Life... Health... Reviews...

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Stranded in Clayton County

A couple of days ago the Clayton County public buses (C-Tran) shut down. The reason, from what I understand, is the lack of a budget to keep it running. More than 5,000 people relied on that public system and, according to interviews done by local media on the last day, a lot of people didn't know what they were going to do. Here's a link to an article that our local newspaper the AJC posted about the situation.

The day of the shut down, and for the past two days, as I've driven the streets of my community I am saddened even more than I was before. It has already bothered me to see so many people waiting for the bus or trudging along with children in inclement weather as I zoom along with the other cars seemingly taking my transportation for granted. Now I see a few people walking - no more than normal it doesn't seem - and I'm reminded of what "they" say: The more affluent, northern communities shuttled the po' folk to this southern county and have been trying for years to keep us here. That's the reason "they" give for why MARTA (the main public transport system) doesn't venture pass certain areas in all directions.

Whether it's true or not is still up for debate and it's relatively unimportant given the very real and current C-Tran situation. I am saddened that an entire county of people has been left to fend for themselves. Personally, I don't know anyone who was relying on the bus, but I wish that I did because I feel like I should be doing something to help.

What is the solution to this problem and how can we make it right?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Munching Mrs. Paul's

Have you tried Mrs. Paul's 100 percent whole white fish fillets? If you haven't then you're missing out. I'm not really a fan of fish sticks, but when it comes to Mrs. Paul's new fish sticks and fillets there's a big difference between the regular variety and this genuinely fresh-tasting choice.

Really! It's not hype. I've always purchased fish sticks (I won't mention the brand. LOL.) to keep on hand for late dinners or those I haven't planned or even when the children ask for them. My three youngest children love them (UPDATE: As of August 2016, the children don't seem to be as enthused about any frozen fish product. Could be a fish sticked... yes, that's a thing... them to death. HA). Each time I tasted one I couldn't figure out what was so popular with them, but when I received a coupon to try them I jumped on it right away and was more than pleasantly surprised. Then started a BzzCampaign for them and excitedly I signed up. I received a coupon to purchase a free box and some coupons to give away to family and friends. It's probably one of the few times that I've tried a product before BzzAgent told me about it.

One of the best parts about this Mrs. Paul's product is that it's an excellent source of protein, a natural source of Omega-3 DHA and has zero grams trans fat.

If you've already tried them then let me know. I would love to read a comment about it.

As I've mentioned in the past, I'm a BzzAgent who signs up for various campaigns to receive free products and coupons to use for myself and share with family and friends. The opinions expressed here are my own and were not influenced by the company. No monetary compensation was received.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Pounds and pain management

This morning I overcame my procrastination and avoidance of the white contraption sitting on the floor of my laundry room. My scale. I was freshly showered and newly resolved to learn the real truth. I assumed that it would read the same as it had in weeks past, but that didn't stop my trepidation as I stepped on while looking straight ahead, took a new breath and glanced down.

Wait, I need to adjust my glasses, I thought. I wiggled them around a little on my nose, blinked a few times for good measure and focused in again. One hundred and sixty-five pounds. Yup, 165. That's a weight gain of six freaking pounds.

I am a bit surprised at that number because with the part-time, temporary job I do way more walking then I was doing before. Puzzling? I guess, not really. The problem is more motion equals more hunger and, admittedly, my food and snack choices aren't always on the good side of the calorie and fat level.

I'm sure it doesn't help that I've developed a peanut butter (and Peanut Butter M&M!) craving. That could be the culprit right there. So this morning I've decided to track my calories for the day and see if I'm on target. I'd gotten fairly adept and doing this in my head and estimating my 1,200-calories-a-day intake, but it's possible I'm in denial.

It's also possible that skipping out on posting my health and weight loss journal has removed my accountability, made me lazy and caused an extreme case of food denial. That and the fact that my stress has increased 100 fold making my resolve of not participating in emotional eating turn into me pretending I haven't been emotionally eating.

The current weight loss plan? Paying attention to my calorie intake and not only being aware of emotional eating, but resisting it as well.

Regarding my health. SIGH. The liver biopsy of course showed inflammation. We kind of expected that since my liver enzymes are always high. The doctor I saw quickly reviewed my previous lab results and notes, asked a few questions then determined that it looked to him to be autoimmune hepatitis. The look that got him was one of raises eyebrows and my standard nod. He explained that oftentimes individuals like myself who have other autoimmune problems (where the body attacks itself) - in my case fibromyalgia and sjrogren's disease - there are often other autoimmune diseases present.

The liver inflammation is causing my body to attack itself thus the rise in enzymes. (Yea, I know, not good.) He ordered MORE blood work and sent my biopsy back for further testing. I return in about six weeks to get the final diagnosis.

Right now the bad part (yes, there's something worse than the diagnosis) is the treatment plan if it is what I have:

Step 1 - About 6 to 8 weeks of steroids
Step 2 - Checking to see if it's working
Step 3 - If it works then decreasing the steroid and beginning an autoimmune drug therapy
Step 4 - As long as it continues to work the steroid will be decreased to almost nothing and the autoimmune drug increased

All the other steps in between? The terrible side effects of taking a steroid. HUGH GIGANTIC SIGH.

The current health care plan? Following up with the VA doctor, but what I'd really like to do is be under the care of the Progressive Medical Center in Atlanta.

One of the things that impressed me about the center is the belief behind its operation. It's a team of professionals who believe that the solution lies in the integrative medicine and not in habit-forming treatment methods. The staff is made up of on-site medical doctors, naturopathic doctors, a chiropractor, patient advocate, nutritionist, healthy cooking consultant, physical trainer and others. According to their literature they have one objective: "To guide each patient to a place of comfort and balance - the natural way."

The alternative (natural) treatments offered include Intravenous Therapies, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, Infrared Detox Saunas and a comprehensive nutraceutical pharmacy... and those are just a few of the healing treatments being practiced.

I discussed my condition with Dr. Mike Gramazio, PhD, during a visit and tour several weeks ago. Dr. Gramazio spoke with me about BioElectric Therapy, which is used to treat pain caused by a variety of conditions including arthritis, fibromyalgia, sciatica, shingles, gout, carpel tunnel and headaches (migraines, cluster, tension, etc.). His initial diagnosis of me, after hearing my history and test results, was right on target. He said with the fibromyalgia the scar tissue between muscle fibers, which causes my autonomic nervous system to be attacked. The same goes for my liver - my body is attacking it causing autointoxication.

His recommendations are electrotherapy and a supervised six month intoxication program, which will include a farinfrared light therapy and as a benefit of being treated at the center I will also have access to the nutritionist and ozone therapy. That's the loose version. Once signed on I will get a individualized plan of action.

The problem? I don't have traditional medical coverage; I receive care at the VA Center. I'm hoping to be able to get the VA to refer me there and take care of the cost that way. Otherwise, I have no idea how I will do it. I think this is one of the main problems of low income individuals when it comes to quality and specialized treatment. But that's an entirely different post...
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