Free Book Promo & Weight Loss

I had two topics in mind for blog posts today, so decided to just combine them into one post. First off, my newest poetry chap book, “Can’t Keep Me Down“, is free on Kindle today through Thursday, so if you wanted to read it, grab a copy! If you do read the book, please consider leaving a rating and/or review on Amazon and/or Goodreads so I’ll know what you think!

By the way, there is a print version of the chapbook available on Amazon now as well! It is $5.99 and can be found at the same Amazon link above.

Lastly, about a couple weeks ago I gave up sugary drinks. This was mostly a big deal because I drank Coke pretty much every day. Since giving up the pop, I’ve already lost about 5 pounds! I don’t even really crave the sugary drinks much anymore. It will be interesting to see if I continue to lose weight!

3+ Days of Migraines

Three days straight of migraines that won’t go away. They’ll ease up a bit when I take migraine medicine, but then they come back. Sadly, my migraine medicine (Sumatriptan) is one that you aren’t supposed to take more than 4 pills a week, so I don’t know what I’m going to do if they keep coming back. Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers. If I’m not very active on WP, you’ll understand why.

Covid Results, Migraines, Friends

First off, I got my covid results back yesterday. No coronavirus detected! That was certainly a big relief! Now I don’t have to worry about staying quarantined for weeks!

On the sucky side of things, I did have a full-blown migraine last night. I’m not sure if it was caused by my anxiety about the test results the past few days, or something else, but it was miserable. When I get migraines like that my neck kills me too (you can actually feel the tension and swelling in the back of the neck). Like most migraine sufferers, I can’t stand sound or light, and I get nauseated and dizzy as well. I went to bed early and slept about 9-10 hours, but still feel the aftereffects of it today and fear it coming back in full force.

I’m also a little sad because while I was unsure of my covid status, some friends of mine got together for the first time in forever, and of course didn’t invite me (I don’t blame them, they knew about the covid possibility), but it still bummed me out that I missed the chance to see them.

Covid?

Man, I feel bad. About 4-5 days ago at least, I started having issues with a sore throat and stuffy nose. I figured maybe it was a little cold, or even allergies. I started having worsening asthma symptoms and chest pain too, but figured that was the heat (it always triggers my asthma some).

Today, I woke up feeling like I couldn’t move or get out of bed. The body aches and fatigue are unreal. Worse even than some of my CFS flareups. Everything seems slowed down, and my brain is super foggy. I’ve also had headache, itching all over (and what looks like it might be hives), nausea, and a fever off and on.

I’m not sure if it is covid, but man I feel bad. I am in contact with my doctor about it and will probably end up getting tested. Our county is a hotspot here in Ohio, so it easily could be Covid.

Now, I’m going back to bed (even though I slept more than 12 hours). Goodnight.

Covid Masks – What’s Your Experience?

The whole covid mask thing has been a struggle for me. Probably for several reasons:

#1 – I have bad asthma, especially in hot weather and wearing a mask makes it much worse. Sometimes to the point that I have to escape a store or building immediately so I can breathe again before I have a full-out asthma attack (masks are required in buildings in our county).

#2 – I’m autistic. I have sensory issues galore and masks drive me crazy. I don’t like the feel of them and for me, I never really adjust. Of all the kinds of masks I’ve tried, the only ones I can even kind of stand are the surgeon ones, but even those bug me, and I can only bear them for a short time.

#3 – I have a little piggy nose, so I can’t keep a mask up, it is always slipping below my nose. It has gotten to the point that sometimes I quit pulling it up because it will just slip down again in 2 seconds, and it is easier to breathe with my nose uncovered anyway.

#4 – Anxiety. I think this plays into the asthma and the sensory issues thing. The more my asthma and sensory issues worsen, the more my anxiety kicks in, till the point where I’m not even sure if I’m having trouble breathing because of the mask and asthma, or because of the anxiety.

At this point, I pretty much just try to do outdoor activities or if I do have to go to a store or something, I get in and out as quickly as possible. Thank God I don’t have to work at a business. I don’t know how I would survive.

So what has your experience with masks been? Do they bother you? Did you adjust and get used to them? Are they required where you live? Do you have any of the same issues I have with them?

Best CBD Creams for Pain

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As my regular readers know, occasionally I will partner with another company or website to share information that I feel may genuinely help some of my audience. Today, I’m sharing this post from AgingInPlace about the Top 10 Best CBD Creams for Pain – Top Picks for Seniors.

I know many of my readers do suffer from chronic pain and are senior citizens, so I thought maybe this information might help some of you. Of course, I am not yet a senior citizen, but I have still found that CBD has helped my own pain quite a bit. It can be intimidating at first to know which CBD company to give a try (there are simply SO many out there!), so hopefully this resource can help narrow down the choices.

If you have experience using any of these products or just CBD in general, feel free to chime in and tell us how it worked for you in the comments!

My LetsGetChecked Hormone Test Results!

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As I told you guys in a previous post, I partnered with LetsGetChecked.com, an online business that makes medical testing at home convenient and easy. They offer a wide range of tests, everything from sexual health tests to male/female specific testing, and wellness tests (all privacy guaranteed).

As I do with any business I promote, I used their service myself to make sure it was a good deal. I decided to do their female hormone test, as I have suspected for a while that I might be going into early menopause. The test did show an abnormality, but not in the way I was expecting at all! I figured if anything, my levels might be low, but I was wrong.

The test measures 4 biomarkers – Lutenising Hormone, Follicle Stimulating Hormone, Prolactin, and Estradio. Three of the levels were normal, but my Prolactin level was actually pretty high. Quite a bit over the average level. Normally this level is high during pregnancy and after birth (neither apply to me lol). Prolactin can also be high due to various health issues and medicine side effects.

Since one of the health issues that can make Prolactin levels high is hypothyroidism (which I do have a history of), I definitely need to see my doctor and have that looked into. If it isn’t that or one of the other health problems, it is likely my medicine – probably the psych meds from what I read online after researching my test results.

High Prolactin levels can cause the menstrual symptoms I attributed to early menopause (skipping or irregular periods, irritability, acne, hot flashes, night sweats, etc.), so this might be the answer I was looking for, even if it is unexpected. I am really glad I had it checked!

If you decide to try out one of the tests on LetsGetChecked.com, please use the code marandarussell20 for 20% off your purchase! 

At Home Medical Testing with LetsGetChecked.com

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My blog gets many offers to partnership with various companies, but I am always very picky about who I will partner with. I have two important guidelines I always try to stick to. First, I will only consider partnering with companies that promote things I would actually want to use myself. Further, I want to use their product or service myself to know the quality of what I am sharing. Secondly, the product or service has to be something that fits the themes of my blog and that I believe may genuinely be useful to some of my blog readers.

Recently the home medical testing company LetsGetChecked.com reached out to me. I liked how they offer a wide range of affordable, at-home medical testing options for sexual health, both men & women’s health, and general wellness. When I saw that they offer a women’s female hormone test, I decided to give it a try since I have been wanting to get that test done but my insurance won’t cover it and it is far more expensive if I get it done at a medical center. I have the test now and will do an update post once I get the results. I am hoping the test may reveal if I am indeed dealing with early menopause as I and my doctors have suspected.

I was curious about how an at-home blood test may work, as I am no phlebotomist, but it turns out they use lancets, similar to at-home diabetes testing, so it isn’t scary or complicated at all. I am excited to get the results of my test (which will be available online within a number of days after the test is returned). All of the testing is confidential of course, so there is no need to worry about your privacy being invaded.

In the future I may try their cortisol test as well, as I have always wanted to see how high my cortisol levels are. Other tests available include STD testing, hepatitis testing, fertility/prostate tests, a variety of vitamin/nutrient testing, tests for organ function (like liver and kidney), and colon cancer, lyme disease, diabetes, and celiac testing.

I personally feel that services like LetsGetChecked.com are most beneficial for people who have had certain tests turned down by their insurance, but still want to get those tests done, or people who have no health insurance at all and can’t afford the high costs of testing at hospitals and medical centers. Additionally, some may prefer the convenience of doing it all at home and not having to deal with insurance forms, waiting rooms, and medical personnel.

If you decide to try out one of the tests on LetsGetChecked.com, please use the code marandarussell20 for 20% off your purchase! 

That Shaking? Oh, It’s Just My Essential Tremor…Yet Another Diagnosis

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Yesterday I had my regular neurologist visit to follow up about my migraines and while there I was also diagnosed with Essential Tremor, a genetic condition that is often confused with Parkinson’s from the symptoms. It most commonly affects the hands, head, and voice, but can affect any body part. It can also affect balance, mood, and possibly memory.

My balance, hands and voice are already affected pretty bad at times which scares me since it can be a degenerative condition and it can eventually become hard to speak, eat, write, or in my case, make art, since I am an artist.

My tremors started out in both hands a few years ago and have definitely worsened. At first, I only noticed that I could never take a good picture because I couldn’t keep the camera steady enough to take one. It has worsened since then and affects more daily activities, such as writing, typing, pouring/drinking liquids, dropping almost everything, etc. I noticed the voice tremors starting probably a year or two after the hands.

My balance has noticeably worsened to the point that I often start to fall over while just walking around the house or even standing still. It isn’t unusual for my husband to push me back up as I start to fall over like the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

For a long time I tried to dismiss it because I didn’t want to think something might really be wrong. I tried to blame it on anxiety or weird medicine side effects. I am glad that I don’t have MS or Parkinson’s which I feared sometimes. What finally made me bring it up with the neurologist is that the geneticist I saw for my Ehlers Danlos testing a few months ago seemed concerned by how much my hands shook.

The last thing I want to do is take yet more prescription medicines, but I am considering it in hopes that it might slow down the progression and alleviate the symptoms a bit. The only bad thing is that all the meds they use to treat this condition can worsen my depression, so the neurologist wants me to get the ok from my psychiatrist before we decide on a med to try.