Category Archives: Autoimmune Diseases

Could Caffeine Help Dry Eye?

Could Caffeine Help Dry Eye?.

A new article from WebMD suggests there could be some relief for dry eyes in the future from caffeine. This is a promising possibility for those of us that suffer from this chronic condition.

As someone who as battled Sjorgren’s syndrome for over 20 years now, dry eyes is a constant issue for me. My tear film is totally gone and has been for several years. It causes a lot of discomfort and problems with my eyes. Just the past few months I’ve had more sty problems than it seems I have had my entire life.

I use Restasis, a prescription medication for dry eyes, but it is very expensive and unaffordable without insurance. I have found the GenTeal gel drops and ointment a tremendous help and they are OTC.

Give the article a look…hopefully there is some potential relief in the future…

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Filed under Autoimmune Diseases, Disability, Dry Eye Relief, Dry Eyes, GenTeal Gel Drops, Health, Health News, Medical News, Sjogren's Syndrome, WebMD, Women's health

Never Worked a Day in Her Life?! by Beverly Hicks Burch

Never Worked a Day in Her Life?!

Seriously?!

This week Hilary Rosen started a firestorm when she accused Ann Romney of “never working a day in her life”.

My first thought was, “Seriously?! Are you really dragging out that old insult? You must feel really threatened!” In life I’ve found the go to tactic is insult the opponent when you feel threatened.

It’s mudslinging time people and the Obama campaign is shoveling it…

Of course Obama’s “advisors” are coming out voicing their “disappointment” in Ms Rosen’s comments. Yep, real loyalty there…

The jaw dropping disingenuous move here is that suddenly the Obama campaign is snatching back from the “war on women” tactic. Why do I say disingenuous?

Well, just this week I was emailed (I can’t for the life of me understand how I got on this email list) an email from the re-elect Obama campaign. The re-elect Obama campaign must feel the inevitable candidate for the GOP is Mitt Romney because the letter contained five (5) scare tactics ominous, treacherous things that will happen if Romney is elected in November.

Number one on the list? (1) Mitt Romney will declare a war on women.

Yep, as simple as that, that’s what Obama’s number one concern about Mitt Romney is and the big evil they are warning and agitating the American people with…and now comes Hilary Rosen…

Give me a freaking break!!

I feel qualified to speak on this subject from several levels.

First and foremost, I am a woman…a bona fide girly girl…a college educated girly girl…so take that… Furthermore, I have worked outside of the home and I have been a stay-at-home mom, been a stay-at-home mom who worked part time, a stay-at-home mom who help in home based businesses and been a stay-at-home mom who homeschooled. Honey, if it’s on the spectrum, I’ve probably been there.

And, let me tell you something, sister…being a stay at home mom is the hardest work I’ve ever done in my life. You scrub, clean, shop, cook, nurse to good health, budget, chauffer, recycle, garden, organize, structure and in many cases educate formally (if you homeschool as I did) or informally just in everyday life, teaching you children about life, love and morals…and those are just a few of the chores you do. Many times you do this on a budget stretched so thin it’s bare in places, but, it’s all about sacrifice for the greater good…in this case for your children and or family. (Sacrifice is a concept that seems to get little understanding in our society today. O Henry’s The Gift of the Magi would seem like a lame and stupid story to many, yet it epitomizes the gift of true, caring heartfelt, sacrificial love.) Most of the time a stay-at-home mom’s work is done without the aid of help…unless she has the help of a caring and loving mate. In that case, then she’s in a loving partnership which works much like a business would work at its best…like a well oiled machine.

Many moms who work outside of the home have the assistance of nannies, and cleaning help. Some have the luxury of personal shoppers, decorators and personal assistance. Notice, I didn’t use a universal statement like the ilk of Ms Rosen are want to do…I didn’t say all working moms have the above luxuries because I know many are living from paycheck to paycheck, especially if they are single working moms. I also do realize there are some stay-at-home moms who may avail themselves to the same luxuries and well they should if they can afford them because they do work hard.

A couple of years ago my sister and her husband adopted their first child. They are well into the middle years of their life. My sister has been an educator all of her adult life. She holds a Master’s Degree and education beyond that. I saw her work hard in her profession. But, since having her child and being a stay-at-home mom I have seen my sister truly tired. It is a blessed, fulfilled tired…with a heart full of love beyond reason. She does it well and she deserves it. She deserves the choice to stay-at-home. It does not make her brain numb, uneducated or clueless to the outside world and the concerns thereof as Ms Rosen would seem to think.

If anything a stay-at-home mom is avidly in tune to the world around her and the issues that affect her and her family. And, for Ms Rosen’s future reference, the economy and jobs are part of those concerns…or as the 1992 Bill Clinton campaign put it, “it’s the economy, stupid!”

I was raised in a conservative household. My parents raised three girls, one who was physically and mentally challenged from a young age. We grew up in the `60s and `70s and we never had to be liberated from anything when it came to expectations.

Our Daddy considered it a top priority we receive an education, respect ourselves and expect others to respect us. Daddy’s mantra was “Get a good education in case you marry some dope who leaves you. You won’t have to sling hash in a greasy spoon if you get an education!” (Yep, I was the one who married said dope who left years later…which is an entirely different story…but, acquiring computer skills helped me snag a job I would have never imagined. Knowledge is power people!) In Daddy’s eyes we could do anything we wanted…there was just some things he couldn’t understand why we would want to do them…I mean why be a ditch digger when you could be a writer, a teacher, a doctor or whatever?!

Let’s look at Ms Rosen’s target for a moment: Ann Romney. Ms Romney is a mother of five sons. Just that makes me tired thinking about it! Ms Romney is no “air head blond or bimbo”. Not only did she attend BYU, but she finished her undergraduate work at Harvard University. Ever heard of that little ol’ school? I’m sure somewhere along the line, if Ms Romney’s college education was like mine, she had to take an economy class or two. Ms Romney has also been involved in charity work with many organizations. Yes, that is work. Someone has to do it or it won’t get done! Also, take into consideration that Ann Romney has accomplished all of this while battling multiple sclerosis and breast cancer.

Let me tell you something: that in itself is no easy task. I can relate to that as someone with chronic and disabling illnesses and as a two time non-smoking lung cancer survivor. Sometimes just dealing with chronic illness is a full time job.

But, what it boils down to is this: Ann Romney is no hot house violet…

What Ms Rosen leaves out when she makes her disparaging remarks is this…choice! Kind of ironic coming from the party of choice, huh? Choice is okay if you are a Democrat and/or a liberal woman, but woe be unto you if you are in the GOP or consider yourself conservative or step out of line with the Democrat party line. Then your choices are invalid if they do not fall in line with the Democrat party and liberal women.

How totally hypocritical…

© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under Ann Romney, Autoimmune Diseases, Current events, Daddy, Democrats, Economy, GOP, Government, Hilary Rosen, Mothers, News, Obama, Opinion, Politics, Stay-at-Home Moms

Hair Problems in Fibromyalgia, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Hair Problems in Fibromyalgia.

Here’s yet another interesting article from the About.com people and their Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome department.

This particular article deals with our hair! Gals you know what I’m talking about…days and days and days of bad hair days. Actually, it goes a little further than that. This article goes on to explain those of us that deal with this devastating disease may also deal with hair loss or alopecia. There is a bad news/good news factor to this discovery.

Bad News: Yes, it does appear like other autoimmune disorders, hair loss can be associated with fibromyalgia. It tends to rear its inconvenient head during flare ups or times of stress. Big “duhs” there for those of us with fibro, huh? We kinda already knew this!

I started dealing with this factor 10 or 15 years ago when I realized my hair just wasn’t as full and thick as it use to be. I’ve always worn my hair long (at one time waist length) and my hair was always nice and full and thick. There was one point a few years ago it would come out by the handfuls as I washed it in the shower. I associated that episode to a particular medication, stopped that med, started a new one and no more shedding like a sheep dog in the shower.

Good News: Yes, there is good news. It appears the hair loss from fibromyalgia is temporary and will grow back. So, patience Grasshopper. Remember the sheep dog shedding I was doing in the shower? Well, my hair did grow back.

I can’t promise your hair will ever be as full as it once was (I feel like I’m about to bust out into a Toby Keith song right about now), but it will be better than it once was. Also, if you do have other autoimmune disorders, they will also affect your hair, too.

Here’s one thing I can recommend: Nioxin Shampoo .

I’ve been using this shampoo for over 10 years now and swear by it. It cleanse your hair, helps thicken the hair and helps remove the residual of all the meds we take that end up in our hair.

The other thing I can recommend for healthy hair (and nails) for those of us dealing with hair issues is a daily supplement of Biotin. I take 2000MCGs a day. This has been highly recommended by every stylist I’ve used over the last 10 years or so. Biotin promotes healthy skin, hair and nails.

So, if you’re a fibromyalgia patient, don’t think you’re crazy over the “hair thing”. Yes, it can happen and yes, there can be relief and help. Just hold on and ride it out and it will get better!

 

© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under "Autoimmune disorders", Autoimmune Diseases, Biotin, Fibromyalgia, Hair Loss, Health, Health News, Nioxin Shampoo, Women's health

Autoimmune Disease Overlap Syndromes | Suite101.com

Autoimmune Disease Overlap Syndromes | Suite101.com.

This is a great article to read for all of you who are dealing with autoimmune disorders. I have known for years these diseases/disorders “cluster” or overlap. My body is a prime example of that. If I were to enumerate my laundry list of chronic and disabling health issues, many of you would think I was “joshing” as the old time says.

But, it’s true! Not only do I have overlap within my body, but there is overlap and clustering in my family (on my mother’s side). My very special aunt and I seem to shadow each other.

So, for all of you dealing with these issues, take time to read this article. It might help you to know that (1) you’re not alone in this; and (2) you’re not crazy…yes, your body is doing exactly what you think it is!

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome in the Brain – Digestion and Digestive-Related Information on MedicineNet.com

Irritable Bowel Syndrome in the Brain – Digestion and Digestive-Related Information on MedicineNet.com.

IBS is another one of those syndromes I’ve been plagued with for most of my life…even as a child and adolescent. Research and doctors tell me that IBS cluster with a lot of the other syndromes and disorders I have…like fibromyalgia.

If you deal with this aliment you know how fickled a companion it can be and how miserable it can make your life. It can put you flat on your back and just over all make you feel like crud and take the fun out of life.

Yes, depression and anxiety can and does go along with IBS, but according to this latest research there is an organic brain-gut relationship in this syndrome. So, folks, what that mean is…it’s not just “all in your head” but is truly related to you head, or brain function if you will. As I’m known to tell doctors, “I knew I wasn’t crazy!”

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Filed under "Autoimmune disorders", Anxiety, Autoimmune Diseases, Depression, Health, Health News, Irritable Bowl Syndrome (IBS), Women's health

New criteria proposed for diagnosing fibromyalgia

New criteria proposed for diagnosing fibromyalgia.

Years…and I mean years ago I was first diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I think the year was 1990 when the “official” diagnosis was made, but I had been suffering with the symptoms since the early 1980s.

My beloved family physician who has since passed away was very well read and stayed current on many medical trends. He saved my lived twice by discovering lung cancer in a patient with little or no risk factors to give her even a modicum of a chance of even thinking “lung cancer” will afflict my body…but it did anyway and Dr. James S. Davies was smart enough to catch it and save my life…

Anyway, during the 1980s when these “non-specific” symptoms began to rear their ugly head, Dr. Davies said there was a lot of talk about a new kind of illness or syndrome that doctors were having a hard time “pegging” but that a lot of people were showing up with…he said it was kind of like having mono all the time and never getting rid of it…that was the best way to describe it back then…

By 1990 there was a young doctor who was in practice with Dr. Davies for a while and he was pretty sharp, too. He diagnosed my Raynaud’s Syndrome and between him and Dr. Davies they were able to put their finger on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Here is where we begin to see that as far back as 1990 our health care system was “sick” itself. At the time I was insured under the ex’s plan at work which was Blue Cross/Blue Shield. They refused to pay for any of the blood work, tests and visits that were done at the the time because of the diagnosis…”chronic fatigue syndrome”.

Not only was I livid, I was curious…this bill was several hundred dollars…a substantial amount even for those days. I was told by BC/BS they would not pay for anything related to chronic fatigue syndrome because it was a mental disorder and not covered.

Being the bright gal that I am I explained to BC/BS that no indeed, there was enough research done on the subject that suggested several causes for CFS not the least of which could be a retrovirus and that I was certainly not insane, crazy or mentally ill, but I certainly would be after dealing with them…

They were not amused…

The only way BC/BS would pay was if the diagnosis was changed…so the doctors simply took the word “syndrome” off the diagnosis and viola the bill got paid! They would pay for chronic fatigue…period…

Later, fibromyalgia became the talked about subject and I can tell you it clusters in my family making me wonder if there is some kind of genetic link…my momma had FMS and so does her sister, my maternal aunt…

A few years later after being referred to the rheumatologist who diagnosed my Sjogren’s syndrome (1993), he confirmed fibromyalgia…

The debate is this…are CFS and FMS one and the same or two separate issues?

All I know is this…either/or make you very sick, debilitate you, alter your life and change the quality of your life…forever…there is no getting better. It is about more than just the pain…which is indescribable…it is the muscle weakness…the disabling fatigue…the stomach problems…yes, the dizziness…the whole enchilada as they say. The above link to the article and the information therein is, in my opinion, a long time coming when it comes to calling out everything that goes with FMS.

All I can say is…it’s about time!

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Filed under "Autoimmune disorders", Autoimmune Diseases, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Disability, Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, Health, Healthcare, Lung Cancer, Sjogren's Syndrome, Women's health

Primary Sjogren’s Syndrome: Blood deficiencies are strong predictors of poor outcome

Primary Sjogren’s Syndrome: Blood deficiencies are strong predictors of poor outcome.

If you are a Sjogren’s pateint then I highly recommend you read this article. As  a SS patient myself, I knew I had an increased risk for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. This article ties in what I’ve suspected all along…a connection to lung cancer. That would definately explain my two bouts of non-smoking lung cancer!

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New Diagnostic Criteria for Fibromyalgia

New Diagnostic Criteria for Fibromyalgia. Please take the time to read this interesting article if you have FMS!

For years doctors have used “tender points” as a tool to diagnose fibromyalgia and those tender points have been considered controversial.

Personally I’ve always thought FMS was so much more than those tender points. For me it’s  been the muscle weakness, the debilitating fatigue, loss of sleep, dizziness, lack of energy, extreme pain and overall malaise. Hopefully these means progress in helping FMS patients!

It’s about time, right?!

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Filed under "Autoimmune disorders", Autoimmune Diseases, Fibromyalgia, Health, New Medical News, Women's health

People With Fibromyalgia Prone to Falls

People With Fibromyalgia Prone to Falls.

This article is from WebMD and is about a study and patients with FMS. The study found that people with FMS are more prone to falls because of balance problems. Let it be known…I resemble that remark!! I knew it was related to something…just wasn’t sure what…

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Filed under "Autoimmune disorders", Autoimmune Diseases, Fibromyalgia, Health, WebMD, Women's health

Predicting Fibromyalgia: Results of 25-Year Study

Predicting Fibromyalgia: Results of 25-Year Study.

How do you compare to this 25 year study? I was surprised to discover the allergy connection. With me though I don’t know if it’s a case of which came first…like the chicken or the egg. When I was a child I don’t recall having many allergies, but as I got older I seemed to have developed them, but I also seem to have FMS and other problems, too.

As far as the morning sickness all I can say is OMG!! I was sick the entire time I was pregnant…24/7 and actually had to be hospitalized twice because I was so sick.

So, in my mind there many be something to the study…

Smoking wasn’t a factor for me. I was a NON-smoker wasn’t raised by smokers or married to a smoker. That gives me 2 out of 3….

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Filed under Autoimmune Diseases, Fibromyalgia, Health, Women's health