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Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Developed new symptoms? Check your medicine cabinet.



It has been argued that we live in an overmedicated society. We take medicine to not only cure what ails us, but to improve our quality of life. People who suffer from chronic illness are often prescribed multiple medications. If that person has more than one condition, the number of pills can really add up.

I am not here to argue against taking medicine. Personally, modern medicine has made it possible for me to continue to function and to remain employed. I actually want to share something that I discovered about taking all of these medications that can be easy to overlook in people who suffer from a bunch of ailments like me.

Since the beginning of the year, I have had an increase in the frequency and intensity of my migraine headaches. They run in my family. I have had migraines with auras since I was a teenager. I have been fortunate in the last few years because I only had severe migraines a handful of times a year. Other than that, I only experienced relatively milder migraines and sinus headaches.

When my recent bout of migraines started, I experienced classic auras (flashes and zigzags) in my visual field along with light and sound sensitivity. The visual disturbances increased in intensity. I experienced waviness (like you associate with seeing mirages in the desert) on the periphery of my vision. Sometimes it was so bad, I couldn’t see well enough to type on my computer or drive. I also experienced dizziness when standing and walking. I would often have to grab the wall when walking. Needless to say, it got so bad that I was having intensely painful headaches almost every day. It took a lot for me to make it through the work day. When I got home, I would often lay in bed with the TV off and place a sleep mask over my eyes, praying that I could sleep through the episode.

I went to see my primary care physician and I was prescribed a medication for migraines. After a month or so with not much relief, I went back and was given a prescription for medication that dissolved on my tongue and a low dose blood pressure pill even though my blood pressure was excellent. My physician explained the mechanism by which she expected it to help with the migraines. It didn’t help much.

As the symptoms and frequency worsened, I was told to see a neurologist and get an MRI. I called the neurologist, but his nurse wanted my medical records and few other things from my PCP. I was a little frustrated because I was in sheer misery. I made some calls, took partial days off from work and decided to tackle the back and forth when I felt up to it. I know that sounds crazy, but when you are barely making it, you do enough to get by such as concentrate on making it through the work day.

Sitting at my computer in tears, feeling defeated, wondering how I was going to go on and telling God how I couldn’t handle one more health problem, I finally cut out the melodrama going on in my head long enough for something to tell me to check my medications. The first one that came to mind was the antibiotic, Bactrim, which I had been on continuously taking since last year for my hidradenitis suppurativa (HS).

BINGO! That was the culprit.

As I read through the list of possible side effects such as persistent headaches and signs of low sugar, shakiness and dizziness. I didn’t even connect the bouts of low blood sugar. I just assumed it was because I had a gastric bypass and I wasn’t eating enough. So I took matters into my own hands to test my new theory. I stopped the antibiotic. I don’t recommend stopping a medication without talking to your doctor first, but this was a little different. The Bactrim was a "just in case" med that I chose to be on just in case HS “aliens” got any infection, which they mostly don’t. Because treating the various aspects of treating HS falls under so many physicians, you almost end up taking the lead on your treatment. The dermatologist will inject the aliens with kenalog and will prescribe an antibiotic, but won’t prescribe pain meds or lance them. You have to see a general surgeon for lancing. The surgeon may prescribe a short course of pain meds post draining. The PCP or someone else has to prescribe pain meds for flare-ups. My rheumatologist prescribed the Humira for the arthritis and the HS. Insurance doesn’t cover it for HS, so the dermatologist can’t prescribe Humira and have the insurance pay for it. So as you see, I have to be an active member of my health care team.

So I have stopped the Bactrim for about four weeks and I have been taking my backup antibiotic for HS, the one I take when I get a flareup. The headaches, low blood sugar, dizziness and shakiness have stopped. I plan to call my PCP eventually and tell her that the mystery has been solved thanks to the good Lord, me (after I stopped being a drama queen) and the Internet. :)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Red beans and rice

Here is my recipe for red beans and rice using the crockpot. This could easily be done using the stovetop. I am not a person who does a lot of measuring, but here goes.

First take two smoked turkey wings and place them in a large crockpot and cover them with water. I purchased mine already cut up. They came one wing per package. One wing will suffice, but I prefer the extra meat. The smoked turkey adds an extra layer of flavor to the final dish.

Set the crockpot to 10 hours the night before, and then soaked a pound of red beans in water and go to bed. Follow the directions on the package of red beans for soaking them overnight.

The next morning, the turkey meat should be falling off the bone. Remove the turkey skin and bones from the crockpot.

Drain the remaining water on the red beans and dump them into the crockpot with the smoked turkey wings.

Then add Zataran's Red Bean's Seasoning Mix. Set the crockpot to cook for four hours.

About three hours later, slice up two pounds of your favorite beef smoked sausage and put it in the crockpot.

Put your rice on (follow the direction on the package, although I use a rice cooker) and when the time is up on the crockpot, it time to eat.

This recipe will yield a lot of food. If you don't have bunch of people to feed, invite some over or freeze some beans for later.

Enjoy

Monday, June 18, 2012

PMS, need I say more?

I just have to ask, do any of you deal with PMS on a consistent basis? Like clockwork, I get moody and straight up evil (thought wise) before my period. Everything aches, I get cramps, moody, tired and I am just miserable. Arthritis, fibromyalgia, and especially my hidradenitis flare up (and pain is enough to piss me off).

Not to mention pain from uterine fibroids and cysts on my ovaries. Ugh!

This time of the month, I get pissed off just by people talking to me. I literally sit there and think, "why are you still breathing?" I try to make an effort to isolate myself so that I don't take it out on others. I've been pretty successful at it.

Thank goodness I can close my office door at work. I came to work this morning with a funky attitude, pissed off that people were bugging me via email. The rational side of me knows that this is completely ridiculous. And it really is. I still somehow manage to be courteous and professional. But each month when I start feeling this way, I know what time it is. I generally like to crawl into my bed and chill with a heating pad and avoid phone calls if I can.

So am I the only psycho out there, or can someone else relate? I haven't slapped anybody, but man it is tempting.

Just so that you know, I'm a pretty easy going person. It takes a lot to rattle my cage, unless I'm going through PMS. ;)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Finding someone to hold me financially accountable


I just finished the Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University course. In it, Dave recommends that singles find someone to whom they can be accountable. I considered asking my frugal yet money savvy friend, Monica, but I chose my mom since we live near each other. Also, my mom is super frugal (ok, cheap); but, as a result, she and my dad are comfortably retired. When I asked her, I understood that this would give my mom a free pass to be all up in my business and to pass judgment on what I do financially.

I also gave my mom the account number, checks, etc. to my emergency savings in my money market account with the understanding that if I ask for the checks, etc., I will have to justify to her satisfaction that I have a legitimate emergency before she will give me access to it. We also defined what we consider a legitimate emergency. My tire blowing out because my car needs new tires isn’t an emergency; it is a personal problem due to poor planning. Once I get a better handle on what is a real emergency, I will get my checks back from her.

To make a long story short, I told my mom that I took Eddie to the movies. Because he is 16 and doesn’t have a job right now, I paid for the movie. My mom’s response was that I obviously had not learned anything because the money I spent on the tickets could have went towards savings. I had to shake my head. I told her that although I need to make some more cuts, that don’t mean that I can never do anything until my car and house are paid off, my retirement is fully funded, or all debt is eliminated. There has to be a reasonable balance between making reasonable cuts in spending and being a hermit.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Online Dating and Avoiding Scams

When it comes to free online dating site, the worse that I have encountered is Black Planet. I am not saying that I have extensive experience with free dating sites, but from what I have seen so far Black Planet (BP) is a haven for scammers from Africa. Plenty of Fish (POF) is not as bad. The example I will show you later is from POF.

So how do you identify scammers and how does the scam work?

What usually happens with a scammer, you chat, they send you poetry, etc. that they didn't write or something romantic that they can cut and paste in a message to you that they are probably also sending to a bunch of other women. You may even get the same email or poem twice.

They claim to be in Africa visiting or working, then the imaginary emergency happens. My child is ill or I lost my wallet and me and my kids are stranded. And because they think you are so in love with them, you will send them money. Don't bother chatting out of boredom with these folks either. LOL

This is the type of email you get from scammer on an online dating site. Clue #1 was he wrote too much on the initial email. Other clues: They go overboard with laying the flattery. In this example, He posed as a white guy on black dating site and only had one picture up. Also look at the language used. He didn't come across as a native English speaker.

This is the scammers initial email:
Hello how are you doing, my name is David Jason i was just searching by list when i got to see your profile and felt so enthusiastic about you and more interested in getting to know you much better..... wish I could see through your eyes so I would know what you like to see. I wish I knew your wishes, so I could give you everything you want. I wish I dreamed the same dreams you do, and together we could make them come true. I wish I knew what makes you happy, so I could make you the happiest person in the whole world. And lastly, I wish I were a cell in your blood, so I would be sure I was somewhere in your heart hope to hear from you pretty soon

David

A little over the top don't you think?

My response to the first email:
Good morning, David. How are you? Thanks for sending me a note. I read and liked your profile.

2nd email from him:
Thank you for getting back to me, I hope everything is fine....If so thanks be to God almighty. I'm 45yrs old, 6ft tall single and searching.. I went thru your profile I found it very interesting and I would really like to get to know you better. Am David Jason from Houston Texas... A Building Contractor....But a Dermatologist by my course of study.I'm single... I came across your profile while searching on this site,and I bet I got so acquainted to your image cause of the beauty i could see on you. You're simply irresistible and i must confess it's a great pleasure writing's to someone of your nature. I can be the lucky guy that would own your heart ....You're God gifted and attractive.... You are so beautiful that i believe God spent extra time creating you and if i were to present your picture in heaven, all the angels would hide their faces in shame.I'm a non typical Guy with a good heart and a calm head, someone who appreciates the value of a good people like my father did, I’m not a surface dweller, I can see beyond the outside and I'm not afraid or unwilling to express myself or laugh out loud. I consider myself an excellent communicator. Do you like walking or dancing, do you like hugs and kisses, taking long drives or just staying home listening to music or cuddling. The smallest of gestures I meet with joy and appreciation instead of expectation.I'm presently in West Africa for now I do Alot of travelling Alot it's all depends on where I have a was statina. This are things I dislike, I do not like being around with people who are negative, Rude, No patient and very lousy people. I'm pretty easy going but when I am passionate about something I will definitely speak my mind. I am very adventuresome and love the idea of trying any new fun activity or sport..I'm romantic and very contented with my life.. I just think it would be a lot more fun if there was someone to share it with. I'm a strong, independent Guy with a great sense of humor and have managed to remain so lovely and caring to people. I try very hard to keep a positive outlook on life and hope you do too.I dont mind travelling or relocating to other states to meet my match.i like candies, flowers,music and reading...water (whether it be a lake,stream or the ocean)...sunshine and rainy days...falling leaves (Autumn is my absolute favorite time of year), holding hands,cuddling,walking in the evening and kissing under a street light. I am honest and expect the same in return. I don't play games or care much for people who do so give me a way to get in touch. In short, I'm looking for the last love of my life... I am looking for a true companion, the missing link in my life.I am looking for the bone that mine was brough out from...am looking for whom God has set aside for me......... be happy and have a positive attitude.......I hope you will be honest, sensitive and affectionate (being romantic would begreat!) Be prepared though, I may want to take you away for a surprise romantic weekend...If you have a strong shoulder for me to lean on and allow me to cry on at the movies, well, that would be a real bonus! But you should know that I will be there for you - a partner (in every sense of the word) who will be there to share the laughter and the tears. If you hold my heart, there is nothing I won't do for you.I read a profile once that says it all perfectly - "someone I am excited to spend my nights with and even more eager to spend my days with"... a gentle guy and a kind soul i'm looking for a Woman that will be my best friend plus more if it goes that way, someone who has a positive out look on life, caring,loving, not boring likes to go out and do things even if its just a walk.its the little things that matters.If you have read this far I’m amazed, There's still a lot more about me that i would like u to know but i would only do that if u send me a message to my personal email be cos that the only way we can get privacy in our relationship. can i have

Really? It got cut off at the because it too dang long. If you want to look him up, visit www.plentyoffish.com. His screen name is davidsjacon. This is a bunch of nonsense. He didn't even spell his name right on his screen name.

I didn't need to go any further. I have already been there. I had one guy years ago that I was chatting with on BP that claimed to be an artist who was in Africa buying clay. He was a widower so he had his three year old daughther with him. At one point he even had the three year typing me a message on Yahoo! messager. I mean really. Then the crisis came. He needed money because his daughter was extremely ill and he wanted to know if he could borrow some. She was a British citizen. I asked him if he contacted the British embassy for help since she was a British citizen. The UK has universal health care so that should solve that problem.
Obviously, he didn't like that respond.

I know someone who was talking to another widower who claimed to be stranded in Colorado with his son and he said he lost his wallet and plane tickets. Even though they never met, he sent her long message and poetry from the Internet. I told her to tell him that she had a brother who was driving back from Colorado the next day and to let her know if he wanted her to ask her brother to give them a lift. He was really upset that she didn't trust him. Oh well is my response.

I am sure that there are women who are able to get emotionally involved with someone that they have never laid eyes on but I am not one of them.

Do yourself a favor. Look for the warning signs I cited and be careful online.