Who Gets Ankylosing Spondalitis More Frequently Male or Female

Who gets ankylosing spondylitis more frequently: males or females? Is exercise a good idea if you have AS? Learn the answers to those questions, plus read other facts and tips about this spinal condition.:

  • Ankylosing spondylitis usually starts in the sacroiliac joints (located at the back of the pelvis). It can then move up the spine and affect other regions, such as the low back (lumbar spine).
  • Ankylosing spondylitis is a rheumatic disease.
  • AS is more common in white males: it affects white males about four times as often as females.
  • Regular daily exercise is a wonderful way to deal with symptoms of AS.
  • Range of motion exercises help you maintain how well your joints move—very important in AS.
  • Iritis (eye inflammation) is sometimes associated with ankylosing spondylitis.
  • Surgery is rarely needed for AS patients.
  • NSAIDs can help control the pain and inflammation of AS.
  • There is a connection between the genetic marker HLA-B27 and ankylosing spondylitis. Heredity does play a role in who develops AS.
  • Ankylosing spondylitis symptoms usually first appear between the ages of 15 and 45.
  • Pope John Paul II had ankylosing spondylitis.
  • Ed Sullivan had ankylosing spondylitis.



Superb 2- Minute Low Carb English Muffin-Diet Programe

english muffin2 (1 of 1)

I don’t often crave breads since going low carb.

I’m more of a dessert kind of girl, if you haven’t noticed or been browsing through my recipe indexrecently.

But I’ve been really missing having an English Muffin every once in a while.

english muffin1 (1 of 1)

I have made quite a few quick mug muffins and cakes and really like having a single serving or just two servings in some recipes, only because portion control can be an issue for me.

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I tried a few recipes online for English Muffins, like this one, but for me the texture is most important. While it had tastes good, the texture was too spongey so I set about to create my own version.

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I put this picture here so you can see for sure exactly how it looks when done cooking. Doesn’t look like much of an English Muffin does it?

No worries! Once you slice and toast it, the magic happens!

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I’m telling you, this will hit the spot if you’ve been wanting the taste of a real breakfast English Muffin bread.

It is so divine, it’s best there is only 1 serving. In the future though I plan to increase the recipe to make 6 so my hubby and daughter can have a serving with me or just freeze the rest for when I want them.

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Hope you love this recipe as much as I do!!

Brenda’s Notes:

  • I used a quiche ramekin because it’s nice and shallow as opposed to a traditional ramekin which is deeper.
  • If you’d rather bake this than microwave, bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees F until a toothpick in center comes out clean.
  • This is a very LARGE  English Muffin than standard ones you will see in a package. This can be made into 2 smaller servings by using a regular sized ramekin or even a small bowl. One half is plenty of a serving, but if needing it like a sandwich for an egg, you might want to make it smaller and get two muffins from this recipe rather then one giant large and eat just half of it.
  • If you don’t have almond butter you can sub peanut butter instead, tastes just as delicious!
  • So the serving is a half of 1 large muffin or  a smaller english muffin with both top and bottom.
  • One of my readers suggested adding the batter into a muffin top pan which I think is a great idea! Grease 4 muffin top cups then add batter, this way you won’t even need to slice them in half! Just pop them out of the pan and toast them like that.
  • Some readers have mentioned it is a bit salty, but I did not notice that. You can easily fix this simply by using unsalted butter and unsalted almond or peanut butter or just omit the 1/8 tsp of salt.



Can Auditory Processing Deficit (CAPD) Improve?New Research

Learning Breakthrough™ improves auditory processing by calibrating inner ear functions that are critical to auditory functioning. This increased efficiency improves academics, language acquisition and perceptual skills.

CAPD is Not a Hearing Problem

Since the vast majority of people with CAPD do not have a peripheral hearing problem, it is understood more as a brain processing/sensory integrationproblem than a hearing problem per se. As such, those affected fail to process much of what they hear which creates perceptual gaps. This creates particularly problems for children as they try to progress academically in school settings where background noise and other classroom distractions are present. CAPD clients have difficulty understanding directions and frequently need directions repeated. They may not hear clearly in noisy environments or when listening over a distance and often find it hard to follow multi-step directions and complex language. What results is a series of processing challenges that make it difficult to pay attention in academic settings or for long periods of time.  Consequently, CAPD sufferers are commonly misdiagnosed with attention deficit even though they are often able to hear and attend very well in quiet, easy-listening situations.

Learning Breakthrough helps those with CAPD overcome:

  • Difficulty understanding instructions
  • The need to have directions to be repeated
  • Problems understanding in the presence of background noise
  • Spelling, reading, and other academic problems
  • Difficulty repeating sounds, letters, or numbers in sequence
  • Speech or language delays
  • Tendency to drop middle consonants or phonemes when learning to speak or write
  • Slow reaction time

Comorbidity Conditions of CAPD:

Because the listening and balance systems are highly integrated (they share the same vestibular-cochlear apparatus), those with CAPD are consistently observed to have parallel deficits (called co-morbid conditions) in coordination, handwriting, language acquisition, and general academic performance (reading fluency, comprehension, mathematics, and others). This slow or delayed processing of information is a result of slow neural reaction times and is often indicative of other sensory processing weaknesses.

Balance, Posture and Sound Tracking:

Although we think of auditory processing in the limited terms of “hearing”, the actual auditory system is deeply integrated into higher level brain functions and, like all brain systems, orients itself to the rest of the world via our balance system. Auditory processing is also uniquely “hard wired” into the balance system because of the fact that they share the brain’s critical vestibular organs. These organs not only orient us to our position in space but also make the defining measures that allow us to differentiate where sounds are coming from, at what intensity and how they are prioritized relative to other sensory signals. Understanding how fine balance, posture and proper sound frequency tracking have an impact on audiological functions is critical to understanding how our two ears work together to influence all of our cognitive processes. Learning Breakthrough™ strengthens the entire process that underlies learning by focusing on vestibular training with a specialized variable difficulty balance platform.

Auditory Treatment – Audiologist Approved Solution:

Learning Breakthrough’s treatment approach is aimed at breaking the pattern of child and parent frustration by directly strengthening (through repeated brain processing exercises) the quantity and strength of the neural connections that enable effective auditory signal comprehension. Audiologists were among the program’s earliest adopters and for good reason. They know from experience that CAPD can be helped and the cycle of academic challenge can be broken.

Anyone who suffers from CAPD can use Learning Breakthrough to improve auditory efficiency (through balance and sensory processing training) and agressively impact the brain’s inherent auditory abilities. Central to the program is the Belgau Balance Board which allows for balance training to be done at constantly increasing levels of difficulty that can be calibrated to the progress rate of each individual’s unique training rate. Combined with the pendulum ball, stimulation, auditory function and brain timing processes are refined and brought into acceptable ranges. The resulting improvements unlock a life time of learning improvements and decrease the frustration that auditory processing delays bring with them.



Sophisticated 5 Signs Your Kid Has Overlooked Sensory Processing Disorder

A lot of kids, dare I say all of them at one point or another, have freaked out about the texture of a particular food, the itchiness of a sweater, or the volume of the radio when their parents’ favorite ’90s jam comes on. But, if you have noticed that happens regularly, and is almost always accompanied by epic meltdowns, it may be a sign your kid has overlooked sensory processing disorder (SPD).

According to the STAR Institute for Sensory Processing Disorder, sensory processing disorder exists when your child’s sensory signals are not detected, or are not organized into appropriate motor or behavioral responses.In other words, children with sensory processing disorder may have a much greater or much lower response to stimuli as their non-SPD peers because their brain has trouble receiving and interpreting sensory information. A lot of kids who are the autism spectrum also have sensory processing disorder, but there are also many children who do not fall within the spectrum that struggle with sensory issues.

Kids with undiagnosed sensory processing disorder may be labeled “picky” or “difficult” or are thought to have behavioral problems. They are are often punished or ridiculed when what they need is patience, understanding, and occupational therapy. Here are some red flags that your child may have an overlooked case of sensory processing disorder.

1. They Are Over-Responsiveness

Kids with sensory processing disorders may be hypersensitive to sensory stimuli that is typically unoffensive to others. Brain Balance Achievement Centers notes the following examples of hypersensitivity: fear of sudden, high-pitched or loud noises, distracted by background noises, fearful of surprise touch, and more.

2. They Are Under-Responsiveness

When a child with sensory processing disorder has hyposensitivity, he or she may seek out stimuli, according to Brain Balance Achievement Centers. Some example include a constant need to touch people or textures, clumsy and uncoordinated movements, and the inability to sit still.

3. They Have A Fight Or Flight Response

Have you noticed your child suddenly running away from something that makes him uncomfortable? Kids with sensory processing disorder often have, what the Child Mind Institute called, a “neurological panic response” to everyday sensations, causing them to flee or become aggressive when in sensory overload. These children may run toward something that will calm them, such as a teacher, without noticing that they are pushing or shoving other kids along the way, according to Understood.

4. They Suffer Dramatic Mood Swings Or Meltdowns

Kids with sensory processing disorders will often have radical, inexplicable shifts in behavior, according to the Child Mind Institute. This is usually in reaction to a change in environment. Brain Balance Achievement Centers noted that sensory meltdowns are not the same as temper tantrums. Sensory sensitivity to noise, lights, crowds, or touch can cause those who have sensory processing disorder to become frightened or confused. Parents of children with undiagnosed sensory processing disorder may misinterpret these signs of sensory overload as behavior problems.

5. They Have Co-Occurring Disorders

Because the majority of people on the autism spectrum also have significant sensory issues, the Child Mind Institute noted that sensory processing problems are now considered a symptom of autism. However it’s important to note that most children with sensory issues are not on the spectrum. Kids who have been diagnose with ADHD, OCD and developmental delays may have sensory processing disorder, as well. In some cases, kids with sensory processing disorder are misdiagnosed – and inappropriately medicated – for ADHD, according to the STAR Institute for Sensory Processing Disorder.



Trichotillomania Amazing Scalp Maps

medicines, and the creation of a medical advisory group and support networks, Trichotillomania persists in mystifying science in its causes, classification, and treatment.  Frankly, we don’t know much more about compulsive hair-pulling than François Hallopeau did in the late 1800’s.  I believe this is because we are not asking the right questions.]

Living with trichotillomania is a torturous existence.  It makes a mockery of life by stealing your functionality.  It doesn’t kill you, but it makes you wish you were dead.  So for a weekend, in 1997, 122 of us bore our burdens together at a private camp in Massachusetts.

Mostly women attended the trichotillomania retreat.  Some felt liberated to expose their sparsely covered heads; others still held on desperately to their scarves, wigs and hats, even in the presence of forgiving company.  I had been flaunting my shaved head around town for years, but it was pleasant to see understanding in the eyes of perfect strangers; to share the company of people who made no presumptions.

I saw varying degrees of hair-pulling.  There were some whose pulling was a mild, completely unnoticeable nuisance; there were others with small rat bites (as my grandmother calls them) here and there; there were those who pulled out 50% of their hair; and then there were some who had ravaged 90% of their scalp.

Seeing so many heads au naturel I noticed a trend:  the most commonly bald spot was the very top of the head (areas 2, 3, 4 & 5 in the picture), and especially where the hair swirls around – the giri giri (as the Japanese call it), or the cowlick.  Also commonly bald was the area directly around the ears (areas 7 & 8, and area 10 near the ears).

Of course, no statistics or measurements or surveys of any kind have ever been taken, but by my observation the area going down the back center of the head (area 10) was less prone to baldness.  The very back of the head was not targeted by itself; that is, pulling at the very back of the head was generally a pattern that extended down from the top of the head. If a person experienced minor pulling, it was generally restricted to the crown and ear areas.

Even more interesting, the nape of the neck (area 9) was often left untouched, even by the most ravenous of pullers.  I saw several women with severe trichotillomania – who had literally pulled every hair from their scalp – and yet allowed the hair at the nape of their neck to grow sumptuously.

In the years subsequent to the retreat I noticed other patterns.  Those who pull from their bodies, also tend to favor the same areas.  For example, those who pull from their legs tend to pull along the bony areas – the shin and the knee – and almost never binge-pull from the fleshy area behind the legs or even the thighs.  And those who pull from their beards tend to favor the areas to the left and right of the chin cleft.

What bothers me about pulling patterns is that there is level of consistency between individuals when there is no reason there should be.  It’s not like pullers go around comparing where they pull and all decide to pull (or not pull) their hair out in the same places.  I would like to see hair-pulling patterns and trends documented.  The more details we know about hair-pulling, the more likely we will come to an understanding about it.

These patterns remind me of acne patterns.  Clusters of acne tend to crowd together within specific zones – the T-Zone (forehead, nose & chin) or the cheeks.  There is a wide variety of skin on a single person’s body.  What characteristics do these different areas of skin have that can dictate where the pimples will be focused?



Why shades of Asperger’s Syndrome are the secret to building a great tech company

The individuals who have founded some of the most success tech companies are decidedly weird. Examine the founder of a truly innovative company and you’ll find a rebel without the usual regard for social customs.

This begs the question, why? Why aren’t more “normal” people with refined social graces building tech companies that change the world? Why are only those on the periphery reaching great heights?

If you ask tech investor Peter Thiel, the problem is a social environment that’s both powerful and destructive. Only individuals with traits reminiscent of Asperger’s Syndrome, which frees them from an attachment to social conventions, have the strength to create innovative businesses amid a culture that discourages daring entrepreneurship.

“Many of the more successful entrepreneurs seem to be suffering from a mild form of Asperger’s where it’s like you’re missing the imitation, socialization gene,” Thiel said Tuesday at George Mason University. “We need to ask what is it about our society where those of us who do not suffer from Asperger’s are at some massive disadvantage because we will be talked out of our interesting, original, creative ideas before they’re even fully formed. Oh that’s a little bit too weird, that’s a little bit too strange and maybe I’ll just go ahead and open the restaurant that I’ve been talking about that everyone else can understand and agree with, or do something extremely safe and conventional.”

An individual with Asperger’s Syndrome — a form of autism — has limited social skills, a willingness to obsess and an interest in systems. Those diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome tend to be unemployed or underemployed at rates that far exceed the general population. Fitting into the world is difficult.

While full-blown Asperger’s Syndrome or autism hold back careers, a smaller dose of associated traits appears critical to hatching innovations that change the world.

“A typical child might just accept, ‘Okay this is just the way it’s done, this is how we do things in our culture or family,” said Simon Baron-Cohen, director of the Autism Research Center in Cambridge. “Someone with autism or Asperger’s, they kind of ask those why questions. They want more logical answers. Just saying ‘Well we do this just because everybody else does,’ that doesn’t meet their test of logic.”

Baron-Cohen says the autistic are interested in what’s called first principles, fundamental rules used to inform their decisions. First principle-thinking happens to be a tactic Elon Musk, the innovative leader of Tesla and SpaceX, says has contributed to his success.

“Rather than reasoning by analogy, you boil things down to the most fundamental truths you can imagine and you reason up from there,” Musk has said. “This is a good way to figure out if something really makes sense or if it’s just what everybody else is doing.”

To be great, you can’t think like everybody else, and you probably won’t fit in to the herd. As a child Musk was bullied and beaten so badly that as an adult he struggled to breathe through his nose and needed corrective surgery.

John Doerr, a venture capitalist at Kleiner Perkins, who was an early investor in Google, Amazon and Netscape, has said that great entrepreneurs tend to have “absolutely no social life.” Great innovators, like those with Asperger’s, just don’t fit in.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has been described as “a robot,” and having “a touch of the Asperger’s,” according to a former colleague. There are stories of a young Zuckerberg having awkward meetings, such as with Twitter’s co-founders.

One of Facebook’s first investors, Reid Hoffman, has said his first impression of Zuckerberg was how quiet he was. Zuckerberg said maybe 15 or 20 sentences in an hour-long meeting.

“What I most remember was scratching my head going, ‘Huh why is he being quiet?’ It turns out he was being quiet because he’s thinking a lot,” Hoffman said in an interview on This Week in Startups. “He’s perfectly fine with, ‘Hey if there ends up being five seconds of silence, it’s five seconds of silence, I’m thinking.”

Zuckerberg’s willingness to defy social norms has paid off with an uncanny ability to position Facebook  to thrive. It’s now worth $228 billion. In an era where tech companies and especially social networks can disappear as quickly as they rise (remember Friendster), Zuckerberg’s eye for innovation maintains Facebook’s relevance. He dared to spend over $25 billion acquiring companies without little or revenue — WhatsApp, Instagram and Oculus.

When Zuckerberg spent $1 billion on Instagram, which had never made a cent, many saw it as a crazy move. Now by one estimate Instagram is now worth $35 billion.

Zuckerberg’s willingness to be different and ignore social norms manifest itself in other ways. He wears a gray T-shirt every day, saying he wants to focus his decision-making energy on Facebook not fashion.

“I just killed a pig and a goat,” he once posted on Facebook, during a year in which he spent a year only eating meat he killed with his own hands.

Zuckerberg isn’t the only one to turn unusual instincts into tech riches. Four of the six PayPal co-founders built bombs in high school.

While lots of “normal” people played with Legos, Google co-founder Larry Page built a functioning inkjet printer out of them in college. Marissa Mayer, the Yahoo chief executive and an early Google employee, has described Page’s super power as “asking ‘why not.’ On everything.”

“Think different,” happened to be Apple’s slogan, which its co-founder Steve Jobs embodied in his youth as he wandered India and experimented with LSD.

At age 24 Jobs was invited to attend the initial meeting of the Seva Foundation, which is devoted to treating blindness. Unhappy with the discussion, an angry Jobs stood up — unfazed by a room of accomplished experts — and shared what they should do to make a difference in the world. (The anecdote was shared by Larry Brilliant in the new book Becoming Steve Jobs.) The conversation devolved into a “donnybrook,” so Brilliant asked his friend Jobs to quiet down.

“I’m not going to,” Jobs said. “You guys asked for my help, and I’m going to give it.”

Soon Brilliant forced him to leave the meeting.

“If you have autism or if you have a mild form of it you might be kind of less interested in following the crowd and conforming to social norms. And you can think more independently,” Baron-Cohen said. “They want to know are we doing these things because it’s the most efficient way, it’s the best way of doing it or the cheapest way. They want some kind of logic.”

When Zuckerberg spent $1 billion on Instagram, which had never made a cent, many saw it as a crazy move. Now by one estimate Instagram is now worth $35 billion.

Zuckerberg’s willingness to be different and ignore social norms manifest itself in other ways. He wears a gray T-shirt every day, saying he wants to focus his decision-making energy on Facebook not fashion.

“I just killed a pig and a goat,” he once posted on Facebook, during a year in which he spent a year only eating meat he killed with his own hands.

Zuckerberg isn’t the only one to turn unusual instincts into tech riches. Four of the six PayPal co-founders built bombs in high school.

While lots of “normal” people played with Legos, Google co-founder Larry Page built a functioning inkjet printer out of them in college. Marissa Mayer, the Yahoo chief executive and an early Google employee, has described Page’s super power as “asking ‘why not.’ On everything.”

“Think different,” happened to be Apple’s slogan, which its co-founder Steve Jobs embodied in his youth as he wandered India and experimented with LSD.

At age 24 Jobs was invited to attend the initial meeting of the Seva Foundation, which is devoted to treating blindness. Unhappy with the discussion, an angry Jobs stood up — unfazed by a room of accomplished experts — and shared what they should do to make a difference in the world. (The anecdote was shared by Larry Brilliant in the new book Becoming Steve Jobs.) The conversation devolved into a “donnybrook,” so Brilliant asked his friend Jobs to quiet down.

“I’m not going to,” Jobs said. “You guys asked for my help, and I’m going to give it.”

Soon Brilliant forced him to leave the meeting.

“If you have autism or if you have a mild form of it you might be kind of less interested in following the crowd and conforming to social norms. And you can think more independently,” Baron-Cohen said. “They want to know are we doing these things because it’s the most efficient way, it’s the best way of doing it or the cheapest way. They want some kind of logic.”



Little-Known Disorder Can Take a Toll on Learning-Auditory Processing Deficit

<b>ADVOCATE</b>  Rosie O’Donnell, right, at home with her son Blake, who has an auditory processing disorder. Ms. O’Donnell’s quest to help her son led her to Lois Kam Heymann, left, an auditory therapist, whom Blake now works with.

Parents and teachers often tell children to pay attention — to be a “good listener.” But what if your child’s brain doesn’t know how to listen?

That’s the challenge for children with auditory processing disorder, a poorly understood syndrome that interferes with the brain’s ability to recognize and interpret sounds. It’s been estimated that 2 to 5 percent of children have the disorder, said Gail D. Chermak, an expert on speech and hearing sciences at Washington State University, and it’s likely that many cases have gone undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.

The symptoms of A.P.D. — trouble paying attention and following directions, low academic performance, behavior problems and poor reading and vocabulary — are often mistaken for attention problems or even autism.

But now the disorder is getting some overdue attention, thanks in part to the talk-show host Rosie O’Donnell and her 10-year-old son, Blake, who has A.P.D.

In the foreword to a new book, “The Sound of Hope” (Ballantine) — by Lois Kam Heymann, the speech pathologist and auditory therapist who helped Blake — Ms. O’Donnell recounts how she learned something was amiss.

It began with a haircut before her son started first grade. Blake had already been working with a speech therapist on his vague responses and other difficulties, so when he asked for a “little haircut” and she pressed him on his meaning, she told the barber he wanted short hair like his brother’s. But in the car later, Blake erupted in tears, and Ms. O’Donnell realized her mistake. By “little haircut,” Blake meant little hair should be cut. He wanted a trim.

“I pulled off on the freeway and hugged him,” Ms. O’Donnell said. “I said: ‘Blakey, I’m really sorry. I didn’t understand you. I’ll do better.’ ”

That was a turning point. Ms. O’Donnell’s quest to do better led her to Ms. Heymann, who determined that while Blake could hear perfectly well, he had trouble distinguishing between sounds. To him, words like “tangerine” and “tambourine,” “bed” and “dead,” may sound the same.

“The child hears ‘And the girl went to dead,’ and they know it doesn’t make sense,” Ms. Heymann told me. “But while they try to figure it out, the teacher continues talking and now they’re behind. Those sounds are being distorted or misinterpreted, and it affects how the child is going to learn speech and language.”

Blake’s brain struggled to retain the words he heard, resulting in a limited vocabulary and trouble with reading and spelling. Abstract language, metaphors like “cover third base,” even “knock-knock” jokes, were confusing and frustrating.

Children with auditory processing problems often can’t filter out other sounds. The teacher’s voice, a chair scraping the floor and crinkling paper are all heard at the same level. “The normal reaction by the parent is ‘Why don’t you listen?’ ” Ms. Heymann said. “They were listening, but they weren’t hearing the right thing.”

The solution is often a comprehensive approach, at school and at home. To dampen unwanted noise, strips of felt or tennis balls may be placed on the legs of chairs and desks. Parents work to simplify language and avoid metaphors and abstract references.

The O’Donnell household cut back on large, noisy gatherings that were upsetting to Blake. Twice-weekly sessions focusing on sounds and words, using rhyme and body gestures, helped him catch up on the learning he had missed.

Help inside the classroom is essential. One family in Westchester County, who asked not to be named to protect their son’s privacy, met with his teachers and agreed on an array of adaptations — including having his teacher wear a small microphone that directed her voice more clearly to a speaker on the student’s desk so he could better distinguish her voice from competing sounds.

Nobody knows exactly why auditory processing skills don’t fully develop in every child, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Scientists are conducting brain-imaging studies to better understand the neural basis of the condition and find out if there are different forms.

Reassuringly, the disorder seems to have little or nothing to do with intelligence. Blake has an encyclopedic knowledge of animals — he once corrected his mother for referring to a puma as a mountain lion. The Westchester child is now a 17-year-old high school student being recruited by top colleges.

“He’s in accelerated Latin, honors science classes,” said his mother. “I remember I used to dream of the day he would be able to wake up in the morning and just say, ‘Mommy.’ ”

Not every child does so well, and some children with A.P.D. have other developmental and social problems. But Ms. O’Donnell says that treatment is not just about better grades.

“It definitely affected his whole world,” she said of her son. “Not just learning. It cuts them off from society, from interactions. To see the difference in who he is today versus who he was two years ago, and then to contemplate what would have happened had we not been able to catch it — I think he would have been lost.”



An Epiphany About Ankylosing Spondalitis , From the Bathroom Floor

woman on bathroom floor by toilet hugging knees

It’s weird, the things you think about while you’re sitting on the floor of your bathroom. Yes, I also understand it is strange for me to be sitting on the floor of my bathroom. More about that in a moment, I need to back this story up a bit…

Many months ago, I hadn’t been feeling well. I had this bizarre-o rash on my face, fatigue that would not be tamed and a general “not well” feeling. I landed in the heart hospital with horrific chest pain, three days hooked up to all kinds of beeping things. The diagnosis? Acid reflux. I knew it was malarkey, and I went to my follow-up appointment with a plan to argue the diagnosis. My fatigue was brushed off as part of my depression. Um, no. Well yes, I battle depression, and no, this wasn’t it. But what was it?

I begged for more lab work, anything for more answers. I was a pest with a purpose; I’d wear them down until they directed me to someone else. Which they did. One visit with a rheumatologist, and we set sail for an answer. I prayed for any answer! I ultimately got an answer: ankylosing spondylitis. Yeah, I hadn’t heard of it either. As I researched the autoimmune disease, the more it seemed to fit. As often happens in autoimmune disease patients, if you have one, you have multiple. I was also diagnosed with fibromyalgia. It all seems to make the other issues of my medical past connect. Vitamin B12 & D deficiency, chronic kidney disease. Sheesh, quite the laundry list.

Meanwhile, back on my bathroom floor…

As I sit here, I’ve been on three different medications over as many months. Insurance got to make the decisions as to what I must “try” before the current medication. So, here I sit, the day after my first dosage. Nausea, fatigue, the battle between wanting to wretch or take a nap. Typically, I’d be stressing about the dust bunnies behind the potty, thinking about how the walls need to be wiped down or how I really never liked this shower curtain. But today, as I sit here, I feel defective, coupled with the guilt of feeling this way. I’m not battling a life-ending disease today. I’m fighting against being disabled. But that’s exactly how I feel.

As I first mentioned, it’s weird the things you think about while you’re sitting on the floor of your bathroom. I’m thinking about my lack of ability vs. disability. In this moment, for now, I’m not really able to drive to the pharmacy to get the recommended vaccine (before starting the next phase of my treatment). It’s only a temporary setback.

Imagine driving around your supermarket/pharmacy and seeing a vehicle pull into the handicapped spot. You expect to see someone get out with a walker or the ramp lowering for their wheelchair. That’s being disabled, right? Well yeah, it is right. But it isn’t the only right; disability comes in many shapes and sizes. Sure, we’ve all judged the overweight person on a scooter. “If they weren’t overweight they wouldn’t need that thing,” right? Fess up! We’ve all thought it. When we see someone step out of a vehicle on their own volition, we also think, “They don’t look handicapped.” I’m as guilty as the next guy. And as I sit on my bathroom floor, it’s as if I’ve been dropped on my butt for my way of thinking.

We are so quick to be the judge and jury of someone else’s conditions. We minimize the needs of other’s to maximize our own. I am the first to acknowledge there are others who are struggling far worse than me. Yes, I am fortunate, I know that. However, by minimizing our weakness, we also minimize the level of understanding for those around us. I have to be truthful with what I’m struggling with so others understand.

My (our) truth is necessary so we may recognize the truth in others. My truth: there are going to be days I have to pull-in, lay down and honor my body. It is also my truth to share with others, so you know the truth. Yes, I’d love to attend your special event! The truth of the matter: I may not have the energy that day. I may be struggling with excruciating pain. I may be concerned about the fact I will have no immune system to fight against a simple bug. Please understand.

The next time you circle the parking lot at Target and spot someone pulling into a disabled parking spot, remember those of us with invisible illnesses. Those of us who “look fine,” even though we are not. The next time you see someone cruising the grocery store aisles in their scooter, ask if there is something you can reach for them. Reach out, reach up. Reach down… you may just have to help a gal off the bathroom floor!



Mysterious 4 Causes And Risks Of Ankylosing Spondylitis

Ankylosing Spondylitis

Sometimes people face difficulty in moving their backs after staying in the same position for some time. Such conditions often arise from ankylosing spondylitis or AS, as it is often termed in short.

So you may want to know what this is all about. In that case an overview of ankylosing spondylitis and little information on the prognosis, the risk groups and availability of cure for the condition may help.

What is Ankylosing Spondylitis?

Ankylosing spondylitis is just a type of spondylitis and generally affects the spine. However, involvement of the joints is also seen. The spinal joints get inflamed and that can cause severe pain which can become chronic. In the advanced stages new bones may form resulting in fusing of the spine which can lead to a permanent forward stooping posture.

back pain

may get affected in some cases. Inflammation and pain together with stiffness are generally seen in these conditions. The joint that gets severely affected is the one where the spine and the pelvic join and this can be called the distinguishing feature of ankylosing spondylitis. This joint is called the sacroiliac joint.

Causes of Ankylosing Spondylitis

Once you know what the disease is all about, then it is quite natural that you will want to know how it is caused. Physicians and scientists are yet to zero in on the exact causes of ankylosing spondylitis but a genetic involvement is suspected. The genetic marker that is under suspicion is a protein termed HLA-B27.

But that still does not mean that if you have this marker then you will have ankylosing spondylitis. It is believed that external triggers are also required to cause the onset of the condition and they also include other genes. In fact, till now the scientists suspect that only 40% of the people carrying the marker HLA-B27 have the chance of getting ankylosing spondylitis.

As far as the mechanism of the development of the condition is concerned, scientists suspect that when the intestinal defense mechanism breaks down and the bacteria get released into the bloodstream at the point near the sacroiliac joints, ankylosing spondylitis sets in. However, scientists are yet to pass the final verdict.

Are You at Risk?

When you learn about the possible causes, the question that comes to mind is – am I at risk? So, who are at risk? The persons who may be at risk are those who may have tested positive for HLA-B27 marker; has a family history of ankylosing spondylitis and suffer from gastrointestinal infections frequently.

Risk Of Ankylosing Spondylitis

Generally you will have to be positive in all three to be in the high risk group. Normally the onset is seen at quite an early age, between 17 and 35 and most often it is the men who get affected. Ankylosing spondylitis is sometimes noticed in children too.

Prognosis (the Course of the Disease)

It is not that ankylosing spondylitis is always seen in its full severity in every affected person. So it is not true that a person having ankylosing spondylitis will always get fused spine. However, the severity can reach such a stage that a person can even become disabled.


In the less severe form a person may only experience back pain and stiffness occasionally. Such condition may be experienced at various points of the body and may persist for some time. However, the common symptom is an acute pain that can stay for some time before subsiding with time. Though all cases of ankylosing spondylitis may not turn severe, it is advised that if you find such pain occurring regularly, even though mild, contact a rheumatologist so that any complications in the future may be avoided.

Cures for Ankylosing Spondylitis

The news here is not very assuring because till date no known cure for ankylosing spondylitis has been developed. The treatments aim at reducing the symptoms and focuses mainly at managing the pain and stiffness. Generally a treatment regimen for ankylosing spondylitis consists of practicing good posture, physical therapy and medication.


Medication may include NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) in the early stages and when they fail then the second line of medication like corticosteroids, sulfasalazine and methotrexate are used. These drugs are generally known as disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs. In the extreme cases, surgery like knee and hip joint replacement is required to bring about normalcy.

Developments in the fields of biological medicines may provide some hope. TNF blockers (biological drugs)have shown promises to be effective in treating arthritis of both the joints and spine. But these too, as far as the present situation goes, may not cure but just stop or retard the progression of the disease in some cases.


Amazing MOCHA ICE BOMBS – Low Carb , Sugar Free , Banting , Grain Free + Luxurious Diet Program


Mocha ice bombs are beautiful and incredibly sumptuous. I couldn’t believe how easy they were to make. We were away on holiday at the time so as you can imagine, I had very little kitchen equipment, nor time.

It took me 10 minutes to make the mocha ice bombs, then a few more minutes to dip them in the dark chocolate coating. By dinner time, they were ready to indulge (and we did).

TOP TIP :: If you want these to be even lower in carbs, you can use this sugar free chocolate coating instead of 90% chocolate.

If you are new to fat bombs you’ll be wondering what the heck? Why o why would we want to eat more fat? Well it is imperative too understand when we go low carb (and only moderate protein) then we want to increase our healthy fats to keep us fuller for longer. Fat doesn’t make you fat, a high carb diet does.

Read this post on low carb and this post on why we eat high fat to better understand these concepts. And remember, high fat doesn’t give you a licence to eat fried fatty unhealthy junk food, it is to eat the fat that comes with your steak, the full fat dairy, full fat coconut cream, plenty of olive oil on your salads and plenty of cheese.

Also remember, eat healthy fats ONLY until full. Only increase your healthy fats once you have lowered your carbs.

Do not eat fat to excess, stop when full and ONLY eat when you are truly hungry. It takes a while to get over our fat phobia but once you do, you will understand it is they key to satiety and appetite control.

Mocha Ice Bombs
  • 1 cup / 240g / 8.5 oz full-fat cream cheese or mascarpone
  • ¼ cup / 40 g / 1.4 oz powdered sweetener
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup / 60 ml strong brewed coffee, chilled
Chocolate coating
  • 70g / 2.5 oz dark 90% chocolate melted
  • 28g / 1 oz cocoa butter melted
  1. Mocha ice bombs can be made in a food processor, or in a mixing bowl using a hand blender.
  2. Add the coffee to the cream cheese (or mascarpone) the cocoa, and sweetener.
  3. Pulse or blend until smooth.
  4. To make the ice bomb shape, roll about 2 tablespoons of the mocha ice bomb mixture and place them onto a tray or plate lined with baking parchment.
Chocolate coating
  1. Mix the melted chocolate and cocoa butter together.
  2. Roll each ice bomb in the chocolate coating and place back on the lined tray/plate.
  3. Place in the freezer for 2 hours, or until set.
The recipe in the book states it makes 12 although I managed to make 15 from this recipe. The nutrition values are calculated assuming you make 12. If you were to make 15, the carb values would be less.
Serving size: 1 ice bomb (makes 12) Calories: 127 Fat: 12.9g Carbohydrates: 2.2g totalFibre: 0.7g Protein: 1.9g