Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Christmas Shopping Then and Now

There was a time, a lifetime ago, when I was ready for Christmas before Thanksgiving. As a single mother with two boys, I was always on the look-out for bargains. I bought things throughout the year, and my brother was overseas so I had to have packages wrapped and mailed long before Thanksgiving was even on the horizon.

When the Christmas season was in full swing and the malls were all decorated, I had already finished my Christmas shopping. I would visit the malls and they were so beautiful and now so memorable. I wasn't desperately searching for gifts so I wasn't rushed. I could appreciate the imaginations and budgets of the stores' talented decorators. Fairyland was all around. Carols were playing in the background, families were shopping, laughing, arguing, both kids and adults were making decisions, rushing from store to store. One mall's ice rink displayed skating talents and costumes and more laughter. I live in the Dallas area so I could enjoy Neiman Marcus at its best. Christmas was in bloom. What a great way to share the feeling of Christmas.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Epstein-Barr -- Rumor or Fact?

We have heard for years that there may be a connection between Epstein-Barr (EBV) and MS.

Most of us, that is 90% of the general population, carry EBV-infected cells. Researchers from Australia's University of Queensland say MSers are less effective at fighting EBV. There is also a relationship between the strength of a person's immune system and the age MS develops.

Controlling EBV may result in fewer cases of MS. That sounds like promising news to me!

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My Tips for a Stress-Free Holiday

The Holiday Season is upon us, and with it comes stress. Here are my tips for happy holidays and high quality of life every other day, too:

  • Start with a positive attitude
  • I think a positive attitude is the best tool to enhance every day. Winston Churchill agreed: "Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference." We all have control over our own attitude. We may as well take advantage of it by having a good one.
  • Be grateful
  • Sometimes it's difficult, but you may have to look in a different way or a different direction. Be grateful for friends and family, for opportunities that are yet to be and for memories or dreams.
  • Practice Relaxation
  • To start each day, add three deep breaths to your morning routine. Not quick gasps, but slow deep, full breaths.
  • Practice Moderation
  • Dinner, Gifts, Parties -- You know where you can cut back and where you cannot. Choose what you can do and want to do, and do it with gusto.
  • Include yourself on the gift list
  • This can cost much or little, or nothing at all. It can be time for yourself, a trinket that makes you smile, or that special something you always wanted. It can even be a massage that will help you relax during this stressful time.
  • Smile and Enjoy the Spirit of the Season
  • The spirit of the season is what you want it to be. Festive music, laughing children, joy to the world. Enjoy it.

Stress that comes with holidays is not healthy. It's often a trigger for chronic conditions to flare. I know it is for MS. I have been through this before. Apparently there are three main trigger points for holiday stress: Relationships, Finances and Physical Demands. The Mayo Clinic offers 12 tips for coping with the holiday stress. Mayo Clinic's tactical tips are good for these days, and they are good for the rest of the year, too.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My Amigo

On November 12, 1968, Al Thieme opened Amigo Mobility and revolutionized the future of mobility forever. Now Amigo is international, offering mobility to the world with power operated vehicles (POV).

I bought my first Amigo in 2003, and it certainly opened my future, making life easier and less of a struggle. Suddenly I felt as if my independence had been granted again, and my future was once more full of possibilities. To know more about Amigo, sign up for Friendly Wheels, an e-newsletter that tells personal stories and updates on the product.

Thank you, Al.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Honoring Veterans Today

Veterans Day 2007 poster from the United State...Image via Wikipedia

Thank you for your service.

Veterans Day was established as Armistice Day to celebrate the end of World War I, the war to end all wars. Since 1954, we have observed it as a national holiday, Veterans Day, honoring the men and women willing to serve and defend America in the armed forces and dedicated to the cause of world peace. Veterans Day has come to represent those who did not come home. Now it is more.

(read more)

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Saturday, November 08, 2008

Technology for Disability -- Something for Everyone

The test pilot crashed, but he survived, barely. The colonel was a former astronaut, a national hero, and the accident promised to leave him severely disabled. However, it was the mid-seventies and science was advanced enough to not only save his life but to use electronic or mechanical parts that would do more than make him feel "good as new." It would actually give him extraordinary strength, almost like super-powers. The only problem was the surgery to save this hero would cost $6M.

The story of Steve Austin, The Six Million Dollar Man was a fictional whisper hinting that science had the secrets that could correct even the most severe injuries. What was not fictional was the high cost. Has science taken steps to fulfill that fantastic promise?

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Saturday, November 01, 2008

Caring and Compassion

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.
If you want to be happy, practice compassion. ~ Dalai Lama (1935 - present)

Often a person becomes a caregiver by circumstance, when a baby is born with a disability, a parent develops Alzheimer's, an adult child comes home from war or a fully-able person develops a disabling condition. "More than 50 million people provide care for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family member or friend during any given year, and 44% of them are men."* Being thrown into this unfamiliar activity of caring for a family member, whether it be full- or part-time, brings up a multitude of questions and feelings.

What needs to be done, and how should it be done? There are classes and tip lists available. The person you are suddenly caring for is still your baby, your parent, child or loved one who needs help with mobility, dementia, errands or meals. "The value of the services family caregivers provide for 'free' is estimated to be $257 billion a year. That is twice as much as is actually spent on home care and nursing home services."* The National Family Care Association has an even higher estimate. Wow.

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