Archive for August 29, 2013

How Seniors Can Ease Their Recovery After Hip Replacement Surgery

How Seniors Can Ease Their Recovery After Hip Replacement Surgery

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Hip replacement surgery is a major event. Choosing to replace a joint is often a last resort, and you may be worried about the road to recovery after surgery. How long will it take? How much pain will there be? How much work will it take to get back to normal? It’s important to do as much research as possible beforehand so that you have a solid plan when you start your recovery.

First Steps
The good news about hip replacement surgery is that you’re almost certainly better off once you’ve had it. The debilitating pain, inflammation and lack of mobility that went along with your worn-out joint will be taken care of, so you should start feeling better very soon.
Before your surgery, be sure to talk to your doctor about which implant will be used. This is important because some artificial hips are more dangerous than others. For example, the Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II Modular-Neck Hip Stem systems have been linked to very serious complications and were actually recalled in 2012. Other metal-on-metal hips are still on the market, however, so it’s important to talk to your doctor about the safety record of your implant.

Therapy and Recovery
After your surgery, you’re hopefully on your way to a better quality of life. After a few days of rest and limited mobility, you should be ready to start physical therapy. Small exercises are the first step. You should work with a professional physical therapist three to four times per week. He or she will give you additional advice and exercises.

To make your recovery easier, you’re going to need help around the house. Hip surgery means no driving for at least 3-6 weeks, so someone will have to help you with errands. You will also be limited in mobility overall; shopping, cleaning, cooking and other everyday activities can get a lot harder when you can’t move around very well. If you have family members who are willing to pitch in, that’s fantastic. Otherwise, you may need a few weeks of helpful home care.

It’s important to increase your level of physical activity and exercise as you gain more mobility and heal from your surgery. Within six weeks, you should be able to return to a full level of activity, which is vital to the recovery process. Push yourself, but not too hard, as falling or straining could damage your hip all over again.

Recovering from surgery is never easy. But if you arm yourself with a plan and prepare in advance, you can make it a little easier on yourself.

Jennifer Mesko is the managing editor of Drugwatch.com, a website that keeps consumers informed about dangerous prescription drugs and defective medical devices. Join the Drugwatch community on our facebook page to find out more.

 

Thanks to our newest guest bloggers from Drugwatch.com!! 🙂

ID Theft. “Because Once It Happens, It Will Always Happen.”

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ID Theft. “Because Once it Happens, it will Always Happen.”

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Years ago I read that quote, “Because once it happens, it will always happen,” in an article about ID theft. It made me think, “really? ALWAYS happen?” I couldn’t understand how it wasn’t fixable. Until it happened to me. And I can assure you now, 8 years later, it is still happening to me…

The first time that I experienced Identity Theft was in 2005. It started off simple. First my debit cards were getting hit with off charges from all over the world, regularly. Many said I wasn’t being safe online…those people did not know me. I’m one of the most paranoid people around, and my dealing with all of this has made it even worse. With the debit card fraud, the banks would investigate. At one point, it was found to be an “internal bank error,” and they then paid for one type of Identity Protection for me for a few years. Wouldn’t you know that it was during those years that someone tried to take a loan out in my name, my neighbor used me as a cosigner on a car loan (that they subsequently stopped paying for, and that’s how I found out), and my social had been “sold” in the market. Or, that’s what I was told by our county Detectives that handle these cases.

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ALL of that happened while I check my account DAILY, sometimes more than once. The banks have my information locked up so tight, it takes me 10 minutes just to verify I’m me if I have banking issues. I have excellent computer and online protection, and I rarely shop online anymore. The trouble is…. Many of my side businesses require me to purchase my customers products online. And that’s where I think my breaches happened over the years. NOT AT ALL saying that the places I work for knew about it, could prevent it, or anything else… It’s the internet. It is what it is. If you’re on it, AT ALL, you’re at risk. It’s not just the things that you put on Facebook that are forever… it’s everything. Mortgage info. House info. Credit card info. Store scan-card info. You’re tracked everywhere. Staying on top of your every account is key. It may be annoying, and hard to get accustomed to… but if you’re ever hit with this, you’re going to be thankful you caught it early. Trust me.

I’m writing about this today because first thing this morning, I had to deal with a fraudulent situation, again. Hopefully this one was minor, and will pass…but it has heightened my awareness once again. Below you’ll find some good tips and reminder on how to stay vigilant in your financial world.
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Strategic Tips and Tricks to Avoid ID Theft in a World Where it Surrounds Us

*Protect your Social Security number: Memorize your social security number. You should never carry your social security card in your wallet, but keep it in a safe place at home. Do not put your social security number on your checks or even credit receipts. Do not give out your social security number unless there is a privacy notice accompanying the request.

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*Shred any and all personal documents: Buy and use a diamond or cross-cut type shredder to shred anything that you discard that may contain personal or financial information. This includes financial records, bank statements, pre-approved credit offers from the mail, and credit card receipts. Identity thieves employ “dumpster diving” techniques to steal your identity, but if you shred your documents, they will come out smelly and empty handed.
*Treat your mail with care: Stolen mail is almost the easiest way to get vital information. Keep a watchful eye on your mail and do not let simply sit in your mailbox all day. If you have a curbside mailbox, you may want to consider adding a lock to thwart identity thieves. Drop off checks at a USPS mailbox, instead of mailing them from home. Also, inform the post office to hold your mail when going on vacation and pick it up when you return.
*Know your payment cycles: Monitor your payment cycles on your credit cards and when your bank statement arrives every month. Call if the statements are late; identity thieves could have requested a change of address. It is not unusual for identity thieves to run up hefty charges before you even notice.
*When using the Internet, be on guard and watch for scams: Do not give personal information to people or companies who may ask you to click a link to verify your information. Do not click on links in email from unknown senders – if it is spam, it is a scam. Also, identity thieves have been using new “phising” techniques; they pretend to be an authoritative organization, such as your credit card or Ebay, asking you to verify your information. Never use these scam links; instead, log directly into your institution’s website, and chances are you will see that the email was a scam. Never put identifying information on discussion forums or websites such as MySpace or Facebook. Also, you can further protect yourself by installing a good anti-spyware program and anti-virus scan on your computer.
* Select strong and unique passwords: Password protect all of your accounts with a combination of letters and numbers. If you make up a word or phrase that does not exist in reality, your password becomes much stronger. When asked for a security question, do not use your mother’s maiden name, as this is very sensitive information. Memorize your passwords and PIN numbers, but do not use anything that would be easily guessed, such as birthdates or social security numbers.
* Verify sources before sharing information: Only provide information over the phone to people that you know. Identity theft scams can happen when a person says that they are a credit grantor of yours. Ask them if you can call them back and call the number that you know belongs to the company. When you discuss personal matters, provide only information that you believe is absolutely necessary. Avoid conducting surveys over the phone; they gather too much personal information that puts your safety at risk.
* Review your credit report frequently: Order your credit report at least twice a year; every three months would be ideal. Review it carefully. If you see anything that appears fraudulent or is not familiar to you, immediately put a fraud alert on your reports by calling the three credit reporting agency numbers. Ensure that all of your addresses are correct; if you witness a change in address, this is a huge sign that an identity thief is in the works. Check back with the credit agencies within 30 days to ensure the mistakes have been corrected. Also opt out of pre-approved offers with the credit bureaus by taking your name off all other promotional type of lists.
* Consider identity theft coverage: An ounce of prevention goes a long way, especially when you think of the countless hours that you could spend attempting to recover your stolen identity. A solid identity theft coverage program, such as Lifelock and Identity Guard, will not only save you time and money, but substantial frustration as well. These services will consistently monitor any changes to your personal credit files, ensuring that identity thieves are thwarted from marring your financial reputation
* Clean out credit and debit cards: Cancel all old credit cards that you do not use because open credit is a prime target for identity theft. When you are going to receive a new card in the mail, be aware of when it should arrive. Call to check on the card if you have not received it by a certain date. Never put your credit card account number on the internet (unless you are sure that it’s encrypted on a secured site); instead, you can opt to use services like PayPal that shield your credit card number from being broadcasted all over the internet. In terms of debit cards, avoid going to the ATM late at night and always ensure no one is looking over your shoulder when you are entering your PIN.
* Store information in secure locations: Put together a file of important information to safeguard your records. Make copies of all credit cards and bank account numbers, as well as their customer service phone numbers. Do not trust your hard drive to protect your identity, especially if it is connected to the internet.
* Safeguard your wallet and personal checks: Even though it is convenient to keep some things in your wallet, only carry what you absolutely need for day-to-day dealings. Never carry your birth certificate, social security card, or passport, unless necessary. When you order new checks, do not have your telephone number printed on them.
If you take these tips that help you stay safe from identity thieves, you safeguard your future and financial reputation. Remember, it is always easier to prevent id theft, than to fix the destruction an identity thief will wreak on your credit and finances.
(The above information was pulled from http://creditidentitysafe.com/identity-theft-protection and is a reputable site with valid suggestions. However, if you feel at any time that you cannot handle your own ID Theft battle, immediately seek out help. Contact your local authorities, as these days ID Theft is becoming so common, many police departments have task forces just to deal with this. They are often very helpful, and understanding.)

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Want to know how to ensure that your computer is safe? Check out OnGuardOnline.gov and they’ll give you great information and tips on online safety!

Want to learn more about cyber crime, or been a victim? Check out the government’s special site that holds a booklet (.PDF) for reading. http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/pdf-0009-taking-charge.pdf

Ramblings #1, College & My Hairy Beast

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Ramblings #1, College & My Hairy Dog Beast

 

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I’m sitting here, prepping notebooks, printing syllabuses, and getting my ducks in a row. Yes, my ducks. I started back at college today….finishing up my Business Management degree. I’m already half way done with it, so it shouldn’t take me too long to complete….right? I mean, I only run a household, run multi-self owned businesses, have 3 children that I home school (Plus my favorite M girls, too) and ALL of the extra things that come along with that… It probably doesn’t help that I’m a clean food junkie, and can’t stop creating recipes for the cookbook that I’m also working on…. That my publishing company GoodTimes Publications will publish when it’s done. Oh, and not to mention my second novel….working on that, too. The BLOGS! OH my dear Lord in Heaven…THE BLOGS! Now, I also didn’t give any credit to the ole body, and you all know now how she works, or DOESN’T work, rather…. So I’ll have to keep some extra forks around to deal with her flares, whenever that may be. Extra Forks? Wait a minute. How many forks am I going to need now? Do I have enough forks to even start with?
Ooohp, hang on… my Darling #1 has paged me to his workstation. *steps away from computer*

And I’m back. I was also stopped by Darling #3 to tell me how much she loves the grapes we picked off the vine yesterday. Darling #1 was working great, thankfully, today. Working steadily in his online classes…just as someone else I know should be doing…
Above were all my random thoughts, well, some of them. Sometimes they fly so fast that I can’t even hear/see/read them all. There are things I didn’t list on my “chore list” above, too. Like my dog…who will be having surgery this week. Turns out she’s not so healthy. So, we’re getting her as healthy as we can, and treating her like the Queen Bitch she truly is. Really, that’s sort of a joke. See, this beast of mine is the dominant animal in our “zoo.” The boss. The outspoken, often pushy, sometimes frighteningly scary girl. But to us, of course…she’s just a big hairy baby. So, QB and I have a big day this week. I’ve got my fingers crossed that everything comes back reasonably normal. Thanks again to my parents for helping our with this. We are more than appreciative! And QB says when you visit, she’ll jump on you, try to knock you over, and then pretend that she’s a baby and sit on your lap.

Back to school. No, really. I have to click back over to the other web page now, and write a whole paragraph about myself. Introducing myself to the class. Yikes. I’ll try to limit it to a paragraph….Mmmm Hmm. Bet you’re asking why I’m doing it if it’s extra stress? Because I love learning, and I LOVE being the best at things. Perfectionist? Maybe a little. And being that I do have my own businesses, that degree will be a beauty to have on the wall. (Not that education isn’t as great or anything.) And I want my kids to see just how much hard work does pay off, and how possible dreams really are. And then the hubs and I are one step closer to opening our own school/pool bar/adult toy&education. HA. Alright, alright…it’s time. No turning back… let’s keep that shiny GPA at a 4.0.

Scleroderma & How It’s Changed My Life

Scleroderma & How It’s Changed My Life

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Scleroderma. It recently became my life. Although, it turns out I had been living it, or with it, for quite a few years. Now I can at least say the word, and give an explanation without getting overly emotional. Oh, happy day! You know, fifteen years ago I felt normal. I mean, I did always feel exhausted, but chalked it up to teenage depression. I swam. I wrote. I was mean… to my mom. (side note: I still say I hated *everyone*, but I think it hurt her the most. Sorry, Mom. Glad it was only a phase though…you’re the BEST around. Love you.) I did normal teenage/young adult things. Including, but not limited to, becoming pregnant. It was during this pregnancy that the first signs of “the strange and unusual” started to show up. Pregnancy #1 didn’t go well, and ended at the beginning of the second trimester.

From the beginning of pregnancy #2/darling #1, my body started to shut down. Hyperemesis Gravidarum, Weight Loss until month 7, blood count issues, sudden bouts of blindness….all ending with an emergency c-section ay 37 weeks. Of course, my boy was born perfect, and spent only days in the NICU. Even with a big, bulbous, super cute, super smart brain filled head. But my body never really bounced back. My next pregnancy was just as eventful as the first had been. Full of sickness, and disgust. This time even with 6 weeks of early labor, and stopping contractions constantly. Finally, at 36 weeks, docs gave way for the next c-section. Darling #2 was perfect & hairy like a beast. I knew we wanted to have a third baby, but I could feel my body screaming at me….pleading with me. (Family that’s reading this now, you know me. You KNOW I push everything… so, although I’ve never said these words out loud <thanks, blog> you shouldn’t be too surprised..) We didn’t wait as long as we first planned for #3. And man did I pay for it. Did we all pay for it.
Body was done half-way through. This time was the scariest. Baby was having and causing more issues than I knew possible. I had ALL of the above, including preterm labor. I had internal physical therapy to attempt to keep my “non-stretching” uterus flexible, and able to grow for the baby. (Yes. Internal. The physical therapist massaged my womb, via the ole vaginal canal. I thank this girl daily, still. Yes, girl. She and I had a sudden friendship that was nothing like I’ve ever had before. It was raunchy, and beyond uncomfortable.) That therapy got us an extra 6 weeks of in-utero, though. So, although traumatizing for all…doc knew what she was doing. The day that insurance stopped paying for that therapy (because they said it was an “unnecessary treatment”), I could feel my body change within hours. And I know that sounds freaky, but it’s a fact. By 5am the next morning, I had paged my OB. She called back immediately, and asked for the 411. I immediately went to the office, in tears. At 34 weeks, this was not a good choice to be making. I could feel my body….breaking. My doc and I had a relationship of great trust, built on many years. She did some tests, and although they were not normal, they did not speak immediate emergency. I felt otherwise. Knowing the risks to us both, I tearfully begged her to proceed to c-section NOW. Hours later, in surgery, my life and my Darling #3 hung in the balance. My uterus had ruptured, and I was bleeding out.

In the moments of seeing my doc’s face go pale, her demanding that my husband sit back down sternly, his terrified face, and feeling my body hit a weakness level unheard of….. I panicked. I knew something terrible was wrong. I couldn’t feel my chest, or lungs anymore(Later finding out that was due to the huge push of pain meds I had to endure the longer duration of pain & surgical stuff). Breathing I had to focus on. Did I mention I had a spinal for this c-section? So all of this wasn’t “forecasted“, so to speak. My uterus had split immediately apart after my doc made the first incision through skin. In that instant, my baby was without oxygen and blood supply. I was hemorrhaging internally. I’ll now name our lifesaver… Dr. Helfgott. She’s amazing. Always in my eyes.
After some NICU time, Darling #3 came home to join the brood. Doc H patched me up enough to need a hysterectomy when my Darling #3 was 3 months old. It was then that the condition of my tissue was first determined, although not pieced together fully.

Now I’m going to skip over the next few years in one paragraph, because it was the same thing over, and over, and over… They determined after my hysterectomy that internally, I had a scar tissue problem. They brought in a special doctor from England for my hysterectomy, and he tried some new procedure and solution on my insides to try to prevent further issue. I had severe GI issues by this time, too. That was labled Crohn’s for 5+ years (but really isn‘t…). I had pneumonia 4-6 times a year, with bouts of the flu, colds, rashes, bleeding issues, and more. I grew intolerant to gluten, some grains, dairy, eggs, and soy. My hormones went psycho, as did my thyroid. And then I got super sick, beyond anything it had been. Chronic pleurisy was here, and now brought on some more lung tests. Thankfully. Turns out my left lung was working at about 50%, and my right about 75-80%. The x-rays showed heavy amounts of scar tissue, and that my GI tract was also all fused together.
Yes, now the bells are beginning to go off. For the doctors, too. Years ago, my uterus had torn from this same thing that was now effecting my lungs, and GI system. My joints were now inflamed from the side effects of it, and my skin and body were going through some telltale signs. Of Scleroderma. Although, first it was an SLE Lupus primary misdiagnosis. I also have SLE, Raynaud’s Phenomenon, thyroid issues and serious GI issues all secondary from the Scleroderma.

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My days start hours before I get out of bed, stretching and trying to mobilize my muscles as much as I can. I fight with my stomach hideously in the mornings…it’s like every day is morning sickness for hours. Swallowing pills is how I spend my earliest times, normally always watching the Today Show while I do it. I would like to spend the morning typing my blog posts, but unfortunately my hands don’t work that well that early. Doing the daily household chores wipes me out if I’m not cautious and careful. Keeping up with all of my jobs is always do-able…. Just takes a lot of thought, and planning. I hide away sometimes to regain control of my body tremors, or to just lay down while the worst meds take effect. The meds I’m on now are considered chemo meds (immuno-suppressants), and their side effects listed are soo real. Although the dosage is low, the side effects are terrible. Worst on my GI system. The point of these meds is to shut down my immune system from attacking itself, while the other meds stop the build up of scar tissue inside me. My evenings are difficult sometimes, too. Overdoing it is very easy, as often puts me down for hours. Sometimes vomiting. Sometimes crippled in pain. This is often when I type. It’s an easy distraction, and I can keep my mind off of the body pain caused from “living” from the day. There’s so much I left out… the gross, TMI details….but it truly never ends. I swallow more pills at night, and hope for sleep. It’s my life sentence. See, the trouble with scleroderma is that you know your fate, but you never know when it’ll come. Or how painful it will be. Or just how long it will take.

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Gone are the days of hopping out of bed, throwing on clothes, and running to the grocery. Gone are the days I can run around in crazy circles with the kids. Man, just the thought of running just now made me out of breath… I have to plan my days, and my weeks. If I have parties or adult classes, I can’t do anything in the afternoon to prepare myself with enough energy. After days of home school, I have to recharge by sitting and relaxing (or blogging!) before I try anything else. Life’s all still very doable…it’s just a little more challenging now. I always seem to run myself out of FORKS (my alternative to “Spoons”), but I have gotten better finding what things trigger my flares. And subsequently avoiding those things. My kids have adjusted, and know that sometimes I just can’t do it. They also know that at those times of my weakest, their support and maturity is the most wonderful and appreciated thing ever. Of course, they also know that once I’m back on my feet, I treat them to fun and games for all their help!

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It truly does give you a different outlook on life. Less time for those people (even family) and things that cause drama and stress. More time for the things that do matter. Like my loves, and their education. And making all our lives as fun and FULLY LIVED as possible. Regardless of what you’ve been struck and stuck with…life’s still worth living. You just need to find what keeps your spark and drive lit. I’ve found mine. My husband and kids and family. My work: education, SEX (and educating about it, of course), cooking clean & recipe creating, and WORDS. Thanks for reading this part of my story. J
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Below you’ll find some general information about Scleroderma. Remember, if you’re reading this as a person who is experiencing symptoms of any autoimmune issue, PLEASE get off your computer, and call your Family Doctor! Also keep in mind that what works for me, or anyone else online, could actually HARM you. I do NOT want any harm to come to any of my readers, so please be sure to talk to YOUR DOCTOR, or at the least leave a comment if you have a question or need specifics!

GENERAL INFO ON SCLERODERMA & OTHER AI ISSUES

The “Spoon Theory”: Have you heard of it? This is something that people with autoimmune diseases of any kind use to help our un-sick friends understand just what it’s like to like with this energy sucking illness crap all of the time. To read this awesome article yourself, check it out here! Spoon Theory

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Definition of Scleroderma: Scleroderma (skleer-oh-DUR-muh) is a group of rare diseases that involve the hardening and tightening of the skin and connective tissues — the fibers that provide the framework and support for your body.
In some people, scleroderma affects only the skin. But in many people, scleroderma also harms structures beyond the skin — such as blood vessels, internal organs and the digestive tract. Signs and symptoms vary, depending on which structures are affected.
Scleroderma affects women more often than men and most commonly occurs between the ages of 30 and 50. While there is no cure for scleroderma, a variety of treatments can ease symptoms and improve quality of life.

What are some of the main symptoms of Scleroderma? Scleroderma’s signs and symptoms vary, depending on which parts of your body are involved:
-Skin. Nearly everyone who has scleroderma experiences a hardening and tightening of patches of skin. These patches may be shaped like ovals or straight lines. The number, location and size of the patches vary by type of scleroderma. Skin can appear shiny because it’s so tight, and movement of the affected area may be restricted.
-Fingers or toes. One of the earliest signs of scleroderma is an exaggerated response to cold temperatures or emotional distress, which can cause numbness, pain or color changes in the fingers or toes. Called Raynaud’s phenomenon, this condition also occurs in people who don’t have scleroderma.
-Digestive system. In addition to acid reflux, which can damage the section of esophagus nearest the stomach, some people with scleroderma may also have problems absorbing nutrients if their intestinal muscles aren’t moving food properly through the intestines.
-Heart, lungs or kidneys. Rarely, scleroderma can affect the function of the heart, lungs or kidneys. These problems can become life-threatening.

What are the causes of Scleroderma? Ironically, no one truly knows what sets off the over production of collagen inside our bodies. There have been, and still are, studies about environmental hazards triggering these illnesses, as well as hereditary and being predisposition for it.

What are the common complications with Scleroderma? Scleroderma complications range from mild to severe and can affect your:
-Fingertips. The variety of Raynaud’s phenomenon that occurs with scleroderma can be so severe that the restricted blood flow permanently damages the tissue at the fingertips, causing pits or skin sores (ulcers). In some cases, gangrene and amputation may follow.

-Lungs. Scarring of lung tissue (pulmonary fibrosis) can result in reduced lung function, reduced ability to breathe and reduced tolerance for exercise. You may also develop high blood pressure in the arteries to your lungs (pulmonary hypertension).

-Kidneys. When scleroderma affects your kidneys, you can develop an elevated blood pressure and an increased level of protein in your urine. More-serious effects of kidney complications may include renal crisis, which involves a sudden increase in blood pressure and rapid kidney failure.

-Heart. Scarring of heart tissue increases your risk of abnormal heartbeats (arrhythmias) and congestive heart failure, and can cause inflammation of the membranous sac surrounding your heart (pericarditis). Scleroderma also can raise the pressure on the right side of your heart and cause it to wear out.

-Teeth. Severe tightening of facial skin can cause your mouth to become smaller and narrower, which may make it hard to brush your teeth or to even have them professionally cleaned. People who have scleroderma often don’t produce normal amounts of saliva, so the risk of dental decay increases even more.

-Digestive system. Digestive problems associated with scleroderma can lead to acid reflux and difficulty swallowing — some describe feeling as if food gets stuck midway down the esophagus — as well as bouts of constipation alternating with episodes of diarrhea.

-Sexual function. Men who have scleroderma often experience erectile dysfunction. Scleroderma may also affect the sexual function of women, by decreasing sexual lubrication and constricting the vaginal opening.

How do I approach my doctor with my symptoms? And what tests will he suggest? I suggest keeping a journal of your symptoms, flares, of everything and take it with you to your appointment. Appointments are often short, so don’t hesitate with getting to the point. My doctor’s have always thanked me for spilling my guts immediately upon arrival. Sometimes writing things down is an easier way to remember things, too. There really is no right or wrong way to do this. Whatever works best for you to feel, and be heard by your doctor.

As for tests, it depends on how your illness is presenting. Blood tests are usually the first steps, and a lot can be ruled out with those. Not necessarily proven, though. Keep in mind it can take *years* for diagnosis, and even longer to find the right course of treatment. (It took over 10 years for me..)

What types of treatment can I expect? In some cases, the skin problems associated with scleroderma fade away on their own in three to five years. The type of scleroderma that affects internal organs usually worsens with time.
Medications
No drug has been developed that can stop the underlying process of scleroderma — the overproduction of collagen. But a variety of medications can help control scleroderma symptoms or help prevent complications. To accomplish this, these drugs may:
-Dilate blood vessels. Blood pressure medications that dilate blood vessels may help prevent lung and kidney problems and may help treat Raynaud’s disease.
-Suppress the immune system. Drugs that suppress the immune system, such as those taken after organ transplants, may help reduce scleroderma symptoms.
-Reduce stomach acid. Medications such as omeprazole (Prilosec) can relieve symptoms of acid reflux.
-Prevent infections. Antibiotic ointment may help prevent infection of fingertip ulcers caused by Raynaud’s phenomenon. Regular influenza and pneumonia vaccinations can help protect lungs that have been damaged by scleroderma.
-Relieve pain. If over-the-counter pain relievers don’t help enough, you can ask your doctor to prescribe stronger medications.
Therapy

Physical or occupational therapists can help you to:
-Manage pain
-Improve your strength and mobility
-Maintain independence with daily tasks
**Surgery: Used as a last resort, surgical options for scleroderma complications may include:
-Amputation. If finger ulcers caused by severe Raynaud’s phenomenon have developed gangrene, amputation may be necessary.
-Lung transplants. People who have developed high blood pressure in the arteries to their lungs (pulmonary hypertension) may be candidates for lung transplants.

How should my home life change? You can take a number of steps to help manage your symptoms of scleroderma:
Stay active. Exercise keeps your body flexible, improves circulation and relieves stiffness. Range-of-motion exercises can help keep your skin and joints flexible.
*Don’t smoke. Nicotine causes blood vessels to contract, making Raynaud’s phenomenon worse. Smoking can also cause permanent narrowing of your blood vessels. Quitting smoking is difficult — ask your doctor for help.

*Manage heartburn. Avoid foods that give you heartburn or gas. Also avoid late-night meals. Elevate the head of your bed to keep stomach acid from backing up into your esophagus (reflux) as you sleep. Antacids may help relieve symptoms.

*Protect yourself from the cold. Wear warm mittens for protection anytime your hands are exposed to cold — even when you reach into a freezer. When you’re outside in the cold, cover your face and head and wear layers of warm clothing.

(Doesn’t really seem like a lot to ease the trouble, does it?)

What if my friends just aren’t enough? As is true with other chronic diseases, living with scleroderma can place you on a roller coaster of emotions. Here are some suggestions to help you even out the ups and downs:
*Maintain normal daily activities as best you can.
*Pace yourself and be sure to get the rest that you need.
*Stay connected with friends and family.
*Continue to pursue hobbies that you enjoy and are able to do.
The prognosis for scleroderma has improved dramatically over the past 30 years as the ability to detect and treat many of the problems of scleroderma has improved. But if scleroderma makes it difficult for you to do things you enjoy, ask your doctor about ways to get around the obstacles.
Keep in mind that your physical health can have a direct impact on your mental health. Denial, anger and frustration are common with chronic illnesses.
At times, you may need additional tools to deal with your emotions. Professionals, such as therapists or behavior psychologists, may be able to help you put things in perspective. They can also help you develop coping skills, including relaxation techniques.
Joining a support group, where you can share experiences and feelings with other people, is often a good approach. Ask your doctor what support groups are available in your community.

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Resources Used:

Mayo Clinic

Can Grandma really help You stay Calm? And vice versa?

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Can Grandma really help you stay calm? And vice versa?

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This week this news story has hit many local news programs, as well as the major ones like the Today Show, and Good Morning America. We pulled this article from UsNews.com, and it is posted below for your reading pleasure. I think that this is absolutely right. When my grandma was a daily part of my life, she was there to lean on when I was having a bad day, or was stressed out. She never had the answers to fix my complex issues, but supported me and comforted my crazy times. In turn, I was a phone call, or a car ride away when she was having troubles, too. (Of course, other people helped her, too. Thought I’d better disclose that….as we’re all still paying for some of my first posts!) Nowadays, I miss the every day calls. I miss having that calm, giggly voice to see my troubles through with me. I miss the long talks about the past, the stories of her growing up, and chips & cottage cheese. My kids miss craft time & silly songs. But, we do still have her big smiles, and her hugs. And faces… they just get sillier.

Thanks for always helping me lose my stress, Grandma C. Glad I could return the favor when it mattered most. ?

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Closeness Between Grandparents, Adult Grandkids May Ease Depression

MONDAY, Aug. 12 (HealthDay News) — A good relationship between grandparents and their adult grandchildren can provide a psychological boost for both generations, according to a new study.
Researchers from Boston College found this type of close-knit bond was linked to fewer symptoms of depression for both the seniors and the young adults. And the closer the emotional ties, the bigger the benefit, they found.
In conducting the study, Sara Moorman, an assistant professor in the sociology department, and Jeffrey Stokes, a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at Boston College, examined survey data involving 376 grandparents and 340 grandchildren collected between 1985 and 2004. The grandparents were born on average in 1917, and the grandchildren on average in 1963.
The study also showed the grandparents who provided their grandchildren with tangible support — which included performing a household chore, giving advice, or offering some pocket money — and received similar support from their grandchildren in return had the fewest symptoms of depression. This type of support, however, did not affect the psychological well-being of grandchildren, the researchers noted.
On the other hand, the grandparents with the most significant increase in symptoms of depression received tangible support but did not give it, the researchers pointed out. The authors suggested that grandparents who receive help but can’t return the favor may feel bad or frustrated about having to depend on their grandchildren.
The study authors concluded that strengthening family bonds should go beyond the nuclear family and young children. They added that adult grandchildren who offer tangible support to their grandparents, and allow their grandparents to give them something in return could help reduce their symptoms of depression.
Moorman, who is also with the Institute on Aging at Boston College, is scheduled to present the findings Monday at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, in New York City.
The data and conclusions of research presented at medical meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Copyright© 2012 HealthDay

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Resources Used:
health day.com (for original article)
Usnews.com-read story first here