Archive for the advocacy Category

Let’s Talk MS

Posted in advocacy, medical, personal with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 11, 2016 by shealm

A lot of people have misconceptions about MS (multiple sclerosis). I had one person mistake MS for ALS (both are demylenation diseases, one is a lot nastier – ALS).

First let’s start with what multiple sclerosis means as a medical term:

We all know what multiple means (as in many, more than 1). Sclerosis means scar tissue. Scaring, which means MS means multiple scars.

What causes these scars? The immune system, it mistakes the myelin sheathing on the nerves (that fatty coating that makes it possible to send signals back and forth from brain down the spinal cord to body and back) as a foreign body. It attacks that fatty coating and destroys and scars it.

There are several types of MS:

RRMS – relapsing/remitting : meaning it causes flares of worsening symptoms or new ones then will remit or go into remission.

SPMS – RRMS will usually progress down the line to this particular type of MS. Secondary progressive MS. Meaning the symptoms (new or old) to not remit or go into remission. They just kind of keep piling on or get worse.

PPMS – Primary progressive. Same as above but it is rare to start with this type of MS. There are a small percentage of MS patients who get the PPMS diagnosis right out the gate.

PRMS – Progressive but can go into remission.

There is also something called benign MS (a lesion on the brain is benign? I find this category categorically stupid, most MS patients do). Apparently it supposedly has no effect on people.

Most people also know about CIS (clinically isolated symptoms). CIS is usually the first thing a doctor will say on the first presentation of a flare or symptoms. You have to have 2 flares or more within a set period of time to be diagnosed with MS.

The next category is debatable (my opinion, it’s a whole different demylenation disease that can mimic MS or MS can mimic it).

Devic’s Disease. There are a few very distinct differences with Devic’s that must be present: Spinal lesions, Iron deficiency and optic neuritis to name a few. (Devic’s is also referred to as neuromylitis optica and is from a spectrum called NWO spectrum disorder which includes everything from transverse mylitis, spinal stenosis, etc).

Okay now that we have simplistic definitions out of the way:

Symptoms. Lots of them. Some people will get some symptoms others do not. Some will need a wheelchair, walking cane or walker – some will not.

MS is called a “snowflake” disease because no two MS patients are alike. Fun stuff huh?

Some of the more common symptoms are burning, itching, tingling, numbness of skin/limbs/body. Balance problems, speech problems (slurring of words, loss of words, word replacement), vision problems, spastic muscles (which causes pain), cognitive function deficits, short term memory problems, bladder/bowel problems…list goes on.

What does it look like on an MRI you ask? Because you just did your MRI and have the disc and want to compare notes and get a better understanding of what you are looking at:


Let’s compare notes shall we?


This is a top view of three brains: It is the view of the periventricles (the middle of the brain with the darker sections where CSF or cerebro spinal fluid circulates through the brain. It is affectionately referred to as the brain bath (the fluid that bathes our nerves, spinal cord and brain and keeps it healthy, we need that stuff).

Notice the difference in the two MS brains compared to the healthy control? The periventricles are larger suggestive of brain matter loss. This means more CSF is circulating in the brain than that of a healthy control because of the lack of brain matter.


That’s a real side view of a brain up there (mix is left and right). Actually, that’s my proof I have a brain and am blonde (yes you can laugh at the ill mannered joke I just made about myself). Those are from the SAG T2 Flair longTR shots of my head (Flair makes it easier to see the lesions better). That’s not all of them from the survey. The brighter spots are lesions, not as big as some of my fellow MS patients but size doesn’t matter  (in my opinion, at least to an extent) with MS, where they are matters.

So to recap:







That curved bright white spot up there, a lesion. The Healthy Brain picture, obviously not mine (thanks google images, even if you google people did break my phone – broken clock is right twice a day too).

So that’s the quick run down (if you call almost 1000 word post a quickie). Got questions? I got a comment box you can use.



A Little Link Love

Posted in advocacy, animals, partner, personal, places with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 7, 2010 by shealm

Can I get a little link love from my readers for Society For Animals In Distress? SAD has a new Link To Us page located here:

We will be doing an Ads Subscription fairly shortly with some really awesome pricing. For a site that sees between 10, 000 and 140, 000 hits (January 2010 143, 000 hits in one month!!!!) Wow, that’s some big gig traffic there.

SAD really needs some help getting their shelter out into the global world. They are struggling in a retirement community where animals are always coming in but slowly (and sometimes never) going out. I should be asking for my business site but SAD is more important to me right now. I’m comfortably living, the animals may end up not being comfortable if SAD is jeopardized and left with no alternative but to close its doors. So, I’ll beg, borrow (but I won’t steal) and plead with anyone who’ll listen to get a little link love for SAD – maybe a small donation if you can – it saves lives!

Society for Animals in Distress

Posted in advocacy, animals, Daily Dealings, environment, family, friends, home, honor, income, love, news, pictures, places with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 6, 2010 by shealm

Been working round the clock this week and last week to catch up on updates to the SAD site. Tinkering with layout, advertising ideas and networking for them. A new page will be coming up soon about advertising subscriptions for ads on the site. They get anywhere from 10 000 to 15 000 on average a month for hits. It’s dropped in the last month though because of a snaffu with the adoptions pages but that’s fixed now, hopefully we’ll see those numbers go back up.

They still need help with fund raising and there’s a fundraising commissioned based job opening at SAD. More details at the site. Good luck to all the applicants that apply! (due date for subs is July 25th 2010)

Leave a comment about the site if you want to leave me feedback on the work I’ve done. I appreciate the feedback!

My Heart is Heavy

Posted in advocacy, animals, environment, family, friends, haunted, home, honor, love, medical, memories, news, personal, places with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 30, 2010 by shealm

The no kill shelter I work with pro bono through my business Amped Designs took a hard blow this weekend. Brandi (Goddess love her) discovered one morning this past week that someone had dumped a chow mix dog over the shelter fence. She also discovered that this dog was extremely starved, neglected and sick. Roy, what a blessing he is, made the time and effort to rush the dog to the vet in an attempt to save her life. Unfortunately, yesterday the vet had to humanely euthenise her because she was just too sick and too neglected to be saved.

It’s a heartbreaking situation, we at SAD are all in tears for a dog that no one wanted to love. We loved her instantly, we loved her because no one else wanted to, no one else cared to. She was beautiful, though I did not meet her. Brandi named her Honey – so appropriate for her. In life she suffered but in death she was surrounded by people who cared, who loved and who were touched immensely by her presence. Rest in peace Honey Child, you no longer will suffer the pains of this plain of existence. The Creatrix has called you back to her bosom, may your plight and death teach us all a good lesson – a lesson of caring more than we have as a human species for those without a voice.

Please take the time to view our dedication & memorial page at SAD. We’d also like to invite you to help through SocialVibe to feed neglected and abused animals that require a special diet to help them heal and get better. It costs you nothing but a little bit of your time. Click the link below the youtube video and donate today in honor of Honey.

BH&G Article

Posted in advocacy, baby, breastfeeding, environment, family, home, kids, news, outings, places, special needs with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 24, 2010 by shealm



Yes, I have seen table-side breast feeding at a four-star restaurant. If at all possible, take it to the ladies room. (Note: most upscale restaurants have really nice restrooms!)

Yes, you see that right. That was the part of the article that was removed. It was “The 10 commandments of dining out” but now has been reduced to 9. The responses in the comments section overwhelmingly support NIP (nursing in public). I find the whole article disturbing and quite archaic in thinking myself but the nursing in public bit really gets to me. It’s quite painfully obvious that this person has no idea what it’s like to be a parent, she’s self admitted to not being one and it seems she is one of those “kid free” types that is on the rude and arrogant side of the spectrum of “kid free” types.

As you all know I have 5 children, I’ve always gotten great feedback about my kids being well behaved at any restaurant or outing I’ve taken them to. I always get compliments about their good behavior, even the special needs kids get compliments in public. We’re out and about with them everywhere. As for strollers, I don’t really use them all that much and preferred to sling or carry my babies and toddlers so the stroller bit is a moot point for me. Honestly, BH&G really dropped the ball on this one and should remove the whole article, the damage is already done for them though. I still can’t get over how the editors missed how this would be reacted to by the parenting and family communities.

Head Lice Program

Posted in advocacy, cleaning, environment, family, home, kids, medical, personal on January 9, 2009 by shealm

There is a 21 day non chemical removal of head lice program floating around on the Internet. I have since adapted it for school aged children to reflect the need to be back in school as soon as possible with the use of a chemical alternative called Resultz (Isopropyl myristate).

I hope it helps some of you parents who have children in school. I know not a lot of us like using chemicals but sometimes the lesser of two evils is better than the other. Remember Resultz or any other derivatives of this product CANNOT be used on children under the age of 4 years old. This is for school aged children 4 years old and up. VIP in the header means most important day of the 10 day program. It is imperative to proceed with those VIP days at all costs.

Adaptation of 21 Day Program Into 10 day Program for School Aged Children

Attendance is a must for school aged children, it is conducive to their education and as parents we must protect and harbor our children’s educations by encouraging good attendance in school. It can be difficult when a child is removed from their school setting because of head lice but is of no fault of the child or parents when it happens. Schools today have a no nit policy that requires the child to be both head lice and nit free. This adaptation of the 21 day program is for children attending school in the regular school year session.

Action – Day 1 – removing the layers *[VIP]*

Application of chemical treatment. In this example we will use Resultz (Isopropyl Myristate). Apply the chemical treatment as it suggests on the insert and bottle. Then on to Combing as indicated below.

Today’s combing session is aimed at removing existing egg-laying adult lice that may have been missed with the chemical treatments. All your family should be lice-combed today again, ideally at the same time in the day or evening. Do not look for the lice in your hair but use the comb systematically in sweeps so that eventually you will have passed the comb through all of the hair. There will be very young nymphs in your hair which the comb may not remove. Do not worry about these as we have planned to get them out later in the program when they are bigger and before they reach an age where they are able to lay new eggs.

Action – Day 2 – removing the last of the layers
Today’s combing session is aimed at a second attempt at removing existing egg-laying adult lice that may have been missed in the day. All your family should be lice-combed today again, ideally at the same time in the day or evening. Effectively, you are repeating the session you did yesterday without the chemical treatment.

Action – Day 3 – last chance day! *[VIP]*
Today is one of the most important days in the program. It is your last chance to comb out any remaining adult-lice egg layers. Bring your family together and perform the lice combing with extra special care and attention. Make sure you comb right from the scalp to the tip of hair tufts and wipe the comb diligently after each stroke. Work through all the hair several times and check the comb before re-introducing it to the hair to make sure there are no visible lice stuck on it.

The reason today is so important is that the rest of this program assumes that after the combing session today, you are free of first generation lice able to lay eggs and lice just about to reach the stage when they can lay eggs. After today we are only concerned with very young lice, the dormant eggs, and eggs just starting to hatch.

You must not miss the combing session today or the program will fail! If you have missed any combing sessions to date, this is the only chance you have left to make amends an get those adult egg-laying lice out of your hair.

Action – Day 4 – Stage 1 Mopping up new born from first generation eggs
You are entering stage 1 of the program today. With all the adult lice egg-layers gone the second wave of adult egg-layers are in the making as the eggs left behind from the first lice removed will be starting to hatch now. Also, your hair will contain larva developing into their first nymph lice stages. Not all eggs hatch at the same time but you need to start the combing sessions again today to ensure you start to reduce the population of emerging lice.

At the moment, none of the lice in your hair can lay eggs. In a few days time, your head will be teaming with the new generation of lice as all the eggs finally hatch. By starting to whittle down the increasing population before it expands, you improve your chances of preventing new-born lice from reaching adulthood when they will start laying new eggs.

Action – Day 5 – Stage 2 Continuing to mop up new born from first generation eggs
We continue with stage 2 of the program today. At the moment, none of the lice in your hair can lay eggs. The combing session today is a repeat exercise of the session 2 days ago. Our objective is to continue removing new born lice and existing young lice approaching adulthood

Action – Day 6 – Continuing to mop up new born from first generation eggs
We continue with stage 2 of the program today. At the moment, none of the lice in your hair can lay eggs. The combing session today is a repeat exercise of the session 3 days ago. Our objective is to continue removing new born lice and existing young lice approaching adulthood. Be aware that right now – eggs from 2 generations of lice will either be hatched or will be hatching. It will be a another few days before we can be certain all eggs are hatched and this will be the most critical moment in the program.

Action – Day 7 – *[VIP]* Stage 3 – The final assault
Today is the first of three critical days. Your carefulness and attention to patient and thorough combing of you and your family needs to be of the highest standard during these three days.
Between today and two days from now, we reach a point in the life-cycle of the lice in your hair where they are most vulnerable. During the next 3 days (including today) all eggs will be hatched out, yet no lice can yet lay new eggs. This is the moment when, if we get them all, there will be no more eggs laid, none left to hatch out, and no living lice left in your hair. This means victory!

The uncertainty factor is that there is no way of telling if the last egg will have hatched today or tomorrow, so we need to treat today and each of the next 2 days as if it was the last egg-hatching day. Three combing days all together is likely to test the patience of your family so it is just as important to realize that if you stick through the next 3 days, you will be lice-free for certain!

A second application of the chemical treatment should be applied on day 7 as indicated by the instructions on the insert of the product and bottle. It is important to follow the proper procedure of the product in this adaptation of the 21 day program for use with chemical treatments in conjunction with the lice comb.

Action – Day 8 – *[VIP]* Stage 3 – The final assault
Today is the second of three critical days. Your carefulness and attention to patient and thorough combing of you and your family needs to be of the highest standard during these three days.
Stick with it. Repeat the combing you did yesterday. Make sure none of your household family miss their combing session. Wipe the comb in a fresh paper tissue after each pass through the hair and check the comb carefully to make sure no lice are on the comb when you insert the comb into the hair before each stroke. Do not be alarmed if you find you are extracting large numbers of very small lice when previously it seemed there were none left!

Action – Day 9 – *[VIP]* Stage 3 – The final assault
Today is the third of three critical days. Your carefulness and attention to patient and thorough combing of you and your family needs to be of the highest standard during these three days.
Today is the last day you have to remove all existing lice before some of them are able to lay new eggs. You must get any remaining lice out of your hair today! Repeat the combing you did yesterday. Make sure none of your household family miss their combing session. Wipe the comb in a fresh paper tissue after each pass through the hair and check the comb carefully to make sure no lice are on the comb when you insert the comb into the hair before each stroke.

Action – Day 10 – The final sweep!
All the lice should be gone now but since this is the last day of the program, its worth having one more full combing session with all your family just to be certain that no young lice (very small) have managed to avoid all the previous combing sessions.

Essentially, in this adaptation of the program, we are removing the resting period days and accelerating the program with the help of a more effective chemical treatment.

Autistic Child On The Go

Posted in advocacy, family, home, kids, medical, news, personal on January 8, 2009 by shealm

I had been conferring with my 3 year old’s doctor about her on the go habits for some time now. How she runs on fumes and never seems to sleep. She flooded my basement just three days ago while we slept at 430 in the morning – the water was from our main floor bathroom and from the sink that requires piping work to be done. We had resorted to child safety door knob covers on her door to keep her in at night because we were afraid she would walk right out the front door, start a fire or (like she did the other night) flood the house. On top of this we also resorted to a baby gate across the doorway of her bedroom. Neither work anymore.

The doctor in conjunction with the nateropath have suggested melatonin tabs. They both gave me the proper dosages for her size and weight. We hadn’t picked it up for months thinking maybe changes in our routines and the way our behavior toward her might help. None of it did so we decided to, with the blessings of 2 doctors, resort to the melatonin tabs after all.

Well let me tell you, this stuff works. I can tell when she hasn’t taken it already because she resorts back to the sleepless nights (like last night) if she is not given the herbal. I cannot believe how much it has been effective in helping her mellow out for bedtime routine and calm down quite a bit. Now the GP (regular doctor) said it probably wouldn’t work and it was relatively harmless to try it as long as she is not on any other western medications or herbals like bach flower essence (which we did try but was fruitless in calming her down much before bedtime).

I don’t like medications which is quite a contradictory statement from me as I’ve been on anti-depressants for 5 years and counting. If you need, you need it. This alternative suits us better because I don’t like ritalin or it’s derivitives and neither does her father because he was on it and it zombified him as a kid and stunted his growth causing him to fear the side effects of this drug and it’s derivitives for his children. It’s a nice little compromise for us being natural family living parents and non-plussed with the pharmaceutical companies.

I’m glad it’s still available for us to use and try considering that Canadian Governments are trying to outlaw the use of homeopathic alternatives here. It will soon be criminal to offer, sell or dose oneself and their family members with homeopathic alternatives.

The Schedule restricts the use of the title “homeopath” to members of the College. No person other than a member may hold themselves out as qualified to practise as a homeopath or in a specialty of the profession. Anyone who contravenes these restrictions is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a maximum fine of $25,000 for a first offence and a maximum fine of $50,000 for a second or subsequent offence.


Now, that piece right there in the new Homeopathy Act 2007 can be read to include, in grey areas, parents that use homeopathic alternatives. Where is the right in that, the rights of the people are being trampled in this Bill 171 to chose an alternative as our Charter of Rights deems we are capable of doing. Mind you, I consulted a nateropath and general practitioner about the alternatives I am using with my autistic daughter. Technically, I’m going about it legally but there are plenty of homeopathic stores out there where, without a perscription, one could obtain the homeopathics they wanted and researched about without consulting a doctor.

How many people do this? Plenty, I use essence of bach flower with my anti-depressants at time of need for calming down in stressful situations. Again, I did consult the proper professionals because using an herbal with a westernized medication can be dangerous if you are not careful. Cross reactions can be and are deadly in the right circumstances. Again, how many people do go out to a health food store or homeopathic store and just start using the products they researched and heard about – plenty of people, too many people.

I understand and see where the government is coming from but they need to be much more specific with who they can fine and how they can fine the person. What constitutes “practising” without a license? Buying melatonin tabs at a health food store under the directions of two doctors and then giving them to a child with specific orders from those doctors? Does this constitute practising without a license? Despite the recommendations of a general practitioner and a nateropath? Even though there is no “perscription” paperwork just a suggestion. Does that make me look like I’m practising without a license? It’s too vague and too encompassing and general to be effective for legislation.

I hope that they do end up making it more specific and much less vague. It needs to be for the sake of those of us who use a combination of western medicine and homeopathic medicines.