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Hello, I am new here. This is my saga!
#1
Hello! I have actually tried joining here a couple of times, but never got an email saying I was approved. I just tried logging in anyway, and Volia! I was able to log in, so here I am.

I am a middle-aged woman who has severe health problems. I have had various hormonal and immune problems since childhood. These problems have now progressed to cirrhosis of the liver, although I have never been much of a drinker. (Tests show my liver problem is not alcohol-related at all.) So, now I have hormonal problems, various autoimmune/allergy/asthma problems, *and* cirrhosis. And, in an amazing run of luck, all of it bad, it turns out I also have a BRCA1 defect. BRCA1 defects cause hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome, and is why actress Angelina Jolie decide to have both breasts removed. (And also her ovaries removed, although that got far less attention.) But, I am still here, despite cancer in two different organs (both found early, fortunately) and several organ-removing surgeries.

I am interested in discussing how to manage chronic pain, and am happy to see there is a forum on that topic. I generally think prescription pain killers make life *worse* for people with long term, chronic pain. I am interested in whether anyone here has success with accupuncture or hypnosis, and how much it cost them for those treatments.

I believe my physicians are often too conservative with my treatment. Physicians can easily be sued if a patient dies from drug side effects, but it's generally impossible to lose a lawsuit if a patient died because the dose of medicine they received was lower than optimal. Right now, I have that problem with the drug Actos, a drug which often helps with my type of liver problems. My endocrinologist prescribed only 15 mg of Actos daily, although the top dose is 45 mg daily. His reasoning is that a low dose gives some of the benefits of a higher dose, and is far less risky than the higher dose, which can cause heart problems. Yeah, but I am the one who has to live in this very ill body. I know a lot about medications and should be able to decide for myself what cost/benefit ratio is best for me. 

Which brings me to the parts of my life besides my medical problems. I have a PhD in Psychology. However, I am not a therapist; I am trained in what is called, these days, "Psychological Science" -- the study of how the mind works, rather than the practice of treating mental illness. (Analogy: Therapy is similar to medicine, except it focuses on the mind instead of the body; Psychological Science is similar to biology, except it focuses on the mind instead of the body.)  I spent many years teaching a variety of psychology courses in various colleges until I had to stop teaching because I was so sick. I have a ton of training in research design and in analyzing research results. This is good, because my physicians don't seem to know much about my health problems and I have had to educate myself. I now have now published two articles in medical journals. 

As with a lot of people who have liver problems, I have vicious insomnia. That is why I am writing this post at 3:51 a.m. Finding something to help with my insomnia is the main reason I am here. I was prescribed Ambien in the past and it worked great for me. However, these days it seems no one in my area prescribes sleeping pills except psychiatrists. Finding a psychiatrist who takes Medicaid is pretty much impossible, and I have spent several years trying, without success, to get into to see one. And, physicians in my state are not allowed to take a penny out-of-pocket from Medicaid patients.

Since I called this a "saga", does that mean I am from Iceland? No, but my name is Peony13 and peonies are originally from Siberia. We require cold winters. So, the climate in Iceland would probably be suitable for a peony.
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#2
Welcome Peony13 , to our wee family here, glad you finally made it Smile

Seems like not only you but our extended family may be able to help one another..
Also, be sure to aquatint yourself to the rules we have and the way we talk here...

It not only protects our vendors, but you and us as well...

We only permit 5 posts in a given 24 hr period (until 50 posts are reached),
no matter when you start your 24 hrs...

Again, welcome to our family...

Ice
A True Friend
Freely Advises,
Justly Assists Readily,
Adventures Boldly,
Takes all Patiently,
Defends Courageously
And
Continues a Friend Unchangeably.

William Penn
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#3
Welcome Peony13 - thanks for sharing your story with us. I struggle with insomnia as well so you might see me on at 3am as well Smile Lots of great reading here and caring people.
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#4
Welcome aboard. Interesting intro. But i am so sorry u r so ill.

But have a glorious day today peony13.
Angel  It is Well with My Soul  Angel
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#5
Hello Peony13 & Welcome to the Forum Smile   I'm very sorry for your illnesses & I'm sure you will find many like minded members here dealing with similar issues......
This too shall pass. Heart
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#6
Thanks very much to everyone who welcomed me!
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