Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Teaching An Old Dog New Tricks and Good News

Photo taken in Alaska May 2011.on our cruise

Dear Readers,

Happy Valentine's Day.  Fifty-four (54) years ago today, Don and I walked down the isle at our wedding.   Where have those years gone!!  How can it possibly be 54 years when in my head I'm still 40ish (not my body, but my head).  My body hasn't felt like 40 since - well - age 40.

The other morning I woke up with a good idea for a blog post.  I Should have written it down, but didn't.  Obviously, today I couldn't remember what it was. It's so frustrating when that happens.   

I don't know if you have been noticing the various headers at the top of this blog and Mario's blog or not.  But I recently took advantage of a 30-day trial program that PhotoShop Elements 10 was offering.   WOW, I'm not sure if this old dog is up to learning all these new tricks or not.  It's very complicated.  They only use video's as a teaching tool.   By the time I've watched the video and then try to put in practice what I have seen, I've forgotten half the steps involved to get there.  I guess I'm just going to have to view one video every 3 days, try to take notes as I'm watching, and than practice those techniques for the next 3 days.   Since I have shaky hands, it's not easy to take notes while watching the video, and what few notes I take, I have trouble reading.

Now on to the Fantastic News.  Last week, while reading the blogs, I happened on an update in the Parkinson's Disease Foundations's Blog written by James Beck, Ph.D., Director of Research Programs.

It seems that two different scientists have discovered independently that Alzheimer’s disease may spread from brain cell to brain cell much like a virus.

Now what does all this have to do with Parkinson's? Well, there are similarities in that their theory is whatever causes Parkinson's reacts much the same way - traveling from cell to cell (cell might be the wrong scientific term here). I'm not going to try to explain it here because it's way too scientific for this old brain and I might not use the right terminology which could cast an entirely different light on things. I suggest you take a minute to read Dr. Beck's interesting article.

There is now hope that perhaps a vaccine can be developed to stop the spread of the disease and maybe even prevent it. I had left a comment in his blog that I wouldn't mind being a part of that test group - whenever and if it reaches that point. Of course, in reality, that is a long way in the future and probably won't happen in my lifetime. So, I'm not going to hold my breath or get too excited about the possibility of being a part of scientific research. But it is the most hopeful thing I have read about this disease - ever. If interested in reading the article - just click here: Parkinson's Disease Foundations Blog It's a short article and easy to read.

This has been a half way decent week pain wise. I got my two shots in the sacroiliac joints one week ago yesterday. The shots also helped my back a little bit. I don't know how long this will help, but I can't get another set of shots for 4 months.   I'm going to enjoy this time now while I have it for however long it lasts.

Happy Valentines Day!


Friday, February 10, 2012

Mother Nature's Return Visit

Dear Readers,

Mother Nature decided she wasn't calling an end to winter yet.   It started snowing early this morning , we have about 3 inches of snow on the ground with strong winds wildly re-arranging snow.   We have a pretty, colorful flag which you can barely make out in the picture because the wind is whipping it around.   I was hoping the flag would show up better as it helps brighten up the day with the new snowfall.  Tonight the temperatures will fall below zero.  Hopefully Mario will really snuggle in bed because that little guy acts like a furnace - you don't get cold with him next to your back.

A funny thing happened while grocery shopping this morning.  As I was headed to check out, Don took off and was shopping in the "card" section.   I made the statement to the checkout girl that "I seemed to have lost my husband."   She replied with - "That's okay - another one will be along shortly".  ha ha! Sure enough, a couple of minutes later a man fell in line behind me at which time the checkout girl stated "See - I told you."   Now at this point I burst out laughing because it was so funny.   The man behind me had no clue why we were both laughing, and neither did Don when he finally caught up with me.  It's probably the most fun grocery shopping trip I've had in months.  ha ha - doesn't take much to make a highlight in my day.

I continued to laugh until I was presented with the total bill.  Talk about sticker shocker!   When are those rising grocery prices going to stop.   

I have another post planned for tomorrow and it's pretty exciting, but today I just had to share something fun for a change.   I'm having some good days this week - thanks to a Cortisone shot in each of my sacroiliac joints on Monday (right where your "sitter" is).   I've been able to get rid of the pain pills for now anyway, and just go with 2 Tylenol three times a day. 

Until tomorrow - hope you are snow free and having a great Friday.


Friday, February 3, 2012

Flat Mario on a Cruise to Alaska - Blog Hop

Flat Mario on an Alaskan Cruise
Dear Readers,

Last May 2011,  Don and I and our daughter and her husband took a cruise to Alaska.   At the time, Mario, our cat, had a Twitter friend visiting from Germany.  Lippi, a stuffed bear, was on a world tour of various Twitter animal friends.   When we found out about the cruise, we asked Lippi's human if maybe Lippi's schedule could be changed slightly so he could go on the cruise with us.  Fortunately it could be arranged and we ended up getting Lippi 3 days before leaving on the cruise.  Lippi was in Chicago at the time visiting @BusyButtons, and Buttons was gracious and sent him on to us early so he could go on the cruise.

Lippi had all kinds of adventures.   You might enjoy reading about them in Mario's blog at http://www.mariodacat.blogspot.com/2011/06/lippe-arrives.html.   This is the first of several posts, but you can go to the bottom of each post and click on "older post."    We had some great adventures with Lippi.

Now why did I talk about this now?   Because I've joined a Saturday Photo Hunt and the subject this week is "Flat."   Well, Flat Mario went on the cruise with us because the real Mario couldn't go.   Here's the link to the Photo Hunt:  

Would you believe Lippi is still on that world tour and is visiting, I believe, the State of Washington.   I hope Lippi writes a book because he really had some great adventures.   Shhh, don't tell anyone, but Kim and Ken taught him how to drink Beer and he had a couple of hang overs.  Silly bear.  

Thanks for visiting today.  


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Parkinson's and Skin Issues - Leprosy?

Dear Readers,

Did you know that it's very common to have skin issues with Parkinson's?   Yes, I know, it's typical anyway as we age.  But I can tell you I have noticed many more skin blemishes on my body in the past year since being diagnosed with PD.   In fact my family doctor had mentioned (when I had showed him a couple of moles) that I can plan on getting many more of them too, along with other skin issues.   I used to wear makeup to cover up all the skin things, but have finally decided this is "who I am" - take it or leave it.

A couple of days ago  I went to the beauty shop for my monthly trim, after my guardian angel of hair coloring (A special friend who colors my hair for me monthly) had applied hair coloring the day before.   My beautician noticed  a couple of areas of dry, sand-papery skin on my forehead.  (See picture with arrow in the middle of my forehead).  I know it doesn't show up very well on the picture, but it is very noticeable in person - looks like dirty skin that just won't scrub clean.  Or somewhat like a birth mark.  

My beautician had a name for the skin condition, and typical me, I can't remember what she called it.   But she did show me a product that she uses on her face as a moisturizer (she has severe rheumatoid arthritis) and also has skin problems.  She recommended Cocoon, which is full of Amino Acids.   Now it's too early to give a report on how it works because I just started using it a few nights ago.   I will keep you posted though.  But, already, after only 6 nights  my face does not feel so dry.     
It is pricey, but will be worth the price if it works.  None of my other moisturizers worked for this problem.  (No, I'm not being compensated for mentioning this product or the product mentioned below in any way!)

I meant to ask the doctor about something to use on my face, but forgot because I didn't have it written on my list.  But for now the Cocoon seems to be helping.

According to The Parkinson's Disease Treatment Book by J. Eric Ahlskog, M.D., what I have on my face probably is Seborrhea Dermatitis.  "The jury is still out as to what really causes skin problems with Parkinson's patients, but it is suspected that the various medications are the cause."   If i were to make a guess -  YES - IT'S THE DRUGS!!   What is that old saying - "Better Living Thru Modern Chemistry!"  

By the way, I saw my family doctor two weeks ago and showed him all my moles (just to be safe).   I'm happy to report none of them are cancerous.  That's another thing that has worsened since being diagnosed with Parkinson's.   The amount of moles on my skin has increased two-fold in 1 year, along with little bumps that look like warts.   

Overall my skin is extremely dry - to the point where it's very itchy.   I was talking to a friend on Twitter one day, and she suggested using "Palmers Cocoa Butter Formula, with Vitamin E."  Let me tell you - that stuff works magic.   I do have to apply it daily, and if I don't, I really pay for it big time with excessive itching.  Cocoa Butter is an old product as I remember my mother using it when I was a kid.  It's also Fragrance Free for anyone needing that feature.   I don't know why it didn't work on my face, but it didn't.  You can also pick it up at the local drug store.  

Now dry skin is typical in the winter if you live in a northern climate.   Our houses are dry with the heating unit running full force in the winter.  But my skin is dryer than it has ever been before, and this is the first year I've had the itching to go with it.   I also drink a lot of water, but that hasn't made a difference either this year.  The Palmers Cocoa Butter takes care of the itching for almost 24 hours.

Would you believe I even looked up  Leprosy on the internet to see what that looked like?   Horrible, don't even bother to look.   ha ha - at least I don't have that!

Thanks for visiting once again, I know this is a boring post - guess it's reflective of the mood I'm in these days.


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Fluffy - The Saturday Photo Hunt

Dear Readers,

I've joined the Whistle Stop Saturday Blog Hop and this week's assignment is FLUFFY!   The fluffiest thing in our house is our cat, Mario  When I started this blog my intentions were to keep it separate from Mario's, but here I am using one of his 400 pictures! Guess you can tell who ranks in this house.  Sorry, but he is the fluffiest thing we have.

I started out hunting for a good article on the importance of pet therapy.  Well, of course when you want something specific, you can't find it.   But I know you have all seen the articles at one time or another:   Having a pet is good for mental health, lowers blood pressure, good therapy for depression, good for overall health, etc.   Even nursing homes/assisted living facilities are getting with the program and allow residents to sometimes have a pet.   

Mario is all of the above for us.  He's not the most beautiful cat in the world, but he makes up for that by being super friendly and loveable and is good therapy for both Don and myself.   And, the fluff on his belly is super soft!

He is good therapy for both Don and I - gives us a reason to get up in the morning.  He shows unconditional love

It's nice to see more and more nursing homes/assisted living getting on board and allowing their residents to have a pet.  

Now - why don't you join the photo hunt.   


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Shining Star Award and Liebster Award

Dear Readers,

I was deeply touched the other day when one of Mario's Twitter friends, Prudence over at A Coonhound's Tales  presented me with an award - not Mario.   I was very surprised and touched because my blog is so new and still in the "making" so to speak.   Receiving that award reminded me that Mario hadn't acknowledged his awards received since Thanksgiving either.  Thus we've decided to do a combined post and present some of the awards to followers of my blog and some to followers of Mario's blog.   Whenever we get an award, we like to present to some of our friends that haven't had much exposure yet but have good and interesting blogs.

This afternoon Mario updated his blog and we presented the Shining Star Award (pictured above)  to a young lady suffering from a debilitating disease she was born with.   Nicole at Crippie's Corner is an inspiration to me as she always seems upbeat and keeps her sense of humor.  To view her blog, just click on her name.

Mario actually received the Liebster Blog Award about a month ago from Abby at Manxmnews Blog and then I received it just recently from Prudence over at A Coonhound's Tales.   Therefore, we are taking 5 blogs from my list and 5 from Mario's list.  This same information will be posted in Mario's blog.

"Liebster" means favorite or beloved in German, and this award helps to draw attention to blogs that aren't too well known.

Here are the rules for this award:

Upon receipt of the award, one is to:
1) Link back to the blogger who gave it
2) Paste the award on the blog
3) Choose 5 blogs to pass this award to (they must have fewer than 200 followers)
4) Let the recipients know about their nomination by leaving a comment on their blogs.

Mariodacatsmom presents the Liebster Award to: 

Day By Day With Beth Marie - Beth lives with a life-threatening disease - day by day.

Life Your Way  -  Living with a chronic illness.  When I'm feeling down, she's another one who can cheer me up.   

Notes For My Next Life  - Works in the music industry in Los Angelas, CA - interesting experiences in her lifetime.  

RamblingOn  - Breath-Taking photography, human for @Katiebella2 and for @AdmiralHestorb, who is now OTRB. 

Starting My Collection  -  Granddaughter of dear friends who happens to love to cook and is good at it.  Has posted several good recipes.   

Mariodacat presents 5 awards to:





http://jazzydacat.blogspot.com  --  Mario and I are hoping she'll come out of hiding and post again, so we just had to give her this award to entice her!

Enjoy your award friends,

Mary & Mariodacat   

Saturday, January 14, 2012

PART 2 - "M.S. And Me" by Guest Writer, Jane - HuMan to @JessieJaney

Jane's home city

Dear Readers,

Now, back by popular demand, here is Jane, huMan to @JessieJaney.  (If you missed Part I, scroll to the bottom of the page and click on Previous Post.)

"Heat and MS: This is my version of hell! Late one night, about 7 years ago I was sitting in a lovely lilac scented hot bath when suddenly I could no longer sense my legs. They weren't numb; it was like they had disappeared! I was terrified as, at that time, I only weighed 45kg (about 99lb) and did not have the strength to get out of the bath to a phone. With a pounding heart I pulled the plug and sat there. Jessie's predecessor Zoe (another black cat) sat with me for the next 3 hours. Gradually my legs awoke and I was able to flop out of the bath and drag myself to my bed where I fell into an exhausted sleep. The next day it was as though I'd had a nightmare but, as I was still wrapped in my towel, I'd knew that it wasn't. A few hours later, I saw my GP and he explained that MS sufferers often have what is called a pseudo-exacerbation which occurs when the core body temperature rises.

Imagine living without the luxury of having a hot bath or shower! Imagine living in a country where the average summer daytime temperature is over 30oC (86oF)! Imagine living with the fear that a slight infection might raise your body's temperature! If you can imagine this then you know the apprehension that is my shadow. This summer has been a bad one for me as a new symptom has raised its wicked head. Not only is the temperature causing me problems with its regular "pseudos" but they now bring with them cramps. Enough of the whining, Jane!

Negative Side-Effects: I have gone from a relatively healthy and happy woman to one who hides from the world. I gave up work 10 years ago when I no longer had the ability to concentrate for the periods required to continue to be a successful Office Manager and for 4 months of the year I'm a virtual prisoner in my air-conditioned unit. Air travel is now a thing of the past as I am unwilling to risk the effects of air pressure.

Positive Side-Effects: I am fortunate that my disability pension, inheritance and superannuation enable me to live a relatively comfortable existence. I found the internet and over the years have played in such games as Palace, Second Life and now, Twitter. I have made many wonderful friends, people who I will never meet but who have touched my heart. I've learned the wonders of Adobe Photoshop, although I do prefer using JASC Paint Shop Pro (now owned by Corel Draw who have completely stuffed up the newer versions of PSP). I have had the joy of being accompanied by two wonderful cats (first Zoe and now my fearless Jessie). In Twitter Jessie displays my real personality. I guess that the staff of anipals really do take on the image of their employers … or is that around the other way? Most importantly, this year I've learned to be less selfish with now having to be the carer, in a small way, of my carer, my darling brother, Hugh.

So that's my story and I hope that it has given you a small insight into "MS and me."


Mary here: Jane your story has been so valuable in teaching us all what it is like to live with M.S. How scary it must have been to be trapped in a bathtub and not to feel your legs or be able to pull yourself up.   I can't imagine. 

To quote one of our mutual Twitter friends "Jane is so brave to come forward with her story." Thank you Jane for sharing your story with us so we could get to know you better and understand through you just what it's like to live with M.S. I do hope you will come back again and update us on your situation. My thoughts and prayers will always be with you as you bravely battle this disease.