Category Archives: health

HLA-B27 +

Mia’s blood test that came back as abnormal was for Human Leukocyte Antigen – B27, or HLA-B27 (a protein found on the surface of white blood cells). This should be negative, but her blood test was positive.  This is a marker that often occurs in people with an autoimmune disorder, but there are also many people that carry the marker, but have no symptoms of autoimmune disorders.  It doesn’t really tell us much more about her diagnosis, just that she is more predisposed to have an autoimmune disorder than someone who doesn’t carry HLA-B27.  Also, someone with HLA-B27 Uveitis is more likely to have the condition recur in the future.

We are working on getting her an appointment with a pediatric rheumatologist for a work-up and to see if she does have some sort of autoimmune condition going on.  The office called me today and said that before they can set up an appointment, all sorts of information and paperwork needs to be faxed from the Ophthalmologist and that our insurance has to pre-approve her treatment.  Right now, our insurance company is taking about 2 weeks for pre-approvals to go through, according to the rheumatologist’s office.

So the treatment plan for now is still the same.  The most important goal is to get the eye inflammation to go away.  We are continuing the eye drops for inflammation every hour, and the dilating drops 3 times a day.  Vision in the affected eye is still very blurry, but that is to be expected since it is constantly dilated and there is still inflammation.  She is complaining of pain in her legs and hips, but we don’t know if it might be arthritic pain or just plain old growing pains.  She also doesn’t have much of an appetite and seems to get frequent stomach aches.  We’ve got a follow-up eye appointment on Friday again, and are in a holding pattern for the appointment with the rheumatologist.  Continued prayers for her would be appreciated.  We are very thankful that she us mostly unaffected by anything that has been going on.  She is still playing despite any leg/hip pain and is still keeping active and doesn’t mind all the interruptions for the eye drops.  She is still plugging along with her Kindergarten work and is doing well.  🙂


Eye Update

As of this morning, her eye inflammation has decreased slightly, but she still has a long way to go.  Doc said if we consider her eye inflammation from last week to be 10 out of a scale of 10, this week would be an 8 out of 10.  So there is improvement, but not much,  We are increasing her eye drops for the inflammation to every hour while awake instead of 8 times a day.  If the corticosteroid drops don’t do a good enough job with the  eye inflammation, we may need to move on to oral corticosteroid medications.  We are still dilating her pupils 3 times a day to try to break up the scar tissue that is holding the pupil in an irregular shape. The retina and optic nerve both look healthy, so that is good.  Her ocular pressure is normal.  She has developed some cloudiness on her cornea (scarring, I think), but that is on the side as opposed to in her field of vision, so hopefully that won’t affect her vision.  Her blood work came back later in the day to show that she does have some sort of “inflammatory process” (not infectious) going on in her body, but I haven’t gotten specifics from the doc since this news came in after our appointment and doc just left a voicemail about it.  I hope to learn more about that on Monday.  As it is, the new finding doesn’t change our current treatment plan.  We will get a referral to a pediatric rheumatologist sometime in the future for more testing.  I expect to speak to the doctor on Monday to find out more about her blood tests that were abnormal.  We have another follow-up in 1 week.

She is taking all these eye drops like a pro… not fussing at all about getting interrupted every hour.  She wore a bunny ear headband to the appointment today to show her doctor because she thought she would like it.  🙂  Such a silly, sweet girl she is.  We are taking advantage of our Fridays together without the boys and doing some shopping and we go out for lunch.  It’s really nice to get to spend time with her alone.  Thank you so much to my awesome sis-in-law who has watched the boys each week!  And thanks to everyone who has offered up prayers and well-wishes on Mia’s behalf!

I’m Tasteless!

I started using Crest Pro-Health Mouthwash last week.  Throughout the week, I’ve noticed that my tongue has been getting increasingly tingly and numb and that my sense of taste has been getting weaker and weaker.  After doing a little research today, I’ve found that this has happened to many other people.  Apparently, one of the “inactive ingredients” in the mouthwash is cetylpyridinium chloride or (CPC).  This has been found to cause possible staining of the teeth and temporary loss of taste.  I looked on the bottle, and it mentions the possibility of staining of the teeth, but it doesn’t mention anything about the fact that you might not be able to taste anything if you use the mouthwash.  Grrr!  This makes me mad.  I’ve been wondering the whole week what was going on with my tongue!  I last used the mouthwash last night and my tongue is still tingly and I still couldn’t taste my lunch.  I’m hoping that things will be back to normal soon.  This may not happen to everyone, but if it’s a possibility, I think people should be warned.

34 weeks pregnant… just keep swimming!

Well, I’m 34 weeks pregnant, and definitely feeling like it, too.  I’m moving as slow as a turtle through mud and waddling like a duck!  People are starting to ask me how much longer I have and saying that I look like I’m “ready” and how low the baby looks like he is.  It’s not quite time for this little one to come out yet, so I hope he just keeps swimming for a little while longer.  They’ve scheduled my (3rd) c-section for 9/12.  After 2 failed labor attempts lasting around 2 days each, I decided I’d skip that part and get to the point.  My doc assures me that the recovery from this surgery will be much easier than a recovery after a difficult labor.  I’m praying she’s right.

I’m starting to get some final things ready… finishing cleaning out the closet in the baby’s room and starting to put things away.  My mom bought some newborn diapers for when we get home from the hospital… they are SO TINY!!!!  I’m hoping to use cloth diapers again for this one, but I need to buy some smaller sized covers and flat diapers because the ones I used for Mia are for over 20 pounds or so.  Using cloth really saves some money, and keeps all those diapers out of the landfill = win/win! We’ll probably need to pay about $130 for diapers that will fit for the whole first year or so of this babies life… sounds like a good deal to me, even if it means a few extra loads of laundry each week.

I still don’t have my bag packed.  If I remember, I totally overpacked  the last couple times I went to the hospital.  I was thinking that I’d want to get out of those hospital gowns and into my own clothing, but with the pain from the surgery, I was more comfortable in the oh-so-attractive hospital gowns.  I just wish they had them in different colors, aside from white and pink they use in the maternity ward.  Neither of those really flatters my skin tone.  🙂 Ha!  Maybe something like one of these


Seriously? Organic Tobacco??

I saw a Craigslist ad today for “organic tobacco seeds”. I thought to myself, “Are there actually smokers that are so concerned about their health that they’ll only smoke organic tobacco? Surely not. That would be silly. If you were that concerned, you wouldn’t smoke, right?”. Wrong. Apparently there are smokers out there that are concerned about the chemicals they inhale. What?! Yeah. There’s even a special brand out there for those organic smokers who don’t want to grow and roll their own. Like that page says : Smoking is SMOKING. Smoking means Inhaling smoke into your lungs. Don’t try to make it “healthier”. That’s just silly.

Baby’s Here!

The induction didn’t go so well and I ended up having a c-section on Friday morning, January 30, 2009. Mia Iliana Alter was born at 5:28 am weighing 7 lbs., 7 oz. and measuring 20.25 inches long. She was so quiet the first day of her life… we thought we had birthed a child that was a total opposite to Sean. But she showed her real colors later that night ;-). We have another impatient little eater on our hands! When she decides she’s hungry, she sure lets you know… loudly! haha! She’s so precious! Sean is being a wonderful brother to her already. He’s helping us out so much and he thinks Mia is pretty cute. His first reaction to seeing her was “awww, she’s so cute, isn’t she!?”. The novelty soon wore off once he realized that we got the Cartoon Network in my hospital room. LOL! As expected, Mia has day and night flipped around. She was always kicking me and waking me up or keeping me up at night and was pretty quiet in my belly during the day. That’s how she is now that she’s here too. She wants to eat every 1 to 2 hours at night, and rests easier during the day. I’m sure we’ll get the schedule worked out soon enough. We’re just glad to be home. The recovery from the c-section was rough at first, but it’s getting better continually. I’m already feeling much better and am very thankful for the prescription pain killers. My husband has been AMAZING through all of this. He has been taking wonderful care of both me and Mia when we were at the hospital and since we got home too. I don’t know how I would have gotten through all this without him. God really blessed me with a wonderful husband. You can see pictures of Mia HERE

Butter vs. Margarine… don’t panic.

I received an email urging people to cut out margarine from their diets because it is so unhealthy. It was urging people to consume butter instead. I tend to not believe these types of emails without further research, and rather enjoy researching the information presented in them to find out whether it is fact or fiction. HERE is more information on the email that has been circulating for a while now. First of all, I don’t think that either butter or margarine are very good for you. That being said, there were some things that were stated in the email that I thought should be brought up.

The most disturbing claim was that “Margarine is but ONE MOLECULE away from being PLASTIC”

Okay, if you think about it, saying that is just silly. Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2)is one ATOM away from water (H2O). Oxygen gas (O2) is one atom away from poisonous Ozone gas (O3). Table salt (NaCl) is one atom away from Chlorine (Cl). See? Who ever put that in the original email was just trying to panic people. I don’t like being motivated by panic, so that’s why I like to find out the facts.

Some other things :

Margarine is high in trans fatty acids”

This used to be true, but if you read the labels these days, many of the margarines/spreads on the market currently have 0 trans fat, and no cholesterol either (whereas 1 Tbsp. of butter contains 30 mg of cholesterol). And so if there are no more trans fats in most of the margarines, then the following aren’t currently true (for those spreads containing 0 trans fats) anymore because the following claims are simply based on research pertaining to trans fats in general, not specifically to margarine:

Margarine lowers quality of breast milk”

Margarine decreases immune response”

Decreases insulin response”

And finally, there’s the claim that “Butter has been around for centuries where margarine has been around for Less than 100 years”

That statement is suggesting that butter is healthier for you because it has been around a while. While this is true that butter is older than margarine, just because something has been around for a long time, it doesn’t mean it is beneficial, or even safe. Anyone remember medicinal leeching? Yeah, that’s been around for a long time too. People still do it, and you can even buy leeches online. The safety or benefits of something shouldn’t be based on longevity, but by using research that is unbiased as in the blind experiment method.

Foaming Handsoap – Make Your Own

We began using foaming handsoap since Sean has trouble getting the regular soap well distributed on his hands. He does a much better job washing his hands if the soap is pre-foamed. I was about to run out and buy some foaming handsoap refills when I remembered that we had some regular hand soap left over. After looking on the internet, I found out that you can make your own foaming handsoap by mixing regular handsoap with water and putting it into a foaming handsoap dispenser. It’s nothing special about the handsoap mixture that makes it foam. It’s just the dispenser. So if you spend a buck on a new foam soap dispenser, then you can refill it cheaply with regular hand soap + water. The Internet concensus seems to be soap + water in a 1:5 to 1:7 ratio, although some recommend 1:10 ratio to be extra frugal. I found the 1:10 to be a bit too watery though. Some people even add a bit of rubbig alcohol to the mix to make “anti-bacterial” soap. That seems like overkill to me, especially after reading this. Need a review on how to properly wash your hands? Just remember, “Happy birthday to you…”

Eye Exams for Cats and Dogs

I took my cat to the vet today. She’s been having eye issues… pretty sure she’s going blind. But she’s old, so I’m not too surprised. Her regular vet wants me to take her to an animal eye doctor. I called the office to see how much an eye exam is, thinking it would be pretty comparable to the eye appointments that Nathan and I get. We pay about $90 per year for an eye exam AND contact lens fitting. How much do you think the Cat’s eye exam is? ***********$200********** I’m shocked! Do cats and dogs get better eye care than humans? So yeah, needless to say, Nathan and I both think that the cat is old, and yes, she’s going blind, but as long as she’s not in pain and is living a pretty normal life, we’ll forego the $200 exam.