Happy Blogiversery – Where has the time gone?

It’s My Blogiversery!  Let’s Celebrate!

Where has the time gone?  I wrote my first blog post on April 25, 2012.  Here we are two years later and so much as happened.  I finally published my book, “Allergic to Life:  My Battle for Survival, Courage, and Hope” (How amazing is that?), had a book launch party, and did a meet the author at a health food store. My list of followers continues to grow and I have  met so many amazing authors, bloggers, and others who suffer from environmental or other chronic illness.  I have joined a writing group, PnP Authors, and became Membership Director for Rave Reviews Book Club.

During the past two years I have made myself known on the social media scene despite my fears by:

  • had  website designed (kathryntreat.com)
  • started an author page on Facebook
  • joined LinkedIn
  • set up boards on Pinterest
  • started tweeting a Twitter
  • started a second blog, Be My Guest, for authors (There will be a special gift for those that sign up to follow my new blog.  The names of new followers will go into a hat and my husband will draw a winner).
  • and yes even got myself on Tumblr

I have also had a wonderful book blog tour where I was hosted on 12 blogs over a period of a month.

In honor of my Blogiversery, I am having a giveaway.  The winners will be determined through a Rafflecopter Giveaway.   The giveaway starts now and will run through the 25th of May.  There will be  chances to enter more than once. To find out what and how many gifts (yes there is more than one since “it is my second blogiversary”)  are available.  I know my blogiversery doesn’t officially happen until next week but why wait to start the fun!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A not-so-fun trip…

Kathryn Chastain Treat:

Who with chronic illness hasn’t taken a ride on the “Guiltmobile”?

Originally posted on My Fibrotastic Life!:

Source: chinnsonger.com

Source: chinnsonger.com

What type of travel does not require a mode of transportation (or even going anywhere), but has a ton of baggage?

You guessed it…

A guilt trip.

When you have a chronic illness/illnesses where you need to listen to your body, you need to establish boundaries in order to spare on whatever energy that you have. However, when you need to say “no” to someone or something, there’s always that chance that the “guilt-mobile” is coming to give you a ride. There are other various things which can trigger this terrible kind of “trip”…

  • When you feel like you’ve lost your sense of purpose, and that you’re not able to do all the stuff that you used to do.
  • When you can’t hold a job, or that your hours have been reduced significantly.
  • When you can’t pay for essentials, and someone else is helping you with those things.

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Catch-Up Mondays: Sulfites and Drugs – revisited

This is part four of the four-part series of posts on sulfites.  The staggering number of drugs that contain sulfites as a preservative is unbelievable.  I am sure this list is not complete but it gives you a good awareness of how far reaching sulfite use is.

I know many of you out there might not use medications. But at some point in your life, there may not be an option in order to stay alive. I have discovered that there are medications that contain sulfites. I am sure this list is by no means complete as new drugs and variations of those drugs come on the market daily. Following is what I have learned about drugs and sulfites.

Bronchodilator solutions for asthma

  • Adrenalin chloride 1:1000 concentration
  • Bronkosol
  • Isuprel hydrochloride solution

Topical eye drops

  • Pred-Mild
  • Pred-Forte
  • Sulfacetamide
  • Prednisol
  • desamethasone

Injectable medications

  • Amikacin
  • Betamethasone phosphate (Celestone)
  • Chloropromazine (Thorazine)
  • Dexamethasone phosphate (Decadron)
  • Dopamine
  • Epinephrine (Adrenaline, Ana-Kit, Epi-Pen)
  • Garamycin
  • Gentamycin - I have taken this before and reacted.
  • Isoetharine HCI
  • Isoproterenol (injectable)
  • Lidocaine with epinephrine (Xylocaine) When I needed this before, I had to get it preservative free.
  • Meperidine (Demerol)
  • Metarminol
  • Norepinephrine (Levophed)
  • Procaine (Novacaine)
  • Prochloroperazine (Compazine)
  • Promethazine (Phenergan)
  • Solutions for total parenteral nutrition and dialysis
  • Tobramycin

General Anesthesia Drugs

Sites I visited to get my sulfite information:

http://www.webmd.com/allergies/guide/sulfite-sensitivity

http://ww.sulfites.org/sulfite-foods

http://nutrition.about.com/od/recipesmenus/a/organic.htm

http://www.allergy-and-diabetic-health.com/sulfite-free-foods-no-way-out-to-survive-the-fight-goes-on.html

http://www.allergy-and-diabetic-health.com/sufites-in-bleached-sugar-beet-and-cane.html

http://www.wikihow.com/Live-With-an-Allergy-to-Sulfites

http://allergies.about.com/od/foodallergies/a/sulfites.htm

E-Cigarettes – Nicotine Poisoning on the Rise

WOW! It wasn’t enough to learn that e-cigarettes can contain propylene glycol (see my post Dirty Secrets of E-Cigarettes).  In our local newspaper there was an article on Thursday, April 10th, (the day I was enjoying my anniversary) entitled “Liquid nicotine poisoning on rise”.

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According to the article the number of calls to poison control regarding exposure to liquid nicotine has risen from one call per month in September 2010 to 215 calls per month by February 2014.  If that isn’t scary enough, more than half of the calls involved children under the age of 5.

So, what is drawing children that young to these e-cigarettes?  Most e-juices come in fruity flavors like cotton candy, cherry cheesecake, and fruit punch?  Can you just imagine that?  I cannot!

According to the CDC, poisoning related to these e-cigarettes occurs through direct skin or eye exposure, ingestion or inhalation of the e-liquid.  Of course they do not mention the propylene glycol that is also an issue.

One smoke shop owner said that he was aware that the e-liquid packaging is not childproof but felt it was the parent’s responsibility to keep the poisonous product away from their children.  He also stated that the number of e-juice manufacturers is out of control and it is totally unregulated.  Another smoke shop owner said that cigarette sales seem to have gone down while e-cigarette sales are going up.

I had a discussion with my daughter about this article.  She teaches freshman at a local high school.  She told me that some of her students have asked about them and what she thinks. She tells them that there are no long-term studies and that those using them are guinea pigs.

To view the entire article, click here.  Click here for an article on Hookah Pens.

What are your thoughts on e-cigarettes?  Yay or Nay?

 

38 Years and Counting

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This was taken on our wedding day 38 years ago yesterday.  It seems like just yesterday until I look at this picture and pictures of us now.  I am so amazingly grateful that he has stuck by me in good times and bad and in sickness and in health.

That beautiful tablecloth that you see underneath my cake was crocheted by my mother.  It is the pineapple design.  My sister and I were married 4 months apart and mom patiently made both of us one for our cake tables.

Yesterday my wonderful husband took me to my favorite place, the beach.  We at outdoors on the wharf and took a long walk along the beach and Old 17 Mile Drive in Monterey.  It was indeed a Happy Anniversary.

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Conversations Over Milk and Cookies with Kindle Ninja

By now you all know that I am a proud member of the Rave Reviews Book Club Board serving as its Membership Director.

Rave Reviews Book Club is growing rapidly.  Besides the benefits of getting more name recognition as well as increased sales and reviews, there is another wonderful benefit of being a member of this AWESOME book club.  This wonderful benefit is meeting and interacting with other readers and authors.  These wonderful people will surprise you with the most amazing opportunities.  A few days ago I was asked by one of our newest members @kindleninja  of Kindle Ninja Book Reviews to do an interview.  He is uplifting my fellow board members and myself through a segment on his blog entitled, Conversations Over Milk and Cookies.  You may view my conversation here.

While you are visiting there, please make sure to take a peak at Episode 1 with our club’s secretary, Marlena Hand, and Episode 2 with our club’s Incentives Coordinator, Teri Garringer.  Please also check out Episode 4 with our club’s Welcoming Director, Leisl Kaberry and Episode 5 with our Reviews Coordinator, Beem Weeks.

As new episodes appear, I will come back here and update this blog post.

 

 

Catch-Up Mondays: Sulfites and Food – revisited

This is part three of my sulfite blog posts.  I shared this on February 2, 2013. When you start eliminating sulfites, the amount of foods that have them is unbelievable.  Of course without testing it is very difficult to know at what point you will react or how much is actually in the foodstuff.

Okay so this is part three of my story on sulfites. I hope you all are not tired of hearing about them yet. The list of foods is long. Somehow the lists I have found don’t seem to be as lengthy as what I remember. But then again, with my brain fog and the fact it was about thirty years ago it is hard to know for certain.

Before I start listing the foods I will respond to a question a friend of mine asked. She wanted to know if organic foods were safe from sulfites. From what I have read that they are not allowed in organic foods in the US. I also read that organic foods that travel over borders can be sprayed with sulfites or sit in a tub of sulfited water or ice to prevent browning.

Foods with naturally occurring sulfites are grapes (why even organic wine can contain a certain level of sulfites), onions, garlic, salmon, leeks, lettuce, chives and asparagus.

The FDA has broken down the foods with sulfites by category in their FDA Guide to Foods and Drugs with Sulfites.  The Sulfite levels have also been categorized by ppm (parts per million and shown in red) with greater than 100 ppm considered very high (strict avoidance), between 50 and 99.9 ppm considered moderate to high (avoidance advised in those with sulfite sensitivity), between 10 and 49.9 ppm considered low to moderate (may cause symptoms to those with severe sulfite allergy), and less than 10 ppm considered very low levels (generally do no pose a risk even to those with sulfite sensitivity).

Alcoholic Beverages (beer, cocktail mixes, wine, wine coolers) Wine is in the very high and beer is considered very low.

Baked Goods (cookies, crackers, mixes with dried fruits or vegetables, pizza crust, Quiche crust, flour tortillas) Low to moderate level.

Beverage Bases (dried citrus fruit mixes) Very high level.

Condiments and Relishes (horseradish, relishes, pickles, olives, salad dressing mixes and wine vinegar) Low to moderate with wine vinegar being in the moderate to high level.

Confections and Frostings (brown, raw, powdered or white sugar derived from sugar beets) Very low level.

Modified Dairy Products (filled milk – when vegetable oils are substituted for animal fat) Not available.

Fish and Shellfish (canned clams, fresh, frozen, canned or dried shrimp, frozen lobster , scallops and dried cod - my lobster experience was mentioned in my first post Low to moderate level.

Fresh Fruit  and Vegetables (potatoes) Very low level.

Gelatins, Puddings and Fillings (fruit fillings, flavored and unflavored gelatin, pectin) Very low level.

Grain Products and Pastas (cornstarch, modified food starch, spinach pasta, gravies, hominy, breadings, batters and noodle/rice mixes) Very low to moderate.

Jams and Jellies (because of the pectin) Very low.

Nuts and Nut Products (shredded coconut – although I have found unsulfured coconut) Very low.

Plant Protein Products (canned, bottled or frozen juices including lemon, lime grape and apple; dried fruit; canned, bottled or frozen dietetic fruit or fruit juices; maraschino cherries and glazed fruit) Moderate to very high level.

Processed Vegetables (vegetable juice, canned vegetables including potatoes, pickled vegetables including sauerkraut, dried vegetables, instant mashed potatoes, frozen potatoes and potato salad) Sauerkraut is in the very high level while the other items seem to fall in the low to high levels.

Snack Foods (dried fruit snacks, trail mixes, filled crackers) High to very high levels.

Soups and Soup Mixes (canned seafood soups, dried soup mixes) Low to moderate levels.

Sweet Sauces, Toppings (corn syrup, maple syrup, fruit toppings, and high-fructose corn syrup, pancake syrup) Very low to Moderate levels.

Tea (instant tea, liquid tea concentrates) Not available.

My last post on sulfites will discuss medications that may contain sulfites.  I will also provide links to some of the various sites I used when obtaining this information so that you may view them yourself in their entirety.

Stuck in What I “Used” to Look Like

Kathryn Chastain Treat:

I love the way Tamara puts this. We are not the same from illness but the average person isn’t the same either from month to month or year to year. We need to learn to accept ourselves.

Originally posted on Nature's Peace and Hope:

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Sometimes I get so stuck in what I used to look like, what I used to be like, that I cannot find any appreciation for who I am today…

Recently, it was very difficult to hear a loved one saying, while looking through old pictures, “That’s what Tamara looked like before she got really sick. Wasn’t she beautiful?” Not that I don’t say these very words myself, a disclaimer so to speak, letting others know I haven’t always been heavy, puffy-faced, pale, fill in your own negative adjective here:_________.
But this time, I wasn’t the one to point out my “different self,” it was my husband. And I know, in my mind, that he was saying this with pride, letting someone who has only known me post-sickness in on what I looked like in a healthier state. In fact, he most likely was just mimicking my own words. But, all…

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When are things just things?

I have talked many times about the heartache of giving my things away, of standing idly by watching them being thrown in the garbage bin, and the grief that came along with it.

I have posted about having to choose my things or my health.  I have told others that you have to choose between your health and your things.  Yes they are just things!  But we hold a certain attachment to things as human beings.  They are reminders of our past; the good times and the bad times.  They remind us of the special day we had shopping with our grandmothers and the beautiful doll or beads she bought us.  There are rarely any photos of these things we hold dear to our hearts and souls.

I had the wonderful opportunity to meet via Skype a woman who found me through searching the words “Allergic to Life”.  Somewhere in our conversation the subject of purging or letting go of our items in order to lower our load and possibly gain some headway in our health came up.  I mentioned it is like going through the grieving process when you have to let go of your things.  She said that as humans we need attachments to things in our lives.  We talked for some time about letting go and the stages of grief.

I have said it was easy to let go because I was so very sick and just wanted desperately to get well.  In reality it wasn’t easy to let go.  I thought of taking pictures of things as my husband tossed them into the garbage bin.  I wanted to place them softly in the bin (I don’t know why because once at the refuse they would be piled into a pit with all sorts of garbage but they were my friends from childhood.)  It was my Scottie dog (yes it was shedding a lot of its coarse hair) my big teddy bear (even though it was one-eyed – the other eye lost many years ago) and my little stuffed dog with the ears worn so thin from rubbing that the bells had long ago fallen out them.  It was crafts that I had made to fill my home with Christmas cheer and handmade witch dolls that adorned our home at Halloween.

I watched sadly as my mother removed dresses, skirts, coats, and shoes from my closet and placed them in big black garbage bags.  They sat in piles around the bedroom floor that was already bare from having the carpet removed because I was reacting to it and needed a safe place to sleep.

Bags of Clothes, Shoes, Purses

Bags of Clothes, Shoes, Purses

A few days ago I was in the shower and began thinking about my losses.  Yes I missed the loss of my nice clothes (I would not be able to wear them today.  I was so thin and sickly when I purchased them.) but that didn’t seem to cause any great deal of emotion.  Soon I was thinking of my stuffed animals and missing them.  They weren’t anything that I would have played with but they used to hold a prominent position throughout my home, an homage to my younger self.  The memories flooded me and I felt saddened.  Fortunately for me the sadness quickly passed and I was back in the present.

So as easy as it is to say, “Things are just things.”  They truly aren’t.  They are a connection to our life and our memories.  It is a struggle to let go and know they are lost forever.

What things do you hold dear to your heart?  What would hurt you the most to give or toss away if you had to choose it over your health?

 

Dirty secret of e-cigarettes.

I have had this article tacked to my bulletin board for ages.  I saved it because I intended to blog about it.  The article is by Donald Bucklin, M.D., a regional medical director for U.S. Health Works.

Have you all seen the advertisements by some of today’s celebrities? They are talking about e-cigarettes and how much safer they are.  They are being allowed in places that have bans on traditional cigarette and cigar smoking.

SAFE?  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  Something has to make the smoke that comes out of it.  Do they want us to believe it is just a mist or water vapors?

Dr. Bucklin mentions that he was surprised to learn from his daughter that hookah pens were all the rage among the high school crowd.  He goes on to describe the e-cigarette as a device of roughly cigarette size and proportions that contain a battery, something to vaporize, and a button to make it go.  And because nothing is burning you are technically not smoking.

The industry wants us to believe that switching to the e-cigarettes is much safer and that smokers are better off with them than cigarettes.  Of course they do not contain tar, carbon monoxide and the 400 plus chemicals released by burning tobacco.  So what have long-time smokers and the young smokers who have begun smoking the e-cigarettes traded the tar and chemicals for?  Are you ready for this?  Most commonly that vaporized something is propylene glycol.  

And what is propylene glycol?  Propylene glycol is a synthetic liquid substance that absorbs water. Propylene glycol is also used to make polyester compounds, and as a base for deicing solutions. Propylene glycol is used by the chemical, food, and pharmaceutical industries as an antifreeze when leakage might lead to contact with food. 

So you tell me, are these e-cigarettes really any safer?  Instead of breathing in smoke and the chemicals from traditional cigarettes, we are breathing in the fumes from vaporizing propylene glycol.

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There it is (something to vaporize).