Monday, October 29, 2007

Wishing ALL a Safe Halloween

Last year he was too little...the FUN is beginning

Some Pumpkin Patches had a bad year!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

It's That Time Of Year

Get your SHOT before MSM start talking about a shortage!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

What Is Multiple Sclerosis

Recently someone said to me, "I didn't know black people could get multiple sclerosis". I looked at that person with a WTF look on my face wondering where the hell they have been living. Then I realized many African Americans are not aware of multiple sclerosis. My first response was multiple sclerosis doesn’t discriminate and I went on to explain how multiple sclerosis affects the body. To make a long story short the individual was concern enough to make an appointment with a neurologist to rule out MS when she recognized herself with my story of my journey finding out I had multiple sclerosis.

Here is an excellent visualization explaining multiple sclerosis. It mentioned numbness and tingling, but forgot to mentioned the PAIN multiple sclerosis can cause.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Althea WON!

This beautiful young lady met my daughter while they attended Vanderbilt University. The very first time my daughter start bringing her home on visits, I knew they were going to be life long friends. Since their graduation in May 2007, Althea decided not to start graduate school at Columbia University for a year to continue working for one of TN’s State Senators and compete in pageants for scholarships to continue her education.

She was first runner up in the 2007 Miss Black Tennessee Pageant and she WON the 2007 Miss TN International Pageant

C O G R A T U L A T I O N S! Althea

You are continuing to make your second Mom proud.

Althea is in the black dress

Friday, October 19, 2007

Happy Birthday!

I remember the day as if it was yesterday; it's hard to believe it’s been 25 years ago. You brought a smile to my face that day and I been smiling every since because you were the first of the two most precious gifts I received in my life.

You filled the first half of a mold that was broken. I couldn’t have asked for one of the most loving, compassionate, smart, independent, good, kindest, no nonsense daughter.

With All my LOVE

H A P P Y – B I R T H D A Y

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I Don’t Think She Learned Her Lesson

Shelly Brown is the other woman in my husband’s life. My husband and I picked her out of a litter of pups from a friend of ours in Louisiana; she stood out because she was the only brown and white pup in the litter. She back to Tennessee in my lap and you would think our bond was established during the long drive home. My husband thought it would be a good idea to bring another woman in the house to keep me company while he was at work.

Let me put it this way she is in love with my husband and she tolerates me. It took awhile for me to get it in her head I was the only Queen and we had many battles to get to that understanding. I know this sounds crazy, but Shelly purposely tried to get me in trouble with my husband. I never abused her, but in the early years I would put her out in the garage until he come home when she makes me mad.

I have many stories about Shelly and if I was to blog about it you would think I was crazy, my family and friends thought I was crazy until they start witnessing Shelly’s cunningness. There were time I wanted to give her way, but now that we have an understanding I would miss our love/hate relationship. Shelly finally met her match; she’s been antagonizing a tom cat as big as her when she goes out. Last night when my husband came home she did what she always to go to him for a daily rub down, but this time my husband noticed she looked as if she’s been hit by a car.

I never noticed because when I am upstairs she is downstairs and vice versa that's our relationship when we are alone. We just had her groomed last Friday and when I looked at her after my husband asked me if she’s been hit by a car. I did notice she was more timid than usual and looked as if she wasn’t groom a few days ago, I felt bad that I didn’t’ notice something was wrong with Shelly.

I took her to the Pet Salon to get groomed again and asked them to check her out to see if she’s been hit by a car, it turns out the oil, dirt and what appeared to car marks were signs of Shelly being in a fight. Once Amy told me she looks like she was attack by a cat it all made since. The tom cat Shelly been harassing when she is out took revenge on her. Shelly was lucky the tom cat claws didn’t go into her deep and it was in the back, he could have gouge her eyes.

I was just telling my husband when we were out in the yard Saturday and Shelly broke and chased the tom cat that the cat was going to get tired of Shelly harassing him when they were both outside. Maybe she learned her lesson only time will tell. Anywho, she is acting like herself again after receiving her medicated shampoo and ointment and she is downstairs while I am upstairs, I wonder what lie she is going to tell on me when her Daddy comes through the door this evening.

Still I Rise

Maya Angelou’s poem “Still I Rise”
gave me strength living in America as a black woman, but today it also gives me strength living with multiple sclerosis. I considered myself in a fight for my life the day I was told I had MS. All I could vision on my tearful ride home from the neurologist office was Richard Pryor. After thinking of Richard which I knew the end was near for him, I thought about Montel Williams. I do not know about others who live with MS, but for me every day is a struggle. I fight every day just to get moving, that’s why I try to stay busy doing something. I have met and know several people with MS who had given up and they are now just wasting away. They are bed ridden, blind or sitting in a wheel chair sooner by giving up instead of fighting. By looking at me from the outside you wouldn’t know I have MS, which is why I tell people do not judge a book by its cover.

I want to continue to have the use of my legs, eyes, and not be totally depended on my family because I am bed ridden. I know that is my future, but I also know as long as I keep a positive attitude and a fighting spirit I will delay it for years or I just might never experience going blind, loosing the use of my legs or become bedridden all the things I fear most living with MS. That is why I know I have to continue to fight the invisible symptoms o MS no matter what the risks are from the medications.

The month of November is a busy month for me and MS is trying to rear its ugly head. In this order, as President of a book club I have Dwight Fryer, author of The Legend of Quito Road as The Circle of Friends Book Club guest for a reading and book signing to prepare for, I have family coming to town for the Thanksgiving holiday, and finally I have my step daughter wedding to prepare for and attend the Sunday after Thanksgiving.

The Duragesic patch and Cymbalta is giving me relieve from pain and tingles, but lately I am having terrible headaches and spasticity is now creeping in my body. It’s like my body knows I have plans and its trying to bring me down. I am good at giving others good advice, but it’s time for me to take my own advice. That’s why I blog to remind myself of that fighting spirit that’s in me, as another way to communicate to my family on how I am feeling, and hopefully to inspire others not to give up.

I am not going to lie my experience with IPIR scared the hell out of me and I wimped out taking my shot last night. I got to thinking about Still I Rise and from that I regained a new strength. I WILL be taking my shot tonight and I WILL NOT let the rising symptoms from MS that is rearing its head take me out. Knowledge is Power and I gained enough knowledge about how to handle my MS to battle my symptoms when they creep up on me.

I am in a fight, but in the end STILL I RISE…I RISE!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Side Effects

I honestly believe my death will be because of a side effect from one of my medications I take for multiple sclerosis. I use to believe side effects from medication would happen within three days of taking a new medication. My realities of that belief was diminished when methotrexate went toxic on me in June 2006.

Another reality of side effects hit home last night when I had a reaction after injecting Copaxone. Immediately after my injection my chest felt as if it was being crushed and I couldn’t catch my breath. I felt as if I was about to die from a massive heart attack. Thankfully, that crushing feeling start subsiding after five minutes, but the shortness of breath lingered on for another five minute. Of course my husband wanted to call 911, but I assured him I was going to be fine. To be honest I was worried about what happened and I couldn’t wait until the next morning to call my neurologist to find out what happened.

I was anxious to know what happen and I couldn’t wait any longer to hear back from my neurologist, so I called the Copaxone Shared Solution hotline. After explaining my symptoms to the nurse she advised me not to take the shot tonight until after I hear from my neurologist to see what she want me to do. The nurse from Copaxone told me I had a rare side effect from Copaxone that is called Immediate Post Injection Reaction and from studies of Copaxone it happened to about 10% of the people in there clinical trials, but it is not and should not be fatal. Hmm, that is easy for them to say, but it is not comforting if you experience it.

Well, my neurologist seem to think the same because she advised that I take my shot tonight because that reaction is so rare and random that it may not ever happen again. Once again that’s easy for her to say, but not comforting to me. Since this was the first time I experienced an IPIR, I will take my injection tonight with reservations. If I experience IPIR again, I might rethink my decision to take Copaxone. The only reason I decided to continue using Copaxone is because my MRI’s have been stabled for the last several years of having no new brain lesions. So for now I have to suck it up and be a big girl and take that dang shot tonight.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Music Is Good For The Soul

Like clock work every morning when I was a young girl waking up in the morning for school, the first song played on the radio station. God works in mysterious ways; little did I know the first song would have such a profound meaning to me today at this very moment. The second song was my anthem when I was in a terrible first marriage. It brought me through the darkest moments in my life and it will bring me through the darkest moments of multiple sclerosis.

I know longer ask why me for being stricken with multiple sclerosis. I accepted my faith and I try to live the most productive life I can, but it just seems as if there is a force that try to keep you down. That force for me is PAIN, every time I think I have conquered or found a remedy to help me with my PAIN it rears it's head in another direction.

I promised myself when I allowed PAIN to get the best of me in July I would NEVER EVER get that desperate to rid myself of PAIN. Therefore, this PAIN in my HEAD that is whipping my a** step back because I will not allow you to get the best of me. Because...

Jesus Is The Best Thing


I Will Survive

Side personal message to this second video.

Ladies and men (if it applies)...listen carefully to the words in "I Will Survive" if you are in an unfulfilling, abusive relationship this song will eventually get through to you. It will give you the strength to move on and it is best to move on while you still have love in your heart. If you have children don't waste it on someone because of the children, you will be doing them more harm than good if you stay.

Yes, it is scary to step out on your own especially if you entered the relationship as one and you are leaving with an additional two (in my case). As I look back leaving my daughters father when they were very young was the bravest act in my life. Had I listen to my father and stayed because of the children I might have ended up like Nicole Brwon Simpson or Mary Winkler and Men you can end up like many of the men showcased on "Snapped".

You can't change the other person in a bad relationship; you can only inventory yourself and changed your negative behavior you may have adapted in the unhealthy relationship. I always prayed for a loving man and I started to think they did not exist, that's only in the movies. I thank God everyday I took the leap of faith to open my heart again because the way my present husband and I met, it was meant to be.

I literally had one foot out the door because I did not see a mutual friend of ours at the time at her birthday party. It was he my (soul-mate) who located our mutual friend to stop me from leaving the party because I did not see her after arriving and searching the establishment looking for her. You see my husband and I did not travel the same social circle that night was the first and could have been the last night we would have had a chance meeting.

Because of him my daughters had an upbringing with a man that is more their father than their biological father could ever be. I will never understand a man or women who pull their emotional support from a child when the relationship ends. I thank GOD every day for stopping me from leaving that birthday party in September 1991. When I allowed opening my heart again and eventually introducing my soul mate to my daughters nine months later, my life forever changed. I allowed myself to love again without taking my past baggage and baggage with me.

I was blessed with a man who was not afraid to show his love me and my daughters and did the same with his son and daughter. He provided me with a man that did not pull his emotional support from his biological children. He provided me with a man who rescued his children from a mother who did not and would not protect them from the man in her life. He provided me with a man who worked and works hard to provide his family with a comfortable life and who wasn't afraid to tell us NO. He provided me with the strongest, smartest, loving, and compassionate man I know. Who would have thought I would be living my dreams of a perfect relationship while I live with an illness that is so unpredictable it would make most people run for the border.

If he could I know he would take away my PAIN from ms and take it upon him so I could be pain free. The words in the song "I Will Survive" saved my life in more ways than one. Finally, heed the words in the song and move on from an unhealthy relationship.

Thank You For The Memory

I read about Mr. Ernest C. Withers in my Arts Appreciation class. One day in the summer of 2005, my husband and I were enjoying a beautiful mild summer day walking Beale Street. We noticed Mr. Withers photography studio, I suggested we go in because maybe we would have a chance to look at some historic pictures. To my surprise Mr. Withers was there sitting in his oversize chair, I was honored to be in the presence of famous photojournalist. He shared his story and pictures photographing history with us. Spending time in Mr. Withers studio that summer is one of the most memorable moments in my life and I dedicate this post to his memory and thank him for documenting a part of my history in photographs. A picture is worth a thousand words.

Rest in Peace Mr. Ernest C. Withers

Friday, October 12, 2007

Nerve Pain Is Different

In the beginning it was hard for me to distinguish my pain because I experience pain in the joints, muscle, and nerves. All I knew was I was in pain and I wanted it to stop. Now that I know how to distinguish my pain, I know what pain medication works for me which is Cymbalta for my nerve pain and the Duragesic patch for my joint and muscle pain.

The following is an article from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society Mid South Chapter newsletter called the Connection. It is about nerve pain and I can vouch for Cymbalta when it comes to nerve pain it is also an anti-depressant. That’s one capsule that attacks two symptoms of MS and I highly recommend it over Neurontin. Why take three Neurontins a day that only helps with nerve pain when you can take one Cymbalta that helps with nerve pain and depression?

All pain is transmitted by nerves, but nerve pain is different. "Phantom limb pain" is a vivid example of "neuropathic" or nerve pain. This type of pain originates in the central nervous system in injured nerve pathways, not in the bones or muscles. A person with phantom limb pain feels pain in a body part that was amputated in the past.

MS lesions can injure nerve pathways and produce neuropathic pain - or unpleasant sensations called dysethesias (or "di-es-THESE-ee-ahs"). The burning, aching, stabbing, prickling, or itching may start and stop or drag on. MS lesions may also cause "allodynia" (Al-oh-DIN-ee-ah") - which is pain from something that shouldn't be painful. A soft touch, the weight of bed covers; even a cool breeze can be the trigger.

Neuropathic pain is not soothed by the over-the-counter medications that work on muscle pain. Even powerful prescription medications such as Percocet, Lortab, Oxycontin, or Darvocet are not effective for this kind of pain.

Instead, physicians need to prescribe medications that work on nerves. They may be anti-convulsants (such as Tegretol, Dilantin, or Neurontin), antidepressants (such as Elavil), or new drugs approved for diabetic pain (such as Lyrica or Cymbalta). It's not uncommon to try out several drugs to find what works best.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Super Bowl Here We Come

The Associated Press said it best "The unflappable Romo overcame five interceptions and a lost fumble to lead two last-minute drives, and rookie Nick Folk kicked a 53-yard field goal as time expired, giving the Dallas Cowboys an improbable 25-24 victory over the Buffalo Bills on Monday night". Sorry Bills I know that was a hard loss.

I can't wait for Sunday mega match up against the New England Patriots.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Get Well Soon

For some odd reason Disabled Not Dead blog site freezes when I visit. Anne, if you are able to surf the blogoshpere while you are dealing with your pain, I wanted to let you know I am thinking of you and hope the pain in your jaw gets better. I truly know how you are feeling right now and I pray that pain don't last too long in your jaw.

I once had that jaw pain and I went to the dentist thinking that was the doctor to see. Turns out it was not a problem for the dentist it was pain from having a multiple sclerosis flare. Thankfully for me it lasted three days. I pray it is a flare that will not last long for you and nothing more serious. Take care of yourself and I will continue to check in on you.

While I am at it I also want to wish nothing but good news for NewComa from her doctors.

Inviting Myself

Technology is so advanced I am going to put on a pair of those funny looking google glasses and virtually join Mdmhvonpa and his family on vacation.

Monday, October 1, 2007

The Best Medicine

After all that cooking this weekend, I had a hard time getting up and moving about. Thankfully, I already baked my pineapple upside down cake for dessert. I put on a new Duragesic patch and in a matter of minutes I felt doped. I felt like I was floating and out of body it scared me. The last time I felt that doped up was when I was on a higher micro gram of morphine. I was alarmed to feel that way immediately on such a low dosage.

I hate feeling doped because I am not in control and I flashback to when I had a toxic reaction to methrotrexate. My breathing became a little shallow and my instinct was to take the patch off. I didn’t want to take the patch off because the pain in my legs dissipated. I played devils advocate and told myself no matter what if my breathing and doped up feeling didn’t go away within two hours I was going to remove the patch.
I drifted off to sleep and I thought I heard voices over me, when I open one eye my little man said, “Hi Nana” with the biggest smile and jumped on the bed and gave me a big hug. My daughters asked if I was okay because I was in bed, I didn’t want to worry them and told them I was fine, dinner was ready and I will be down in a minute. This Sunday was very special to me because all my girls and my favorite little man was over visiting. It’s been awhile since all of them were home together.

I knew I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to be in the kitchen to cook Sunday’s dinner. Thankfully, I prepared so much food the prior two days I didn’t have to. I had some turkey legs I smoked in the freezer. I defrost my smoke turkey legs and cut the meat off the bones and made a light gravy and poured it over the legs and threw them in the oven. I took a container of pinto beans, chicken/sausage gumbo, and green beans out and placed them on top of the stove to heat. Made a pot of rice in my rice cooker and walked away. The only item I had to prepare was a pan of cornbread and my dinner was complete for Sunday without breaking a sweat or stumbling around.

LOVE is the BEST medicine around!

Summer To Fall

I was a cooking maniac this past weekend. The only reason I stopped cooking Saturday night was because my legs couldn’t take it anymore. My Duragesic patch was to come off Sunday morning and I guess I didn't have enough medicine left in my patch to keep me going.

When I was younger you couldn’t get me in a kitchen. I remember my father telling my mother she needs to make me come in the kitchen with her so I can learn how to cook. My mother never made me; she said if I didn’t want to learn it would be a waste of time. I enjoyed watching her cook back in the day and she was and still is today the best cook I know.

I remember like it was yesterday when I married for the first time how my father came over to my house with two cook books and told me I was going to need them. The two cook books didn’t teach me how to cook, it was having a family to feed and a new found love of cooking. I was on the phone everyday with my Mom or my Dad asking them how to cook this or that. The first time I tried to cook pinto beans they were so hard you could throw one and break a window.

When the fall season comes around I like to cook and freeze some dishes because the seasoning is richer. By the time my legs gave up on me I had cooked pinto beans with ham hocks, navy beans with ham, chicken/sausage gumbo, chicken dumplings, chili, and spaghetti sauce. Since it is just my husband and I living at home I store my food in smaller containers, if I have a large gather I just pull out more than one container.

The best cooks are the ones who weren’t forced to cook at a young age. I never forced my girls to cook and each one of them knows how to cook like grandma. No box food for them if they don't know how to prepare something, they call me like I use to call my Mom. They have been asking me to make them a recipe book for the longest, this year they will finally get their wish. I've been working on a recipe book of all their favorites and more to give to them this Christmas.