Tag Archives: medicine

Lance Armstrong, Cycling, Etc

“Does Lance Armstrong enjoy cycling? Of course he does! He has a ball!”

I saw this one today, written by Kuruis, on Reddit Jokes, got a laugh, wanted to pass it along, so here it is…lol

I am lurking the web, newspapers, movies, and documentaries mining for material to go into my next blog entry. The jokes help keep things into perspective. Sometimes, I try too hard to come up with an entry, and write a bunch of crap, or nothing at all.

Thanks to everyone who has, and is still supporting me in this time of difficult transition, in my life. Having Crohns Disease, and all the body falling apart problems 28 years of it entails is a harsh reality, in and of itself. Adding the marriage breakup to the mix, makes for some real crappy days. Thanks to all of you for cruising my blog, and sending the well wishes.

This too shall pass.

Cheers,

mark – aka still need a car to get back and forth to doctors’ appointments – armyveteran ūüėČ

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Filed under Blogging, Crohns Disease, Humor, Life as a Disabled Veteran, Personal, Sports

Could Thalidomide Be The Answer For My Crohns Disease?

As I was doing research on treatments for Crohns Disease, I ran across some interesting research where Clinicians are using Thalidomide to treat Crohns Disease patients unresponsive to other treatments. In several studies, even the patients who dropped out of the clinical trials because of side effects, ranging from drowsiness, neuropathy, and constipation, had positive results from the use of this drug, on their disease. The positive effects on Crohns disease were prevalent even in lower doses, with some patients attaining total remission

Thalidomide was banned in the mid part of last century due to severe birth defects, so it would have to be carefully monitored as to who would be able to use it, if approved, and accepted by the Medical Community, for widespread use; nonetheless, for people like me who have had a bad reaction to everything except steroids, to treat my Crohns disease, this may be an alternative I may be able to take. I will be asking my GI doctor. This drug is an earlier version of the new main line Crohns disease treatments, Anti Tumor Necrosis Factor (anti TNF) drugs. I will definitely investigate this.

My GI doctors want me off the steroids, and I fully understand why, but we have not found an alternative yet. We thought we had an alternative, but when I got the prescription, and checked it against my records, I saw where it caused me a significant GI bleed. I was throwing up dry blood from it several years ago, so I cannot use it. Maybe low dose Thalidomide will work, or maybe not. I will keep looking though. Lucky for me, my GI Clinic is affiliated with the University of Florida, and Shands Gainesville, so I get access to treatments before others, if I choose to participate, in clinical trials.

Thanks for stopping by. I still need a car if ANYONE can help me out with a clunker. I would be happy to make payments. I just do not have a down payment. I am planning to move closer to the hospital, but will need a car so I am not stuck, in a new town, with no way to go. I guess we can say getting a car is on my “Bucket List“. I really, really, really need one, and hate to ask, but at this point I am about ready to beg.

Take Care,

mark

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Filed under Blogging, Crohns Disease, Health, Life as a Disabled Veteran, Personal, Veterans Issues

My Visit With My New Doctor & Compliments to Lake City, FL VA Hematology Clinic

I had an appointment at the Veterans Clinic in Lake City, Florida today. I was a bit apprehensive about this appointment because I have a new Primary Care doctor. Those who know me know that this is my 5th Primary Care Doctor in the past two years. I have never had so many doctors, in such a short time. What happened was the doctor assigned me when my old doctor got promoted quit because she did not like all the computer BS the VA makes the doctors do, and they had a hard time replacing her. Of all these doctors, I only saw one, back last year, for a whole 5 minutes. Needless to say, I felt like I was being put on the back burner, all the while my health kept declining from an already diminished state. I was in and out of a local private hospital because the pain of the pancreatitis, which they now say is chronic, was too much for me, and the medications I had would not touch the pain. The last time I was hospitalised, June of last year, on top of all the medications I take routinely, they were having to give me 1.5 mg of Diladud every 2 hours. I was very miserable until it cleared up. I could have taken care of things at home had I had something for the intense pain, other than what I already take for the myriad of problems I have. Moreover, I were in the middle of a dose adjustment when the doctor who was supposed to be my new doctor quit. I did okay, for a while, then I needed another adjustment, yet had no doctor who knew me to call on.

The Primary Care Doctor is very important in the VA system. They are the proverbial Quarterback of the team. When you have a severe health problem you do not want second string replacements, you want a real Doctor who is going to stay, get to know you, and you them, so as to develop that special relationship a severely ill patient needs with their doctor.

I am glad to report my new Primary Care Doctor seems to be a good one. It is going to take time for her to get to know me, and understand fully my problems, but we had a great start today. She did not pull any punches with me, and gave it to me straight. I respect that. Moreover, she discovered some medications I had been taking for a long time that are not exactly good for a man’s prostate, and discontinued them, lest I develop prostate problems.¬†I appreciate that. I go back in 3 months. I will see how it goes, but thus far, all is good.

My blood has been tired for over six years now. I had a significant GI bleed back in 07 that created many problems for me. I want to take this time to tell whoever reads this how nice, compassionate, professional, and efficient the Hematology Clinic at Lake City has been to me. I truly appreciate them. Of note, is a nurse named Amy, and an NP named Ruth. They have bent over backwards to accommodate me, and I am truly grateful. Stacy deserves an honorable mention as she is another one who has helped me. Kudos to these front line troopers. The VA needs more like them, especially Amy, and Ruth.

As I have mentioned, my health has been giving me fits. I now have chronic pancreatitis, and it hurts like hell. Most of the time, about 70 percent of the time, my regular meds work, but the rest of the time I am in sheer agony. I had to go to the ER last month for a pain shot. I also am dealing with the crohns (from Accutane given me for my service connected disability), the effects of 11 abdominal surgeries, 5 surgeries to repair a broken bone in my face (Army injury), sacroilietis, fused disks in my neck, myofacial syndrome, osteoporosis, joint pain (severe in my hips), and neuropathy. I am dealing with more than this, but to list it all would take more space than I wish to use. Suffice it to say, I need your prayers, if you pray. Anyone wishing to send cash, that will help too, although it will not take the pain away. I have been in constant pain now for 25 years, 15 of those being severe up to now. I hope that together my new doctor, and the pain team can come up with a workable, practical, and EFFECTIVE treatment. I am grateful for what I have now, but I know they can do better.

Thanks for stopping by!

mark

ENJOY YOUR FREEDOM? THANK A VETERAN!

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Filed under Crohns Disease, Life as a Disabled Veteran, Personal

Fungal Meningitis Outbreak in United States Tied to Injectable Methylprednisone

HEALTH ALERT

PAIN MANAGEMENT  РMETHYLPREDNISONE INJECTIONS

From Maine, to Florida, and points as far West as the Mississippi River, Health Officials have reported an outbreak of Fungal Meningitis. This outbreak of Fungal Meningitis has been traced back to an estimated 70,000 units of injectable Methylprednisone (corticosteroid), manually compounded, and used in pain clinics to treat back pain. Often, the physician administering this type of injection, mixes the steroid with Vitamin B-12.  The Vitamin B-12 is not the problem, the steroid, methylprednisone, a corticosteroid, has somehow been contaminated with a fungus.

If you have had ANY methylprednisone shots, anywhere, in your body, contact your physician immediately. Meningitis is a very bad thing to have, fungal meningitis is just as bad, if not worse,  on other levels. The reason I am writing, if you had one of these shots ANYWHERE IN YOUR BODY,  you should contact your doctor, is to err on the side of caution. Meningitis can be deadly. Additionally, I would go even one step further, and check with a physician, if you had one of these shots administered to you anywhere, in the United States.

This particular type of medication is compounded. Instead of being a product of mass production, these vials of injectable corticosteroid (methylprednisone) is compounded in a specialised compounding pharmacy. The chances of a compounded medication being sent cross-country is very real. The compounding pharmacy will say the chances of shipment, and use outside the warning area is small, but there is still a chance, nonetheless. Compounding pharmacies are not regulated, in the same way as other pharmacies, or medical supply companies. I would go so far as to say these types of pharmacies have been lucky to have not had larger problems prior to this. The FDA does not regulate these compounding pharmacies the same way mass production drug makers are regulated. Hopefully this will be the wake up call necessary to bring more scrutiny to these drug makers. They claim a policy of heightened internal surveillance will be the answer to preventing future problems, but I am not willing to risk my life, or the lives of others, on a self policing policy. Self policing is no more than the fox guarding the hen-house.

If I had one of these injections ANYWHERE in the United States, I would get checked out by my primary care doctor. This is solid, sound advice, so do not let any health care professional make you feel like an idiot for wanting, even demanding, to be checked out. I would rather have them make me out to be an idiot, than to be dead; furthermore, if they make you out to be some sort of idiot, find another doctor AFTER you are checked for Fungal Meningitis.

Take Care of Yourself, & Please Get Checked If You Had An Injection of Methylprednisone (corticosteroid),

mark

P.S. I have a compounded medication infused into my bloodstream at least once a month. In the past, I had to have them once a night. Not all Compounding Pharmacies are bad, but they all should meet certain minimum standards, and not be allowed to self police only. There must be oversight from an outside entity, the FDA.

Cheers,

armyveteran

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Another Flare of Crohns & Pancreatitis – This Is Crazy

Today is not such a good day. I woke up in the middle of the night, at the end of my first sleep, with incredible pain, in my abdomen. I took medications prescribed for this, to alleviate, and mitigate the problems causing the pain, but all it did was keep it from getting worse. I never got back into the rhythm of my second sleep, and I was looking forward to it.

My Crohns is flaring up, along with my pancreas. It is inflamed, again, so on top of a Crohns flare, I have pancreatitis. It is not bad enough yet, to go to the hospital, and I hope it does not get that bad. I was planning on getting the money to pay my rent here, but they will just have to understand that I cannot function, in society, when I am having these types of problems. This would not be a problem if I got paid for writing about it. ūüėČ Being able to write at all is a good sign I may be able to¬†stay out of the hospital.

I am truly surprised the stress of everything I am going through has not done me in, health wise, already. I am grateful it has not. I have bunches of stuff to do. Finish unpacking, get money for rent, go food shopping, change address with all the companies I do business with. However, I am taking it easy, not eating anything, and pushing the Gatorade, in the hopes I will snap out of this today, hopefully this afternoon.

Someone made a comment they do not understand why I write about such personal things in my blog. I do this because I want other people, in circumstances similar to mine,  to know they are not alone. I also write about the problems I confront as a disabled veteran, a person with crohns, and other health problems because it is therapeutic for me to do so. I am not going to apologise for writing about the problems I have. They are very real, and very hard to deal with. I am always broke because my disability check is not very much, not even for one person. Since I have limited means, I have to get out of myself somehow, hence this blog. In the 25 years I have struggled with illness, I have never had a major collection taken up to help me defray the costs I incur. On a couple of very rare occasions I have had someone give me a few bucks. I am not a beggar, but even if I were, people would make a snap decision, and not give me a penny. This blog is my tool for good mental hygiene, and to educate others about the struggles the walking wounded go through.

As for the people who say this blog is hard to read. Do not jump to conclusions when reading my home page that all I do is talk about Crohns Disease, neuropathy, Chronic Multifactorial Pain Syndrome, Permanent Scarring, Arthritis, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, bone mineral loss, loss of bone mass, spondylosis of the back, bulging/herniated discs, nerve damage, chronic blood loss w/ iron deficient anemia, requiring at a minimum, monthly iron infusions, and even more problems than I can remember, or even care to list.

Please look through my blog, and you will see  I cover many different topics, including, but not limited to, Art, Black History, Civil War, Creative Writing, Crime, Humor, Local Florida News, Nature, Poetry, Political, Spiritual, Sports, Veterans Issues, and Weather.

Thanks to all who stop by, and read my blog. Thanks to all who pray for me. I really need extra prayers, at this time of high stress, in my life. I am doing my best to stay out of the hospital, and your prayers, and well wishes do a whole lot to lift me up.

Cheers!

mark

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Filed under Blogging, Crohns Disease, Life as a Disabled Veteran, Personal

Quality Medical Care Delivered At St. Vincent’s Medical Center – Jacksonville, Florida

St. Vincent’s Medical Center, Jacksonville, Florida

With some of the negative feedback/reviews of hospitals, and doctors I have posted, I find it only fair, to report, when  positive events happen, at these facilities.

Recently I was urgently admitted to Saint Vincents Hospital, Jacksonville, Florida. From the moment I arrived at the facility, to the day I was discharged I was treated in a very compassionate manner, by highly qualified health care workers.

In the emergency room the nurses, and physicians were attentive to my needs, and listened closely to what I told them had been going on prior to the episode, what was going on at that time, and what I thought it felt like, based on my lengthy history struggling against Crohns Disease. I told them it felt like I had pancreatitis, and I had the same pains I have when I have a bowel obstruction. They were thorough with their questions, and responded to my pain in a very fast manner, not making me go through tests before getting me some relief. I am grateful they did so because I was in extreme grievous pain.

When I was admitted they told me the CT confirmed pancreatitis, and they needed to do an additional lab test on me to exclude something. After a couple of days I was able to give them what they wanted to perform the lab test, and within a day, and a half had the results. They discovered I had an infection that had released spores into my colon causing my colon to become inflamed. I had colitis from this infectious spore problem, and that is what was making me feel as if I had a bowel obstruction.

My Hospitalist was Doctor Sanchez, and she was the best Hospitalist I have ever had. She was very patient with me, and responsive to the problems I was having, including the severe pain caused by the Pancreatitis, and infectious Colitis. Moreover, she fully explained everything¬† that was wrong with me, and did not push me to leave the hospital early. The Physician Assistant, Dawn, who covers rounds for Dr. Abassi was¬† very thorough,¬†with the questions she asked, and the exams she gave. Dr. Abbassi,¬†of Digestive Disease Consultants, Jacksonville,¬†Florida, (904) 388 – 9696, watched over my case closely, and understood when I declined a probe of my pancreas because it still hurt¬†too bad. Dr. Abassi, and Dr. Sanchez¬†supervised a¬†brilliant diagnosis, and miraculous¬†treatment. To sum up the medical care I received, “They saved my life!”.¬†

The entire Nursing, and Associate Care Provider staff was respectful, considerate, compassionate, competent, responsive in a timely manner, and all the other great qualities a person wants from these professionals who have constant contact, and interaction with patients while they are in the hospital.  I am very grateful for all they did for me. From getting my pain shots to me quickly, keeping up with my voluminous medications, getting my routine medications to me on schedule, and watching out for changes in my health, the nurses did an outstanding job. Christa, Jessica, Jose, Gracie, and Denise are some of the nurses who took great care of me. The ACPs did a great job keeping up with my vitals, changing my bed sheets, giving me new hospital gowns, keeping my ice water filled, bringing me juices, talking to me in a compassionate way that helped keep my spirits up, telling the nurses when things were not right, assisting me into the shower,  and bunches of other stuff. The Nurses, and ACPs did an exceptional job delivering top-notch, compassionate care, to me, at a time I could not advocate for myself. I am grateful for all they did for me.

Had they not checked me for that specific infection it would have killed me. People are dying around the world from it.¬†¬†Even my Gastroenterologist’s Mother in Law passed away from it. The¬†weird part¬†of it all is I did not fit into any of the predisposing scenarios, nor did I have any of the risk factors for it, yet somehow I got it. I thank the Good Lord he inspired someone to test me for it.¬† After being on antibiotics for just 2 days I started feeling better, and after the full course, I must say I have not felt this well in a very long time, years even. I still have problems from all the surgeries, and the wasting from the Crohns disease, but the problems from the infectious Colitis were weighing heavy on me, unbeknownst to me, and after receiving the treatment for it, I feel so much better!

Here is a significant indicator things have improved. I have been seeing a Hematologist for 5 years due to long-term blood loss, from inflammation, due to Crohns disease. Over these five years, no matter how much iron was infused into my veins, nor how frequent, my Iron Saturation has stubbornly refused to go into the normal range. Single digit iron saturation values, and a few low double-digit values were the best that could be realised for me, in spite of a very hands on, and highly qualified Hematologist Team, led by Dr. Mary Aplin, and over the past few years, carried out by Ruth Davis, ARNP, at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Lake City, Florida. Guess what happened? Sixteen days after I got out of the hospital, I went to the VA, and had my blood pulled. When the results came back from the lab, not only did I not need an iron treatment, my Iron Saturation Value was 22, in the NORMAL range! Obviously this other problem with the Colitis was causing problems with my blood, over, and above the problems I was having cased by the blood loss from recurring bouts of Crohns Disease.

I thank Almighty God for placing the people at Saint Vincents Hospital, Jacksonville, Florida, in my life, as well as giving them the knowledge, and the skills, to care for the sick. They are His tools for helping people. They use the knowledge God gave them, and He does the healing.  The Hand of God is in all of it.  I am very grateful.

Thanks for stopping by!

mark

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Filed under Crohns Disease, Florida, Health, Jacksonville, Life as a Disabled Veteran, Local, Personal, Spiritual, Veterans Issues

My Disappointing Doctor’s Appointment – How An MD With Terminal Cancer Helped My Perspective

Today I went to the Department of Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic,  for my semi-annual physical exam. I had a different doctor because the new primary care doctor assigned me last year quit December 2011 because she did not like the VA system. Pity she quit, she is a brilliant physician, very thorough, and has an excellent bed side manner (she communicates well). I got a bit spoiled after just a few appointments with her, because, as I have said, she is one of the top 5 physicians I have ever seen, in the 25 year history of my disease. For those who must know her name, it is Dr. Marcia O. Miller.

Today I saw a physician who has been given the thankless task of seeing all of her patients due for semi-annual physicals. I looked up his credentials before going in, and he is well trained in several areas of medicine; furthermore he is a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO), which is a rarity in the VA system. I have had wonderful results with D.O.s in the past, and had my hopes high, for a good visit, with a physician trained a bit differently than the average Medical Doctor (MD). D.O.s take an entirely different approach to medicine. If you ever get a chance, go see one. You will not be disappointed.

I guess I put my hopes a bit too high because the D.O. was really slammed trying to catch up the case load. Certain patients must be seen, at a minimum, every 6 months, by law, so he has an overwhelming task ahead of him. I knew this, and should have been prepared for it; nonetheless, I was not prepared for what I got. All I got was an 8 minute visit with this doctor. I am the type, it takes me a few minutes to warm up to someone, and 8 minutes was not enough time to cover a 25 year history, not even the high lights. He listened to my lungs, and heart, refilled all my routine meds, and I was out the door. Not exactly what I had envisioned, but after several serenity prayers, and a long drive home, I understood.

I was still grappling with it all, and the totality of my problems when I ran across an article about a doctor, 29yrs old, newlywed, who was diagnosed with incurable cancer. Her stories put everything into perspective, and made me thankful for the health I have, compromised as it is. I will let her story speak for itself. Here is the link. I hope you gain something from reading it. It is very worthwhile reading, and not too long.

LINK: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2154683/How-having-terminal-cancer-better-doctor.html?ITO=1490

If you want, cruise back by, and let me know what you think about her struggles.

Take Care of Yourself, and Tell Someone You Love Them,

mark

 

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Filed under Health, Life as a Disabled Veteran, Spiritual, Veterans Issues