Friday, September 30, 2011

Health Fairs

Recently I was dropping my son off at the mall when I noticed a sign for a Health Fair. Being that I have interest in the health industry as a whole, for a whole list of different reasons, I decided to go in and check it out. What I found were a bazillion different vendors; all peddling their wares. Of course, “their” wares were all better than their neighbors’.

My question to all of the different vendors is, “How do I know that your product really is better than the one further down the aisle?” I suppose that anytime that you visit a health fair, you can expect to be inundated with information and advice. My advice to you is to take information only on the products that you truly are interested in. Once you get home, review the information promptly; as if you do not, it will likely end up in that pile. You know the pile; it’s the one where we all put the “stuff” that we intend to get to “someday.” I hate that pile and I hate the clutter. I am relatively certain that I have some pretty great information in that pile, but just looking at it is so overwhelming that I rarely get to it.

Anyway, the health fair was interesting and since I refrained from dragging home a whole bunch of literature, I will consider it a success!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Next Stop; The Dentist

It sure seems as though when it rains, it pours. First I ruptured a tendon in my big right toe; thanks Cipro. One year later, I woke up and could not put my feet on the ground or bend over; thanks again, Cipro. Fifteen months after that incident I was diagnosed with leukemia; can’t blame that on any anything other than just plain old bad luck. Yesterday I broke a tooth; thanks little disguised bone in my burger, as if I don’t already have enough on my plate!

I sort of figured that it was bound to happen sooner or later, I was banking on later, since the same thing happened to another tooth. It seems as though those fillings that I got as a kid, finally weakened my tooth enough to make it precarious. All it took after that was biting on that hidden little bone. Hopefully I will not need a root canal; just a dental crown. A dental crown is sort of like a cap for your tooth. The good thing about a dental crown is that it makes your teeth look all white and pretty, instead of all old and silvery. So except for the cost, I will be really happy to have this tooth match the rest of my mouth! My next stop; the dentist.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Healthy Living is a Plus!

When you live in chronic pain you may often be viewed as a whiner, complainer, or hypochondriac. Having lived through the excruciating pain caused by Cipro, I can totally relate with people that have and live with chronic pain. Being sympathetic to a person with intangible pain can often be a difficult task for family members, friends and co-workers. They seem to think if they cannot see it, then it must not hurt. Life for the person in chronic pain is not only difficult from the physical aspect, but the emotional one as well. Having your life stolen from you is frightening, devastating and frustrating. There are many reasons that people live in chronic pain, mine just happened to result from taking an antibiotic.

I think that regardless of the reason, one of the best things that you can do for yourself is to take care of yourself. Devise a health plan and stick to it. Exercise as much as you possibly can, eat well, get plenty of rest. Healthy living will probably not cure your pain, but it will help to prevent other health issues that may arise from an unhealthy lifestyle. There are many things that we all can do to improve our overall health.

Healthy living literally means taking care of yourself; body, mind and spirit. The last thing that any of us that live in chronic pain needs is to have any other health issue crop up and cause additional health issues.

Poisoned by Cipro; Now I am Unemployed!

So, just what does one do when their injuries stem from ingesting an antibiotic? I know many, many florquinolone sufferers that have lost their jobs due to the debilitating side effects from Cipro, Levaquinn or Avelox. I can relate with both the employer and the employee. It really sucks to have a great job and not be able to get out of bed in the morning; to suddenly be unable to walk or function like you did the day before.

Just how many days can you expect your employer to keep your job available for you when every medical professional that you consult gives you the same answer: “Gee, I have never seen this before and no, I do not have any idea how long it will last, or what I can do to help you.” How comforting do you suppose that is for your employer? He has a business to run and chances are that you were a crucial piece of that wheel.

Occupational health professionals must keep records of employee health information regarding workplace injuries and illnesses, but just how do they record a side effect? What is a side effect and how could that possibly prevent you from doing your job? How do you explain that one day you were perfectly healthy and mobile and now you can barely even walk? And how do you explain that there isn’t a doctor out there that has an answer?

So, here we are incapacitated, often under insured and now unemployed. Sure seems to me that someone ought to take some responsibility here. Floroquinolone toxicity SUCKS!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Physical Therapy Documentation Going Paperless!

I suppose that I am a bit old fashioned when it comes to certain things. I know that when I go to the doctor, I like to see my chart and I like to see what is “literally” written down on the pages; in my chart. I do admit that since more and more doctors dictate their notes into a small recorder, and then have them transcribed, they are much easier to read, type written, than in the doctors own, often difficult to read penmanship.

I imagine that it is safe to say that having notes typed vs written is probably a more efficient and accurate way of keeping patients charts, with less room for error. I can also appreciate the value of simply going to a computer, typing in a patient’s name and accessing their entire history with just a few clicks of a mouse. I know for many people, with ongoing medical conditions, their charts can become quite large and cumbersome. Keeping track of physical therapy documentation is crucial to a recovering patient. I can understand how recording a patient’s exercises and treatments in a chronological chart or list would be beneficial, and viewing that information on a handheld computer would make that task much more efficient and accurate.

So, despite my “old fashioned” ways, I do see the value in going high tech and paperless; not only for the doctor’s sake, but for the sake of the patient as well. The doctors can record notes quicker and in more detail, resulting in more accurate documentation with easier access; as a bonus, I suppose it will inadvertently help to save our forests and landfills as well.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Medical Expenses of Leukemia: I Need Your Help!

I suppose that since it is National Leukemia and Lymphoma Month, now would be a great time for me to begin freaking out about my medical insurance that resets on January 1st of every year. Since I have been self-employed, in one form or another for most of my adult life, I have never had the good fortune of being included in the benefits of an employer’s health insurance plan. I have had to purchase my own health insurance, which I have done through Anthem Blue Cross, for the past thirty years. Fortunately, I have had the wither-all and means in which to do so, despite the high rates and low benefits that have been available to me.

I have always figured that some health insurance is better than no health insurance at all, and since I have always been in great health, a catastrophic insurance plan has always been a good choice for me. A catastrophic health insurance plan is literally just that. It does not pay for the small medical instances such as a sore throat, flu of urinary tract infection, but does cover larger instances such as appendectomy’s, or in my case, cancer. The biggest drawback is the extremely high, yearly out of pocket expense. Last year, needless to say, I met that expense in one fell swoop; when I was admitted to the hospital, after being diagnosed with leukemia. Normally, this would not be an issue; I would have been hospitalized, cured and sent home. I would have had to pay one, great big, out of pocket insurance deductible. I would have recovered, picked myself up, dusted myself off and gotten right back to work!

The issue arises from the fact that my type of leukemia is not curable, only manageable, which means, extremely high medical costs that reset on a yearly basis. I will need to come up with a $5000 deductible at the first of every year for the rest of my life. This in addition to the many other out of pocket expenses and extremely high cost of my medication, has kept me up many a night; worrying.

I have been very blessed with random and surprising donations, and am extremely grateful to all of you that have helped me in my fight thus far. I have never been very good at asking for help of any kind, but I am afraid that I have been humbled by leukemia. I have found a few writing gigs, some sewing and cakes that need making, but I am afraid that none of these are yet, profitable enough to keep my head and body for that matter, above ground for long. I have found some really cute bracelets that are cancer/leukemia related and I am going to try and sell them as somewhat of a fund raiser. They range in price from $7.50 to $18.00. If you simply wish to donate, there is a place to do so in my right column. Desperate measures require desperate times. Of course, I am also willing to consider any and all other options or opportunities offered to me.

For those of you that can and do, my humblest thanks. For those of you in the same boat, or even one with more holes in the bottom of it, you have my emotional support and empathy. And to all of you that just read and support me through encouragement and kind words, please know that I am eternally grateful. 

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Trying to Help My Kids Feel Better Despite Their Allergies

Guest Post Written by Camille Fowler

I luckily don't really suffer from seasonal allergies. I never have, but unfortunately my kids definitely sufferer from them. I really hate to see them with their watery eyes and all of the suffering and sneezing that they're having to go through. I think that any mom is distraught when it comes to seeing their kids suffer and I'm no different.

I thought that it wouldn't hurt to look online and see what I could find to help my kids through this allergy season. I actually found some info while looking online with my Clear Salt Lake City and am going to try and enforce these things in our household for it.

One of the things that I read that really helps is laundering not only sheets but things like stuffed animals once a week. So I'm going to try and do that and see if it makes a difference with our allergies. I'm also going to make a rule so that everyone has to take their shoes off as soon as they get in the door to keep from tracking pollen and other things into the main living parts of the house.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Pain Killers Due To Cipro Side Effects

If it were only this simple!

For many of us that have been adversely affected by the side effects of a floroquinolone, (Cipro, Avelox or Levaquin), the muscle, joint and tendon pain can often lead to drug abuse. Drug abuse can occur in many different ways; one can take too many over the counter or prescription pain relievers or people in constant chronic pain may even turn to other illegal substances; desperately seeking relief. Living in so much pain that every step you take brings you to tears is physically and emotionally draining.

I remember the beginning of my second Cipro poisoning; the pain in my feet alone made me wish that I would just die. I did not want to live if I had to suffer that pain every day. Without any advice from medical doctors and no information as to whether or not the pain would ever go away, I was devastated and desperate. I was definitely on the borderline of over using Ibuprofen. I was taking 800 mg every six hours, around the clock. Occasionally, I just could not hold out and took them before the six hour mark approached. This over the counter medication has a plethora of its own side effects and I if am lucky I have not caused any permanent damage to any of my organs.

I can understand how chronic pain can often lead to drug abuse; whether it is an illegal substance or a prescribed medication, doesn’t really matter. Fortunately for me, my pain did begin to subside after several months, allowing me to see a small light, at the end of a very long tunnel, as opposed to the inside of a drug abuse rehab center. I am sure that many, many desperate people turn to addictive pain killers when they are faced with extreme, chronic pain, the question is if they are addicted to pain killers, how will they know if their pain has subsided and will they need drug abuse rehab?

What an utter and complete mess a federally approved antibiotic can cause.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Who Needs Medical Consulting?

It seems as though with today’s internet and technology, there is a plethora of services and information available to those of us, fortunate enough to have a computer and internet access. This great tool is at our disposal 24/7, and opens a whole new world of possibilities to us. Not only does it allow us to research information, it also opens the door to many entrepreneurs to develop websites and services that save others time and money. I admire them for the ingenuity and perseverance to get the job done.

Take Advanced Medical Strategies, for instance. They offer medical consulting to medical professionals in need of financial information and advice, stemming from an underwriting or catastrophic medical claim. They are trained to deal with the legal side of insurance claims, thus leaving a medical professional free to continue to do what they do best. Not all medical claims stem from negligence of medical professionals.  Many of these claims actually stem from doctor not being paid their fee, from an insurance company. Since I was diagnosed with leukemia seven months ago, I have received several statements, from my insurance company, that have not reimbursed my doctor one penny for their services, yet state that the charges are not my responsibility to pay. It is very confusing and I can really understand how much medical consulting is needed. We live is a world full or red, blue, orange and even yellow tape and sometimes it takes a professional to sort through the forest to find the trees.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Collagen And Cell Extracts; Could They Be An Answer To Our Prayers?

I believe my dear mothers' downward spiral began with Cipro!

There has been quite a lot of controversy over exactly just what Cipro does to damage a body’s muscles, joints and tendons. There seems to be even less known about what can be done to reverse the damage. I believe that all involved agree that floroquinolones can damage and destroy collagen. I also believe that Cipro may destroy the sheath that surrounds your muscles and tendons.

 I wholeheartedly believe that Cipro caused the padding on the balls of my feet to completely disintegrate and that at one time, I was literally walking with the bones of my feet directly against the floor. It was extremely painful to take even one step. After taking 2000 mg of Vitamin C every day for four to five months, I began to notice some improvement.  I understand that Vitamin C can promote collagen production and I often wonder if that has been what has helped to restore at least some of the padding on the balls of my feet.

While searching for more information on collagen production, I ran across this site that produces cell extract for a variety of uses. I have heard the term cell extract in the past, relating to laboratories actually growing skin from cells, to use on patients with extreme burns or other injuries. I do not know their effectiveness in rejuvenating the collagen, inside of our bodies, due to the damage sustained by the side effects of floroquinolones, but I certainly wish that someone would begin to research this avenue since no one in the medical field seems to have any suggestions, remedies or protocol on just how to handle the thousands of us that have been either permanently or temporarily crippled by this class of antibiotics.

Maybe someday, someone will have an answer for all of us that have been inadvertently damaged by antibiotics that are labeled as “not a first drug of choice”: oddly enough the two times that I was prescribed Cipro, it was not only a first drug of choice, it was the only choice given to me. I was not warned of the damaging side effects, despite the current black box warning attached to Cipro. Come on medical professionals, start abiding by the guidelines that have been given to you and stop handing out Cipro, Avelox and Levaquinn as though they were candy.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Addictions are a Royal Pain!

Addiction has been defined as a physical and psychological dependence on psychoactive substances such as alcohol, tobacco, heroin and other drugs which cross the blood-brain barrier once ingested, temporarily altering the chemical milieu of the brain.

Addiction can also be viewed as a continued involvement with a substance or activity despite negative consequences.  Some addictions have serious health consequences while others carry serious lifestyle consequences.

Smoking is probably one of the most difficult, yet damaging addictions around. I say this because it is not an illegal behavior, therefore there is few restrictions as to where a person can smoke; thus allowing others to be put at risk by the smokers addiction. This is particularly true for infants and children that live in a home with smokers. I cannot count the number of times that I have seen a nursing mother smoking a cigarette, or children in a car with the windows rolled up, with the drivers’ of the car puffing on cigarettes. I find it hard to believe that any parent would chose to put their child at risk, so I must deduce that the addiction is stronger than ability to refrain from smoking.

I am always researching ways to help my friends and family to stop smoking and after I did a Cigarrest Review, I realized that there are homeopathic solutions that may help smokers. I realize that the choice is that of the individual, but in the event that I am ever given the opportunity to be instrumental in any way, on some one’s path to stop smoking, I want to be prepared with answers.

I am sure that there are many cigarrest complaints and doubts, as many people do not believe in homeopathic remedies, but my cigarrest review left me a bit intrigued. I have been using more and more homeopathic remedies since being poisoned twice, and almost crippled by a medically tested antibiotic. My mother has been deaf for two years after two doses of gentamicin, another antibiotic. So needless to say, I am open to other schools of thought.

Here is a list of the active ingredients that help a smoker to be more comfortable during the very trying time of ceasing to smoke. See if you find them as interesting as I do.

Lobelia inflata (Indian Tobacco) - is an herb whose pharmaceutical properties are similar to nicotine. It is dual in its activities, acting as both a relaxant and a stimulant.

Cinchona officinalis (Peruvian Bark) - treats edginess, nervous exhaustion, indigestion.

Daphne indica (Spurge Laurel) - helps with tobacco cravings and inability to sleep.

Plantago major (Plantain) - produces disgust for tobacco in those who chew it and cures neuralgia resulting from tobacco.

Calcarea phosphorica (Calcium Phosphate) - used to treat headaches, hoarseness, burning throat and cough which can be made worse from tobacco and tobacco smoke. Smokers are usually deficient in calcium.

Nux vomica (Poison nut) - is an herb used in minute amounts as a restorative preparation.  Used to treat insomnia and irritability as well as coughing and scraping in the throat made worse by smoking tobacco.

Dancers': Beware of the Antibiotic Cipro

I am writing this article based on my own personal experience. I am hoping to bring awareness of the side effects of the antibiotic Cipro or Ciprofloxin. I understand that Levoquin and Avelox have the same side effects.

I will preface this article with the knowledge that I have been dancing regularly, 4-5 times a week for 3 years and that dancing is not a new activity for me.

On April 16th, 2010 I started taking Cipro for a bladder infection. On April 17th, 2010 we taught a 4 1/2 hour dance workshop, something we do every other weekend. On April 18th, 2010 I could barely walk. Upon getting out of bed, my feet felt as though I were walking on razor blades and the joints, muscles and tendon in my legs were in excruciating pain. As the day progressed, the pain remained and I was puzzled as to how the workshop could possibly be responsible for my inability to walk. I continued taking Cipro.

On April 19th, 2010 I awoke with the same pain, plus additional hip pain. I just kept thinking that something was really odd and that this leg pain could not possibly be from dancing. That evening I started getting sharp, stabbing pains in my left leg. I began to wonder if I could possibly have a blood clot, so I went to the internet to look up the side effects of Cipro. While I was pleased to realize I didn't have a blood clot, I was appalled that my muscle, joint and tendon pain was a side effect of Cipro. I stopped taking the drug immediately and contacted my doctor and two pharmacists.

My doctor was shocked and claims he has never seen this side effect and offers no management, treatment or prognosis. The pharmacists are more aware but have a "it might get better, it might not " attitude. After hours of research I have found that Cipro has landed many in wheelchairs and walking with canes. It can hit your body while taking it or months later. For some it seems that the side effects reverse themselves as soon as the medication is out of their bodies, for others the suffering lingers for years. You can develop symptoms months after you stop taking the drug. If you have or have had unexplained muscle, joint and tendon pain, or ruptured tendons or been diagnosed with fibromyalgia or rheumatoid arthritis and have taken Cipro, be sure to alert your Dr. and never take it again.

I believe that the percentage of incidences that the drug companies report are way understated. It occurred to me, after this episode, that one year ago I suffered from a popped tendon in my right foot. It took 7 months for that injury to heal. I confirmed the dates and sure enough, I was on Cipro when the injury occurred. I never put 2 and 2 together to make the correlation of the injury as a side effect to the antibiotic. I know know differently and have reported my side effects to the drug manufacturer and the FDA.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Accelerated Aches and Pains

 Aches and pains are part of everyday life. From what I understand, they seem to increase with age. For those of us that have taken a floroquinolone, these aches and pains can arrive abruptly, without warning. I literally woke up after three doses of Cipro in such pain that I could not walk or sit. My muscles, joint and tendons were on fire and it felt as though my knees and hips would explode if they were bent, and that my tendons would pop if I used them. The pain was so excruciating that even the air hurt my toes and feet.

I never consulted a pain management specialist, but often wondered whether or not they would have been able to help me. Unfortunately, my insurance is very limited and does not cover the cost of a pain management specialist; as a matter of fact, I have a very high deductible and my insurance only covers treatment if I am hospitalized. I wish that the drug companies offered some sort of compensation or solution to those of us that have been damaged by their drugs. These drugs have a black box warning and are listed as a “not first drug of choice” however; these drugs are given freely and often. I am certain that pain management specialist have many, many patients that have unexplained pain that do not even realize that the possibility exists that their pain may have resulted from the ingesting of an antibiotic.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Cipro Damaged; Good Nutrition Cannot Hurt

Good nutrition is extremely important for those of us that have been “floxed,” “poisoned’” or whatever other term that the medical doctors choose to apply to our side effects from floroquinolones. While I am not very pleased with the fact that Cipro has caused me great pain for a total of 26 months, I DO count my blessings that I have seen quite an improvement over the past few months and am now able to walk and dance with much less pain. I know that there are others out there that are much less fortunate.

I do attribute a portion of my recovery upon the many suggestions from my chiropractor. He recommended probiotics and a plethora of supplements to me shortly after I was floxed. I am trying to use more organic products and am continually trying to eat a well-balanced diet while also supplementing the vitamins and minerals that may help me to regain what the Cipro destroyed.

I try to stay hydrated and nourished while traveling and competing at dance events. I always have a bottle of water, with minerals, and a protein bar with me. I am not sure whether the exercise, nutrition or just my plain old stubbornness has gotten me as far as I am in the healing process, but whatever it is, I am grateful to be walking again. Hobbling around like a 95 year old woman in excruciating pain is no fun. It is a crime that so many people suffer from the side effects of these antibiotics.  

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Living with Chronic Pain, Sucks!

Living with chronic pain does not only affect your body where the pain is located, it affects you entire life and well-being. It causes you to be chronically fatigued and often short tempered. It affects your ability to think clearly and to stay on task. Chronic pain robs your quality of life and can make you wonder whether or not your life is worth living.

I often wonder if a Pain Care Center, such as Pain Management NJ, would be able to help those of us that have been poisoned by a floroquinolone. Cipro, Levaquinn and Avelox have left thousands of people in constant chronic pain. If Pain Management NJ were able to help those of us in pain through their therapeutic treatment options, they could educate others on their methods thus helping the thousands of us that suffer from the muscle, joint and tendon pain that we all live with on a daily basis.

Pain Management NJ has helped many patients with neck and back pain due to injuries resulting from injury, deformity or degenerative conditions. Do you suppose that our muscle, joint and tendon pain and ruptures would be classified under the “degenerative conditions” category? Or, do you suppose that our pain is simply categorized as “other” with no help at all? I would like to hope that someday, someone, somewhere will have an answer or regime that will help all of us to regain our previously healthy lives.

It truly amazes and disgusts me that taking an antibiotic for such a short period of time (3 days) can have such a long term effect on your body. It has now been 7 months since I was floxed by Cipro and I can honestly say that I am doing much better, however the continual up and down of the muscle and tendon inflammation and pain is really depressing.

As a competing dancer the foot issues are the most troublesome. Every time that I feel as though I am able to actually "Dance" I suffer for it for days. The balls of my feet and my toes still haven't recovered from my Trick or Treating escapade and I have another competition in three weeks! The big toe on my right foot just isn't happy. I felt a slight pop underneath it last night while I was dancing. Wonder how long this will last.

Ugh, how do you send your body from foot to foot when it is difficult to just put your foot on the floor and land on it.

My question and concern is: Just how far can I push myself through the pain and am I just how much risk am I taking by doing so. I can dance through the pain, but I am terrified of a tendon rupture. Damn those pharmaceutical companies that ignore all of the people that they have injured and just continue to do so!!