The first snow

Winter has been slow in coming this year; with the result that our surroundings have been brown, grey and dull instead of being blanketed in snow. Yesterday I woke up to snow on the ground and, as I stepped outside, was greeted with the sight of gently falling snow. It left a beautiful white blanket over my apartment complex. I love early mornings and undisturbed snow. By afternoon it had all melted, but I am still grateful for the peace and serenity that comes with a gentle snow. 














A Blessing for the New Year

Heavenly Father, 
We pray that You would give us joy to fill our days, peace to fill our hearts, and love to fill our lives.
Thank You for the plans You have for us in this new year. We wait in anticipation to see all You will do!
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Another Rainy Day

When I was young I always enjoyed sleeping with my window open on rainy days. My window open onto a porch so the rain didn't come in. I remember loving the cool breeze and smell of the rain. It was like going to sleep with a gentle lullaby. I still enjoy the rain. It's been a long time since I would feel safe leaving a window open while I sleep. I currently don't have a window in my bedroom, just a door that leads to the balcony. I usually leave the door open when the weather is nice so I can watch the birds and look at my flowers.

Now in my senior years and living with chronic pain, rain also brings additional pain. Rain brings not only a change in the weather, but a drop in the barometric pressure, which is pressure against the Earth’s atmosphere. That means that the pressure against your body drops as well, and your joints and areas that are injured can begin to swell. This swelling causes increased inflammation, and we require hormones to deal with this increased activity in our bodies. Increased use of these hormones can cause depletion of them, too.

We have, nestled atop each kidney, a small gland that produces both adrenaline and cortisone. These two hormones help us with energy, mood, immune function, pain management and the famous “Flight or Fight” response. The steroid cortisone is fundamental in managing pain, immune function and energy. When cortisone levels drop, these can all become a problem. Adrenaline is famous for energy and strength. Did you ever notice how your pain gets worse at night? That’s because our bodies slow production of both adrenaline and cortisone in the evening so we can go to sleep. It’s part of our circadian rhythm. The downside is the fact that we don’t have these hormones that help us feel better.

Something similar happens when a storm is coming. Did you ever “smell” snow or rain before it came? That “smell” is a change in the electrical charge in the air. It’s been described as a “metallic” smell. All atoms have either a positive or negative charge so they can bind to form molecules. As the barometer falls, the positive charge, or “ions” increase which causes a depletion of cortisone in the body. Seniors and people who have chronic pain may experience weather changes more acutely, since their bodies don’t have the ability to overcome these changes as easily.

Even with the increased pain, I still enjoy a rainy day. The rain has stopped and I have the door open. It's a nice crisp fall afternoon. There is a strong breeze so I have a large rock holding the door open. I have learned that while we may experience storms, we have to have the rain if we are to ever witness the rainbow. Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet. Learn how to walk in the rain. Use it. Learn how to appreciate life's sometimes storms. Otherwise you'll never be grateful for all of the colors in that rainbow when it appears.


Senior Living

I live in subsidized senior apartments. I am grateful to have such a nice apartment living on SSI. The apartments vary from 40-70% subsidized and there was only one apartment at my level...very poor, one bedroom. Since I was the first resident to apply it went to me. I was so excited to get an apartment 4 years ago. The buildings were new with a dishwasher and laundry room! You never appreciate things like you do after you don't have them. That's the way I was with the washer and dryer...awe...my precious! No more dragging clothes to the Laundromat. Of course, I have been posting about the balcony.

Almost paradise...with the emphasis on almost. What you gain in nice accommodations, you give up in lack of privacy, quiet, and annoying neighbors. My latest porch mate and ALL her friends and family can't seem to go anywhere without a cigarette in their mouth. I am very sensitive to cigarette smoke. When she first moved in they all stood around on the porch smoking. It came right into my apartment. I walked into my kitchen and it was filled with smoke. The manager did ask her to smoke on the balcony where it is not directly into my apartment. I can still smell it if my door is opened and the wind catches the smoke.

The other down side of senior living is...well...your dealing with older people who are more likely to pass away suddenly. We have had several deaths since I moved in here. The latest death was a gentleman who would take his walker everyday to buy liquor. He had been dead 3 days before one of his children called the police...and none of us noticed he hadn't been walking. It got me to wondering how long would I be dead before anyone realized I was gone. I don't get out or communicate very often. I would hate for my body to lay here decomposing. So...I am going to try to make an effort to start blogging more to let people know I am still kicking :)

 It was so quiet before all the people moved in!

...and so empty before I moved in

That clock died and Roger gave me a really cool Jukebox one. 
My dishwasher is still running wonderfully!


My Balcony

Just got in from cleaning up after the storm last night. I took down what I thought might blow away. Either we didn't get the wind that was projected or everything was secure...nothing blew away...my flowers are fine...just a little water logged from all this rain.

I am moving very slow this year. My sister came and potted most of the flowers. I was trying to plant one pot a day and didn't get very far. Most of the Pansies and Violas are hers. They were going on a long vacation and she brought them over for me to "babysit."

I really enjoy looking at my flowers and birds. My bed faces the door to the balcony, which I try to leave open when the weather is nice. Since I spend most of my time in bed with pillows and hot packs it is nice to be able to admire my flowers, watch the birds, use the laptop, and watch TV... all at the same time.

Thank God for such simple pleasures!




William Rea MD

When I lived in the Dallas area I had the privilege of seeing William Rea MD, FACS, FAAEM. He has diagnosed and treated many patients with TMJ implants, as well as, published in the Medical Journals about his treatment. The first implants were done in Texas so there was a large concentration of patients in the area. Of course, he has had patients come from around the states and the world for his diagnoses and treatments. I made an appointment after reading the research article written by him and Deborah N. Baird. After various tests he diagnosed me with "Toxic encephalopathy, immune deregulation, autonomic nervous system dysfunction, and multiple chemical sensitivities."

"Fourteen patients with temporomandibular joint (TMJ) alloplastic implants who exhibit chronic signs and symptoms of chemical sensitivity are discussed. These patients were well before their implantation. Memory loss, confusion, imbalance, dizziness, non-immune vasculitis, petechiae, spontaneous bruising, edema, Raynaud's phenomenon, pain and autoimmune dysfunction are some of the symptoms and signs seen. Laboratory data show immunological abnormalities, including positive autoantibodies and altered T and B lymphocyte function. Provocation skin testing shows reaction to their implant material. The symptoms of patients with jaw implants are similar to those patients who experience complications from their breast implants. Similar abnormalities are seen with SPECT brain scan, in the autonomic nervous system, as well as laboratory data. All patients were sensitive to a wide variety of substances including toxic and in some cases to non-toxic chemicals (foods, pollens and molds). These same parameters were also similar in the patient with a known toxic chemical exposure without implants. A comparative discussion of the different parameters in all three types of patient is presented. A successful therapeutic intervention was developed using a massive pollutant avoidance program, nutritional supplementation and injection therapy for biological inhalants, foods and some chemicals. When indicated, intravenous therapy with antioxidants and heat depuration was added to their treatment regimen." Baird, D.N., &Rea, W.J. (1999). The Temporomandibular Joint Implant Controversy. Part II: Its Clinical Implications. Journal of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine, Volume 9 (no.3), pp. 209-222.

I would like to note that the breast implants were never recalled by the FDA. The Vitek implant was recalled by the FDA because of "catastrophic devastation." The FDA Enforcement Report has stated "Debris in the joint from the implants can contribute to progressive bone degeneration of the condyle of the mandible and/or glenoid fossa and to foreign body responses which could start at this area and be carried throughout the immune system." http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/ENFORCE/ENF00033.html [This page has been removed from the FDA website]

Autonomic Nervous System Dysfunction

The autonomic nervous system (ANS) affects blood pressure, heart rate, digestion, respiration rate, salivation, perspiration, diameter of the pupils, urination, and sexual arousal. You don’t have to consciously think about these systems in order for them to work. The ANS provides the connection between your brain and your internal organs.  Whereas most of its actions are involuntary, some, such as breathing, work in tandem with the conscious mind.

Autonomic nervous system dysfunction is simply a dysfunction in one or all of these systems. Some symptoms that may indicate the presence of an autonomic nerve disorder include:
  • dizziness and fainting upon standing up (orthostatic hypotension)
  • inability to alter heart rate with exercise (exercise intolerance)
  • sweating abnormalities, which could alternately be too much sweat or insufficient sweat
  • digestion difficulties due to slow digestion. Resulting symptoms could include loss of appetite, bloating, diarrhea or constipation, and difficulty swallowing.
  • urinary problems. These can include difficulty starting urination, incontinence, and incomplete emptying of the bladder
  • sexual problems. In men, this could be difficulty with ejaculation and/or maintaining an erection. In women, this could be vaginal dryness and/or difficulty with orgasm
  • vision problems. This could be blurry vision, or the failure of the pupils to react quickly enough to changes in light.
  • tremor and muscle weakness, may also result from certain forms of autonomic dysfunction.
Any or all of these symptoms may be present, and effects may be mild to severe. Autonomic dysfunction is treated by addressing the symptoms of whatever form of dysfunction you are experiencing. Orthostatic hypotension, for instance, can be treated with lifestyle changes and medication. Symptoms can respond to elevating the head of the bed you sleep in, drinking enough fluids, and compression stockings to prevent blood pooling in your legs.

Autonomic testing is designed to determine how well your body is regulating your blood pressure and heart rate, and sometimes other functions. During these tests, your heart rate is measured using an electrocardiogram and your blood pressure using a cuff around your arm or finger. The tests include asking you to breathe deeply for two minutes, breathing as fast and as hard as you can for 30 seconds, maintaining a handgrip for 3 minutes, breathing against pressure for 15 seconds and placing your hand in ice water for 1 minute. All these tests are meant to stimulate your autonomic nervous system to produce changes in blood pressure and heart rate of short duration that reflect how well your involuntary nervous system is working.

First Snow 2015

I am enjoying the falling snow, since I don't have to go out. I spend most of my days in bed facing the windowed door to the balcony. I have always enjoyed the view of my flowers when it is warm and snow in the winter. Most of all I enjoyed watching the birds. I have neglected them the past 8 months. It's been a bad spell since May. Not sure what happened. I remember there was "another snowfall" of some environmental toxin. Everything was covered in a yellow powdered. I heard there have been careless cropped dusters. Not sure what it was. It burned my skin so I wore gloves to clean up what I could...not thinking about breathing it in.

Anyway, I starting having difficulty breathing. Just added one more thing to all the pain and fatigue I was already dealing with. I am use to bad spells. Needless to say the little I was able to do got neglected. The flowers became overgrown with weeds...still enjoyed looked at the weeds...they were green anyway. I didn't fill my bird feeders, not only from fatigue, but my car died in June and wasn't able to get to the store very often to buy seed. It is all I can do to get food for myself. My car is still in the shop, trying to figure out what is wrong with my Nissan. I have heard they can be difficult to diagnose.

In November, I finally went to a new doctor. He sent me to a pulmonary doctor. She questioned Pulmonary Hypertension, with all the autoimmune issues I have. The ANA and Sed rate came back positive and she wants me to see a Rheumatologist. I am not interested in immune suppressants unless it seriously affects my lungs. So far I am on the border of acceptable. She did put me back on an inhaler. The problem is I can't open my mouth enough to get the medication to my lungs. 

I also had a sleep study. Apparently I have severe sleep apena with central sleep apena. Central sleep apnea occurs because your brain doesn't send proper signals to the muscles that control your breathing. This condition is different from obstructive sleep apnea, in which you can't breathe normally because of upper airway obstruction. It is part of the autonomic nervous system. I have been diagnosed with autonomic nervous system dysfunction so it is possible there is a connection. I have started using a Cpap. It does seem to be helping. Hopefully things can start turning for the better.

I really should get out and feed the birds. I just saw a Cardinal looking for seed.
They are so pretty against the white snow.
Times like this I don't mind not having a car. Wouldn't look forward to shoveling out my car.

My CPAP
The ResMed AirSense 10 AutoSet APAP is an auto Adjusting CPAP. An APAP is designed to deliver your ideal pressure, on a breath by breath basis, increasing pressure when it's too low and decreasing pressure when it's too high.

The AirSense 10 differentiates between obstructive and central apneas so that you are always receiving appropriate therapy and pressure. It features an integrated humidifier, built in wireless communications,  AutoRamp™ with sleep onset detection, quiet Easy-Breathe motor, and expiratory pressure relief.

The Christmas Season

Christmas can be a difficult season when you are dealing with chronic pain and illness.

I have come to realize it is important decorate, even if it is only a few cards and ribbons. There have been times when I felt like why bother... "Bah! Humbug!"

I live alone in a small apartment...no one's going to see it anyway. Then I had to realize I am going to see it...and I am important too!

I am grateful for this little tree someone gave me. I may not have much, nor have a lot of energy to decorate, but I do enjoy this reminder of the season.

Clocks

cuckoo Clock
Ever since I was a little girl and saw my first cuckoo I have been fascinated by clocks. Of course, when people find out you like something, that's what you begin to get as gifts. Needless to say I have a lot of clocks. I usually enjoy them except on daylight savings days. I have just finished changing all my clocks, except the one that I need a ladder and pliers to change. Maybe I will let it wait until the time changes again, then it will be correct half the year.

It makes me wonder...do I really need all these clocks. I enjoy them the rest of the year. I need them in every room, since I can go to another room and forget the time I just looked at. I rarely leave my apartment so I try to keep track of the days and time or my mind might really disappear. I have been thinking about adding a clock with the date and day of the week. I try to keep track on the calendar.

Living with chronic pain and being homebound has many challenges. Even if you don't have a brain injury it can affect your mind. That's why I think it is so important to keep track of time. It not only makes you remember, but keeps the days from blurring into oblivion. I find it is important to sleep on time. I know it is difficult when you are in pain, but I have found if you force yourself to go to bed at the same time and get out of bed 8 hours later you feel much better.

I take Neurontin at bed time. It not only helps me sleep; but takes care of the hot flashes, for those women of a certain age, that can wake you up. I also take Vistaril, which helps with my bladder so I don't wake up to go to the toilet. The most important thing I can stress, if you have sleep problems, is don't have any caffeine after 3pm. That includes coffee, tea, chocolate, energy drinks, mountain dew...read the labels.

Many of the people I know on disability have very erratic sleeping habits and then wonder why they feel so "bad." There is a different between the pain of your condition and the "bad" of "bad" habits. They eat poorly, stay up late, sleep in, and nap through the day...whew...I wouldn't be able to get out of bed if I did all of that. If anyone dare make suggestions they usually get their head chopped off, since most people with chronic conditions also suffer with depression.

I find the best solution is prayer and keeping your mouth shut! If you haven't dealt with a serious chronic condition you have no idea what the other person is going through or what they can handle. So...pray for healing, pray for wisdom, pray for patience. You do not help by giving unsolicited advise. You help by praying. I believe God is in control. I also believe in Physicians and medications.

Above all, I believe in God's perfect timing. I have faith that God has heard my prayers, and I know that he will answer them when the time is right. God's timing is perfect. However, even time itself is different to God than it is to us. "But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day" 2 Peter 3:8.