Thursday, October 29, 2009

World Psoriasis Day

Today is World Psoriasis Day. This is an annual event to bring awareness to this infuriating disease. As I have mentioned ad nauseam, I suffer from psoriasis and try to dispel myths about it whenever I can. Here, from the World Psoriasis Day website:

About psoriasis


Nearly three percent of the world's population endure the symptoms of psoriasis. Many tolerate constant pain from cracking and bleeding skin. They bear the humiliation of continually shedding scales that litter their clothes and surroundings. They struggle with the disappointment of treatments and the lack of a cure. Some wrestle with a crippling form of arthritis, called psoriatic arthritis. More than anything, they sometimes bear the brunt of public rejection because of the misunderstanding surrounding the disease.

Yet, much of the world's population finds psoriasis a trivial matter requiring little understanding or sympathy. Sometimes they even find it humorous and enjoy a chuckle over the "heartbreak of psoriasis" an advertising tagline made popular in the USA. Some people still equate psoriasis with being unclean or self imposed and shun those who bear its mark. When, in fact, many people with psoriasis isolate themselves because of such a deep sense of shame.

Psoriasis associations from around the world give people the tools to cope with this troubling disease. They rebuild people's hope and give them the support they require. IFPA provides the reinforcement to build better psoriasis associations, gives member associations a global voice to campaign on behalf of those who bear its mark, and the unity that strengthens everyone's ability to support research that will someday find a cause and a cure for these diseases.

What is psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a life-long skin disorder that causes red, scaly patches called lesions to appear on your skin. The lesions can show up on any area of the skin. There are several different kinds of psoriasis.

Plaque psoriasis is the most common form of psoriasis and it is characterized by red-looking skin lesions topped with silvery white scales.

Guttate psoriasis is also fairly common and it is characterized by red, small, dot-like lesions covered with silvery white scale;

Pustular psoriasis has blister-like lesions of fluid, which is not infectious, and intense scaling. It can appear anywhere on the body, but often it appears on the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet.

Inverse psoriasis is very red lesions with little or no scales and appears in the skin folds, such as the arm pits, creases in the groin and under the breasts.

Erythrodermic psoriasis is rare and looks very red and swollen, lots of shedding of dead skin, and painful.

About 30 to 50 percent of people with psoriasis also get psoriatic (sore-ee-attic) arthritis, which causes pain, stiffness and swelling in and around the joints. This type of arthritis most often affects the hands, feet, wrists, ankles and lower back.

Who gets psoriasis?
Psoriasis affects nearly three percent of the world's population. It can develop in males or females of any race or age. It often appears between the ages of 15 and 35, although it can strike at any age including infants and the elderly.

What causes psoriasis?
No one knows exactly what causes psoriasis. Doctor's believe it is related to the body's immune system and that it is genetic, meaning that it can run in families. In people with psoriasis, the immune system is mistakenly "triggered" causing skin cells to grow too fast. The rapidly growing cells pile up in the skin's top layers, leading to the formation of lesions on the surface.

Right now, there are many psoriasis associations around the world supporting research to find out why people get psoriasis and how it can be treated or even cured.

How bad can psoriasis get?
Psoriasis can be limited to a few areas of the skin (mild), or it can be moderate or widespread and severe. A normal skin cell matures in 28 to 30 days and sheds from the skin unnoticed. Psoriatic skin cells mature in only three to four days. They "heap up" and form scaly lesions. Psoriasis lesions can be painful and itchy and they can crack and bleed.

How do I know I have psoriasis?
A physician usually makes the diagnosis after looking at the skin. Occasionally a physician examines a skin biopsy under a microscope. Pitting of the nails is sometimes a sign of psoriasis. There is no specific medical test for psoriasis.

Is psoriasis contagious?
No, people cannot catch psoriasis from someone else.

What are some of the myths surrounding psoriasis?
Unlike other ailments, psoriasis can be seen on the skin and often people guess at what is wrong. They wonder if the lesions might be contagious, which they are not, or that the person who has psoriasis is unclean, overly nervous or high-strung, which they may be, but that is not the reason they have psoriasis. Sometimes they may believe the person who has the skin disorder did something to cause psoriasis to appear but that, too, is also false.

Psoriasis is a disorder stemming from a physical defect just like other disorders, such as arthritis, asthma, diabetes or nearsightedness. It is very important to educate the public about psoriasis and not allow myths to spread.

What are the chances of getting psoriasis?
It is not possible to predict who will get psoriasis. Heredity (the genetic transfer of features from parent to child) plays a role, but some people who have psoriasis have no obvious family history of psoriasis.

Is there a cure for psoriasis?
Not yet. Psoriasis is a disorder that most often needs lifelong treatment. And because there are so many different medications for the disorder, it may take some time before the right treatment or combination of treatments will work for an individual. Sometimes psoriasis becomes worse (called a flare) than at other times. In some cases, psoriasis can go away on its own for a period of time, which is known as a "spontaneous remission."

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Week Two

There really is very little reason to blog when nothing is happening. And the reason for nothing happening? H1N1 flu. Yes, I'm beginning week 2 of the siege. And I'm supposed to have a mild case. Which, I guess, is true--at least compared to most other people. I'm still experiencing fever off and on, every once in a while I try to cough up a lung, and I can't stay upright any longer than a newborn baby, but I could actually be worse. I, at least, don't have a high fever or the aches anymore--which were never that bad--and I don't have much of a headache, so I'm doing better than most. I talked to my doctor's nurse yesterday and was told to 'ride it out'--I guess there is almost a 100% chance of relapse with this thing. I was feeling better on Saturday and by Sunday was back to feeling like crap, so I guess I'm doing the normal thing. But this, too, shall pass.


One of my favorite shows right now is 'Castle.' It is about a mystery writer who helps the police with investigations, as research for his newest series of books. Not a ground-breaking concept, but the writing is quite good and very, very witty at times. I don't know if I would have started watching it at first, but I'm a big Nathan Fillion fan--he plays the main character. Last night's episode was the Halloween one and the show started out with Castle trying on costumes for his annual Halloween party. And the costume he started the show out with? He was dressed as Malcolm Reynolds. Malcolm Reynolds was the character he played in the sci-fi show 'Firefly' a few years ago. It was done very, very well and was one of the funniest moments I have ever seen on TV. Of course, one would have to be a Nathan Fillion/Firefly fan to appreciate it. ;)


My new washer and dryer was delivered yesterday. Quite impressive. Of course, I had to try it out immediately. Seeing laundry washing through a window is fascinating. This is a whole new experience and I came close to putting a chair in front of the washer just to watch a cycle or three. ;) It does seem as if it will take longer for clothes to WASH, but the time should be made up with the decreased drying time. I'm amazed that the washer re-distributes the clothes when it senses an unbalanced load--but it does cause the cycle to last quite a bit longer. The other thing that amazes me is the small amount of water that is used--probably no more than what I use to do dishes by hand! And it seems as if the washing is much more gentle than the normal agitators. After the wash is done, the clothes come out quite wrinkle-free and not tangled at all. (I used the regular water-extraction cycle, not the high spin--yet.) It will be interesting to see how I feel about this in a couple of months.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Just Another Update

It's been two days since I posted about being sick and now it IS official: I have flu. I'm taking Tamiflu and have to quit using Enbrel until I'm all better. Luckily, I haven't been terribly sick--just sick enough to not be able to do anything but lay around. :/ And, according to all of the news stories, I have H1N1--as does everyone who is sick here in the North Woods. And believe me, there ARE sick people here. Across the UP, schools and activities have been canceled for days and will not resume into next week at least. I am lucky, so to speak, because I had the swine flu vaccine back in '76, so I am not getting the full force of the virus. (That is what one news story claimed, anyway.) My biggest worry now is a secondary infection--and I'm monitoring myself very, very carefully. I don't want to have to go two or more weeks without giving my injection--I have to be 100% healthy before I start up again. Today I'm not feeling any worse than I have through this whole thing, so I'm expecting to get better soon. Next thing on my agenda--after I'm well, that is--is to find somewhere to get the seasonal flu vaccine. Very, very hard to find here.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Hoping For The Best

I'm sick. Well, getting there, anyway. My head is funky and my throat is scratchy. The eyes feel 'sick and tired' and I'm wanting to go back to sleep. I have a little tickle in the throat and cough periodically. And I DON'T have a fever. I'm thinking I don't have flu--I'm HOPING I don't have flu. This is the first time I've been sick since going on Enbrel and I'm a bit scared, to say the least. (There are SUCH horror stories!!) Anyway, I will monitor myself closely and get to the doctor's ASAP if fever hits. I hope to update this blog as things happen.

Paint the Rink Pink

The hockey community--at all levels--has embraced breast cancer awareness as a cause. Our local Junior team does its part in raising awareness and money for our hospital's cancer center. This year was the third annual Paint the Rink Pink game and all proceeds go toward the purchase of a new Linear Accelerator and dedicated CT simulator for the hospital. The first two years, over $35,000 was raised.

Before the game, pink merchandise is sold. Here is a picture of this year's shirt--which I bought to wear to the game.

A couple of things were different with the game this year. First was very apparent: the ice was pink in color! Quite a different look, for sure. It wasn't too much of a distraction because it took on a more regular 'white' color as the players skated around, but I found it very difficult to see the lines through the color. I'm sure it wasn't a cake walk for the officials! Here is a picture of the Rangers doing their pre-game skate.

One other thing that was different this year was that one of the refs was a female! She was the first female to officiate a breast cancer awareness event.

During the first intermission there was a celebrity goalie trying to deflect pucks shot at him. The 'goalie' was the CEO of the hospital and the shooters were employees (I believe) of the hospital--possibly associated with the cancer center. Before the game, we were able to guess how many pucks he could deflect and from the winning guesses, one person was picked to win a flat-screen TV. I didn't win. ;) And here is the goalie and shooters:

The Rangers won the game by a score of 2-1. It was too close for me to be too calm, but it all worked out in the end. The attendance at the game broke a record for the NAHL (North American Hockey League) at almost 2,500 people. The place was quite full.

After the game, the jerseys that the players wore were auctioned off. This year, I managed to get one. I was pumped! One word: believe EVERYTHING you ever hear about the smell of game-worn hockey clothing/equipment. I cannot describe what this jersey smelled like. It was still wet, of course, when we got it home and I thought it would be less pungent after drying out. Not even close. However, washing it DID get it to smell good. :) I can't wait to wear it to a game, but I may not do that till next year's Pink Game. My new jersey:

The final amount of money raised hasn't been determined yet, but I'm sure they broke the record. The evening was much fun and it helped a great cause.

Updating, Updating, Updating

The last time we 'talked,' there were several things going on with me--or about to go on. I guess it is about time to update my reader(s) about what is happening.

--When I last posted, my dryer had just crapped out--for good. It had been giving me trouble for a couple of weeks before, but it finally died on 2 October. I am still without dryer. But it--along with a washer--is coming. Next Monday I will have a new Maytag front-loading washer/dryer delivered. And I can't wait. They weren't cheap--even though we got a good deal on them--but the energy/water savings should help defray the cost. And this is what they look like. (I ordered the pedestals, but everything will be white, not red.)

I am kinda pumped!

--Let's just get the sports out of the way. The Tigers pissed away their chance to go to the playoffs, but they played lousy the last few weeks of the season, so I didn't expect much from them. The Wings have been struggling this early in the season and it is getting a little old, fast. They are much, much better than they have been playing--and things aren't 'fixed' from last year, so I'm getting into the pessimism very early this year. My highlight where sports is involved is our local Junior hockey team--they are at the top of their division with a 10-2 record. We have been going to as many games as possible and I will put up an extended post about the last game we were at a bit later.

--We managed a road trip a couple of weekends ago and it was one of our better shopping trips. Old Navy had SO much that I liked, so I bought it all! ;) I can go months--even a year or more--without finding anything in that store, but when they actually have something that will fit me and that I like, I usually buy more than one. I had planned on starting to buy the grandkids their Christmas-gift books, but decided to just order them instead. That way, I won't have to slog through the store, searching for what I/they want.

--Last week we had a new window installed in our kitchen. It was the last one we needed to do since moving into this house. I really like it and don't know why we waited so long! However, the first replacement windows we did here are now over 30 years old, so we could actually replace all of the replacements. Owning a home is a never-ending source of spending money.

--I called my doctor's office two weeks ago and told the nurse that I was done with the newest blood pressure med. I didn't get any call back from the dr, so I guess he's just waiting to see me in December. I finally feel as if the side-effects of the drug are leaving me. Thank goodness. I still haven't been able to get a fly shot--there is such a shortage around here. I must get one--and possibly the H1N1, also {shudder}--because of being on Enbrel, but I don't know when it will happen. Up north--where K and I grew up--the swine flu is in full force. Schools there--as well as elsewhere in the UP--are closed because so many kids are sick. This just makes me want to stay closed up in my house for the next six months!

And how have things been going with you???

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Not Always Right

One of the stupidest, but funniest, things I have ever read:

Me: “Thank you for calling [clinic], how can I help you?”

Customer: “I’d like to know how much it is to descent my cat. He was a stray that was eating our other cats’ food and we decided to keep him.”

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am. We can’t de-scent a cat. He may be spraying to mark his territory, and if he is, we can neuter him.”

Customer: “I assure you my cat has scent glands! He backs up to furniture, marks them, and if you startle him, he will turn around and try to mark you! And he’s mean too! If you try to come near him, he growls and tries to bite.”

Me: “Ma’am, cats don’t spray when startled usually. Are you sure it’s a cat?”

Customer: “Well, yes.”

Me: “What color is it, ma’am?”

Customer: “Black and white.”

Me: “What do his markings look like?”

Customer: “All black with two white stripes down its back.”

Me: “Ma’am, that is not a cat. That is a skunk.”

Customer: “Well, you have obviously never seen a cat before!” *hangs up*

via Not Always Right

Friday, October 09, 2009

Just Stopping By

We are out of town for the night and will be going to the hockey game when we get home on Saturday. This means I won't be back on here till some time on Sunday or Monday. Hope you all have a good weekend!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Another Reason NOT To Watch The News

I haven't really watched a news broadcast for the last two years or so. I quit at some point during the last presidential campaign--just couldn't take all of the hype and pushing of non-issues. Tonight I had the news on, basically because I wanted to listen to a story about the swine flu vaccine. After the story, I left the channel on as background noise. And then the story came. A big enough story to make the national news broadcast--a place where we as citizens are supposed to find out what is going on in the world. And the story? Bo, the dog, has shit in Airforce One. More than once.

Excuse me? This is a story that needs to make the news? No wonder I don't get my news from the TV. And some people wonder why viewership is going down.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

More New Sites

It has been a good few days for new websites--or, I should say, new websites for me. Here are some that are good for a laugh--or a shudder.

--Awful Library Books

A couple of librarians run this site. It is all about library books that should be in NO library. It is quite fun to look at the outdated stuff that some libraries keep on the shelves.

--Lovely Listing

This site has property listings that are, shall we say, a little less than great. Actually, the properties are a bit strange. I am amazed how much people are asking for piece-of-shit properties, but I guess location might be the reason. This site is interesting, to say the least.

This site really needs no introduction--the title says it all. Be prepared, when you go there, to see things you NEVER wanted to see. It is all pictures taken of people who shop at Wally World. I don't think I will ever go back to WalMart--I'm afraid I may find MY picture there some day. :D

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Yucky Weekend

Things happening lately have lead to a rather yucky weekend. First off, I am on another blood pressure medication and I don't think I'm doing so well. Just before our trip to the Twin Cities, I had an appointment with my internist. Once again, he wasn't happy with my blood pressure. He figures, since I'm on BP meds, my 'white coat syndrome' shouldn't rear its ugly head when I go to the office. The numbers don't go up THAT much, usually, but he doesn't want them up at all. So, he prescribed a new med. I don't do well whenever he increases my meds--he has done it before and I have bad results. I have been taking 1/2 of a pill every day--as per his instructions--and haven't been able to try the whole pill because I'm not getting used to the 1/2. I'm feeling quite fatique and just not able to get things done unless I push myself. And if I actually do too much one day, I'm not good for a couple of days after. I'm supposed to go in and have my BP checked after 4 weeks, but I don't think I will be on the pills that long. I will be going off of them this week--after talking to the dr's office. This is the second time he has increased my dosage and the second time I've had the same reaction. And I was feeling so good BEFORE he went and messed with my meds! Sometimes my doctor pisses me off--even though I adore him!

And, of course, the other pissy thing happening this weekend is sports related. The Wings lost both games in Sweden and the Tigers pissed away their playoff spot.

With all of the hype over the Wings playing in Sweden, you would have thought they would have put forth a better effort than they did, but noooooooooo. With eight Swedes on the team, the Wings are practically the Swedish National team--and they sucked eggs in both games. I hope this isn't a preview of what's to come this year. It could be a VERY bad season for me.

The Tigers were, just recently, seven games up over the Twins--well on their way to clinching the Central and a playoff spot. HA!!! They played like a minor league team in the last couple of weeks, losing their lead completely, and now they have to face the Twins in a game to determine who gets to the playoffs. If I didn't want to see if--and that is a very big IF--the Tigers could win the pennant, I would just say they don't deserve to go on. They haven't been playing like they actually WANT to win, so...

To make things even better, my dryer crapped out on Friday night. In the middle of doing laundry. It has been giving me problems for a couple of weeks--it would stop in the middle of a dry cycle--but other than having to run up and down to the basement every half hour or so, I was able to get the laundry done. Well, on Friday it completely stopped heating, as well. Now we have to figure out if it can be fixed or if we need to go out and get a new one. Yippee! Another added expense.

The only bright spot in this whole mess is our local Junior hockey team. They won their two-game series this weekend, which puts their record at 7-1 and keeps them in first place in their division. I don't know if we'll get to see them again before the Pink game, as we will be on a road trip for part of next weekend. It would be nice if they didn't have to go so far for their away games, but they are at home almost every other weekend. It helps to keep it a bit fresh for us.

I'm hoping this next week will wind up a bit better. It will be a bit hard, considering I have to 'have it out' with my doctor, have to go and get my flu shot, and have to get ready to go out of town for the weekend. I want to have hope that the Tigers will win the game, that the Wings will win beginning Thursday, and that I will have a dryer so I can wash clothes before I have to pack on Thursday. At least I have the road trip to look forward to on Friday. And some very adult beverages.