Monday, April 30, 2012

WEGO HAWMC Day 30: Word Cloud

 HAWMC Day #30: Word Cloud. Make a word cloud or tree with a list of words that come to mind when you think about your blog, health, or interests. Use a thesaurus to make the branches of your “tree” extend further. http://www.wordle.net/
There WILL be an explanation for my sudden disappearance midway through the month from this challenge.  It's a good one and it came on me suddenly.  Not one single thing, but a conglomeration of them.  Next post, I promise.

I had hoped to do a few posts in the meantime, but I guess this is it for this month.  

I cut and pasted a bunch of text and the titles from the five all-time most popular posts from my blog (since 2009 anyway, when Blogger made a big change to the way stats are kept) and this is what I came up with.

 Wordle: April 30, 2012
Click on the picture to see it big. 

These are the five posts, in order of popularity as of right now:

The Twilight Saga books, and the first movie: Not just for teen girls!


Marisol Maldonado "comes out" of the autoimmune closet with husband Rob Thomas' hit song & video "Her Diamonds" - check it out; it's way cool


Fibromyalgia Awareness Day Guest Post by Toni Marshall of The Northern Virginia (NOVA) CFS/ME, FMS, & OI Support Group: Awareness Benefits Me


Long time no blog post...  (no idea why this one made the top five...?)


FINALLY - Sleep Study Results!


I've gotten over being surprised that my post about the Twilight Saga books and movies is my all time #1 most popular (by FAR), and I guess it will be #1 until well after the last movie is released.  

The fact that "sleep" is the biggest word was a surprise to me, but so appropriate!  

Generally speaking, I love my Wordle.  I might have it enlarged and do something creative with it and make a wall hanging out of it.  Someday.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Day 15: Writing with Style. My style.

I like to think that my writing style is straight forward.  In truth some people might actually think it's blunt.  But that's me so there you go.

Yes, words flow from my mind to my fingertips to the keyboard.  Sometimes for a complicated post I hand write it first.  I've used one book so far that I like very much, Writing the Natural Way by Gabriele Lusser Rico. She uses a technique called "clustering" that I find very helpful for organizing complicated topics.

I guess I do plan my posts.  Whenever I have an idea I quickly create a draft post with the gist of it or maybe just the link that inspired it and a title that I hope will help me identify it later.  Because right now I have about 150 draft posts for this blog.  So far I have never had any problems with writer's block.  That's probably because I don't usually write unless I want to; these writer's month challenges are the only times I've ever forced myself to write.  Up until this month I've never made it past Day 7 on a monthly challenge.

Like I said, I slap a title on the draft post immediately to help me identify the post quickly.  The actual title usually comes to me by the middle to the end of the post.  Finding a catchy title is in the back of my mind until I have one.  I admit I don't always find one.  That's a hard part for me.

I write best in the recliner with my laptop.

I just went through all of the pictures on WEGO's HAWMC Pinterest page.  It has pictures with links to blog posts and articles about writing.  I was expecting to slam them all in general with some pithy remark like 'I don't write with rules,' but instead I bookmarked and re-pinned most of them as they seem like they could be very useful.  I guess I got an incorrect impression from skimming that page in the past.  I've included one of the pictures below.  It links to the blog that it originally came from, Copy Blogger, who was kind enough to allow others to re-post his work.

I haven't tried to make my blog "successful" or "highly effective" like Darren Rowse or Leo Babauta or Brian Clark of Copy Blogger above and below, to name a few biggies who also write a lot about how they do what they do so that others who want what they have (a blog that makes a good living for them) can give it their best shot.  And I don't know that I ever will.  But it's good to know that the help is out there if I ever do decide to go in that direction.  I would like to have more regular readers and people who comment... and I would like for my blog to be as effective and helpful as possible.  Food for thought, for sure.
22 Ways to Create Compelling Content - Infographic
Like this infographic? Get more content marketing tips from Copyblogger.

Day 14: My Dream Day - at the beach

I'm late with this post; just couldn't seem to get it out yesterday, but I did a lot of other stuff.  Then I was going to quit the challenge all together but the weekly HAWMC email from WEGO came today and I was inspired to continue.  I was also reminded that I still have two "Get out of post free" days that I can use.  But I liked what I thought of for yesterday's post so much that I'm going to go ahead and do it quickly.

My dream day is going to the beach. Nothing too fancy, just going to a nice white sand beach to take advantage of the therapeutic benefits of being there.  I would take someone with me who would enjoy it like I do.  My sister and niece come to mind.

I'd have comfortable lounge chairs, shade available if we got too hot and needed a break from the sun, good beach food like fresh fruit smoothies, and rafts for lounging in the water and just going with the flow of the tide and waves.

Here's the part of the challenge that really got me thinking:

What obstacles prevent you from enjoying your dream day? How important is achieving such a day?

Before reading the passage above and giving it a little thought, it had never occurred to me that I could have a day at the beach.  The fact is that I can get to a very nice beach in an hour and a half.  I would need help with the driving, but it's doable! Considering how much I love the beach and how therapeutic it is for me, achieving such a day is now on my list of Very Important Things To Do.
I have had this day before, as you can see from the pictures below taken by yours truly at Indian Rocks Beach in Florida, 2003.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Day 13: 10 Things I Couldn’t Live Without.

Write a list of the 10 things you need (or love)most. 

Here they are off the top of my head and in no particular order:
  1. My cup of tea in the morning.  Organic Earl Gray, green and chai are my favorites.  With a teaspoon of local, organic honey and some unadulterated cream from a real farm.
  2.  My mom.  Without her I don't know where (or if) I would be.
  3. My sister.  Because she really seems to get how I feel about living with ICIs, and how much I would like to be living and working without them.
  4. Our dog Miley.
  5. Our cat Buttons.
  6. My adjustable bed.
  7. U-shaped neck pillows.
  8. The warm water therapy pool.
  9. Water dancing.
  10. Digital photography.
Photo courtesy of the Shabby Shoppe Blog.  And it comes with a couple of lovely recipes for Chai tea.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Day 12: Stream of Consciousness Day.

OK.  Here goes.  12:07 pm

Today I looked in the mirror and thought I knew HAWMC was going to be difficult this week because I have something extra and major to do every day this week.  So here it is Thursday and I have nothing prepared for today.  At all.  Maybe I should just try to get to Day 15 and stop there.  I have so many other things going on.  Doctors appointments, lab work appointments, trying to get the reason for these daily headaches diagnosed, dental appointments, my teeth are falling apart again - four crowns have to be re-done but I just finished #3 yesterday.  I also have a major special project I'm working on, I guess you could say consulting on, for a local non-profit.  But I made the commitment to try to post every day this month long before I took on the special project assignment.  And one of the reasons I wanted to this HAWMC is so I can get better at writing posts that are shorter and don't take so long to produce.  That's never going to happen if I don't PRACTICE.

Truth be told one of the things that's weighing heavily on me is the MRI that I traveled over an hour on Monday to have done.  That was enough in itself to put me in a tizzy, but they got the results to my doctor THE NEXT DAY and his office called and told me the results and said 'So you can talk to the Dr. about it when you come in for your follow up appointment.'  That's never happened before.  They told me that the white matter in my brain is changing.  So of course I Binged the phrase "changing white matter" and only allowed myself to look at one page of results to get a general idea of what they're talking about and now I have to wait until late next week to talk to the Dr. about it.  Every day that weighs a little more heavily on my mind.

12:22 pm - Stop!


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Day 10: Dear 16-year-old-me.

Write a letter to yourself at age 16. What would you tell yourself? What would you make your younger self aware of?

Dear 16-year-old-me,

Pretty soon you're going to meet a guy and fall in love with him.  He will consistently keep you out late at night and you will have trouble keeping up with your social life and your part time job, plus going to school full time.  You will be tired all of the time but you will keep going, you will keep up your work and school standards plus you will be a good-time party girl whenever possible.  It will be fun.

This will be the beginning of many years of a Type A Personality lifestyle in addition to an active social life.  

There's no way to tell if this lifestyle contributes to or causes the multiple chronic and autoimmune illnesses that you will begin to develop at a very early age, but if I could tell you anything it would be this: 
  •  There is nothing more important than taking care of yourself - physically, emotionally and spiritually.  Fun is temporary.  Your health is permanent.   
  • Keep up the yoga practice that you will start in a few years.  Don't let ANYTHING get in the way of regular practice.  
  • When Nia comes into your life, embrace it fully.  Figure out a way to get trained to teach Nia so you will never have to be without a Nia class, no matter where you live.
If you do these things, when you get older you will probably be in a much better place. 

I don't know if 16-year-old-me will listen to this.  She always was pretty headstrong.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Day 9: Keep calm and ...

The challenge:
Keep calm and carry on. Write (and create) your own Keep Calm and Carry On poster. Can you make it about your condition? Then go to (http://www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk/) and actually make an image to post to your blog.

I think the story of Keep Calm and Carry On is interesting. It all started with WW II propaganda posters put out by the U.K. Ministry of Information.

Here's mine.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Day 8: Best conversation I had this week - Rabies vaccination, anyone?

Try writing script-style (or with dialogue) today to recap an awesome conversation you had this week.

I've had a blessedly quiet week.  I haven't had many conversations and at first I didn't think a single one could be considered  "awesome."  Then I checked my trusty thesaurus.com and saw that one conversation could indeed be awesome in the sense of the red synonyms to "awesome," below: 

*informal/non-formal usage
Part of Speech: adjective
Definition: amazing
Synonyms: alarming, astonishing, awe-inspiring, awful, beautiful, breathtaking, daunting, dreadful, exalted, fearful, fearsome, formidable, frantic, frightening, grand, hairy*, horrible, horrifying, imposing, impressive, intimidating, magnificent, majestic, mean, mind-blowing*, moving, nervous, overwhelming, real gone, shocking, something else, striking, stunning, stupefying, terrible, terrifying, wonderful, wondrous, zero cool

So here's the background for this awesome conversation.  It was actually a telephone conversation with several different people on the topic of rabies shots for my pets.  We have not found a vet in our new location yet so I was making some calls trying to find one who would do a three year rabies shot, like our old vet, Dr. Fred Freeland at Pet Partners in Albany, GA did for us.  I had already done some research online and found that the law regarding rabies vaccinations for pets in the state of Georgia is on a county by county basis.  That means that each of the 159 counties in Georgia has their own law about rabies vaccinations.  I had also found a reference online to the county I live in now that indicated that the veterinary professionals in this area are themselves confused about what the law is regarding rabies vaccinations in this county. 

First I called a local vet's (LV) office in our new area.

Me:  Hi, I'm looking for a vet that will do a three year rabies vaccination for our pets.

LV:  What?

Me:  A three year vaccination as opposed to one that only lasts for one year.

LV:  Oh.  We don't do that.

Me: Do you know if any of the vets in the county do?

LV:  No... I don't know.

Me: OK, thanks.

In my research prior to this phone call I had also already found out that each county's law regarding rabies vaccination is handled in the County Health Department, Environmental Health/Disease Control area.  So I called the Health Department in my county and asked to speak with someone in Environmental Health/Disease Control (EH/DC).  Here's how that conversation went.

Me:  I'm trying to find out what the law is regarding rabies vaccination in this county.

EH/DC:  What do you want to know?

Me:  If three year rabies shots are allowed.

EH/DC:  No, we only do the one year.  

Me:  Really?  Where is that law written.  I would like to look at it.

EH/DC: We go by the state code and the state code says one year.

Me:  Where can I look at a copy of that?

EH/DC:  Ummm... it's online somewhere, let me see if I can find that...

Me:  What's it called?

EH/DC:  The Official Code of Georgia, Section 3119-1.  But if your pet did have a three year vaccination and it bit someone more than a year after the shot, your pet would have to be quarantined.  

Me:  ??????  My dog doesn't bite.

EH/DC:  But IF it did...

We went on like that for a while more then I thanked her and hung up.  In her defense I will say that I was able to find a copy of the law/code online with the information she gave me.  It's here:  http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/gacode/layout.htm. It says it's up to the counties "to adopt and promulgate rules and regulations requiring canines and felines to be inoculated against rabies and to prescribe the intervals and means of inoculation, the fees to be paid in county sponsored clinics, that procedures be in compliance with the recommendations of the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians for identifying inoculated canines and felines, and all other procedures applicable thereto." 

So the county is telling me they follow the state code and the state code says it's up to the county.

They have not heard the last from me on this.

What I really needed right now was heart worm medication for our dog; I was just trying to get the info about vaccinations so we would be ready with a vet in July when it's time for our pets' annual exams.  Somewhere along the line I got the idea to call our old vet and see if they would mail us the heart worm medicine so we wouldn't have to pay for an exam fee at a new vet before it's time for Miley the dog's annual exam (another law - vets can't prescribe medicine without seeing the "patient.")  They would and they did mail the medicine.

Here's the pertinent part of the conversation with the lady at our old vet's (OV) office.

Me:  I've been trying to find a vet in the new county we live in who will do a three year rabies vaccination like Dr. Freeland does but I haven't been able to find one.  The County Health Department here is telling me that they go by the state code and that it specifies a one year vaccination, but I can't find a copy of the law to look at it myself.

OV:  The state code says the county can go either way, with a one year or the three year.  

Me:  That's interesting.  I haven't been able to find anyone in this county who could tell me that.  Even the person at the County Health Department Environmental Health/Disease Control office told me that the state code says one year.

OV:  Laughs.  It's confusing and it's crazy because our pets don't need all of that medicine year after year.  It's hard to find anyone who will do the three year.  Dr. Freeland is the only one in this county who does.

Me:  Maybe we'll just have to bring the animals to you for their annuals!

We went on for awhile more with her commiserating with my plight.  When I got off the phone and talked to my mom/housemate about it, she pointed out that we need to have a vet here in case of emergency.  So I will continue my search for a local vet who is intelligent and free-thinking enough, and is willing to let go of some of his/her profits from these annual vaccinations in the interest of the health of my pets.

FYI, there is a non-profit organization called the Rabies Challenge Fund that seeks to change rabies vaccination laws in our nation to a reasonable and research-backed time requirement.
"Research has demonstrated that over-vaccination can cause harmful adverse effects in dogs."
So this exercise in writing has really been about ICI in pets caused by the meds we give them to supposedly keep them healthy.  Funny how everything seems to come back around to this blog topic eventually...

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Day 7: Health Activist Choice! - Headache Update

Write about what you want today.

In light of my haiku post yesterday, I thought I should do an update on my headache status.  I first wrote about the daily headaches I've been having since the beginning of last year, in February 2012 on Another ICI Diagnosis

Since that blog post, my neurologist has taken back the migraine diagnosis.

I don't have any aura or visual disturbances ever, throbbing pain is rare for me, I have occasional nausea but never any vomiting, rare and then only mild sensitivity to light and/or sound.  So you can see I'm missing most of the major symptoms of migraine.  I do occasionally have piercing pain on one side/temple.

I just have a headache, i.e. pain in my head, almost every day.  It's usually an actual ache and it's usually at least a level 4 on this Comparative Pain Scale, sometimes a 5 or 6 but never more severe than that.  Thank heaven for small favors.

So the neurologist is thinking maybe it's low cerebral spinal fluid pressure and I'm scheduled to have an MRI this month to see about that possibility.  But there are a lot of symptoms of low CSF pressure that I don't have also.

I was able to start seeing an endocrinologist recently, and  she's thinking maybe it's an anterior pituitary disorder.  I'll be having some blood work done this month to see about that.

In the meantime I have a level 4 or above headache almost every day and I can only take pain medicine for it 3 or 4 times a week because of the possibility of rebound, or medication over-use,  headaches developing.  In addition, every medicine I was taking for pain including Tylenol and the muscle relaxer Flexeril, seems to be triggering even worse headache pain.  NSAIDs cause nausea even when taken with food.  So I can't take anything for pain.

On  a more positive note, as a result of being unable to take meds I've been doing other things like gentle yoga or water exercise when possible, meditation for pain relief, and using ice and rest.


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