Saturday, September 22, 2018

Now What's Wrong With Me? It's Called Osteogenesis Imperfecta


  






Atticus Shaffer from the ABC comedy The Middle has Osteogenesis Imperfecta. 


 https://www.imdb.com/name/nm2557831/mediaviewer/rm3102942464


https://www.imdb.com/name/nm2557831/mediaviewer/rm1859912448

What Am I talking about? 

In March of this year, 2018, I was diagnosed with Osteogenesis Imperfecta. This is brittle bone disease. In childhood I was blessed to have only broken a few bones. In my left wrist I broke several bones when I was a teenager and then when I was a freshman in high school I broke my collar bone in a car accident. As an adult, I hate to say, as I am now middle aged, I have at least 6 breaks in my left foot and a break in my left tibia of which I didn’t even know was broken until my dr. found a healed fracture on an x-ray. The same happened with 2 of the 6 fractures in my foot. That’s some strong pain tolerance to be able to walk on a broken leg, and 2 broken bones in your foot, they were broken at the same time. I can remember the day that I broke them, now that I know they were broken, because I stepped one my foot, I was just walking, but I remember feeling a very horrible pain that lasted a day or two. There was another time that I was standing by a chair to sit down and I slide my shoe off and when I place, not even stepped, but just placed my foot on the ground, I broke a bone in my foot. I knew that I had broken that one because by that point I was beginning to recognize what broken bones feel like. It is a different feeling than dislocating a bone. Why I say this is because I dislocation a joint at least once a day if not more, so I already have a high pain tolerance. I’m learning that I no longer need to try and walk off the pain or just try to work it out because now that I know that I have OI I need to pay more attention to the fact that if I have pain, especially in my feet or hands, I most likely have broken a bone. The type of OI that I have affects your hands/wrists and feet more than anything once you reach middle age. And that’s right where I am. Vanity may play a small part in being sad about being middle aged but more so just knowing how fast life is going by and know how much of it that I miss because of the rare genetic disorders that I have that cause me to have to live my life in a manner that most people never have to consider.

About my disorders, well, really they are called Syndromes because they involve many different issues where as a disorder can be more focused on just a few or one issue. At least that’s how I understand it. So, one of the syndromes that I have, and I have lots of them, is called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome which cause you to have many many symptoms and issues, but the main one for me is dislocation of joints. These Syndromes that I have are genetic disorder which means that I was born with them and because as of now Science has not found a cure then I will deal with these for the rest of my life and the two that I’m going to tell you about today are progressive which means that right now, it’s as good as it’s going to be for me and trust me it’s not good now. I used to notice that about once a year to every 8 months that I would have some type of problem that my body would not be able to recover from like it used to and then it became about every 6 months this would happen and now it’s sometimes as much as once a month that I will get sick or have an issued or an injury happen and I am not recovering from them. This is proof just how progressive these can be. What scares me about this is that the although I could certainly die from complications of the major heart issues that I have or a ruptured organ or artery, these syndromes do not kill you. I guess that good news, but it’s also bad news for me because the people in my family tend to live well into their 90’s and I am on 51. I don’t know anyone in my family who has these disorders as my birth father, I’m adopted but I have met my birth families, who I have inherited these from died at an earlier age due to complications of a car accident.

So on to the syndromes that I have. One is called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome Classical Type 1 or sometimes just known as Classical Type. The type I have effects about 1 in 20,000 to 50,000 people although there are many others out there like I was who have gone undiagnosed. I have another rare genetic disorder called Osteogenesis Imperfecta Type 1. I have shared lots of information about EDS before, so I want to focus this post on OI and what it is.

What is Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI)?
http://www.oif.org/site/PageNavigator/AOI_Facts.html

Osteogenesis imperfecta (OI) or Brittle Bone Disease is a complicated, variable and rare disorder. Its major feature is a fragile skeleton, but many other body systems are also affected. OI is caused by a mutation (change) in a gene that affects bone formation, bone strength and the structure of other tissues. It is a life-long disorder. OI occurs equally among males and females and in all racial groups. It is estimated that approximately 25,000 to 50,000 people in the U.S. have OI. (Having OI and EDS Classical type together is extremely rare, it is said that there are less than 30 people in world with this combination.) With good medical management and supportive care, the majority of people who have OI can expect an average life span.

People with OI experience frequent broken bones from infancy through puberty. The frequency typically decreases in the young adult years but may increase again later in life. Respiratory problems including asthma are often seen. Other medical characteristics and issues include:

Bone deformity, and bone pain.
Short stature.
Spine curves.
Low Bone Density.
Loose joints, ligament laxity and muscle weakness are common.
Distinctive features of the skull including late closing fontanels, and head circumference greater than average.
Hearing loss may begin in the early 20s and by middle age is present in more than 50% of people with OI.
Brittle teeth (called dentinogenesis imperfecta or DI) are seen in 50% of people who have OI
Respiratory problems including asthma; may be aggravated by chest wall deformity and/or spine deformity.
Vision problems including myopia and risk for retinal detachment
Skin hyperlaxity; easy bruising.
Cardiac issues.
Fatigue.
Basilar Invagination a serious neurological problem is seen in some people with the more severe forms of OI.
Skin, blood vessels and internal organs may be fragile.

OI exhibits wide variation in appearance and severity. Severity is described as mild, moderate, or severe. The most severe forms lead to early death. Clinical features (observable signs) such as fracture frequency, muscle strength or extra skeletal problems vary widely not only between types, but within types, and even within the same family. Some features are age dependent.

Types of OI
Since the 1970’s a list of numbered types has been used to describe the different forms of OI. The original list featured 4 Types. Today, as a result of recent research 15 Types of OI have been identified. Many people with OI do not fit clearly into one of the identified types and not all characteristics are seen in each person. A description of the more common OI Types follows. Understanding the individual’s OI Type provides a starting point for understanding the person’s health care needs. But due to all of the variable features, care for each person needs to be individualized.

People with Type I OI, the mildest and most common form, may have only a handful of fractures or as many as several dozen fractures in a lifetime. They may have few obvious signs of the disorder. There usually is little or no bone deformity. Height is less affected than in other types of OI. People with Type I OI are often similar in height to other family members. Muscle weakness, joint laxity and flat feet are common. Dislocations and sprains may occur as well as fractures. Life expectancy appears to be average.

Type II OI is the most severe form. Infants are quite small and are usually born with multiple fractures, an unusually soft skull and an unstable neck. Limbs may be disproportionately small and legs may fall into a frog-like position. The head may be large for the size of the body. Almost all infants with Type II OI die at or shortly after birth, often due to respiratory problems. In the newborn period, it can be difficult to distinguish between Type II and severe Type III OI. This means that some children diagnosed clinically as Type II at birth may actually have Type III OI and have a longer life expectancy.

People with Type III OI are born with fractures. X-rays may reveal healed fractures that occurred before birth. Common signs include short stature, progressive long bone deformities, spinal curvature, and a barrel-shaped rib cage. People with Type III OI may have anywhere from several dozen to several hundred fractures in a lifetime. Surgical correction of long bone bowing and scoliosis is common. Life expectancy varies. Some people with Type III OI have severe, sometimes fatal, respiratory problems in infancy or childhood. Some children and adults with severe Type III OI may require supplemental oxygen. Some individuals succumb to respiratory problems in adulthood due to progressive rib cage and spine deformities. Other people with Type III OI will have a near-average life span.

Type IV OI is the moderate type of OI. The clinical picture can be similar to Type I OI or more like Type III OI. People with this form of OI may be somewhat shorter than others in their family, have frequent fractures that decrease after puberty, and have mild to moderate bone deformity. Life expectancy appears to be average.

Type V is moderate in severity and is similar to Type IV in appearance and symptoms. Identifying features include hypertrophic calluses that may form at fracture or surgical procedure sites and restricted forearm rotation due to calcification of the membrane between the radius and ulna.

Type VI is another moderate form and is similar to Type IV in appearance. This is an extremely rare form. It is distinguished by a characteristic mineralization defect that can be seen in biopsied bone.

How Is OI Inherited?
Osteogenesis imperfecta (OI) is a genetic disorder. Most cases (90 percent) are caused by a faulty gene that reduces either the amount or the quality of type 1 collagen throughout the body. These mutations are inherited in a dominant manner. The other 10 percent of cases are caused by mutations in other genes that are inherited in either a dominant or a recessive manner.

Children inherit two copies of each gene – one from each parent. When OI is caused by a dominant mutation only one copy of the OI gene mutation is necessary for the child to have OI. In the majority of cases, the gene is either inherited from a parent who has OI or results from a spontaneous new mutation occurring at the time of conception. In rare cases dominant OI can occur when a parent is mosaic for an OI mutation. This means that an OI causing mutation is present in a percentage of one parent’s cells, but does not cause any symptoms in the parent. For a child to inherit OI in a recessive manner, the gene mutation must come from both parents. In this situation, the parents do not have OI, but both carry the mutation in their genes.

A person who has dominant OI has a 50 percent chance of passing on the disorder to each of his or her children. An affected child will have the same mutation, and therefore the same type of OI, as the parent. However, the expression— the degree of severity, or number of fractures— may be different. Unaffected siblings of a child with dominant OI have no greater risk of having children with OI than anyone in the general population. Unaffected siblings of a child with recessive OI have a 67 percent chance of being a carrier for the recessive gene. Genetic testing is available for siblings.

How is OI Diagnosed?
Broken bones that occur from little or no trauma are often the first indication that an infant or child may have OI. Babies with moderate or severe forms of OI are often born with broken bones. Children with milder OI (Type I) often sustain their first broken bone as a result of normal activity—during a diaper change, while being lifted or burped, or when they begin standing and walking. Some very mild cases of OI Type I are not diagnosed until the teen or adult years.

OI remains primarily a clinical diagnosis. A physician, usually a geneticist, who is familiar with all types of OI, can often diagnose the condition based on the presence of fractures and other clinical features. A family history for the disorder and/or genetic testing can confirm a diagnosis. Additional blood and urine tests are often used to rule out other disorders such as Hypophosphatasia or rickets.

The more severe forms of OI can be diagnosed prenatally. Ultrasound can detect bowing, fractures, shortening or other bone abnormalities. But even when ultrasound is done by a highly qualified professional, it may not be possible to pinpoint the type of OI or differentiate between Type II or Type III.

How is OI Treated?
There is no cure for OI, but there are ways to manage the symptoms. Despite the obstacles, many people who have OI lead productive and fulfilling lives well into their adult years. The goal of all treatment is to minimize fractures, enhance independent function, and promote general health. Medical care for children and adults who have OI involves an interdisciplinary team. This can include a primary care doctor, orthopedists, endocrinologists, geneticists, rehabilitation specialists, neurologists and pulmonologists. Treatment may include fracture care, physical therapy, surgical procedures, medications, life style features and mobility aides.

Fracture Care. Casting, splinting and bracing broken bones can help them heal properly. However long periods of immobility can further weaken bones and lead to muscle loss, weakness, and more fractures. Many orthopedists prefer to treat fractures with short term immobilization in lightweight casts, splints, or braces to allow some movement as soon as possible after the fracture.

Physical Therapy and Safe Exercise. Goals for physical therapy include expanding and maintaining function and promoting independence. A typical program includes muscle strengthening and aerobic conditioning. Physical therapy often begins in infancy to counteract the delay in motor skill development many children experience due to OI related muscle weakness. Adaptive devices may be needed. Occupational therapy can help with fine motor skills and selection of adaptive equipment for daily living. As a child with OI grows older and gains more independence, he or she will benefit from continued physical activity, such as adapted physical education. Adults with OI also benefit from safe, regular exercise to maintain bone and muscle mass. Swimming and water therapy are particularly well-suited for people with OI of all ages, as they allow independent movement with little fracture risk. Walking is also excellent exercise for those who are able (with or without mobility aids).

Surgery. Surgery may be needed to repair a broken bone, correct bone deformities such as bowing, stabilize the spine or repair tiny bones in the middle ear and improve hearing. Many children with OI undergo a surgical procedure known as rodding, in which metal rods are inserted into the long bones to control fractures and improve deformities that interfere with function. Both non-expandable and expandable rods are available.

Medications. Bisphosphonate drugs, which are currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to prevent and treat osteoporosis are used off label to increase bone density in children and adults with moderate and severe OI. Other drugs that were developed to treat osteoporosis are also used to prevent age-related bone loss in adults who have OI. Teriparatide (a drug based on the parathyroid hormone) is one of them. Treatments under study include growth hormone, and gene therapies. The search continues for a drug treatment that is specific for OI.

Healthy Lifestyle. People with OI benefit from a healthy lifestyle that includes safe exercise and a nutritious diet. Adequate intake of nutrients, such as Vitamin D and calcium is necessary to maintain bone health, however, extra-large doses of these nutrients are not recommended.

Maintaining a healthy weight is important since extra weight adds stress to the skeleton, heart and lungs and reduces the ability to move easily. In addition, people with OI should avoid smoking, second hand smoke, excessive alcohol or caffeine consumption and steroid medications, all of which reduce bone density.

Other Treatments that focus on OI related symptoms include:
Hearing aids
Crowns for brittle teeth
Supplemental oxygen for people with breathing problems
Mobility aids such as walkers, crutches, canes and wheelchairs

Are There Precautions to Take When Caring for People with OI? Never pull or push on a limb, or bend it into an awkward position not even to take an x-ray.

Use caution when inserting IVs, taking blood pressure, or performing other medical procedures to avoid causing injury.

Always dose medicines to the size, NOT the age of short statured adults.

When a fracture is suspected, minimize handling of the affected limb.

Respect the opinions, advice, or instructions provided by parents, children, and adults with OI. Based on experience they give good directions for the safest ways to lift, carry or reposition. Having dealt with dozens of fractures and medical procedures, even children have a good sense of when a bone is broken even before x-rays are taken.

Handle babies with extra care.

Lift a baby with OI by placing one hand under the buttocks and legs, and the other hand under the shoulders, neck and head.

Do not lift the baby from under the armpits.

Do not lift by the ankles to change a diaper; rather slide a hand under the buttocks.

Babies do not need to be kept on a pillow or soft surface. Encourage babies to explore independent movement.

Supporting infants in a variety of positions (e.g., side lying, stomach lying) develops muscles that will help with sitting and standing later on.

OI in History
There is evidence that OI has affected people since ancient times. It has been recognized in an Egyptian mummy of an infant from about 1000 BC. The mummy is currently in the British Museum in London, England. A Viking leader who lived in the 9th century, Ivar Ragnarsson “Ivar the Boneless,” probably had OI. He is reported to have been a very wise leader and a very fierce warrior who had to be carried into battle on a shield because his legs were so soft. Case studies of people with fragile bones and hearing loss began appearing in medical literature in the 1600’s. The term “osteogenesis imperfecta” was used in medical literature beginning in the 1840’s. Early in the 20th century OI was identified as a condition people were born with rather than an illness they acquired later. Today, people who have OI are involved in every walk of life.

This article is based on the brochure, Introduction to Osteogenesis Imperfecta: A Guide for Medical Professionals, Individuals and Families Affected by OI. See the section of this website – “About OI/Publications” – for fact sheets, booklets and videos that provide additional information on many topics related to understanding, treating and living with OI.


I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again…..

It is good to know what is wrong with me as Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and Osteogenesis Imperfecta OI explains everything that has ever been wrong with me from literally the top of my head to the bottom of my feet since birth. I am however dealing with the reality that my pain and fatigue along with many other things that I deal with will be with me for the rest of my life. My pain greets me in the morning, stays with me in every step I take and every movement that I make, it puts me to bed at night, or earlier, and it haunts my dreams and wakes me from my dreams nightly. This as for now will be the rest of my life.



Sunday, September 16, 2018

Let's do some Education About EDS

Ehlers Danlos Syndrome is a genetic rare disorder that most medical professionals don't know much about. It's time to spread awareness and educate others on how hard this disorder is to live with.


Let's do some Education of EDS by spreading the word to raise awareness. Click on the link below to get your shirt. There are several different colors and styles to choose from.

https://teespring.com/ehlers-danlos-education#pid=2&cid=569&sid=front







Saturday, September 15, 2018

Frown Fixer

With Ehlers Danlos it's often hard to find things to be happy about, or at least for me it feels that way. I do tell dumb jokes and do so to try and get the attention on things with people other than them asking me how I'm doing. I love to laugh and I love making people laugh more than anything. I.ve decided that since I can't go to an office to work and that I can't even depend on myself to have a regular schedule to work an online job which means that I'm on disability which means that I don't make much money at all and I really have to be careful how much I make so that I don't lose my insurance while on disability that I decided to increase my audience for my dumb jokes a little wider and maybe make a buck or two. So here it is......

The Frown Fixer series of the Carly Joke Remembering Collection.












I have a friend Carly who can never remember jokes so I decided to start selling t-shirts with a joke on it so people like Carly don’t have to worry with remembering jokes because now they can become a Frown Fixer with me by wearing their joke for the whole day. These are my first products in my Carly Joke Remembering Collection. Go get yourself a shirt you forgetful people, no really before you forget.... hurry up!!!


Thursday, August 9, 2018

Ehlers Danlos Syndrome with Liberty the Dog Children's Book













Here’s a quick look inside the book. 


New updated copies of Liberty the Dog’s book are in. She’s sooo excited and she made me sit down and listen to her read it to me.


You can find a copy of her book anywhere books are sold online.

Ehlers Danlos Syndrome with Liberty the Dog.
This book can be found anywhere that books are sold online.


Click on this link or copy and paste it into your address bar!!

 www.amazon.com/dp/1723438138


Liberty, an Emotional Support Dog, Helps You Explain Ehlers Danlos Syndrome to Others.

Authored by Amy Dee Hosp

Liberty, the Ehlers Danlos Dog, shares a genetic disorder with her owner called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. This is Liberty's story about what it is like to live with EDS and how she, an Emotional Support Dog, helps her owner. Liberty's story will help children who have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome not only understand better what EDS is but how to explain it to friends and family along with helping to educate others about the EDS child's special needs when at play or participating in sports.

This book is a great tool to help your child at the beginning of the school year introduce themselves with some of their challenges to their classmates and teachers.

About the author:
Amy Hosp grew up in Frisco TX and she is a graduate of Dallas Christian College where she earned a B.S. in Ministry & Leadership, and has spent some time working toward earning a Master's degree at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth TX. In 2005 Amy served as a missionary in Nigeria.
In 2012 Amy was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. She has Classical Type I which causes a host of health issues that has left her disabled. Despite her disabilities Amy enjoys random adventures ranging from a spur of the moment road trip to the country, to exploring ideas of the unknown in life. Her life is a voyage and she wants to invite you to go along with her and find in you, what she has and is still finding, "The person that God created me to be!"
Amy is a writer, photographer, musician and a missionary. She deals with life by always looking for the positive side to every situation and she will leave you with a smile. Her passion is to challenge the minds of others to look deep inside of themselves and look at life from a different perspective and also to find the true giftings of God in their lives. Amy brings a unique view to understanding God's fullness and happiness for today's believer.


Find me at:

https://www.facebook.com/LibertyEDSdog/

https://www.instagram.com/liberty_the_ehlers_danlos_dog/

www.thelibertyofitall.com

https://www.facebook.com/ymadeehosp

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Ehlers Danlos Syndrome with Liberty the Dog, Ehlers Danlos Children's Book, Updated and Now With Pictures



Ehlers Danlos Syndrome With Liberty The Dog

Are you looking for a book for your children to help them explain to their friends about EDS? I'm happy to announce that the book 
Ehlers Danlos Syndrome With Liberty The Dog
is done and ready to purchase! Liberty and I wrote a book for kids that have EDS to help them explain a little about EDS to their friends and classmates. Liberty also explains what an Emotional Support Dog is and what she does to help me.
We are very excited about this and can't wait to help kids.


If  you bought a book in July, there's just one of you, but if you will comment here I will send you a new book free of charge! The book you received was sent to you before changes were made. 

Click on this link or copy and paste it into your address bar!!


This book can be found anywhere that books are sold online.

Take a look and give us a like while you're there!

Liberty, an Emotional Support Dog, Helps You Explain Ehlers Danlos Syndrome to Others.
Authored by Amy Dee Hosp

Liberty, the Ehlers Danlos Dog, shares a genetic disorder with her owner called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. This is Liberty's story about what it is like to live with EDS and how she, an Emotional Support Dog, helps her owner. Liberty's story will help children who have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome not only understand better what EDS is but how to explain it to friends and family along with helping to educate others about the EDS child's special needs when at play or participating in sports.

This book is a great tool to help your child at the beginning of the school year introduce themselves with some of their challenges to their classmates and teachers.

About the author:
Amy Hosp grew up in Frisco TX and she is a graduate of Dallas Christian College where she earned a B.S. in Ministry & Leadership, and has spent some time working toward earning a Master's degree at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth TX. In 2005 Amy served as a missionary in Nigeria.
In 2012 Amy was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. She has Classical Type I which causes a host of health issues that has left her disabled. Despite her disabilities Amy enjoys random adventures ranging from a spur of the moment road trip to the country, to exploring ideas of the unknown in life. Her life is a voyage and she wants to invite you to go along with her and find in you, what she has and is still finding, "The person that God created me to be!"
Amy is a writer, photographer, musician and a missionary. She deals with life by always looking for the positive side to every situation and she will leave you with a smile. Her passion is to challenge the minds of others to look deep inside of themselves and look at life from a different perspective and also to find the true giftings of God in their lives. Amy brings a unique view to understanding God's fullness and happiness for today's believer.


Find me at:





Sunday, April 29, 2018

I'm On Wheels With Pink Wanda!



Wanda is my new best friend!

Who is pink Wanda and how did she get her name?

Pink Wanda was given her name by one of the nurses in the infusion room where I get saline IV's. The nurse decided that PWH would be great initials and that Pink Wanda sounded fun so he officially gave her the name. 

Thanks Rahil!

Everywhere I go with Pink Wanda she turns heads and starts discussions about how cool she is and how the head turned folks have never seen a pink wheelchair and how much they need one but usually say they want one in their favorite color. I send them to Quick and Mobile and tell them what a great company they are and how much they helped me in answering my questions and helping me with my ordering of Pink Wanda. 




I loom knitted the pouch for Pink Wanda and I carry my phone and car keys, straws, a pen and note pad and a spoon cause you just never know when you might need to eat some ice cream. 😋😊



Please go check out the website and see all the cool chairs they have for you!

https://quicknmobile.com/


She is my Electra 7 HD power wheelchair! I purchased her in December 2017 and over the past few months I've been getting used to working with her. She is my new best friend because she is such a great gal to pal around with. I take her everywhere I go just in case I need her but I don't use her everywhere I go. So far she's been entrusted loyal friend. She runs on batteries that take about five hours to charge and the batteries are very lightweight.  There are two of them, they long and they sit on either side of the chair and I usually only have to charge the batteries once every 2 to 3 weeks depending on how much I do. Each battery can go about 30 miles so with two batteries I could go all the way from Frisco where I live to Fort Worth where I get treatment for my Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and POTS. Of course I would not do that because even though Pink Wanda travels about 4 mph or maybe a little faster that would take me a super long time to get there but the good news is that I would be able to get her recharged while I'm getting my treatment in order to ride back home.

I do get concerned about myself that I'm going to end up being the old lady that jumps in her wheelchair and runs the 7-Eleven but honestly I could do that because there's a 7-Eleven just down the street from where I live and I love using Pink Wanda. I'm not making fun of anyone, I see a lot of these people in different areas in Fort Worth and I think two things one how fun is it that you can get out and take care of yourself and two, I really feel bad that they can't get around any other way. Even though I'm not sure that's the case that's what I think anyway. I'm pretty sure I'm going to take Pink Wanda, instead of my car, to my next dental appointment.  If you see a pink wheelchair flying by, it's me so honk and wave!

Speaking of how fun it is to be able to get out and get around here's my first outing story.   Three weeks after having my chair I wanted to go to a park that has been built behind the house were I grew up. There is a really nice walking trail in the woods behind my old house. I have only been there one or two times since my parents moved from there in the early 90's but as a child I played in those woods all the time and I would cross those woods to go to a friends house in the neighborhood across town but thanks to the woods I could get there relatively quick. I always felt like Laura Ingalls Wilder walking to school when I walked in those woods. I'm probably the only kid in my hometown that spent so much time in those woods. I almost drowned in those woods when I was three in the creek there and I had favorite places in the woods that I would go and sit and sing or pray or just to be outside. I was so excited at the thought of being able to go through those woods now that I have Pink Wanda and since the city so conveniently built me a sidewalk, which I'm sure that they did it just for me, why not go and visit one of my favorite places on Earth! Anyway I spent about an hour maybe an hour and a half in the woods taking pictures and being amazed at how many things had changed in all of those well let me just say bunches of years since I was a kid (In my head it's only been a few years though). I was looking for one particular tree which was my favorite tree and I saw two or three that I thought maybe were it because when I sat by that tree I knew that I could look through the trees of the fence line and see my house and that was the case with several of the trees that I found but then all of a sudden I looked and I just started crying because I knew that I had found my tree. Now to some people this might seem really silly or weird or maybe even unnecessary, but I have not been able to go outside and do the things that I want to do in such a long time because of my inability to walk long distances and even if I could walk a long distance without too much pain then I definitely paid for that later either that day or the next day or sometimes throughout the next week afterwards because it would just wear me out to walk a long distance. So Pink Wanda has given me the gift to be able to go out and enjoy things that I truly find worth living my life for. 

What do I mean by worth living my life for? I mean that I see the handiwork of God in nature, I see art all around me, I see a gazillion things to take photographs of and share with the world. I find peacefulness, I find joy, and I'm really able to connect with God without all of the distractions that we have at home and around people. Another thing that I like to do when I was a child was ride go carts and I had a minibike and I love to ride the minibike and of course my Amy powered bike. 










The day that I took Pink Wanda to the woods behind the house where I grew up it was extremely windy and chilly but I knew once I got into the wooded area that would protect me from the wind and it did when I got home that afternoon I honestly felt like I had been outside riding a go kart.


Some pics from my ride into the woods.... oh that sounds like a book or song title.


Liberty the Dog exploring with me!


What a cool rainbow around the fountain!



Just as with anything new, Pink Wanda comes with a learning curve. If you've never driven or used a power chair and you must know that you need to practice in a large open area before you try to go down a hallway or turn a corner because not only does it take coordination between your brain and your hand but it takes being able to judge distances and with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome those are two things that I struggle with. Pink Wanda can go very slow or she can go very quick and any speed in between. So I definitely suggest starting very slow on the slowest speed and then moving up to a more reasonable speed if you're actually going to get anywhere. I will say once that you are used to using your chair and you began to use the chair at top speed gonna feel like a snail on the lower speed but again let me suggest that you remember how fast you can go when you're trying to go into a small space such as an elevator or when you're trying to turn around in a small space. One thing that I still am not used to is that once you let go of the joystick it takes a second or two for the chair to stop. I haven't actually timed it but all I know is that if you think you're gonna stop when you let go you're not and I have ran my feet into a gazillion things, one day I thought I had snapped my foot right off, there are times when I have ran into the wall forward and backwards or into a chair so please heed my warning stop before you need to stop and remember if you're going really fast it's going to take you longer to stop. I do like that I can choose different speeds with Pink Wanda because I can go fast enough to get a little breeze if I need one and I can go around people that walk slow or are just in my way ;) and once I go around them I takeoff speeding.  Pink Wanda saves me a lot of time when I go anywhere because I can get to my destination, particularly in the hospital, in the fourth of the time that it would take me to walk there.

The only thing that I have struggled with so far with Pink Wanda is getting her in and out of my car. I drive an old model Chevy Impala and the trunk is very high off the ground. With the batteries in I find it hard to lift her because it adds five or six pounds to her. The batteries are so simple to take out so I just slide them out and then I lift her into the trunk. Some days this can be quite a task and other days I'm shocked at how easy it is. If you had a more modern vehicle or a hatchback or SUV that does not have a traditional truck then it would be much easier for someone to get their chair in and out of their car. I am currently looking for ideas of something to use to help me better lift Pink Wanda into the car I have. I've thought of  the idea of going to a tractor supply place and seeing if I can get some type of fold-able ramp which I think would be much more affordable than ordering traditional wheelchair ramp assistant whatever they're called.


Just give me a call if you would like to come and clean out my garage! :)




I love to explore! One of my very most favorite things about Pink Wanda is that I can explore places that I have not been able to do before because the walk would've been to long or to difficult. I have a friend who works at the hospital where I do IV treatment and to walk to the part of the hospital where he is is a good 3 to 5 minute walk for me and now I just point Pink Wanda in the right direction and off we go I'm able to run over and say a quick hello and get back in time for my appointment in the amount of time that it would have taken me before just to get to my appointment. I'm the kind of person that wants to take the road that looks interesting or the road that I've never been down before or if I see something off in the distance that looks interesting to me I want to go see it. I even enjoy doing this in buildings, particularly hospitals. I can't help it.... I never drive home the same way every week because to me it just gets boring. This has developed my skill of knowing every single possible way to get from my house to Fort Worth, where I have most of my medical appointments, which comes in very handy traffic is bad.

Over all my life is much much better with Pink Wanda! I feel a freedom that I haven't had in a long time and I am excited about all the possibilities there are for me now that I can get around.

If you are needing mobility in your life, please consider looking into Quick and Mobile to need your needs!

Please go check out the website and see all the cool chairs they have for you!

https://quicknmobile.com/


Friday, December 8, 2017

Situations, Wheelchairs and Judgements



Often times people with Ehlers Danlos need to have a wheelchair to help them get around. This is referred to as a situational wheelchair.  I’ve had to use one from time to time at the hospital when I go in to have IVs for P.O.T.S. There are just some days that I’m too dizzy to walk, or to weak to walk, or days that my lungs aren’t working well enough  to allow me breathe deep enough to walk very far, or my pain level is just more than I can handle. It’s on days like that when a wheelchair wound save my day. I do have a walker that I use from time to time, mostly at home and there are times when a walker is not enough for me to get around with.

So here is the chair that fits my needs:
https://quicknmobile.com/product/electra7hd-lightweight-folding-power-wheelchair/


                                      So this is the chair that I am going to get, yes, the pink one!  
                            Electra7 HD (Heavy Duty) Lightweight Folding Power Wheelchair                  


A major issue for me in using a wheelchair is that I’m not able to wheel myself in the chair so I will need to have an electric wheelchair. Electric wheelchairs are expensive and something I cannot afford. I get irritated that I need a situational wheelchair but even more so that I can’t afford to get the aids that I need to navigate through life. There will come a day when I will be wheelchair dependent and I’m not sure what I will do when that day comes and I have no wheelchair.
I’ve shopped around for electric wheelchairs and I have found one that is the least expensive for what I need. It still is almost $3,000.00. Being on a fixed income I’m just not going to be able to afford that and it will be a long time before I will be able to save enough money for a wheelchair.

I’m sharing this not only because I’m open to suggestion of how to obtain this wheelchair, but also I’m wanting to share a short story version with you because in reality it’s a big ole' long story of how being disabled can change your life in ways that you would or could not have ever guessed. It’s devastating when you realize that you can no longer have the life you once had but then when you realize that you can’t afford the items that you now need.

There are many situations that come up that I have to pass on because I don’t have the ability to get around to attend or to participate in because I’m unable to walk even the distant from the parking lot to the building. For me a wheelchair would not only allow me to move comfortably around my house but also I would be able to have a bit of a life other than just going to dr appointments. There have been times when I have pulled up to a doctor's office and couldn’t find a handicap parking space and I’ve had to cancel my appointment because I wasn’t able to walk the distance needed to get into the office. It’s times like that where a wheelchair could save me from extra stress and having to pay for missing doctors appointments. Of course there are many many situations where a wheelchair would help me.

All the time I find myself judging myself for needing assistance walking but the truth of the matter is that I often find myself breaking a bone or two in my foot from just standing up or I twist a knee or and ankle because of how Ehlers Danlos impacts my body and then I’m stuck using crutches which causes problems with my arms, elbows, and shoulders, and wrists. My recover time from those injuries is increased two fold or more which with a wheelchair that time would be cut in half because I could do, for the most part, complete non-weight bearing. When you have Ehlers Danlos you’re healing time from injuries is already four to six weeks longer than a person without EDS.

If you are a person who has EDS then you are very familiar with the judgements that not only come from others, but the judgements that come from ourselves. It's easy to judge ourselves by what we see others around us doing and also by what we can no longer do as we look back and see all that we have lost as a result of what Ehlers Danlos can do to us.

I'm a heavy girl and of course I judge myself because of that and being in a wheelchair or having to use a handicap cart at the grocery store is hard for me because of the judgements that other's think about me, or maybe I just think they are thinking certain things, but either way having to need help with getting around is something that I am working on accepting.

Situations, Wheelchairs and Judgments all go together for me as I deal with life with EDS.

So, Stay tuned and I will give you my review of this chair and how it changes my life!