Make a muscle, make a difference!

Tonight I sit and watch the MDA show of Strength Telethon.  For the past 46 years, the MDA telethon has been held on Labor Day weekend to raise money and bring awareness to muscle diseases because of the support and help of Jerry Lewis.

We all have seen the #ALSIceBucketChallenge, and last week I even took the challenge, but the  Muscular Dystrophy Association research for treatments and cures for other diseases such as muscular dystrophy and other neuromuscular diseases. There is actually a list ranging from A to Z. Check out the full list at MDA Disease Directory.  Symptoms range from mild muscle weakness to complete paralysis to include those used for breathing and swallowing. These diseases can occur at birth or at anytime over a person’s life span. It can also have a short duration or be life long depending on the specific disease. To get a first look at life living with a muscular disease meet Kate.

MDA.org is currently funding over 250 research projects around the world. They also provide support to patients and families, provides summer camps for children with muscular diseases, provide education, advocate for the cause, and sponsor community programs.

I have watched the MDA telethon all my life and I remember as a little girl thinking how brave the children were and wanting to help. I am now able to help. Join me in donating to MDA at DONATE!

muscle

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#ALSIceBucketChallege

I am sure everyone has seen the #ALSIceBucketChallenge that has taken social media by storm. Well I was finally challenged after commenting that one of my friends cheated on his. LOL I wonder how many people actually understand and know about ALS. So as a part of my challenge, I am dedicating a post to ALS. 

ALS stands for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and is also called Lou Gehrig’s Disease. It is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. The motor neurons die, which causes a person’s brain to no longer be able to communicate with the parts of their body to initiate movement. The progression of this disease can lead to person becoming totally paralyzed and eventually leads to death. There are three forms of ALS: 

  • Sporadic – the most common form of ALS in the United States – 90 to 95% of all cases.
  • Familial – occurring more than once in a family lineage (genetic dominant inheritance) accounts for a very small number of cases in the United States – 5 to 10% of all cases. There is a 50% chance that offspring will develop ALS in this form. 
  • Guamanian – an extremely high incidence of ALS was observed in Guam and the Trust Territories of the Pacific in the 1950’s.

ALS is diagnosed through a series of tests:

  • electrodiagnostic tests including electomyography (EMG) and nerve conduction velocity (NCV)
  • blood and urine studies including high resolution serum protein electrophoresis, thyroid and parathyroid hormone levels and 24-hour urine collection for heavy metals
  • spinal tap
  • x-rays, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • myelogram of cervical spine
  • muscle and/or nerve biopsy
  • thorough neurological examination

Symptoms of ALS include: 

  • muscle weakness in one or more of the following: hands, arms, legs or the muscles of speech,
    swallowing or breathing
  • twitching (fasciculation) and cramping of muscles, especially those in the hands and feet
  • impairment of the use of the arms and legs
  • “thick speech” and difficulty in projecting the voice
  • in more advanced stages, shortness of breath, difficulty in breathing and swallowing.

Check out what living with ALS is like from this video. It starts off as a parody, but gets very serious after the ice bucket challenge. Click Living with ALS He is such a brave young man for doing this video and sharing it with the world!

Because ALS does not affect a large number of people (in the pharmaceutical world) and pharmaceutical companies are not able to make a lot of money (because it does not affect a large number of people), there is not a lot of funding for research. The ALS Association raises money to assist patients and to fund research for treatments and cures. Please visit ALS.org to make a donation. 

So now I present the video of my #IceBucketChallenge! In the video I challenge people to either donate to ALS.org, to donate to a charity of their choice, or to donate to my mother who is walking as a Survivor at the St. Petersburg #LightTheNight Walk to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Click here for the video: Dr Shan Walks ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

 

#100HappyDays

100 days ago I decided to become apart of the social media phenomenon #100HappyDays! I am happy to report that today I have become apart of the 27% of people who completed this challenged. I became interested when I saw several friends on Facebook posting their happy days. I decided to research and find out what this was all about. I went to the website #100HappyDays where I found the information for the challenge to post something happy from your day for 100 days. The site reported:

“People successfully completing the challenge claimed to:

 – Start noticing what makes them happy every day;
 – Be in a better mood every day;
 – Start receiving more compliments from other people;
 – Realize how lucky they are to have the life they have;
 – Become more optimistic;
 – Fall in love during the challenge.”
 
So i figured why not! What do I have to lose?! I opened an Instagram account (DrShanWalks@Instagram) and started posting. (You can click on the link and go to my page to review my 100 days!)
 
I should also note that I began this quest shortly after getting out of the hospital, being demoted at work, and going on a mission trip a week later. A difficult period to say the least!
 
Today as I look back over the 99 pictures that I have posted, I relived some beautiful moments. I will be the first one to tell you that there were days when it took me 20 minutes to find something in my day to be happy about. But I found on the days when I did not do it, things just did not feel right! I would review the days I missed and post to catch up. I tried to make sure I never got behind more than two days.
 
Finding something to be happy about has carried me through my dark days. At a time when suicide has been pushed in the spotlight again (with the untimely death of comedian Robin Wiliams, RIP), I feel this is a tool that I will challenge clients, friends, and family to use as a coping skill to combat depression.
 
I will say everything on the list that the website developers stated would happen, happen except the falling in love. Darn it! LOL But you know it doesn’t matter that the last one on the list did not occur because I can honestly say that I have been blessed by this experiment. So much so that I think I will keep going. Who knows maybe falling in love is around the corner.
 
Some of my friends have been wondering what I would post for my 100th day. I have this a lot of thought and decided to post a collage of my favorite people and things collected from posts from the last 100 days. So here it is!
100th Day

Dental Health and Cancer

Tonight I am preparing for my mother’s dental procedure that will occur tomorrow. You may ask why I am talking about this subject and the answer is because there is an increased risk of a person developing dental problems after chemotherapy. I remember a childhood friend who found out that she had cancer after a dental procedure that did not heal. 

Osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ) is a serious condition that can occur in some cancer patients. Researchers have not found a definitive cause and effect, but there is a link between the two. ONJ can occur when the jaw fails to heal after tooth trauma, such as teeth extraction. Symptoms include pain, swelling, poor healing or infection of the gums, loose teeth or numbness or a feeling of heaviness in the jaw. It is recommended that cancer patients inform their dentist of the changes in their health and monitor their oral hygiene. There are some risk factors that increase the risk of cancer patients developing ONJ: radiation therapy to the head or neck, chemotherapy. corticosteroid therapy, anemia (low red cell count), infection, poor dental health, alcohol abuse, cigarette smoking, poor nutrition, poor blood circulation, and clotting problems. For more information check out the Luekemia & Lymphoma Society’s website where they discuss Dental Issues: http://www.lls.org/?gclid=CjkKEQjwlcSdBRD3wva3-KOAo80BEiQAjNIhiUnGJ4LyZmHrAlLApJi_BAEpqEboCHJ1TIVpyhTN7Qjw_wcB#/diseaseinformation/managingyourcancer/treatmentnextsteps/sideeffects/dentalissues/.

Mouth checkup