Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Neck Pain and Dizziness

imageBy Joel Rosen

Did you know that many neck pain sufferers also suffer from vertigo and dizziness as well? I'd be willing to bet though that many of these people don't realize that the all three are related.

This article will explain how they are related, why neck pain and dizziness often occur together, and better yet, what you can do about it.

Vertigo is defined as: " a condition in which somebody feels a sensation of whirling or tilting that causes a loss of balance"

If you have ever felt dizziness, then you understand that eerie sensation of tilting or spinning! I should know I often experience vertigo myself. I especially get dizzy going on roller coasters, Ferris wheels, and other things too. Like trying to read in a moving car, going out on a boat in choppy waters, or watching a bumpy home video, when the camera is shacking constantly.

As a chiropractic physician and rehab specialist, I often hear my patients say when describing vertigo are: unsteadiness, dizziness, lightheadedness, or even giddiness.

Why do we get vertigo? Does vertigo have any relationship to neck pain or neck problems? If so, what?

Great questions to ask because if they are related the answers may explain why we get dizzy in the first place.

Secondly, if neck pain, dizziness and vertigo are related, then if we focus on fixing your neck pain, then you can fix the vertigo problem as well.

Understanding the anatomy will really help you understand how they are related.

The part of our brain that is responsible for vertigo is called the vestibular nucleus, which is located in the brainstem. Stimuli, or information from the body travels up the spinal cord into the brainstem, and then into the brain.

Whatever information that enters into the vestibular nucleus that causes the nucleus to be excited, creates the sensation of vertigo. The information that enters the nucleus can be normal or abnormal.

As a normal signal for example think about a spinning body on a roller coaster, a normal signal of information being sent the brain is the sensation of spinning. Consequently, a sensation of vertigo may develop. The vertigo is a normal response of the spinning. If you stop spinning, you stop sending the information to the nucleus, and the vertigo sensation stops.

The information that enters the nucleus and initiates the vertigo sensations can arise from a number of sources as well. Let's talk about four of them.

Firstly, labyrinthine (inner ear): inner ear problems may be sent to the vestibular nucleus, and cause vertigo. This is what I have personally. Having several inner ear infections as a child, I had repeated tube procedures into my ears, which unfortunately created a large amount of scar tissue in my inner ear.
Something called Canalithiasis produces vertigo a pathological diagnosis for the sensation of vertigo as a result of dislodged particles in the canals of the inner ear.

This is also known as BPPV:

B stands for benign, because it is not a serious cause of vertigo like infection or malignancy

P stands for paroxysmal, which suggests the bout last for short episodes, typically 20-60 seconds, and a sensation of lightheadedness may persist for several hours.

P stands for positional, because the vertigo is dependent on the positions of your head and neck.

V stands for Vertigo.

Whenever a bout of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) occurs, an incredibly basic, but hugely successful technique for treating and elimination vertigo should be performed.

Pioneered by physician John Epley, MD, the procedure is aptly called, the "Epley" procedure. This procedure to treat BPPV involves precise positioning and turning of the head through a series of positions with intention to move the problematic particle along the inner ear to a location that no longer sends information to the brainstem.

Another source of information that enters the nucleus and initiates the vertigo sensations can arise from the cerebellum.

The cerebellum is linked neurologically to the vestibular nucleus. Also known as the "little brain", one of the cerebellum's functions is to provides a major source of input to the vestibular nucleus, or the vestibular centers.

A third source of stimuli to theses vestibular center is the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ): It was been shown that the TMJ sends information to the vestibular nucleus as well.

So if you have ever had jaw problems, as well as neck pain (which are also closely related as well) in the past or currently, then you've have probably experienced vertigo as well. Thus, proper evaluation of the TMJ, determining how well the jaw is opening and closing, also called "tracking", understanding if this is a sensitive area, grinding the teeth in the evening are all sure signs that you may have TMJ issues.

More importantly though, rehabbing the TMJ by restoring and rehabbing faulty motion patterns, as well as easing muscle tension, being aware of grinding your teeth, and maybe even wearing a mouth guard, can all really help the vertigo problem as well.

A final source of stimulation to the vestibular nucleus in the brainstem is the cervical neck bones at the level of C1, C2, and C3.

It's true, and in a study performed over 33 years ago in 1977 found that by injecting a saline irritant into the deep tissues of the upper cervical spine will create the sensation of vertigo?

When this occurs, when the tissue of the upper neck, including the neck bones, discs, and joints send faulty signals to the vestibular centers in the brain, vertigo obviously develops.

This cause of vertigo is classically termed CERVICAL VERTIGO.

Cervical vertigo, or vertigo caused from neck problems can easily be addressed by focusing on restoring proper neck function, neck posture, and neck ranges of motion.

In part 2 of Neck Pain and Dizziness I will discuss how Cervical Vertigo creates dizziness, and better yet, what you can do on your own to address your own cervical vertigo. What you can do on your own to restore proper neck function, posture and ranges of motion.

Learn that, and get rid of your dizziness, and neck pain. Perfect.

Till next time, watching your back (and neck).

Dr Joel Rosen, D.C. BPE, BA (Psych), is a Doctor of Chiroprrtic as well as a lifestyle & conditioning coach in Boca Raton, author of Lose the Neck Pain System, a contributing author to a number of article directories and magazines

Dr. Joel's neck pain elimination system websites feature his best-selling Lose the Neck Pain System for neck pain, upper back pain, headache pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and even lower back pain and his membership site offers access to all of Dr Joel's Lose the Neck Pain System and video clips for men and women and discussion forums.

Dr. Joel Rosen also has an advanced education background, completing a Master's of Science Degree in Exercise Physiology from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada and completing a Psychology from York University in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

image Dr. Joel Rosen combines both disciplines as well as his doctorate in chiropractic to give his patients the cutting edge rehab strategies and techniques for obtaining optimal health and ending years of pain and suffering. Dr. Joel continues to study the latest training, supplementation, and nutrition research that will help improve client's health and wellness as well as their physical and mental performance.

Check out his website at

Saturday, 22 May 2010

7 Supplements That Provide Natural Pain Relief

image By Pammee Pippin

If you're living with chronic pain, you may have already tried all the standard medications and therapies. Perhaps some are even working, but you still have more pain that you need help with.

Could natural pain relief supplements help you?

Prescription painkillers can certainly be effective, but really they should be used for short-term situations-they are not substances that you want to subject your body to each and every day for the long-term. Opioid pain medications can cause sedation, constipation, and a risk of addiction. NSAIDs (Advil, etc.) run a risk of causing bleeding, stomach problems, and cardiovascular issues.

Here are some of the most popular, and reputable, natural pain relief supplements:

1. Herbal anti-inflammatories: Natural alternatives to traditional NSAIDs have a similar mechanism, but with less of the side effects. These include turmeric, green tea, ginger, rosemary, cat's claw, devil's claw, and willow bark.

2. Fish oil: Fish oil can ease the inflammation and pain caused by many chronic conditions.

3. Vitamin D: Vitamin D comes from certain foods, and is produced in the body with sun exposure. Studies have linked increased levels of chronic pain with low levels of vitamin D. In one study, participants who had a deficiency of vitamin D needed almost twice as high a dose of medication to control their pain.

4. Capsaicin: Derived from chili peppers, capsaicin may soothe pain when applied to the skin, and can be helpful for rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, psoriasis, shingles, back pain, fibromyalgia, and headaches.

5. Glucosamine sulfate: Glucosamine sulfate has strong evidence that it helps relieve osteoarthritis pain in the knee.

6. Alpha-lipoic acid: There is promising evidence to show that alpha-lipoic acid reduces pain, slows down the progression of nerve injury, and help with nerve damage.

7. Magnesium: Magnesium deficiency is a common, widespread problem, and a supplement is often recommended for chronic pain sufferers. Magnesium occurs naturally in foods, but it is hard to eat enough to keep up the minimum levels. Additionally, drinking alcohol will deplete your magnesium reserves.

Pammee Pippin - EzineArticles Expert Author

The VibrationsNsync Group has provided the health and wellness industry with the latest in technological advancements in pain relief, increased stamina and deeper sleep achieving the REM state. Over the years of personal testing and direct experience we have discovered a revolutionary delivery method of internal healing that requires no pharmaceutical or drug related products. To learn more about this 21st century cutting edge technology available directly to you with guaranteed results click here for pain related issues.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Paying dearly

image Why, oh why, when I had such a pleasant day out on Monday, have I had to pay so dearly since?

A friend picked me up in her car, so at least it wasn't a day when I  exhausted myself with the usual 1 mile route march to town and, we had a great day together.

Starting out late morning, I spent around an hour just sitting, while she did her exercise class. I moved from a chair, which was uncomfortable for my back and neck and, because I started getting pain in my legs and sat on the floor, resting my back against the wall to mitigate the problem.

We then went to the famous junk food emporium with the arches for lunch, which I thoroughly enjoyed - with chips and a coke - as a treat.

For a couple of hours in the afternoon, I sat and chatted at our fibromyalgia support group. I got up once to get a cup of tea. I ate one biscuit.

Such an outing shouldn't cause too much problem, should it?

Huh! No, a couple of hours is more than enough for me, so that by the time we left the fibro group I was so exhausted my balance was badly affected. (As I only had to walk across a tiny car park, I didn't bother with my walking stick.) So I managed to trip down a curb and jarred my knee, which has hurt since.

And just one treat: one meal's deviation - not even the whole day, because I had all my usual supplements, healthy breakfast and evening meal - from my usual mega-roughage plan is still causing utter havoc and it's now Friday.

Missing just one portion of my dynamite-strength fibre, on Tuesday, I couldn't go to the loo at all. (The same thing has happened if I've forgotten to put a sprinkling of linseeds on my salad, so I keep them out on view now.)

By Wednesday afternoon, I felt crap: much more lethargic than usual, even more nauseous than usual, even more bloated than usual - my stomach looked 9.5 months pregnant - and I could actually feel my ankles swelling up.

My pain levels have increased, particularly a pounding headache - so bad it's affecting my vision and has mostly kept my head firmly stuck to the pillow - that hasn't completely gone all week and pain in my joints, which could be swollen (although not visibly so) with the bloating and achyness in muscles that feels like I haven't eliminated my toxins from them - which basically, I haven't.

By late evening Wednesday, I finally managed to move something, but it was difficult (I joked that I'd thought I was going to need a midwife for it) and yet it was still not thorough. It took until the early hours of Friday morning to catch up on the missed day, but it's still not right and definitely not clear yet - another clue to which is pressure that's increasing my irritable bladder problem.

And I can certainly out fart any mega-methane producing farm animal again!

Personally, I think there has to be something seriously wrong that just one deviation from routine can cause a whole week's havoc and constipation this severe and, this is something I plan to discuss with my GP.

Aloe Vera - Utilising Aloe Vera in the Treatment of Joint Pain in Humans and Animals

image By Mark Fellows

Fed-up of pain, hobbling down the street, and just wanting to alleviate the pain in your joints? Well, for many, the answer is unfortunately, 'yes'.

This article looks at how the healing qualities of the 'aloe vera plant' which when mixed with other natural products may be used as a treatment for alleviating and potentially eradicating joint pain. The plant itself is a small cactus-like looking plant with leaves filled with a gel-like product.

The plant's gel can be directly rubbed into effected areas, but not everyone has an aloe vera plant at their disposal. Fortunately, aloe based natural products exist in retail markets that can bring the benefits of this amazing plant to your door.

Aloe based gels come in many forms and have been created, tested and used to alleviate, reduce and potentially eradicate many conditions, especially skin disorders. For sufferers of joint pain, gels exist in retail markets that incorporate MSM (Methyl-sulfoyl-methane) in their product.

This organic sulphur is found in almost all living organisms and is the third most prevalent substance in the human body. This naturally occurring sulphur compound is crucial in forming muscles, hair, nails and skin. Acting as an anti-inflammatory agent, it works together with 'glucosamine sulphate' and 'chondroitin sulphate' as a defence against joint wear and tear. Glucosamine also stimulates the synthesis of cartilage in joints; reduces degradation and inflammation around joints.

These naturally occurring products when mixed with aloe vera are being used in crèmes that can be directly applied to problematic areas as a natural remedy to any joint pain related problem.

The naming of the aloe vera plant as the 'ultimate healer' by the ancient Greeks is well justified. The medicinal properties of this amazing little plant are questionably unrivalled in nature.

Below are some of the benefits of aloe vera and why it's being hailed by many as a wonder plant in the cure of many health problems:

  • The plant extract is naturally 'anti-inflammatory and can be used in the reduction of swelling.
  • It's also anti-viral and helps prevent infection.
  • It's very kind to skin and is used in many beauty products.
  • It assists in the production of collagen and elastin fibres which keep skin youthful
  • It's exceptionally nourishing to skin and contains many vitamins, minerals and trace elements.
These are but a few of 'aloe vera's' wonder properties. There are many other medicinal reasons to use aloe vera, particularly in relation to the digestive system, but these are not covered in this article

How to treat joint related problems:

The 'aloe vera MSM gel' should be massaged directly into problem areas to allow the agents of the crème to work directly at the source. It's gentle on the skin, and doesn't leave a residue.

Aloe gel supplements not only work for people and animals with joint problems, but for those who are at greater risk of injury to muscles and joints from sporting activities.

For more information: to ease joint movement and to familiarise yourself with the aloe people.

Mark Fellows - EzineArticles Expert Author

Mark Fellows (freelance writer)
Web Content Writing, Press Releases, Sales Letters and Copywriting,
Re- Writing, Project Report Writing

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Italian study concludes that Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) is a physical illness

In October last year, an important study undertaken by the Hospital Vall Hebrón in Barcelona was published, which demonstrated cerebral dysfunction in Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS). A few months later, another study has been published, this time Italian, which provides more evidence of the existence of MCS as a physical, not psychological, illness.

Eva Caballé has translated this into Spanish and sent it to the Committee for the Recognition of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Syndrome, to be of use for the process they currently have before the Ministry of Health in Spain.

The language of the study is a bit technical - for my foggy brain to cope with, not so much for my Spanish - but suffice to say that physical signs, such as the increase in the production of nitric oxide in the brain, have been detected: things which cannot possibly be explained by a psychological hypothesis.

There's a PDF to download if you speak Spanish, but it's certainly good news and should aid progress with the recognition of this, up to now, unrecognised syndrome in Italy and Spain and, which hopefully will follow in other countries.

Read more in Spanish at NO FUN: Estudio italiano concluye que la Sensibilidad Química Múltiple es una enfermedad física (27 abril 2010)

From my own point of view, I've always been somewhat sensitive to laundry products, household products and beauty products, but these symptoms too have increased ten-fold since I've been back in the UK. This I attribute partly to closed housing with little ventilation in this crappy climate, synthetic carpets and to the much higher levels of environmental pollution here than my system was used to dealing with in a very rural part of an island in the Atlantic Ocean - where, even if there was pollution in the air, it would be significantly blown away.

(The black mould in the house I was renting and the electrical supply for the entire valley passing over my roof won't have helped any though!)

Now, I'm having to avoid all chemical products, whether they be in the air, in my food, or on my skin. That in itself proved to be an uphill battle as my mother refused to acknowledge this need - her interpretation of my repeated requests for her to stop spraying air-fresheners was to do so when she thought I was asleep and would not notice, again greatly increasing my symptoms.

We've finally managed - not without significant resistance - to have aerosols eliminated from the house, but I'm still getting scant reaction with regard to hair-sprays, perfumes and the over-use of laundry and cleaning products.

She finds it a "nuisance" to have to make adjustments for my needs and once declared, screaming in tantrum, that she was "sick of living like this".

How sick of it does she think I am, FFS?

Food I was able to take control of by doing the cooking, because otherwise, I just wouldn't have been able to get through. And, even though I've been able to exert this much control, products here - even the organic ones - are in no way as free from chemicals as were the locally grown ones in Tenerife.

Then there's noise intolerance, which again is disregarded and intolerance to light, which is increased with the much longer days in summer at this latitude and that require me to keep the curtains to this room permanently closed.

I'm also now finding that I am becoming intolerant of vehicle emissions when I walk along roads in residential areas - where cars are often just starting from cold and their emissions more noticeable - and alongside any roads that have a major traffic flow. At present this only produces moderate asthma-like breathing problems, headaches and an immediate increase in nausea that I can attribute to the exposure, but it's hard to see how I can avoid this entirely.

We know that these symptoms can and do overlap with chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. Once more, I can only hope that the symptoms would reduce again if I returned to a more suitable environment, but I do worry just how bad it's going to get before I'm able to do that. Will I too become imprisoned?

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Life on hold

image Thursday afternoon, I went out - to a meeting of my pain support group - and, once more, had a disturbed night and very little sleep afterwards.

The pain in my neck, which becomes acute after having to hold my own head up for an hour or so, plus the pain in my legs, which likewise is always triggered if I have to spend any time in an upright position, even sitting, had kept waking me.

Friday morning, I woke with the sore throat, feverish headache, sore muscles and general flu-like malaise that always follows any outing. Was only conscious for around 3 hours before I began struggling to keep awake, my eyes gritty, tired and having trouble focusing. As I couldn't manage to do anything - I couldn't even sit up - I lay down to watch TV and promptly fell asleep.

Not that I felt any better when I woke up, nor the next day.

Is this a flare or a particularly bad time?

Nope, this is just normal for me now.

Last week on Thursday, I dragged myself out - not very far: 500 yards maybe - to vote and walking back I felt so exhausted, in pain and ill I really wasn't certain that I'd be able to make it. Got home, collapsed in a heap and went to sleep.

On the Friday, I had a medical appointment, which required me to walk over a mile to get there. Doing so was a torture of pain and exhaustion and when I arrived it took a good half hour (I was early) of resting, drinking copious cups of water to cool down from the hot flush that had me overheating, sweating, with my head pounding and feeling so nauseous I really didn't think I was going to get through the interview without puking or passing out.

That pretty much put me out of action for the entire weekend.

Even earlier in the week, I wasn't sure I'd be up to another outing on Thursday and, to be honest, if it hadn't been for the fact that this is only a once a month date and I'd missed the previous month, I probably wouldn't have gone.

And this is still simplifying and glossing over 1001 other symptoms that I just feel too ill to take the time to describe fully - amongst them dizziness, lightheadedness, unsteadiness, trembling, not to mention stomach pains and another recent battle with the constant constipation, despite my vegan wholegrain over 5-a-day plus psyllium husk supplement roughage regime.

Today I have pain in my back and my chest again in addition to the nausea and flu-like symptoms. I've also been invited to a charity open day - a charity that helps me, so I feel duty bound to make an effort - but once more I really don't feel up to going out. Or, to put it another way, if I do push myself to go, I'm not sure I'll be able to manage my next outing to the fibromyalgia group on Monday, which will also be beneficial and that I've also missed for several months.

Basically, more than one outing a week is too many.

This is something I proved last year when I did a course that was supposed to teach me how to deal with my chronic illness and still had to go to doctors' appointments during the same 6 week period.

It took me months to recover from that and my tolerance certainly hasn't got any better since. And, while my pain levels rise to above excruciating if I get cold in winter, the warmer it gets in the UK - with the humidity remaining up in the 80% and above bracket most of the time - the more sick I feel.

I just live in hope that I might return to more manageable symptoms in a warmer, drier environment one day. In the meantime, my life is literally on hold, but unless you've actually felt this yourself, I'm not sure how I can explain adequately just how desperately unbearable this feeling is.

Friday, 14 May 2010

The Muppet Personality Test

You Are Animal: A complete lunatic, you're operating on 100% animal instincts. You thrive on uncontrolled energy, and you're downright scary. But you sure can beat a good drum. "Kill! Kill!"

I'm certainly not arguing with the result, but is it any wonder?

The Muppet Personality Test

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Your Family Is 73% Dysfunctional


"Your family definitely has some major problems, and they're still effecting you today. It's time for you to step back, reassess, and decide what kind of role your family should have in your life. The people around you can be toxic, and there's no reason to let your family bring you down. Consider getting some therapy or talking the situation over with a good friend. And spend more time around people who truly care for you!"

Any score less than 100% screwed up was a huge surprise to me. Sarcastic

Dysfunctional is also the word my doctors have used and, yes I'm getting the therapy - not that I'm the one who needs it, mind you. The professionals have very categorically told me that it's obvious, "it's not you".

Is Your Family Dysfunctional?

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

You Have a Fairly Strong Willpower


"Temptation doesn't get the better of you all that often. If you set your mind on a goal, you'll do your best to achieve it. And while you don't have a perfect record with willpower, you do okay. If you fall off the wagon with something, you're usually not off the wagon for long."

Now here's something else I've been brought up to believe I was crap and severely deficient at, whilst my personal experience told me otherwise (and yet I still couldn't believe it, because of all the false projection being put on me.)

From now on, if I think I'm doing OK, I'm doing OK.

Is Your Willpower Strong?

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Facts Curator

image Your IQ Score is: 126 (an off day again, I guess!)

Like a meticulous collector, you've fed your brain a unique set of facts and figures over the years. Words, numbers, you've got it all. That's what makes you a Facts Curator.

Whether or not you intend to absorb every piece of information that comes your way, your mind has certain steel-trap qualities to it. You are a knowledge sponge. You have almost enough words in your head to fill a dictionary, and you're equally adept when it comes to manipulating numbers. You can also detect important patterns in number sequences, and probably remember the mnemonic devices you were taught in grade school. You may feel comfortable in classroom settings where absorbing details is critical. You're also able to learn from example and piece together all the little facts in life to get to the big picture. That's why you never stop accumulating information as you walk through life.

Your strengths lie in both the verbal and math realms — placing you in the same arena as someone like Bill Gates. Gates has the ability to not only store and retrieve an especially large amount of specialized data, but to translate and present that information to the population at large. His entire empire is based on this unique talent. And to think — your brain works in this same way! When it comes right down to it, you and other Facts Curators can ride a wave of information to live a truly enriched life.

The Classic IQ Test

Your Attitude is Better than 35% of the Population

image "You have an average attitude. You take the good and bad in life as they come. Though sometimes you could use a little more good."

Well, this one is news to me and I'd be more than happy with an attitude as good as the average, but 35% better than is an achievement.

However, if I had a quid for every time I've been accused of having a bad attitude, I'd have more than enough money for a ticket out of this hell.

You see, I've always been confused, because I did not think there was anything wrong with my attitude - especially when I discussed it and compared it with a wide variety of people and it should have been common sense that, given that, it was more likely that my one critic and their manipulated supporters were wrong, but when it's your own mother, you imagine she has a point.

Now I know that this is projection: whatever she accuses me of, is precisely what faults she knows she has herself, but must deny instead of confront.

How's Your Attitude?

Monday, 10 May 2010

You Are Balanced - Realist - Empowered

image "You feel your life is controlled both externally and internally. You have a good sense of what you can control and what you should let go. Depending on the situation, you sometimes try to exert more control. Other times, you accept things for what they are and go with the flow.

You are a realist when it comes to luck. You don't attribute everything to luck, but you do know some things are random. You don't beat yourself up when bad things happen to you ... But you do your best to try to make your own luck.

You have a good deal of power (if I have, it's news to me), but you also know the pecking order. You realize that working the system does get you further (Yes, but I won't stoop to doing it.) You know who to defer to and who to control. When it comes to the game of life, you play things flawlessly." 

The Three Dimension Luck and Power Test

Sunday, 9 May 2010

You Are Compassionate Toward the World


"You are a true humanitarian. You care deeply for everyone on this planet. If you were independently wealthy, you would be a huge philanthropist. Since you're not rich yet, you do what you can to help everyone around you. It's likely that you are active with charities and always willing to help a friend."

Well, I aspire to such things, even if don't always have the means.

How Do You Feel About the World?

Saturday, 8 May 2010

The Woman I Am

image That Chaka Khan's voice is one powerful instrument, will be apparent to anyone who has heard her more familiar numbers, such as "I'm Every Woman" or the legendary soul record "Ain't Nobody".

Indeed, the latter had remained my all time favorite for years, until I heard the less familiar "The Woman I Am" from her 1992 album of the same name.

The song was written by Brenda Russell, Chaka Khan and Dyan Cannon. I don't have the CD case to hand, but the production, handled on this album by Marcus Miller, Arif Mardin and the late Wayne Braithwaite, and particularly on this song, is so rich and crisp. I also wish I could tell you who is on drums too, because it's a stunning purposeful performance that adds to the urgency and feeling.

But, of course, the highlight is how Khan's voice meshes with the saxophone as two perfectly matched instruments. For me, hers reaches somewhere that other voices just fail to reach. This particular song also holds a special place for me, as it was released the same year that I moved to the Canary Islands.

"I'll be the woman I am

Now I don't have to hide

All that I feel inside."

... spoke to me directly and was important to me then.

Now that I'm no longer in an environment that suits me or allows me to grow as a person, it's one hell of a lot more important now than it was even then.

Some folk have called me brave for moving to another country alone - I would counter that this could also be seen as foolish - but if I ever doubted, I did also have help and encouragement from Khan belting out lines like, "I had to find out in my own way". And that I certainly did (for better or worse)!

Listening to the song now is a bittersweet experience - as so many things have become for me - that brings back the pleasant memories, at the same time as reminding me of all I've lost with such an unbearable brutality that it crushes my very soul. It would be wrong to withdraw to avoid these stimuli, but at the same time, I have moments like these every day, where I feel unable to deal with the feelings they bring with them and that my brain will explode from the hurt.

Somehow I have to maintain hope that I will find my own way again one day.

The Woman I Am

Hey sister
I never knew which way to go
Everybody had an answer
So I said
Go lecture someone, go lecture someone

I could feel it in my heart babe
I couldn't scream, I couldn't shout
I had to find out in my own way
Ran into someone - ran into someone

I'll be the woman I am
Now I don't have to hide
All that I feel inside
I'll be the woman I am
Just had to let it show
Had nowhere else to go

I had to learn to trust myself
I had to learn just when to say no
Always trying to please someone else
I had to let go, I had to let go

The world is filled of many wonders
I had to look to heaven for my own
I saw the star that I was under
Lord lead me back home, lead me back home

I'll be the woman I am
Now I don't have to hide
All that I feel inside
I'll be the woman I am
Just had to let it show
Had nowhere else to go

I can look at myself and I'm not afraid
I have finally learned how to love
I can feel everything that I've never felt
And I'm sure now that I've always known

Photo: Dwight McCann / Chumash Casino Resort /

Friday, 7 May 2010

You Should Live in a Yellow House


"People see you as extroverted, and they're right. You're extremely outgoing. You know how to charm people with your quirky and hyper ways. You make everyone around you smile. You are very independent and headstrong. You almost always think for yourself. If you are able to do things, you are unstoppable. You almost always have enough energy to get you through the day."

What Color House Should You Live In?

Thursday, 6 May 2010

The Inspirer

image Do they mean me? Yeah, especially the unconventional bit!
"You love being around people, and you are deeply committed to your friends. You are also unconventional, irreverent, and unimpressed by authority and rules. Incredibly perceptive, you can usually sense if someone has hidden motives. You use lots of colourful language and expressions. You're quite the storyteller! You would make an excellent entrepreneur, politician, or journalist."
What's Your Personality Type?

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Un Reflejo del Cinco de Mayo

Un Reflejo del Cinco de Mayo 

This is Balu and lemmie tell ya, it's most apt for this little monkey to have his head in the clouds - I like the fluffy cloud blending into his fluffy ear - for the "24 Hours of Flickr" group - a day-long global photo project.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Temple of Olympian Zeus

Temple of Olympian Zeus

Hadrian's Gate
Cats at the Temple of Olympian Zeus

It wasn't long ago that, by purely happy accident, I came across a video of Syros that caused me to recall my visit to Greece in 1985. Yesterday, also serendipitously, I came across a post with some beautiful photos of Hadrians Gate and the Temple of Olympian Zeus at Costas Tzagarakis' Nature Digital. Once more, I remember walking around the Temple of Olympian Zeus when I was in Athens in 1985. I got a quick shot of Hadrian's Gate from across the road, but what I remembered most were the 30 or so temple cats. Do you think Greece is calling me back or something?

Total Lack of Empathy

As I mentioned in a tweet earlier, last night I had to lie down because I felt so ill. I'd had a couple of nights lighter on sleep than normal and, as a result, my eyes were even more sore and weepy than usual. I tried to watch TV, but even that proved too much for me, so, despite having had an afternoon nap too, by 8 p.m., I couldn't even sit up because I felt lightheaded, nauseous, hot and cold, downright weird and almost like drunk and needing to cling onto the floor.

So I lay down and went to sleep. I slept, more or less, right through 12 hours, until 8 a.m. this morning, when the cats wanted breakfast.

I forced myself out of bed, because I needed to the loo mostly, to feed them and get my own breakfast. Even though I didn't really want to eat, I knew hunger would make the symptoms worse. Besides, I've had 15+ years practice at forcing food down me, even when I feel dreadfully nauseous. Most people wouldn't.

I did this as quickly as possible, so I could get back to bed, because I feel absolutely crap.

To add to the feelings of general malaise and unbelievably awful level of nausea, today I'm shaking like someone who's had too much caffeine (I haven't), I ache everywhere, I feel like I have the flu (I don't), I have a feverish headache and a strange feeling in my back that I get when I have a fever too.

I can't even sit up in bed. I don't even have the strength to support my own head. I need the light in the room to be relatively dim and the only way I can keep the desire to throw up down to just bearable, is to not move. Any stimulus, including noise, makes it worse, but I'm trying to keep myself amused with the computer - with simple things - just so I can keep awake and sane.

All I wanted to do and, indeed, all I can do is to lie as still as possible.

So, my mother didn't like it because I did not respond enthusiastically to her as she was whittering on about something that had absolutely no relevance to me whatsoever. So she grunted, impatiently - because she thinks I'm rude and wrong for not being interested - and storms off in a huff and slams the door loudly, as though she's been affronted. It's not the first time, by far.

She knows what I have wrong with me. I've given her enough literature that, by now, she must have a fair idea of the general symptoms. She certainly knows that my symptoms NEVER go away, but can get worse. It doesn't even occur to her that I might be feeling too ill to be interested. She never thinks to ask.

Narcissists and psychopaths lack empathy.

My Celebrity Look-alikes

Time for a little light relief, with the celebrity rogues gallery:

Helen Clark 63%, Lisa Marie Presley 60%, Winston Churchill 60%, David Beckham 54% (based on what: that were both British, maybe?), Piper Perabo 52%, Uma Thurman 52%, Jay Hernandez 52%, Derek Jeter 50%.

ROFL! I don't think I look a bit like David Beckham, but I'll take it as a compliment. Well, so are most of the others really.

Note to self though: lose weight before your jowls become even more bulldog / hangdogish than the elderly Winston Churchill's were.

In the main, the only passing resemblance I bear to any of them is that we all seem to have been at the head of the queue when big noses were given out.

Still, it's a bit of fun and I found it via here.

My mother, on the other hand, who uses far less technological methods of face recognition, is completely convinced that I bear far more than a passing resemblance to English actress, singer, and presenter, Claire Sweeney.

Personally, I don't see it, however, there is the fact that my mother's family name was Sweeney, which may, or may not, have some bearing.

For that matter, someone in Tenerife, who had no idea of that history, once told me I bore an uncanny resemblance to a London boxer (not sure what to make of that!) whose surname is also Sweeney.

Kinda makes you wonder if my ancestor had a bike, doesn't it?

Apparently, I do have a double and I feel absolutely sorry for her.

She's around three years older than me and she would be some sort of cousin. My grandmother and her sister, married my grandfather and his brother. Each of those marriages bore sons (one was my father, of course) and both of those sons had daughters, one of whom is me.

Given the common heritage, it's no surprise that we'd be alike.

For reasons nobody now knows, however, this lot all fell out long before I was born, so I have never met this person, nor know where she is. My father didn't even know she'd been born and I only found out, by accident, when I had to call on neighbours of grandmother's sister some years ago. The neighbour, who knows my double well, nearly had an apoplexy when she saw me.

Mind you, another branch of my family, also on my father's side, has the surname of Shakespeare. There's nothing written on this blog that would lead you to recognize any family traits there, are there?  Laughing

Monday, 3 May 2010

Revisiting The Death Clock

imageThree years ago, before I gave up smoking, this gadget had me down as due to expire this year of 2010, if I was a pessimist.

Well, I guess we still have 8 months to go, but being optimistic ...

(Actually, I really have no damn idea what I am, but I think I now know why I don't know, which is a subject for a future post or many.) 

So, as a brand-new squeaky-clean non-smoker, what are my chances?

Apparently, if I were "normal" (which I very much doubt), I'll be shuffling off on May 17th, 2036 - by which time I'd be 79 - which gives me another 26 years.

That sounds like a long time, until I remember how fast the last 26 passed.

If, however, I manage to successfully fool myself into optimism, I can apparently stretch it out until 2049 - to the age of 92. I'm not sure I'd even want to, given that I'm already less able and active than an over 85 year old!

But I must maintain hope - otherwise, giving up smoking seems to have gained me only 4 years: as a pessimist, my new expiry date is 2014.

The Death Clock - When Am I Going To Die?

Sunday, 2 May 2010


Dare to look foolish; the real fools are those who never attempt anything. Dare to make mistakes; they are the best teachers you will ever know. Dare to take action; there’s a risk you may fail, yet if you take no action failure is a certainty. Dare to be fully alive. Dare to speak your mind. Dare to enjoy the beauty of the world. Dare to make a difference. Dare to love. Dare to be the person you know you can be. Dare to expect the best; you’ll usually get it. Dare to do what is right rather than what is convenient or expedient. It will truly make a difference in the way you see yourself, and the way others see you. You’re here, with this magnificent day available to you. Dare to make it the best you can. — Author Unknown

Via: Perfectly Imperfect

You wouldn't like me when I'm angry

Your results: You are Hulk

Wonder Woman
The Flash
Iron Man
Green Lantern

You are a wanderer with
amazing strength.

The thing is, I actually agree that's who I'm most like - so it really is best not to make me angry or put me under extreme emotional stress!

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Test

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Fibromyalgia makes your eyes go funny

image "Everything is slightly blurred, sort of misty, as if you are looking through a mild fog. The symptoms started slowly and at first weren't there all the time, it would be blurry one day and then it would go for a few days, but now it is a permanent thing and I simply can't focus clearly. I also have these terrible dry eyes, and wake up in the morning feeling as though my eyes are full of sand, stuck together and gritty." [Source]

My right eye is often sore and gritty and gives me a constant "tick", as I involuntarily blink my eye, over and over, in hopes of clearing whatever it is that's irritating it. Of course, nothing is, so it can't be cleared either.

My left eye, on the other hand, often weeps copiously for no good reason.

All of these symptoms come and go and wax and wane in severity, on their own schedule, but they've been going on for years. Any exertion will make them worse to the point that they badly interfere with my vision.

Sometimes it's headaches or light sensitivity that cause disturbances. Sometimes I can only read for about 30 minutes. Sometimes it's so bad I can't even look at moving TV images. Even just the scrolling movement of a web page can cause me to become dizzy and nauseous, so I can't even skim read, let alone pay proper attention (if the fibro fog lets me take in new information.)

Years ago I became almost completely night blind and long before I stopped driving all together, I stopped driving at night, because I just could not see where I was going well enough to keep up with the speed of the traffic and, oncoming lights would totally blind me so I'd have to slow or stop.

At my last eye exam, I "failed" at the peripheral vision test and trying to follow the random dots, gave me a headache, made me feel dizzy and nauseous.

I also have permanent floaters and black spots in my vision.

Glasses are seldom comfortable and can give me a headache and, my prescription has been changing very rapidly in the last few years. I can't afford optician's prices, but I'm now on the strongest of cheap reading glasses.

Other times, my eyesight just goes blurred and stays that way for as long as it wants. Glasses make no difference. Sometimes I can make out shapes of words and images I know, but I won't be able to read or make out new things.

Alex also lists similar symptoms as a result of her pain medication for ME/CFS in, Blurred vision. It's not fun. In my case, this has been happening for years and certainly when I wasn't taking any medication, so it's not something over which I have any control, which makes this symptom one of the most frightening.


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