Tuesday, December 28, 2010

U Go Girl!!!

Confident, beautiful, phenomenal woman.  Don't let nobody keep you down.  You are royalty, oh woman of God.  It is well within your heart and soul to feel His presence.  You are wonderfully and fearfully made.

Walk with your shoulders back and your head held high.  It's ok to say hi to people.  It's ok to smile at people.  You have a lot to be grateful for. 

Keep on steppin, no matter where you go.  But wherever you go, may they all know, that you cannot be stopped.  You will not be oppressed, depressed, obsessed or regressed. 

Take Jesus with you wherever you go, and if you can't take Him with you, then don't go there.  Keep it movin and groovin.  Encourage your friends and pray for your enemies.  Let your yes be yes and your no be no. 

And if you don't do nothin else, just go!  Even if you have to go by yourself!

You Go Girl!!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Let Go and Let It Flow

Negative thoughts bring forth negative results.  Even though I know this, I still have more negative reactions than I should.  Even when it's justified, let it go and keep it movin.  The fact that we live in a fallen world doesn't help but I need to learn how to take my own advice.  There will never be peace on this earth and I have to constantly keep my mind stayed on Him and He will keep me in "perfect peace". 

Monday, December 6, 2010

In God We Trust

Everyone knows the slogan on our money, "In God We Trust" right?  Is it God that we trust or do we trust our money more?  Every day we are tested on this.  When we have all the money we think we need, do we forget our need for God?  When we don't have enough money, do we remember to trust God to meet our needs?  It really is a fine line isn't it?  Maybe that's why it's printed on our money.  To remind us to trust God and God alone.

 Money is good to have, we do need it in this world.  But sometimes we mistake the difference between our needs and our wants.  I know that I am guilty but I have learned by not always having a lot of money how to draw a line between the two.  Learning to be content whether we have a lot or very little is the key.  The first thing to do is learn what your priorities should be, versus what they might be.  God should always be number one.  A lot of us have a problem with that concept and until we truly understand what that means, we will never be able to put Him first.  To me it means giving Him the glory for everything.  It means making sure that anything we do is in line with His will and not our own.  If we are not sure whether something is a part of His will, we need to pray about it and then wait on Him before we make the decision.  If you are married, your spouse is next in line followed by your children.  Anyone else in your life will come next and you will always be last.  That simply means to put the needs of others first before yourself.  That is a part of God's will and when you do that, He will bless you and make sure that your needs are met, I guarantee you.  It's not about money with God.  Some things do not have a price tag such as peace, knowledge and wisdom.  These things come with obeying and trusting God.  So when you think about the slogan on our money, meditate on these words.  "For wisdom is far more valuable than rubies.  Nothing you desire can be compared with it."  Proverbs 8:11

Saturday, November 20, 2010

FDA Approves New Oral Treatment for MS

See my recent posting on patients like me forum regarding the new MS Therapy recently approved by the FDA.


Never Satisfied

The other day I was telling my oldest daughter that it is nearly impossible for us to be content as human beings.  Case in point, we were discussing all the cars that I have ever had in my life.  Chevy Monte Carlo, Mazda Protege, Nissan Altima, Nissan Pathfinder, Chrysler Aspen, Chrysler Town and Country and currently, a Nissan Quest.  From compact to mid size sedan, sport utility to mini van I have received the desires of my heart when it comes to cars.  About a year ago, I voluntarily surrendered my Chrysler Aspen because the payments were ridiculous and that was when Chrysler was going down.  We were blessed  to get a 2002 Nissan Quest for many reasons.  Not only is it more affordable, it's perfect for our family of 5.  I no longer cringe at the gas pump plus I can zip in and out of parking spots like it ain't nothing.  My point is I recently had the nerve to entertain the thought of trading in my little mini van for something "newer" and "more stylish".  Then the holy spirit helped me check myself because for one thing, we are blessed to have something reliable on top of everything else that we need in a vehicle.  Funny thing is, when I see a Cadillac Escalade roll by me, I am thankful that I don't have something that requires a minimum of $80 for gas.  Been there, done that and it ain't for me.  For me it is better to be practical than proud and we learned a lesson about being content with what we have.  Not only that but humility as well.  We have never been able to keep up with the Joneses, and where are they anyway? This crazy roller coaster reminds me of Solomon's futile pursuit of fulfillment through possessions, wealth, indulgence achievements and great fame (Ecclesiastes 2:1-11).  Not only did all fail to bring enduring satisfaction, it was "vanity and striving after the wind."  It was basically futile which means:
1. having no effective result; unsuccessful
2. pointless; unimportant; trifling
3. inane or foolish don't be so futile!

We have all done it in one area of life or another.  We have to be reminded daily that we came naked and we will return as we came.  We will take nothing from the fruit of our labor that we can carry.

                                                                         Starla Espinoza

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Angels, Do You Believe?

Do angels really exist?  It appears that most people believe in angels.  I believe that angels exist.  Jesus knew of and taught the existence of angels.  In Matt 18:10 Jesus refers to guardian angels for children.  Angels are spirit beings and they minister on behalf of believers.  To minister is to serve or aid.  Angels are distinct from human beings.  They do not die and are unable to reproduce.    They are innumerable and they were created for specific purposes. 

Seraphim were created to worship God while Cherubim guard the holiness of God.  In Gen 3:24 it was the Cherubim that God stationed with the flaming sword to guard the way to the tree of life. 

The Archangel Michael had a dispute with the devil and argued over the body of Moses but did not dare judge.  Instead he said, "Lord rebuke you!"  Angels played a large role in the ministry regarding Christ.  They predicted and announced His birth, protected and strengthened Him and even announced the Resurrection.

As for us who believe and are saved, angels are involved in answering our prayers and encouraging us in time of danger. 

"Behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." Luke 2:10

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

For the Love of Money

Have you ever seen the movie Indecent Proposal?  It's about a wealthy man who offers a young married couple one million dollars to spend one night with the wife.  The couple agreed to do it, and ended up regretting it.  It destroyed their marriage. 

Here is the question that I have.  What did they think would happen after that night?  They were so blinded by all the plans they would make with the money that they failed to think about their love for each other.  I guess their love of money outweighed their love for each other.  It scares me to think about what we will do and have done for money. 

You know what scripture says about the love of money right?  Well in case you didn't know,  look up  the scripture 1 Timothy 6:10  "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs."  (Note that it doesn't say the love of money is the root to some evil.  It says all kinds of evil.)

The married couple was so eager for the money that they caused themselves all kinds of drama for it.  As human beings, why do we tend to put more faith in our money than our faith in God?  Isn't God the one who made everything?  Everything on this earth belongs to Him, so why doesn't that knowledge keep us from putting Him in a box?  
Why do we choose to worry about the things which we cannot control?  
Can't we just put our faith in the one who knows all, sees all and who is everywhere?  

Nothing is too big for God.  This is often the pep talk that goes on in my mind almost daily because I need to be reminded that God knows the plans that He has for me.  How much is enough anyways?  The more money we come across, the more money we spend.  We need to learn how to be content whether we have very little, or very much.  And remember this, to whom much is given, much is required. 

Hebrews 13:5
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Where Your Treasure Is, There Your Heart Will Be Also

Matthew 6:21  is a very powerful and comforting verse to me. It causes me to ask myself, "Where is my treasure?" The first thing that comes to my mind is my family. I care about them and love them so much and they love me back. Of course my number one treasure is God. You see, He is the one that wakes me up every morning. He is the first person that I speak to. I thank Him for not only waking me up, but for waking up my family as well.

As long as I have God, my needs will always be met. My desires will often be placed before me, but only in His timing and His will. But the main point is, my treasures are in Heaven. We work so hard to have material things, but they are temporary and we cannot take them with us when we die. But if we have a relationship with God, then our treasures are in Heaven, which is eternal. Our treasures in Heaven cannot be destroyed or stolen.

That leads to very important question. "What does a relationship with God look like?" Well first, you must have faith and believe in Him. You must believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and you must believe that the Holy Spirit is God that dwells in us when we are saved. You must acknowledge that you are a sinner and Jesus died for your sins and was raised again to sit on the throne at the right hand of God.

Communication in any relationship is extremely important. By praying and reading God's word, you are in communication with Him. You speak to Him in prayer and He speaks to you in His word.  For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.  Hebrews 12
It is one thing to read the word, and an entirely different thing to apply it to your life and put it into action by obeying His commandments. When we obey God, He blesses us abundantly and sets us up to receive our treasures in Heaven.

Oh, and don't let me forget about trust which ties in with faith.  "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen".  Hebrews 11
What does that mean to you?  When we send a package to someone, we have faith in the postal system or UPS and hope that it will arrive at it's destination right?  When the package arrives, we don't see how it gets there but it took our exercise of faith to send it anyways.  So trust and exercise your faith in God that He will keep His promises.  Try Him out and see if He delivers.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

No Weapon Formed Against Me Will Prevail---Isaiah 54:17

With everything that is taking place in this world, it's very easy to become depressed or to feel defeated.  Especially if you have been affected by the housing market or if you have lost your job.  Maybe you or a family member has been stricken with illness or you have lost a loved one.  Do not give up or lose heart, God will see you through these times.
God's word gives us answers to everyday problems.  If you do not know God's word, you can and will be deceived by the lies and tricks of the enemy.  You can find yourself believing whatever people say concerning God.  You will end up following the ways of this world rather than God's will. 
In Ephesians 6:13-17, the full armor of God is your protection from the enemy.  We must first gird our loins with truth and put on the breastplate of righteousness"Truth" holds everything together & refers to your integrity.  When righteousness is practiced by the believer it protects the chest and heart from Satan.  The "Shield of Faith" is to extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one and the Helmet of Salvation guards our minds & thoughts.  These are our weapons of defense.  The only weapon of offense is the Sword of the Spirit which is the word of God.
Why do we need to protect our chest & heart from Satan or extinguish flaming arrows of the evil one?  Why do we need to guard our hearts and minds?    We have an adversary who wants to kill, steal and destroy us.  He wants to use men to oppose God's work.  But the devil is a liar and we do not have to be deceived by him.

When Satan tried to tempt Jesus in Matthew 4:8-11 Jesus used scripture as His weapon of defense.  "You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only."  Satan, as the prince of this world was within His rights to make this offer.  Do not love the world nor the things in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is is from the world. The world is passing away, and also it's lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever. 1 John 2:15-17
The weapons we fight with are not weapons of the world.  On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 2 Corinthian 10:4  Prayer is also a major and powerful weapon.  Some examples of weapons formed against us are illness, depression, pain and fear.  Believers, we do not give up the good fight but instead we will be victorious with our spiritual weapons.

Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D deficiency is related to autoimmune diseases, depression, osteoporosis, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, chronic pain, Psoriasis, Fibromyalgia, and arthritis.
  1. Vitamin D and Calcium work together.  People who suffer from osteoporosis often suffer from vitamin D deficiency.
  2. People who have Multiple Sclerosis such as myself often suffer from vitamin D deficiency.
  3. As we all know, sun exposure is a great way to produce vitamin D. The recommended time of day for sun exposure is between noon and 2:00 p.m. because the angle of the sun is different.
  4. The darker your skin, the harder it is to make vitamin D because of melanin, your skins pigment that gives it color, acts as a natural sunscreen.  African Americans have to spend at least 2 times longer in the sun to make the same amount of vitamin D as a person of Irish or Scandinavian descent. 
  5. Sun exposure also provides a natural high by stimulating the release of "feel good" substances in your body such as serotonin, dopamine and beta endorphins, the body's natural opiate.
  6. The current recommended levels do not appear to be sufficient, but you should always consult with your doctor before you begin taking vitamins or anything else.  Especially if you take medications or have any type of illness or condition.
The recommended dosage is as follows:
Age 0 to 1: 400-1,000 IU per day is safe
Age 1 to 12: 1,000 to 2,000 IU per day is safe
Age 13 plus: 1,500 to 2,000 IU per day is safe
Obese or deficient: 2 to 3 times more than the over 13 age group
Pregnant Women: 1,400 to 2,000 IU per day is safe.
Lactating Women: 2,000 to 4,000 or enough for baby via breast milk 4,000 to 6,000 IU per day is safe.

Multiply the daily allowance by 7 and take once per week or 30 and take once per month.  Vitamin D intoxication will not occur until a person takes more than 10,000 IU daily for more than 6 months. You cannot over dose on vitamin D from sunlight, tanning beds or a UVB producing lamp no matter how much UVB you get.

You can buy it over the counter in 1000 IU or 2000 IU or your doctor can prescribe larger doses if needed. It is good to buy food and drinks that are fortified with vitamin D such as milk, orange juice, yogurt, etc......  If nothing else, make sure you spend enough time in the sun.

Fish oil capsules do not contain vitamin D but are a good source of omgea 3 fatty acids.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Mystery Diagnosis

The road that led to my MS Diagnosis was long, scary and very much a mystery!

Jan 007
It started with a tingling sensation in my left hip that can best be described as a bee buzzing around in my hip.  I went to see my primary care physician and he had some X-rays taken of my spine.  The X-ray revealed inflammation in my T10 vertebrae.  This is considered the thoracic portion of your spine which is in the middle region of the spine and the lower region of the rib cage.  My doctor sent me to a neurosurgeon, by mistake.  The neurosurgeon  said that I should've been sent to a neurologist.  It took months to get in to a neurologist and during that time my condition was progressively getting worse.  I had numbness and tingling from my right foot, up my leg to my abdomen and down my left leg.  Not only that but I was struggling with bouts of dizziness to the point where I felt drunk at times. 
March 2007
One night I was so nauseous from the dizziness I started vomiting.  My husband took me to Urgent care.  They didn't really know what to do and there was only so much they could do.  They took my blood pressure while I laid down, sat down and stood up and they checked my urine before sending me home.  They thought maybe I had vertigo from a sinus infection.  I was in ER by the next day because my condition was deteriorating fast.  It was there in the ER that I first heard the words Multiple Sclerosis.  The doctor took MRI's of my brain but it came back  w/o any signs of inflammation so I was not diagnosed with anything at that point.  After about 5 hours I was sent home with only the one thought on my mind, "Could I really have MS?"  The only thing I knew about MS was that Montel Williams had it.  I had no idea how it affects the body.
 My first appointment with a Neurologist was at the end of March.  I was unable to walk very well at all by then and my vision was blurry.  I continued to have the dizzy, drunk feeling daily.  He took one look at me and he could tell by looking at me that something was very wrong.  He apologized that it took so long for me to finally get into his office.  He sent me to the lab where they took about 8 vials of blood to test me for diseases such as lupus, Sjogren's syndrome, Lyme disease, HIV, Gullilan-Barre Syndrome and a whole list of diseases that affect the nervous or immune system.  Everything came back completely fine and normal.  Then he sent me to have a CAT scan of my brain, results were normal.  I also went to see an Optical Neurologist to test my blurry vision for links or signs of something more serious.  Next  he sent me to have a spinal tap, which was very difficult for me since I was too dizzy to move but God helped me find a position where I didn't feel like I was falling long enough for them to retrieve fluid from my spinal cord.  Aha, that was the first key to my illness.  The results showed that there were oligoclonal bands in my spinal cord which is an indicator in diagnosing MS.
April 2007
In order to have a definite diagnosis, there must also be at least 2 lesions in the central nervous system which is basically your brain and spinal cord.  Up to that point, I only had the one incident in my spinal cord.  At that point, he diagnosed me with Transverse Myelitis which means inflammation in the spinal cord or (there's something in your spinal cord but we have no clue what it is).  The only treatment was high dose steroids.  I had to go to the hospital every day for 5 days to receive Solu-Medrol (steroids) by IV.  After 3 weeks  the steroids helped to decrease the inflammation and slowly but surely, my symptoms began to dissipate.
May 2007
After 5 weeks off of work, I was able to return w/restrictions at the end of May 2007.  Most of the numbness went away with the exception of my right foot.  It's not completely numb, but it always feels like I have a band wrapped around my foot near my toes.  My vision in my right eye remained blurry for a long time as well.  I only noticed it when I tried to put make-up on my left eye.  I continued to see my neurologist monthly and things were slowly improving but I never returned to normal. 
December 13, 2007
I had a scheduled visit with my neuro.  I recently had an MRI of my brain, neck and spinal cord as follow up.  I remember being really achy in my shoulders and neck.  When I explained my symptoms to him, I asked him if it could be signs of the flu.  His answer was, "No, it's the disease."  He could tell by the look on my face that I was confused because he had not revealed my MRI results yet.  That's when he showed me my films and revealed that not only did I have more lesions in my spinal cord but they were now present in my neck and brain.  So it was then that I received my diagnosis of MS.  I knew that my chances were 50/50 so I had been doing research about this disease ever since it was first mentioned in the ER.  When I walked out of my doctor's office, I began to cry then 3 seconds later God told me not to be afraid.  He would walk with me and be by my side.
This December will be my 3rd year since I was diagnosed with MS.  I have the relapsing remitting form of MS.

Relapsing/Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (RRMS) is one of four internationally recognized forms of Multiple Sclerosis.
RRMS is characterised by relapses (also known as exacerbation's) during which time new symptoms can appear and old ones resurface or worsen. The relapses are followed by periods of remission, during which time the person fully or partially recovers from the deficits acquired during the relapse.
Relapses can last for days, weeks or months and recovery can be slow and gradual or almost instantaneous. The vast majority of people presenting with Multiple Sclerosis are first diagnosed with relapsing/remitting. This is typically when they are in their twenties or thirties, though diagnoses much earlier or later are known. Twice as many women as men present with this variety.