Monday, March 12, 2012

Nothing To Worry About...

There appears to have been a bit of a discrepancy between the letter I received concerning my mammography and the report sent to my doctor. The doc says there is nothing to worry about...Although I am relieved about that, and the fact that she feels no further evaluation is necessary, I really must tip my hat to the nurses who responded to my calls, spoke to the doctor regarding the letter sent to me and contacted the imaging facility with regard to the letter to me and the report to my GP.

No further evaluation is needed as there is no evidence of cancer, so I will continue annual screenings.

Thanks to all of you who related your own stories and comments of concern. They were appreciated. My next adventure in diagnostic testing will be a colonoscopy. I hope that too is uneventful.

Until Next Time...

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

After Mammography: More Evaluation Needed

So says the letter I received today from the imaging facility that did my routine screening last week. I did attempt to contact my physician as the letter advised, but the clinic was closed. I have never had any findings from a mammography before. I hope this is nothing...

I hope everyone is having a good day.

Until Next Time...

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Getting To The Heart OF Things...

Sitting in the reception area of a physician's office last week, I spied a magazine. Designed for patients from the most pregnant to  to the newly menopausal, it trumpeted the benefits of happiness, treats for the diabetic, and how to stay healthy despite asthma.

There is, according to one of its articles, a relationship between happiness and the likelihood of experiencing second heart attacks. The happier a person is, even after being diagnosed with heart disease and having a heart attack, the less likely an individual is to have another. The article also finds that those who take the time to write down what they are grateful for tend to be more content than others who don't.

Having leafed through dozens of magazines of the same ilk in various medical offices, I don't find this information particularly newsworthy by itself, especially when one considers that there are some profound differences between men and women with regard to heart attacks.

 Women, it seems, are more likely to die from a first heart attack than are men, and disparities continue with regard to women's care following heart attack. Differences in heart attack symptoms also complicate this scenario as well. A leading killer of women, heart disease often goes undetected until the crisis of a heart attack occurs. If the woman involved is lucky enough to live through that, she may face a shortened lifespan and the possibility of congestive heart failure or other heart-related problems in future.

Prevention, say doctors, nutritionists and fitness experts, is the best answer. Exercise, eating healthily and maintaining proper weight are essential if one is to avoid high blood pressure, and unhealthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Unfortunately for me and others like me, I almost never see information regarding what a woman of my age and build should weigh and none of my doctors have ever said anything about triglyceride levels. I do know that my Body Mass Index is not what it should be at this point, but based on tests, my heart function is normal, my cholesterol is fine and I am as healthy as I can be for someone in my circumstances. I have been getting more exercise, despite the fact that running sprints in a wheelchair is not the most exciting thing a person can do.

 I will get back to the pool as the weather warms, too though I wish there were more wheelchair sports available for adults where I live. Chair yoga is nice for breathing, meditation and focus, but cardio is king, especially when one's heart health is the issue. Although the constant admonition to move everyday is important, for me, where and how I move are more so.

 Uneven or debris-strewn sidewalks pose obstacles for me that bi-pedal peers don't face. I have punctured tyres, gotten stuck in supposedly-ADA-friendly areas and always face threats from passers by, whether because their dogs nip or their kids throw  things without thinking. I have been booed and chased by children, dogs and an elderly man with dementia who mistook me for a long lost relation. People have gotten out of their cars to help push me from rain gutters in which I've become stuck despite spinning my wheels, and I've been forced to traverse uneven, grassy or broken pavements, any of which can cause a chair to tip or get stuck. All of these were in so-called ADA-compliant areas. Having the ADA is one thing, enforcing it is another. We have much work to do in this arena.

The science on happiness contains no variables for ignorance of the law or a preponderance of physical barriers that literally compromise safety and can cause life-threatening accidents for wheelchair users and others, including pedestrians and cyclists. While I am grateful to be here, and want to do everything I can to stay healthy and protect my heart, I do not always feel at home in my own neighbourhood, nor do I always feel safe "taking a walk" there or in other outdoor venues. Yet, I do, sometimes, simply because I've never been one to sit home unless ill or overtired. Fundamentally, I believe that I and others have a right to  fresh air and unfettered movement, both indoors and out. That is real freedom and will only happen when we all begin to realise that everyone should be able to move through the world to do whatever they need to do safely and without risk to their livelihood.

Until Next Time...

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Another Day In Paradise?

Today was beautiful, very windy and cooler than it has been. The weather reminded me of Springtimes past, when in my twenties, I would find it necessary to wrap up or wear a jacket for warmth against the wind's chill.

I awoke later than normal and after some daily clearing up, called a neighbour to see whether he felt up to an outing. We dropped the post for an early-morning pick up tomorrow and ended up at a high-end grocery where I bought fresh strawberries and a small bottle of English Double Devon Cream, something most stores here do not carry as it is shipped from England. I buy it only during strawberry season. It is a hold over from my childhood and something my mother purchased when she could find it, which was rarely, since we lived near the equator and luxuries like double cream were almost as impossible to find as they were to justify due to their expense.

After grabbing a coffee and perusing the books at another store, we headed home. What should have been late Sunday lunch for me became instead an early supper of fresh steamed veg followed by a handful of succulent strawberries atop a shortbread crowned with a dollop of cream. Not my usual frugal fare, but what is the point of living if one cannot sometimes enjoy indulgences?

I generally thrift shop for clothing other than lingerie and only buy other items on discount. I do not purchase most music, books or film unless gently used, preferring to borrow from the library system, and usually avoid shops entirely unless I need something specific. Today, however, I broke down and bought a hardcover from an author whose PI series and heroine I've enjoyed since the early eighties. It was discounted so I did not feel too much of a pinch. People who know me well have sometimes remarked at my lack of a shopping gene. I aim for conscious consumption. Having read a book entitled Your Money or Your Life and completed an honest appraisal of my spending habits years ago, I know how to live within a budget, but that does not always square with life from a chair. I continue to confront challenges in this regard.

It is unfortunate that there is only one used book store in this neighbourhood and no farmer's market. The nearest is all the way across town and is held on Fridays during working hours. While there are small produce stands here and there, all require a car to reach and many are not accessible by bus. Additionally, if I use the bus service which comes door to door for those with disabilities, I am restricted to two bags, both of which I must be able to carry on and off the bus myself.

 Since it is difficult to self-propel and collect groceries using a wheelchair, I utilise a weekly grocery delivery service. Although this has worked well up to now, fees are set to increase due to rising fuel prices and I will have to curtail my usage or cut it out altogether. My grocery bill is one area that requires constant monitoring and adjustment. Another is food and medicine for the resident felines, whose Lysine I can purchase online for far less than what the veterinary practice, now owned by corporate giant VCA, charges.

Several bloggers I read have implemented "NO Spend Days." Since I'm gone from home several days each week and must travel by bus to get to the desired destinations, I'm not sure these would work for me since bus fare is involved, but I can certainly consider cutting back.

Any ideas?

Until Next Time...

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Between A Rock And A Hard Place...

Much has been happening at chez moi...I've been on the Internet viewing a few properties, on the phone making appointments with contractors, and busily having choir rehearsals. I also saw a long-time friend from my college days who now lives in London. It was wonderful to see and catch up with him in person.You can visit his blog here.

From preliminary research, some work would still need to be done in a newer abode and the current one won't fetch much. I'll be lucky to get what I paid for it. This is largely due to the fact that the property has been de-valued due to a previous sinkhole problem and because the real estate market here is still weak. I am on a tight budget and as someone effectively retired, I do not want a mortgage hanging over my head. In my favour, I do have excellent credit.

All that said, I am trying to determine whether it is do-able to modify my present flat or keep looking for a newer home. I did speak with an area agency regarding grant funding but they had several people wait listed and their limited funding has already been spent.

I do have photos for several posts in Iphoto if I can figure out how to transfer them to my desk top, I can post them. At this moment, I wishing I had replaced the old windows in this flat as I can unfortunately here a conversation taking place outside, and yes, all of my windows are closed.

Until Next Time...