FSCJ to Offer Free Health Education and Screenings

Florida State College at Jacksonville’s (FSCJ) North Campus invites faculty, staff, students and the community to visit the 2016 Health Literacy Fair to enjoy no-cost health and wellness related activities. There is something for everyone, including exercise sessions, health screenings and health education and training.

The event is filled with motivating exercise opportunities. It kicks off with a wellness walk at 9:30 a.m., then attendees can join in TRX Suspension Training, Silver Sneakers and Meditation classes throughout the day.

For those interested in finding out about their health, the following screenings will be offered:
* Arthritis
* Blood Pressure
* Blood Sugar
* Depression
* Hearing
* Lice
* Oral Health
* Vision

OneBlood will be on-site accepting blood donations and HIV testing will also be available.

Health education sessions will be provided on sexually transmitted diseases, sports rehabilitation and physical therapy, falls prevention and dynamic stretching and health care education for seniors. Attendees can also learn more about the Affordable Care Act from Florida Blue representatives.

Limited cosmetology and massage therapy services will also be available. Additionally, there will be a CarFit event which is an education program that offers older adults the opportunity to check how well their personal vehicles “fit” them. This program also provides resources to enhance driving safety for older adults.

For more information, visit fscj.edu/healthliteracyfair.

WHEN: Saturday, June 11, 2016
Wellness Walk: 9:30 a.m.
Event and Activities: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

WHERE: Florida State College at Jacksonville – North Campus
4501 Capper Road, Jacksonville, FL 32218

Be Careful – Migraines May Translate To Strokes

Experiencing undue pressure or mental stress is a matter of grave concern. People often complain about headaches due to long working hours or working late into the night. The cause could also be genetic or triggered by situational factors. No matter what the reason is, you should certainly give it careful thought and not just perpetuate the problem with an over-the-counter drug. What you will be doing is just smothering the symptoms and not learning the cause. I myself am a victim to this habit of relying on pain killers and since the time I have switched to natural remedies, I thank myself for it. The root cause behind extreme headaches, accompanied by stress on the eyes, maybe mistaken for one or the other. For instance, strokes and migraines have many symptoms in common. Studies have found out that if you frequently get severe migraines you may have higher chances of developing a stroke condition. However, the risk may be minimal.

Differentiating between migraine and stroke
Migraine is a neurological disorder with usually very severe recurring headaches and throbbing, accompanied by other symptoms. People plagued with the monstrous form of headache commonly known as migraine know the mental torture they go through. It can drastically impact your social and work life or may be the very reason for your splitting headache.

Stroke, however can be rightly called a medical emergency caused by restricted blood flow to the brain. If the condition worsens it may develop into complications and a mental disability.

The link between migraine and stroke
One morning I woke up with a severe headache. Until then, I was perfectly alright, but I got a sudden surge of muscle spasms in my brain; I was highly concerned. Moreover, I felt muscle weakness on one side of the body and even loss of vision in one eye. I got really worried; what was happening with me? I immediately got up and decided to see my family doctor. The following is what I learned.

The symptoms I had were related to migraine, but could possibly have been mistaken for those of a stroke. The relationship is certainly complicated. Imagine getting to know that having migraine puts you in a predisposition of developing stroke. Freaky, isn’t it? You certainly need to find ways to cope with stress to digest this fact. Research suggests that having migraine with aura doubles the risk of stroke, since you are likely to develop a blockage, the risk being higher in women than in men. Other common risk factors include:
• Being below the 45 age bracket
• Being a smoker
• Being on birth control pills.

A recent study published in July 2015 in the American Academy of Neurology suggests that older people who had migraines had an increased risk of stroke, provided that they were smokers. Among smokers, having migraine meant you were three times more likely to get victimized to stroke, whereas this risk was absent in non-smokers.

Migrainous Infarction (Migrainous stroke)
As the name suggests, the link between migraine and stroke is strongly established here. In migrainous aura before the onset of the migraine headache your visual, sensory and motor capabilities are hampered and you often experiences flashes of light and may inevitably lead to stroke.

Important changes to notice during migraine include constriction of blood vessels leading to reduced blood flow. Sounds familiar? Clots may form in the blood blocking the narrowed blood vessel. Blood volume may also decrease due to dehydration and vomiting. Many reasons can thus be attributed to increased risk of stroke. Migraine attacks damage the blood vessels with an increased incidence of fluid building up in there (oedema). This is evidence enough that you should certainly not let migraine pass like any other headache and take appropriate action.

Contributed by Zyana Morris

Celiac Diseases and Your Exercise Routine

Wheat bread! White bread! Brown bread! Gym-aholics and fitness freaks struggling to become lean may want to avoid all sorts of them, as per their fitness regime. However, what if you are placed in a situation that calls for not having any other option but to avoid it? You simply cannot consume it? This is a common dilemma faced by celiac patients as it is a matter of life and death. How should you go about handling and scheduling your nutrition and training needs if you are diagnosed with Celiac Disease?

Fast facts about celiac diseases
A celiac patient’s immune system reacts in a way that it is triggered by the consumption of gluten, deteriorating the lining of the stomach. The most common symptoms of the disease are:

    • General malaise
    • Stomach pain and diarrhea
    • Nausea, vomiting, flatulence
    • Weight gain or weight loss
    • Mouth sores
    • Arthritis
    • Increased risk of osteoporosis
    • Decrease in bone and muscle strength
    • Nutritional deficiencies leading to anemia and dental problems
    • Liver dysfunction
    • Vitamin deficiencies leading to nervous system disorders

Gluten, commonly found in rye, barley and wheat is the major sensitive factor of a lifelong autoimmune disorder known as the Celiac Disease. It is not an allergic reaction or hypersensitivity, hence cannot be outgrown. Gluten, a protein composite, cannot be processed by the body of a person affected with CD and triggers an immune response causing the lining of the small intestine to become damaged leading to difficulty in digestion and malabsorption. CD can be life-threatening if not diagnosed and treated.

Since CD is a lifelong disorder and has no cure, its symptoms can be managed by making dietary changes, following a gluten-free diet strictly, usually for an entire lifetime. You will also need to include a diet rich in iron and calcium to combat the effects of anemia and bone defects.

Exercise and Celiac Disease
Adjusting to a gluten free diet after being diagnosed with Celiac disease is problematic enough. Moreover, exercising can be quite difficult for people with CD, mainly due to extreme fatigue, muscle cramps and bone defects caused by iron and vitamin deficiency. So, what exercises to start off with? How to build an exercise routine? For many of us, this is again a difficult adjustment.

Most athletes are so accustomed to the mood balance and enhancement that exercise gives that they shouldn’t give up just because a transition is imminent. However, before starting off with an exercise regimen, it is better to consult your doctor and a professional trainer in a fitness center or your gym who may suggest that you start off with a low-impact workout to better suit your adjustment to living with Celiac disease.

Commitment to an exercise schedule may provide the emotional and physical energy needed to overcome feelings of self-deprivation. A person with CD needs to approach exercise with caution and encouragement to reap the benefits. If you are suffering from joint conditions like arthritis and bone conditions like osteoporosis, it is better not to try weight bearing exercises that may further damage or cause inflammation of joints and bones.

Finding a new workout regimen that works for you when first diagnosed is very important. It is better to let your body adjust to the schedule gradually and reach your way back to where you were before being diagnosed. Yoga and Pilates can be ideal exercises as they do not place too much physical strain on you while strengthening your muscles and are a great place to start. Exercise can have a positive effect on increasing bone-density, can perk up the mood and help in weight loss, improves circulation and may even accelerate healing.

Candidates Meet in a Non-Partisan Information Exchange for First Coast Kids

What are the top challenges in First Coast neighborhoods today? What programs and community strategies have been proven to be most successful? How can we improve the safety net for at-risk children and families? The answers to those questions and more will be discussed at the Candidates for Kids: First Coast Forum, a non-partisan information exchange for all candidates for state and local elected office, community leaders, media and business professionals, child advocates, and concerned citizens.

The Candidates for Kids First Coast Forum will be held on Wednesday, June 29, 2016, in the Lecture Hall of the Jessie Ball duPont Center located at 40 East Adams, in Jacksonville, Florida.

Breakfast and networking: 8:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.
Overview of Key Issues & Community Discussion: 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

Organized by The Children’s Campaign in partnership with The Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center, specific issues to be discussed include child sex trafficking, and concerns regarding juvenile justice, child welfare and mental health.

The event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited.

RSVP today by calling Call Bobbi at (850)425-2600.

The Children’s Campaign is Florida’s leading child advocacy organization. What most differentiates The Children’s Campaign from other child advocacy organizations is we advocate for the “whole child” – we are not a single-issue organization. We are non-partisan, nonprofit and accept no government money. Since 1992, The Children’s Campaign has led or championed major reforms for Florida’s children.

The Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center provides cutting edge advocacy, research, training/technical assistance and model programming to bring about unprecedented systemic reform for girls and young women in or at risk of entering the juvenile justice and child welfare systems in Northeast Florida.

Are You Ready to Wear Shorts?

romanesco-by-judie-mackieSummer is coming, will you be ready for swimwear and shorts? Let’s face it, filling up on fresh vegetables goes a long way in cleaning up your diet and living a healthier lifestyle. But, many find it tough to get more vegetables into their daily diet. As the manager of the Fernandina Beach Market Place farmers market, I asked my friends, family, vendors and customers how they increase their vegetable intake. Here are some of their ideas:

-Have more vegetables on hand. If you have fresh vegetables in your house, you are more likely to eat more fresh vegetables.
-Make menus. Making daily menus makes it easier to prepare meals in advance, including shopping for and preparing more fresh produce to serve at the family table.
-Add onions and peppers to just about anything, especially scrambled eggs or omelets for breakfast.
-Put slices of onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, and lettuce on your sandwiches.
-Wrap sandwiches in lettuce, kale or spinach instead of breads.
-Add as many vegetables as you can to your salads, or to your pizza.
-Mix it up. Some people get tired of eating the same foods over and over again.
-Try foods you’ve never eaten before. Kohlrabi, Romanesco, mizuna, and Asian turnips are all available from our vendors and are ones I had never tasted before managing a farmers market.
-Sneak vegetables into ordinary dishes. For example try making zucchini casserole, adding mashed roasted eggplant to your mashed potatoes, slip some peas into your guacamole, or even put pureed cooked beets into your favorite chocolate cake recipe.

With spring in hand and summer on its way, there are many vegetables coming to harvest and I’m sure you will find a new and unusual favorite such as baked sweet potato fries, kale or spinach chips, and oven roasted beets to help get you ready for summer.

The Fernandina Beach Market Place farmers market is open rain or shine, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., every Saturday of the year, except for April 30, 2016. The market will be closed for the 53rd Annual Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival.

Located on North Seventh Street, in historic Fernandina Beach, Saturday, April 9th, the adjacent Fernandina Beach Arts Market will be open, too, with over 20 talented arts and craft vendors. Entertainment this week is by Jennifer Burns.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and our “Booth with a Cause” will be the Women’s Center of Jacksonville. They are the certified rape crisis center for Duval, Baker and Nassau counties.

For more information about the market, or to find a recipe for my Zucchini Cobbler, please visit FernandinaBeachMarketPlace.com.

Reason Why You May Have Frequent Nose Bleeds

nose-bleedsNose bleeds or bloody noses can be incredibly difficult to deal with the first time. Frequent nose bleeds, though not a common sign of a serious health condition, are caused by things that you may do everyday and not even think about.

A dry climate can be one reason that your nose bleeds so often. The heat and lack of moisture will dry out the nose. When your nose is dry, the mucus inside begins to crust over. This can become itchy or become irritated, and then you have a nose bleed. Summers in dry areas are notorious for causing nosebleeds in healthy people. Avoid scratching at or picking at your nose in this situation to avoid nose bleeds.

During a cold, blowing your nose can be the cause of a nose bleed. Well, in general, blowing your nose too much can be a cause of nosebleeds. This could be from allergies (which carpet cleaners could help avoid if the allergen is airborne), or from a cold, like stated earlier. Blowing your nose too much, or too forcefully, can result in breaking some of the blood vessels in the nose. They are extremely fragile, and bleed easily. They are in the front and back of the nose.

A less common cause of nosebleeds is an injury to the face. These could occur from a punch to the face, a car accident, or a fall. While many nose bleeds will not require medical attention, these will – no matter how long they last. This kind of nose bleed could mean a more serious injury – a broken nose, internal bleeding, or a skull fracture. If you know what kind of injury caused the nose bleed, it’ll help the doctor that’s treating you.

Another cause of common nosebleeds can be blood-thinning medicines, aspirin, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs – NSAIDs. This prevent blood clots from forming. The blood must form a clot for a nosebleed to stop, which can make any nosebleed from a previous cause difficult to stop. However, medicines that thin the blood can cause more frequent nose bleeds. Clopidogrel and warfarin are two examples of blood thinners that have the risk of more frequent or longer nose bleeds. Any common medication for atrial fibrillation, or irregular heartbeat, also has the risk of creating more nose bleeds.

Other Uncommon Causes
The previously mentioned causes are among the most common reasons nosebleeds can occur often. There are plenty of uncommon or rare causes that might be concerning.

One such concerning cause is the use of too much alcohol. There is also data that proves that alcohol can cause nose bleeds if it’s consumed in high enough doses. Alcohol can cause blood to be unusually regulated. This can cause more blood to go to the nose, and one of the previous cases could cause a nose bleed easily. Unless it doesn’t stop within 20 minutes or so with direct manual pressure, it’s not life threatening or serious. The serious cause is the alcohol – which does more damage, but that is not for this article.

Furthermore, alcohol can cause the blood to act as if you are on a blood-thinning medicine. Blood pressure can be altered, and dehydration is also a risk.

Another uncommon cause is nasal surgery. Bleeding will be common for two to three days after the surgery. Nasal packing is usually given to keep the bleeding from getting out of hand. However, ignoring post surgery instructions can increase the frequency of post surgery bleeding. Blowing the nose the week immediately following the surgery is a big no-no. Strenuous exercise can also create the conditions for a bleeding nose after surgery.

Feedburner If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment below or subscribe to the feed to have future articles delivered to your e-mail and get the latest Amelia Island News, business, tourist activities and videos every morning!

SearchAmelia on TwitterYou can also choose to follow SearchAmelia on Twitter to get your daily updates!

The Hidden Dangers of Traditional Paints

The Hidden Dangers of Traditional PaintsYou want to keep your home environment healthy and safe by locking doors, using smoke alarms and routinely checking your home for possible safety hazards. One aspect of home safety that you may have overlooked is the paint and related solvents that you use and store in your home. How can paint be harmful to your home environment? And what can you do to keep paint and solvents from being a hazard in your home?

What Makes Paint Toxic?
Paint, strippers, and thinners can contain VOCs or volatile organic compounds. VOCs are gases emitted from the paint that can cause health issues. Glycol, xylene, ethyl acetate, methylene chloride and formaldehyde chemicals can be emitted from both solids and liquids and cause health problems for some time after the paint has dried on your home decorating project. Paint fumes can also cause illness issues when paint or paint-related products are being stored. While all people can be affected by breathing in these toxic fumes, babies, children and pregnant women are the most likely to be harmed due to their high respiratory rate.

People who routinely work with paint should protect themselves from the harmful fumes that paint emits. Persons with respiratory problems, children and babies should also be protected from exposure to paint and paint fumes. Government regulations regarding using paint only pertain to professional painters who paint often. These laws do not concern to folks who paint occasionally. Therefore, people who only paint occasionally in their homes need to use some common sense methods to protect themselves and their families from paint-related illness.

Potential Health Problems Associated With Paint Toxins
Lead-based paint is no longer made due to some of the side effects and health problems associated with using the substance. If your home was painted or built before 1978, it is possible for you to have lead-based paint in your home.

Some of the symptoms of lead poisoning due to to lead paint are:
· Nausea
· Coordination problems
· Language and behavior problems
· Slow growth patterns
· Headaches
· Organ damage
· Seizures

Children, babies, and pregnant women are especially susceptible to health problems due to exposure to lead-based paint. Even if your paint contains no lead, the fumes from some paint chemicals may cause health problems.

Some of the health issues caused by paint fumes include:
· Trouble breathing
· Vision problems
· Dizziness
· Allergic skin reactions
· Nose irritation
· Eye irritation
· Headaches

Ways to Reduce the Amount of Toxin Exposure from Paint
One way to reduce the amount of toxin exposure you or your family may receive from paint is to use paint that has a low or no VOCs rating. Also, using water-based paint rather than oil-based paint will go a long way in reducing the VOCs the paint contains to protect your family.

Some other ways to keep you safe and your family from health-related problems due to paint toxins are:
· Read the paint’s label and follow any instructions the manufacturer recommends
· Protect your skin by using painter coveralls
· Use proper ventilation when painting and when the paint is drying
· Store paint and paint-related products in a safe place
· Do not use lead-based paint
· Be aware that your walls may contain lead-based paints if the home was built before 1978
· Clean your skin thoroughly after painting
· Keep paint and paint related products away from children
· Clean up paint splatters and paint chips to prevent children from accidentally eating paint or paint chips

Modern paint is vibrant, holds its color for a long time and is safe when used properly. Paint manufacturers continue to work on making their products safer for the public’s use. People who purchase paint can stay safe from potential paint-related illnesses by following manufacturer’s recommendations as well as following the above suggestions to keep their home a healthy place to live and looking great as well.

About the author:
Lee Flynn is a freelance writer. Through small local workshops and articles, Lee trains and teaches others on home preparation, healthy > living, food storage techniques, and self reliance.

Feedburner If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment below or subscribe to the feed to have future articles delivered to your e-mail and get the latest Amelia Island News, business, tourist activities and videos every morning!

SearchAmelia on TwitterYou can also choose to follow SearchAmelia on Twitter to get your daily updates!

A Look at Epilepsy

A Look at EpilepsyWhen you hear the word epilepsy, you might think of intense seizures with muscle spasms and loss of consciousness. But most epilepsy seizures are surprisingly subtle and may be hard to recognize. These little spells can be an early warning sign of epilepsy, a brain disorder that strikes an estimated 1 in 26 Americans at some point in their lives. The sooner epilepsy is recognized, the sooner it can be treated and seizures prevented.

Most people know surprisingly little about epilepsy, even though it’s the nation’s 4th most common neurological disorder, after migraine, stroke, and Alzheimer’s disease. Epilepsy is marked by repeated, unpredictable seizures that may last for seconds or minutes. Seizures arise from abnormal bursts of electrical activity in the brain that trigger jerky movements, strange emotions or sensations, falls, or passing out.

“Epilepsy can strike people of all ages, from the moment of birth—even in the delivery room—up to older ages,” says Dr. Jeffrey Noebels, an epilepsy expert at Baylor College of Medicine. The condition is most likely to first arise in children and in adults over age 60. “Most types of epilepsy last a lifetime, but some are self-limited, meaning they can go away on their own,” Noebels adds.

The causes of epilepsy are varied. “Defects in genes are probably responsible for the largest fraction of epilepsy cases,” Noebels says. Scientists so far have linked more than 150 genes to epilepsy. “Other types of epilepsy can be acquired through trauma (such as head injury or stroke), infections, brain tumors, or other factors.”

Anything that disrupts the normal pattern of brain activity—from illness to brain damage to faulty brain development—can lead to seizures. But for up to half of people with epilepsy, the underlying cause is simply not known.

Types of seizures can also vary widely, which is why epilepsy is sometimes called a “spectrum disorder.” In some people, seizures may appear only occasionally. At the other end of the spectrum, a person may have hundreds of seizures a day. The seizures can be severe, with convulsions, loss of consciousness, or even sudden death in rare cases. Or seizures may be barely noticeable.

Such subtle seizures—sometimes called partial or focal seizures—can cause feelings of déjà vu (feeling that something has happened before); hallucinations (seeing, smelling, or hearing things that aren’t there); or other seemingly mild symptoms. During some seizures, a person may stop what they’re doing and stare off into space for a few seconds without being aware of it.

“These little spells or seizures can sometimes occur for years before they’re recognized as a problem and diagnosed as epilepsy,” says Dr. Jacqueline French, who specializes in epilepsy treatment at the New York University Langone Medical Center. “They can be little spells of confusion, little spells of panic, or feeling like the world doesn’t look real to you.”

The symptoms of these small seizures generally depend on which brain regions are affected. Over time, these types of seizures can give rise to more severe seizures that affect the whole brain. That’s why it’s important to get diagnosed and begin epilepsy treatment as soon as possible. “If you notice a repeating pattern of unusual behaviors or strange sensations that last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes, be sure to mention it to your doctor or pediatrician,” French says.

Over the past few decades, NIH-funded scientists have been working to develop better approaches for diagnosing, treating, and understanding epilepsy. The condition can now be diagnosed through imaging tools like MRI or CT scans, by testing blood for defective genes, or by measuring the brain’s electrical activity. Seizures can often be controlled with medications, special diets, surgery, or implanted devices. But there’s still a need for improved care.

“Traditional medications for treating epilepsy are effective but problematic,” says Dr. Ivan Soltesz, who studies epilepsy at Stanford University. “About 1 in 3 patients has drug-resistant epilepsy, meaning that available drugs can’t control the seizures. In these cases, surgical removal of brain tissue may be the best option.” When the drugs do work, he explains, they can also cause numerous side effects, including fatigue, abnormal liver function, and thinking problems.

One issue with today’s medicines is they aren’t targeted to the malfunctioning brain cells. Rather, they tend to affect the whole brain. “The drugs are also not specific in terms of the timing of treatment,” Soltesz says. “The medications are always in the body, even when the seizures are not occurring.”

He and other researchers are working to create highly targeted epilepsy therapies that are delivered only to malfunctioning brain regions and only when needed to block a seizure. So far, they’ve developed an experimental approach that can stop epilepsy-like seizures as they begin to occur in a mouse. The scientists hope to eventually translate those findings for use in people who have epilepsy.

In another line of NIH-funded research, a team of scientists is studying a deadly and poorly understood condition called SUDEP (for sudden unexpected death in epilepsy). “Most people with epilepsy live long and happy lives. But SUDEP is the most common cause of the shorter lifespan that can occur with epilepsy,” says Noebels. “It’s been a real mystery. We haven’t known who’s at greatest risk for this premature death. It can happen to different people who have epilepsy, from all walks of life.”

Noebels and his colleagues have identified several mouse genes that seem related to both sudden-death seizures and heart rhythm problems. The researchers are now searching for similar human genes that may help predict who’s most at risk for SUDEP. “We believe that SUDEP doesn’t have to happen—that we can learn about it, predict it, and eventually find better ways to prevent it in every patient,” Noebels says.

You can take steps to reduce some risk factors for epilepsy. Prevent head injuries by wearing seatbelts and bicycle helmets, and make sure kids are properly secured in car seats. Get proper treatment for disorders that can affect the brain as you age, such as cardiovascular disease or high blood pressure. And during pregnancy, good prenatal care can help prevent brain problems in the developing fetus that could lead to epilepsy and other problems later in life.

“We’ve made exciting advances to date in our understanding of epilepsy, its prevention, and treatment,” says French. “But there’s still much we have to learn, and much we’re actively working to improve.”

Contributed by NIH Office of Communications and Public Liaison
Editor: Harrison Wein, Ph.D.
Managing Editor: Vicki Contie
Contributors: Vicki Contie, Alan Defibaugh (illustrations), Brandon Levy, and Carol Torgan

Feedburner If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment below or subscribe to the feed to have future articles delivered to your e-mail and get the latest Amelia Island News, business, tourist activities and videos every morning!

SearchAmelia on TwitterYou can also choose to follow SearchAmelia on Twitter to get your daily updates!

I’d Like to Buy a Bowel, Please

I'd Like to Buy a Bowel, PleaseWhen you are diagnosed with cancer, some of the worst imaginable thoughts go through your mind. When you tell your loved ones you have cancer, what they imagine is even worse! Within two weeks I went from learning I had cancer to having about a foot of my colon and a portion of my rectum surgically removed to get this disease of epidemic proportions out of my body.

I remember waking up from the surgery in a combative state. I couldn’t swallow, I felt nauseated, and I was surrounded by people I didn’t know. Trying to sit up, I reached to clear my throat, a female nurse stopped my arm and explained I had a tube in my nose and I couldn’t take it out. I felt the head of my bed raise a little. I muttered, “I feel sick.” She waved an alcohol swab in front of me and said it would help. I took a breath and fell back to sleep.

The next time I woke up they were preparing to take me to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) to recover. I was told about my procedure. They briefly told me that I was given a temporary ileostomy bag so my colon could recover. I was also informed that I had a cyst on my ovary and they called in an additional surgeon to remove the cyst, my ovary and one of my fallopian tubes. It had been a long surgery, over seven hours. They wheeled me past the waiting room where my husband and father had been waiting; they asked the inevitable question, “How are you feeling?”

“Great, how are you feeling?” I snapped back.

“We’ll get her settled in, and then you can come back and sit with her.” I heard someone say.

The tube in my nose, a nasogastric tube or NG Tube, was causing me to panic. It hurt like Hell and I was having trouble breathing. It was supposed to be removing the contents of my stomach, but I felt like I was going to puke. The last thing you want to do after having major abdominal surgery, is to retch, so the hospital staff worked hard to make me a little more comfortable.

Finally, they let my family come into the room. It hurt to talk so I mostly nodded now and then to be a part of their conversation as they filled me in on their waiting room experience.

I had tubes and wires everywhere. An IV in my hand, oxygen under my nose, a tube up my nose, a heart monitor, and a contraption on my fingertip to measure something or another. There was a bag collecting my urine, a little plastic bottle collecting fluid from my abdomen, the tube down my throat was suctioning into a bag place near my headboard, and I had the ileostomy. I think they took my temperature every hour on the hour. I looked like a million bucks, or more like I was costing insurance about a million bucks… and I was starting to feel the pain.

My colorectal cancer was found during a routine screening; I was 51, one year past the recommended age. Before the surgery, I had discussed with my husband if any of my female organs were in the way, it was fine with me to have them removed. At my age, and with three healthy adult children… I was done with those internal body parts anyway. As it turned out, it was good we had that discussion.

My husband told me the surgeon did have to form an ileostomy, a procedure we were hoping to avoid. This is when the take the lowest part of your small intestine and turn it inside out like the cuff of a sleeve, and then they stitch it to the outside of your abdomen, called a stoma. When you look at the stoma, you are actually looking at the lining of your intestine. A pouch system is then attached to your skin as a means to collect the body’s waste. There were two holes: one has mucus (distal), and the other one evacuates waste (proximal).

My son, an environmental scientist, stopped by with a beautiful pink orchid, and sat with us. My oldest daughter, who works for a colorectal surgeon in Chattanooga, was driving to Florida to be by my side. She had called while I was in surgery and said she wasn’t able to function at work and thought she should come home for a few days. From the time we told her my diagnosis she was asking for copies of my discharge papers and pathology reports. She deciphered the information into plain English. Her surgeons assured her that my surgeon was doing everything exactly the way they would. Their words confirmed what my doctor was saying, and it put the entire family a little more at ease. Our youngest daughter, who also works in the medical field, is a student at Florida State University and had made plans to come home the following afternoon from Tallahassee, just as soon as she finished taking an exam. It was no surprise to me when all three of them jumped at the opportunity to see my intestines sewn to the outside of my body. The oldest explained all the gory details to her siblings; while it truly was a heart-warming moment for me to watch them bond, all three of them enjoyed it way too much.

While the surgery was painful, and I absolutely detested the NG Tube, the most difficult part of all was waiting the expected three to four days for the pathology reports to come back from the lab. The surgeon felt the cancer was caught early enough that he was able to remove all of the diseased tissue. He also removed a margin of surrounding tissue and 12 lymph nodes, too, now we needed to wait for those results.

Humor helped me face these changes to my body. I teased my husband about it being a good thing we were already married because, “Hey, would you like to see my intestines?” is not a very good pick-up line.

At first, we had a very hard time getting the pouching system attached to my skin without any leakage. Home health care would come by and check my vitals, help us order ostomy supplies, and give us a pat on the back for doing so well, but no one really offered usable tips. Everyone warned not to get information off of the internet, but one of the best tips I learned was to put a little toilet paper into the commode before draining the pouch to reduce the splash, genius!

Since I have no control over when my stoma will evacuate, one of the home health care nurses told me to eat marshmallows. Though I’m not a big fan unless they are roasted and layered on a s’more while sitting around the campfire, I tried it a couple of times without success.

Flushing the commode twice, using Lysol, air fresheners and a little product suggested by a friend called Poo-Pourri helps reduce the bathroom odor of a household learning to live with an Ostomate. Occasionally, especially when I’ve been sleeping, the pouch will fill with a substantial amount of air (gas), so I’ll step into the master-bath to burp the pouch. Once, after a long day away from the house and our dog cooped up inside, I awoke to my husband circling our bed in the middle of the night, he was practically sleep-walking and shouting, “Someone shit on the floor, someone shit on the floor!” The dog’s name is Bentley; I immediately realized he was not blaming the dog.


On the third day after my surgery, the doctor came in with the pathology report. He had indeed removed all of the cancer. The margins of tissue surrounding the tumor had no cancer cells and all 12 of the lymph nodes had no cancer cells. The doctor added, “You do not need any chemotherapy or radiation.”

“Hallelujah!” I know I heard a chorus of angels singing.

It has been nine weeks since my laparoscopic, low anterior resection and I have learned that I still have a lot to learn about having a stoma, and about how I want to live the rest of my life. I’m supposed to grieve; I don’t know when that phase will hit me, but right now I’m pretty damn happy that I don’t have cancer anymore. I’m happy that my ileostomy is supposed to be reversed, and today I hope to learn when testing will be scheduled to make that a reality. The sooner the better! My husband and I are still learning to be empty nesters, and with our youngest in the middle of her junior year in college, I’d like to kick-off 2016 with all remnants of cancer in my rear-view mirror and recovered enough to start anew!

Feedburner If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment below or subscribe to the feed to have future articles delivered to your e-mail and get the latest Amelia Island News, business, tourist activities and videos every morning!

SearchAmelia on TwitterYou can also choose to follow SearchAmelia on Twitter to get your daily updates!

Great American Smokeout is November 19, 2015

Great American Smokeout is November 19, 2015Get ready to lose the habit, and become victorious over tobacco. The American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout event is your chance to triumph over addiction. Every November, we set aside the third Thursday to encourage smokers to go the distance, and to finally give up smoking.

About 42 million Americans still smoke cigarettes, and tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States. As of 2013, there were also 12.4 million cigar smokers in the US, and over 2.3 million who smoke tobacco in pipes — other dangerous and addictive forms of tobacco.

By quitting — even for one day — you will be taking an important step toward a healthier life — one that can lead to reducing your cancer risk. It’s a race for your health, and it starts on the third Thursday of every November. November 19, 2015, is the day that quitters win.

Quitting is hard, but you can increase your chances of success with help. The American Cancer Society can tell you about the steps you can take to quit smoking and provide quit-smoking programs, resources and support that can increase your chances of quitting successfully.

To learn about the available tools, call us at 1-800-227-2345.

Feedburner If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment below or subscribe to the feed to have future articles delivered to your e-mail and get the latest Amelia Island News, business, tourist activities and videos every morning!

SearchAmelia on TwitterYou can also choose to follow SearchAmelia on Twitter to get your daily updates!

Keep Your Mouth Healthy, Oral Care for Older Adults

Keep Your Mouth Healthy, Oral Care for Older AdultsOral health is important for people of all ages. But the simple routine you learned as a kid—brush your teeth twice a day and floss regularly—can become more of a challenge as you get older. That’s partly why nearly 1 in 5 older Americans has untreated tooth decay. Among adults ages 75 and older, about 1 in 4 has lost all natural teeth.

Tooth decay and gum disease don’t have to be a part of getting older. You can take steps to keep your mouth healthy throughout your lifetime. And if you’re a caregiver for an older adult, you can help ensure that he or she gets proper oral care.

“We have to worry about the same conditions throughout life, although some conditions are more prevalent at certain ages,” says Dr. Dena Fischer, a dental health expert at NIH. The 2 most common oral health problems are tooth decay (cavities) and gum disease. “Gum disease is more common when you’re older,” Fischer explains. “But cavities can happen at any age, as long as you have natural teeth.” Both are largely preventable with proper care.

Cavities develop as plaque builds up on your teeth and under chipped fillings, producing acids that can eventually eat away at the tooth’s hard outer surface.

Gum disease is an infection of the gums and surrounding tissues that hold your teeth in place. Gum problems arise as plaque builds up along and under your gum line. In severe cases, the bone and tissue that hold teeth in place can break down, and teeth may eventually become loose and have to be removed.

Reduce your risk of developing tooth decay and gum disease by brushing daily with fluoride toothpaste and flossing. Also visit the dentist regularly for a cleaning and checkup.

Another common problem for older adults is dry mouth. Dry mouth occurs when you don’t have enough saliva, or spit, to keep your mouth wet. “Saliva is very important,” Fischer says. “The protective factors in saliva prevent cavities, gum disease, and fungal infections.”

Dry mouth can be caused by medications; alcohol or tobacco; or medical conditions, such as poorly controlled diabetes. Dry mouth is usually treatable, so talk with your doctor or dentist if you’re having problems.

Older adults are also at increased risk for oral cancer. Symptoms include a sore, irritation, or lump in the mouth or throat that lasts more than two weeks; it may be painful or may cause numbness. It’s important to catch oral cancer early, because treatment works best before the disease has spread. Be on the lookout for any changes in your mouth, especially if you smoke or drink.

If you serve as a caregiver to an older adult, you can help that person overcome oral health challenges. Encourage him or her to use an electric or large-handled toothbrush, so it’s easier to grip. You might place your hand over his/hers to help guide the toothbrush. Dentures should soak in water overnight and once a week with a denture cleaner. Dentures should also be rinsed after each meal and brushed daily.

A healthy mouth can help you eat well, avoid pain, and feel good about yourself. Take steps to keep your mouth healthy, whatever your age.

-Drink fluoridated water and use fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride protects against dental decay at all ages.
-Floss and brush teeth daily. (If you’re a caregiver for someone who can’t brush or floss his/her own teeth, you’ll need to help.)
-Visit your dentist regularly, even if you have no natural teeth and have dentures.
-Avoid tobacco and alcohol. They can raise the risk for oral and throat cancers.
-If medicines lead to a dry mouth, ask your doctor if other drugs might be used instead. If dry mouth continues, drink plenty of water, chew sugarless gum, and avoid tobacco and alcohol.

Article written by NIH Office of Communications and Public Liaison
Editor: Harrison Wein, Ph.D.
Managing Editor: Vicki Contie
Contributors: Vicki Contie, Alan Defibaugh (illustrations), and Emma Wojtowicz

Feedburner If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment below or subscribe to the feed to have future articles delivered to your e-mail and get the latest Amelia Island News, business, tourist activities and videos every morning!

SearchAmelia on TwitterYou can also choose to follow SearchAmelia on Twitter to get your daily updates!

Second Annual Teal Pumpkin Project

Second Annual Teal Pumpkin ProjectThe Teal Pumpkin Project is back for a second year.

What teal pumpkins mean to trick-or-treaters
Placing a teal pumpkin on your doorstep is all about raising awareness about food allergies. A teal pumpkin lets trick-or-treaters know they’ll be receiving non-food treats, such as toys, stickers, souvenirs, and more.

McLEAN, VA – Halloween can be a tricky time for children and families managing life-threatening food allergies. That’s why Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) is asking people to participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project™ this fall, showing their support for the nearly 6 million children in the U.S. – and millions more worldwide – with food allergies.

Place a teal pumpkin, the color of food allergy awareness, in front of your home to indicate non-food treats are available. Participating households may opt to print a free sign from FARE if they do not have a pumpkin, or make a donation and receive a “Proud Supporter” window cling (while supplies last).

In 2014, the inaugural Teal Pumpkin Project™ attracted supporters from 50 states and seven countries. This year, FARE is aiming for an even bigger impact with a goal of 100,000 households pledging to participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project™. Taking the Teal Pumpkin Project™ pledge on FARE’s website is a simple gesture that shows support, empathy and respect for individuals with food allergy.

“Food allergy is a life-altering and potentially life-threatening disease affecting 1 in 13 children in the U.S. Pledging to participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project™ is an easy and tangible way to make a big difference for children in your community who are living with food allergies or other conditions that mean candy isn’t an option,” said Veronica LaFemina, vice president of communications at FARE. “The Teal Pumpkin Project™ is already an international movement with thousands of households participating. We are thrilled to see so many households and families joining in this positive effort to create a safer, happier Halloween for all.”

Halloween can present a number of challenges for individuals and families managing food allergies because many popular candies include the most common allergens. In addition, different sizes of the same candy can use different ingredients, and smaller sizes of some candies that are popular during this time of year do not always have clear labels stating their ingredients.

“Last year, the Teal Pumpkin Project became a new family tradition,” said Elizabeth Moreno, of Beaverton, Ore. “We love that it includes all kids and sparks conversations that help educate people who might not learn about serious food allergies otherwise. Best of all, it makes my son with multiple food allergies feel empowered.”

Tracy Amin, a Seattle-based mother of two children who do not have food allergies, heard about the Teal Pumpkin Project™ last year from a friend who posted about it on social media.

“I decided to turn this great idea into a lesson in empathy – what does it mean to have a food allergy?” Amin said. “My kids had very little knowledge about food allergies, so after some research, we learned a lot as we sat down to paint our pumpkin teal. We are happy and so excited to support the campaign again this year, and are even planning a Teal Pumpkin Party!”

The Teal Pumpkin Project™ was inspired by a local awareness activity run by the Food Allergy Community of East Tennessee. In 2014, the international campaign reached 7 million people on social media.

FARE has a number of resources to help individuals and families get involved, including:

For more information about the Teal Pumpkin Project™, visit www.tealpumpkinproject.org. For more information about food allergies, visit www.foodallergy.org.

Feedburner If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment below or subscribe to the feed to have future articles delivered to your e-mail and get the latest Amelia Island News, business, tourist activities and videos every morning!

SearchAmelia on TwitterYou can also choose to follow SearchAmelia on Twitter to get your daily updates!

NAMI Fundraiser Dinner on October 17, 2015

NAMI Fundraiser Dinner on October 17, 2015The Nassau County, Florida NAMI affiliate will host its annual Community awareness and Fundraiser dinner on October 17th, beginning at 6:30pm.

The dinner will be held in Burn’s Hall of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church 801 Atlantic Avenue Fernandina Beach, Florida.

There will be both a live and silent auction.

Senator Aaron Bean will auctioneer at the dinner. This is the 11th year Senator Bean has devoted his time to auctioneer. This annual fundraiser in an effort to promote awareness of the need to improve services pertaining to mental illness.

Guest speakers will include: Chapter President Susan Whitman will provide insight on living successfully with a mental illness. Two local providers will also be on hand to give short presentations on residential opportunities in Nassau County for adults with a mental health diagnosis and newer treatments being offered for individuals with mental health symptoms that are resistant to medications.

Tickets are $20 and available at the door.

If you would like to preorder your tickets please call (904) 277-1886 or visit http://nassau.nami.org/

Feedburner If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment below or subscribe to the feed to have future articles delivered to your e-mail and get the latest Amelia Island News, business, tourist activities and videos every morning!

SearchAmelia on TwitterYou can also choose to follow SearchAmelia on Twitter to get your daily updates!

Fernandina Beach Fire Department Goes Pink

Fernandina Beach Fire Department Goes Pink

Click to enlarge image

Fernandina Beach Fire Department personnel will be sporting pink for the month of October to help bring awareness to the importance of mammograms and the dangers of breast cancer.

The fire service has always protected lives and property, and it works hard to educate the public to dangerous situations. The threat of breast cancer is one of those dangerous situations that threaten the lives of millions of women. According to BREASTCANCER.Org, 1 in 8 US women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of their life, and as of 2014, 2.8 million American women have a history of breast cancer.

As part of the Fernandina Beach Fire Department’s commitment to educating the public to the dangers of breast cancer, you will notice that the traditional navy blue uniforms will have a new twist, and it will serve as a reminder that it is important to have mammograms performed, and that self-exams saves lives.

Pictured: Local firefighters receive an award at the Fernandina Beach Yulee Relay for Life Kick-Off Party held October first. The next Relay event, a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, will be held at Main Beach on March 5, 2016, from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm.

Feedburner If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment below or subscribe to the feed to have future articles delivered to your e-mail and get the latest Amelia Island News, business, tourist activities and videos every morning!

SearchAmelia on TwitterYou can also choose to follow SearchAmelia on Twitter to get your daily updates!

Getting to Know Your Thyroid

Getting to Know Your ThyroidYou’ve probably heard of the thyroid gland, but do you know what it does? You might not give it a second thought unless something goes wrong. Thyroid trouble can cause a range of seemingly unrelated problems, including drastic changes to your weight, energy, digestion, or mood. Learn to recognize signs of thyroid disorder, so you can get treatment if needed.

The thyroid is a small but powerful butterfly-shaped gland located at the front of your neck. It controls many of your body’s most important functions. The thyroid gland makes hormones that affect your breathing, heart rate, digestion, and body temperature. These systems speed up as thyroid hormone levels rise. But problems occur if the thyroid makes too much hormone or not enough.

Nearly 1 in 20 Americans ages 12 and older has an under-active thyroid, or hypothyroidism. When thyroid glands don’t produce enough hormones, many body functions slow down. A smaller number of people, about 1 in 100, has an over-active thyroid, called hyperthyroidism. Their thyroids release too much hormone.

Thyroid problems are most likely to occur in women or in people over age 60. Having a family history of thyroid disorders also increases the risk.

Thyroid problems are often caused by autoimmune disorders, in which the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys the body’s own cells. For example, an autoimmune disorder called Graves’ disease can cause the thyroid to be over-active, while one called Hashimoto’s disease can make the thyroid under-active.

Thyroid disorders can be hard to diagnose, because the symptoms are similar to other conditions. “Hypothyroidism can be very subtle,” says NIH’s Dr. Monica Skarulis, an expert on the thyroid. If a thyroid disorder is suspected—maybe because of a weight change or fatigue—blood tests can help to confirm the diagnosis and find its cause.

Patients with under-active thyroids can be treated with artificial thyroid hormones. Over-active thyroids are often treated with medications that reduce hormone levels.

During pregnancy, thyroid hormones can affect the health of both the mother and the developing baby. Thyroid hormone levels sometimes need to be carefully monitored and adjusted, even if the expectant mother never had thyroid problems before. After pregnancy, some women have abnormal levels of thyroid hormone for a year or more.

The thyroid gland also can be affected by cancer. Thyroid cancer usually has no symptoms. It’s sometimes first noticed as a lump in the neck, although such bumps are more likely to be harmless nodules.

“Thyroid nodules are extremely common, whereas thyroid cancer is pretty rare,” Skarulis says. A doctor can determine if a nodule is cancerous by removing and examining a tiny piece of it. If it shows signs of cancer, the nodule or even the entire thyroid will be removed.

If you notice signs of thyroid disease, talk with a health professional. Based on your family history, symptoms, and medical exam, your provider can help you decide if further testing or treatment is needed.

Joint and muscle pain
Cold intolerance
Slowed heart rate
Weight gain

Nervousness or irritability
Trouble sleeping
Muscle weakness
Heat intolerance or increased sweating
Rapid and irregular heartbeat
Frequent bowel movements or diarrhea
Weight loss

Article written by NIH Office of Communications and Public Liaison
Editor: Harrison Wein, Ph.D.
Managing Editor: Vicki Contie
Contributors: Alan Defibaugh (illustrations), Brandon Levy, Harrison Wein, and Emma Wojtowicz

1 2 3 4 5 6 43