Tuesday, November 18, 2014


What is it?
How is it used?
Is it safe?
I don't know.

I was reading about the latest thing to pop up about painkillers. People on forums and Facebook have been talking about it.

And they've been trying it.

Ok....first things first. What is it? Kratom is from a tree or, more specifically, the leaves from the mitragyna speciosa tree. The trees are indigenous to Southeast Asia and have been used in traditional medicine for centuries. Thailand has banned its use and there are several states where Kratom is also banned. It's been used in the management of chronic pain and it behaves like morphine. 

The DEA lists Kratom as a drug of concern.

One thing they did find was that Kratom helped the withdrawal symptoms of opioid dependence. When Kratom was quit suddenly the side effect was diarrhea and a runny nose. Considering what the withdrawal symptoms of narcotics can be I would think that Kratom would be studied. 

The other thing is that Kratom doesn't have the respiratory depression that opioid have. When you have a medication that helps pain without the risk of overdose it sounds like it should be studied. Why haven't the pharmaceutical companies looked at it?

Or have they? GlaxoSmithKline looked at it in the 60's but nothing came of it. Let's face it, something must be off either in the delivery or the drug itself. They could make a ton considering the opioid problem in this country. 

It can cause drowsiness, fatigue, nausea and stomach discomfort and constipation. It has the potential for abuse when you exceed the recommended dosage. If you decide to use this be very sure that it won't interact with medications that you are taking or have taken. Be very careful. Just make sure you research it very carefully before you make your decision. 

Is it addictive?

I don't think anyone knows.

There are animal studies that show that a tolerance can be built up over time.

And the directions state it can be habit forming.

That kind of signals addictive to me.

But what do I know?


Sunday, November 9, 2014


There are times that we feel left behind.
Some doctors don't believe us.
Some people don't believe us.
Sometimes we don't believe us.
Go here.

I only wish I could go to Stanford. 

But it does give one hope.

There really are physicians that "get it."

Friday, October 31, 2014


Chronic Pain.
The perfect trifecta.

It's so true that we disguise ourselves. Whether we have a chronic illness or not we usually never tell the truth when someone asks how we are. I mean, who really answers the question when someone asks how you are? It's really bad when you have chronic pain.

"How are you doing today?"

Not good.
All I want to do is sleep.
I'm in huge, big time, pain.
My hands hurt.
My head hurts.
My back hurts.
I'm not sleeping real well.
My whole body hurts.
Every bone in my body hurts.
I ache.
I'm tired.
I feel horrible.
I can't seem to get out of bed.
I can't concentrate real well today.
What did you say?

After a while no one wants to hear it anymore.

Let me clue you in on a little fact.

After a while we don't want to say it anymore either.

So we say:

I'm okay.
Or we fake a smile.
I'm just a little tired.
Or we fake a smile.
It could be worse.
Or we fake a smile.
Today's not a real good day.
Or we fake a smile.
Or we burst into tears.
And we still try to fake a smile.
Or better yet....we just don't say anything.

We mask it.

Anyway, we disguise how we feel. We disguise the pain that we feel. We disguise the guilt that we feel. We disguise the depression. We disguise the lack of sleep. We disguise the embarrassment over feeling sick yet again. We disguise the forgetfulness. We disguise everything.

It's funny how Halloween brings to mind the nature of chronic illness because we wear masks almost daily. 

We have to stop and take off the masks.


We don't want to be a mask.

A mask with a beating heart.

Monday, October 20, 2014


It's been well documented that our physical and emotional wellness intersect. We need management tips and we need them bad because, let's face it, there are days that everything is just overwhelming. Everything we read tells us to sleep and get rid of the stress in our lives. What happens when we just can't seem to do that? 

The one thing we don't want to hear is the rest, move and sleep platitudes. Like I said, very good things but those words tend to really irritate us especially when we are really hurting. We would do those things if we could. Don't compound the situation by telling us what we already know. 


Stress makes us crazy. That old pesky fight or flight light that goes off and sends cortisol running through our body.  I remember the feeling. My muscles would tighten and my heart would beat faster. It seems like your senses are sharper. I thought I would thrive in that environment and I loved it. However...... If chronic stress can rewire the brain then I must be really screwed up. The body needs to shut off the switch and therein lies the problem. The stress felt so normal for so long that it tends to give you a warm, fuzzy feeling but the price that you pay for that over-achieving, perfectionist, familiar feeling is a very heavy toll on your system. 

You put a bulls-eye on your back.

Put the effects of stress together with a central nervous system dysfunction that is found in Fibromyalgia and you have a recipe for disaster. We have to find a way to breathe through the stress. Do whatever it takes because we have to. Try yoga, aromatherapy, acupuncture, massage, biofeedback.....anything.....going outdoors and looking at the sky......whatever it takes to relax.

If there is a great deal of stress that is overwhelming you the best thing you can do for yourself is to take some time for you. I find that a bath is a real lifesaver in those situations. I'm one of those people that thinks a bath helps everything. Feel icky? Get in the tub. Stuffy nose? Get in the tub. Stressed? You got it......

Having said that, removing yourself from your mind isn't easy. The wheels keep turning. There has to be some way that you can shut the door and stop. Even if it's just for a few moments. Put on your headphones and listen to some of your favorite songs. Place your head on the pillow and shut your eyes. Go to the beach or to the place where you felt warm and safe and stay there for a little while. Sit outdoors and look up at the sky and just "put it in neutral."

I love that  saying.

Our support group is focused on emotional wellness this month. I really needed to hear it this month. I'm in one of "those places." What was said was so simple but it was brilliant. It was something we all can relate to and know exactly what it means.

Put it in neutral.

When you feel yourself caving and life seems stressful take that gearshift and place the car in neutral. I was amazed at how simple, effective and how much it helped. 

That's all we need to say to ourselves.



And put it in neutral.

As an added FYI Judith Westerfield posted about "I'm safe" on her website. Read this as well. It truly helps!!!  

Thursday, October 16, 2014


I know the memes are out there.
They just had one job.

As far as I'm concerned; they blew it. I usually don't write political criticisms but this one I just couldn't pass up. For the record, I'm pretty independent. On social issues I lean more toward the left. On fiscal issues I'm definitely more toward the right.

Having said that.
There is no right or left where public health is concerned. 

These poor nurses put their lives on the line to care for Mr. Duncan. I don't care what he knew or when. That's a policy issue that I'm not writing about at this time. From what I've read it was a total circle jerk in that hospital. First, let's blame the overworked ER doctor that obviously didn't read the CDC bulletin hidden somewhere in a break room that he used to catch an hours worth of sleep. 

Then to hear the CDC blame poor Nurse 1 and Nurse 2. For once I had to appreciate the congressional hearings. They made them sound like Dr. Seuss' Thing one and Thing two. The senator from Missouri was right.

Let's show them a little respect. Who knows what kind of chaos reigned in that hospital. If the media is to be believed it sounded terrible. Hazardous waste littered all over the place? Sending blood samples through the pneumatic tube? 

I have some questions.

With the type of infectious agent that Ebola seems to be why wasn't that apartment stripped of all hazardous material immediately. Why was the vomit scrubbed days later? Why wasn't he isolated at the mere mention of Ebola for the sake of caution? Ms. Pham and Dr. Wendy Chung were at his bedside about three hours before the tests confirmed Ebola. Now, as much as I admire her being on the front lines, that was ludicrous. Why was food delivered to the apartment by someone not even wearing a mask?

Then, watching the congressional hearings, my mouth just dropped open. My mind is just spinning. Speaking of spinning, that's what I watched. You tell me that the CDC can effectively monitor these people that come into the country from affected regions. Again, I'm not in panic mode but they can't do the one job they had right and you tell me they can keep this under control? He couldn't even say for certain that Ms. Vinson was told she could fly. All I heard was a prepared statement being read that sounded like legal was standing over their shoulder prompting them what to say.

Again, who's on first?

Yes, hospitals are under state control but a health crisis such as Ebola demands certain practices. One of them should have been that people from the CDC should have gotten off their ass and been at the hospital to make sure they were equipped with proper protective gear and shown how to properly disrobe from that gear so that they couldn't be exposed to any contaminant.

Is it any wonder that the public has no faith in what they're telling us? I'm not seeing Ebola around every corner but, at least, tell us the truth. I hate bureaucratic spin. Let's blame everyone else. It was their fault. They did something wrong. If that was the case....where the hell were they? Issuing emails and faxes??? Cmon.......

I hate cover your ass protocol.

And that's what I saw at the hearings.

God Bless Ms. Pham and Ms. Vinson.

That's all I can say.

I just pray that no one else gets caught up in this storm.

But, I doubt it.

I think more will come.