My personal thoughts about life with a disability and all other things I consider important in my life.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Free Education

Not headed back to school this fall? You could be, minus the exorbitant tuition and without even leaving your chair. The web has made it easier than ever before to get a free education, and you'd join the ranks of great thinkers in history who were also self-taught, like Joseph Conrad, Albert Einstein, Alexander Graham Bell, Paul Allen, Agatha Christie and Ernest Hemingway. You, too, can be an autodidact; the breadth of free educational materials available online is absolutely astonishing.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

An Answer To 1 Question

Every 5 weeks, almost to the day, I got "anaphylactoid" symptoms. What WILL the medical community think up next for terminology?!

My doc thinks I'm crazy, but the first one brought about an ER visit. No airway involvement, but my body was pretty swollen and ITCHING. Ever since, I've had varying degrees of symptoms, but never that severe.

Well, I started itching tonight. I've become used to it. My sister was looking at me, so I went and took my starter dose of benadryl and zantac. Sounds stupid, but stomach acid is triggered by a hystamine receptor. H2 to be precise. Allergies are H1 receptors. So - both get a kick in the pants when allergies rear their ugly heads. Knock both down with the appropriate meds and life is much better.

Well, I decided to look around. After a couple of different wordings, I came up with one that worked and found this:

Summary Statements
Unexplained episodes of anaphylaxis may be caused by unusual reactivity to progesterone. Anaphylactic symptoms tend to be premenstrual but may occur anytime during the menstrual cycle. [this part makes sense for me because I'm perimenopausal.] In one report, lactation caused complete remission of symptoms. The pathogenesis of this disorder is unknown, but laboratory studies have shown that progesterone may either induce histamine release from basophils directly or make mast cells more susceptible to other mast cell degranulators. Treatment options include a leutinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) agonist analog (e.g., Naferelin) or oophorectomy in particularly resistant cases.
A differential consideration that may be confused with progesterone-induced anaphylaxis is catemenial anaphylaxis, which is not related to progesterone reactivity. Anaphylactic symptoms occur during menses, and full recovery after oophorectomy has been reported.
Among the causes of recurrent anaphylaxis in females is an uncommon syndrome caused by hyperreactivity to progesterone. It should be suspected in any female who is menstruating or pregnant and experiencing unexplained recurrent episodes of anaphylaxis. Although the anaphylactic episode tends to be premenstrual, it may occur anytime during the menstrual cycle.
This syndrome was first recognized in the evaluation of a patient who had unexplained recurrent anaphylaxis with total remission during lactation.
1 When the patient became pregnant, the frequency and severity of the attacks became worse. After delivery and the institution of breast feeding, she had complete cessation of the attacks. When lactation stopped and her menstrual cycle resumed, this patient had a recurrence of severe anaphylaxis, including laryngeal edema.
As part of her subsequent evaluation, she was provoked with both progesterone and luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH), both of which induced anaphylactic events. Progesterone was suspected as the inciting agent because provocation with follicle-secreting hormone (FSH), LH, and estrogen were uneventful. She was treated with a long-acting analog of LHRH, which competes with LHRH at a receptor level in the pituitary gland. Treatment with an LHRH analog causes the pituitary gland to become unresponsive to endogenous LHRH, with subsequent reduction in the secretion of FSH and (LH), which in turn leads to a reduction in estrogen and progesterone secretion. LHRH analog-treated patients cease menstruating and enter a temporary state of menopause. This agent caused a complete cessation of her attacks. After a period of time on an LHRH analog, this patient underwent an oophorectomy with sustained remission of her attacks, which was still the case at follow-up 5 years later.
To determine if other women with unexplained recurrent anaphylaxis might have progesterone-induced anaphylaxis, four women experiencing recurrent anaphylaxis were recruited into a 4-month, double-blind, placebo-controlled cross-over study of the effects of LHRH analog on their anaphylaxis.
2 All four women thought that their attacks occurred more frequently during the premenstrual portion of their menstrual cycle and that the attacks during these times were more severe. In preliminary screening of the patients, two of the women experienced systemic reactions after challenge with methylprogesterone and LHRH. Only one of the patients who experienced anaphylaxis after provocation had a positive skin test response to progesterone. These two women improved during treatment with an LHRH analog, whereas the other two women did not. Urinary histamine levels, which had been elevated before treatment, were reduced in the two responsive women but not in the unresponsive women. Both women who responded subsequently had an oophorectomy with complete remission of anaphylaxis.
Patients with idiopathic anaphylaxis that worsened during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle did not release histamine after incubation with progesterone.
3 However, a subsequent report demonstrated significant progesterone-induced histamine release in a patient with documented anaphylaxis after challenge with both synthetic and natural progesterone products.
4 In addition, incubation of her basophils with progesterone appeared to augment anti-IgE induced histamine release.To confirm progesterone-induced anaphylaxis, a controlled challenge may be necessary. After insertion of an intravenous line and with life-saving equipment immediately accessible, the usual approach is to inject progressively 1, 2, 5, 10, 25, and 50 mg of progesterone in oil in the arm every 60 to 90 minutes while keeping the patient under close supervision. Reactions usually are restricted to urticaria and flushing, although systemic anaphylaxis can occur.Treatment choices include an LHRH analog or oophorectomy. Most of the patients treated with an LHRH analog had total remission of anaphylaxis. However, side effects such as loss of secondary sexual characteristics and osteopenia may limit long-term use of this agent.
One woman has been reported to have episodes of anaphylaxis only during menstruation (a low progesterone state), with full recovery after hysterectomy with oophorectomy.
5 This apparently represents a syndrome of catamenial anaphylaxis not caused by progesterone.

1. Meggs J, Pescovitz OH, Metcalfe DD, Loriaux DL, Cutler G, Kaliner M. Progesterone sensitivity as a cause of recurrent anaphylaxis. N Engl J Med 1984;311:1236-8.
2. Slater JE, Raphael G, Cutler GB, Loriaux DL, Meggs WJ, Kaliner M. Recurrent anaphylaxis in menstruating women: treatment with a leutinizing hormone releasing hormone agonist, a preliminary report. Obstet Gynecol 1987;70:542-6.
3. Slater JE, Kaliner M. Effects of sex hormones on basophil histamine release in recurrent idiopathic anaphylaxis. J Allergy Clin Immunol 1987;80:285-90.
4. Scinto J, Enrione M, Bernstein D, Bernstein IL. In vitro leukocyte histamine release to progesterone and pregnanediol in a patient with recurrent anaphylaxis associated with exogenous administration of progesterone. J Allergy Clin Immunol 1990;85:228.
5. Burstein M, Rubinow A, Shalit M. Cyclic anaphylaxis associated with menstruation. Ann Allergy 1991;66:36-8.

Basically, there are two cycle related anaphylaxis symdromes women can get. I don't know which I have and I don't care. It's just nice to know there's a reason and I'm not nuts. Well, at least not about this.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Quote Of The Week

"Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, 'regretted,' that unless one understood what the whole thing was in principle, what all these 'little measures'. . . must some day lead to, one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing. . . . Each act. . . is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You wait for the next and the next. You wait for one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join you in resisting somehow."-- Milton Mayer, They Thought They Were Free. The Germans: 1938-1945.

A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side.~~Aristotle

“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.” - Sinclair Lewis

Sinclair Lewis (February 7, 1885January 10, 1951) was an American novelist and playwright. In 1930 he became the first American to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, "for his vigorous and graphic art of description and his ability to create, with wit and humour, new types of characters". His works are known for their insightful and critical views of American society and capitalist values. His style is at times droll, satirical, yet sympathetic.

Saturday, September 23, 2006


I don't have the cognitive ability anymore, so please bare with me.

There is red/green color blind and blue/yellow color blind.

Many people with severe learning disabilities are told to read through yellow or blue screens when reading items printed on white paper. One or the other color will work. They never know which one, but one of them will.

Many people I have met online while dealing with the vertigo find yellow light works very well for them - very soothing and doesn't exacerbate their vertigo. For me, I need blue. NEED. Yellow sets me off.

So - what if there is something to this? What if dizzy folks worked with different colors to see if one helps reduce their vestibular symptoms? What part of the brain is connected to they eyes and ears that would cause this?

I know flourescent lights kill all of us when in buildings filled with them. But I actually do better when I have a combination of flourescent and incadescent.

Broader spectrum, yes. But why would the combination be better when the one makes me worse?

I'm wondering about this because my mom finally got a new bulb for the halogen light. It's been burned out all summer. Well, my vertigo has sucked all summer. But when that worked again, we didn't have those bloody dim yellow lamps on that were just killing me.

So - is there something to the color? I'm tempted to try some blue tinted lenses to find out if it helps.


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Quote of The Day

I sit here, feeling like crap from vertigo, and have the GREATEST quote sent to me.

Yes, my politics are showing:

“The power of the Executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly to deny him the judgment of his peers, is in the highest degree odious and is the foundation of all totalitarian government whether Nazi or Communist.”
Winston Churchill

Secret prisons, Gitmo, detainees, bullying those who question, controlling the information given to the people, an opaque government are the building blocks of a new curtain - Made In The USA.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Suicide Prevention Day 9/10

The Full Article from MMWR

An Ad Campaign For Hurricane Survivors

World Suicide Prevention Day Information.

US Suicide Prevention Information

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

ABC Primetime - BrainPort

There is supposed to be a segment on Primetime on ABC tonight on a newdevice called the BrainPort. It is supposed to help blind people see. It also has an application inthe field of vestibular dysfunction also know as vertigo or dizzynesswhich I have. It's still in the testing phase trying to get FDA approval.I would urge you to watch. It's on at 9 pm central and 10 eastern.

Check your tv guide.


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Just Thoughts

I'm finding it interesting - while I'm feeling better both physically and emotionally, I'm still pissed. I don't remember feeling this way.

Anyway, I had a great day yesterday and a very not-so-bad day today. I was able to eat at a Chinese buffet yesterday for the first time in about 5 years without being flat on the couch for 3 days from all the stimulous. Too many notes!

Today, I pinned a quilt that I hope to have finished by the weekend since my friend is getting married Saturday. 3 weeks to put together a queen-size quilt with over 300 different fabrics, 1400+ pieces and a specially designed quilting effect just for this quilt.

I've gotten about 1/8 quilted thus far. Not bad considering the size. Queen-size are roughly 90"x90". That's a LOT of ground to cover when you figure you're quilting at about 15 stitches per inch. And yes, it's by machine, not by hand. But not a long-arm quilter. No $$$ for that.

I've also found that my asthma is definitely affecting my vertigo. No wonder life has sucked so bad this summer. I knew my asthma was up, but didn't really bother controlling it. Then it got bad enough that I had to. Only when it finally got under control - which it isn't really, but I'm actually using my rescue inhaler - did I notice the profound difference in the vestibular symptoms. WOW. Life doesn't suck anymore!

I had also decided - a few weeks ago - that getting pissed off because no one else around the house (there are 3 of us) was cleaning, that I would just do it myself. I'd rather resent them for not doing it, but having clean anyway, than resent them and have the stress of a dirty house. I set up a schedule that I knew I could handle - dizzy or not - and have stuck to it. Having the house cleaner and more orderly each week has dropped my stress level far more than I thought it would.

I do some cleaning every day - but never more than 15 minutes. This little bit every day has made the house look better every day, let me not stress about something because it'll get done on its proper day and when people come over, I'm not stressed about how it looks. Plus, doing these chores is good occupational therapy for me. Just another way to overcome the dizziness. So - yes, I resent M&D for not doing their fair share. But it does me so much more good than the resentment does me harm, that I am totally fine with the situation.

So, with baby steps, I'm getting better. I'm climbing out of this tomb I somehow crawled into. I'm still dreading winter. I'm still dreading the season changes. But my brain is calmer, more peaceful. That makes anything more tolerable.