Do You Have Polycythemia Vera?

While it’s never pleasant to think you may have a serious disease it’s important that you find out early on. Some diseases are so subtle and asymptomatic you need tests to discover them. Polycythemia vera is considered a rare disease with about 2 in every 100,000 people having the disease. It usually develops slowly, and you might have it for years without knowing. Often the condition is found during a blood test done for another reason. Do you have Polycythemia Vera?

Polycythemia Vera

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Getting Back on Track

In early December I noticed I wasn’t feeling at all  like myself. I was ignoring chores and, worse, ignoring friends and even some family members. Nothing seemed to interest me and I felt just awful physically. Normally I’m so cheerful I have wondered if there was something wrong with me! I should have recognized the symptoms but, since I was already off-kilter, I didn’t. But I finally figured it out and I’ve started on the chores I’ve neglected for so long! Yesterday I spent part of the day cleaning my desk and computer desk. I’m finally getting back on track!

Getting Back on Track

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Winter Storm Preparedness

Here in Michigan we have an ice storm nearly every year. And every few years we get an ice storm that’s epic. We also have some impressive snow storms and periods of extremely cold weather. Mr. Comfortable and I were, we thought, well prepared for winter events until he was in the middle of his cancer treatments. The actual temperature was -15 degrees F and with the wind chill the cold was utterly bone chilling. Our furnace died on the first night of that cold snap. And that’s when I discovered that our winter storm preparedness plan needed some work!

Winter Storm Preparedness is smart!

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Flying in Formation

A fellow blogger, Nikki, from Flying Through Water wrote a great post on balanced health. As I read her post I was inspired to, once again, get myself on track. My weight has gotten totally out of hand. Between my medications (weight gain, increased appetite) and trying to put weight back on Mr. Comfortable I’ve gone off the rails. And while I was reading Nikki’s post I realized that when we inspire others we’re like geese flying in formation.

We can learn to help each other the way geese do!Image courtesy A Lean Journey

When I was a little girl I asked my daddy why geese fly in that V formation we’ve all seen. I thought it might have been because they can all see if they’re spread out like that. Daddy told me there’s a much more complex and wonderful reason.

As geese fly in formation they’re actually helping each other out. The birds in the rear are “drafting” off the ones further up in the formation. It’s conserving energy. National Geographic explains it this way

“As a bird flaps, a rotating vortex of air rolls off each of its wingtips. These vortices mean that the air immediately behind the bird gets constantly pushed downwards (downwash), and the air behind it and off to the sides gets pushed upwards (upwash). If another bird flies in either of these upwash zones, it gets free lift. It can save energy by mooching off the air flow created by its flock-mate.”

Geese help each other while flying Image courtesy www.geol.umd.edu

But it’s not really “mooching” because the geese will change their positions in the flock allowing other birds to take the more restful positions at the rear. Birds at the back have lower heart rates and flap their wings less. When they’re rested up they move forward. The birds that have been working harder move back.

So what does that have to do with living a more balanced, healthy life? Well, I realized that Nikki has taken the very point position in the formation. She’s the one who has already started the work. The rest of us can follow her lead. Then we can take the lead. We can research things that will help all of us and share that information.

As we fly along our route to better health we can spell each other and make things easier for each other. After all, if geese can do it we humans should be able to fly in formation!

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Is a Service Dog Right for You?

For people with disabilities a service dog can mean the difference between dependence and restrictions and freedom. These remarkable dogs can perform an almost endless list of tasks to assist their partners. Because of the service dogs I’ve had over the past 16+ years I’ve been able to be active and enjoy many of the things I had been unable to do after my spinal cord injury. So is a service dog right for you?

Is a Service Dog Right for You?

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Houston

I meant this post to be about Service Dogs and what they can do for those of us who are disabled. The number of different types of Service Dogs that exist and they amazing work they do for us is information that everyone with a disability should know. But, as I started going through photographs of my previous Service Dog, I got really emotional. There’s little that brings me to tears but seeing those pictures had me crying. It was a bittersweet experience. So, this post is all about my incredible Service Dog, Houston.

My Service Dog Houston was amazing!

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Cooking When You’re in Pain

This began as a post on how I made Stu the Duck into Teriyaki Duck with garlic rice. But, as I began cooking I realized that the way I was cooking dinner was far more important than the recipe. For those of us with chronic pain or illness cooking can be a daunting task. But it’s also important to us to serve delicious food to our families. I’ve come up with some tricks I use for cooking when you’re in pain.

Teriyaki Duck with Garlic Rice

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15 Ways to Protect Yourself & Your Family from Extreme Cold

While some parts of the country are going to get a slightly milder winter some of us will experience extremely cold temperatures. When Mr. C was undergoing his chemo and radiation our furnace broke down. It was terrifying! The actual temperature was -15 degrees and he was truly in danger. If you have elderly people living with you, someone who is ill, or children you need to learn these 15 ways to protect yourself & your family from extreme cold!

15 Ways to Protect Yourself & Your Family from Extreme Cold

We depend on our furnaces to keep us nice and warm all winter but if that heat source isn’t working we are at risk of hypothermia and even frostbite. But even if your furnace is working there are things you can do to help keep your family warmer in extremely cold weather.

Before extremely cold weather arrives talk to the electric or gas company about getting on a Shut Off Protection Plan. This kind of program prevents heat from being turned off if you have elderly, disabled, or chronically ill members of your household.

Have your furnace inspected so that any serious problems can be fixed before the really cold temperatures arrive.

Draw your curtains at dusk (or in bitterly cold weather keep curtains closed all day and night). If your curtains aren’t a heavy material you can hang blankets or even large towels over them to help keep out the cold.

Use weather-stripping to seal doors and windows. Drafts can lower temperatures indoors significantly. If you can’t install weather-stripping and drafts are a problem use a rolled up towel to stop drafts.

If you have a fireplace or wood burning stove that has been inspected and is safe to use you may find the supplemental heat is required. But be smart. Never leave a fireplace burning when you go to bed.

15 Ways to Protect Yourself & Your Family from Extreme Cold

Portable heaters meant for indoor use can also help keep your family warm. Be sure to keep them at least 3 feet away from curtains, bedding, etc. and keep small children away from heaters.

Wear several light layers of warm clothing. You can add and subtract clothing to stay comfortable.

Try to maintain a temperature of at least 65 degrees if anyone in your home is disabled, over 65 years, ill, or if you have small children.

15 Ways to Protect Yourself & Your Family from Extreme Cold

Drink hot drinks regularly during the day and eat at least one hot meal a day if possible. This will help you keep your energy up.

Try to stay active even indoors. Do light exercises (but don’t make yourself sweat). Housework is another good way to stay active. If you have kids stuck at home play moderately active games with them.

People with heart or respiratory problems are at increased risk of worsening symptoms during very cold weather. Keep a close eye on anyone with these issues. Keep in mind that symptoms may be affected for several days up to a month after temperatures return to normal after an extremely cold snap.

If you know of a relative or neighbor with health problems or who is elderly try to check in on them during bitterly cold weather.

Learn how to recognize hypothermia and frostbite and what you should do if someone is suffering from these dangerous conditions

And don’t forget your pets! Fur coats or not your pets are susceptible to hypothermia and frostbite just like you! Don’t leave pets outside in very cold weather. If possible have your pet wear a sweater and boots to go outside and bring them in when they are done with their business.

By taking some simple precautions you can help protect yourself & your family from extreme cold this winter.

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How to Avoid Common Winter Injuries

The snowstorm we just experienced, that went into the wee hours of this morning left us with about 12 inches of snow. That was bad enough but the county came through and did their favorite chore; piling up a huge amount of snow that blocks each driveway. Knowing that we were going to have to get out there and try to clear both the driveway and the county created mountain of snow reminded me how easy it is to hurt oneself in winter.

How to Avoid Common Winter Injuries

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