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::A Page About Illness and Chronic Pain::

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CANCER (Prostate, Bladder, and Ovarian), HEART DISEASE,  and DEPRESSION are prevalant in both my paternal and maternal sides.
My dad passed away of prostate cancer, my mother has had bladder cancer, a great-aunt died of ovarian cancer, my grandfather and great-grandfather, as well as other relatives have succumed to heart disease, and I have other relatives who suffer with depression every day of their lives.
Usually these illnesses are passed through the genes and on to us.
Which is what has happened in my case.
 
I have not had cancer, but I do have heart disease, depression, FIBROMYALGIA, SPINAL STENOSIS, and LUPUS. I take medication for my congestive heart  and I have had a stent implanted in my right groin area. I have taken medication in the past for my depression, but I no longer am. The Lupus has been dibilitating at times, along with the fibro. Some days it's difficult to move about, with no energy and with chronic fatigue.
There are good days, however, when I wouldn't believe myself that I have lupus and fibro if I didn't know different. Because of the fibro, I have to take prescription meds to help me sleep and it causes what is known in the fibro world as "brain fog."
 
My only sibling has POST-POLIO SYNDROME, DIABETES, and GRAVE'S DISEASE.
Two of my closest friends died of STROKE and LOU GEHRIG'S(ALS) disease.
I'll touch on each of these, plus a few others, with some information and resources for you.

 

CANCER
 
Did you know that prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer diagnosed in American men?
 
Prostate cancer is a group of cancerous cells that usually begins in the outer part of the prostate. It can spread from the prostate to nearby lymph nodes, bones, and other organs. Metastasis of the spine can cause back pain.
[Which is what prompted my dad to seek a professional opinion.]
 
Early prostate cancer usually does not cause any symptoms. As the tumor grows, however, it may cause increased urination, hesitancy or dribbling of urine, as well as frequency of urination.
(Some information taken from Prostate.com)
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In OVARIAN cancer, early detection is essential.
Early symptoms may include the following;
Bloating - feeling of fullnes or gas
Frequent urination
Nausea, constipation, or diarrhea
Menstrual disorder or pain during intercourse
Fatigue, backaches
Seek medical attention if any of the above symptoms last for more than 2-3 weeks.
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BLADDER CANCER is the fourth most common cancer among men and the ninth most common among women in the United States. Each year, more than 50,000 new cases of bladder cancer are detected.

The earliest clue that you may have a bladder tumor is blood in your urine. You may see the blood, but sometimes it can be spotted only under a microscope. Blood in the urine does not necessarily mean that a bladder tumor is present.

Blood in the urine is usually not accompanied by pain. Occasionally, however, there may be some discomfort on urinating, often described as a "burning" sensation, or the need to urinate more frequently or urgently than usual.

The inside, or lining, of the bladder is composed of a layer of cells that protect the tissues beneath them from urine. These lining cells continue to produce new cells throughout your life. Occasionally, these cells start to multiply uncontrollably and form a growth. However, they mean the same thing: Cells of the bladder lining are producing new cells that are not normal.

RESOUIRCES:
 
Dedicated to helping everyone who faces cancer through research, patient services, early detection, treatment, and education.
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Provides free professional help to people with cancer through counseling, education, referral, and financial assistance.
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Public institution dedicated to reducing the burden of cancer for all U.S. citizens and people around the world.
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HEART DISEASE
 
A blockage in the heart's arteries may reduce or completely cut off the blood supply to a portion of the heart. This can cause a blood clot to form and totally stop flow in a coronary artery, resulting in a heart attack.
Keep cholesterol levels down, stop smoking, exercise, and eat right!
 
The American Heart Association says the body likely will send one or more of these warning signals of a heart attack:
 
  • Uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing, or pain in the center of the chest, lasting more than a few minutes
  • Pain spreading to the shoulders, neck, or arms. The pain may be mild to intense. It may feel like pressure, tightness, burning, or heavy weight. It may be located in the chest, upper abdomen, neck, jaw, or inside the arms or shoulders
  • Chestt discomfort with lightheadedness, fainting, sweating, nausea
  • Anxiety, nervouness, and/or cold, sweaty skinor shortness of breath.
  • Paleness or pallor
  • Increased or irregular heart rate
  • Feeling of impending doom
RESOURCES:
 
Heart disease assessment and information
 
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LUPUS
 
Lupus is a chronic, inflammatory disease in which the body's immune system fails to serve its normal protective functions and instead forms antibodies that attack healthy tissues and organs.
Lupus can affect many parts of your body, including skin, joints, kidneys, blood cells, heart, and lungs.
 
Discoid (cutaneous) lupus is always limited to the skin and is identified by a rash that may appear on the face, neck and scalp. Discoid lupus accounts for approximately 10% of all cases.

Systemic lupus is usually more severe than discoid lupus, and can affect the skin, joints, and almost any organ or system of the body, including the lungs, kidneys, heart or brain. Approximately 70% of lupus cases are systemic. In about half of these cases, a major organ will be affected.

Symptoms of an oncoming Lupus flare can include:
  • Aching all over
  • Fever, which may be slight to high (you can check your temperature yourself)
  • Persistent loss of appetite
  • Involuntary weight loss
  • Increasing hair loss
  • Recurring nose bleeds
  • Sore on the roof of the mouth, which burns with spicy foods
  • Unexplained skin rash anywhere on the body Hives Sores on the skin Painful joint(s)
  • Stiffness of the joints when waking up in the morning
  • Swollen joint(s)
  • Chest pain which increases with breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing up blood
  • Persistent unusual headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Recurring or persistent abdominal pain
  • Persistent, increasing swelling of the feet and legs
  • Puffy eyelids
  • Blood in the urine

RESOURCES:

Facts, finding a doctor, updates, etc.
2000 L Street, N.W., Suite 710
Washington, DC 200036
Phone 202-349-1155
Fax 202-349-1156
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LOU GERHIGS DISEASE (ALS)
 
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that attacks nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. With all voluntary muscle action affected, people in the latter stages of the disease become totally paralyzed, yet their minds remain unaffected.
 
At the onset of ALS the symptoms may be so slight that they are frequently overlooked. With regard to the appearance of symptoms and the progression of the illness, the course of the disease may include the following:
 
  • Muscle weakness in hands, arms, legs, or the muscles of speech, swallowing, or breathing.
  • Twitching and cramping of muscles, especially the hands and feet.
  • "Thick" speech and difficulty in using the voice.pairment of the arms and legs.
  • In more advanced stages of the disease, there is usally shortness of breath, difficulty in breathing, and swallowing.
RESOURCES:
 
Information about this non-profit health organization that is dedicated solely to the fight against Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Lou Gehrigs Disease.
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Includes basic information, articles, clinical trials, and more about ALS for both patients and health professionals. From the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
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FIBROMYALGIA
 
Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, increased sensitivity to pain, and multiple tender points. Tender points refers to tenderness that occurs in precise, localized areas, particularly in the neck, spine, shoulders, front of the kness, elbows, and hips. People with Fibro may also experience sleep disturbances, morning stiffness, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety, and other symptoms. Fibromyalgia affects an estimated 3-6 million Americans, primarily of childbearing age, according to the American College of Rheumatology.
 
RESOURCES:
 
Life reclaimed
Disability Insurance
Group Health Plans
Worker's Compensation
 
A non-profit charitable organization. There is a lot of information and support resources on this site.
 
This site offers information and support to sufferers of Fibromyalgia and their families and friends.
 
 
SPINAL STENOSIS
 
Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of spaces in the spine that results in pressure on the spinal cord and/or nerve roots. The narrowing may involve a small or large area of the spine. Pressure on the lower part of the spinal cord or on nerve roots branching out from that area may cause pain or numbness in the legs. Pressure on the upper part of the spinal cord may produce similar symptoms in the shoulders or the legs.
 
RESOURCES:
 
 
 
For anyone facing back surgery, here is a helpful print-out of surgery questions for the physician performing the surgery;
 
 
DIABETES
 
Diabetes means that your blood glucose (blood sugar) is too high.
Your blood always has some glucose in it because your body needs glucose for energy to keep you going. But too much glucose in the blood isn't good for your health.
 
The signs of diabetes are;
 
  • Being very thirsty
  • Urinating often
  • Feeling very hungry or tireD
  • Losing weight without trying
  • Sores that heal slowly
  • Dry, itchy skin
  • Losing the feeling in your feet or tingling in your feet
  • Blurry eyesight
 
You may have one or more of these signs or you may have had no signs at all.
A blood test to check your glucose level will show if you have pre-diabetes or diabetes.
 
RESOURCES:
 
Information on prevention, research, nutrition, and more.
 
Diabetes public health resource
 
 
POST-POLIO SYNDROME
 
Post-Polio Syndrome is a condition that affects polio survivors anywhere from 10 ti 40 years after recovery. PPS is characterized by a further weakening of muscles that were previously affected by polio infection.
Symptoms include fatigue, progressive muscle weakness, and sometimes muscular atrophy. Joint pain and skeletal deformities are common.
PPS is rarely life-threatening.
 
RESOURCES:
 
Polio Connection of America
P.O. Box 182
Howard Beach, NY 11414
 
 
March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation
1275 Mamaroneck Avenue
White Plains, NY 10605
askus@marchofdimes.com
 
 
SUICIDE
 
More people die from suicide than from homicide. Suicide rates among the elderly are highest of those who are divorces or widowed. For young people 15-24 years old, suicide is the third leading cause of death. 80% of people that seek treatment for depression are treated successfully.
There are many forms of depression, of course, not one more important than another.
[Personal Note: I have been diagnosed with clinical depression and mild anxiety.]
 
Symptoms of depression include;
  • Persistant  sad or empty mood
  • Feeling hopeless, unworthy, pessimistic, or guilty
  • Substance abuse
  • Fatigue or loss of interest in ordinary activities
  • Disturbances in eating or sleeping patterns
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
  • Irritabilty, crying jags, anxiety, or panic attacks
  • Thoughts of suicide or attempts
  • Persistent physical symptoms or pain that do not respond to treatment

RESOURCES:  (More resource info on the FYI page)

 
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STROKE
 
Stroke Warning Signs
 
  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body.
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
  • Sudden, severe headache with no known cause.
Not all these warning signs occur in every stroke. If some start to occur, don't wait. Get help immediately. Dial 911
 
RESOURCES:
 
 
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How - and how not - to act with a person in chronic pain...
People with chronic pain want to know that you believe them and that you care. Here are some guidelines for dealing with someone in pain;
 
Do not judge the person. Pain is not a sign of weakness or bad character.
 
Do acknowledge the person's suffering.
 
Do not pretend that you don't notice the struggle.
 
Do act with respect.Do not dwell on the future. Pain forces people to live in the present, so make the present pleasant. Be upbeat.
 
Do offer assistance. Ask if there is anything you can do - run an errand, take him/her to a doctor, adjust a pillow, make a telephone call.
 
Do not dwell on your own problems. Talk about light subjects - a book you've read, a movie you saw or would like to see, etc.
 
Do treat the person the way you would like him/her to treat you.
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OTHER AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES
 
Patient information, research reports, coping, and much, much more.
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I have tried giving credit where credit is due for all the images appearing on this page. Others were either found on public domain sites or were created for me.