Saturday, October 31, 2009

It's the most fabulous time of year!


Woo Hoo!

Time to let your imagination run WILD!!!

In perfect All Hallow's Eve fashion - I awoke to a gloomy, rainy, chilly morning. Most impressively - close to 100 black birds were scattered all over the lawn. *evil laugh inserted here*

How magnificent is that?

Now for more important items - what am I going to be for Halloween? AHHH.. the decision has been made. Unfortunately my costume will not be as elaborate as it normally is. (Recession and all.) But I am so happy that I save costumes. So, yes - in a budgetary fashion I am resurrecting an oldy but goody - the Devil Diva. LOL. I thought it would be fairly easy, just less makeup items to go with it. Plus, I lost my pitch fork through out the years.

This will be the Egyptian's first Halloween. I have to make it special. I wanted to carve a pumpkin - but we live in an apartment and I only have a small stoop. Perhaps we will skip this creative venture and try again next year. Plus - by then, we will be in a different situation and it will make all the more exciting.

I had the most fascinating conversation with a really sweet girl yesterday. We were chatting it up about Halloween - what our plans were - what were we dressing as. Then she piped in - "But, I mean.. I know it has it's roots in Satanic worship and all.." I tried really hard not to berate her there. Sometimes you just can't educate people.

Just to clarify - I am catholic. (yes - that's Christian.) I am a very strong believer. I am also educated enough to do my research yearssss ago.

Let me fill you in on where Halloween or All Hallow's Eve traditions came from. It's really quite interesting. First of all, for my Egyptian family & friends - Halloween is always celebrated on October 31st. It's roots come from the Celtic festival called Samhain and the Christian holy day known as All Saints. (Which is tomorrow - and is a Holy Day of Obligation for Catholics.) The colours black and orange have become associated with the celebrations, perhaps because of the darkness of night and the color of fire or of pumpkins. Another association is with the jack-o'-lantern. Halloween activities include trick-or-treating, wearing costumes and attending costume parties, ghost tours, bonfires, visiting haunted attractions, pranks, telling scary stories, and watching horror films.

Historian Nicholas Rogers, exploring the origins of Halloween, notes that while "some folklorists have detected its origins in the Roman feast of Pomona, the goddess of fruits and seeds, or in the festival of the dead called Parentalia, it is more typically linked to the celtic festival of Samhain or Samuin (pronounced sow-an or sow-in)", which is derived from Old Irish and means roughly "summer's end". A similar festival was held by the ancient Britonsand is known as Calan Gaeaf(pronounced kalan-geyf).

The ancient Celts believed that the border between this world and the Otherworld became thin on Samhain, allowing spirits (both harmless and harmful) to pass through. The family's ancestors were honoured and invited home whilst harmful spirits were warded off. It is believed that the need to ward off harmful spirits led to the wearing of costumes and masks. Their purpose was to disguise oneself as a harmful spirit and thus avoid harm.

In Scotland the spirits were impersonated by young men dressed in white with masked, veiled or blackened faces. Samhain was also a time to take stock of food supplies and slaughter livestock for winter stores. Bonfires played a large part in the festivities. All other fires were doused and each home lit their hearth from the bonfire. The bones of slaughtered livestock were cast into its flames. Sometimes two bonfires would be built side-by-side, and people and their livestock would walk between them as a cleansing ritual.

The term Halloween, originally spelled Hallowe’en, is shortened from All Hallows' Even – e'en is a shortening of even, which is a shortening of evening. This is ultimately derived from the Old English Eallra Hālgena ǣfen. It is now known as "Eve of" All Saints' Day, which is November 1st.
A time of pagan festivities, Popes Gregory III (731–741) and Gregory IV (827–844) tried to supplant it with the Christian holiday (All Saints' Day) by moving it from May 13 to November 1.
In the 800s, the Church measured the day as starting at sunset, in accordance with the Florentine calendar. Although All Saints' Day is now considered to occur one day after Halloween, the two holidays were once celebrated on the same day.

Trick-or-treating is a customary celebration for children on Halloween. Children go in costume from house to house, asking for treats such as candy or sometimes money, with the question, "Trick or treat?" The word "trick" refers to a (mostly idle) threat to perform mischief on the homeowners or their property if no treat is given. In some parts of Ireland and Scotland children still go guising. In this custom the child performs some sort of show, i.e. sings a song or tells a ghost story, in order to earn their treats.

Halloween costumes are traditionally those of monsters such as ghosts, skeletons, witches, and devils. They are said to be used to scare off demons. Costumes are also based on themes other than traditional horror, such as those of characters from television shows, movies, and other pop culture icons.

In North America, Christian attitudes towards Halloween are quite diverse. In the Anglican Church, some dioceses have chosen to emphasize the Christian traditions of All Saints’ Day, while some other Protestants celebrate the holiday as Reformation Day, a day to remember the Protestant Reformation.

Many Christians ascribe no negative significance to Halloween, treating it as a purely secular holiday devoted to celebrating "imaginary spooks" and handing out candy.

Halloween celebrations are common among Roman Catholic parochial schools throughout North America and in Ireland. In fact, the Roman Catholic Church sees Halloween as having a Christian connection.

Father Gabriele Amorth, a Vatican-appointed exorcist in Rome, has said, "If English and American children like to dress up as witches and devils on one night of the year that is not a problem. If it is just a game, there is no harm in that."

Most Christians hold the view that the tradition is far from being "satanic" in origin or practice and that it holds no threat to the spiritual lives of children: being taught about death and mortality, and the ways of the Celtic ancestors actually being a valuable life lesson and a part of many of their parishioners' heritage.

Other Christians feel concerned about Halloween, and reject the holiday because they believe it trivializes (and celebrates) "the occult" and what they perceive as evil. A response among some fundamentalists in recent years has been the use of Hell houses or themed pamphlets (such as those of Jack T. Chick) which attempt to make use of Halloween as an opportunity for evangelism.

Some consider Halloween to be completely incompatible with the Christian faith because of its origin as a pagan "Festival of the Dead." In more recent years, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston has organized a "Saint Fest" on the holiday.

Many contemporary Protestant churches view Halloween as a fun event for children, holding events in their churches where children and their parents can dress up, play games, and get candy. Jehovah's Witnesses do not celebrate Halloween for they believe anything that originated from a pagan holiday should not be celebrated by true Christians.

Religions other than Christianity also have varied views on Halloween. Celtic Pagans consider the season a holy time of year. Celtic Reconstructionists, and others who maintain ancestral customs, make offerings to the Gods and the ancestors.

Some Wiccans feel that the tradition is offensive to "real witches" for promoting stereotypical caricatures of "wicked witches".

In Arab countries where it is celebrated, devotion is given to St. Barbara.

There are so many ways people celebrate this time of the year across the world.
The good news it - it is your right to decide what is good for your family or not.

In my house - we will celebrate All Hallow's Eve... with that, I leave you with -


Thursday, October 29, 2009

I spot a flaming tree!!

What a glorious morning!

I woke up early, decided to sit alone in my sunroom and just visit my "friends" on facebook and relax a little before getting ready for work. This is all part of my new routine to find some "peace."

Then I glanced up and the left glass wall was the frame for a spectacular sight - a beautiful red tree! You know the kind - the leaves are a brilliant hue of reds and gold and a touch of orange. *sigh* I have been waiting for this moment. My prediction is by this weekend the city of Birmingham will be a glorious array of bright, bold, fall colors.

Now that my sinus infection truly seems to be slowly subsiding - I can enjoy these glorious days. I think I have been in a fog for the past week, and it is wonderful to begin to see clearly again.

I have to brag on myself for a minute. I am sooo proud of my eating habits for the past two weeks. SOOOO proud. I have really made some excellent choices.

For example - Here is what I ate yesterday:
Breakfast - Water, yogurt with cucumbers mixed in and herbs with warm pita
Lunch - Salad with chopped apples, almonds, cucumbers, carrots, & feta - and water
Dinner - Greek Salad and Hummus with Pita - and water.

I simply cannot imagine my healthy getting worse. It HAS to be getting better.

I have to say I was very inspired by a friend of mine from my past. Her name is also Nicole - and she sent me a very beautiful story of her life-style change. Same issues - blood pressure off the charts, meds, need to lose weight. What I am happy to report - she did it! And she is off the meds. (Which is my goal in life.) Knowing that it IS possible - gives me such hope.

Since I am feeling better today, and these brilliant trees are calling me, I plan to go for a walk this afternoon. Finally time to incorporate that exercise. Here's the funny thing - I LOVE TO EXERCISE. Simply LOVE it. I am just always sooo tired. Luckily, with my new medicine - I am not as tired. So, I finally have energy to do the things I need to do.

I am excited.

I hope if any of you reading are having any health issues or weight issues or anything like that - will join me on this quest. Good news - I am taking it sloooooow. Not in a freakish counting calories, and exercising like crazy way. No, No.. I don't plan to ever be a runner, or be in a bikini again... but I do plan to feel better and get into a safe B.M.I.

Have a great day people! :-)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I never said I was normal

Today is one of those days where I feel like something is going to happen. I don't know if it is a bad thing or a good thing or an exciting thing. I just know, SOMETHING is going to happen.

I get these feelings from time to time, and yes, they are usually dead on. I feel calm, I feel generally content (considering the stressors of life at the moment.) Hmmm..

I realize that is strange to say - but there is just a different energy today. Perhaps is has something to do with the weather. Perhaps I did not get enough sleep last night. Perhaps I am over-worked right now. All of these factors could be making me more "sensitive."

But I am not buying it. I know myself - and I know something is up.

Good news - my sinus infection finally feels like it is officially clearing up. I can breathe normally. All I have left is remnants of a cough (due to drainage.) That's the good news. Hopefully soon I will feel more "normal."

Still battling an increased heart rate. Last night it was thumping sooo fast. I did not want to check my blood pressure. It would just freak me out. I know, I know.. but sometimes - ignorance is bliss.

I watched an amazing show last night. (LOL) Many of you will roll your eyes, but I loved it. Dealt with my favorite subject - SUBCULTURES.

Here's what happened. In honor of Halloween, I thought I would research "real vampires." So I checked out some links. Then somehow I ended up on Youtube. Then I saw a National Geographic snippet about Vampires - and one gentleman in particular named "Don" was a little creepy. So - I researched his name on youtube and the 'Tyra" show popped up. Yes - I know, not a fan of that show - but the segment was semi-interesting. He was on there along with a few other "fruity" characters. Then I found a few more videos with him in it. Basically he is a "vampire." He does drink blood and he also feeds off energy. He sleeps in a coffin. He LOOKS like a real vampire. I realize this is all part of his "alternative lifestyle."

Then in an interview with another vampire - she talked about the reality TV show he was on - called, Mad Mad House. So - I proceeded to find it on Youtube. I could not get a single good clip - so I researched on google and ta da!! - HULU had ever episode of every season.


The idea is 10 normal people move into a home with 5 "Alts" or alternative lifestyle folks. (My favorite category.) There was a Wiccan, A Vampire, A Voo Doo Priestess, A Naturist, and a Primitive something-or the other (basically he was into body modification.) Super fun to watch.

I tried to get the egyptian to take a gander, he just rolled his eyes and said - "This is not interesting." Oh Contraire!!

Anyway - if you find subcultures fascinating like i do - please jump on HULU and watch! (It's free and fabulous.)

That's all I have for now. I will keep you posted if something "wicked this way comes."

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Blood Test Results

I got a call this morning that almost sent chills up my spine.

A number appeared on my work cell phone, a number I did not recognize - which is not an entirely rare thing. I decided to answer it and on came this older african-american woman asking for a "Shawanna Abed Doe." I responded with, "yes, this is Shauna Abdou."

My first thought was - Oh No - somehow a bill collector found me on my work cell. hahaha. Then I remembered - wait - I have all of that under control.

While my heart rate was up she went ahead and identified herself as Shirley from Dr. Honan's Office. (My cardiologist.)

You would think that would calm my nerves - ha - just the opposite. Then it hit me - the original blood test results! She started out slowly, explaining she had the results from my initial blood test. I calmly said, yes yes..

Then she scratched her throat and said - "Well, Miss Abed Doo (this time the end sounded like dooooo) - Dr. Honan wanted me to let you know that they came back BEAUTIFUL.

I almost shrieked!! Yippee! Then she added (as I felt my balloon slowly deflate) - we will still need you to come in for the renal doppler and to turn in your urine specimens.

I was like - Oh. *deflate

Then I found out - the blood test look for the following:

Finding averages using glycosylated albumen or hemoglobin, myoglobin, creatine kinase, troponin, brain-type natriuretic peptide, etc. to assess the evolution of coronary artery disease and evidence of existing damage. A great many more physiologic markers related to atherosclerosis and heart function are used and being developed and evaluated in research.

So - basically the blood work was good.

Which the blood work is always good.

Now we need to find out why the heart is working so hard and what is causing the elevated blood pressure and heart rate.

Now for the more invasive items.

Joy upon Joys.

But, I guess one test down - two more to go - not bad. I passed!! Now, let's see what the other tests let me know.

PS - after laying around doing nothing yesterday, blood pressure was 158/100 pulse rate of 112. Yep. I take 3 pills to lower it, I meditated, did yoga, have been eating wonderfully. *sigh*

Monday, October 26, 2009

Halloween Memories

With Halloween fast approaching, I thought it would be nice to get away from all of the "venting" posts and concentrate on something more therapeutic - like remembering one of my favorite holidays - Halloween.

Why do I like Halloween so much? I guess it has something to do with the fact that I have always loved to play "dress up." Sure! Ever since I was little - I have always loved costumes. Heck, if we could have a theme day at work each day I would be the ring leader!!

According to my mother, my first Halloween costume was as a witch. And apparently - I was a witch for several years. In elementary school I dressed as a gypsy, black cat, can can dancer and as a punk rocker. In high school I did manage to dress as the Prom Queen from Prom Night - Mary Beth Mahoney. Please note - NONE of my costumes were store bought.

Which made me wonder - how did I NOT dress as my favorite scary character - a vampire as I child? I just talked to my mother and she said.. noooo.. you were terrified of vampires. (Which I quickly corrected her and explained they were Bampires - or at least that is what my 8 year old journal says.)

My mother was obsessed (well.. not obsessed.. but a fan of) Vampires. Good old fashioned Count Dracula to be exact. She would play the music from the Vampire Movie with Frank Langela.

This musical score terrified me. Mom would put it on, and this scary black vampire cape she had and jokingly dance around the room. We had this large console stereo - that in my child's mind - looked like a coffin. At night, I would scurry past it sooo fast, afraid the "Bampire" would jump out.

My mother even reminded me of a toy I had as a child. The Count (from Sesame Street.) You could pull a string and it would say.. "One.. ha ha ha.." But in an eery voice. She said I used to hide it in the hall closet. LOL

Another scary thing happened when I was very young and my parents were the youth group leaders at my church. They held a "haunted house" in the nursery and somehow were able to obtain a real coffin. Now, some of the teens thought it would be funny to take the little girl and place her in the coffin. 1. It was dark. 2. It was in a haunted house. 3. Dracula lived there.
BOOO on them. I freaked.

Needless to say, some of my more vivid dreams I had as a child involved the vampire that lived down my hallway - and if I tried to pass by to get into the bathroom, he would jump out and bite me. Yes - I still remember this dream from early childhood.

Somewhere between a scary "pull string" toy and high school came the most awesome movie of all times - "The Lost Boys." Somehow, vampires were not so scary - but pretty freaking hot!!

I was sold and a major fan of vampires from that moment on.

By college I began reading Anne Rice and fell in love with her entire series. I read every single book by her - including the more recent ones (which do not involve any form of the supernatural - except maybe - the holy ghost!) I became "in love" with Lestat and Armand.

By my freshman year in college - Interview with a Vampire was released on film. *sigh* - all made me happy (except Tom Cruise as Lestat.. TOM FREAKING CRUISE??? What the hell???)

Then of course - Queen of the Damned was released (and if anyone actually read the books - you know it contains items from both The Vampire Lestat and Queen of the Damned.)

Of course I think Stuart Townsend did a fantastic job as Lestat.

But I am getting away from my Halloween memories - and heading more into my love for the books of Anne Rice. (Maybe I can save that for another post!!)

As an adult, I threw some amazing Halloween parties! Particularly when I lived on Dogwood Circle in Macon. AMAZING parties. We spent sooooo much $$$$ on these events. If only I had a scanner at home - my pics are pretty coooool.

Later I became a HUGE fan of Haunted Houses. I LOVE watching shows like Paranormal State. And there is seriously not one single Horror movie I have missed. (If it warrants a viewing.)

I actually have fallen asleep - alone in the dark - watching The exorcism of Emily Rose. LOL

With all of this being said - WHY THE FASCINATION WITH THE DARKER SIDE? Look people - I don't take it seriously. It's fun to play with your imagination and let it run a little wild from time to time.

I have many friends who view Halloween as some demonic/satanic/anti-christian holiday. I see it as a fantastic opportunity to use your imagination, learn about ancient customs, and have a little fun. If you can learn to laugh at what haunts your dreams - doesn't it make reality all the more pleasant?

PS - I named my Siberian Husky Nanook (from the dog's name in the Lost Boys) - As far as cats (I owned a Claudia (from Interview with the Vampire) and of course - my famous Lestat.

It's harder than it seems

Trying to make a healthy lifestyle change is waaaay harder than it seems. Especially when you just feel like crap most of the time.

I am a little sick - a pretty bad sinus infection - and it is not helping when it comes to adding the daily exercise in. So, on my quest- that part has not happened. (Unless you count those random bouts of energy I get and I begin dancing around the house with my ipod.)

I promised I would keep everyone up to date on my progress. And here it is:

My blood pressure has stayed above normal for the past 10 days or so. The average reading is: 135/93 with a resting pulse rate of 94.

(my blood pressure machine gives me a basic average of all of the readings.)

Not good. Not HORRIBLE. But not good.

I have changed my meds, so perhaps it takes a little while for the medicine to take effect. (I don't know.. I am just guessing.) My next appointment is Nov. 17th with Dr. Honan. However, I still have my renal doppler scan on the 2nd, and I am in day two of the Urine Specimen samples.

Or yeah - I did not tell you about that?

Here is what we are looking for:
An adrenal gland tumor:
What is an adrenal gland tumor?
The adrenal glands are endocrine glands located above each kidney. Malignant or benign tumors can develop in the adrenal glands. Some adrenal gland tumors excrete hormones. If left untreated, these tumors can cause severe hormonal imbalances.

What are the signs and symptoms of an adrenal gland tumor?
The signs and symptoms of adrenal gland tumors may include, but are not limited to, the following:
• High blood pressure
• Low potassium
• Heart palpitations
• Nervousness
• Anxiety
• Diabetes
• Abdominal stretch marks

The signs and symptoms of adrenal gland tumors can mimic those of other diseases. Contact your physician if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. Many adrenal gland tumors do not cause any symptoms.

Which test(s)and/or procedure(s) may be requested to determine if I have adrenal gland tumors?
This can vary depending upon your surgeon and your particular condition. A CT scan, MRI, blood sample, and 24-hour urine sample may be requested. The urine sample will allow your physician to track the production rate of various hormones in your body. You will be instructed to collect all urine produced within that time frame and return it to the lab for testing.

How is this condition surgically treated?
Medications may be used to control the problems associated with adrenal gland tumors. But since they are not always effective, an adrenalectomy is usually the preferred treatment option.

The next thing we are looking for is a blockage in my kidneys. Here is what a renal doppler is:
What are renovascular conditions?
Renovascular conditions affect the blood vessels of your kidneys, called the renal arteries and veins. When the blood flow is normal through your kidneys, your kidneys rid your body of wastes. The kidneys filter these wastes into your urine, which collects in your bladder, and from there the wastes exit your body when you urinate. Your kidneys also help control your blood pressure by sensing the blood pressure and secreting a hormone, called renin, into your bloodstream. The amount of renin secreted by your kidneys can help regulate your blood pressure if it is too high or too low. When your kidney blood vessels narrow or have a clot, your kidney is less able to do its work. Your physician may diagnose you with renal artery stenosis or renal vein thrombosis.

Renal artery stenosis is the narrowing of kidney arteries. This condition may cause high blood pressure and may eventually lead to kidney failure. Renal vein thrombosis means that you have a blood clot blocking a vein in your kidney. Blood clots in renal veins are uncommon and rarely affect the kidney, but they can sometimes travel to and lodge in arteries supplying your lungs, causing a dangerous condition called a pulmonary embolism.

What are the symptoms?
You may not notice any symptoms. Renovascular conditions develop slowly and worsen over time. If you have high blood pressure, the first sign that you may have renal artery stenosis is that your high blood pressure may become worse or the medications that you take to control your high blood pressure may not be as effective. Other signs of renal artery stenosis are a whooshing sound in your abdomen that your physician hears through a stethoscope, decreased kidney function, congestive heart failure or, eventually, a small shrunken kidney.

When renal vein thrombosis occurs, a clot in your vein may break free or block the flow in a healthy blood vessel. If this happens, symptoms may include:

Pain in the sides of your abdomen, legs, or thighs;
Blood in your urine;
Protein in your urine;
An enlarged kidney that your physician can feel;
Fever, nausea, or vomiting;
High blood pressure;
Sudden, severe swelling in your leg; and
Difficulty breathing.
What causes renovascular conditions?
Hardening of the arteries causes renal artery stenosis. Your arteries are normally smooth and unobstructed on the inside but, as you age, a sticky substance called plaque can build up in the walls of your arteries. Cholesterol, calcium, and fibrous tissue make up this plaque. As more plaque builds up, your arteries can narrow and stiffen. This is the process of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. Eventually, enough plaque may build up to interfere with blood flow in your renal arteries.

Smoking, obesity, advanced age, high cholesterol, diabetes, and a family history of cardiovascular disease are factors that may increase your chances for developing atherosclerosis.

Nephrotic syndrome is the most common cause of a clot in the renal vein (renal vein thrombosis). Nephrotic syndrome is a condition in which large amounts of a protein called albumin leak into your urine. Other causes of renal vein thrombosis include injury to the vein, infection, or a tumor.

What tests will I need?
Your physician will recommend the following tests to help determine if you have renal artery stenosis:

Ultrasound, which allows your physician to see your blood vessels and organs using high-frequency sound waves. Using ultrasound, your physician can locate clots or narrow areas inside your arteries and also determine the size of your kidney;
Angiography, which is more invasive, can locate a narrowing or blockage, can measure blood flow, and can be used to sample blood for testing. In this test, your physician injects a contrast dye into your vessels through a small catheter and then takes x-rays. The structure inside of your vessels appears on the x-ray because x-rays cannot pass through the dye. This test finds the location and pattern of blockages in your kidney blood vessels. The dye itself is later excreted through your kidneys and it sometimes can affect their function;
Spiral computed tomography (CT) scan, which creates detailed three-dimensional images from x-rays of slices of your body. This study also sometimes uses contrast dye;
Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA), which uses magnetic fields and radio waves to produce three-dimensional images of your arteries. This study also sometimes uses contrast dye; and
Radionuclide scanning, which uses a radioactive substance and a special camera to analyze the blood flow through your kidney.
If your physician suspects you may have renal vein thrombosis, he or she may perform a Doppler ultrasound. Doppler ultrasound uses short bursts of high-frequency sound waves to create real-time, moving pictures of blood flowing through your vessels. If the Doppler ultrasound reveals a possible clot, your physician may use CT scans, MRA, or venacavography to further locate it. Venacavography creates pictures of your main abdominal veins. It is a form of angiography during which your physician will inject a contrast dye to view the blood flow through your veins on an x-ray monitor.

How are renovascular conditions treated?

If your physician diagnoses renal artery stenosis, he or she may prescribe blood pressure medications. Some medications may include:

Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors; and
Calcium channel blockers.

If you experience sudden blockage in your renal artery, your physician may recommend a procedure called thrombolysis. In thrombolysis, a vascular physician injects a clot-dissolving medication directly to a clot through a long, thin tube called a catheter. This procedure, when needed, is often done at the time of angiography.

If your physician diagnoses renal vein thrombosis, he or she may give you anticoagulants. These medications decrease your blood's ability to clot. In critical cases of renal vein thrombosis, your physician may perform thrombolysis.

Angioplasty and stenting

If your renal artery is partially or completely blocked, your physician may recommend a procedure called angioplasty and stenting. To perform this procedure, your physician inserts a catheter through a small puncture site, or sometimes a small incision, and guides it through your blood vessels to your renal artery. The catheter carries a tiny balloon that inflates and deflates, flattening the plaque against the walls of your artery. Next, your physician may insert a tiny metal-mesh tube called a stent in the artery to hold it open. This procedure, when needed, is often performed at the time of angiography.


Two surgical procedures that your physician may use to treat renal artery stenosis are endarterectomy and surgical bypass. In a renal endarterectomy, a vascular surgeon removes the inner lining of your renal artery, which contains the plaque. This procedure removes the plaque and leaves a smooth, wide-open artery.

Bypass surgery creates a detour around the narrowed or blocked sections of your renal artery. To create this bypass, a vascular surgeon connects one of your veins or a tube made from man-made materials, called a bypass graft, above and below the area that is blocked. This creates a new path for your blood to flow to your kidneys.

The choice of the procedure that is best for your situation depends upon the extent and location of the blockages. Your vascular surgeon will advise you regarding which procedure is best for your particular situation.

What can I do to stay healthy?
Lifestyle changes are important to help reduce problems associated with renovascular conditions. Your physician will encourage you to change any factors that put you at greater risk for problems. Some of these changes may include:

Quitting smoking;
Maintaining your ideal body weight;
Controlling your cholesterol and lipid levels;
Controlling your blood pressure;
Exercising regularly; and
Eating a low-fat, low-protein, low-sodium, high-fiber diet.

Sooo.. there you go. That is what I am up against. And that is what I plan to either rule out or kick the shit out of.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Change is awesome!

It looks to be a gorgeous Sunday morning, except I am completely exhausted from coughing and hacking all last night.

My apologies for the delay in posts, I have been dealing with a hard-core sinus infection. My brain has been foggy and I have stayed in a bendryl stupor.

There are some changes I would like to report - all very positive or at least- challenging.

1. I am covering a larger territory at work. My question then is - does this mean my job is safe? That I seriously doubt, but it gives me an opportunity to prove myself once again. Something I think that is needed.

I now cover eastern Tennessee as well as North to Central Alabama. Mobile is still covered out of Florida (since it is basically attached to the Panhandle.)

2. The egyptian and I had a very good conversation about how to manage the $$$. That is always a tough one for newly weds. Many of my female friends may think I am crazy, but I am turning over this job to him. I find that I try to control all aspects of the money, and it is just exhausting. It is not like he is not interested in, I am just greedy and need to be the one in control. LOL (I know - I know.)

3. I have a good handle on what needs to remain and what needs to "go" in my life. As in cleaning out my things. Yass and I have been working on removing the old, and simplifying our lives. So far so good.

4. Now we have to make a decision about whether or not to move. My lease is up Jan 31st, and I need to make a decision in November. *sigh* I want to stay, Yass wants to move closer to downtown. Decisions.. decisions...

That's about all I can post for today. The meds are kicking in, and I am EXHAUSTED.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Soothing Sounds

The sound of the ocean has always created an instant trance state of mind for me. My pulse rate lowers, my breathing slows, my facial muscles unclench - it's magical.

Another good soothing sound would be a nice rain fall. (again water) Living with a sun room with skylights has afforded me many a peaceful nights sleep with the "tap tap tap" hitting the windows.

Running water of any kind simply sends chills down my arms and legs. I always say chills - because for me, when I have the chills - a since of relaxation comes on immediately following.

As far as smells - the smell of coffee brewing. Yummmm.. I usually take a deep breath and inhale that sweet aroma. Cinnamon or bread products baking in an oven brings a since of comfort. The sweet smell of jasmine blowing in the wind. A fire burning. The smell of the dryer sheets when a dryer is blowing the hot air. A sea breeze.. all of these comfort me.

The colors pale pastel colors or a bold warm colors are pleasant to my eyes. I tend to experience different emotions with either. Pastels represent youth, spring, fresh air. My bolder, warmer "fall" colors remind me of a good fire, Christmas lights, and family.

I love to feel velvet, silk, and the softest cotton you can find. Petting a cat or a dog, running my fingers through their soft fur. Talcum powder, ice water, the coolness of stainless steel - these are items I like to touch.

What comforts you?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Where have I been?

How quickly things change.

For one - Yasser has found something to do most days. This is good.

Second - I am dealing with the blood pressure thing. Which is hard.

Third - Finances at an all time low. Last part of my personal recession and the financial $800dollar a month boom for UAB from formal infectious disease patients.

Fourth - More lay-offs at work.

Five - oh five is my favorite... not a damn thing going on here.

Yes, I am not feeling so hot these days. Hmmm.. like you could not tell? I wanted to come on here and talk about something - REAL. But instead, I am stuck venting about my life. Again. Sorry for those who actually follow me, I am just down there. On my little emotional roller coaster. I want to say I am heading back up, and I am sure I will - when I can get this blood pressure down. So many contributing factors, wish it could get easier.

Next step - relaxation methods. Who has one they would like to share? I need a few ideas!

That's all for today. I can't share any more for fear of word vomit.

I promise to come up with something of interest tomorrow.

Something real.

I will try to get my head back on.

Apparently I am just venting for a few weeks. *sigh*

Friday, October 16, 2009

My Mediterranean Diet

I wanted to start off with showing you just a few of the resources I plan to use on my quest for a healthier lifestyle. This is MY food pyramid!!
Need a shopping list?
Mediterranean Diet Grocery List
Choose mostly whole grain choices.
These contain the word “whole” asthe first ingredient. Ex: “whole wheat.”
 Pasta Bread Rice Polenta Cereals Oatmeal Crackers Couscous Bulgar Pita Barley
Salmon and other oily fish contain healthy Omega-3s. White fish is a greatlean protein.
 Salmon Shrimp Cod Scallops Clams Tilapia Tuna Crab
Healthy Oils/Fats
Store oils in a cool, dark place to make them last longer.
 Olive (Extra-Virgin) Avocado Canola Grape seed
Herbs and Spices
Fresh herbs and spices are a great way to add flavor without adding fat orsalt.
 Garlic Basil Cilantro Parsley Mint Cumin Coriander Oregano
Beans are great way to add fiber and protein to meal. Eat them in place ofred meat at least once a week.
 Chickpeas (Garbanzo) Hummus White (Cannellini) Black Pinto Lentil
Low-fat milk Yogurt Cheese Eggs
Nuts and Seeds
Both are a great source of protein, fiber, and healthy fats. Stick to ahandful a day because they are high in calories.
 Walnuts Almonds Peanuts Pine nuts Cashews Sunflower seeds Flax
Fresh fruits are important for weight control and good health.
Frozenfruit and canned varieties without added sugars are also good choices.
 Apples Bananas Grapes Oranges Cherries Blueberries Kiwis Strawberries Pomegranate Plums Peaches Avocados
Fresh veggies are important for weight control and good health.
Frozen and low-sodium canned veggies are also good choices.
 Tomatoes (fresh, canned, and sauce) Broccoli Spinach Carrots Red / Green Peppers Mushrooms Green beans Eggplant Zucchini Squash Olives Onions Peas

Health Uodate.

I think I have rested enough and am ready to share what has transpired at the d-o-c.

I visited with Dr. Honan, and the experience was a good one. He is a great cardiologist - he listened, he asked questions, he explained. Good man.

His nurse did the same, as well as the woman who performed an EKG.


First thing - I am now on a strict Mediterranean style diet. Which I actually find delightful!
For those who may not be as aware of what that means, I will end this blog post with an example of what I am supposed to eat.

Second thing - my blood pressure is up. Even with my meds - it's still fairly high.
So my medicine has changed - to not only a beta- blocker, but now a alpha/beta blocker combo. We think this will 1. lower the pressure 2. help with the possible arrhythmia I might be experiencing.

Then I am also to track my BP for two weeks at various times and mail it in to Dr. Honan.

On Nov. I am having a Renal Doppler scan. I am also doing a 48 hour urine sample. (neither are plea sent.)

We are looking for two things - one - if there is a blocked artery in my kidney. Second - for a tumor on my adrenal gland.

The thing is - the adrenal one - this could explain the years and years of panic attacks with no known causes. It can also explain the insanely high blood pressure with no reason (since I was 13.)

The blocked artery is another I am not thrilled with. But with it being in the kidney - it can explain why I have had issues for years (since youth.)

I am trying to remain positive. I have sooo much information at my fingertips. Thank God I work for a research organization on cardiovascular disease and stroke. Thank God I have insurance. Thank God I know what questions to ask.

I don't know what is next. But I am going to control what I can. I can choose to make better eating choices. I can walk for at least 30 minutes every day. These are things I can do.

The tests - they are what they are. And the good news is - they may be absolutely nothing. He said the probability in general is low, but for my history/etc. it could explain alot.

PS - it's mostly genetic..

Good news - those pounds should FLY off. LOL

So - for those who want to give my Cardiologist approved diet a try - here is what he is recommending:

Banana, tangerine, blueberries, grapes or dried apricots
Poached or scrambled eggs no more than 3 x a week
hot tea
Fresh crusty whole-grain bread with jam or peanut butter.

Bean & pasta soup with fresh crusty bread
vegetable salad with walnuts, orange slices, avocado and olive oil and herbs
water or tea
raspberries, raisins, cherries, melon, figs, peaches, apples or pears
low-fat six inch subway on whole wheat bread

Grilled rainbow trout with roast potatoes, asparagus and rosemary. vegetable salad with almonds and Olive oil vinaigrette. strawberries, peaches or prunes

chicken and pasta with tomato sauce. salad with chickpeas, black olives, avocado and reduced fat feta cheese. mango , berries or dried fruit

shish kebabs with scallops, onions, peppers and tomatoes basted in olive oil. spinach salad with walnuts and various raw veggies and olive oil/balsamic vinegar dressing. kiwi, papaya or melon

wine, tea or water . crusty whole grain bread

small hand fulls of nuts or raisins. (walnuts, almonds, peanuts)
dried apricots, sunflower seeds, olives or grapes
avocado slices

Other rules:
Meat - Monthly only
Weekly: Sweets, eggs, poultry, fish
Daily - Cheese & yogurt, olive oil, fruits, beans, legumes & nuts, veggies, bread, pasta, rice couscous, polenta and other whole grains & potatoes

Daily physical activity - at least 30 minutes.


Here we go!!
I've had a long time fascination with subcultures in America. Actually - any society for that matter. But since I live here, and we are such a diverse population, it is a perfect place to immerse yourself within the subculture of a distinct group of people.

On my Face book profile you will see one of the things I like doing is collecting "people." If you are unique in any way, shape or form - I love to spend time with you. (and you know this - for I actually seek out opportunities to chat with you.) Sure, I know lots of people. I meet people, make a connection, and I attempt to say hello from time to time. But that will be about it unless I can find something that clearly sets you apart from the norm. The norm is something I am not a fan of (though find it all around.) Yes, I realize - how do you define what is normal or not. My definition of normal has nothing to do with what is actually normal - but what society deems is normal. People who fall into this category are usually trying so hard to be a carbon copy of another person, that they are not too hard to recognize.

Back to the fascinating ones. WOW. Soooo many categories and subcultures!! Back when I was studying broadcast journalism and international studies - I wanted nothing more than to document how subcultures are changing. What is considered "different" now, make be the norm in 20 years. I have seen so many changes in my 3 little decades. In the 70s, when I was a little kid - people were more free-loving, getting back to earth, post-Vietnam - love your fellow man. In the 80s, under Reagan's era, there was a lust for a more glamorous lifestyle. By the 90s, people were realizing they were unhappy, and seeking healing and slowly expressed their anger (without losing their financial comforts..) Now.. well.. time will tell.

I made a list of some social sub groups that I find interesting. Can you think of any more I may have forgotten? It's amazing how many types of people are out there!!

Nicole's List of Social Subcultures that are very interesting:

1. Body modification people - there are sooo many different categories under this one.
Here are a few I know of:
- Body Piercing
- Body Building
- Breast Ironing ( is a form of breast reduction in which a pubescent girl's breasts are flattened with a heated object, usually by the girl's mother, in an attempt to make her less sexually attractive to men.)
- Branding
- People who bind their feet
- People who use henna
- Human tooth sharpening
- Lip Sewing
- Neck rings
- People who suspend their bodies
- Tongue splitting
- Body Tattoos
- Plastic surgery addicts

2. Cyber Punk

3.Drug Culture

4. Gangs

5. Hippie movement

6. Japanese Subcultures
- Otaku (in Japanese) is someone who is overly obsessed with anime and manga, however in English slang, an Otaku is any anime or manga fan.
- Cosplay is the imitation of anime characters via the use of costumes, props, and many other outlets.

7. Motorcycle groups

8. Music subcultures (sooo many)

9. Naturism (mainly nudists, etc.)

10. Comic Book Fans

11. Fantasy Fans

12. Renaissance Fair groupies

13. Science Fiction fans

14. Sports fanatics

15. Videogame fanatics

16. Parrotheads

17. Deadheads

18. Trekkies

19. Tolkein Fans

20. Rocky Horror Picture Show cult

21. DragonCon Dark Fantasy

22. Cult Film Fanatics

23.Surf Culture

24. Religious movements

25. The DIY culture (do it yourself)

26. Goth

27. Emo

28. Indie

29. Beach bum style

30. Bollywood fans


32. Vampire lifestyle

33. metrosexual

34. alternative lifestyle

I am sure I could go on and on.. even break it down per type of people that live in your city. Here in Birmingham, there is a very big stereotype or even sub group depending on where you live. Mountain Brook vs Hoover vs Homewood vs Bessemer. In Macon, where I grew up, there was a big difference between South Macon and North Macon. East Macon versus the Historic District.
It's everywhere.

I am sure we could have a field day breaking down each group. What's your favorite group? Better yet - where do you fit in???

Questions to Ask Your Doctor

I thought I would share a list of very important questions you should ask your doctor. The American Heart Association (where I work) is always trying to inspire patients to be their own "advocates." So - here is a list of very important questions you should ask your doctor.

I obviously was thinking of this, since I am headed to a cardiologist. I wanted to make sure I was going to be knowledgeable on all levels. So - I noticed our website had a list of awesome questions.

Share this with a family member - and enjoy!

Questions To Ask Your Doctor:

Many people may have questions for their doctors about tests, surgery and other procedures, therapy and recovery, drug treatment, risk factors and lifestyle changes. Here are examples of common questions; the topics are in alphabetical order.

About blood cholesterol
What do my cholesterol numbers mean?
What is my goal cholesterol level?
How often should I have my levels checked?
How does exercise affect my cholesterol levels?
What type of foods should I eat?
Will I need cholesterol-lowering medicine?
How long will it take to reach my cholesterol goals?
About diet after heart attack, stroke or surgery
What foods should I eat?
What foods should I limit?
How do I read food labels?
What are some cooking tips for me?
What about eating out?
What can I eat at fast-food restaurants?
How can I control the portions?
How much salt may I eat?
About drug treatment
Will I need to take medicine?
What kind of medicine should I take?
Will my insurance cover this medication?
Can I take the generic form of the medicine?
What should I know about the medicine?
What are the side effects?
How do I know if it's working?
How can I remember when to take medicine?
What if I forget to take a medicine?
Should I avoid any foods or other medicines?
Can I drink alcohol?
How long will I need to take my medicine?
Will I have to keep taking medicine?
About high blood pressure
What should my blood pressure be?
What are my options in controlling high blood pressure?
How often should my blood pressure be checked?
What about home blood pressure monitors?
Should I use blood pressure machines at stores?
How does exercise affect my blood pressure?
What's my daily sodium (or salt) limit?
Is there sodium in the medicine I take?
Will I need to take blood pressure medicine?
Will I always have to take medicine?
Why do I need to lose weight?
About the hospital (before surgery or procedure)
When do I check in?
What will happen before the (surgery, procedure)?
How long will it take?
Where can my family wait for me?
What effects (temporary or permanent) will the surgery have on me?
What is the doctor's experience in performing this procedure?
What medicines will be prescribed (short term/long term)?
For how long will I have to rest at home after surgery?
About a pacemaker or implanted defibrillator
Does the shock hurt?
How long will my batteries last?
How do I know if it's working?
When can I take showers and baths?
Can I swim?
What equipment or devices should I avoid?
Can my arrhythmia be cured?
About physical activity after stroke, heart attack or surgery
Why is physical activity important?
Can I exercise? When?
Can I play sports?
What are the best types of activities for me?
How much activity do I need?
Can I have sex?
About physical therapy and rehabilitation
When do I start rehabilitation?
How often should I go to rehab?
Is it covered by my health insurance?
How long will I need therapy?
What happens when my rehab program stops?
About quitting cigarettes and tobacco
What can I do to stop the cravings?
How many minutes do cravings last?
What about a nicotine patch or gum?
After I quit, when will the urges stop?
What if I start gaining weight?
How can I keep from gaining weight?
How can family and friends help?
What if I slip and go back to tobacco?
How long will it take to reduce my risk?
What do I do if a nicotine patch or gum doesn't work?
About recovery at home (after heart attack, stroke or surgery)
Can leaving the hospital cause mixed feelings?
Will I need special transportation or equipment?
Should I stay in bed?
How much activity can I do?
How can my family help me?
Can I get financial assistance?
Can I get emotional assistance?
Can I get in-home assistance for daily tasks?
What type of diet should I eat?
What about medicine?
Will my (aphasia, chest pains, weakness, etc.) go away?
When should I call my doctor?
Are my feelings normal?
What if I stay depressed?
Can I have sex?
How soon can I drive?
When can I go back to work?
When should I schedule a visit to the doctor?
How can I prevent another attack?
What changes should I make in my lifestyle?
About recovery in the hospital (after stroke, heart attack or surgery)
What happens after surgery?
How soon can my family visit?
Will there be pain or fever?
What are the ICU and CCU?
What happens in the ICU and CCU?
What are the tubes and wires for?
Can I see the monitors?
What does it mean if an alarm goes off?
What feelings can arise in the ICU?
When will I leave the ICU?
How long will the breathing tube stay in?
What happens when I leave the ICU?
What can be done to help in recovery?
How soon can I get out of bed?
What is a good sleeping position?
When can I eat and drink?
What about bathing?
When will my (chest, head, neck, leg, etc.) heal?
What about medicine?
How long will the pain last?
When do I start rehabilitation?
How long do I stay in the hospital?
What should my family know?
About surgery or procedures
Will I need surgery?
Why do I need it?
What is the surgery or procedure like?
How is it done?
What are the risks?
Could I have a stroke or heart attack during surgery?
What are the alternatives?
Will I need this procedure or surgery again?
What should my family know?
About symptoms and warning signs
How can I tell a heart attack from angina?
How is a heart attack different from a stroke?
How is a TIA different from a stroke?
What should I do if I have any of the symptoms of a stroke or heart attack?
Where can I or someone in my family take a CPR class?
About tests for heart or brain function
Why do I need it?
How is it done?
Will it hurt?
What will the test show?
How soon will I get the results?
What is monitored during the test?
What equipment is used?
Is there a risk?
Could it give me a heart attack or stroke?
What are the alternatives?
Will my artificial heart valve cause problems?
Could my implanted pacemaker cause problems?
Will I need more tests?
About weight control
Why are weight control and physical activity important?
How often should I check my weight?
How much weight should I lose?
How fast should I lose weight?
What diet guidelines should I follow?
What are the best types of physical activities for me?
How much physical activity do I need to do?
How much weight gain is too much?
How can family and friends help?
How do I find a dietitian to help me develop a good, long-term weight-loss plan?

Aging Parents and all that jazz...

Genetics can really throw some HUGE rocks your way. I, for one, am a recipient of a myriad of health-related risk factors due to my genetic make up.

High Blood Pressure. High Cholestrol. PCOS. Insulin Resistence. Obesity. blah blah blah.

One thing I have escaped, thus far, is diabetes. The IR I mentioned above is simply a result of the PCOS. Both of my parents are now diabetic. Mom was diagnosed yesterday. :-(

Both of my parent's mother's were diabetic. Double whammy. Now both of my parents are diabetic.

I am 5'1 and need to lose about 80 pounds... at least. I think I am screwed. LOL

Today I head to the cardiologist. I am excited to finally talk to someone who can shed some light on my situation. My doctor is Dr. Honan with Cardiovascular Associates. His resume is impressive (yes I looked it up) :

Medical School:
Cum laudeUniversity of Alabama School of Medicine Birmingham, AL, 1983Internship/Residency:
Internal MedicineDuke University Medical CenterDurham, NC, 1983-1986Fellowship:
Cardiovascular Disease Duke University Medical Center1986-1989
Diplomate, American Board of Internal Medicine, 1986
Diplomate, American Board of Internal Medicine, Subspecialty Cardiovascular Disease, 1989

I also read he is the past president of the American College of Cardiologist (or something like that.)

He has also worked as a media spokesperson for me for the American Heart Association - he is on our board of directors, and when you ask anyone who the best cardiologist is in a city full of top hospitals in the nation - Dr. Honan's name comes up over and over.

Here's hoping I can finally get the blood pressure under control. Here's hoping I can get the weight under control. Here's hoping.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pulled myself out.

I pulled myself out of the morbid mood. PRAISE GOD.

Okay.. moving on.

Tomorrow is the big trip to the cardiologist. I am a little excited and a little nervous. I am ready to start this whole healthy lifestyle makeover. I even went grocery shopping, realizing tomorrow I will get the "smack down" from the D-O-C. I went so far as to pick up a carton of mint chocolate chip ice cream and a super bag of chips - then changed my mind and put them back.

*applause from the crowd*

The whole recession thing has taught me how to go without. So, putting the treats back was easy. lol

Today was a heck of a day. I felt crummy - and it rained all day long. I tried to drive to work, but I got sooo dizzy and felt like vomiting. I don't think I am sick. I think it was stress. Stress of what has happened to my dear friends at work. Stress of what is yet to come. Life is freaking scary sometimes.

I happen to be one of those rare birds that depends completely on herself. No financial help from anyone. I am taking care of Yass and I - and it is hard. I had another weird "trapped" dream the other night. This time, there was a tsunami. This "building, area" I was in was flooding. If I sat and let the water over take me, I was sure to drown. But I could chance it.. swim across this dangerous crossing and at least TRY to get to the other side. I chose to swim. I took a chance. I battle major depths, frigid temperatures and swam against the current. I made it to the other side... to still find myself alone. I looked back across - the water was moving in. Then behind me it was becoming black. I battled on. I had to swim through floating furniture ( I am assuming they represented obstacles.) But I made it.. to a room (?) where there was a burning fire, and safety. Yet - I went back, to find people i knew, could not - so I swam back to the safe house.

Odd.. but I think this dream represented my survival. My will power. That is that strong current that lays just below the surface with me. I will always keep going. I am sure my last breathe, I will fight death all of the way down. I think this is the same with our current struggles. I will fight it. I will keep on. I will not give up in any way - shape - or form.

Yass and I are leaning on each other for support. We are being more careful with our words, and trying to breathe and see the good in the day. This whole situation is difficult. We are dealing with things .. most newly married couples never dream of. We have not been in a "honeymoon" state of mind because we are still swimming against the current.

And that's okay. Because, like I told Yass - this is what we signed up for. We knew we would be in for a fight.


May God protect us from all useless anxieties.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Only one thing is certain - and that is death. With that being said, how am I to find any hope on this earth?

Yes my friends, I am in a very morbid mood. Too dark and too deep. It gets harder and harder to see the good: the good in people, the good in things, the good in general.

My tests have been hard and cut me to the core.

Today, I sat idly by as a dear co-worker was let go after 18 years of service. Another, who made major changes and brought numerous contacts to our organization was also sent packing.

Finances are low for just about everyone I know.

Times are HARD. Very very very hard.

I want to pack my bags and go to a foreign land. I want to live off the bare minimum and find happiness in being alive.

Blah Blah Blah.

I can't even write.

Monday, October 12, 2009

One step forward, two steps back.

Damn Damn Damn.

I tell you - with all honestly - I take one step forward and then end up taking two steps back.

I just want to get to a point where I can exhale.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

What I think we need for GOOD health care!

Requirements we need - and a little "to-do" checklist for Congress as they are deciding our future with Health Care:

- End exclusions or waiting periods with people with preexisting health conditions.

- Make coverage more affordable by prohibiting premium variations based on health status and gender and by limiting variation based on age.

- Abolish annual and lifetime caps on essential medical care.

- Impose reasonable limits on out of pocket costs at levels that protect the chronically ill from bankruptcy. (an I get an AMEN?)

- Ensure that essential health care services are covered, including hospital care, ambulatory care, prescription drugs, preventative services, emergency care and rehabilitation.

- Eliminate financial barriers to preventative services.

- Make sure plan networks include an adequate number and type of providers.

- Provide consumers with complete and understandable information about health care, cost, coverage and quality.

That's as basic as it gets. Wouldn't you think? So when I say I believe everyone is entitled to health care - this is exactly what I mean.

I know perfectly good people who work at decent jobs - and they cannot afford good health care. Or they are not eligible for health care.

I hate to see friends suffer - when if there were better options, there would be a different quality of life.

Take me for example - I have a good job that pays well. (No I am not rich - but I make enough, more than enough - for one person.) I have insurance, supposedly good insurance - yet I am in massive debt because I had two health issues that came up - that were not my fault. My bills are higher than you can imagine. A minimum of $800 a month. Imagine if I made less, or did not have the option for health care coverage.

We need to be protected from the big business of insurance companies. As well as make sure that congress is creating a fair - and reasonable option. We need choices, and we need to make sure the right people are making these decisions. We must insist we get these things. YES - I think everyone is entitled to good health care. How could a decent person not agree??

Okay - that's the end of my daily rant. ;-)

Monday, October 5, 2009

I'm back!

Life is slowly returning to color. It is October. I am back - and am I BAAAAAD!

I say that jokingly. But I believe my weekend at the beach wiped away all of the old issues (mentally) and now I can move forward with my life.

I am going to break it all down:

Work: I am on track (at least as far as I am concerned) with work. I am doing exactly what I planned to do, and I am trying my absolute best to go above and beyond. We all know by now that my immediate, for whatever reason, is not a big fan of mine. So be it. The truth will always remain - I have skills this person wishes she had. I can build relationships that are real, I truly have the passion of the organization ingrained in me - and I am by no means here to simply 'move up' as apparently her half hearted attempts seem to be. I am here to do my job. Also - I am an orginal. Something this person does not possess. If it wasn't written in a publica relations book, or published in a Cone Survey - this person cannot come up with one creative idea. I am proud of my ability to build something out of nothing. I have actual experience in the media, unlike the person mentioned, and I have worked in non-profit many more years. It's all good. When I can remind myself of these facts, I have the power. NOT the other way around.

Home - Reality. I am fine. My home is fine. I have my husband. We will be fine. We are waiting on Immigration. (not a foreign concept.) We cannot better the egyptian's situation until the Green Card is approved. Fine. We wait. I am keeping a positive attitude. All I can do is show my signifigant other what happiness looks like. How to find hope in what some may see as hopeless situations. I have patience. This is something I can teach by demonstrating.

We have to remember - all in God's time!!

$$$ - one more month of the UAB hospital bill hell. ONE. I can do this.

That's about it.

I am trying to gain back that power I so easily gave away to people who do not really count in my world. I am back..... watch out world.


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