Flu Vaccine – Is it worth it?

Because anyone can create and share internet content, you need to take extra steps to ensure what you find is accurate. Here are a few tips to help you separate good information from bad.

If you are worried about vaccines because you heard bad things about them, please read this article about vaccine facts.

Vaccines work to save lives. If we stop vaccination disease such as measles, mumps, etc. will return.

Doctors say all children should get the recommended vaccinations to prevent the resurgence of illnesses that have been eradicated.

The flu can spread easily and quickly. It is best to get the flu shot at the beginning of the influenza season, from October to December. Vaccination is the best way to prevent getting the flu and spreading the virus to others.

Each year leading experts make the best possible guess at predicting which flu strain is going to affect the public and cater the flu shot to that strain. Even a partially effective vaccine is better than none, and so it behoves everyone to get their shots.

Skipping your flu shot spreads the flu.

My workplace offers the flu vaccine every year on a voluntary basis for its employees. I have been taking the vaccines for over a decade. Last year, for the first time ever, I was worried about taking the flu vaccine because I have been diagnosed with Graves’ Disease an auto-immune illness. My doctor told me it was safe and better for my health that I take the vaccine because I’m one of those people who are at risk of complications when with comes to the flu.

The flu, of course, generally affects the elderly, the very young and the patients with chronic medical conditions (heart disease, kidney disease, cancer, etc.), or those with compromised immune systems (e.g. patients with diabetes). Children under five are more likely to have serious complications of the flu, such as pneumonia. In addition to getting a vaccine, limit the spread of the flu by disinfecting toys and common surfaces and by showing young children how to wash their hands often and in the right way.

What’s worse, it weakens patients considerably and makes them prone to a secondary infection (usual pneumonia on top of the flu) which may ultimately lead to their death or prolonged sickness.

Other blog posts you may want to read about vaccines and health:

Surviving Breast Cancer

Having breast cancer means that part of your breast will be removed. It can be 1/2 of the breast, the 1/3 of the breast, 3/4, but there is a part of the breast that disappears, and in the end, there is a breast asymmetry, and that is very indisposing for the woman in terms of aesthetics, in terms of self-esteem, the way the person sees themselves. There are people who have depressions as a result of that

No matter the appearance, shape and colour of your chest, it does not indicate your level of beauty and your gender. Feminity is not characterized by the presence of breasts and masculinity by their absence. Your gender belongs to you completely and it is not defined by your body, nor by the changes that can take place, whatever the circumstances.

Regardless of whether you have had partial or total breast removal, you are beautiful, respectable and desirable people. Never forget that you are worth a lot, that you are important, and that a mastectomy does not diminish your beauty.

You are wonderful people and you deserve to be celebrated by everyone for who you are.

The Quebec government will now reimburse 100% of the estimated costs for external breast prostheses for women who have had a mastectomy because of breast cancer. Unlike breast reconstruction, the external breast prosthesis is worn in the bra in order to restore the aesthetic appearance. Until very recently, public funds covered only 50% of the costs, and only for women who had received a total mastectomy. However, nearly 70% of women treated for breast cancer will have to undergo a partial removal of the breast. 

National Doctors Day

Today marks National Doctors Day in the United States. I might be Canadian, but as a person who is being followed by several doctors, I should take a moment to show my appreciation.

For the most part, many have complained about the lack of empathy that some doctors show towards their patients. Having dealt with numerous doctors, I have met with doctors who have amazing empathy and others who come across very cold and patronising. 

Of course, when people are in a state of severe vulnerability because of their state of health, a lack of empathy for them, however minimal, is unacceptable. The worst thing is when illness destroys your quality of life and the doctor in charge of helping you doesn’t believe what you say or thinks you are exaggerating.

The curse of the undiagnosed

They refuse to acknowledge it because they haven’t experienced it themselves and, by that very fact, are demonstrating a complete lack of empathy or false empathy. This is an extremely exclusionary viewpoint is destructive and willfully ignorant.

I have multiple diseases ( all invisible) and I am overweight. I see it in their faces: people look at me and think “lazy”. They don’t ponder my plight; wonder if something hurts or if my fatigue is unbearable. And I guess I don’t expect them to.

It comes to a point where people start making you doubt your own body.

Here are examples of why it’s important to trust your own body and to push the medical professional to take you seriously.

Yes, I’m ill. No, you can’t fix me.

It’s a normal and healthy response to feeling an immense loss after a diagnosis of chronic illness. Being chronically ill can make us feel like outsiders. That’s how much our society fears and rejects the core human experience of being ill, of having a body that gets sick, regardless of ages and that is not controllable. I wish everyone could understand what every day is like living trapped in a young(ish) body, unable to function even remotely like it used to. It’s soul crushing.

Let’s face it anyone battling a chronic illness is a badass.

Every time I mention I have chronic illnesses, mental illnesses or that I’m exhausted, or that I have a migraine or that muscle aches, everyone knows exactly what’s wrong with me, and exactly what I need to do to fix it. I know the internet has made everyone experts, but we’re not. Half the time my doctor doesn’t even know and he went to school for twelve years and studied nothing but how to fix my ailments.

What it means to have an incurable chronic illness

It baffles me that no matter how much I speak and write about chronic illnesses and my experience that my loved ones still don’t understand the meaning of incurable.

research-1029340_1920I was at the hospital yesterday for another blood tests. I’ve been having blood test regularly for over a year now. I even have my a specialized nurse that does the blood tests for all my doctors. Both my parents and my best friend were surprised I was still getting them. I tried once again to explain that I have an incurable chronic illness. Yes, it can be managed with medication, but I constantly have to be monitored to make sure that my levels are correct and adjust my prescriptions as needed. I have multiple doctors who follow me and we haven’t successful stabilize my levels yet. It takes time. Some bodies are more difficult than others.

Some people question my husband about my health and he doesn’t know what to answer. He finds the overwhelming amount of doctor appointments and information confusing to follow. I find it confusing and it’s happening to me.

If I would have one piece of advice to give is stop asking if we are all better now. We will never be cured. It will never be perfect. We just get better at living with it.

Graves Disease & Sleep Apnea

2 years ago I was diagnosed with Graves Disease. I had been living with the illness for years without knowing it and suddenly things I believed were just random started to make sense.

I had hyperthyroidism, which was first treated with medication, then with radiation. The goal was to kill my thyroid so it would stop trying to kill me. It took a few months after the radiation for me to develop hypothyroidism and I am now starting to take Synthroid medication. It takes a while for medication to work and for the right dosage to be found, but I am confident that this journey is finally coming to an end.

model-2373534_1920What I wasn’t expecting is the following: throughout these 2 years of thyroid treatments, I started snoring louder and louder, recently to the point where my husband can no longer sleep by my side. I am always exhausted and falling asleep everywhere, yet I can’t truly rest. I wake up with migraines or needing to drink because my throat is hurting. I’ve even been woken up by my own snoring. It’s really bad.

I first spoke to my general doctor about it and she wanted me to take a test for sleep apnea. I also spoke about it to my endocrinologist as I keep all my doctors updated about my health issues and she told me not to get tested for sleep apnea right away as Graves Disease and thyroid issues can cause false positive. She explained that my thyroid is more than double its regular size and that it could be crushing my airways causing temporary sleep apnea. Since I don’t have a visible bulge in my throat like many Graves Disease sufferers, it is indeed likely that my thyroid is crushing my airways.

I’ll keep you updated as I learn more about this in the following weeks. I can’t wait to have answers and find a solution. I want my husband by my side at night. I’m hoping I’ll be able to feel rested again. I’ve been exhausted for so long that I can’t remember what it was like before.

There’s no such thing as “just a nurse”

It drives me nuts when people put less importance or value on nurses because they aren’t doctors. It shows a complete lack of understanding and observation of how the medical field works and how nurses are primordial. Too many have this mentality.

health-2382316_1920Nurses are overworked. Their job is both demanding physically and emotionally. They are effectively burning their inner candle from both sides at the same time and it’s not always rewarding.

There are still good people out there, making it better for someone every day!

Good nurses who haven’t lost their way take good care of patients no matter what their backgrounds are and without judgement. They interact with people when they need guidance.

I’m not saying haven’t met any bad apples, but the great majority of nurses I have crossed path with were professional and caring.

The Endocrinology and the Rheumatology at the hospital I go to on a regular basis has a dedicated nurse who takes care of all the tests for these multiple doctors. She is always smiling, even the day that she had to walk to work because her old car burst into flame. She asks how you are doing and really want to know. She only sees people who are struggling with health issues and knows that it isn’t easy. She also knows that the doctors don’t really talk about the emotional effect of illness. She’s a great listener and she is wonderful at giving people hope.

The title “Nurse” is a badge of honour that should be carried with pride and you all have our love and greatest respect.

RAI treatment – Hyper to Hypo

I had radiation treatment back in early June and my thyroid finally changed to hypo and started to die towards the end of October. I was originally told that it would take 4 to 6 weeks to see results. That’s a much longer wait than 6 weeks.

As a result of officially being hypothyroidism now, I have now started taking Levothyroxine on a once-daily schedule.

It’s important to understand that Levothyroxine takes 4-6 weeks to build up in your system and do its job, which is why you should have your levels checked again after that period of time. My endocrinologist asked that I have my blood tested after 4 weeks and see her the following week. She explained that until we found the correct dosage for my body, we would be seeing each other every 4 to 6 weeks to get my blood tested and see how I’m doing.

So keep in mind that your body needs to get used to this sudden hormone replacement. You should give it a least a few days to settle down before asking for a dosage adjustment.

My prescription was quite precise to take the pill in the morning and wait 30 minutes before eating and to wait 4 hours in the case of iron or calcium.

#RAI treatment - TopicsWithPassion.blogWhat my endocrinologist and my pharmacist both failed to advise me about is that the combination of levothyroxine and antidepressants increase its toxicity. I changed the times that I take my pills to make sure they are 2 hours apart. The good thing is I now understand why I’ve been feeling off. The bad thing is it looks like I’m going back through the new medication adjustment period. I look like an exhausted blowfish this morning and had to remove my wedding ring. I hate being a newlywed and not wearing my rings. Fun! (heavy on the sarcasm).

I’ve had my first blood test results after being put on Synthroid. My results were better, but I am still in hypo. My endocrinologist adjusted my prescription for a higher dose.

I have to keep in mind that ever after my thyroid labs are within range it will take time for my body to return to a healthy state. My body will need time to adjust from functioning in hyper speed to hypo to normal speed.


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