Friday, August 31, 2007
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Webster defines the word "irritable" as: 1. Easily annoyed. And the word "annoy" is defined as: 1. Make slightly angry. And the word "angry" is defined as: 1. Inflamed.
Hmm...aren't I ON steroids to decrease "inflammation"?!? Now I'm REALLY irritable...
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
I've had one of "those" days...a magnified version of a crappy day enhanced by steroids. Yes, I'm STILL on the oral Prednisone taper and won't be off the roids for a few more days. And for whatever reason, I've been getting horrific abdominal cramps/diarrhea, most likely steroid-induced (Too Much Information?!?)...these "episodes" are NOT pleasant nor conducive to my job.
But being a long time sufferer of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), I've grown accustomed to "urgency" episodes...doesn't make them any easier...just familiar. LOL Today was one of those such episodes. Running around like a puppy looking for the paper! It's just a good thing I can laugh at myself and see the humor in most bodily functions.
It kind of made me want to get some of THESE:
Monday, August 27, 2007
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Friday, August 24, 2007
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
I feel at peace with the dirt...an inexplicable attraction between us. If not for water and blood and muscle and nerve fiber, the dirt and I would look very much alike...kindred and sister spirits of sorts. I can sit in the dirt, covered in what some might find offensive grime, and relax...letting all my worries sink deeply through my feet to deposit in the soil. I consider this the most sacred art of recycling...to let Mother Earth take upon her shoulders those burdens too heavy for me to carry and transform them into beautiful acts of nature.
The dirt listens to me without ever uttering a word. It patiently awaits with chasmic arms, ready to embrace me at any moment of any hour of any day. It doesn't care if I am grumpy or lonely or sad...the soil knows the value of it's companionship.
Monday, August 20, 2007
Sunday, August 19, 2007
|Artist - Track 01....|
Please take a moment to hit the grey/white arrow "play" button on the widget above...the song will take a few seconds to load. Take a sip of your favorite beverage...relax...let the music take you directly into MY world...
Now, pause for a few moments to breathe in the song that is playing...you remember it, don't you? The theme from the movie "JAWS"???
Note the photo below:
Yes, I am on steroids...yes, I am currently in a steroid feeding frenzy and eating for two...ah..HUNDRED!!!!! Somebody stop me...LOL...
Friday, August 17, 2007
Science Daily — The evidence is accumulating on how bad stress is for health. Chronic stress can intensify inflammation and increase a person's risk for developing central nervous system infections, neurodegenerative diseases, like multiple sclerosis (MS), and other inflammatory diseases, say researchers presenting at the 115th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (APA).
These researchers have demonstrated for the first time that stress-related increases in central nervous system inflammation are behind the adverse effects of stress in an animal model of MS.
Researchers from Texas A & M University used mice to show what role social stress plays in the immune process to influence the course of an MS-like disease. They proposed that stress-induced increases of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which are proteins that regulate immune and inflammatory functions, inhibit the clearing of a virus and allow the inflammatory process to run amok. Stress, say the authors, may interact with viral infections to increase vulnerability to diseases such as MS. Meta-analysis of studies investigating the impact of stressful events in patients with MS show an increased risk of worsening symptoms of the disease.
In a series of experiments on mice, the authors showed that increases in a particular cytokine -- interleukin-6 (IL-6), which is released during stress and regulates the part of the immune system that fights infection -- can make socially stressed mice vulnerable to MS-like illnesses.
The researchers used a social disruption model (SDR) to simulate social stress for mice and then infected the mice with Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis (TMEV). Infection with TMEV results in an acute infection of the central nervous system followed by a chronic autoimmune disease similar to that seen in humans with MS. Their laboratory has previously shown that exposure to social stress prior to infection exacerbates both the early viral infection and the later autoimmune demyelinating MS-like phase of the disease.
To create a stressful environment, researchers housed three young male mice together for several weeks. After the mice established a stable social hierarchy, researchers introduced an older aggressive male into the residence for a couple of hours. The intruder exhibits aggressive behavior -- posturing, fighting, wounding, pursuit -- that results in submissive behaviors and social defeat in the younger resident mice. This procedure was repeated for three consecutive nightly two-hour sessions with one night off, followed by an additional three nightly sessions. To keep the mice from getting used to the intruder, a new intruder was introduced for each session.
What they found was this stress appears to elevate levels of IL-6, which subsequently increases the severity of the MS-like illness. Furthermore, using specific IL-6 neutralizing antibody treatments during the stress exposure can prevent the stress-related worsening of the disease, said the authors.
In one experiment, they showed that mice exposed to social disruption had elevated central and peripheral levels of IL-6. However, infusing the neutralizing antibody into the brain prevented this stress-induced increase in IL-6. This demonstrated that the antibody could effectively reverse the stress-related increases in IL-6 in brain and in circulating blood.
Results from a second experiment showed that administering the IL-6 neutralizing antibody during the stress exposure prevented worsening of the TMEV infection. By blocking the stress-induced elevation of IL-6, TMEV infection was weakened, which lessened some of the disease symptoms, such as motor impairment, inflammation in the brain and spinal cord, and the viral level in the central nervous system.
Based on these findings, Dr. Mary Meagher, the lead researcher, proposes that the adverse effects of stress-induced IL-6 on TMEV infection are enough to create a pro-inflammatory environment that interferes with the immune response to infection. Because the early immune response shapes the later specific immune response to infection, impairment of the early response could account for the increased viral level, prolonged viral infection, increased CNS inflammation, and the subsequent exacerbation of the chronic autoimmune disease.
There is a growing body of evidence in both animal and human studies that suggests that exposure to stress can increase and sustain the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines following an assault on the immune system. Thus, the present findings might help scientists unravel which biobehavioral mechanisms offset the adverse health effects of chronic social stress in humans.
"Similar to mice exposed to repeated social defeat by an aggressive intruder, people exposed to chronic social conflict experience high levels of stress and consequent dysregulation of the immune system, thereby increasing vulnerability to infectious and autoimmune disease," said Meagher. "The cytokine response during chronic stress appears to play a key role in exacerbating the acute CNS infection and the development of subsequent autoimmune responses."
Furthermore, interventions that prevented or reversed the stress-induced increases in IL-6 in the mouse model may have implications for humans, said Meagher. It is possible that the adverse effects of social conflict on people who are vulnerable to certain inflammatory diseases may be prevented or reversed by treatments aimed at blocking increases in this cytokine. Recent evidence suggests that some potential interventions include certain anti-inflammatory drugs, exercise, antidepressant medication, omega-3 fatty acids, and mindfulness relaxation training. However, human clinical trials are needed to fully evaluate this issue.
Presentation: "Severe or Traumatic Stress and Inflammation in Multiple Sclerosis," Mary W. Meagher, PhD, Texas A&M University, Session 1157 -- Symposium: Traumatic Stress, Cardiovascular Disease, Metabolic Syndrome, and Neurodegenerative Disease, August 17, 2007
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Monday, August 13, 2007
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Saint EB has been working her butt off...literally. She has not only been preparing for her BIKACIDE ride (which, by the way, is now only a few weeks away!) in September for the MS Society, but she has also been the RING LEADER at my place of employment in steer-heading our chaotic move to the new building. In her own words, she's become a bit "manic" with everything going on in her life.
All of these near traumatic events did not stop her, however, from coming to my rescue yesterday evening and insisting on taking me out for a chocolate malt because (as we ALL know), "A chocolate malt can cure anything!"
Our trip to get a malt started out innocent enough...I had developed cabin fever after only two days of "bedrest" as ordered by Dr. SWWNBN (because I wouldn't/won't agree to much of anything else the good doctor has to offer me)...Saint EB had developed a full blown case of "mania" from lack of sleep and very long hours she has been working to try to make the office move run smoothly. Needless to say, we both had the "giggles"...you know the kind...where nothing is really funny, but everything makes you laugh and it is infectious.
Soooo...we had our malts (or I should say I had a malt...Saint EB had a rootbeer float) and she announced to me there was a brief errand that needed to be run. It was a trip to the local hardware store for "zip ties"...it seems the moving company that brought the ten thousand JI-NORMOUS crates to our office had neglected to leave enough zip ties to close the darned things. Saint EB was on a mission to retrieve the zip ties before morning so she could complete the loading of the one million crates (oh yes...the size and numbers of the huge, orange bins grew substantially over the course of a few days...but I DO exaggerate, too. LOL).
We headed down the street at dusk toward the local hardware store, laughing and continuing to carry on like deranged fools, and stopped at a red light. Just above the street was a giant billboard that caught our attention. It was one of the local MS Society's ads about Multiple Sclerosis in the Northwest.
Now, in case you've been living under a rock and not heard the statistics, MS is quite a popular disease out here in the Emerald City and state. Estimates range from about 8,000 to 10,000 individuals diagnosed with the disease, which is a very large density of MS in ratio to the population. This past Spring, the local MS Chapter launched a billboard awareness campaign to let EVERYONE know MS was an issue in our fair city.
The billboards are actually quite tastefully done. Many have pictures of area landmarks (like the World's Fair Space Needle...when you think Seattle, don't you think Space Needle?!?) and they all contain questions regarding the unknown cause of MS. The billboard we were staring at had the Space Needle in a sepia tone with large rain drops on it and the caption read, "Is it in the air?" It is a quite striking billboard really...hats off to the creators (it mentions nothing about a "movement", thank goodness!).
So, we're sitting at this red light, staring up at this billboard, and Saint EB reads the title out loud..."Is it in the air?" she says to no one in particular.
At the very exact moment she finishes her sentence, an obvious albatross flew somewhere over the paling sky (we later decided it HAD to be a large bird...although there ARE no albatrosses near Seattle) and relieved itself. With the sonar exactness that only a bird has, it relieved itself squarely on its mark...directly on the driver's side windshield, and splattered with a most disturbing "thud" sound.
There was another very brief moment of silence as we both digested what had just occurred on the heels of Saint EB's, "Is it in the air?" statement. I think we might have been silently pondering the meaning of this physical "sign".
And then, the gut-wrenching laughter broke out as I stated, "Well, I guess it IS in the air!" Neither one of us could see clearly as we wiped the laughter tears from our eyes and tried to compose ourselves for the trip inside the hardware store!
It is for moments like these, I toast my dear friends...for keeping me crying from laughter versus crying from heartache...for the chocolate malts...for the comradery in chaos...I guess you really HAD to be there...LOL...
Thursday, August 09, 2007
Any further suggestions/thoughts/demands/orders/funny ideas? Just wondering...
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Concern is, this morning my left leg is numb and heavy...hard to describe. I CAN walk on it, just have oddly little sensation in it. Do you think the Zanaflex could be causing this? It's the only thing that's "new"...
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
My name is: Linda
Possibly derived from several sources such as the shortened form of Belinda or Melinda, from the Spanish "linda" meaning beautiful, or the short form of Germanic names ending in "lind" meaning "tender, soft." The name was listed among the top 10 from 1940 to 1965 due to the success of actresses Linda Darnell and Linda Christian. The name has faded since that time but is still listed among the top 500.
I am tagging: MISS CHRIS; MERELYME; and ZEE. You KNOW who you are! (And your blog links are displayed to the left over there, so EVERYONE can follow up!)
If you have been tagged, copy and paste all of this - from the image to the end of the instructions - into a blog post. Then, change the information to match your name and tag three other bloggers. If you don’t know what your name means, you can try looking it up on Baby’s Name World.
Monday, August 06, 2007
Sunday, August 05, 2007
"Much emphasis is placed on finding one cause for MS, which would allow us to develop one medicine that treats all patients," said Dr. Claudia Lucchinetti, assistant professor of Neurology at the Mayo Clinic and the lead investigator for a broad new research initiative called The MS Lesion Project. She continued, "however, the course of disease, response to medications, and even brain MRI findings vary greatly among people with MS."