Archive for October, 2011

by Karen Einsel

I’m not a healthcare provider, but a mom, whose oldest son was diagnosed with  leukemia three weeks before his 11th birthday.

I remember that day as if it were yesterday, March 19th 1987. I was in my son’s room at the hospital when the doctor came around to give me the news. He had me step out into the hallway and as he told me, I started to cry. What I didn’t expect was when he put his hand on my forehead and said, “If I could heal him just like that, I would, but I can’t. So we have to work together to help him get well.” God had my faith, but the doctor earned my trust with just that one gesture.

There are different types of leukemia, along with different subtypes. There is chronic leukemia, which can lay dormant for years before showing any symptoms and there is acute leukemia, which comes on suddenly and can be very aggressive, requiring treatment right away. The subtypes depend on which of the blood cells are affected.

My son had acute lymphocytic leukemia, which means that his came on suddenly and the white blood cells, lymphocytes were the ones affected. When they did the first bone marrow aspiration the leukemia cells were dead and the dr. thought maybe the intern might have done something wrong to get those results, so the dr. did the procedure again, resulting in the same results. My son’s body was still fighting off the leukemia and because of this, the dr. couldn’t tell how far along my son’s leukemia had progressed and what his chance for five year survival would be. So he gave him a 30% chance of surviving for five years and decided to put him on a protocol that was more aggressive with higher doses of chemotherapy along with radiation treatments to the head and spine.

How do they come up with the right protocol to treat leukemia, or any cancer for that matter?” They feed all of your information into a giant central computer database. Your age, height, weight, blood test results, everything and the computer tells the dr. what protocol to put you on. (If you have a cancerous tumor, the computer tells the dr. whether you will have radiation and chemo first or surgery.)  Boys receive three years of chemo and girls receive two years. The reason for this is that there are two places leukemia cells can hide, the brain and the testicles. About two months before the boys are done with their three year protocol they have a biopsy done on their testes to make sure there are no hidden leukemia cells. As for a friend of mine, they found hidden cells when they did her son’s biopsy, which meant another year and a half of chemo and  radiation to the testicles. This is every parent’s nightmare, because you have come so far and are so close to that finish line. It’s just plain scary.

Having a child with leukemia has its ups and downs and can be frightening to say the least, like when Bobby had hallucinations that started on the last day of his radiation treatments. Having the hallucinations was bad enough without getting stuck on the elevator trying to get back up to the 5th floor. Here he was screaming he was melting, the elevator going up and down and not stopping at the floors and the doors not opening. Did I mention I’m claustrophobic? It was an experience that I really do not want to go through again. Later that evening in the car his hallucinations continued. He was riding in the back seat with my niece and he’d just flop over face foreward onto his lap and say I’m melting. It was the funniest thing to see, really it was. My poor niece, who was sitting in the back seat with him asked, “What do I do?” And I told her just push up him back up.

There are so many things I could tell you about leukemia, its treatments and side effects and how it affected our lives, but it would fill a 500 page novel or more. If you want to know, “Would I do it all over again?” The answer would be yes. What other choice would I have? Maybe I would do some of the things differently, but overall….Yes our lives changed that day when he was diagnosed and it was then that I decided to make my motto, “Treat everyday as a new adventure, because you never know what tomorrow might bring.” I’m happy and thankful to say that my son is now a happy, healthy 35 year old and has been in remission for 24 years.

If you would like to know more about leukemia http://www.medicinenet.com/leukemia/article.htm

If you have any questions, I’d love to hear them and will answer to the best of my ability.

My links





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Happy week end everyone. From deep in the heart of Texas, we are finally enjoying some cooler weather. I hope you too are in weather that puts a smile on your faces. My last guest blogger,  Natalie Lozano was a very well received. Many people popped in the first day. More continue even after nearly a week.  My guest bloggers from more than a month ago are still receiving vsitors.  As a reminder:  My guest bloggers will be published each Monday. That is if I can get enough people to contribute.  The next guest is scheduled to appear on October 31st .  She has a great story. One that affects many of people around the world.

All of the guest blogs will be health related, as that is what I do. I felt the need to keep the guests in the same…genre, if you will.

In the past, there was no rhyme or reason for when a blog would get published. That is all changing too. The schedule will be:

Weekly Update Saturday’s

Guest Blog Monday’s

My blog Thursday’s

I encourage all of you to tune in and subscribe to the blog. There are some very interesting stories on the horizon.  If you would like to write a guest blog, let me know.  Follow this link for the details.  http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=246784205353709   Participate too. Comment on them, and if you like, ask questions as well. I will answer all questions. I will do my best to get the guest blogger to answer  questions you may have for them.

Here is a teaser for you.  The guest blogger for next Monday is Karen Einsel.  Get to know her better!  http://differentcornersinmylife.blogspot.com/

Give the gift of hope for the holidays. My book, “Death:Living To Talk About It” makes a great gift.  For excerpts, my bio and links to Amazon and Barnes and Noble along with other interesting stuff, check out my web site.  http://www.brianhayden.com/

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I am lying in bed. From the view through the window, dawn is fast approaching.  I glance at the clock and confirm the morning. 7:04 A.M. I am unable to get out of bed though. I have no strength to move my arms or legs.  Maybe a little more sleep. After keeping my eyes closed for what seemed like an hour, I re-opened them and try to get up again. The clock says 7:21 A.M. I am still unable to move. Oh, I suppose I could if the was a fire in the room, but I felt very weak, and very tired and completely unwilling to make the effort. This is not how one should feel after a nights rest. It is, however, the way I feel nearly every morning.

Living with heart failure is one of life’s little challanges. Understanding heart failure can also be a challenge. There are many degrees of heart failure. There are equally as many symptoms and degrees of disability. Lucky for us there are a couple of methods commonly used to classify heart failure.

The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association classify chronic heart failure like this:

A:   High risk For Developing Heart Failure

B:  Asymptomatic Heart Failure

C:  Sympomatic Heart Failure

D:  Refractory End Stage Heart Failure 

The New York Heart Association Classified symptoms:

1.  No symptom limitations with physical activity

2.  Ordinary physical activity somewhat limited by dyspnea

3.  Exercise limited by dyspnea with moderate workload

4.  Dyspnea at rest or with very little exersion

To be clear, according to Medicine.Net, “dyspnea” means:

Difficult or labored breathing; shortness of breath.

Dyspnea is a sign of serious disease of the airway, lungs, or heart. The onset of dyspnea should not be ignored but is reason to seek medical attention.

The word dyspnea comes the Greek “dys-“, difficulty + “pnoia”, breathing = difficulty breathing. Dyspnea is the American spelling and dyspnoea is the British (mis)spelling.

Many cardiologists combine them.  For me, I bounce around a lot. I move around from 3C, 3D, 4C  and 4D.  My health may present any of those in any given day or even any given hour. I may change catagories with little or no provocation. Let me give you an example of something that happened yesterday.  I typically will go lie dow around 2 pm every day. I get tired and really need to rest. I awoke from my nap and stopped by the bathroom. Flicking the light switch on..nothing. The bulb is burned out. The ceiling is 10 ft so I go for a step stool.  I am slightly out of breath by the time I get back to the bathroom. I open it up, and get on the second stair. Still I cannot reach the light. So, I get down, pack up the step stool and put it back. Then I go to the back yard, grab the actual ladder and bring it in the house. The ladder is light. It is aluminum. I open it up, climb to the third rung, reach up, change the light bulb and get down. I am done. I mean stick a fork in me. I am done. I am breathing heavy, and my arms are shaking. I feel light-headed and nauseated. I walk to the sofa and sit down. Denise always kinda keeps an eye on me and asked it I was alright.  I asked here to bring me the oxygen. After a short while on oxygen and resting I was back to normal.   Within 15 minutes I went from a 3C to a 4D and back again to a 3C. All this fuss. I just changed a light bulb and I am exhausted.

I spent the balance of the day visiting with Denise while she cooked supper, and then later just hanging out in the living room.  As long as I don’t do anything, I can keep myself a 3C. But that’s no way to live, is it? Do you know how long its been since I’ve been able to take the trash out to the curb and not be winded? Pick up a grandchild for one minute. A single minute with my grand child and not get tired. To be able to change a light bulb without getting worn down? I can tell you. The summer of 2004. That was when I went from a solid “3C” to a tenuous 4C-4D.

There are hundreds of diseases out there. Each with its own set of challanges. I don’t know if you could reasonably rate one disease over another. They are all hard. They all come with their own special sets of challenges.  The point is this: Living with chronic, debilitating disase is hard. Hard in ways an onlooker would not be able to recognise. Hard for even you who read this blog to recognise. If I can steal a couple of lines from my book, “Death:Living To Talk About It”;

“God bless the chronically and seriously ill people, for I know your journey is, at times tortuous and difficult”.

“God bless the care givers of the chronically and seriously ill people, for you are the Guardian Angels in this world and the light of hope for us all”.

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    by Natalie Lozano

As defined from www.arthtitis.org

“Rheumatoid Arthritis is a form of inflammatory Arthritis and an autoimmune disease. In Rheumatoid Arthritis, the immune foreign cells such as Viruses and Bacteria-instead attacks the body’s own tissues, specifically the synovium, a thin membrane that lines the joints. As a result of the attack fluid builds up in the joints, causing pain in the joints and inflammation”.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

I’m here to share my reality. It’s harsh but sincere. A little sad but heartfelt. Also one of the most difficult things I have ever written.

I have lived my whole life being affected by Arthritis. My grandmother has it. My mom had it from the age of 23 to 59. I grew up with my mom in and out of the hospital. For the many surgeries she had on her bones. By the time I was in my early teens. I had many chores. Because of my mom’s limitations she needed my help more than most parents. As I got older that list got longer and I was taking care of my mom. My brothers and dad helped as well. Despite all that I had a hard time leaving home to marry. But I did. I visited as often as possible. Even though my mom was tough. I hated seeing her suffer.

Then when I turned 23, I was diagnosed with rheumatoid Arthritis. It hit me hard. I would pick fights with my husband to get him to leave. I didn’t want to be a burden to him. To his credit he stayed. He helped me get through the grieving process. Much like you would go through when you lose someone. I mourned my health and all the mobility I knew I was going to lose.

Every day for me is a challenge. To get out of bed is agony. My hands are partially folded. I can’t run. I can’t clap. I can’t snap. There are so many things I miss. Except I can’t dwell on those things because there are many things I can do. I can make a scrumptious lasagna. I can sing pretty well. I can write. I live every day with passion. I must push past that pain and slowness. I have three daughters. One step who’ s 12 and two biological daughters who are 7 and 2. Plus my husband. He truly is the love of my life. That story is for another time. They are 4 very good reasons why I get up out of bed. My writing is another. When I can get out my emotions on paper. I feel relieved and when someone gets that emotion and is touched. I feel like I have achieved something.

Sometimes depression and guilt get the best of me. Out of frustration for being limited. Like when someone tightened the juice in the fridge. And I can’t open it to get my daughter juice. Or when I get accused of being a bad wife and mother because my family ate food from the freezer because I just couldn’t wake up to make a nice dinner. Arthritis also comes with huge fatigue problems. Fighting this disease leaves me so tired. I spend more time sleeping than getting things done. The best way I can think of to describe having arthritis is this. Imagine you have a cold, you feel achy and drained. You feel like you are moving in water. Walking is met with resistance. Unless you have help you must get out of bed. Get breakfast and get through the day. I feel that way every day. Yes I hate feeling this way. But I hate the thought of not being there for my family more. Watching my mom all those years taught me strength of spirit and independence.

Every person was put on this earth for a purpose. I feel my purpose is to be a mother a wife and I hope to help people through my writing. I am not conceded enough to think that I will inspire people because of my arthritis. I am not the only person in this world with Arthritis. In fact I want people to forget I have Arthritis as they read my words. My disease does not make my emotion. My disease does not define me.

I was a writer long before I had this health problem. I will remain a writer till the day I die. I think that is the reason why I don’t like to tell people I have arthritis. I don’t want pity. I don’t want judging. Not everyone judges thankfully. But I hate being judged by those who do. I want to my words to be felt, to be understood.

I was blessed with a fantastic imagination. When I am in the middle of a story or creating a world I see in my mind’s eye. All pain is gone and I can go anywhere. My mom used to tease me I always had my head n the clouds. *Laughing * Now I’m making a career out of these magical places I visit. My loved ones are my motivation. My writing is my getaway.

More than once I’ve been told that the way I write my talent is a gift. I believe we are all given more than one gift. We must have our eyes open to acknowledge those gifts to fully benefit from them.

I am disabled in body not in mind.

I’m a fighter! It’s a good thing I am because I’ve got lots more I want to do.




Twitter: @writernataliel

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My last guest blogger,  Catherine Stovall was a huge success. Many people popped in the first day. More continue even after nearly a week.  As a reminder:  My guest bloggers will be published each Monday. That is if I can get enough people to contribute.  The next guest is scheduled to appear on October 24th .  She has a great story. One that affects millions of people around the world.

All of the guest blogs will be health related, as that is what I do. I felt the need to keep the guests in the same…genre, if you will.

In the past, there was no rhyme or reason for when a blog would get published. That is all changing too. The schedule will be:

Weekly Update Saturday’s

Guest Blog Monday’s

My blog Thursday’s

I encourage all of you to tune in and subscribe to the blog. There are some very interesting stories on the horizon.  If you would like to write a guest blog, let me know.  Follow this link for the details.  http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=246784205353709   Participate too. Comment on them, and if you like, ask questions as well. I will answer all questions. I will do my best to get the guest blogger to answer  questions you may have for them.

Here is a teaser for you.  The guest blogger for next Monday is Natalie Lozano.  Get to know her better!  http://www.natalielozano.weebly.com/

A while back I asked you not to buy my book. I was pissed at the publisher and wanted out. While I still am, and I still do, my story deserves to be told. The message that the book carries might bring a bit of hope to someone.

For information about me and my book, along with links to everything, go to: http://www.brianhayden.com/

Take a peek at these great reviews!!  http://www.amazon.com/dp/1456060953/

Give a little hope for the holidays. Give, “Death:Living To Talk About It” as a gift. 

One important note!  The publisher of my book lowered the price.  If you want to by my book, “Death:Living To Talk About It” , go here for links to many retail outlets. http://www.brianhayden.com/8.html

Thanks for your support. Enjoy the read.

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It’s always something with me, isn’t it. For years I’ve shared with you the story of my heart and lung problems. That is a lot to discuss. Now, apparently we need to begin discussing my wrist. Specifically, my right wrist. In the nut shell, ” Ulnar Variations”.  Huh? Oh. Sorry. I will get to  that is in a minute.

The story begins one day while at my primary care doctor a couple of years ago. During the discussion regarding my health problems the doctor had noticed that I was holding onto my right wrist. He asked me about that and I told him it was painful. It was getting worse seemingly by the day. So, he ordered an x-ray. The next day he called me and told me he thought he saw some deterioration of the bones in my wrist. He wants to send me to a specialist.  Sounds like a good idea.

My visit with the orthopedic hand specialist begins.  “Tell me what is wrong” he says. “I don’t know” I recanted. “I thought you were supposed to tell me”. Then he asks me what symptoms I am having. Ohhh. Well,  I have clicking and popping in my joints, painful to use my wrist, specially if I use my hand to leverage myself up out of a chair. Simply picking up a glass to get a drink causes pain in my wrist.  He wants an MRI of my wrist. “Well”, I say. “Didn’t you read my medical history”. I have a ton of metal in me , so MRI’s are out.  So he orders a cat scan.

Two days later I am back in the office of the hand specialist. He says I have Ulnar variations. Specifically, something called “Ulnar Positive”. My Ulna, one of the bones in my fore arm is longer than it should be. Referred to as “Ulnar Positive”, it is a genetic defect that I have had for my entire life. Slowly and quietly the cushion between the wrist bones and my fore arm bones was deteriorating. Every time I would move my wrist, I would make it worse. Finally, after more than 50 years of use, my wrist has surrendered. The cushion between the bones destroyed.

There were three options for me.  The first two options were surgical. One option was to shorten my Ulna. That didn’t sound too good. For one, they want to shorten my Ulna! And two, it doesn’t address the pain in my wrist from the deterioration.  The second option, also surgical is to fuse my wrist at the deteriorated spots. Yes. You heard me. They take bone from other places, presumably my Iliac crest and stick it in my wrist. I know I have really over simplified the procedure, but…Well there you have it. It really doesn’t matter anyway. I am not a good surgical candidate. My heart problems. Remember. The third option is the one I went with. It is a shot in my wrist. Using steroids and something else they stick a needle in the top of my wrist, between the bones. FYI. It really hurts. And that was that.

I have a rhumatologist (arthritis guy) following me for my wrist now. He says that according to protocol I may only have 10 of these shots in my lifetime. The shots may only be given every six months. The reason being is that over time it will destroy the joint. Now here is the good part. He also said that because I am not expected to live very long, he doesn’t need to worry about long-term side effects or the protocol. He agreed to keep giving me shots. As many as I want and as often as I want. See. Sometimes it’s good to be considered terminally ill.

Still, I don’t want to push it. What if I get a heart transplant and I live 20 more years? I will have screwed up my wrist and then have to live with that problem. I try to limit my shots to every five or six months. So far it’s working. Seems as though every part of me is falling apart. My heart, lungs, liver, bones. I wonder which one will get the last laugh. I wonder…what is next.

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  by Catherine Stovall

Exercising your body is certainly necessary to staying fit and healthy. It’s a given that you will see magazine ads, television commercials, and other literature telling you how important it is to get up and move. However, many people underestimate the power of the mind when it comes to health. You can’t blame them. How many mothers ever tell their children to finish their vegetables and the next chapter in a book so they can grow up big and strong?

The truth is reading is a powerful tool for keeping both good physical and mental health. Sure, you are not up working your muscles and that’s very important but you are working the frontal lobes of the brain. Good reading habits can decrease stress related illnesses, deter the onset of memory loss in advanced age, reverse the effects of depression, and much more.

With all the stress we have in our day-to-day lives, stress has become a major concern. High blood pressure, insomnia, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), chronic fatigue, obesity, ulcers, and Rheumatoid arthritis are all serious health effects caused by constant worry and demand. According to a study from MindLabs, reading can reduce stress up to 68% more efficiently than other relaxation methods such as listening to music, taking a walk, or setting down with a cup of hot tea. Six minutes of reading can lower stress levels by two thirds and possibly save your life.

Reading not only helps your physical health it also improves memory. Dr. David Bennet of Rush University in Chicago tells us that reading habits prior to the age of 18 can decrease the depletion of the brains cognitive reserve. This helps to slow and possibly prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. It goes without saying, the numbers may be reduced for those who do not start healthy reading habits at a young age, but the benefits would still be there.

In addition to building a stronger memory, reading can also help those suffering from mental illness.  A fairly new method of treating anxiety and depression disorders is suddenly becoming popular in places like the UK. Bibliotherapy is the use of self help books to decrease symptoms of mild to moderate mood disorders and alcohol abuse. Neil Frude, psychology professor at Cardiff University, explains that, in a significant amount of cases, the new therapy reduced symptoms enough that patients no longer sought out additional treatment. It is suggested that only psychologist approved reading material be used and that bibliotherapy be coupled with conventional treatment.

If you want to get healthy or stay that way, make reading a regular part of your routine. Find just a few minutes a day and flex your mind muscles while losing yourself in a captivating book. With hundreds of genres and the growing popularity of the convenient eBook, there is no limit to the places you can go and the benefits you can reap.
Website: www.catherinestovall.webs.com
Fanpage: http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/133686233308403/

Publishers Site: http://bit.ly/qCgNAS

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