Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Mommy Diaries is having a Couponizer Giveway!

Go to the Mommy Diaries for more information. Also, visit the Couponizer website for details for this great tool! Here is the link to the Mommy Dairies most recent giveway. The Mommy Diaries Happy Blogging All!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Fibromyalgia Awareness Day – May 12, 2009

Fibromyalgia (FM) is a common and complex chronic pain condition that affects a person both physically and emotionally. It is considered a syndrome rather than a disease. The reason that it is not considered a condition is because medical conditions have specific causes and symptoms. A syndrome is different in that it includes several different signs, symptoms and medical problem that come together but yet are not related to any specific or identifiable cause. The main characteristic of Fibromyalgia is chronic widespread pain, including multiple tender points, unexplained abdominal pain, sleep disturbances, fatigue and psychological distress. Fibromyalgia affects millions of people worldwide.

Chronic widespread body pain is the primary symptom for those with fibromyalgia. Most people also experience moderate to extreme fatigue, sleep disturbances, sensitivity to light, sound and touch, and may have cognitive difficulties. Many suffers may also have overlapping conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, lupus and arthritis. In many case, I have Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) in addition to FM.

The pain associated with Fibromyalgia can be described as profound, chronic and widespread. It can travel to all parts of the body and vary in terms of intensity. FM pain can be described as stabbing and shooting, deep muscle aching, throbbing and twitching. Neurological complaints include numbness, tingling, and burning that add additional discomfort. Pain and stiffness are often times worse in the morning. Factors that aggravate pain include: cold/humid weather, lack of sleep, physical and/or mental fatigue, excessive physical activity, physical inactivity, anxiety and stress.

Fatigue associated with FM is more than just a feeling of being tired. It can be described as a large scale exhaustion that can get in the way of one’s personal and professional life. Symptoms include extreme and overwhelming exhaustion and lack of energy.

Many fibromyalgia suffers have associated sleep disorders that keep them from getting deep, restful and restorative sleep. Studies have shown that fibromyalgia patients are constantly interrupted by bursts of awake-like brain activity, thus indicating that deep sleep is limited.

Other symptoms and over lapping conditions include, but are not limited to, irritable bowel and bladder, headaches and migraines, restless legs syndrome (periodic limb movement disorder), impaired memory and concentration, skin sensitivities and rashes, dry eyes and mouth, anxiety, depression, ringing in the ears, dizziness, vision problems, Raynaud's Syndrome, neurological symptoms, and impaired coordination.

Fibromyalgia can be quite difficult to diagnose as there are no current laboratory testing available for diagnosis. Doctors rely on patient history, self-reported symptoms, and a physical examination that looks for specific tender points. The exam criteria is based on the American College of Rheumatology’s guidelines and proper implementation of the exam is practiced to determine the presence of multiple tender points at specific locations on the body.

It is estimated that the average patient can wait up to five years to get an accurate diagnosis. Believe me, I have been there and suffered for many years without accurate diagnosis and even got to a point to where I was embarrassed to seek medical attention because no one could figure out what was wrong with me. The impression I was getting from the numerous health care providers I visited was that it was all my head. The truth is that many doctors are not sufficiently informed or educated about FM. Laboratory results can be negative and many FM symptoms overlap with other conditions which only lead to excessive medical costs and frustration for doctors and their patients. Of significant importance is the consideration of other diseases such as RA or lupus which do not rule out an FM diagnosis. In fact, FM is not a diagnosis that should be excluded and must be diagnosed by its own characteristics and symptoms.

For a doctor to diagnose a patient with FM, the patient must meet the following criteria:

Widespread pain in all four quadrants of the body for a minimum duration of three months
Tenderness or pain in at least 11 of the 18 specified tender points when pressure is applied

Doctors may not know what causes fibromyalgia but associate a variety of factors working together such as genetics, infections and trauma.

Genetics. Because fibromyalgia tends to run in families, there may be certain genetic mutations that may make you more susceptible to developing the disorder.
Infections. Some illnesses appear to trigger or aggravate fibromyalgia.
Physical or emotional trauma. Post-traumatic stress disorder has been linked to fibromyalgia.

As to the pain, there is a theory called “central sensitization.” This theory states that people with fibromyalgia have a lower threshold for pain because of increased sensitivity in the brain to pain signals. Researchers also believe repeated nerve stimulation causes the brains of people with fibromyalgia to change. This change involves an abnormal increase in levels of certain chemicals in the brain that signal pain (neurotransmitters). In addition, the brain's pain receptors seem to develop a sort of memory of the pain and become more sensitive, meaning they can overreact to pain signals. Source: Mayo Clinic

Treatments for RA include medication, self-care and alternative medicine to minimize symptoms and improve general heath. Medications include: analgesics, anti-depressants and anti-seizure drugs. Lyrica is one of the first drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat fibromyalgia and results can be seen within seven days on Lyrica treatment. Therapy for Fibromyalgia includes physical therapy and counseling. In addition, self-care is critical in the management of fibromyalgia which includes reducing stress, getting enough sleep, regular exercise, pacing one’s activities and maintaining a healthily lifestyle. Alternative medicine can include: massage therapy, chiropractic care and acupuncture.

Currently, there is no cure for Fibromyalgia, but better ways of diagnosis and treatment continue through research and development. Since June of 2007, the FDA has introduced several no medications for treatment, including Lyrica and many others are currently in development phase. Research efforts are expanding as well. According to the National Fibromyalgia Association: “In 1990 there were approximately 200 published research papers on fibromyalgia studies. Today there are more than 4,000 published reports”.

I have learned many things about dealing with several chronic pain conditions. One that specifically comes to mind is the lack of understanding about conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and fibromyalgia. All that we can do is educate ourselves, our families, friends and coworkers. In addition, it helps to know you are not alone. Organizations such as the Arthritis Foundation, the American Chronic Pain Association and the National Fibromyalgia Association (FMA) provide classes and support groups. These groups can often provide help and advice that cannot be found elsewhere. They can also put you in touch with others who are going through the same things and can understand what it is you are going through.

2009 National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day

The major theme for this year’s National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day campaign is “Fibromyalgia Affects Everyone” and will “focus on the far-reaching effects of this disorder—from broken lives to the economic costs to patients and society.” For more information on this important event, click HERE and you will be directed to FMA’s awareness day page. I will blog some more about the 2009 awareness day on May 12.

Sources: The Mayo Clinic
National Fibromyalgia Association

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Nonsense, Blogsvertise, and Me

For those of you who read my blog, you know that there specific things I like to blog about. A couple of things that stand out when it comes to my blogging abilities (or inabilities) are that I love being a mom and I love blogging about being a mom. I also write about my journey with Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia. I also write about things that interest me, mostly boy stuff, since I am mom to boys. I am a big WWE fan and my favorite wrestler is Shawn Michaels. In addition, I am fascinated by the recent feud between the Hardy brothers, Matt and Jeff. I also believe that of all the wrestlers, John Cena is the best role model for children who are fans of the WWE. I also blog about my job and all the craziness that goes with it.

So lately, I have been thinking of giving up some of the space on my blog that that is currently being used for nonsense. So a question to those of you who advertise on your blogs, how do you start? How do you charge?

In my quest to get my questions answered, I came across Blogsvertise. Apparently, “It’s simple. Earn cash and generate income for your blog!” (I stole this line from their main page, including the exclamation mark! I love the ! mark.) Blogsvertise connects bloggers with advertisers. These advertisers want you to talk about their products and services on your blog. They want you to help them get the message out. Yes, you heard it folks! They will pay you and me to blog about nonsense and, as you know, I love nonsense!

If you are like me and like to blog about nonsense, this is a perfect fit. And in exchange for your “shout out!” Blogsvertise pays you via your PayPal account per blog or task entry. So talk, write and mention their website on your blog! (I stole that line too from the Blogsvertise main page too and, yes, the ! mark too!) I should probably check the law on plagiarizing in advertising or maybe I will just be lazy and ask one of the lawyers around my job that gets paid to do that stuff. I think it is time to play The ADD song! I think of it every time I say something that adds up to nonsense.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Dear Anonymous

Freedom of speech is one of the single most important guarantees given to us by the United States Constitution. It is an assurance that many have given their lives to protect. The majority of us agree that everyone has a right to let their viewpoints be known on any and all subjects.

That right should be respected, but I feel that there is should be one exception. If it is important enough for you to express your opinion - it should be something you are not ashamed to put your name to. I find it sad that so many "commenters" (those who give their opinions on persons and subjects offered on my blog, your blog and all blogs alike) hide their comments behind pseudonyms, like “anonymous".

Do you really NOT want those who know you to see the words and read the opinions that truly represent how you feel and who you are? That seems so hypocritical to me. Perhaps you are simply venting out of disgust and anger and would prefer to keep that spite "undercover"? This is certainly your right. Additionally, I, as the blog owner, have a right to moderate comments as well as delete them if I find them inappropriate, mean or down-right stupid. I am also truly sorry that there are those among us who are rude and mean-spirited. F.Y.I. – in case your parents didn’t teach you - personal attacks are unnecessary and downright childish.

One final thought: If you have to come across the anonymous expression or personal hatred of one, such as I did recently, you should consider the lack of courage the anonymous commenter displayed when he or she hit the "submit" button!

Sincerely yours,
The Owner of this Blog

P.S. Followers, Bloggers, and anyone interested, feel free to Plagiarize this post and let your anonymous commenters know how you feel.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Three Mom Blogs That Keep Me Sane

I do not care whether you are a working mom, a single mom, a stay-at-home mom, or an empty nest mom, being a mom is amazing, crazy, exhausting, hair-raising, but it is the greatest journey you will ever embark upon. Sometimes, even the most patient mothers can feel like their sanity (patience, ladies) can be tested several times a day. Therefore, any time I feel like my patience has been tried as far as it could be tried, my sanity has run out or that I want to run out screaming and looking for cover, I realize that I am not alone in this journey and so I go to the internet for assurance. I visit several of the mom blogs I follow, but three in particular force me to forget the insanity in my own life and realize that insanity resides in all of our lives.

My first favorite is Oh Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy!, in particular because well, I have three boys too and I quite understand the weird and unusual things boys do. Unfortunately, I do not understand why, but I am not alone in that lack of understanding. Lisa has been kind enough to share her ups and downs of a being a working mother of three boys. Lisa blogs to keep herself sane, or as she puts it: “I'm a full time working mom of three boys. While its NEVER what I would have imagined for myself (I always assumed I'd have a daughter, maybe two) I love them to pieces. But it does make for a chaotic life. I'm hoping by blogging, I'll be able to preserve some of the memories that will otherwise disappear like so many of my brain cells have lately!” Yes, I understand all too well how exactly you feel. In particular, this picture perfect moment is not at all unusual at my home.

Then there is Mom2amara, who reminds us that there are “no words of wisdom here. Just one self-proclaimed extraordinary mom's rants and raves about motherhood and all the stuff that goes with it.” Darling Amara warms my heart with every word I read, but I can’t help but imagine how much different my life with be if I had a daughter. Boys are daring and don’t worry about a darn thing, but Amara seems to have the whole world on her shoulders, as noted in Amara’s mom’s recent blog post, appropriately titled “what makes a five year old nervous”. In this particular post, Amara melts my heart when she tells her mother, rather nervously, that she will be a first grader in a few months. I begin to realize that the differences between boys and girls are quite clear, but the worry a mother feels is always the same.

The last of my favorite mom blogs that keep me sane is Lana’s blog titled “The Kids Did WHAT!” Of course, one of the reasons I absolutely love her blog is she and I share the same first name. In her profile, Lana shares her views on motherhood. “Still trying to figure out what makes me "me". How is that defined? No clue. I'm 30, single mommy to two, and have a wicked imagination. I'm not a ‘strong’ writer, but am quick with witty comebacks and LOVE to make people laugh. To sum it all up? I'm just awesome. Well, that's what my son tells me, anyways! :)” Aren't we all on the same page? Half the time, Lana writes about nonsense, as do I. One post in particular that has left me laughing hysterically is her most recent Thursday 13 post - Thirteen Things I Have To Adjust To, Living At Dad's House. And the photos are priceless, particularly number 10 – killer dishes. Well, here you go folks, these are my three mom blogs that keep me sane, mostly because I realize that being a mom doesn’t require you to be sane, it just requires a sense of humor. So, what are your three favorite mom blogs that keep you sane?