Friday, August 21, 2009

Follow Friday #4: Three Blogs I Have Only Recently Started Stalking, So There will Be More Stalking

With the busy life I have, you would think I would not have time to stalk blogs, but I do! It is something I have time for on a daily basis. The good news is, since I let you know which blogs are interesting, you have more blogs to stalk. The bad news is that your blog could be next. Here are the latest blogs I have been stalking and a fair warning to these bloggers, I will be stalking these blogs more often.

Cinda Crawford’s Health Matters Show

The goal of the Health Matters Shown is provide information about Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. In addition to RA, I suffer from both these conditions and Cinda’s page has been new source for information on symptoms, treatments, remedies and an offering of hope for those of us who suffer from these two co-existing conditions.

From the Health Matters Show page: “The objective of the Health Matters Show is to provide great information about Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, the symptoms, treatments, and remedies, plus offer you hope of GETTING WELL. Hint... hint... my goal is to help people who want to get well, actually get well! You know in your heart of hearts, that what you want more than anything is to get well. You're tired of feeling sick all the time! 1) You want to find someone who really can help you, 2) You need specific help to find out what to do, what to learn, where to go, and more, 3) You're determined to keep searching until you find exactly that help! Visitors like you to the Health Matters Show get enthused and encouraged about the possibility of improving their health and about the work I'm doing. If you increase your chances of recovery from Fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, you'll get excited and uplifted, too! And that, dear one, is your first step on the road to recovery. I wish that for you more than anything. You deserve the opportunity to heal and reclaim your life. At the Health Matters Show you'll find information and Get Well Health services to help you do that and to relieve your suffering once and for all. People Want Their Lives Back!”

For more information on coping or helping a loved one who is suffering from these conditions, please visit Cinda’s page. There may not yet be a cure for these conditions, but hope leads us closer to cure everyday.

Mommy2Nine at 11th Heaven’s Homemaking Haven

Mommy2Nine is raising nine kids with the 10th on the way. She lives in a tiny farm town in Mexico and enjoying the ups and downs of small town life. She has had her share of testing, but has relied on her family and her faith to guide her though life and raising her family. She is also a semi-vegan and shares with us recipes of all sorts on her blog, like this yummy veggie stuffed pepper recipe. Mommy2Nine also shares organization ideas, cleaning, tips, and ideas for frugal living. Be prepared for some heavy reading, because everything you need is right here, and there is no possibility of getting bored. I am still trying to tackle my kitchen after some great kitchen advice.

Mallen’s Making Lemonade Mellen is thirty-something single mother with rheumatoid arthritis. Life threw her some lemons and she attempts to make lemonade every day. In her blog, she discusses her family, dealing with rheumatoid arthritis and her faith as her guiders through her condition. In a recent post, Mallen tries to find a response to how RA feels.

Here is what she has to say: “With me, I am typically sore in my hands, wrists. Tasks like holding a book can be torture (especially since I love to read), cooking can be difficult, too. I love to cook and bake, but stirring, chopping, grating, slicing, etc. can be so painful. My elbows tend to give me trouble too. They just usually throb, ache, and burn. Shoulders and hips once in awhile give me grief which makes it difficult to sleep. The thing that really bothers me is my feet. I can't seem to find any shoes that are comfortable except flip flops or crocs. So in the fall and winter I am usually so frustrated with footwear. I am 35 and I want to look nice and wear cute shoes, but the pain is too unbearable.”

I can truly relate to Mallen about these difficulties and the “I am too young for this” feeling. This excerpt comes from a Web MD article titled “Rheumatoid Arthritis in Women.” "RA often strikes women who are in their 30s and 40s who have heavy work and home responsibilities," says Androniki Bili, MD, MPH, of Geisinger Health System in Danville, Pa. "We are looking at women who have young children and who are bread winners or equal partners in bringing in income." In addition to attacking young women in the prime of their lives, RA quite often takes a bigger toll on their bodies than it does with men. David Pisetky, M.D., chief of rheumatology at Duke University Medical Center of Durham, N.C., informs that pregnancy is one of main reasons that women are more affected by autoimmune diseases such as RA and lupus.

Well, those were my latest stalking ventures. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do and you never know, your blog maybe next! I will see you another month for my next Follow Friday post. In the meantime, happy reading!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Dealing With an Invisible Chronic Illness - But, you don’t even look sick!

For those of us with an invisible chronic illness such as Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis or Fibromyalgia, hearing the words “but, you even look sick” can be quite frustrating. That frustration comes from the fact that you are in fact sick and people do not understand how sick you really are. This is a big misconception that lies in the lack of understanding of an invisible chronic condition.

National Invisible Chronic Illness Week runs September 14 -20, 2009. In anticipation of this week’s awareness event, the committee asked 1200 people suffering with an invisible chronic illness to take a survey relative to how they looked compared to how they felt.

For more information on this year’s awareness week, visit Bloggers Unite or the Invisible Chronic Illness group site.

When I talk about having Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia, and I then “you don’t look sick” response, I am not sure how to respond. Sometimes I find it frustrating and sometimes, I am just relieved that I do not look sick. Other times, such a statement can be difficult depending on the individual saying it. Our friends and families “should” try to understand what we are dealing with on a daily basis, but quite often they do not. My mother has had osteoarthritis for several years now and until my own recent diagnoses within the last two years, I couldn’t even begin to understand. Perhaps, I am not one to judge others feelings, but when you hurt so much, that is a task in itself. I have learned that the world’s problems seem so small now that I am just trying to make it through the day, and focus on my health, resting and just feeling better.
I believe is awareness will lead to cures for these otherwise invisible illnesses. So, I ask each of you who read my blog to pass this information along. Please tell everyone you know about National Invisible Chronic Illness Week which runs September 14 -20, 2009. The goal of the yearly event is to increase awareness of invisible illnesses.

Did you know that half the American population has some kind of chronic condition and 96% percent of those people suffer from an invisible condition? If you or someone you love suffers from an invisible illness, you can understand that awareness is vital. Please spread the word. Bloggers can participate by uniting efforts to increase awareness online and share experiences. There is a badge available at Bloggers Unite so please pick that up and place it on your blog. For more information on when and how to blog, visit Bloggers Unite.

Last, I just wanted to remind you of RA Guy’s Awareness Campaign called The Power of Ten. Take ten minutes over the next ten days and talk to at least ten people about rheumatoid arthritis. Real awareness comes from real people!

The list below comes from the responses to that survey by the National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week committee.

1. I am hangin’ in there…
2. I am so blessed. God is so good.
3. Drugs are a wonderful thing
4. I have my good days and I have my bad days.
5. I clean up well.
6. I have my ‘good’ days….but this isn’t one of them!
7. Thanks, I wish I felt better.
8. That’s a perfect example of how you can never judge a book by it’s cover.
9. Thanks, but there are many aspects of MS which you don’t see … would you like to know more about it?
10. That’s what most people think since pain can’t be seen most of the time. Have you heard about Invisible Illness Week? It’s really helpful to let people now that most illness is invisible.
11. I’m trying to appreciate that fact. I know the day may come when I have to use a wheelchair or a cane, and my illness will be more visible.
12. You should be on the inside.
13. Thanks. I have more to be grateful for than I have to complain about - which means I have a LOT to be grateful for!
14. Well I guess I did good job on my makeup, because I am having a hard time to tell the truth.
15. …And that’s all that really matters, isn’t it?
16. Powder and paint, make you what you ain’t!
17. It took a lot of work to look like this.
18. It’s God shinning through me
19. It’s nice of you to think so, but you’re missing the pain and agony that I really am in.
20. And you look so wise. Looks can be deceiving though, huh?
21. I’m having a “good face” day.
22. Yeah. My kid thinks it’s cool I’m an ill person working under-cover!
23. I do a great job hiding how I really feel.My life is still very challenging and probably will always be, but I am hanging in there, keeping a positive faith, and gratitude as THE attitude. Thanks for their concern.
24. I’m trying my best to do well OVER my circumstances instead of being under them!
25. It’s up and down.
26. I’m still struggling, but it IS nice to have a day when I am able to pull myself together and make it out of the house!
27. I’m not complaining about my looks.
28. I’m very good at pretending.
29. Good, because if I looked like I feel it would scare you to death.
30. Actually, I still am really hurting…
31. I am 36 years old outside but 85 inside
32. Thank you. I’m on my way to the Oscars.
33. Thanks, I’m grateful for this good day.
34. Things aren’t always what they seem.
35. Praise God, I’m glad that he enables me to look so much better than I feel.
36. Thanks, that’s God’s joy shining through!
37. Have you ever heard of the spoon theory?
38. I am upright which is better the alternative
39. Thanks, want to swap bodies for a few days?
40. Thanks, I guess I am fortunate that I have an illness that can’t be seen.
41. Thanks. I like good days.
42. Want to step inside my skin?
43. It’s amazing what a shower can do. I guess I am all cried out for now
44. Thanks…I wish I felt it!
45. I’m not complaining about my looks.
46. I’m very good at pretending.
47. Looks can be deceiving (and smile)
48. Thank God for makeup!
49. Thank you for caring. I try to act like I feel better than I really do.
50. Thanks, I am trying to even though it will never go away. i just try to remember things could be worse.
51. I’d be great if it wasn’t for the pain.
52. I’d complain but who wants to listen.
53. If I can’t feel good, at least I am determined to look good!
54. I’m in good shape for the shape I am in!

What do you say? Or what would you say if you could say anything (keep it clean!)

* This list can be reprinted. Please add the following at the end: This list is compliments of National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week at, based on a survey of over 1200 respondents. Get involved in Invisible Illness Week each year during September, including our 5-day virtual conference online.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Getting It Done Friday: Cash for Clunkers

The Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS) also called “Cash for Clunkers” was passed to help Americans purchase new more fuel efficient cars when trading in less fuel efficient ones. The program started on July 1 officially, but the processing part did not begin until July 24. The billion-dollar project was exhausted by July 30 due to high demand. Congress is currently seeking another $2 billion to extend the program through the end of this week.

In order for a vehicle to qualify, it must meet the following criteria.

· Vehicle must be less than 25 years old on the trade-in date.
· Only the purchase or 5 year minimum lease of new vehicles qualify.
· Generally, trade-in vehicles must get a weighted combined average rating of 18 or fewer MPG (some very large pickup trucks and cargo vans have different requirements).
· Trade-in vehicles must be registered and insured continuously for the full year preceding the trade-in.
· Trade-in vehicles must be in driveable condition.
· The program runs from July 1, 2009 until Nov 1, 2009 or when the funds are exhausted, whichever comes first.
· The program requires the scrapping of the eligible trade-in vehicle and that the dealer disclose to the customer an estimate of the scrap value of the trade-in. The scrap value, however minimal, will be in addition to the rebate, and not in place of the rebate.

Depending on the new vehicle purchased, the credit amount could be between $3,500 and $4,500. New car dealers are also able to reduce the purchase cost of a new vehicle that the customer is eligible for.

For more information or to see if your vehicle qualifies, visit the Cash for Clunkers website.

Here is some information about the program.

Here is humorous video.