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Fave Things About the Autoimmune Community #A4Amonth

Posted by Connie on Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012 at 10:24 pm and is filed under Advocate, Autoimmune Disease.
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I’m taking part in the Advocating for Others Blog Carnival made possible through WEGO Health. I chose the community of people with Autoimmune Diseases and conditions to write about.

Prompt: List time! Write 5-10 of your favorite things about your community. Celebrate their uniqueness and be sure to tell us why those are your favorite things.

  1. We are unique. I didn’t mean to steal this from the prompt, but this community is made up of different types of people. We don’t seem to have one thing in common besides having an Autoimmune condition. Yet we gather in real life or online: in support groups and in communities or forums.
  2. We Support Others. Whether strangers who need someone to listen, or close friends who need a ride to the doctor, we do what we can to assist other people. We help raise money, spread awareness and provide referrals to doctors who treat us well.
  3. We are courageous. Many of the conditions we have can lead to other medical problems, but we learn to focus on the positives. We face pain, discomfort, fatigue and many other symptoms, but we don’t let it rule our lives.
  4. We are skeptical. Yes, that’s good. We don’t take things at face value, especially those snake oil treatments that cure everything from hang nails to cancer. We research everything, even medications that our trusted doctors give us. We don’t just accept a diagnosis so we can be dismissed. And that’s where the support from others can come in. They can share what works and what doesn’t, but also understand that each person is different and can react to treatments in a different way.
  5. We are respectful. It’s OK to turn down someone’s advice or to ask for no more advice. When we have bad days, we do our best to vent, but not take it out on others. We accept that we have different belief systems, different financial situations and unique medical conditions. (Some of us have allergies, more than one autoimmune disease or other diseases.)

The best thing we can do as a community is to join forces for research on why some of get autoimmune diseases and to find better treatments.

To learn more about the Advocating for Others Blog Carnival visit http://bit.ly/A4Amonth.

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Autoimmune Disease Community | Advocating for Others #A4Amonth

Posted by Connie on Tuesday, August 21st, 2012 at 11:27 pm and is filed under Advocate, Autoimmune Disease.
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Prompt: Write a descriptive portrait of your community. Share qualities that make them, them – and include an image! (A photo or creative work of /about them!)

The autoimmune disease community is made up of people of all ages, but mainly adults, all races, backgrounds and both male and female. Some of us have been diagnosed with one autoimmune disease, others with 2 or more. We know that our medical condition is most likely chronic. For some of us, it makes us ponder how our own body works.

Quilt

Autoimmune means that your body is fighting against itself. For example, with Sjogren’s Syndrome your body fights against the glands that produce tears and saliva. It can be a strange feeling knowing this, but we take part in medical studies so more can be learned about these types of conditions.

We are fighters. Even though most of us deal with fatigue we don’t give up helping others and working with our doctors to help ourselves. We share what we know with others who are going through the same thing as us. We form support groups, ask for new legislation for research and we donate our time and money to organizations that support autoimmune diseases.

We are partners. Once we can deal with our diagnosis or diagnoses, we feel the need to help others get the facts, find resources and be able to voice their concerns. We understand what is means hurt and/or be tired all the time, to be depressed and scared, and to feel alone.

We have compassion. We can empathize with people more easily, even those that aren’t sick.

We are hopeful. We hope for better treatments and try medications to lessen our symptoms. We don’t want the same for next generation.

I chose a quilt to symbolize the autoimmune community because although we are different in many ways, we come together to make things better for ourselves and for others. – image source http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1062712

I am participating in WEGO’s Advocating For Another Carnival. To learn more about it, visit http://bit.ly/A4Amonth.

Health Insurance For All

Posted by Connie on Friday, June 1st, 2012 at 11:13 am and is filed under Advocate, Chronic Illness.
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English: U.S. Health Insurance Status (Under 65)

English: U.S. Health Insurance Status (Under 65) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Everyone needs health insurance, even healthy people.  You never know if you are going to get sick or get into an accident. Things can change drastically concerning your health in the matter of minutes. For those of us with chronic illnesses, finding affordable health insurance can be next to impossible, especially if we have to pay for it on our own. Finding a company that offers pre existing health insurance is like finding a needle in a haystack. Then the cost can be outrageous and the deductible and co-pays may make it not worth it financially.

I know of people who rely on the emergency room for their health care because they don’t have health insurance. Hospitals must accept you whether or not you have insurance or can pay for your care. Some hospitals offer programs to help you pay off your bill, lower your bill or send your bill to a nonprofit that pays it for you. But, what kind of care are these people getting? It’s not personalized and ongoing so that you a doctor tracks your symptoms on an ongoing basis. Plus, prescriptions can be too costly so the after care isn’t followed through. This is a just one time when low income health insurance is needed.

I don’t have all the answers for the health insurance dilemma, but one thing I know for sure is that people with low incomes need access to low cost insurance. In the long run, it will save money for everyone. Health care costs will be lowered since those of us with insurance aren’t paying for people without. And it’s just morally right that people who need health care get it, especially if they can’t work due to illness, if they are children and if they have put money into our national health insurance – Medicare – for a long time.

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Shoulder Pain

Posted by Connie on Sunday, May 20th, 2012 at 2:30 pm and is filed under Health Information, OTC Medications, Prescription Medications.
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The pain has been getting worse. It hurts when I use my left arm and when I sleep on my left side. I’ve had shoulder pain for years, but this is different. It’s lingering and the one side is much more sore than the other. I’ve mentioned it to my Rheumatologist, who has given me light exercises to do. He’s also given me trigger point injections numerous times.

Since I refuse to take narcotic pain medications, I use Biofreeze to relieve pain and do my deep breathing when it feels like it’s getting overwhelming. I try to remember not to use my left arm to carry anything heavy too. Believe me, when I do by accident, I switch arms right away.

I have a feeling that it’s a rotator cuff injury or something that may require more than the treatment I’m currently using because the pain is not getting any better. As much as I try to push those negative thoughts away, they’re there, just like I would get addicted to pain medications if I took them.  I’ve seen this happen too often, even in my own family and it scares me. Plus I don’t like the way I act on narcotics. Thankfully, there are free drug rehab programs that help with this type of addiction. But I won’t take any chances. For now, I’ll continue with the trigger pain injections, the exercises, the gel and the deep breathing. Thank you very much.

This is a sponsored post for drug rehabilitation programs. All opinions are my own. This blog uses affiliate links.

Panic Attack Six Sentences #HAWMC

Posted by Connie on Sunday, April 29th, 2012 at 4:04 pm and is filed under Mental Health.
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Prompt: Six Sentence Story. In this day of micro-blogging – brevity is a skill worth honing. Can you tell a story and make it short and sweet? What can you say in six sentences? Check out some here: http://sixsentences.blogspot.com/

The meeting was just about over when I mentioned my recent panic attack. The therapist was taken aback and asked why I waited until the last minute to report such a serious issue. The conversation was riveting and it was easy for me forget the night that I didn’t sleep and played over in my mind each detail as if it were yesterday. In fact, I didn’t really want to talk about it as I feared more nightmares and reliving that long forgotten incident that happened over 30 years ago. So why did I open my big mouth? To be reassured that it was normal and there was a way to cope with it if it happened again. I left with the details I needed, satisfied.

The First Time Giving Birth

Posted by Connie on Saturday, April 28th, 2012 at 12:47 pm and is filed under Loving Life.
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Prompt: The First Time I… Write a post about the first time you did something. What is it? What was it like? What did you learn from it?

The first time I gave birth gave me a natural high. My body was being used to give life. And it was my baby, the most beautiful baby in the world. I went in feeling so frightened. I hated hospitals and everything to do with them. The pain of labor scared me. The doctor wasn’t my regular doctor who I had been seeing throughout my pregnancy. And my husband at the time wasn’t being supportive.

Back then the rules of the hospital overpowered a woman’s wishes. I could only have one person in the room with me, no switching allowed. And I had to be moved to the delivery room for the actual birth. I was in heavy labor, but no one would believe me. My labor was moving too fast for them.

I remember telling the nurse to check the monitor for my contractions. She ignored me. I screamed for an epidural. No one listened. A new nurse came on duty and realized that I was having contractions every  5 minutes. I was shaking, cussing, and about to rip the IV out of my arm. I wanted my mommy.

She quickly called for an epidural. Told my husband to take a break and snuck my mother in the room. Soon after, I was calm and collected and there was no pain. Now I could focus on giving birth. Instead of fear, I felt pride – pride in my body for what it was accomplishing. When I finally held my daughter in my arms, the joy was overwhelming. She knew my voice. We cuddled and I didn’t want to let her go.

This was first time I felt unconditional love.

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