Support for Depression

Support for Depression

I was speaking to someone recently who was trying to minimize their antidepressant medications because, well, you know… It got me to thinking. Why in our world is having depression and taking antidepressants a shame? Folks that have diabetes take insulin. That’s a very normal and accepted thing in our society. My thyroid doesn’t put out the proper amount of chemicals, so I supplement with daily medications. Nobody frowns on that. The funny thing is, depression can be a symptom of that thyroid problem. Purely chemical. Correct the thyroid and the depression goes away. These kinds of medications are not frowned upon. And yet every time I speak with someone who is fighting depression they kind of whisper it or…

Developing Global Health

I first visited a developing country at the end of  2013. My husband and I visited Mexico on a missions trip. We visited several small towns and villages. We travelled back roads and avoided craters in the roads. Being a nurse by training, I was intrigued by the health needs there. We heard stories of cancer and infections and untreated diabetes. We heard testimonies of “I’m glad I survived this surgery” after a simple surgery that would be a simple outpatient procedure in the States.  Then we went to Nigeria. It is a land of few doctors and even fewer resources to obtain care. Bad water, worm infestations, and strange pathogens are all a part of daily life for the…

Delta Airlines Doesn’t Know Peanuts or A Defense Of “Crazy” Food Allergy Parents

Delta Airlines Doesn’t Know Peanuts or A Defense Of “Crazy” Food Allergy Parents

I am on a Delta Airlines flight and they just offered me peanuts. We usually fly American Airlines, so I was shocked. Luckily my daughter is not with me or I would be freaking out.  Why? I am the mom of a child with food allergies. And sitting near someone eating peanuts could kill her. Literally. Last time I checked, an airplane is not a great place to have a major medical emergency. Unlike milk or eggs or most other food allergies, peanuts somehow contaminate the air around them and even a trace amount in the air, similar to the way a smell works, can cause a reaction. So why the peanuts when so many have similar reactions? I have…

How I Deal With Chronic Pain

I hurt every day of my life. I have for the last 17 years (except the last 2 trimesters of each of my pregnancies). My particular dragon to fight goes by a variety of names: Chronic Intractable Headache, Transformed Migraine, Migraine With Aura, Menstrual Migraine, Migraine Without Aura, and a few others. The particular manifestation shifts at times, but it’s always a headache. The list of treatments I have tried is as long as my arm. Nothing takes it away. Every new practitioner is convinced that THEY have the answer and it’s really so simple. But it’s never quite so simple.  I say this not to gain pity, but it’s my reality and someone might find my story helpful.  So…

What ALS Looked Like To Me

ALS is a big ugly evil monster. Or at least that’s how I imagine it. It attacks its victims’ motor neurons, leaving sensory function and cognitive abilities intact. In other words, it attacks its victims’ ability to control movement, gradually taking away communication and the ability to swallow, walk, control the hands, and eventually, even breathe. All the while, the victim can still feel and think normally. The frustration and fear this monster causes is unimaginable. Now let me tell you my story. My paternal grandmother died of ALS when I was 16.  Her disease wasn’t diagnosed until a few days before she died.  How that happened in 1990, I don’t know.  I wish I could discuss that with a…

The Gift of Today

Today was a gift. A wonderful, glorious, marvelous gift. You see, this morning I started getting a migraine. (My migraines like to make a big announcement with flashing lights, so I knew it was coming.) Lucky for me, I had a headache appointment yesterday where the nurse practitioner gave me several new meds to try. Well, they weren’t really NEW, since I’ve tried them all before and they never worked. Actually, nothing ever works, so I didn’t hold out much hope. Today, it worked! Within about 2 hours I was up, eating, and functioning normally; well as normal as I ever do. So today was a gift. Instead of lying in bed with intense pain in 1/2 of my head,…

Enjoy Those Years!

I’ve become those elderly women who stop you in the supermarket when you have an infant and 2 toddlers with you and you’re just trying to get a loaf of bread and also keep them from destroying aisle 3. These lovely women say “enjoy these years because they grow up too fast”. Meanwhile you’re sleep deprived and just want 2 minutes of quiet without wondering what’s being pulled off the shelf in the next room. You hear “mommy” 3,254 times a day, usually followed by a request to help with something or avert an emergency. But really, this childhood thing goes lightening fast! Believe it or not, the babies will sleep through the night, learn to control their body functions,…

Human Again

There’s a saying where I come from that says, “They look like something the cat dragged in.” It’s not a compliment. Well, having a non-functioning thyroid makes you feel like “something the cat dragged in.” The thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland that regulates metabolism and energy levels.  This sounds like no big deal until it stops working. I know because my thyroid has lately decided to call it quits. My nurse practitioner had never seen thyroid lab values as out-of-whack as mine. One of those tests, the TSH, should be between 0.36 and 3.74. Mine was 69.5. She’s not sure how I was functioning at all. I guess she doesn’t know how stubborn I am. Since being diagnosed with…

Same Old Same Old

Before Sunday evening prayer service, one our ministers allows people to share prayer needs with the congregation. We allow, even encourage, our children to speak their requests. My 2 daughters always name the same things: my older daughter’s skin condition and my chronic headaches. I am told they also name these same requests every Wednesday night in their Kids’ Bible Night classes. So recently my seven year old decided to save a little time. She raised her hand, waited to be called on, and then said, “Just the same old same old.” There was a pause, and then the adults in the congregation laughed out loud. This was funny on several levels. First, the way she said it was funny.…