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Hurricane Dorian - Go Away

Aug 31, 2019 - 3 comments

As most of you probably  know by now, we've been dealing with dear Hurricane Dorian playing around in the ocean for the past few days.... the fact that we have a hurricane bearing down on us is bad enough, but I think what's worse (for me) is the fact that  nobody can really  decide where it's going to go and when it's going to get there.  It seems like this thing has been plastered all over our TV and/or computer screens for way too long...

It was, originally, supposed to come in on the east coast, nail the entire state and wipe us all out on Monday so everyone went into a panic and emptied store shelves of bottled water, bread and other food staples, batteries, generators, tarps and various survival supplies. as well as depleting gas stations of every drop of gas they could muster.  

Then they changed landfall to Tuesday, but maybe Wednesday, then back to Monday, then Wednesday again, with every update bringing more uncertainty and for many people many panic, especially those who are new here.

When the storm was upgraded to a Category 2 hurricane, I started reading postings of people searching for gas cans - some begging for 5-10 cans... okay, that means they bought that shiny new generator, now they have no gas with which to operate it... Of course, it doesn't matter whether they find cans or not because, as I said, the stations are out of gas... of course, they could get new supplies by the weekend, but since much of our gas supplies come in via the sea and I  watched a news conference yesterday about sea ports being closed down, it's anybody's guess whether that's possible...

Most people don't realize that there are only 2 major roads into/out of the state and some people have decided to start clogging them by trying to evacuate when there's no evacuation order in place and one may never come. The problem with that when there's so much uncertainty with a storm like this is it's impossible to know where to go until they figure out where the storm is going.  The only safe thing to do if one is going to leave is to head to the midwest and that might not even be totally safe... lol  Of course, I'd never waste money on an unnecessary evacuation because who knows what the next storm might bring?  And there always will be a "next storm"...

As updates came yesterday, it began to look as though the storm might go up the east coast and at least not do a lot of damage to the western part of the sate...Being central I'd still get it (or at least "something"), but locations on the west coast would be safe and we'd be grateful for everyone spared.

This morning's update indicates that it might actually go north, completely offshore, which means the entire state could be spared, getting only tropical storm winds... wow; how awesome would that be!! Not that we can't  get damage from tropical storm winds; just that it wouldn't be nearly as devastating as a Cat 4 hurricane...  The bad thing about it missing Florida is that means some location further up the coast will get hit, whether it ends up being the Carolina's (as is being shown now) or even further north.

Have I mentioned how much I hate these things?  :-(  

Anyway, we still don't know what will happen because a wobble this way or a wiggle that way can change all the projections in a heartbeat and although I'd like to think we're out of harms way, we can still be devastated.  

When Hurricane Andrew hit the Miami area in 1992, we were still in Iowa and one of my co-workers was insensitive enough to make the comment that: "when you live in an area like that you have to live with things like that".  I think of that every time I have to deal with a hurricane or every time we, or another part of the country/world endures tornadoes or I see deathly blizzards up north, earthquakes out west, etc.  Every part of the world has their individual weather phenomenon.

I hate hurricanes as much as I hated the snow/ice storms and blizzards that caused us to leave Iowa and seek warmth in the Sunshine State...

Did I mention how much I hate hurricanes?  Go away Dorian...

Having Hobbies Can Help Control Stress and Pain

Sep 09, 2018 - 6 comments

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I haven't been posting any journals lately, but my stress level aka anxiety has been a little higher lately, so I thought I'd go ahead and post one just for kicks... :-)

We all know that when we're stressed, don't feel well or are in pain, we don't really feel like doing a whole lot; I tend to spend too much time at the computer when my anxiety level is high or if I'm in pain because it's easier than deciding what task to take on. Since I retired, it's easier to "do nothing" because I don't have that job to get up for anymore.

I know, for myself, the longer I don't do anything, the easier it gets to continue not doing things I, typically, enjoy. In the long run, not doing anything ends up putting more stress on me and I start feeling overwhelmed, sicker and in worse pain.  It ends up being a vicious cycle and the longer it goes on the harder it is to break.

That's when I know it's time to shake it off and fall back on my list of hobbies. There are several that I enjoy, including gardening, reading, coloring, puzzles, crochet, sewing and my favorite - woodworking. I have hypothyroidism/Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, Interstitial Cystitis and Peripheral Neuropathy caused by years of untreated Pernicious Anemia.  Last year I got a frozen shoulder and I'm still struggling with that, plus there's often a lot of stress within my marriage as well, so I don't lack for stress/anxiety and pain.

When we work on a hobby, our brain releases "feel good" chemicals, serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine, that help balance pain signals and reduce anxiety. We also get a feeling of accomplishment, which produces more feel good chemicals.

"Hobbies can double as therapy

Artistic hobbies can make you more resilient, improve mental health, and develop a social support network, although there are some risks of repetitive injuries (which can be mitigated), according to a recent study in the British Medical Journal.

Art therapy is used a lot when dealing with PTSD and chronic pain, especially in the initial stages where anger and grief needs to be released and processed.

Even if you aren’t an artist, drawing, painting or scrapbooking can help release the anger at losing control of your body and your life."
http://stillpain.com/hobbies-with-chronic-pain/

As I said, my favorite hobby is woodworking. I have my own little shop and I spend a good share of time there working on projects. I make little items, do some refinishing, wood burning (pyrography). I've also learned to do some wood carving and I'm teaching myself leatherwork, as well.  All of these things help take my mind off stress and pain and help relieve my anxiety. Once I get started on a project, I can, literally, feel the stress and anxiety leave my body; eventually, I'll realize I don't feel pain as great, either. I love the feeling of satisfaction when I've made something pretty from a piece of plain wood (fabric, skein of yarn, etc).

Lately, I've been learning how to make ink pens... it's pretty cool to be able to take a block of wood and end up with a working ink pen, or a box or something else that I've made with my own hands. (I've posted some photos of some of the things I've done)

A day spent working in the shop makes fatigue and pain easier to deal with and after I've spent the day doing something I enjoy, I know I have a reason to be tired and although I'll probably be in more pain than I was when I started, at least I'll have something to show for it.  My sleep that night is, usually much better and more restful so it's easier to start the next day off on the right foot, even if I have to take it a bit easier for a day or so.

It doesn't matter what kind of hobby one takes up... I even find that writing helps because it helps move thoughts from my mind to paper or to my computer, so I'm not "storing" them so much.  

Levothyroxine for Hypothyroidism - Most Prescribed Drug in America

Mar 28, 2018 - 1 comments

In my roaming around online this morning, I ran across this article on Good Rx.com.  For those of you not familiar with Good Rx, it's a good thing for people who don't have insurance or who have high co-pays for drugs.  I do have insurance but I use it for my vitamin B-12 injectible because Medicare doesn't cover vitamins, even for those of us that have genetic or metabolic conditions.

Back to the subject at hand...  :-)  

The article breaks down the top 10 drugs in the U.S. by state with Levothyroxine being the most prescribed.  For those not familiar, Levothyroxine is a replacement thyroid hormone used for those of us with hypothyroidism (low thyroid hormones).  Levothyroxine is the active ingredient in the medication; Synthroid is the best-known brand, though there are a couple of other brands as well, along with numerous generics.  

I would question the use of the term "drug" in connection with Levothyroxine since it's a replacement "hormone".  Not everything that requires a prescription can be considered a drug and to me, that includes Levothyroxine, but maybe I'm splitting hairs.  

I also take exception to the comment: "It’s widely used to treat “hypothyroidism,” when the thyroid produces low amounts of hormone, resulting in tiredness and lack of energy – despite some controversy over whether those people are being helped by the medicine."   It's true that Levothyroxine is widely used to treat hypothyroidism, however, tiredness and lack of energy are far from the only symptoms caused by hypothyroidism and for those of us that have it, there would be little controversy over whether or not the medication is helping unless the dosage we've been prescribed is not adequate. The only ones who would argue this point are doctors or others that have never experienced these symptoms.

It's an interesting read anyway, so I'll get off my soapbox and let you form your own opinion.  

https://www.goodrx.com/blog/the-most-popular-drugs-in-america-by-state/?rs_oid_rd=1535712820538771&utm_medium=email&utm_source=sendgrid.com&utm_campaign=em_newsletter&utm_content=us_of_drugs_v2&e=7b190e56e9aed2904911dd0f52fc5d94&c=fixed_0_2018-01

For those of you that might need an alternative to high prescription costs, even if you have Medicare or insurance, take a look at goodrx.com.  You can't use it with Medicare or insurance, but in some cases, it can still save you a considerable amount of money...

Where does fat go when we lose weight?

Mar 28, 2018 - 5 comments

Some of us are involved in the weight loss challenge, trying to lose a pound a week.  That doesn't sound like such a hard thing to do, but for some of us, it's really a challenge.  

We've had discussions about what we eat, much of it centering around the amount of sugar we eat.  We all know that sugar is bad for us and we shouldn't be eating/drinking it, right?  And for most of us, it does make a difference in our weight when we eat more/less sugar... sure it does.

Look at the title of my journal though... had you ever really thought about what happens to the fat you lose?  I hadn't given it that much thought. I, pretty much, thought it dissolved and went down the toilet...

According to the following article some of it does, but not the way we might think it does.  Who would think we actually exhale or sweat out our fat?  

https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/26/health/lose-weight-where-does-it-go-partner/index.html

I've read that what we eat is 80% of weight loss, but that never seems to work for me, no matter how strictly I stick to an eating plan; I have to have that exercise.  If the article is correct, I guess there's a good reason for that.