Seven Stages of Grief

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Something I realized one day was that my diagnosis were a lot like my divorce. With my divorce I could escape my grief, but with my diagnosis’ I can’t. OK so they are a little different. One I don’t have to worry about any more and one I have to worry about the rest of my life. Maybe live with is a better way to say it. Either way the same principles apply. That is the magic secret that I figured out.

Have you ever heard of the seven stages of grief? While I was going through the feelings of my first diagnosis I realized at one point they were the same as the stages of divorce or any other major loss in your life. Now I do need to add one stage to the beginning that is not listed. I’m sure it is only something that those of us with invisible diseases feel. It was joy! Elation! I’m not crazy! The believe for once! OH SHIT! Why am I happy? I have autoimmune diseases! But, I’m not crazy! OK, just shush! I’m a bit crazy and many will say more than a bit. :) It’s ok with me! So that was really my stage one. Let me know if you see how they have related to you. Each person is different but in a way I’m sure we all go through something like this. Some of us may never complete the steps, some may finish them, or you could be like me start, finish and start again when you have a new diagnosis. So on with the rest…

Seven Steps of Grief

Shock and Denial
In this stage, the person suffers from shock on knowing about the loss. Shock is a self-defense stage of the mind and the outcome of it, many times, is denial of the facts that have actually happened. A person in grief thinks that he is dreaming and he refuses to accept the grief causing situation. The time for which this stage lasts cannot be determined. Simple tasks and decisions cannot be carried out by a person in shock.

Pain and Guilt
At this stage, the grieving person realizes that the loss that has happened is true. This is the most chaotic and scary stage of grief. Many people succumb to alcohol and drugs at this stage. Intense feelings of guilt and compunction are experienced due to the wrong things done which led to this irreversible loss. Sometimes, in grief, people blame themselves and consider themselves responsible for the loss.

Anger
In this stage, the person may get angry due to the injustice that has happened to him or he may get angry over a person responsible for the loss in his life. Anger management is necessary at this stage of grief.

Bargaining
In this stage, person in grief gets frustrated and may start blaming others for the loss. Although this blame is not correct, he is not in a state to understand and accept the reality. The person starts bargaining for the loss and tries to find out ways in which he can revert the situation and compensate for what he has lost. This stage is called bargaining.

Depression and Sorrow
In this stage, the person accepts the loss but is unable to cope up with it. Depressed and demoralized, the person is in despair and behaves passively. He sees no remedy to the loss he suffered and is reluctant to behave in a normal way and thus goes into a state of depression.

Testing and Reconstruction
This is the testing stage in which the depressed person starts to indulge in other activities so as to escape the disturbing sorrow. In fact, this is the beginning of the next and last stage, i.e. acceptance of and coming to terms with the reality. It is also a stage of reconstruction as in this stage, he starts the process reconstruction of his life by searching for solutions and ways to come out of his grief.

Acceptance
This is the stage when the grieving person accepts the reality. Acceptance stage projects a ray of hope and the person starts believing in himself. Reality and facts of life are accepted and the person moves forward with this life. This stage can be noticed when the person starts behaving normally and his performance in the office is quite improved. The grieving person starts to mingle with friends and colleagues around him.
Read more at Buzzle: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/7-stages-of-grief.html

What is happening to me?

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It’s been awhile I have been on here, but I have been so fatigued. I had an incident yesterday that really scared me. I was wondering if any of you have had this happen…

I was pulling weeds in the yard. I was also taking breaks so I don’t think I over did it. First I got this feeling on the upper part of my arm. It was a burning feeling and hurt really bad. It then started to travel down my arm. It felt like hot razors were slashing my skin. I thought I was going to have to go to the doctor. After about 20 minutes it went away, but the pain is hard to forget.

After another break I finished up. It took about 10 minutes. I started to feel funny. Unstable and dizzy. I went inside and after going to the bathroom I was feeling worse. I thought maybe I needed to eat something so I got a bowl of cereal and while I was eating my body was getting heavier and heavier. My son was sitting with me, 13 years old, I told him to get the blood pressure monitor. By the time he got back with it I could barely hold myself up. Luckily my arm was on the table by the bowl. That was the only thing keeping my face from being in the bowl. My son got the cuff on and my blood pressure wasn’t to bad around 90/56 or so. I was jumping up and down and so was my pulse anywhere between 85 and 135. I could barely talk or open my eyes. I was slurring badly. The kids tried calling my husband and didn’t get an answer so I managed to tell them to call 911. It took a bit for them to translate what I was saying.

The paramedics checked everything and it all seemed ok, but I couldn’t move or really talk. I knew what was going on, but I couldn’t let them know that my mind was still active.

They got me to the hospital and they ran more tests. As usual they didn’t find anything at all. I’m so tired of that happening. At least this time they saw what was happening. I became more alert as time went on, but I could not move my legs from the knee down and my hands were not reacting properly. After a bit I was able to wiggle my toes a little but not fully and it took A LOT of effort.

After 5 hours I seemed to be back in working order. They let me go home since they couldn’t find anything. I was still shaky but could walk and talk normal. I got home and pretty much slept until a few hours ago. I am still shaky today, but I have finally been able to stay out of bed for a few hours. I do feel a nap coming on very soon.

Also for a few months I wake up and before I get out of bed I shake uncontrollably for almost a minute. I don’t know if this has anything to do with it.

I WON!!!

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I’m so excited!!! I won an iRobot Scooba 390 on Tidy Mom’s blog!!! I have the worst luck and never win anything so this was a complete shock to me!!! Thank you so much Cheryl!!!

As you all know I have a zoo here at the house. Four cats, a basset hound and a bearded dragon. Two of the cats and the bearded dragon are pretty clean. They stay inside. The others… On cat, Cleo, isn’t too bad. She just comes in with muddy feet when it rains. The other cat, Boots, rolls in the dry Georgia red clay. The basset hound, Charlie, is a mess! He rolls in the dirt, digs out his little hole to sleep in and slobbers like a water faucet. That pretty much means that my floors are always a mess. I try to keep up, but as soon as I clean them here comes Charlie dripping slobber and tracking red dirt all over the house. I think this is one of the reasons that I didn’t want a dog to begin with, but he showed up last July in a bad thunder-storm and never left. I had no luck finding who he belonged to.

This little floor cleaner is going to be AMAZING!!! I will be sure to update and let you all know how well it works. I can’t wait to get it and try it out!

Isn’t it pretty!!!

Pernicious Anemia

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Pernicious Anemia is an autoimmune disease. I have noticed that many people that have Sjogren’s have low B12 counts. I always wondered if there was a connection. Now that I know it is and autoimmune disease I am almost sure there is. Most people who have one autoimmune disease tend to get others. In my case I have Sjogren’s Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Lupus, Raynaud’s, and as my doctor told me yesterday Pernicious Anemia.

Pernicious Anemia is an autoimmune disease that attacks the intrinsic factor. This is a type of protein that helps your body absorb the B12 in your stomach. The body needs the B12 to make red blood cells. If you have a B12 deficiency it does not mean you have Pernicious Anemia. There are tests done to diagnose you. Some people just don’t eat the proper foods to get the B12 in their system. These people can take B12 supplements. For people with Pernicious Anemia we need to by-pass the stomach and make sure the B12 goes right into our blood steam. I give myself shots to keep my B12 levels up.

I have read that with a B12 count of 600 or less you can start showing signs of memory loss. For many it doesn’t start until around 400. In my case I start to notice it between 600 and 700. Due to our standards many doctors believe that you must have a count of 200 or lower to be considered deficient.  Each person is different.

I was diagnosed with low B12 5 years ago. I didn’t know exactly what Pernicious Anemia was. I finally started doing more research this past week. Even with giving myself monthly B12 shots my B12 levels are still decreasing. I am now down to 303. When I was first diagnose through a bone marrow biopsy my level was around 290. I don’t remember exactly what it was since it has been so long.

When I was first diagnosed I had really bad shakes, itchy neck (not listed as a symptom but I know others that had this as well), extreme memory loss (brain fog), bruising, irrational behavior, gastro problems, fatigue, ADD symptoms, depression, vertigo, tingling in my hands and feet, shortness of breath, confusion, nominal aphasia (forgetting names of objects), mood swings, insomnia, arrhythmia (fast heart beat), and vitiligo )white patches that develop on the skin). I’m sure there were less sever symptoms that I had but these are the ones that I noticed on a day-to-day basis.

Almost all of these symptoms are back now that my B12 is getting so low again. As I was getting ready for bed last night I had a few things to do around the house. It would pop into my mind and I’d tell my husband that I was going to do this or that. I’d start to walk off and forget immediately. It’s good that I told my husband because I had to ask him every time what I was doing.

In the past I was told I had ADD and given medication for it. It made me extremely hyper. They decided that  it was not the cause of my brain fog. My blood work was off so they thought that I might have had leukemia or lymphoma. That is how I ended up having the bone marrow biopsy. Trust me the simple blood test for B12 would have been much better!

Once I was diagnosed I did 1ml shots for 7 days, 1ml shots every week and then I started them once a month. I felt a difference once my levels started going up. I realized that I wasn’t crazy and that I could be normal again! I really thought I was losing my mind. When I would talk about something and go to say a word like pencil I’d say turtle instead! I would then not be able to think of the word that I was trying to say. One day I was talking to my mom about something. I don’t remember what it was but I do know the word started with a B. All I could say was “blueberries” over and over again. Again this was one of my crazy moments!

When I noticed my B12 levels going down this time around I asked my doctors how this could happen when I was doing the shots. They did not know. I had to take it upon myself to research and try to figure out what was wrong with me again. It turns out that some people just need more injections to keep it stable. I printed up the research and brought it to my doctor yesterday. I did convince her to let me do more shots. My plan was to do the same thing I had in the past but she would not let me do them everyday. I will be doing them every week for a month and then go to every two weeks. We will monitor my levels and see if they are going up, staying the same or still going down. I am hoping they will go up and that I can get back to normal.

 I don’t understand why some doctors won’t let a patient take the shots. They have been told what is normal for B12 levels and they won’t budge on the matter. You can not have too much B12. It can not harm you. Many people have to fight to get the shots. It turns out that my mom has low B12 also. She has many of the same symptoms that I have. She had the test and the doctor told her it was normal. I made her find out what her B12 level was. Just because a doctor tells you it is normal it may not be. Hers was in the 300’s. I had her ask the doctor for the shots and lucky for her the doctor did prescribe them to her.

If this post jumps around I am sorry. I am having trouble concentrating but I did want to get it our there. I have read that many older people who have dementia actually have low B12 levels and by taking it they can be normal again. I hope this helped in some way.

Some helpful links:

PubMed Health

Pernicious Anemia Society

Warm Weather is Here!

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I know I haven’t posted in forever. I have been having some flares that have put me down. They haven’t been too bad. A few days at the most. I also got to go on bed rest after my visit to the emergency room. I thought I was going to die. I thought I was having a heart attack it hurt so bad. No, it was pleurisy. I’m not disappointed it is most definitely the better option! LOL! It’s another one of those things that go along with Sjogren’s and Lupus.

Have a wonderful day!

Winter Sowing

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I got this great idea from Kevin Lee Jacobs over at A Garden for the House. He starts his garden in the winter in milk jugs! I did mine on January 31st. Basically you take milk jugs cut them open and poke holes in them for drainage. You can get the tutorial over at his blog.

Here is a picture of mine. I bought some seeds and gathered some from my plants in the yard. Since I have never gathered seeds I wasn’t sure if I was actually getting the seeds so I ended up just crumbling the flower buds up in the dirt. :) I know I have amazing talent!

Seeds I bought: Red Hot Poker (Tritoma), Blue Fescue, Echinacea

Seeds(?) I’m experimenting with from my garden: Purple Phlox, Black Eyed Susan, Marigold, and Mini Pink Roses (can you get seeds from the roses?)

Most of the seed packets said they take a few weeks to sprout, but since it is still winter I didn’t expect to see any for a bit. One of the flowers that I tried from buds were my marigolds. I had no idea if they would grow since I used my awesome skills of obtaining my seeds. To my surprise I went outside today and guess what I saw??? I have baby marigolds!!! I’m so excited! One less thing that I have to buy this year! :)

Here are my babies…

Aren’t they cute!

I am still collecting milk jugs since I have more flower buds to experiment with. If you have any send them my way!