September 9, 2021

singingberthaGood afternoon.  Fall, my favourite time of year has finally arrived.  Hopefully I will regain some energy so that I can work on my many projects.  Actually I don’t have that many on the go.  Of course there is the big project at https://zachariasfamilytree.com.  Next is my blog which I am trying to add to more often.  The trouble is my life is not exciting enough to have enough material to write about.  Then there are the cross-stitch pictures and petite point pictures I want to finish in time for Christmas.  However, at the present time that does not seem to be a realistic goal.  I did accomplish two projects these past three weeks.  I finally got my Facebook Group called “World War 2 Conscientious Objectors” and my Facebook Group called “Memories of the Veseli Ukrainian Dance Ensemble” online.  

Last week Tuesday, August 31st turned out quite differently than I had expected.  After my lunch which consisted of a bowl of soup I began to feel really weird.  Not much later I began to have what felt like severe stomach cramps.  By supper time I was experiencing nausea and absolutely debilitating pain.  I had this horrible premonition that pancreatitis was the culpert. 

My husband took me to emergency later that evening and I met Dr. Sadistic.  As she walked into the consultation room in emergency she informed me that she was sure I did not have pancreatitis but that I was constipated.  She then proceeded to poke around my stomach with no regard to my pain.  Blood was drawn and I was left to wait.  I was finally moved to the observation room in emergency and an IV was inserted.  I was given a pain medication that did not work.  I waited for over 30 grueling minutes before I was asked by the nurse in charge if the medication had helped.  When I answered no she finally added morphine to the IV.  This finally made it possible for me to get some much needed sleep.  When I woke up on Wednesday morning I was greeted by Dr. Sadistic.  She informed me that I had been right and that my pancreatic enzymes showed that I had pancreatitis.  She however refused to take constipation out of the mix.  I was put on a clear fluid diet which consisted of some apple juice and water.  

Dr. Sadistic told me that she was going to be away until Friday and I would be seen by one of her colleagues, Dr. G.  Dr. G was a gem and she listened to me.  I thought that maybe my hospital stay would not be a complete nightmare.  Then I met Nurse Ratchet.  Where do they find these women who obviously have a grudge against everything and everyone?  She arrived Wednesday morning and informed me that it was not time for my next dose of Morphine.  I was perfectly okay with that.  I asked her how my morphine had been prescribed.  The reason I wanted to know was so that I would not bug her if the time was not right. Nurse Ratchet told me in no uncertain terms that she was not there to keep track of my morphine needs or how my morphine was prescribed.  She told me that if the pain got bad enough I should ring the call button and she would come and check to see if I needed pain medication or not.  Needless to say this did not build my confidence in her methods of nursing.  Nurse Ratchet also told me that she had spoken to Dr. Sadistic and was told that I would not be admitted to the hospital.  Talk about escalating my anxiety!  How would I handle the pain if I was sent home?  I did not have access to IV pain medication.  Nurse Ratchet also told me that from then on I would have to bring in my own pain medications because the hospital could not access the ones I was taking.  My anxiety went up another notch.  I guess that is what she wanted.  It was not enough that I was very concerned about this pancreatic attack.  Just before she left the room she told me that my pain medication was due at 10:30 AM and that I should not ring the call button because she was quite capable of remembering when my medication was due.  Do you think she brought my pain medication at 10:30?  Of course not.  She finally brought it an hour later.  I guess she never learned that if you do not stay on top of pain it can quickly become harder to deal with.

 Late Wednesday evening a wonderful nurse working in emergency told me and the other woman in the emergency observation area that there were two beds available on the ward.  She informed us that we could have them.  What a huge difference being able to sleep on a proper bed instead of what was like a stretcher in emergency.  That night I had another wonderful nurse take care of me.  He was genuinely interested in how I was feeling and concerned about my pain levels.  This nurse also brought me all the medication I needed from the hospital pharmacy.  I guess the hospital finally gained access to medication that Nurse Ratchet claimed they did not have.  

When I woke up Thursday morning Dr. G came to see me.  Another angel.  She agreed that morphine was the best medication to control the pain from my pancreas and that I would not be going home for a few more days.  I was finally able to relax.  Why did Nurse Ratchet lie to me on so many occasions?  

Friday morning dawned and with it the appearance of Dr. Sadistic and Nurse Ratchet.  Dr. Sadistic told us that she never prescribed opioid medication for any of her patients no matter what the reason.  She told us that she did not believe in opioid pain medication especially for older people.  According to her we older people were unable to maintain our sanity if given opioids.  She told me that she would give me tylenol or advil.  I had to remind her yet again that I could never take those medications because of my autoimmune liver disease.  Dr. Sadistic then told me that she would no longer continue the prescription of morphine by IV.  In its place she would prescribe two 10 mg morphine pills every two hours.  My husband and I decided that if my pain relief was of so little concern to Dr. Sadistic I might as well go home and take the medication I had at home.  Not only that but I could rest up in my own bed and continue with a clear fluid diet at home as well as I could in the hospital.  Another bonus was that I had my own personal nurse at home called Peter.  If the pain became unbearable I could always go to a different hospital. 

Nurse Ratchet had not changed her attitude.  For some reason she felt I needed to be treated like some delinquent kid.  To make a long story short she again refused to bring my pain medication on time.  Every time she was my nurse she would delay my medication.  This time it was two hours late.  My husband was visiting and I mentioned to him that the pain was becoming unbearable and that Nurse Ratchet was two hours late with my medication.  My husband immediately headed to the nurses’ station to see what the holdup was.  Nurse Ratchet couldn’t keep her mouth shut and promptly antagonized him.  A shouting match occured.  I did however finally get my pain medication.  After Nurse Ratchet delivered my medication and left my room a security guard type person came to my room and told my husband that he had to leave.  When I asked why she said that he was only allowed to visit me for one hour which was another lie.  No other visitor was asked to leave and the hospital had a huge sign up at the entry door stating that visiting hours were from 2:00 to 8:00 PM.  After my husband left Nurse Ratchet asked me if my husband was really going to report her and again stated that she had done nothing wrong.  I did not bother to answer her.  Maybe it was time for her to experience some anxiety.  

Saturday morning arrived and I woke up filled with worry and anxiety.  I finally got a meal that was not just clear fluids.  The nurse told me that if my stomach could tolerate the breakfast I might be able to go home.  I was absolutely over the moon at this news.  Around 9:00 AM a lovely older doctor came to see me.  He asked me how my stomach had tolerated breakfast and I told him all was well.  He than asked me if I would like to go home.  It did not take me long to get ready to leave.  My husband came to pick me up and I spent the rest of the long weekend at home with familiar surroundings resting in my own bed.  By Monday the pain was gone.  All that remains is fatigue.  

This morning I had a telehealth appointment at the local hospital with my liver specialist, Dr. Steven Wong.  Dr. Wong is a wonderful doctor who cares about his patients and does not hestiate to show it.  He told me that all my liver function tests had come back normal which was a huge relief.  I will be having another ultra sound late December just to make sure that all has remained the same.  The spot that was first noticed on my liver has disappeared.  Fingers crossed that it does not re-appear.  I apparently have two enlarged lymph nodes in my abdomen but since they have been there for a long time they are not too worried about them. 

Last week I was able to download the new book by Louise Penny called “The Madness of Crowds”.  It features the village of Three Pines and Armand Gamache.  This book explaines that the three pines trees planted in the middle of the village are said to have been a sign of sanctuary for British Loyalists fleeing the Anglo-American War.  

It is bedtime. Please stay safe.  Goodnight.

 

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August 28, 2021

LuellatwoGood Evening.  This summer has passed by so quickly and sadly I have not accomplished all the items on my to do list.  Somehow life seems to get in the way.  Hopefully with fall just around the corner I will feel more motivated to accomplish some of the items on my list.  Fall happens to be my favourite season.  

Because of my recurring complaint about the overwhelming fatigue I experience on a daily basis my family doctor sent me to see my cardiologist.  My latest diagnosis is Atrial ectopic tachycardia (AET).  AET is a rare arrhythmia is believed to be secondary to increased automaticity of a nonsinus atrial focus or foci.  Patients with atrial tachycardia may feel a pounding in their chest, dizziness, shortness of breath, chest pain and fatigue. I have had all the above symptoms except for chest pain.  Like most arrhythmias, atrial tachycardia is not life threatening.  My cardiologist suggested I purchase a wireless 6-lead Kardia Mobile EKGkardia that works with a Smartphone and detects AFib or normal heart rhythem in 30 seconds. It is an amazing little gadget and I am able to send the results to my cardiologist via email.  I also purchased an Omron Blood Pressureomron Monitor which has many key features such as Bluetooth connectivity, easy wrap cuff, TruRead averaging and an irregular heartbeat detector.  This device also allows me to email the results to my cardiologist as needed.  

Earlier this week I had a telephone appointment with my new endocrinologist.  She had ordered 32 different blood tests and thankfully most of them came back normal.  She did however raise my Synthroid dose from one175 mcg pill to two pills; one 100 mcg and one 88 mcg.  It will take at least six weeks for the medication to take full effect.  Hopefully the higher dose will help with my fatigue and other hypothyroid symptoms.   

I have been adding mor information to my Zacharias Family Tree website at https://zachariasfamilytree.com.  Everytime my research comes up with new information I am glad that I decided to publish my project online instead of in book form. I finally got my Facebook Group called “World War 2 Conscientious Objectors” published online. It has over 130 pictures of the men who worked at the Riding Mountain National Park CO Camp and the Minaki, Ontario Lumber CO Camp. Another project that is now online is my Facebook Group called “Memories of the Veseli Ukrainian Dance Ensemble”. My grandson danced with this group from the age of 4 to the age of 12.

Hope you all have a great weekend and I promise not to wait so long for my next post.

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July 20, 2021

scan0015aaToday our son is celebrating his 54th birthday.  The 54 years have passed by too quickly.  We had to be content with a telephone call.  It has been three years since we have seen him and our daughter-in-law in person.  We had hoped to meet up with them last summer when they were on their way to Seattle from Boston but COVID restrictions put an end to that plan.  We are so pleased that they have been able to move back to Seattle, back to their absolutely beautiful property.  Hopefully one of these days the border restrictions will be lifted and we will be able to get together in person. 118875860_10157865561236314_6057887485322273449_n

Thankfully I have had no lingering symptoms after my nasty reaction to the second Moderna vaccination.  I am glad I had both shots even though I experienced a vicious reaction to the second shot.  It is sad that so many people are refusing the vaccine.  Some change their minds when it is too late for the vaccine to protect them.  My husband and I will continue to wear our masks in public in the foreseeable future.  My motto is “better safe than sorry.”

My mind is on vacation today and I am experiencing writers block.  Hopefully this too shall pass in the very near future.  In closing I wish you all a goodnight.  Keep safe.

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July 18, 2021

singingberthaThis week has been very discouraging.  It seems I cannot get rid of this feeling of doom and gloom.  Being told that the Lichen Planus has now spread to my mouth did not lift my spirits.  I will have to see a throat and mouth specialist as soon as possible to start treatment.  The biopsy results that the nurse practitioner took two weeks ago should be available in another two weeks.  She biopsied one of the sores on my arm.  The first biopsy was done in February 2021 and came back benign.  I can only hope and pray that this last biopsy will have the same final result.

This will be a short post.  I do not want to spread this doom and gloom feeling to my faithful readers.  Life goes on and I can only hope that tomorrow will be a better day.

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June 25, 2021

IMG_2377 (1)IMG_2380We splurged the other day and bought two baskets to put into the urns in front of our garage.  

In 1888, German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche first stated, “Out of life’s school of war—what doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger.”

This is my feeling after what happened to me during the last two weeks.  At one point I was convinced I was on my way to the Pearly Gates, a journey I was not ready to take at this time.  Peter and I had our second Moderna vaccinations on June 17th at 3:50 PM.  After the vaccinations we waited the prescribed 15 minutes to make sure we were okay.  Shortly after arriving at home I mentioned to Peter that I was feeling rather dizzy and that I had a low grade headache.   When the dizziness and headache persisted I decided to go to bed shortly after 7:00 PM.  I drifted in and out of sleep until I awoke at 3:00 AM with a savage migraine.  Shortly after the migraine started I began to vomit.  I described the migraine as a migraine from hell.  I continued vomiting and suffering from horrendous pain until just before 7:00 AM at which time my husband took my blood pressure and heart rate.  My blood pressure was up at 198/110 and my heart rate was 133.  He decided it was time to call 911.  After listening to Peter describe my health issues they immediately sent an ambulance.  It arrived at 7:15 AM.  A few minutes after arriving in emergency my blood pressure was up to 228/119 and my heart rate stayed at around 133.  I have to admit that I was afraid, very afraid.  Obviously with a blood pressure that high that refuses to come down one is susceptible to a stroke.  It took twelve hours before the migraine was gone, the vomiting stopped and my blood pressure was lowered to a closer to normal number.  Cardiac enzyme studies measure the levels of enzymes and proteins that are linked with injury of the heart muscle. The test checks for the proteins troponin I (TnI) and troponin T (TnT).  The lab technicians kept coming up to emergency to take blood to check my Troponin 1 and Troponin T levels.  I was getting really worried but around 10:00 PM the numbers were finally normal.  I was given the all clear to go home.  I slept for the remainder of the weekend.  The intense fatigue continued for most of this past week.

The ambulance attendants and emergency medical staff reassured me that there were others who had experienced the same side effects after their second Moderna vaccination.  I want to be very clear.  I am thankful that I had the second vaccination even though I suffered for over 12 hours with the nasty side effects.  The emergency room doctor told me that if I had not had the vaccine and had contracted COVID 19 I would probably have had a very severe case.  The side effects I suffered after the vaccination were a good indication of that.  Please get your COVID 19 vaccinations.  Yes I suffered after my vaccination but my husband had the same dose and his only side effect was a sore arm for a few hours.  

In an earlier post I mentioned that I have been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called Lichen sclerosis.  Lichen sclerosis is a skin disorder that causes small areas of skin to become thin and discolored so that white patches develop.  The skin can crack and become sore, which can cause pain, itching, and discomfort. These feelings may be distressing.

IMG_2384During the last two months I had noticed a strange rash appearing on my ankles and the lower part of my right leg.  By the time I saw the nurse practitioner at my family doctor’s clinic the sores had become white scaly patches that were painful and itched.  The diagnosis is Lichen Planus.  The treatment included using the same steroid creme that I was using for another outbreak on my body.

It looks like we might get some much needed rain today.  What we really need is three to four days of a steady rain.  

At present I am reading two books.  If you are a committed reader you will know what I mean.  I am reading “The Breaker” by Minette Walters The Breaker

The second book is “The Silence of the Sea” by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir. The Silence of the Sea.jpeg

Have a great week.  

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June 15, 2021

cropped-24237604_225x225My husband and I are getting our second Moderna vaccination on June 17th. It will be such a relief to finally get the vaccinations out of the way and hopefully, after a two-week waiting period, we will be able to venture out into the big world. Mind you we both decided to keep wearing our masks when in public places and avoid shopping centres and restaurants as much as possible. There have been COVID19 outbreaks among people who have been vaccinated

Healthwise the past four weeks have been rather miserable. The dosage of my thyroid medication, Synthroid, is much too low. As I have mentioned before the doctor removed Cytomel 25 mcg from my medication regime and lowered my Synthroid dose from 200 mcg to 175 mcg. Instead of being able to talk to my family doctor about my medication concerns I have been relegated to one of the RN’s working at the clinic. I realize that the clinic I go to is one of the testing locations for COVID as well as a vaccination site. This of course puts extra work on the family doctors working at the clinic. However, I have been dealing with these medication problems since July 20, 2020, and no one is listening to me. The RN I see takes down my complaints and shows them to my family doctor. The answer I get back after their consultation is that they are not willing to up my Synthroid and so I suffer.bathroomscale

This past Monday I met in person with the RN. We discussed the sores on my legs and arms and he made an appointment for me to see a nurse practitioner on June 21st. She will take biopsies of the infected areas and hopefully, that will give us some answers. He also gave me my third pre-surgery checkup. Dr. Murray is the plastic surgeon who will be performing the breast reduction and panniculectomy. I was pleasantly surprised when two weeks ago I received a letter from Dr. Murray stating that the surgery was still in the works and would happen as soon as possible.

I thought I had a phone appointment scheduled with my family doctor on June 11th to finally discuss my thyroid issues. However, it was a nurse practitioner who called and took down my concerns. She called me back a short time later to tell me that they were having no luck scheduling an appointment for me with an endocrinologist. She gave me the number and suggested that I keep trying to call the endo’s office to make an appointment. So far no luck.

It seems that the government is lifting some of the restrictions that were put in place to try to deal with the increase of COVID19 infections in Manitoba. Sadly there are always the people who think they know best and try to convince others to ignore the restrictions and refuse the vaccinations. I think it is especially pathetic when a pastor leads his congregation astray by giving them false information from the pulpit. This is a pastor of a fundamentalist church whose women are degraded by the way they have to dress and by the way they are expected to raise their children. There is an arrest warrant out for this pastor and hopefully, he will be behind bars sooner than later.

Normal Thyroid Enlarged Thyroid

Image of a normal thyroid and an enlarged thyroid.

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May 21, 2021

Good morning.  I have been up since 3:45 AM and no matter what I do, sleep evades me.  Thankfully I do not have any pressing obligations or appointments today so can have an afternoon nap.

momandme

Before I continue further I would like to wish all my readers who are moms a Belated Happy Mother’s Day.  Due to restrictions imposed just prior to Mother’s day, families here in Manitoba were not allowed to get together to celebrate their moms.  We can only hope that by the time Mother’s day 2022 rolls around the virus will have lost its hold on us.

Today is the start of our May long weekend.  The forecast call for clouds with a 30% chance of showers this morning.  Showers will continue throughout the afternoon.  Numerous wildfires scattered across southern Manitoba and northwestern Ontario are burning and causing poor air quality and reducing visibility. Smoke is expected or occurring.  Showers are to end this evening with a risk of more thunderstorms beginning overnight.  Thankfully it has been raining off and on since Thursday.  We badly need any moisture we can get.  In the past couple of months it seems as though the rain has bypassed us as often as not.  My mom used to sing a song that came out of the depression that included the words, “the rain she’s gone around.  I managed to find a copy of the lyrics.

The_Saskatchewan_Song-page-0

This past Sunday we had a short but lovely visit with our grandson and his partner.  It is a good thing that we did spend some time with them since Manitoba Seniors Care Minister Heather Stefanson announced on Thursday that more restrictions will be added to take effect May 22.  According to Stefanson and I quote, “”These additional measures are necessary right now, as Manitoba has seen some of its highest case counts ever in recent days.”  Doctors are seeing more and more people in ICU, especially younger people.  The good news this week is that second-dose appointment bookings will begin today.

The following additional public health order restrictions will be in effect on Saturday, May 22 at
12:01 am:

  • outdoor gatherings with anyone from outside a household are no longer allowed and this applies to all recreation spaces including playgrounds, golf courses, parks and sports fields; and
  • only one person per household will be allowed to enter a business, with some exceptions, such as a single parent with children, or someone who requires a caregiver.

This past Monday I received a letter from my plastic surgeon asking me if I was still interested in the breast reduction surgery and Panniculectomy.  I informed him that I was still extremely interested and hoped that I would not have to wait too much longer.  I should have had the surgery in the spring of 2020 but COVID19 put a hold on all non-essential surgeries.  

Health wise not much has changed.  What has become somewhat worrisome if the small sores that are appearing on my arms and legs; sores that are not healing as they should.  Yesterday I faxed my family doctor pictures and hopefully he will be able to tell me what is causing these sores and how I can get rid of them.  

It is time to put these weary bones back into bed.  Enjoy the coming long weekend and KEEP SAFE!

The following is for my mom who celebrated her 15th Mother’s Day in Heaven:

Mother's Day in Heaven

Mother’s Day in Heaven

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April 10, 2021

Adrenalawareness

It is 6:39 AM and I just spent another sleepless night.  Once I read the forecast for southeastern Manitoba the sleepless night made more sense.  At 4:27 AM CDT Saturday 10 April 2021 a special weather statement was issued for southeatern Manitoba.  A pair of low pressure systems will merge to bring wintery weather back to southern Manitoba on Monday and Tuesday.  One weather system will approach from the west while a second moves over the Great Lakes. The combination will bring snow and much cooler temperatures to southern Manitoba Monday and Tuesday.  Snowfall amounts are particularly uncertain.  At this time, snowfall totals of 5 to 20 cm are possible.

The National Adrenal Diseases Foundation (NADF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing information, education, and support to patients diagnosed with adrenal diseases such as Addison’s disease, Cushing’s syndrome, and congenital adrenal hyperplasia. The foundation also provides support and information to family members, medical professionals and caregivers. The foundation connects patients with the 30 NADF affiliated support groups across the nation. Established in 1985, NADF provides quarterly newsletters, educational pamphlets and fact sheets.

National Adrenal Diseases Foundation  (NADF)  P.O. Box 566
Lake Zurich, IL 60047
Telephone: +1-(847) 726-9010
E-mail: nadfmail@nadf.us
Website: https://www.nadf.us

JaniceJudgeandDexterMy dear friend, Janice Judge is the co-ordinator for the South New Jersey Support Group Meeting.  The next meeting is on Friday, April 23rd at 7:00 EST.  Contact Janice to join:  janipt@comcast.net. 

JanJudge

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April 9, 2021

ApriladrenalawareneddGood afternoon to my family and friends.  Sitting at my desk in the den I am watching the rain clouds pass by without shedding a drop.  The sun is trying to peak through the clouds but hopefully rain will win in the end.  Farmers desperately need the rain as well as the firefighters who are fighting the many brush fires that are burning in Manitoba.  

Public health officials have confirmed 179 new cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba.  Public health officials announced today that 37 new screened or sequenced cases of the variants of concern have been detected in Manitoba.  My husband and I were fortunate and got our vaccinations Wednesday afternoon at the Pat Porter Centre in Steinbach.  A sore arm and fatigue are the only side effects that we have felt so far.  Since I am plagued with fatigue on a daily basis I cannot in all honesty blame the vaccine.  My husband insists that the Moderna vaccine played a huge role in clearing up a bladder infection that had been bothering him for several weeks.  The symptoms of the infection began to clear up the day following his vaccination.  In a news broadcast a few days ago we were informed that the Pop-Up Vaccination centres would run out of vaccine by April 15th.  Our provincial response level is listed as critical.  The province of Manitoba moved to the Critical level (red) on November 12, 2020 and this has remained in effect until now.  The province has decided to maintain this level of Critical response to protect it’s citizens.  The nurse who gave me my vaccination spent some time explaining what to expect from the Moderna vaccine.  I had no idea that having an autoimmune disease could potentially reduce the effectiveness of the vaccine. 

Vaccineinformation

Easter has come and gone and we decided that it was in our best interest not to gather as a family.  It was a bitter disappointment but my husband and I were getting our vaccinations within three days so we decided to forego a gathering.  We had originally planned on celebrating my birthday, our grandson’s birthday (April 5th) and Easter on April 4th.  However, we have now decided to celebrate the three birthdays (our granddaughter – in -law has a birthday on April 25th) on April 25th.  

Two things happened every Easter at my childhood home.  Weather permitting my dad wouldpaska hide our Easter baskets outside.  If winter decided to keep spring at bay he hid the baskets inside.  We would each get a chocolate Easter bunny with an assortment of candy and a gift.  The other “thing” was eating the incredible tasty Paska my mom would bake and decorate with icing and sprinkles.  Coming back to the Easter basket hunt, my dad insisted on keeping up this tradition even after we girls were married.  He would hide the baskets for his seven grandchildren and their spouses, four great grandchildren as well as for his five daughters and their husbands.  The Easter basket hunt would take place on Easter  Sunday afternoon.  

IMG-2430 (2)This past week I decided I had enough of sitting indoors so I made an appointment to have my hair cut and coloured.  The hairdressers at the salon I went to were very careful and obeyed the COVID restrictions.  On the spur of the moment I decided to again try a purple dye in my hair and was very happy with the outcome.  Just because I am 73 doesn’t mean I have to forego purple hair.  

April is Adrenal Awareness month. National Adrenal Disease Awareness.   My dear friend Janice is the co-ordinator for the South New Jersey Support Group Zoom Meeting.  The meeting will take place on Friday, April 23rd at 7:00 PM EST.  Contact Janice to join at janipt@comcast.net. 

Patches and Gaby spent an afternoon at the groomers this past week.  Their “other mom” Fran was coming out to see them.  Fran was their “first mom” but when she got sick and became unable to care for them we were lucky to be chosen as their adoptive parents.  Patches and Gaby have always seemed happy in our home but they certainly remember Fran. 

IMG_2325IMG_2329IMG_2344IMG_2339 

Before I close I would like to wish my readers a belated Happy Easter.  Please take care and keep safe.

To view Easter Card click on the link below:

https://www.jacquielawson.com/ecard/pickup/r0bef0a4d9f6b4375881a285dab16bc2b?source=jl999&utm_medium=pickup&utm_source=share&utm_campaign=receiver

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March 26, 2021

It is almost the end of March.  Our temperatures are still fluctuating too much which plays havoc with my old bones.   All our snow was gone but it snowed overnight.  We need several days of constant rain.  The farmers are worried about a drought this summer.

Because of COVID19 Code Red restrictions, the hairdressers and beauty salons have been unable to open their shops until recently.  I decided I might as well try out different colours and styles while I am still able to do so.  I chose purple mixed with the usual dark brown and really like the end result.  The reason I did not post a view of my face is that my eyes are swollen and  Rosacea has gone on a rampage on my face.  One truly has to wonder how many autoimmune diseases can attack one person.  So far I have Graves’ Disease, Arthritis, Liver Disease, Lichen sclerosus, flareups of Menniere’s Disease, and the list goes on.

As if I do not have enough medical issues I was recently diagnosed with Lichen sclerosus.  It started with a suspicious-looking, painful lump in an unmentionable area of my body.  When it would flare up it would bleed.  I did nothing about this problem for too long.  When I called my gynecologist for an appointment on a Friday afternoon her nurse booked me in on February 22nd which was the following Monday afternoon.  I must mention here that I have an amazing gynecologist by the name of Dr. Lucy Rogozinska.  She is incredibly busy but absolutely worth the wait for appointments.  However, when she feels that a patient’s problem could be serious she will see you within a day or two.   Dr. Rogozinska did a biopsy of the lump and told me that the results would take four to five weeks.  She booked a phone appointment for March 23rd.  Words cannot describe the immense relief I felt when Dr. Rogozinska called to tell me that the biopsy was benign and that I had a treatable condition known as Lichen Sclerosus.

According to the NORD website and the Mayo Clinic website, and I quote, Lichen sclerosus is a chronic inflammatory skin disorder that most commonly affects women before puberty or after menopause. Although rare, it can also be seen in men.  Lichen sclerosus is characterized by skin changes of the external genitalia.  Other parts of the body may also be affected. In fact, this skin condition can affect any skin surface. Some patients with lichen sclerosus do not have any symptoms, whereas others experience intense itching, discomfort and/or erosions/ulcers. Lichen sclerosus typically has a remitting relapsing course that is complicated by permanent scarring of the affected areas. Current research supports that it is caused by a combination of a dysfunction of the immunological system and genetic factors. The understanding of the causes of this disorder is still incomplete. The mainstay of treatment is potent topical steroids in the case of genital involvement in women. Studies have shown that regular use of potent topical steroids in women prevents the problems of scarring and decreases the risk of skin cancer developing in the area of lichen sclerosus.   Because lichen sclerosus is associated with an increased risk of squamous cell carcinoma in women with genital involvement, it is important for those affected to have lifelong screening examinations as well as continued treatment to keep the disorder under control.

Rarely, lichen sclerosus can also affect other areas of the skin such as the breast, wrists, shoulder, neck, back, thigh, and mouth.

The exact cause of lichen sclerosus is not known. Most research indicates it is an autoimmune condition. Autoimmune disorders arise when the body’s natural defenses against “foreign” or invading organisms (e.g., antibodies) begin to attack healthy tissue for unknown reasons. Some cases of lichen sclerosus may be linked to the formation of certain antibodies (e.g. a thyroid protein (thyroglobulin), or certain cells that line the walls of organs).

People with mild lichen sclerosus may have no signs or symptoms. Signs and symptoms usually affect the skin of the genital and anal areas, but may also affect the skin of the upper body, upper arms and breasts. They may include:

Redness

Itching (pruritus), which can be severe

Discomfort or pain

Smooth white patches on your skin

Blotchy, wrinkled patches

Tearing or bleeding

In severe cases, bleeding, blistering or ulcerated sores

See your doctor if you have signs and symptoms common to Lichen sclerosus.  If you’ve already been diagnosed with lichen sclerosus, see your doctor every six to 12 months to be checked for any skin changes or treatment side effects.

For more information on this condition check out the NORD website at Rare Diseases Lichen Sclerosus; the Mayo Clinic website at Mayo Clinic Lichen Sclerosus.

After more searching I found pictures that I was absolutely sure I had lost.  I have decided to add a few of these that I took during our month-long stay in Southern California.  We left Edmonton, Alberta, Canada on December 24th, 1976 and arrived in San Fransico, California in the wee hours of the morning on December 25th, 1976.  Prescott and Natasha got a second wind when they realized that there was no snow on the ground.  They spent their first half-hour in California rolling around on the grass.  We were lucky that our trip happened while Peter’s sister and brother-in-law, Alfrieda and Harold with their three children, Jeff, Lorie and Kevin, lived in Reedley, California.   They picked us up early morning at the airport in San Fransico and took us to their house so we could spend Christmas day to New Year’s day with them.  We had a wonderful time checking out the big trees and picking oranges from Harold and Alfrieda’s rental tree.  Peter enjoyed several games of tennis something he could not do during the winter months in Edmonton.  We spent the remaining three weeks in Palo Alto, Los Angles, Wax Museum, Disneyland.  Half Moon Bay, sightseeing among the coastal mountains etc.

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