifically proven healing benefits of laughter in a previous blog post HERE. Two days ago I posted the funny parody video we made using one of our cats as the star in tribute to the viral sensation “Gangnam Style” by Korean popstar Psy. We loved his funny dance video and all the other parodies on the web, so we decided to make our own. We laughed like loons trying to get our finicky feline to follow direction and we certainly had more than a heaping share of healing humor. You can enjoy the resulting silliness by watching our cat parody here: ~ GangNom-Nom Style! ~. Be sure you don't miss the outtakes at the very end of the video! I hope you have a good laugh & share the video with other cat-lovers. 

I could continue going on about my own cats improving life, but science is finding there's even more to it for *all* of us pet-owners. Research studies now directly reveal how pets help human health, particularly for people who live with chronic pain.

In a study presented at the annual meeting of the International Society for Anthrozoology in 2009, researchers at Loyola University Health System found that after having total joint-replacement surgery, people needed half as much pain medicine if pet therapy was a part of their recovery. The study also found that people with arthritis were less likely to report joint pain if they owned pets. A study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society in 1999 found that people older than 50 who owned pets were more active, reported less stress, and had better overall health than people who didn’t have pets. And research has shown that pets can help reduce stress in their owners, which could translate to fewer flares and less pain for people who have flares in response to stressful situations.

My cat, Jaspurr, cuddling in an blanket. He loves to
curl into my lap and purr when I'm on the computer.

Maggie Buckley, a woman who lives with the painful genetic disease of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (like myself), says “You cannot underestimate the power of pets when one is in pain. A pet comforts you and at the same time takes you out of yourself as you care for them... (and is) more powerful than any medication when it comes to comforting, soothing, and distracting you when you are experiencing pain.”

A personal friend mine, whom I will call Marilyn, has a shih tzu who is very attuned to her pain flares. She says when she’s suffering a migraine or severe knee pain and must lie down, her dog will curl up gently against the part of her body which is hurting and lend her warmth and support. Marilyn says it feels very healing and comforting, and makes her even more connected to her tiny dog.

Other pet / human bond research studies 
show that pet owners ...

~   have overall reduced stress and anxiety
~   have improved mood
~   have greater self-esteem
~   get some relief from their depression and are less preoccupied
~   have reduced blood pressure and heart rates during stressful events
~   have improved immune function
~   stay home sick less often
~   make fewer visits to the doctor
~   get more exercise
~   are more extroverted and tend to be less fearful
~   have an increased sense of responsibility and purpose that contributes to their overall well-being
~   have lower cholesterol and triglycerides
~   have reduced risk of stroke
~   live longer
these studies are referenced from articles listed at the end of this post

If chronic pain makes your physical abilities unpredictable or you have a condition which has periods of remissions or recurrences, you may be concerned about adopting a pet. Keep in mind, if pet care becomes too difficult or if you need an occasional break, pet sitters and dog walkers are available at reasonable rates to help you in nearly every community across the country. You can also ask family and/or friends to help you with whatever your temporary needs may be. Don’t be afraid to ask for a little help if you really need it.

Whether we consider them to be just plain animals or prescriptions for better health, there is no denying that our finned, furry, feathery, and scaly companions give us more than unconditional love. And in my opinion, that alone is enough reason to own a pet!

*Articles referenced in my post:

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Feline Groovy: Our Parody Video


I’ve been working a video project for the past couple of weeks and it’s finally finished!  As someone who lives with chronic pain, having two cats is even more special. They give me unconditional love, comfort, and they make me laugh (oh yes, they sure do!). According to numerous scientific studies, owning a pet boosts your mental and physical well-being. I’ll be writing a special blog post about how pets improve our health this coming Saturday.

As a preview, I’m going to unveil my video project tonight. Have you been enjoying the fantastically amusing video, “Gangnam Style,” by Korean pop star Psy? There have been a ton of parodies on YouTube and I decided it would be fun to use our cat, Cruiser, to star in his own version. If I could figure out how to embed the video here I would... but for now, you’ll have to click the link below:

Watch our cat parody video now, click here:  
*~  GangNom-Nom Style  ~*

I hope you will enjoy this video - we are still laughing from both the video shoot and the editing! Be sure when you watch it that you DON’T MISS THE OUTTAKES at the very end, we think they are funniest part of the whole thing!

I’m making a promise right now, that at least twice a month I will put up new photos or videos of our two cats here on my blog to share their cuteness and humor with you all!

Wishing you all a pain-free night and a really good laugh!

Our cats: Cruiser (the video star!) and Jaspurr!


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Tuesday-Newsday #85


It’s time for Tuesday-Newsday! The Featured Blog Post this week is, “Where the Rubber Meets the Road In a Life of Chronic Pain,” by Sue Falkner-Wood.

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. As is the case with any health info, ALWAYS get your doctor's opinion first!
====++++====++++====++++====++++====++++===


** CDC and FDA ALERT **

UPDATE...

This story continues to change almost by the hour. Health officials now say that patients began receiving the tainted steroid much earlier, as of May 21. They have released a list of all the states where vials of the drug were shipped: California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Texas, and West Virginia. 

If you think you given a tainted injection, click HERE to read my last blog post which outlines what affected patients need to know.


*MEDICATION NEWS











*CHRONIC PAIN NEWS






*PATIENT NEWS







*FIBROMYALGIA / CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME

Studies Seeking Fibro and CFIDS Patients: website #1  website #2














*MILITARY VETERANS and PAIN

mentioned in the video are these two links: #1  #2








*FEATURED BLOG POST

by Sue Falkner-Wood

Friday, October 5, 2012

Back Pain Steroid Injections Linked to Meningitis Outbreak


*CDC and FDA ALERT* 

Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injections Linked to Meningitis 
47 Patients Infected and 5 Dead
Thousands More Could Be at Risk

Health officials are trying to track down pain patients who had this treatment after 47 people have been infected in seven states and five patients have died. The steroid drug, methylprednisolone acetate, appears to be contaminated with a fungus usually found in leaf mold.

What should you do if you had 
Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injections 
between late May and September?

~* Officials believe thousands of patients in 23 states may have been exposed. The hardest hit state is Tennessee where three patients have died and there are 29 cases of meningitis. Virginia has six cases and one death, Michigan has four cases, Indiana has three, Maryland has two cases and one death, Florida has two cases, and North Carolina has one case. 

~* Not everyone who got steroid injections will develop fungal meningitis, which is not contagious to others, but is very dangerous to the affected patient.

~* Health officials expect more cases to develop over time because symptoms can take a month or more to appear. This means that even if you are not sick right now, look at the date you had your lumbar injection and realize that symptoms may not appear for many weeks. Please remain vigilant. Inform your loved ones so they can help you watch for symptoms which you may not notice. 

~* Symptoms of the fungal meningitis include fever, new or worsening headache, sensitivity to light, nausea, chills, and stroke-like deficits (including slurred speech and unsteady gait). If you are having even mild symptoms see their doctor immediately! If you’ve had the injections, be very watchful for any unusual symptoms. If I were you, I would contact my doctor and ask if there have been any cases in your clinic or if any of the recalled steroid was used there.

~* If you need to be treated for fungal meningitis you will receive intravenous drugs in a hospital. Treatment can take weeks or months, and the drugs can have severe side effects which need to be closely monitored.

Here’s a video with a anesthesiologist talking about lumbar injections and how these patients have been infected: 

I sincerely hope that no one else is affected by this steroid drug, and for everyone who was exposed, I will be praying for you. 


This story continues to develop in the news. To get more details, here are the stories I used to write this post: