Stones
Image by Fr Antunes via Flickr

A recent message from my young adult pastor really moved me spiritually, but it also has had an effect on my life outside of my faith in Christ.

John Mark reminded us, in the war of life, “if you do not fight, you will not win,” and it struck me that this comes into play with our health, too – especially those with chronic illnesses. If you choose to “give up,” you can never actually “win.” If you choose to educate yourself, give yourself material to fight with you can learn the best methods to “fix” the problem. While you may never have a cure, you can find treatments, support and other options besides giving up.

When I heard that I might have fibromyalgia, instead of just accepting it and moving on knowing that I have an incurable syndrome, I did a ton of reading. This reading lead me to believe I *didn’t* have fibro! I approached my doctor, encouraged him to do some more studying of my body and he realized that I was right. What I do have is ankylosing spondylitis, which is no more curable or stoppable than fibromyalgia, but I know now different treatment methods. I chose to fight, I will choose to win.

I just wanted to encourage you today to keep that line in mind … “if you don’t fight, you will not win.”

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Nasal allergies

Posted by Sarah R

April 26, 2009 | Leave a Comment

1. How appropriate that I choose a picture of a pollinated flower for this post.
2. I have seasonal nasal allergies.
3. They have set in.

I could go into some deep history about my nasal allergy issues, but my first clearest nasal allergy related memory is in fifth grade. Mrs. Simshauser’s classroom was on the edge of the track/football field and it was a warm spring day in Southern Oregon. We had the windows open, and someone began to mow the field. My sneezing started soon thereafter. After about sneeze number seven, I started keeping a penciled tally on my desk. At sneeze 52 (yes, fifty two sneezes!) my teacher sent me out of the room to the office. I got sent home because of my allergies.

For years I was treated with Benedryl – I grew up in a house without health insurance – going to the doctor becuase my eyes were itchy and my nose was runny was unnecessary. By high school I had developed a resistance to Benedry so I had moved on to Tylenol Allergy stuff. It worked as well as it could, but between April and June, I was known to have an entire box of Kleenex stuffed in my backpack along with my books and pens.

Since then I have lived in Linn County, Oregon – the grass seed capital of the world and wandered my apartment with Kleenex stuffed up my nose to prevent it from dripping all over. I have tried prescription and over-the-counter medications for my allergies, but nothing really touches them. Until last year.

Last spring I was able to create my own concoction of prescription and OTC medications (with approval of my doctor, no worries there!) to stave off my seasonal nasal allergies for the most part. With a few nightly squirts of Nasocort and a pill of generic Zyrtec, I was able to go through the day without sneezing on clients or having to wander my bank branch with Kleenex shoved up my nostrils.

While this may not be the “easiest” way to treat nasal allergies (there are tons of methods out there, some of which I will address later this week), it works for me. As my allergies have started affecting my daily life again (I’m wandering my apartment with a pink and brown box of Kleenex) I’m heading to the store to stock up on some nose spray and some generic Zycam to make this nose stop running!

What do you commonly use to treat your seasonal nasal allergies?

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Cutting round vegetables

Posted by Sarah R

April 26, 2009 | Leave a Comment

Cucurbita moschata 'Butternut'.
Image via Wikipedia

Over the weekend I wanted to cook up a butternut squash for dinner and worried about chopping my fingers off while I worked, but I found a FABULOUS tip I had to share!

“It is very simple to prevent rolling of squash. Just fold up a small towel into quarters so there’s some padding and put the squash on top of the towel, this will help prevent the squash from rolling around upon the initial cut. After that, use the flat surface of the initial cut for the rest of the cuts”

Another tip? Use a very sharp knife!

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Bea Arthur

Posted by Sarah R

April 25, 2009 | Leave a Comment

(FILE) Actress Bea Art...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Actress Bea Arthur passed today due to cancer. Best known for her role in Golden Girls and as television’s “Maude” she left behind her sons Matthew and Daniel and grandchildren Kyra and Violet.

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Guidelines for Good Listening

Posted by Sarah R

April 20, 2009 | Leave a Comment

Once again Carrie has pointed me in the direction of a FANTASTIC link that I had to share with you!

Guidelines to good listening from PsychCentral holds some REALLY great tips on how to be a good listener. Even if you already consider yourself a good listener, it has three really good tips on how to improve your already mastered skills!

Check it out, and while you’re at it, be sure to check out ED Bites and say hi to Carrie for me!

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Responding to unwanted health advice

Posted by Sarah R

April 18, 2009 | Leave a Comment

Hacia el sol...
Image by Edwin E. Harvey via Flickr

Recently my boss at WEGO Health posted a great entry with the main question “how do you respond to unsolicited health advice?” and it struck a chord with me. I posted my own response there but wanted to encourage you to go check it out and join in with me!

Neutrogena MoistureShine Lipstick

Posted by Sarah R

April 17, 2009 | Leave a Comment

Lipstick used to make a symbolic kiss.
Image via Wikipedia

Have any of you been able to try the new Neutrogena MoistureShine lipstick that’s out?

“So lush. So creamy. And clinically proven to keep lips moist for 8 hours. An exclusive conditioning blend replenishes lips’ moisture reserves. In a range of 20 shades.”

I don’t wear lipstick very often because I find that it oftentimes dries out my lips and that just makes them look ugly when I am wearing lipstick, so I am curious about whether the Neutrogena stuff works like they claim.

Anyone have any experience or do I have to just buy a tube and experiment myself!?!?

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Training Plans

Posted by Sarah R

April 16, 2009 | Leave a Comment

Next Tuesday marks six weeks post surgery, and I can finally say that I’m almost healed.
Sneezing still hurts.
Coughing too hard still hurts.
Laughing hysterically (last time it was about farts) still hurts.
But generally, I’m doing really well.

Next week I plan to start training for the Portland half-Marathon. I have until October to re-train my body to running 13.1 miles. I hope to do it under two hours, but I doubt that’ll happen. It’s a goal people, a goal.

I know that I am going to have to start SLOW otherwise I’ll hurt myself badly. I am going to be using Cool Running’s The Couch-to-5K plan. There is also a podcast on iTunes that uses music to help you train. I’m downloading it to be sure I can keep my feet moving at the “right” speed.

I’m sure I’ll keep you all updated as I train, but I just wanted to warn you that I may start whining about my running habits here soon!

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Christians with Chronic Illness

Posted by Sarah R

April 15, 2009 | Leave a Comment

Chronic Pain Barbie
Image by Migraine Chick via Flickr

When people ask me to describe myself, this is how it goes: “I’m a Christian bank teller, I also write health articles for websites. I read, I write, I watch a lot of TV and I listen to a lot of music. I also have chronic pain including migraines and arthritis in my back.”

Thanks to Diana at Somebody Heal Me, I now know that there are tons of other Christians with chronic illnesses out there, and I have found a new support network. She recently shared about a Christians With Chronic Illness Blog Carnival that I never would have thought to search for on my own! Talk about a boost for my soul!

From what I can tell so far, Chronic Illness and Pain Support seems to be a great blog that provides just what it says; Christian support for those of us with chronic illnesses and pain! I’m excited to be a part of the following and hope that I’ll be able to get involved in future carnivals!

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Seventeen lemons

Posted by Sarah R

April 15, 2009 | Leave a Comment

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Image via Wikipedia

I feel like my life just threw seventeen lemons in my direction.
I took eight and made lemonade out of them.
I took four and threw them back … I don’t need those.
I took three and made lemon meringue pie out of them. Tasty, right?
The other two lemons? They’re in my lap. I’m wondering what I’m supposed to do with them, and just kinda sitting, waiting, watching, and holding on.

In other news, five weeks post surgery I’m feeling good. I’m FINALLY feeling almost normal. I can’t wait to start training again next week! Woo hoo!

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