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  1. Started new treatment last week after a couple of difficult weeks when I was in and out of hospital. I don't let it disrupt my writing schedule though. Pleased to say I averaged 1,500 words a day whether inside or back home. It's weird being in hospital. You get institutionalised so fast. The food is pretty dreadful, but thankfully the hospital near me has a Marks & Spencer food hall on site, so I was able to add some taste to the unappealing stodge with such goodies as feta and beetroot salad or supergreen salad. I feel sorry for the patients who aren't mobile and who have to exist on what's provided. I mean, it's not even very healthy. Most of it is prepared off-site and just re-heated, like meals you get on board a plane. Salads look like something from the 1970's - limp lettuce leaves, pale tomatoes and soggy cucumber, with a choice of salad cream or mayo. What kind of hospital is it where you can't even get vinaigrette in 2021!! Whew. Glad I got that off my chest. Anyway, I've been carrying on with 'Threadfall', mindful it's getting close to the end. I also wrote a sequel to my anthology story 'Fellow Travellers', called 'Travelling On'. For each of these I post a chapter each week. I like deadlines. It forces me to write even when I 'don't feel like it'. The supernatural murder mystery has been on the back burner. I really wanted to get ahead with everything else so I had enough finished chapters in case everything went pear-shaped and I became ill enough not to even care about the quality of hospital food. Thankfully, that hasn't happened and the side effects of the new treatment don't include anything that stops me writing. I'm also revisiting a fantasy story I wrote during the 1990's. I think I might post that on this site to see what people think. I can certainly see the differences in my writing style. So, plenty to be getting on with. Plus another scan to look forward to tomorrow. Here's a picture of the hospital lasagne - one of the more palatable meals, although the veg was cooked to mush!
  2. Waiting for CT scan results is a bit like being the cat in the box. You aren't sure if it will be good or bad news, if indeed you will be pronounced alive or dead once the result comes through. Today, I got the news I - kind of - expected. Not for any particular reason except my usual cautious pessimism and the feeling things had gone too well for too long. You can tell by their tone of voice, even before they actually say anything. The lesions in my liver are spreading and there is a need to review my treatment. It's weird, but I'd been preparing myself for it. I drew The Tower in a Tarot spread the other day. I've been feeling occasionally sick. None of that may have meant anything, but you always read portents into perfectly normal events with hindsight. So, what am I going to do? Stop drinking, for one thing, although I haven't exactly been drinking a lot. Less than 4 glasses of wine a week, with meals. Keep exercising. Write as fast as I can. Hone my life back down to the essentials - enjoying each day, eating well, taking time for myself. I think I will take the house off the market. Don't need that stress. I've been almost feeling 'normal' again recently, thinking about the future and stuff like that. Suddenly, focus has shifted back. Suddenly, life feels precarious and very precious. I want to stay healthy for as long as possible. I want to get things finished. Only I may not have as much time as I'd hoped.
  3. When the news you get, isn’t the news you want… My Husband, Phil, gets regular injections to his eyes for complications from diabetes. (DME) Yes, it's as bad as it sounds. It's been happening for over three years now. Two weeks ago He saw the doctor for His regular appointment. The doctor asked the staff to go ahead and scan both eyes, not just the left. It wasn’t good news. The swelling in that right eye was back. It’s been stable for two years; it’s just been the left eye being treated. He told Phil to come back in two weeks for an injection in the right eye. Well, we went in today for that injection. The scan wasn’t any better today. The pressure in the eye, which had been hovering around 16-18, was at 25. Now I don’t know exactly what is being measured or what units that’s measured in, but that big of a jump isn’t positive. At the end of today’s appointment, the doctor asked us to come back in a month for a re-scan and to talk about a plan for going forward. He didn’t give any indication to Phil as to exactly what that means. These appointments have never been easy for me, i know they are hell on Phil, but they’ve gotten to be almost “old hat.” Until today. He is concerned, my stomach is in knots, and the anxiety is knocking on the door, softly, but knocking. i know that we will weather whatever storm this brings. It’s just the waiting that’s hard.
  4. The coronavirus is large and in charge in the news cycles right now. Since I work in healthcare, it's sort of center-stage in my world. I'll say this now - though I work in medicine, I am not an expert in virology or epidemiology. However, I have access to both of those types of experts, and I listen very closely to what they're saying. The overall messaging is: It's likely that there will be a worldwide pandemic. It's likely that there will be a huge disruption of services, due to how many people will be sick at once. It's likely most people will recover with no treatment - so long as basic needs for food and water are met. The virus ranges in severity from that of an annoying cold, to SARS level illness. Severity seems heavily linked to overall health of the sick person before they displayed symptoms. People forget that influenza can be deadly, and that circulates every year. The difference here is COVID-19 has no herd immunity in our populations. Meaning, if you're exposed, and the virus makes it into your respiratory system, then you will likely come down with the bug. You can protect yourself. Wash your hands. It's the top way to stay healthy. Yes, really. Stay away from those you know are ill if you can. If you can't, ensure you're not coughed on by anyone with symptoms, and use hand sanitizer/handwashing after you leave the sick person's area. Also wash your hands before applying make up, eating, or using lip balm. If you do get sick, communicate with your local public health department, and your primary care physician. You will likely be asked to self-isolate if it's determined that you have COVID-19. I know this all probably sounds scary, but ... this is not E.bola. My working in healthcare means no matter my precautions I'll probably end up catching this thing, and I'm not afraid. I've looked at the numbers and panic isn't warranted. Don't take my word for it. Look to the experts, those who have spent their entire lives studying for this very moment. Coronavirus 2019 CDC Information WHO Coronavirus 2019 Information Be sensible, watchful, and proactive, and soon this thing will burn itself out.
  5. I got the results of my blood work back a week and a half ago. I will go see my doctor to officially discuss them in a couple of weeks, but he messaged through our electronic health record. He applauded the twenty point drop on my cholesterol, but ... said that he'd still like me to consider statins. That the drop alone isn't enough to push me into the "normal" range for heart-attack risk. Well, I need one more data point to decide. If what I'm doing is working, even if it's slow ... then my cholesterol should be even lower the next time we check it. I replied with this, and reaffirmed that I'm still committed to this path. I also said I'd agree to take the meds if what I'm doing at the end of the next ninety-day period isn't enough to get me out of the red zone. Then after replying to his message, I walked over to his clinic a few blocks from my office. He agreed, with a bit of a headshake. The word "stubborn" may have been bandied about. So, at the end of May or the beginning of June I'll have another test. Coincidentally, I joined a CrossFit gym this week and I'll be making myself suffer for an hour a day, four days a week. If I can't get there with all that I'm doing now, then it's just not going to happen. And ... that's okay. But I need to know for sure before I start the meds.
  6. SP spent the night last night, for the second time. Slept in an odd position and my hip is killing me; his back is killing him. That's most likely because neither of us is used to sleeping next to anyone anymore. My allergies are bad and my blood pressure is sky high this morning and they were last time too. This one I'm pretty sure is because he smokes -- and has for many many years -- and bringing that up is going to be difficult. I'll probably have to tell him he'll need to go outside (he has been smoking outside) to smoke his last cig before bedtime earlier than he has been, so the smell of smoke is not as strong as when we get into bed. Things are going well between us. I worry about messing things up by saying something, but on the other hand he'd hate to wake up to me having a heart attack. Need to go into work and take care of things I wasn't able to get done this week from being out Wed. afternoon and almost all day on Thurs. due to joint pain but.... that will have to wait until the hip calms down enough for me to function.
  7. I now have two weeks under my belt, and I'm beginning week three of my workout/meal regimen. I'm still getting used to some things, but it's a lot easier to roll out of bed at 440 than it was when I started. So far I've lost four pounds and gained strength on the bench and under the bar. It's rare for me to do both at once. I am enjoying this combination of routine and meal planning. If you're interested at all, here's what I'm doing. I hid the details behind spoilers ... because, frankly, most just won't care. lol Meals Workout What I'm doing is working. It means going to bed early, getting up before the sun, closely monitoring my meals, and working really hard, but it's moving the needle in the direction it needs to go. More important is the fact that I can maintain this approach. I'm looking forward to the end of the week when I weigh in again. I've not been below 205 lbs in a while ... and I might hit that mark by Sunday.
  8. I recently went to the doctor. Had some routine blood tests done that I've not had in a long time. My vitamin D levels were low, while cholesterol and a test called CRP (c-reactive protein, a test that shows inflammation) were very high. Even though I work out hard, I'm predisposed to high cholesterol and heart disease. I have three months to knock my numbers down. If I can't do it on my own, then I go on meds for the rest of my life. I've always said that I won't do medication when hard work could fix something. Well, we're about to find out if I can do enough to fix this without meds. If not, I'll take them and be thankful that I get a shot at retirement thanks to the miracles of medicine. Ninety days. I have Ninety days. I'd better make 'em good.
  9. The very very last of our new Teaching Assistants gave me her paperwork today. Reminded her that she never wants to be the very very last person. Her excuse is that she's a commuter (who only lives an hour away). I had people from out of state turn in their stuff before they even moved; even the international students who didn't have stuff to give me until they got here this week had turned their things in already. Blood pressure is continuing to climb after having gone wacky the first week of July. Cardiologist hasn't called me back, even though I gave them my sheets -- and concerns -- last week and left an online msg for them last night. If I don't hear from them by noon tomorrow I'm calling them. It's going up at an ever increasing rate; was 140/90 when I got home today, which is high enough I can tell it's up. Before this it had been consistently staying below 120/80.
  10. Last night, I wasn't in the best place. Introverted, still sort of spinning. But, wildlife doesn't care about my moods. Our chickens were restless. It was dusk, and we went out to investigate. I spied a little skunk - small enough to squeeze between the wire that made up the chicken run trying to hide in the darkness of the run. So we're out there, trying to get this little confused, scared critter out of our chicken run AND avoid getting sprayed. Kevin grabs a wire door, to block off part of the run we don't want it to scamper through. Well, he tripped. He smacked on the concrete walkway, cracking a rib. But, worse... he really slammed his toe into the side of the walkway. When my husband takes a tumble, he does it right. I'm watching his ribs, to make sure the bruise there doesn't grow. But there's nothing to be done for a broken toe other than tape it up and let it heal. It's sad to say, but a baby skunk really did a number on Kevin. Oh. Don't fret. The skunk is fine. We saw it again tonight... the little bugger.
  11. What I've described to the Dr. in the past as being, "short, sharp, heartbeats" were being very and unusually persistent last night when I was trying to fall asleep. Ended up going to the ER -- not out of concern (they've already said they didn't see anything concerning about my heart function) but in the hopes that if they were going to persist that I could relax enough they would happen there where I would be monitored. It's very difficult to relax in an ER room, even when that's your goal. 😕 I did have a couple but they were small and didn't show as anything unusual in the chart. I'd chalk it up to an expensive failure except that the Dr. on duty mentioned something he thought they sounded like and fit the "only happening when I'm relaxing and trying to sleep" -- premature ventricular contractions. I just sent a note to my cardiologist; left off the part where the ER doctor expressed surprise that the cardiologist hadn't already considered or mentioned them as a possibility. In and of themselves they're too much of a concern but... I mentioned in my note that they were becoming more frequent [both in time and in numbers] and were making it increasingly difficult to fall asleep. Does seem like those should show themselves on the EKG though. I wasn't having at all them when I wore the Halter monitor the first time. I know I should trust the Dr. when he says there is no sign of anything wrong with the heart itself but it does seem incongruous to be having these if there is nothing wrong. They're like a single beat where it feels like the heart compresses too much with no pain before or after. My friend who is a nurse would tell me that I'm just worrying too much -- which I do have a tendency to do [part of the whole 'anxiety disorder' thing]. Haven't told her that I went in last night or what the doc suggested they might be. On an entirely different topic, during my Uber ride on my way into the ER @ 3am we passed a large gas station / convenience store that sits at the corner of two of the main streets through town. Entrance was coned off, the entire area was taped off, and there were several cops there. Driver said she'd driven by about an hour earlier and saw a, "shirtless man talking to the cops who looked upset". Getting home this morning early and turning on the news, the man she saw had a gunshot wound to the neck. He'd been shot somewhere else and dropped off there. He was taken to the hospital where he later died. Cops have one person held for questioning. This isn't the sort of thing that normally happens in this town, though we've had more shooting recently than normal.
  12. Blood pressure was low yesterday morning so just took a 1/2 a pill. Dropped to a point I nearly passed out when standing up at one point. Only got up to 105/72 by 5pm last night (pulse of 75). It's just 85/62 this morning with a pulse of 109 (pulse would be that high because the bp is so low). No idea what's up but it could stop and I'd be happy. Need to eat something for breakfast then try to lay down and stay down for the morning.
  13. WARNING: Getting mildly graphic about my symptoms here, so don't read if that bothers you... I've not been around as much lately because I've been ill and I'm starting to worry. I've been almost constantly sick since before Christmas. I really thought I was finally better and then this throat infection took hold, the day after my birthday, no less. (Happy Birthday, Thorn! Here, have some more pain!) I'm tired. I don't sleep well. I wake up way before my alarm, feeling sick and miserable. For the third day in a row, I threw up first thing in the morning (today I made sure to down a glass of water before it happened so I wouldn't have to dry heave like I did yesterday). It's the mucus, coming down my throat from my nose, triggering my gag reflex. This happened before, a couple of months ago. I got some anti-emetics from my doctor but they're not working now. On the plus side (is there a plus side?), I'm getting some major exposure therapy for my emetophobia. At this point, when I've been sick so much for such a long while, I can't help but wonder if there may be some underlying cause. What's happening to me? What's wrong with me? You know, aside from the obvious; the anxiety and depression and hypomania and all that. What's wrong with my body? Why is it like this? I think I need to see the doctor again.
  14. To begin, I have never been an "active" child. Playing outdoors? Enjoying gym class? An amazing athlete? Ha! I read a good book indoors. I despised gym class (especially when puberty hit). Lastly, I was never even close to being an athletic person. Now I am not facing any serious health risks, like morbid obesity, but I nevertheless not in shape. I want to change that, so for this summer, I have set myself a goal to exercise and be more active. Hopefully by summer's end, I will enjoy this lifestyle enough to continue when the next semester of college begins. Well, I know the general things to do like jogging, but I need advice on what to do specifically. Your own experiences, activities, etc are most welcome. note: I am not seeking to add muscle mass, but I want to lose some weight and tone up. edit: TetRefine pointed out that toning up does add muscle mass, so I crossed out the first part.
  15. The Saga Continues.... IFFY LUBE! By Nevin Jefferson The Center for Disease Control is trying bend us over and slap on a glob of Iffy Lube before giving us the mind f**k of a contradiction. On Tuesday, November 8th , the CDC had their very own Dr. Douglas announce the following: "Syphilis has increased 8 percent during 2003-2004. This increase has occurred among all racial groups. The rate among African-American men rose 22.6 percent. But between blacks the rates increased for the first time in a decade, largely attributable to [men who sleep with men (MSM)]." Douglas cited "part of the problem [is] coming from sexual meetings arranged through the Internet, which made it difficult to track the course of new syphilis infections." Dr. Douglas, not one to hog all of the media attention, shared the spotlight. "Sexually transmitted diseases pose a significant and ongoing threat, when it comes to reducing syphilis in MSM there is no simple solution. Innovative screening and prevention programs around the country are having a positive impact in many areas and providing crucial lessons that will help us meet new challenges," said Dr. Ronald O. Valdiserri, the acting director of the CDC. Syphilis rates increased in many U.S. cities with large Gay populations, including San Francisco, which had the highest rate of any city for the third straight year, as well as Chicago, Denver, Miami, New York City and Seattle, among others. The national rate of primary and secondary syphilis (the early stages of the disease) rose for the fourth consecutive year in 2004, since hitting an historic low in 2000. The good news was that the national rate of gonorrhea reached an all-time low in 2004. The bad news is, research in 28 cities found an increase in gonorrhea cases that were resistant to fluoroquinolone antibiotics, the first-line treatment for the infection and the increase was eight times higher for MSM than for heterosexuals. "The real problem is HIV. Gonorrhea and syphilis are serious in their own right, but AIDS kills. And other STDs make a person even more likely to catch or transmit HIV," said Dr. Hunter Handsfield, director of Public Health-Seattle & King County's STD Control Program. On November the 18th, the CDC released the following to the media then RAN!& The rate of newly reported HIV cases among Blacks has been dropping by 5 percent a year since 2001, the government said Thursday. BUT, Blacks are still 8 times more likely than Whites to be diagnosed with the AIDS virus. "The racial disparities remain severe," said Lisa Lee, an epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The falling rate among Blacks seems to be tied to overlapping drops in diagnoses among injection drug users and heterosexuals, CDC researchers said. Any, Many, Mighty, Mo, all of this B*LLS**T HAS GOT TO GO! You know when people are lying through their teeth which they make excuses for the smack that they're saying. The study was based on 2001-04 data from 33 states that have named-based reporting systems for HIV. Health officials don't know which diagnoses represent new infections and which ones were infections people had for years, but had just discovered. The CDC found that overall diagnoses in the 33 states decreased slightly, from 41,207 cases in 2001 to 38,685 in 2004. The rate fell from 22.8 case per 100,0000 people in 2001 to 20.7 per 100,000 in 2001. The decline was more pronounced among Blacks-the rate dropped from 88.7 per 100,000 in 2001 to 76.3 in 2004. Among Whites, the rate rose slightly from 8.7 to 9.0. "At least part of the decline among Blacks appears to be tied to a 9 percent annual decline in diagnoses among injection drug users, who can get the virus from contaminated needles. More than half of the drug users were Black," Lee was quoted telling the press. I find this odd because must of the people I see at the Needle Exchange Program are White. The decline is also linked to a 4 percent decline in diagnoses among heterosexuals. About 69 percent of the heterosexuals diagnosed with HIV were Black. Diagnoses among men who have sex with men remained roughly stable from 2001 to 2003, but climbed 8 percent between 2003 and 2004. That was true for men of all races, CDC officials quoted to anyone listening. But, they could not explain the recent increase. The CDC has a list of reasons of why Black men and women have relatively high rates of HIV infection and AIDS. With the top two being poverty and sexually transmitted diseases. The CDC lists that the problem is fueled by denial in the Black community about drug injection use with dirty needles and homosexuality on the low down in the hood. How Very! I live in poverty and I can't afford to have sex! Why is the CDC dealing with this on shaky ground? Well, probably because the folks at the CDC are nervous about the reaction from Blacks throwing a fit and complaining to the N.A.A.C.P. and the A.C.L.U. Yes, once again Blacks are being used as the scapegoats in an epidemic. They wouldn't dare print this about White folks. True, the rise in HIV and STD is a constant happening in the dear old Black Community. Yes, Black men are out on the Down Low and are lying about having sex with men. The Government is trying to come up with a new category for this group. PLEEEASE! Without a shadow of a doubt, there is a higher percentage of HIV and AIDS in the Black female population in the United States. The CDC last year (2004) looked at data from 1999 to 2002 and reported that, using data from 29 states that track HIV infections. The data is somewhat scewed, because several states have serious problems figuring this out including California, New York, and Illinois who did not at that time tabulate a total on HIV infections. Of course, the study found that Black women accounted for nearly 72 percent of the female cases, while Whites made up 18 percent and Hispanics 8.5 percent. True, 13 percent of Americans are Black, you don't need a math scientist to see the scale of the problem. Good news is that the number of new HIV cases reported in women, regardless of race, did not increase during the four years that the study analyzed. Black women in 2002 accounted for 67 percent of the country's AIDS cases among women. The vast majority of Black Women with AIDS live in the South (Shut your mouth, Honey Child!) and the Northeast. Approximately, 35 percent of newly reported HIV cases in the United States between 1999 and 2002 are from heterosexual sex, according to a CDC report published in the February 20th 2004 issue of morbidity and mortality weekly report, as told by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The report stated that 64 percent of newly reported HIV cases from heterosexual hoochie-coochie were among women. Seventy-four percent were among Blacks. Breaking it down, 55 percent of new HIV infections were among Blacks, 31 percent among whites and 11 percent among Hispanics. If you have any problems with the latter I just mentioned, inform Mckenna at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (2/20 issue). They'll probably tell you that they don't remember or the ever popular: "We didn't say that!" According to Reuter Health (2/19 issue), 90 percent of new HIV infections were from "typical teenagers" engaging in heterosexual sex. Of course, they coped a plea that they were unaware of the risk of HIV transmission through heterosexual sex. Yeah Right! They were under the mind-set that it was a Gay disease. Well, they have their parents and church to thank for this one. Since they're under the impression that it's God's will, what will they call it now? The same comment goes to Blacks who operate under the same mind-set. How are all of the heterosexual women getting infected with the infection rate for heterosexual men lower? Since I asked, I'll probably be told: Contaminated swimming pool, dirty doorknob, and defective Tampon. Speaking of numbers, where are the new statistics for AIDS/HIV 2005? The CDC keeps claiming that there's no epidemics, but haven't published the numbers to prove this fact. Maybe they're testing the water with the shake and fake action as done with the STD and HIV/AIDS cases as the tip of the iceberg. Talking loud and saying nothing! December 9, 2005
  16. I tend to take to the blogs section to whinge, so here goes. I have been living with cancer for almost four years now (well, four years since diagnosis, but it was obviously invading various parts of my body before then.) Long story short - diagnosed stage 4 December 24th 2018. Great Christmas present. Treatment (chemo and radiotherapy) started early in 2019, knocked me for 6 and the spinal damage left me unable to walk more than a few paces and having to use the kind of gadgets normally reserved for the very elderly - things to pull of your socks, jar openers and grabbers to pick up stuff from the floor. Various drugs have kept me fairly healthy since then and it was during my rehabilitation I decided that as my life was likely to be considerably shorter than the average, I should avoid stuff I found boring and concentrate on what I love doing. Besides, when you can't walk too well, sitting in front of a keyboard has its advantages. I began writing my Dragonriders of Pern fan fiction early in 2020 and considered I had enough material to begin posting online around June. Since then, it's been like a roller coaster. If only I could have been so prolific before I got ill. But I wouldn't. There were always other things to do. The motivation of posting a weekly chapter and responding to reader's comments is as good as completing a really satisfying scene. Becoming a Promising Author on GA was like winning an award. I have loads of ideas about things I want to write. Trouble is, I don't think I'll have the time. Lately, I've been deteriorating again. My liver lesions are stable with the tablet chemo I'm on, but it's my spine that's causing a lot of problems. Earlier in the year my left hand index finger and middle finger went numb as a result of nerves being pinched, or abraded by the bony growths. Now it's spread to the right side and I'm also experiencing balance issues and trouble walking again. My grip and arm strength is so weak, the doctor advised me yesterday I should stop driving for safety reasons. Most of this has happened frighteningly fast. I'm trying to finish my anthology story, even though I can't type as fast as I used to. I'm almost through the last chapter of 'To the Weyr' and I'd love to write the sequel but I'm frightened I won't be able to finish it. Pain makes it hard to concentrate on writing, as does fatigue and some medication side effects. I hope I'll be around to do everything I want to do, but at the moment, I can't be sure. Whinge over. PS - The phrase 'living with cancer' always makes me think of living with a very inconsiderate flat mate, who uses up all the milk in the fridge, never empties the rubbish and trashes the loo.
  17. Is our society still divided by class, is who you are born to still important or are we divided into haves and have-nots, especially in health and social care? This is the main thrust of Richard Wilkinson’s book. Wilkinson has collected together an impressive library of research into health inequalities, but this book is more than a catalogue of other people’s work. Coming from a social epidemiology background, Wilkinson analyses this research and puts it into a social context. This book doesn’t just look at inequalities in diseases and illness, it analyses the socioeconomic effects of these inequalities and how they impinge on many areas of human life. Wilkinson, in different chapters, illustrates the wide-ranging effects of these inequalities, the psychological and social effects and not only the effects on physical health. This doesn’t make for a comfortable read, but it is a book that can inform any field of healthcare. In 1980, the Black Report was published and exposed the shocking inequalities in British health. This book can be seen as one of the follow-ons from that. Unfortunately, as Wilkinson illustrates here, there has been very little change since then. Wilkinson’s tone is rather dry and academic, but don’t let that put you off because this book is a valuable insight into health inequalities. Here is an examination of the socioeconomic factors of ill health, going beyond a medical model. Also, it is worth its price alone for the library of research study references within its covers. Rating 4/5 (This review was originally written as a commission by the Nursing Standard magazine) Find it here on Amazon
  18. Dark

    Movember

    I realize it's almost the end of November, but I just learned of this cool campaign to improve awareness of and raise funds for men's health issues. Official link: http://us.movember.com/about/ Here's what the website has to say: This movement was started by some Aussies and I think it's one of the greatest ideas since NanoWriMo and Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It's such a simple thing to do to get involved. I'll have to remember it for next year. Anyone participating this year?
  19. So this kid reads something far more advanced than biology in his biology class and his teacher takes it away from him. The thing is - he's dreaming up ways to save lives and proving to be very good at it. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-19291258
  20. Dear Alzheimer’s, You’re just a dirty sneak thief. You sneak in and steal from people. You don’t even have the courage to announce yourself. Your nasty cousin, cancer, at least starts with a cough or a pain. But not you, oh no. You waltzed in, and started taking things. Little things. Things you didn’t think would be noticed; like where the car keys had gone, or the reading glasses. “Everybody remember where we parked!” became a family joke. You started taking bigger things. Like conversation. Gone were the days when we talked about so many things over coffee. Now there were questions asked, and answered, and asked again. Trains of thought, derailed before they even left the station. But now, everyone notices. Stolen glances behind backs, eyes rolling like teenagers at hearing the question, again. And, occasionally, “Oh wait, I asked that already, didn’t I?” "You know, I'm just not worth a damn some days." She knows now, that something is missing. But you’re sneaky, she’s not quite sure what’s going on. And while this is cruel, what is worse is that the past is now crystal clear. Phone calls and emails to grandchildren to apologize for things that happened 13 years ago. Knowing for certain, with absolute clarity, what she wore to that Halloween party 40 years ago. You’re getting bolder now. Walking, moving, becomes difficult. You’ve stolen our walks. When we would wander the neighborhood, the park, even the mall. The shuffling gait leads to trips, trips to falls, falls to fear, and fear, to inaction. We ask, “What’s next?” There’s a caregiver now. You’ve taken her ability to feed herself, and care for herself. She’s like a small child again needing help with daily activities like brushing her teeth, and even going to the bathroom. Unmarked boxes, full of “incontinence supplies” start showing up with the mail. Like a small child, she lashes out in anger, and frustration. She knows things are missing. If that wasn’t enough, you’ve taken her spirit, the very thing that made her, who she is, or was. She lays on the bed, not knowing anyone, or anything. There isn’t even any fighting. We know she’s gone, only her body doesn’t realize it yet. We mourn, but we can’t fully, as we try to care for what you’ve left behind. You’ve taken so much. Will you ever be satisfied? Sincerely, molly We all have fears. When i was a teen, and into my early twenties i lived in a part of the US that has high rates for MS, Multiple Sclerosis. It was my boogeyman. Now, three people i know, two of which i went to high school with, are battling it. It doesn’t frighten me anymore. The area i grew up in has been labeled a “cancer cluster." Talking with classmates from high school, we’re losing parents and each other to cancer and other chronic illnesses. i deal with this daily, it’s no longer a fear. But Alzheimer’s. That’s fecking scary. My Grandmother had it; her sister had it; my mother has it; my sister's mother in law has it. My aunt lost her husband to it last year. We’d been saying goodbye to him for three or four years Losing ME, that’s scary. So scary that it can make me cry. This month in the US starts a series of "Walk to End Alzheimer's" events. You'll see commercials for it, hear stories on the news programs, they'll say that "the first survivor of Alzheimer's is out there." If you are so inclined, get a team together, volunteer at one of the events, or find a way to sponsor someone who's walking. For more information on the Walks check here As always, my thanks to tim, @Mikiesboy, for helping me find the courage to do this in the first place xoxo And tonight, to AC, @AC Benus, thank you for looking at this for me xoxo
  21. I'm back again to talk about diabetes. Some of you know that a friend of mine just died from sepsis, due to an uncontrolled infection which was a complication of having diabetes. She left a 21 year old son and 25 year old daughter. It's very very sad. While it sad, it's partly her fault. It hurts me to write that. I don't want to write it. But she would never try to change her eating habits relying on doses of insulin instead. She refused to stop eating white bread, processed foods or alcohol. She was never much of a person to have sweets however. It sucks having diabetes. My husband does. Frankly I'd love to be on the HoHo's, Wagon Wheel and McDonald's diet if they said it wouldn't kill me. I love junk food, but I no longer eat it. And nowadays I don't miss it. It's funny when you stop eating things like that and start cooking fresh decent meals, that you lose the cravings for crap. I beg people to eat right. Learn to cook. Think about the future. I recently read about an 89 year old man, who has had diabetes since he was 12 years old. People with juvenile diabetes back then rarely lived long. He did. But there was no testing at home then, no real belief that humans could control their sugar levels. He studied and became an engineer and married a doctor. Eventually a portable blood monitor became available to doctors only. He was tired of being at the mercy of this awful disease. So his wife ordered one. He started taking his levels up to 8 times a day carefully recording what he'd eaten. Eventually he understood. But no one would listen. So at age 45 he went back to school and became a doctor in hopes that someone would hear him. His approach is rather radical, but the proof is in the unsweetened pudding. As I read it, I felt afraid, seriously afraid of not being able to eat this or that. I wondered what Michael would think. But then I realized that lately food is just food to us. We don't crave things, we eat because we are hungry, and not because we are tempted. There are a lot of chapters of Dr. Bernstein's books online. I recommend you read them. His story is here: http://www.diabetes-book.com/ Diabetes is not just diabetes. Read the online chapters, learn to cook and eat well. You're worth so much more than your next sugary hi-carb snack. Be well ... tim
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