Monthly Archives: September 2007

In the Tornado of Health Anxiety

Standard

I have had another article printed in Valley Scene Magazine. This time I was given an assignment I was happy with – the topic was anxiety. Having had a history myself with anxiety, I wrote a 1500 word story I was quite proud of. Then the editor gets back to me with a request to cut it down to 650 words. WHAT??? I almost cried. It was so difficult. But anyway…

Here is the result:

http://www.valleyscenemagazine.com/health/

 

For anyone interested…here is the original article…

A surge comes over her like a warm electrical shock. Instantly her throat begins to tighten and palms begin to sweat. All of her muscles ache and she begins to tremble. “Oh no, not again,” she thinks to herself in dread. She becomes more aware of her breathing and it appears to be rapid and shallow. Her mind starts to spin and her heart races noticeably. Something terrible must be happening; could this be the end? Terrifying thoughts and uncomfortable, scary feelings – both mentally and physically – overcome her. This can last for a few minutes or even a couple hours. Finally when it is over she is so exhausted and drained, though relieved she is still alive. She may get depressed at the fact that this keeps happening and she has no idea why. Perhaps others in her life are not supportive or understanding which makes it all the more difficult to defend her sanity. What she needs to realize is that she is indeed sane. What is happening is not her fault or even in her control. And most of all, her life is not in danger. She is likely having anxiety/panic attacks.

The first thing that should be mentioned is the importance of a full and complete physical workup when faced with any new and concerning symptoms. Many of these symptoms can indeed be created by a physical or physiological problem such as a thyroid dysfunction, a heart arrhythmia, a hormonal imbalance or a number of other issues that can usually be easily ruled out with a number of tests and blood work. Once a clean bill of health is stamped upon one’s chart, it is time to look elsewhere for relief.

Anxiety and Panic Disorder is not as understood as we would like it to be. As with most disorders, the whys and whats are not black and white with definitive answers. But there are many options for recovery.

While interviewing and researching this topic, I have learned that there are basically three schools of thought on the topic as to the reasons one develops an Anxiety Disorder (including Panic Disorder involving Panic Attacks). Some believe that it is strictly psychological. Perhaps something occurred during childhood; a traumatic event at some point in life that sparked this reaction to the psyche. Others believe that it is brought on by physiological and physical causes. Adrenal sensitivity, vagel nerve disruption, as well as many other possibilities are some of the suggested suspects. And then there are a large group of those who believe it is a combination of the two. A person could have simply been born with a strong sensitivity to stimuli and when a trauma occurred in their past – the flame was ignited. Therefore, some may have a predisposition to the disorder and it is eventually sparked by an event.

As I said, it is not a black and white issue. There is no right or wrong when determining the causes of Anxiety Disorders. One woman I spoke with began having panic attacks at the age of 12 after being molested by an older relative. Another woman admitted that she has had no traumatic experience or past circumstances that would appear to be the cause – that the attacks just started happening out of nowhere when she was at the most content moment in her life.

What I have noticed in speaking with so many people with Anxiety and Panic is the vast amount of them who have health related anxiety. Once having an attack, they are then so focused on their bodies and how they are feeling. Many of these people tend to notice things that others without the disorder would never notice. A slight increase in blood pressure, body temperature raising a mere degree, a minor heart palpitation…these are all things that most of the population would never recognize. But to people who have an Anxiety disorder, these disruptions and discomforts are pronounced and very much present. Sufferers of these disorders tend to have heightened awareness and extreme sensitivity. Where that becomes almost debilitating (and for some, completely debilitating) is when a person begins to castastrophize. This is very common among those with Anxiety Disorders. Catastrophizing is basically a consuming thought process that makes the person think that the worst possible thing is going to happen. For example, one may have a headache and begin to believe it is an aneurysm. Or a stomach ache could be cancer. Certainly any chest discomfort is a heart attack in the mind of a catastrophizer.

Brandyn explains how Panic affected his life, “I could have sworn that I was dying. I became agoraphobic and never left the house. I didn’t work, socialize with friends, drive, or take trips.”

And what is worse is that it is a vicious circle that spins and spins until the right stick is able to be stuck in the spokes of this whirlwind. Once one has an attack, they begin to fear subsequent attacks. This fear brings on the “what if” thinking that may stop them from doing certain daily things. If someone has an attack in a grocery store – they may then avoid grocery stores. This feeds into the fear and gives fuel to the disorder. Once and attack begins, the body releases adrenaline due to our natural fight or flight reaction that is instinct in all of us in case of danger. But for those with Anxiety Disorder, our fight or flight reaction occurs at inappropriate times – when not in danger. When this adrenaline is released it increases the breathing which can cause hyperventilation. It also tightens muscles which is what gives that closed throat and chest muscle discomfort. It causes perspiration and racing hearts. This is what adrenaline does. But when it happens out of the blue, it can certainly be alarming and worrisome. It is such an uncomfortable and scary experience that for those who it happens to begin to fear it happening again. The more fear that is existing, the more likely it is to have another attack. So basically, the physical symptoms cause the fear and the fear causes the physical symptoms. Round and round it goes until proper remedies are found.

The road to recovery from this nasty disorder is certainly different for everyone. Many find that meditation and relaxation techniques are enough to keep the disorder at bay. Others benefit immensely from different types of counseling. Biofeedback, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Talk Therapy are all very useful to many people. And there are also many of those who need medication to get back on that even keel they may not have felt for many years. Like therapy, there are also different forms of medications.

Brandyn did eventually find some relief, “Through medication and therapy I learned breathing exercises and the "ride the wave" method of thinking. It’s based on the idea that you have to ride the wave of anxiety. The anxiety will peak and then it will subside. All you have to do is ride it out and you will be ok. For the last 5 years I have led a relatively normal life. “

And Amy, another person diagnosed with Panic Disorder states, “It took years to find what really worked for me. Meditation never worked and breathing exercises seemed to make things worse. But through talk therapy and finding the right medication – I have been symptom free for over three years.”

A treatment plan would be discussed and decided upon between the patient and their mental health professional. For many, taking that first step towards professional help is the most difficult. But it is obviously the most crucial. In this day and age there is simply no reason to live this way. There are so many options out there to help one live a more relaxed and peaceful life. Imagining being free of worry, fear, and dread may seem impossible to those who have lived with this disorder for any length of time. But it is in fact very possible.

The truth is, we do not know how long we have on this planet. None of us do. Many of those with Panic and Anxiety Disorders often worry they are going to die. And while they are worrying about their mortality, they are not living life while they have it. We have these moments – right now. Disorder or no disorder, we need to live life in the time that we have. The best thing we can all do for ourselves is live life well. And living in a constant state of debilitating, painful and misunderstood agony is not living well. Help is out there and for those who are suffering, please seek it.

For more information on Anxiety and Panic Disorders, please check out the following websites:

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/healthinformation/anxietymenu.cfm

http://www.adaa.org/

http://www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/ 

The Brave One (2007) – A Review

Standard

Let me first give a wee bit of background so you can see this through the eyes from which I viewed this film.  For many years I have been called a liberal. I usually felt the need to defend these accusations as though being a liberal is an offense.  And it is not really that I thought of liberalism as this horrible thing, but I truly did not believe I was one. Did and do I have some liberal views? Sure do. But one some topics I also can have a tendency to lean a bit to the right. Not too often, but it does happen – leaving me in this purgatory between liberal and conservative, democrat and republican. One issue did tend to waver on was the death penalty. But typically – and especially after seeing the movie The Life of David Gale (excellent flick by the way) – I took the side of anti-death penalty. I just did not think it would ever be worth having one innocent person die and never did I really believe that it posed as a deterrent in anyway. I will say that I do still feel this way. This, I give to you as an example of my so-called liberal views. But I have to tell you that as I watched the movie, The Brave One, I could feel that liberal part of me lifting up, up and away. I was most certainly NOT a liberal while watching this movie.

 

The basic synopsis of the movie, which is often compared to the 70’s hit “Death Wish” (which I had never seen) is this: a normally carefree, happy, fearless woman is brutally attacked causing her to almost “leave” herself and seek revenge in violent ways. This dichotomy inside of her left her feeling both numb and curious as to why she did not feel the guilt or shame she thought she should. This woman is played by the brilliant and encompassing Jodie Foster – a truly Oscar worthy performance without a doubt.

 

I have to tell you that from here on out there may be some spoilers of which are not obvious or shown in the trailers for the movie. So, if you wish to not know what happens – I would actually urge to you to stop reading at this point – go see the movie (it is SO worth it) and then come back her to discuss it with me!! If you have seen the movie or do not care if you go into it knowing certain aspects – then please…read on…

 

Towards the beginning of the movie Foster’s character along with her fiancé are violently attacked in a very disturbing scene. So, right off the bat I was crying. I figured this was going to be a car chasing, shoot ‘em up Dirty Harry type flick. I did not expect the water works – boy was I wrong!! This movie tore me up. The attack and the moments which proceeded it were quite heart wrenching. And again, I cannot say enough about the quality of acting in this movie. I really attribute my emotional reaction to that mainly. Because THANK GOD I have not been in a situation like that for it to be a bad memory recall thing…I really think that because the acting was so dead on, so real that I truly felt that I knew how she was feeling. You honestly cannot get better than that when it comes to talent.

 

After the attack, she is drenched in fear; afraid to leave her apartment, afraid of the steps behind her. All of these everyday things she never once thought about became struggles as the dread enveloped her. Because of this – angry that she now has to feel this way – she decides to buy a gun for protection. This is the first moment when I realized that not all of my ideals were as permanent and as clear as they once were. I always said that I would never own a gun. I hate guns. I even would like them to be illegal if ever possible. But when Erica, Jodie’s character, goes to buy the piece – I am right there with her and know in my heart I would have done the same thing. Liberal Heather – where are you??

 

Throughout the body of the movie Erica comes across a couple situations where she is faced with the opportunity to rid the world of some very bad people. In the first 2 situations, she did what most people would have done with her courage. Sensible killings, if you will. The next two – she diliberatly sought out. And through  this whole period she becomes more and more withdrawn. She becomes a person she not only doesn’t recognize – but also doesn’t understand. She struggles with the duality of knowing that these people deserve their fate but also the fact that she knows what she is doing isn’t right. This vigilantism she cognitively is aware is inappropriate – but she cannot help herself. Her anger – her sheer anger at what society has become motivates a stranger inside of her to take over.

 

So, this “liberal” gal from Wisconsin watches as this pissed off woman from New York empowers herself with a weapon and takes out the slime balls she comes across. And not only do I watch with approval and understanding…but I cheer – and not always silently.

 

The ending is certainly not what anyone would expect and I will not give that away even in a spoiler review. But I can say that I shouted “YES!” and clapped my hands as I bent forward on the edge of my seat and cried.

 

This movie made me feel so much. So much I hadn’t expected – not only was it not expected of the film…but of me. Did this movie change some of my fundamental ideals and judgments? You know what, maybe it did. It definitely showed me a side to which I was not able to truly understand before. It made me so sad for the people who have had such horrible things happen in their lives. It made me so angry that this country is filled with such shit. It made me feel vindicated when she pulled those triggers. And if made it afraid of whom I could become were a tragic event to occur in my own life.

 

Bottom line – this movie is a must see. It is not your typical revenge movie. It is not your typical anything. 

 

Friday September 14, 2007

Standard

 

I have been going through a pretty hard time lately. Physically I have been feeling terrible and it seems to be getting worse.  Some of the symptoms are by far worse the 7-10 days before my period but some of them are constant. A couple of them make my life very difficult to get through everyday. Mainly, the worst is the extreme fatigue. There are times when I am driving that I feel it is very hard to keep my eyes open. Also, the irritability and depression is really increasing. Finally I had two hot flashes a couple weeks ago and decided that was the last straw and I made an appointment with my Gyno Doc. I went in and explained my symptoms and told him that I would like to have hormone testing since all of my symptoms point to some type of hormonal dysfunction – yes I read a lot of medical stuff.

 

So, I was in there about 5 minutes and he told me that I have PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder). Here is the description of PMDD:

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder or PMDD is a condition associated with severe emotional and physical problems that are linked closely to the menstrual cycle. Symptoms occur regularly in the second half of the cycle and end when menstruation begins or shortly thereafter. PMDD is not just a new name for premenstrual syndrome (PMS), a condition that affects as many as 75% of menstruating women. It is, however, considered to be a very severe form of PMS that affects about 5% of menstruating women. Both PMDD and PMS share symptoms in common that include depression, anxiety, tension, irritability and moodiness. What sets PMDD apart is its severity. Women with PMDD find that it has a very disruptive effect on their lives.

He then handed me a bunch of samples of an anti-depressant called Lexapro. Lexapro is an SSRI and I did not want to resort to ever taking one of these again. In my past, before my heart tachycardia was diagnosed, doctors kept passing off my problem as “just” anxiety and experimented with many different meds which ultimately may have made my heart issues worse. They also had other quite icky side effects that seemed worse than the problem itself. Needless to say, this form of treatment did/does not make me happy. He explained that it is unknown why these medications help even the physical symptoms of PMDD, but that they in fact did. I still question that and wonder if maybe they just make the patient not care about the symptoms!! The only other treatment for PMDD would be trying different forms of birth control. Another medication I vowed to never take again. Again, I had tried many in my life and ALL of them made me terrible sick, depressed and fat. Not to mention – having a huge fear of heart attack and stroke – these just are not the pills I need to be taking.

After I came home I did A LOT of research and spoke with a number of people. I wrote to the Dr. who prescribes my anxiety medicine. He is a great man and a doctor I sincerely trust and respect. He was livid that I was prescribed this antidepressant for a hormonal problem. This is what he had to say:

Heather he gave you samples that were given to him by a drug rep. selling  Lexpro.  The FDA does not indicate Lexpro for anything other than  deprerssion and generalized anxiety disorder. 

 

Forrest Pharma was fined 20 million dollars in England for mis representing the drug …..it treats depression ,and generalized anxiety….National Institute of Mental Health  [a US government agency and related to the FDA] studies show it to be better than placebo only 47% of the time.  It is absolutly not authorized for treatment of any ob/gyn problems…..typicaly  pmdd is treated symptomaticly  with diuretics and with  [bioidentical hormones]…frankly the aditude that just tosses out samples of psych drugs to women , instead of checking

for hormone imbalances ,ovarian displasia and other medical problems seems sad.

 

low dose Lexpro is not effective for most depression.  it is a minimal weight gainer for some people.  there is a withdrawl potential , and many people  feel emotionaly ‘blah’ ,and loose there libido.  the drug is relitivly safe , and little different from Prozac ,Zoloft ,or Paxil [Serazone has been  pulled of the us market because of liver damage] it seems sad that women are just handed antidepressents , instead of being worked up for hormone imbalances , ovarian dysplasia , or endometrosis……….

    

Heather you are very sensitive to meds, weight gain and side effects are always a problem I would be very cautious.

 

 Contact the  womans pharmacy in madison.  They may have information on "bio identical" hormones , and other more natural methods.

 

Thank you for contacting me ,Feel free to do so in the future.

 

wishing you all that is good

 

So, obviously, that made me think (more than) twice about taking this medication. I took his advice and contacted the Women’s Pharmacy in Madison. A very kind pharmacist sat on the phone with me and took a bunch of information from me. She gave me some very good advice and a list of tests to request from my Dr. She said that the use of the Lexapro would simply be a band aid for some of the problems and not a solution. She said it was important to find out how much hormonal dysfunction was really happening. She also sent me a ton of information that was very enlightening. So, I called my GYN office and they said that there really is no reason for those tests. I was baffled. It’s not like I am not insured. What is the big deal??

 

After thinking long and hard about it, I decided to get a second opinion and went to the only Dr I could find in Racine who was covered by my insurance and who was not affiliated with All Saints. So I went to this newer clinic. The place was kind of a dump. I think they are for low income people – even homeless. Not that I knock that…but wondered if I had picked the best place for my second opinion. I again explained everything to the Dr and also told him everything the women at the Women’s Pharmacy had said to me. He pretty much blew me off – but did agree to order 3 of the tests I requested. He ordered a Free T4 (a thyroid test), Estradril (estrogen level) and Progesterone (another hormone level). About 5 days later he called and said he wanted me to retake 2 of the tests as one of them was very low – the progesterone. When I researched low progesterone – EVERY symptom was listed that I had. It was unreal. So, he had me come in a couple days later to retake these tests. He then called me on Wednesday (two days ago) and told me that they are normal and not to worry. Just take the antidepressant.

 

I decided to go one ore route before taking this medication that I desperately did/do not want to take. By the way…did I mention that the most reported side effects with Lexapro are weight gain and fatigue – which just happen to be my two biggest struggles in life right now. NO THANKS!! Anyway, there is a Nutritional Designs Pharmacy which takes a more holistic approach in treating people. And it seems to be geared more towards women. It is run by an incredibly innovative and nice woman. I spoke with her on Wednesday after talking to the second opinion Dr. She was also mortified at what I had to tell her about the Drs responses to my concerns. I spoke with her for a long time. She told me that I was headed down a bad road and I needed to find this problem now. She sincerely feels this is obviously a hormonal imbalance and it is just a matter of finding out what is going array.  She knows the second opinion Dr pretty well and told me to go to him and sign a release to get my info sent to her. That way she can speak to him about ordering the tests she says I really need to have. She said most Drs are very conventional and old fashion. They do not know a lot about hormonal issues and therefore pretend they do not exist. The one thing a Dr never wants to admit is that they did something wrong or do not know something. She wants me to take the following tests;

 

8am and 4pm Insulin – not glucose – said I could be insulin resistant even if my glucose levels are normal, which they are. My father was also insulin resistance which quickly developed into type 2 diabetes from which caused his death. So…it does make sense…but also scares me.

 

8am and 4pm Cortisol

 

DHEA

 

Free and Total Testosterone

 

Androstendione

 

So, right now I am just waiting to hear back. See how her conversation with the Dr goes and if the tests will indeed be ordered.

 

For now, I am trying to put things out of my mind. But I still feel like crap and I am kind of disappointed that I had to feel like this during my vacation.

 

I guess I have a lot of anger and frustration with this too. You see, for over a decade I was telling Drs (regular Drs and ER Drs) that something was wrong with my heart. They kept patting me on the head and sending me home with xanax. As I told you before it was just in my head and I was sent to psychiatrists and counselors. But then about 4 years ago I had a terrible SVT attack that sent me to the ER with a sustained heart rate of over 150 for 5 hours. I was finally diagnosed properly and given a medication which changed my life and stabilized my heart rhythm. So as you may guess, I get very irritated when I am patted on the head and told nothing is wrong when I VERY WELL know there is.

 

(Sigh). I just want to feel better. And you know what – maybe I do have the PMDD. But maybe there is an underlying reason why. And if not, I will accept that and take what I need to take. But not until I am certain there are no other options. I already take my heart medicine twice a day, my anxiety medicine twice a day and my allergy medicine once a day. I am 33 years old for Christ sake!! Do I REALLY need another pill to take??

 

I just want to be normal and happy and have some energy and not feel like crap all of the time. Is that really too much to ask?

 

Below I have listed my symptoms so you know what I am talking about. Perhaps you have a similar story or advice. Believe me…I would love to hear it.

 

 

 

List of long term symptoms:

 

History of Anxiety, Tachycardia (SVT), Depression, Irritability, PVCs and PACs and Fatigue

(Anxiety, Tachycardia and Palpitations controlled with Klonopin and Metoprolol)

 

Allergies – seasonal

 

Highly sensitive in general – to EVERYTHING (mosquito bite gets huge and red – everything seems exaggerated)

 

 

Symptoms since having child (3 years ago):

 

Changes in cycle

Breast tenderness (like super sore)

Major bloating in abdomen and chest prior to period

Lightheadedness/Dizziness

Low BP

Mood Swings

Brain Fog

Very low energy levels

Increasingly severe fatigue

Insomnia (recent)

Hot Flashes (recent)

Increased Irritability

Increase in headaches – sinus type

Body aches

Exercise Intolerance (even though I have been increasing – now do at least 3 miles a day on treadmill, arm weights and exercise ball)

Extreme difficulty losing extra 15-20 lbs – ALL around lower abs and breast area

 

  • All symptoms are exaggerated 7-10 days prior to period with the exception of fatigue which remains constant throughout the month

 

  • Have had history of ovarian cysts that did not require medical attention

 

  • Paternal Grandmother died of ovarian cancer in her late 50s

 

  • Father died of Diabetes at age of 46

 

  • Mother and Maternal Grandmother had hysterectomies in their 30s 

A Much Needed But Much Too Short Vacation

Standard

Well, vacation has come and gone as quickly as I can wolf down a piece of Danish Layer. I would love to be all gitty and positive as I write about our vacation, but my sheer depression upon returning to this 60 degree, winter bound state may just inhibit that. My apologies up front.

 

We left after only a few hours of sleep on Saturday morning at 3:15am.  I was SOOOO tired and quite anxious about leaving. I was going to miss my darling and I had a pounding headache that was the worst I’ve had in over a year. Seriously premenstrual and exhausted, I said I didn’t want to go and started to cry like a bratty two year old. Gee, I wonder where she gets it?? Anywho…obviously we DID in fact go and I regained my composure by the time we left Racine. The airport was pretty dead and we waited a while as the security check point was not even yet open. The flights went well. Only one layover, in Charlotte, which is a very nice airport. We had about an hour so I got the chance to paint my finger and toenails because I had run out of time the night before. Perhaps a bit crude for public, but what the hell do I care…not like I know anyone there! We arrived in Tampa at about 11:30am. Still tired, but things definitely started looking up. Palm trees and warm air – nice. We had a private car service pick us up as it was just about the same price as a taxi. St Pete Beach, where we were staying, was about 30 minutes away from Tampa. Island with a palm tree

 

The driver was a nice guy. He told us some things about the area. On the way to the resort I actually saw a flock of bright pink flamingos fly above us. Way cool. He explained that there were white and pink flamingos and the only reason that the pink ones are pink is because they eat more shrimp!! Who knew?? Unfortunately he also warned about the sting rays. This is something I was not aware of really and had not worries about. However, after his warning, I am afraid I did not end up swimming in the ocean as I had hoped to do several times during our trip. I LOVE the ocean. He said that we had to do what they refer to as “The Sting Ray Shuffle” with every step into the water to avoid being stung. Apparently the rays like to bask just under the sand at the shore and people have been getting stung by stepping on them unknowingly. Pardon my language…but fuck that. As much as I love that wavy salt water…it just was not worth the worry to me.

 

We got to the Tradewinds Grand Resort and were able to check in early – which was great. Check in wasn’t until 4 and we were 4 hours early. We got a nice 4th floor room in front of the mote type water way and paddle boats on the HUGE property. From our balcony we could also see the bay on one side and the Gulf on the other. I was very pleased. The bed was very uncomfortable though. Like a ROCK!! Most uncomfortable hotel bed I have ever felt. But oh well. We were pretty hungry so we decided to freshen up a bit and look for a place to eat. They have about 5 restaurants on site plus a deli, ice cream parlor and a Pizza Hut. We decided on some simple bar food which was over priced and just okay. But the alternative for the time of day (beside the Hut which was not happening) was an outdoor place and it was SO freakin hot!!  I was not ready for this kind of heat. MY GOD. It was about 90 which normally isn’t that bad…but it was sooooo humid. Instant sweat and even kind of hard to breath at times. Sun

 

But the heat was easily refreshed by the pool. We stuck with the adult pool the whole time – they had about 5 total. The water was so comfortable with surrounding palm trees, relaxing island music in the background and a tiki bar only steps away.

 

That first night – after a swim and a short nap – we decided to go to Snappers (a seafood restaurant down the street) and then to a comedy club. The restaurant was really good. The comedy club sucked. Terrible. The comics were lame. The audience had a bunch of drunken hecklers and they did not make any fun blended drinks (even though I was drinking N/A this vacation…it was still fun to have an umbrella in my coladas!!).

 

We were very beat by the end of the night and crashed by 10pm. Sleepy

 

The next day we spent hanging around the resort. We lay by the pool, ate, swam, and napped the whole day. It was nice!! Kinda wish we had done that everyday. In the late morning we had a delicious brunch that had shrimp, crab claws, prime rib and thee best deserts!! YUM. I was kinda pissed though at one point. The brunch included a complimentary champagne, mimosa or bloody mary. When it was time to order the mimosa I was REALLY looking forward to (not too much alcohol and I LOVE them) the little twit carded me!! Now, look at me. There is NO way I could possible be younger than 21 by any stretch of the imagination. We were there in our beach attire. I was not carrying my wallet let alone my driver’s license!! Who would be?? Our room was quite a hike from there so I said forget it. I was kinda irked.

 

On Monday we rented a car and went to John’s Pass which is in Madeira Beach and about 10 mins North of where we were. They had a boardwalk with shops, restaurants and bars. It was all on a harbor with many different boats and pelicans all over. I couldn’t get over all the pelicans. They are so cool.  After leaving John’s Pass and buying souvenirs, we went on a boat ride called The Dolphin Racer. It guaranteed dolphin sightings and people raved about it. It was a long 2 ½ hour trip in a huge jet boat. We saw 3 dolphins total and maybe for 2 seconds each. The driver said it was very unusual and that just the day before they could barely move there were so many out there. Figures. Then ones we did see jump up were too fast for my camera. So no pictures.

 

Tuesday was our last day as we were leaving to go to the airport at 2pm. So we went up the road to the Waffle House (Charlie is addicted to waffles..it’s weird) for breakfast and spent a few hours at the pool. Then we finally tried out the paddle boats before going up to the room to pack and get ready to leave. I was pretty much depressed the whole day. I had just gotten used to being there and now it was already time to turn back and go home. I was truly not ready and the post vacation still lingers.

 

The plane ride home was uneventful, thankfully. We had a late lunch at the airport since our plane didn’t leave until 6pm. Something I ate made me SO sick to my tummy. I finally bought some alka seltzer and felt a little better.

 

We got home at about 10:30pm. I was beat. Still am!!

 

The kids loved their little gifts. I hope my mom liked hers. She was really ready to go home. 4 days with Cass was definitely her limit I think. Maybe as she gets older it will get easier. I hope so because lord knows – next time – I need a whole week!!!!

 

So today I am wearing jeans and it is cool in the house. My tan is already fading, but I can still smell coconut on my skin. Everything is back to normal and it was like we never left. So, there is only one thing left to ask…when is vacation??

 

By the way – all the pictures have been uploaded and are in the Album on this site called Florida Vacation or something like that. Keep in mind the humidity – EVERY day is a bad hair day there. Eye-rolling Too bad I have no excuse for the extra pounds. Crying 

 

Hearing Aid Assistance – Glad You Asked

Standard
Here is the link to the online segment:
 
 

A reader writes in with the following question:

 

Here’s a GYA question for you … a woman called looking for financial assistance for seniors in need of hearing aids and hearing aid batteries. She said Medicare will not pay. Can you see if there is any assistance available?

 

Looking into this issue I have actually come across a number of organizations who not only provide awareness to the problem of low income citizens with hearing loss, but they also provide assistance. The following are organizations or companies that help those in need and how one would go about receiving their support. All of these organizations require that the applicants not have any other type of aid or coverage for hearing aids.

 

  • Wisconsin Lions Foundation Hearing Project

Applications can be obtained by calling 1-877-463-6953 or visiting their website: http://www.wlf.info/Hearing%20Projects.htm

 

  • Hear Now

This project is specifically for low income permanent US citizens. They are privately funded through donations and charity events – there is no government funding. To apply, call 1-800-648-4327 and leave a message with your information. For details, visit their website: http://www.sotheworldmayhear.org/hearnow/

 

 

  • Veteran’s Affairs

All WWI and WWII Veterans are eligible to receive hearing aids. Other veterans are eligible if their hearing loss is at 50% or more. Contact your local VA Medical Center or Clinic for details.

 

 

Seniors are not the only ones who are in need of assistance when it comes to hearing devices. Many children from low income families also have trouble affording hearing aids. There is a company who helps with that. The Miracle Ear Children’s Foundation accepts applications for children 16 and under who are low income, but do not qualify for benefits which would cover hearing devices. To apply, call 1-800-234-5422. More information can be found on their website: http://www.miracle-ear.com/resources/children_request.asp

 

Thank you for your question and I hope this information can help many out there who have felt there is no where to turn for their hearing wellness. 

Step Out to Fight Diabetes – I Need Your Help!!!

Standard

As you may know, my father died from complications of diabetes at the age of 46 nearly 10 years ago – September 1997. And I am sure we all know someone we care about with diabetes. SO…this year, I have decided to participate in the Racine Step Out to Fight Diabetes Walk. I would really like to get a team together as have as many people as I can join me. The walk is October 6, 2007 at 9:30am at Gateway Technical College (Racine). It is a 5 mile walk (with rest stops – so don’t worry – besides if I can do it…anyone can!!). As a team I think we could gather much more in donations. And it may actually be FUN, eh?? There is even free Chipotle at the end!!

 

Here is the webpage link:

 http://main.diabetes.org/goto/heatherrayne 

 

 On this webpage you can either sign up to be on my team or sponsor me with a donation. Either one would fill me up with appreciation!!!
 
 
You can also email me at cheers44@hotmail.com if you have questions.
 
Here is my team so far….wouldn’t your pic look lovely here??