A 2nd look at Lupus from #Clever2ndMD #spon

Thank you to 2nd.MD for providing me with a $200 stipend to test-drive this revolutionary online medical service.

It’s no secret to my readers that I have Lupus.

Lupus is bullshit. In a normal body, the immune system is an amazing machine. It identifies bad stuff (virus, infection…) and attacks it.

Bing. Bang. Pow. Done.

In a person with Lupus, the immune system thinks it’s own body is the bad stuff. The immune system launches an attack on the offender. It’s self. And it sucks. Sometimes it attacks the skin, sometimes the kidneys, sometimes even the brain.

My Lupus, that I have nicknamed “stupid lupus” or SL for short, thought it would be awesome to go after my brain a couple years ago. Whoa nelly, that was some fun.

Seriously, that was a bad time. Luckily I have a really great, traditional doctor that has been on this SL road with me for the last 4 years. He recognized what was going on and quickly sent me off to UW for several other consults with the top docs in the area. They all worked together and halted the damage SL (or in this case Central Nervous System Stupid Lupus) was doing to my brain.

Unfortunately, they way they stopped the attack on my brain was by using a super-strong, ninja-kick-your-butt immunosupessant. Immunosupressants work just like they sound they would. They suppress your immune system. Which is awesome if your immune system is busy kicking the crap out of your brain. Not so awesome in day to day life when surrounded by sneezing kids and coughing adults. The immunosuppressant I am currently on also has the side effect of making me feel like I am always sick to my tummy. Not cool.

I love my doc, I really do, but he is very traditional. He sticks with what he has worked with for a long time and feels comfortable with. It is also somewhat awkward to bring up different therapies with him. I have been on my ninja-kicking immunosuppressants for 2 years. And at times I wonder if I am always so sick because of them. I am ready to try something new, but I wanted to have more information before broaching the subject with my current doctor.

When given the opportunity to try 2ndMD, I jumped at it.

The concept is simple. Video appointments with top doctors around the country. No referrals, no traveling, no long waits. Log on. Make an appointment, see your doctor!

Check out this video: Peace of Mind – http://vimeo.com/24934042

I made my account, logged on and looked at the available specialists for Lupus.

After reading the extensive bios for each doc, I chose Dr. Chaudhary. Making my appointment was simple. I chose the times that would work for ME, then I received an email letting me know which of MY available times would also work for the doctor. Talk about convenience!

I logged in to the virtual waiting room on the day of my appointment and at 2pm right on the dot, Dr. Chaudhary appeared on my screen.

I was having a virtual doctor appointment! Dr. Chaudhary asked several questions and listened to each of my concerns. He was calm, patient and explained several complimentary therapies I could try. He even suggested an antiacid taken with my ninja-kick med. Simple. He brought up a couple supplements I had not thought to try. He asked about diet, about my sun exposure (a no-no for lupus) and exercise. He also discussed a couple other ninja-kick medications that would have the immunosupressant power but might be easier on my tummy. The entire conversation was calm and low key. I felt very comfortable with the process.

I logged out of the 2nd.md website after the appointment and almost immediately received an email notification that Dr. Chaudhary had posted a note.

After my appointment on 2nd.md, I have several new ideas and options that I will be bringing up with my regular doctor at our next appointment.

My appointment had a fee of $120. That seems like a lot until I really thought about it. We live in a somewhat rural area. Most specialists are in Seattle and a trip over to see the specialists = all day trip. Here is a breakdown: Gas $15.00, ferry fee to and from Seattle $25.00, lunch $25.00, babysitter since I won’t be back to meet the bus $15.00, co-pay of $30.00. That’s $110 and a whole day wasted!

I would not hesitate to contact 2nd MD in the future for a specialist consult.

My John Hancock

Thank you again to 2nd.MD for sponsoring this blog post. Please click here to learn more about 2nd.MD. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective. All opinions are my own. #Clever2ndMD #spon

School shoes, again.

Back to School Croc Style
Thank you to Crocs for sponsoring this blog post. Please click here to learn more about Crocs’ new Back to School line. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective. All opinions expressed here are my own.

It’s that time of year again. Didn’t we do this just 12 months ago? I think I still have the scars from the last time.

What am I talking about?

Trying shoes on Faith. Faith has a love/hate relationship with shoes. Or should I say, she loves to hate them. However in our modern society, the rules dictate that she wear shoes to school.

The only two exceptions to Faith’s “love to hate” rule are Crocs and “light-up” shoes. We have been a Crocs family since we first spotted them back in 2004. We fell in love with Crocs for a different reason than most people. Most people pointed to Crocs wide range of colors as a factor in purchase. We bought them because they FIT.

Faith, as part of her physical disabilities, has an extremely wide, tall, inflexible foot. She also has autism which means she does not like her foot touched. For me, that equals a shoe nightmare. None of the local brick and mortar stores carried shoes that fit her. We turned to online shopping, but as she grew, we started to run out of options. Enter the Crocs Beach. This is the original slip-on that most people think of when they hear the word Crocs. They were roomy (check), they were super light (check), there was nothing that poked or pinched (check), and they slipped on without a struggle (last check)! Faith wore her original Crocs all year long. We had them in so many colors. Orange, light pink, dark pink, red, green, blue, and yellow. We had this “shoe” thing down pat.

If I'm wearing an orange and pink shirt, I should wear orange and pink shoes, right?

Until she started school.

While not outright banned at our current school, the original Crocs slip-on is frowned on as school wear. Which left us back at square one. Trying to find a shoe, any shoe, that would fit her.

But not this year! This year Crocs has a whole new line of School Approved footwear! And they are super cute!  There are 13 new styles of shoes for boys and girls from Kindergarten all the way to Eighth Grade.

Dawson

These are not the Crocs I am used to!

Hover

Are these not adorable?

Hover for girls

I want a pair!  All the shoes in the new line feature the same comfort kids (and adults) have come to expect from Crocs, but wrapped in a new, closed-toed and closed-heeled, school-approved outside!  One item in my back to school shopping list just got much easier!

To see the whole line of new school approved Crocs, please watch the video below.  The music video is interactive – if you see a shoe you would like to look at more closely, click on it to go directly to that shoes’ pages on the Crocs official site.  And psssssttttt…..there is an Easter Egg hidden in the video. While the video is playing, click around on stuff. You may be surprised!
(Ok, here’s a hint: it flies!)

Visit the Crocs Back to School Kids’ Site to look around.  While you’re there you may enter a giveaway for a family vacation to San Diego with NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.

Back to school, allergy style

In our household, preparing to go back to school is a heck of a lot more than school clothes shopping and meeting teachers. A back to school tradition that we also have to incorporate is allergy awareness.

Faith is allergic to peanuts, all tree nuts, and egg.

Peanuts. Peanuts can kill her. Yes, she is THAT allergic.

We have been incredibly lucky that we have a supportive school system and Faith’s classmate’s parents “get it”. We have asked for, and received a few adjustments to help keep Faith safe….and alive. I like her alive. We have asked that her class be a nut free zone. We have asked that after lunch all kiddos in Faith’s class wash their hands and in the lunch room, one half of one table be designated as a nut-free zone. She is starting her fourth year at this school and so far these precautions have kept her from having any reactions at school. (Knock on wood, throwing salt over my shoulder….)

This year I am also going to include super cute Allergy Cards from Tiny Prints in her lunch box and backpack. They are an adorable way to remind others of what Faith is allergic to. Click the picture below to take a peek at everything Tiny Prints has to offer for back to school this year.

What is a “out of the ordinary” back to school preparation in your household?

My John Hancock

Sick of Summer.

Remember how when you were a kid, summer seemed to fly by. It was gone almost before you even realized it was here. How come now that I am the grown up, it feels like it has been summer forever? Add in the fact that we have not really had summer here in PNW yet, and it equals a cranky mommy. It seems very unmommylike to admit this but….

I can not wait for school to start back up!

All I keep thinking about is everything I’m going to be able to do once school starts again.

Watch soaps? Nope.

Eat Bon-Bons? Nope.

Sleep in late? Nope

Party? Nope.

I will be able to clean my house.

Really, really clean my house. My heart starts going all a-flutter at the thought of it. Sparkling bathrooms, shiny kitchen floors, perfectly straight vacuum lines in the living room. (At tleast until the kids get home from school.)

Are you looking forward to school starting? Or are you in the “not wanting summer to end” camp? What is the one thing you are looking forward to doing that you can’t do with the kids underfoot?

My John Hancock

Thoughts on special toys?

Faith receives (or should I say I receive) 40 hours a month of respite care through the Navy. Hubby is active duty and this is one of the newer programs designed to keep me from going bonkers. Our 40 hours are split over 2 caregivers, each coming into our home once a week. Faith genuinely loves both her caregivers and this is a sanity saver for me. Ok, now you have a bit of background. On to the actual issue.

One of Faith’s caregivers has games and toys that she brings with her on her day. She brings her “special” toys to play with the children she cares for. It is a neat routine and gives Faith something special to look forward to. Faith does understand that these games and toys are only for use during the time that the caregiver is here and that they leave with the caregiver. Mostly. Except….

One game. Oh Faith loves it. She talks about, she cries for it. When the caregiver leaves, Faith melts down because she wants it. I mean really melts down. Hitting, kicking, biting, inconsolable melting down. Sometimes it goes on for almost an hour. During that hour I am physically holding Faith to keep her from hurting herself and me.

In other words, in exchange for my couple hours of respite care, I end up with both of us exhausted and emotional messes.

Not cool.

I know what you are thinking….why not just buy her the gosh darn game?

Our caregiver has asked us to not purchase duplicates of “her” games. I get where she is coming from. This is her bag of tricks that help keep the kids entertained while she is here. It’s special and kids look forward to it, and their time with her because they get to play with the items. If parents buy the same items, they lose the magic. They become part of every day life and are no longer special.

But…

I am going nuts here.

Would you buy the game? Just this one game?

Please weigh in!

Special Education Recertification

I’m feeling pretty nervous. At 1:30 today we are meeting with Faith’s school for her special education recertification. Right now we have amazing services. Really, we have even more than we had hoped for when we made the decision to enter Faith into school 3 years ago. Faith has made AMAZING progress in the last 3 years, and I truly feel it is due to the wonderful support services she currently receives. I have no idea what services they are looking to keep, change or drop.

What I do know, they want to change her eligibility category from “Autism” to “Multiple Disabilities”. I’m not sure how I feel about this.

Thoughts?

***** Update****

Here is the word for word from her new evaluation. Have I mentioned how much I love this school district? :)

With regard to continued Special Education services, Faith has been served under an Autism category for services. While the team agrees that this disability is valid, it does not reflect (in total) the additional and on-going physical health problems that impact Faith at school on a daily basis. Due to Faith’s on-going health difficulties in addition to her disability of Autism, the team recommends that Faith’s disability category be changed to that of Multiple Disabled. The team views that Faith has on-going health difficulties in combination with her disability of Autism. This combination requires a program and a level of support which cannot be met solely for a single disability.