One More Diagnosis Doesn’t Change Who I Am

Guest post by Diane Talbert. Diane is a Blogger, Speaker, and Patient Advocate at Power Beyond Psoriasis.  She is an inspirational fibromyalgia and psoriatic arthritis warrior.  Read below for her inspirational story.

If you’re living in pain everyday that’s not concentrated on just one knee or one elbow, it would undeniably be very hard to realize that your pain is changing. Whereas my joints were always painful and swollen, I noticed one evening that my muscles were also aching.

And how strange that was, because I hadn’t done any vigorous exercises recently! I decided it could be a strain and left it to heal on its own for the next week but very quickly, weeks turned into months. Collectively, my usual fatigue from psoriatic arthritis was also beginning to become more pronounced.

diane talbert power beyond psoriasis

Something Was Wrong

I consulted my doctor and after a few tests, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. It’s a mouthful to say, I know. But more a mouthful to take in too. I had so many questions! What was this? Where did it come from? How is it going to affect my life more than my existing conditions already are? This happened 3 years ago, and I remember my shock as well as how I had taken quite a mental tumble into near hopelessness. But I had a very strong support system – my husband, my children and my grandchildren. Not to mention the wonderful people I had come to befriend throughout the past 20 years of advocating for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis too!

Kickstarting AGAIN My Fight For Life

The 17th century Japanese swordsman and philosopher Miyamoto Musashi famously wrote, “Know your enemy and know his sword”. I dove deep into answering all my questions about fibromyalgia because the only way I was going to overcome this was to know it as well as I could. It is important to distinguish that while psoriatic arthritis (PsA) and fibromyalgia are related, one does not cause the other.

PsA merely increased my likelihood of developing fibromyalgia because my body’s prolonged inflammation over the years had sensitized my pain sensors, sending them into overdrive. And whereas PsA is pain and swelling in the joints, fibromyalgia affects the muscles.

Not Backing Down On My Mission

After so many years of being the teacher to fellow psoriasis warriors who’ve needed guidance, support and encouragement, I’ve learnt to become a student myself too. I’ve spoken to numerous individuals who’ve shared their best practices of coping with fibromyalgia to improve my quality of life and I’ve definitely remained an open book, sharing my experience with anyone who asks. I may be one more figure to the statistics but I’m also one more voice to this special community.

Most of what I’ve busied myself with point to a specific goal; ending the stigma associated with psoriasis and everything that comes with it. Also, raising awareness within the medical community to find a cure. For the past 20 years, I’ve had the great privilege of hosting monthly support group meetings, volunteering at organizations, speaking at annual Town Hall meetings, and being a panelist at conferences. Educating and advocating for this cause is the purpose of my life.

Warriors Need Their Safe Space Too

As harsh as it might sound, sometimes, the support from our families and friends is not enough for us because nothing connects quite like someone else who suffers from our disease too. The empathy and the care my family show me has always been tremendous and unexpected but journeying with fellow psoriasis warriors through the monthly support group meetings I host has been equal parts healing too.

Every day, we fight for ourselves to be seen and heard by society. But at each support group session, we can finally lay down our guard and breathe a little deeper. Comrades side by side, we catch up with one another, laugh out loud at hilarious recounts of stories, and sometimes weep a little for someone else’s pain. I dare say that in a year, the number of people who would’ve benefited from these sessions will double.

One-Fifth Panelist, Four-Fifths Human

Aside from attending Capitol Hill meetings as well as speaking annually at Town Hall Meeting, I also had the honor of making up one of the 5 persons on a panel for a FDA conference on psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. There were dermatologists and fellow psoriasis patients-turned-advocates like me.

This was really an extension of the work I had already begun — raising awareness for this disease in the hopes that medical research would soon find a cure. After all, the recent innovation of biologics was a breakthrough for our community.

Being a panelist has given me the autonomy to guide the team at the FDA towards fulfilling its mission of protecting public health where it ensures that drugs consumed are safe and effective. It also sheds light on a very important perspective that is close to my heart: the future of psoriasis awareness movements.

I remember how seeing fellow psoriasis warriors around me in that auditorium that day fueled me with so much encouragement. I felt the assurance that my efforts and my determination all these years will not be wasted because there are many people fighting alongside me.

Away from friends and colleagues, and within the safety of my home, I am still the same authentic woman everyone meets outside at events, speaker sessions and the workplace. I do get to be a little more vulnerable, but I firmly believe in carrying myself with consistency.

What I project at home should be similar to how I am with other people, dignified, confident and compassionate. And I hope my grandchildren will grow up to have even better qualities than I do because they are the future of this 21st century. So, I look forward to tomorrow with expectant faith and hope that I can make a change in my own ways.

Be sure to visit Diane Talbert at Power Beyond Psoriasis to learn more about her personal story and advocacy.




TENS Unit for Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition characterized by widespread pain in the muscles, ligaments and tendons, as well as fatigue and multiple tender points — places on the body where slight pressure causes pain.1

It is believe that as many as 6 to 12 million people in the United states suffer from fibromyalgia.  More than 90% of all patients affected with this chronic and painful condition are women.  2

There is currently no cure for fibromyalgia.  People with fibromyalgia often find themselves dealing with this chronic widespread pain without much relief.  If you suffer from fibromyalgia pain, you may be interested in learning how a TENS unit, also referred to as a TENS Machine may help you manage your chronic fibromyalgia pain.  The use of a tens unit for fibromyalgia and lupus has been beneficial to many people suffering from chronic pain.

tens units for fibromyalgia
tens units for fibromyalgia

 

Why a TENS Unit for Fibromyalgia?

T.E.N.S stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation.  TENS Units are are predominately used for pain relief and the treatment of pain and nerve related pain conditions.  They are used in a variety of settings and can be very beneficial to patients who suffer from muscle and nerve pain.  If you have  fibromyalgia, you may want to consider investing in a TENS Machine.

It is vital to inform your doctor BEFORE beginning any therapy with a TENS unit or similar device.  TENS Units are not suitable for everyone.  They can be harmful in people with heart conditions or those who may be pregnant. It is important to speak with your doctor to see if using a TENS Machine could be beneficial to your fibromyalgia symptoms.

A TENS Unit is a small device (usually battery operated) that can provide painless stimulation to help ease sore muscles, nerves, and joints.  Many fibromyalgia patients have found pain relief using a TENS unit.

 

Tens unit for fibromyalgia
Tens unit for fibromyalgia

Studies of TENS Units for Fibromyalgia Pain

A study was published on Pubmed on the “Efficacy of the use of two simultaneously TENS devices for fibromyalgia pain“.

In this article, it states that 39 people were used to evaluate the effectiveness of a TENS unit on fibromyalgia patients.  The study lasted for one week and the devices were placed and applied for 20 minutes at 12 hour intervals for a consecutive 7 day timeframe.

The participants were divided into separate groups based on where the tens units were placed.  There was also a placebo group.  The study found that many patients found the tens unit useful for their fibromyalgia.  Improvements were in regard to relief of fibromyalgia pain with the application of one TENS unit on the body.

It was then discovered that pain and fatigue both were further improved when the fibromyalgia patients had two active tens units applied at the lower back and in the cervical area.  No side effects were reported from this study.

Study on “Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation reduces pain, fatigue and hyperalgesia while restoring central inhibition in primary fibromyalgia“.

The current study used a double-blinded randomized, placebo-controlled cross-over design to test the effects of a single treatment of TENS with people with fibromyalgia.

Thus, the current study suggests TENS units have shown to have short term duration of relieving symptoms of fibromyalgia while the tens unit is active.

There was a significant decrease in pain and fatigue with movement for active TENS compared to placebo and no TENS.

TENS Units for Fibromaylgia Pain

According to the Cleveland Clinic, one of the most common conditions that TENS Unit therapy is used to treat is Fibromyalgia-related joint, bone, or muscle problems.   (TENS) therapy involves the use of low-voltage electric currents to treat pain. A small device delivers the current at or near nerves. TENS therapy blocks or changes your perception of pain.  This type of therapy can be beneficial in treating painful conditions like fibromyalgia.

We have created a list of 5 TENS Units for Fibromyalgia that we love for the price and their online reviews.

1. Dr Ho’s TENS Unit

Features:

  • Pain Therapy TENS unit
  • Circulation Promoter Foot Base
  • 4 Regular Body Pads
  • 2 Large Body Pads
  • Travel Foot Pads
  • Black Travel Bag
  • Instructional DVD
  • Quick-Start Guide
  • Instructional Manual
  • Pad Placement Chart

2. Veridian Tiny TENS Unit

The Tiny Tens Unit has a remote control and comes with a storage bag.  The Tiny Tens Unit also includes an installed battery and comes with small and large pads.  This helps make the Tiny Tens Unit a perfect choice when choosing a tens unit for fibromyalgia.

Features:

  • Tens electrical stimulator
  • Remote control
  • CR2032 battery (installed)
  • Small pad
  • Large pad
  • Storage bag

3. Prospera Otc Tens Electronic Pulse Massager

Features:

  • Total 8 pads included
  • Two channels, 4 pads work at same time
  • Eight auto stimulation programs
  • Ten levels of intensity and speed option
  • High frequency stimulation
  • LCD shows massage style and intensity

4. Belifu TENS Unit for Fibromyalgia and Lupus

Features:

  • 24 Modes
  • Muscle Stimulator for Pain Relief Therapy
  • Electronic Pulse Massager
  • Muscle Massager with 10 Pads,
  • Dust-Proof Drawstring Storage Bag
  • Fastening Cable Ties

5. iReliev TENS Unit + EMS for Fibromyalgia and Lupus

Features:

  • 14 programs – 7 Pain Relief, 1 Arthritis, 6 Muscle Conditioning
  • Back-lit display for easier visibility
  • Rechargeable battery with 2-3 hours of charge
  • 80mA medical-grade output strength

 

Disclaimer: Always speak with your doctor before trying a TENS unit.  TENS unit machines may not be for everyone. Patients with: – Pacemakers, defibrillators or extreme cardiac irregularities – Metal implants or electronic auxiliary devices – Diabetes or abnormal high blood pressure – A tendency toward internal bleeding – Epilepsy – Pregnancy, please consult your doctor prior to use.

 

You can see more TENS Units for pain here.




6 Work from Home Call Center Jobs

One of the most common questions I receive from other chronic illness warriors (and even those not suffering from a long term disease) are how to find legitimate work from home jobs online.  If you suffer from something like lupus or fibromyalgia, you may have found yourself searching for ways to earn income without having to leave your home.

I have successfully earned a somewhat steady income from working different positions online over the last 6 years.  Suffering from lupus, fibromyalgia, and trigeminal neuralgia makes it difficult for me to work a full time position.  When having to work outside of the home, I waste a lot of energy on just getting ready in the mornings.  This is something that people who do not have a chronic illness will probably never understand.  To me, this is energy spent that could have been used for my work or family.

There are many jobs that will consider remote workers, but many of them are contract or part time positions.  There have been many times that I have had to work a couple different projects to bring home a decent amount of money.  I always try to remember the saying, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”.

If you have been struggling with your job or your job search and are considering working from home, you should definitely check out the legitimate positions below.  These online jobs can help alleviate some of the stress that you may be experiencing.

Virtual Call Center Jobs

remote call center jobs
remote call center jobs

If you have any experience in customer service or secretarial positions, you may want to consider a remote call center job.  Many businesses are hiring for call center jobs online, giving you the ability to make a decent wage from home.  If the idea of helping others while lounging in your pajamas sounds like a dream come true, I would recommend researching the companies below who are hiring remote call center workers.

  • Arise Call Center Jobs:  Arise Virtual Solutions allow you to be your own boss and work from home!  They offer a flexible schedule that allows you to set your own hours and control when and where your work.  This is extremely helpful for those suffering from an unpredictable disease like lupus or fibromyalgia.  They work with many Fortune 500 brands and help you connect with these companies so that you can provide them with customer service services.  Don’t worry, it’s not as confusing as it sounds.  Plus, they provide state of the art training and help so that you can start earning money as soon as possible.

 

  • Cox Communications: Cox Communications is hiring for Call Center Customer Service Representatives for their Account Services Department.  They are looking for people who live around certain cities, so make sure to check locations when applying.  They state the primary responsibilities of their call center reps will be handling incoming calls from Cox Business and residential customers, delivering excellent customer service by asking questions, actively listening, building rapport, demonstrating respect, being informative and understanding their needs, requests or problems.  This position focuses heavily on understanding the needs of customers, so Cox is asking for 1+ year experience working in a position that requires meeting sales goals and 1 – 2 year work experience in a customer service role (not specific to just Call Center).  The great thing about this position is that it pays around $15 hour and they offer many benefits including Medical, Dental, and Vision Benefits the first day!

 

  • American Express: American Express is currently hiring call center agents for their Virtual Platinum Customer Care Professional positions.  These virtual American Express jobs are perfect for someone looking for an online job with a well respected company.  They are looking for people with at least 2+ years in a customer service and consultative sales environment.  While a Bachelor’s degree is preferred, it is not required.

 

  • Asurion: Asurion is hiring virtual Customer Care Representatives.  As a Customer Care Rep, you will provide customer service and remote support for customers inquiries about lost or damaged devices and resolve customer issues.  They are looking for people who have at least 6+ months of experience in customer service.  Their pay for remote workers is around $11 hr.

 

  • Gametime: Gametime is hiring for Fan Happiness Associates.  These virtual call center position entails helping Gametime customers with their ticket purchases.  Their job description states that you will be communicating with Gametime customers via phone, email, chat, and text.  This virtual call center job pays $15 hr

 

  • Teleperformance:  Teleperformance employs thousands of people globally in a work-at-home environment giving our clients multiple options to address seasonal volume spikes, staffing flexibility, and a differentiated workforce.  They are currently hiring for Customer Service Agents and some digging online shows they pay around $10-$11 hr.

 

 

 

 




Working From Home With Lupus

 

Are you a lupus patient looking for a work from home job?  In the last decade or so, the amount of companies hiring remote works have increased dramatically.  This is great news for those who suffer with chronic health issues like lupus.  We have compiled a list of 10 jobs lupus patients can work from home.  So go ahead and dust off that resume and find a full or part time job that can help you earn extra money from home.

 

work from home job lupus

1. Appen Butler Hill

Appen provides numerous remote contracts jobs throughout the year.  The most popular ones are the Search Engine Evaluators, and Social Media Evaluators.  These positions pay anywhere from $9.50/hr to $14/hour.  Search Engine Evaluators will need to combine a passion for analysis with an understanding of various online research tools.  Social Media Evaluators with Appen evaluate the quality and relevance of information in their local area or country of residence in categories such as news feeds, advertisements and search results.

 

 

2. VIPKID

VIPKID provides an international learning experience to children in China between the ages 4-12. Headquartered in Beijing, the company offers fully immersive one-on-one English language instruction provided online by highly qualified teachers. The curriculum is based on the U.S. Common Core State Standards and uses a flipped-classroom approach to foster creativity and critical thinking skills.  They are looking for people who want to become teachers from home.  You can work from anywhere as long as you internet.  They do require applicants to be fluent in English and a Bachelor’s Degree in any specialization.  They state on their website that their online teachers can earn anywhere from $14-$22 for teaching from home.

3. American Express

American Express offers many virtual positions in various skill sets.  If you are looking for full time remote jobs online, American Express is a great option.  American Express was named in the Top 100 Companies with Remote Jobs in 2018 by FlexJobs.  You can check out their virtual listings here.

 

4. U-Haul

U-Haul offers sales and customer service positions from home.  If you are looking for a part-time job that allows you to work flexible hours and work from home from anywhere in North America, the U-Haul Sales and Reservations Work from Home Program might just be what you’re looking for. For more information, visit www.uhauljobs.com.

 

5. Arise Virtual Solutions

Arise is a leading platform that allows it’s contract workers to work from home as customer service agents.  Join the growing number of home-based service providers using the Arise Platform. Provide customer service, sales and support from the comfort of your home. The Arise Platform and your work from home call center business – the perfect combination!

 

 

6. American Airlines

American Airlines hires remote workers to take reservations from their home.  If you are have experience in travel reservations, you may want to check out American Airline’s open jobs and see if they are remote workers near you.  You can find their open jobs here.

 

 

7. Amazon

Amazon now offers many remote positions for people who are looking to work from home.  According to Amazon’s virtual location website:

Sometimes, Amazon has virtual (or “work-from-home”) positions available to qualified individuals who live in some areas. So if you aren’t near a physical Amazon location, or just want to see if there are virtual opportunities in your area, you’re in the right place.

Virtual opportunities are not available in all areas–specific questions about virtual positions can be discussed during the interview process with your recruiter.

 

If you would like at check out the most recent virtual jobs being offered with Amazon, check out their listing page here.

 

 

8. Dell

Dell is another tech company that offers various positions the chance to be worked from home.  If you have tech experience and are looking for a position that you can work from the comfort of your own home office, Dell is definitely a choice to look into.  If you would like to view their current remote jobs, please visit their page here.

 

 

9. UnitedHealth Group

UnitedHealth Group is an insurance company that provides ample opportunities for their employees to telecommute.  If you have customer service experience, medical billing, or any sort of medical experience, you should definitely consider working for UnitedHealth Group.  You can view their current remote opportunities on their website.  Click here for more information.

 

 

10. Xerox

Xerox has taken pride in hiring work from home employees for over 30 years.  They currently have around 8,000 remote employees who help to ensure a successful and strong company.  From customer service, data entry, and tech support; Xerox is one of the leading companies who hire remote workers.  You can check out their remote jobs on the work from home page.