Banned, but why? Facebook gives no reason


I am prompted to write that, despite an absence of new posts, I am as well as I can be. I have no health problems beyond multiple sclerosis.

Messages have reached me, asking if everything is ok, such as this one:

Hi, it’s (name removed for privacy). Facebook has not had any of your current writings, so I want you to know you are in my prayers.

The absence of my posts was not caused by any personal reasons but was enforced by Facebook itself. I use it to send my posts to groups of which I am a member but, three times in as many weeks, I have been interrupted by a message saying: “You are restricted from joining and posting to groups that you do not manage until (date and time).

No reason is ever given and the powers that be won’t discuss it with you. You can click on ‘Appeal’ but experience tells me not to bother. Why? Because, if you do, no reply is ever received and the restriction, effectively a ban, is just made longer. The fact is simple, Facebook has the ability to do what it likes and we, its users, have no rights to protest or even ask questions. [I feel another ‘restriction’ will be coming for expressing this truth].

Back until banned again

I explained the situation to everyone who contacted me and this was one response I received via Messenger:

That’s awful. I’m technology challenged, but I knew something was wrong. Thanks for letting me know.

I wish you could sue Facebook for discrimination.

God bless you and your family. Stay strong. Thank you for all your hard work.

Right now, I am back and will continue to bring you news and views – until Facebook decides to ban me again.

Whether you have MS or another health problem, if you have a disability, 50shadesofsun.com is here for you. And, there is no greater support you can give than to share my posts far and wide via every social media.

You can also join a Facebook page that I do manage (and so are exempt from any ban), such as 50shadesofsun or Living with multiple sclerosis.

* * * * *

Affiliate disclaimer: This affiliate disclosure details the affiliate relationships of MS, Health & Disability at 50shadesofsun.com with other companies and products. Read more.

* * * * *

50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, a freelance medical writer and editor for various health information sites. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.

* * * * *

Note: Health-related information available on 50shadesofsun website is for your general knowledge only. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. I am not a doctor, so cannot and do not give you medical advice. You should seek prompt medical care for any specific health issues. Also, consult a doctor before starting a new diet or exercise programme. Any opinions expressed are purely my own unless otherwise stated.

Shocking: Neurological misdiagnosis fears prompt patient reviews

People living with multiple sclerosis, and other neurological conditions, are among thousands of patients being recalled for case reviews. They were all treated by consultant neurologist Dr Michael Watt and the reviews have been triggered by fears of possible misdiagnosis.

I am shocked and horrified that the reviews are necessary but delighted that the powers that be are taking action. At least they are not letting the fears and concerns to be swept under the carpet.

The reviews involve more than 2,500 patients treated in Belfast, in Northern Ireland, UK.   They were all diagnosed with neurological conditions that, as well as MS, include Parkinson’s Disease and Motor Neurone Disease.

It is the biggest patient recall in Northern Ireland’s history. 

Those concerns arose from an independent review of patient notes by Belfast Health and Social Care Trust and the Royal College of Physicians. Health bosses have not been ruled out that the investigation could, at some point. cover people who have died under his care. Besides working for the trust, Dr Watt also practised at two private health clinics.

Other doctors raised concerns

reviews

Dr Mark Mitchelson.

Chair of Belfast Trust’s neurology division, Dr Mark Mitchelson said: “I fully understand this will cause significant anxiety to many patients and their families and for that we are truly sorry. Other doctors raised concerns with the Trust regarding the care and treatment provided by Dr Michael Watt to a small number of patients.”

The hospital is setting up additional clinics, and is aiming to see all recalled patients within 12 weeks. Belfast Trust says it has contacted every patient it wants to review.

Anyone who may be worried and is seeking further support may call an advice line. The freephone telephone number is: 0800 980 1100 and lines will be open 9am – 9pm during the week and 9am – 5pm at weekends.

* * * * *

Affiliate disclaimer: This affiliate disclosure details the affiliate relationships of MS, Health & Disability at 50shadesofsun.com with other companies and products. Read more.

* * * * *

50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, a freelance medical writer and editor for various health information sites. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.

* * * * *

Note: Health-related information available on 50shadesofsun website is for your general knowledge only. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. I am not a doctor and cannot and do not give you medical advice. You should seek prompt medical care for any specific health issues. Also, consult a doctor before starting a new diet or exercise programme. Any opinions expressed are purely my own unless otherwise stated.

Take responsibility, vitamins, and a position for sleep

We should all take responsibility for our own health, and this is something I both advocate and practice.  That’s why I got my GP to refer me to an MS specialist neurologist here in Spain, and why Lisa and I have been looking at the possibility of buying an adjustable bed.

Regular readers may recall that blood tests revealed I was deficient in vitamins B12 and D. The neurologist prescribed supplements to put this right.

Livestrong.com says vitamin B12 plays an important role in many of our everyday functions. Without it, the nervous system and circulatory system cannot work optimally. B12 comes from many of the foods you eat. Some people do not get enough B12 in their diets, however, and others may have difficulty absorbing the nutrient from their food. In these cases, you may need supplemental B12.

supplementsSupplemental B12 is available in capsules, gels and even injections. The type you need depends on the degree of your deficiency. While most people’s blood B12 levels range between 200 and 900 pg/mL, according to Medline Plus, you may experience deficiency symptoms once your levels drop below 200.

B12 deficiency, which causes a number of unpleasant side effects. You may feel sluggish and weak, experience tingling in your hands and feet, feel confused or even have trouble with your balance.

Supplements to fix problems of low vitamins

As I also have a heart condition, I wanted to establish that vitamin D supplements work ok with blood thinners. Once again, livestrong.com provides valuable reassurance:

For some people, blood thinners are a necessity. They are prescribed to prevent heart attacks, strokes and blood vessel clots. There are two main types of blood thinners — anticoagulants, such as heparin and warfarin — or Coumadin — and anti-platelets, such as aspirin. Blood thinners are known to have many drug interactions, so read labels and packaging inserts when

Both the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality do not list any negative interactions between vitamin D supplements and blood thinners. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center indicates that taking vitamin D supplements while on certain blood thinners, such as heparin, may prove beneficial. Heparin may interfere with bone growth and vitamin D use in the body, which could lead to bone loss and osteoporosis. Taking vitamin D and calcium supplements while you are on heparin may help prevent this.

Then there’s the issue of sleep and the possible desirability of adjustable beds. We decided to research the pros and cons. This is what came to light:

Advantages of adjustable beds

They:

  1. provide a higher level of blood circulation at night
  2. help to relieve the typical aches and pains that come with life
  3. can relieve the symptoms of asthma
  4. can reduce symptom of indigestion, or acid reflux
  5. allow for a greater level of independence

Adjustable beds are often needed by those of us who have ongoing health issues that limit mobility. These beds help promote greater independence because they are easier to get inor get out of – without help from anyone else.

  1. It doesn’t prevent other bed-related fun

Whatever it is that you define as ‘fun’, from doing a crossword, checking Facebook, surfing the web, or something a little more intimate, it won’t be curtailed.

Disadvantages of adjustable beds

They:

  1. are expensive
  2. may be high maintenance costs
  3. can be loud
  4. are incredibly heavy 
  5. can be difficult to clean
  6. provide difficulty in movement

When used to raise your upper body or legs, adjustable beds keep you in one sleep position – on your back. To sleep on your side, you need to leave the bed flat, defeating the object of having an adjustable bed in the first place.

7. Not all the physical benefits that are promoted may be experienced

It is possible for you to spend a great deal of money on an adjustable bed, yet get no physical benefit from the change in how you sleep.

Bearing all that in mind, Lisa and I decided to check out a reclining sleep position without buying a new bed. So, we bought a special inflatable cushion (pictured above) which can elevate the mattress. This can raise your upper body by various degrees.

So far, the vitamin supplements are beginning to have some positive effect. And we have found the elevated position to be comfortable and both gained a better night’s sleep.

The trial goes on.

* * * * *

Affiliate disclaimer: This affiliate disclosure details the affiliate relationships of MS, Health & Disability at 50shadesofsun.com with other companies and products. Read more.

* * * * *

50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, a freelance medical writer and editor for various health information sites. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.

Health: Debate over best system will continue

There is no doubt that I prefer social healthcare. That means I support healthcare funded by countries, such as the UK and Spain, rather than needing to buy private health insurance, as in the US.

Now, that is not to say either healthcare system provides superior medical care. It is purely about the costs.

health

An American protester calls for the country to have one health plan.

Neither system is entirely free as workers pay something from their salary or wages as contributions toward the cost. But there are other big differences. Social medicine is free at the point of use, with no charges for doctors’ treatment or hospital care. The same cannot be said of private health care, where even GPs charge fees and you need health insurance. In fact, in the US, not having health cover has legal penalties.

Despite that, many people find the cost of insurance to be prohibitive.

I find it strange, and more than a little ironic, that insurance costs got worse after the US passed the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. How can ‘affordable’ equal more expensive? Some monthly premiums escalated from less than $60 a month to more than $300. And others cost a lot more.

Let me be clear, I am not saying the American system is flawed. It is just not for me.

Prescription costs a question of health

One item of contention in the UK is the cost of prescriptions. First, you must recognise that the UK IS made up of four healthcountries. A trip to the pharmacist in England will cost you £8.60 per prescription drug or item.  But prescriptions in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland are all free.

Since Lisa and I moved to Spain almost two years ago, we have been surprised by the low prescription charges here. Yes, we do pay – but just cents, certainly not excessive.

The standard of care here is excellent but, as anywhere, it can vary from doctor to doctor. We recently chose to change our doctor to another within the same health centre. It was so simple.

Last week, I had my first appointment with our new doctor. He listened to what I had to say, prescribed a couple of medications, and, as I have MS, he referred me to see a neurologist. Stopping at reception on the way out, I left with a confirmed appointment with a neurologist. It will be my first in 12 years.

* * * * *

Affiliate disclaimer: This affiliate disclosure details the affiliate relationships of MS, Health & Disability at 50shadesofsun.com with other companies and products. Read more.

* * * * *

50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, a freelance medical writer and editor for various health information sites. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.

Practicing Yoga can Help Improve your Health

A Colorado man practices yoga, as part of a holistic approach, to tackle symptoms of multiple sclerosis.

Dan Melfi, aged 65, told me that he has been on several medications since his diagnosis in 2009, but that none of them had provided as big a benefit as he has gained from the holistic approach.

yoga“I keep diseases of aging away as much as possible,” he said. “I watch my diet, exercise regularly, and enjoy yoga. I belong to an MS swim class where I can work my whole body without fear of falling.

“Talking of falling, I find that I can use yoga moves to regain my balance and get up again.” I asked if he took a yoga class. No, he said, he does it at home, using DVDs.

That made me think about the benefits of natural therapies and holistic medicine in general and yoga in particular.

What is yoga?

So, what is yoga? According to the Yoga Journal, the word comes from the Sanskrit word yuj, meaning to yoke or bind.

Today, most people practicing yoga are engaged in the third limb, asana, which is a program of physical postures. This is designed to purify the body and provide the physical strength and stamina required for long periods of meditation.

In her book Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself, author Lissa Rankin, MD, writes: “The data suggests that your body can heal itself, but it does so much more effectively when the process is facilitated by the right kinds of healers who support the body’s self-healing process.”

These may include doctors and nurses, but may also be therapists, acupuncturists, energy healers, naturopaths, shamans, and other healing practitioners.

Now, shamanism is a subject I know something about but that’s another story, today we’re going to stay on subject.

Yoga: How does it help to heal?

Hearing Dan praise yoga for helping him deal with MS, convinced me to look into how it helps to heal.

Luckily, I found a fascinating website set up by Tera Bucasas, called Yoga for Healing.

On this site, Tera says: “It’s easy to find yoga, it’s not as easy to find yoga specifically for those on a healing journey. So much of the popular yoga out there emphasizes power, intensity and sculpting.

“Yoga for Healing is a holistic practice that addresses the mind, body and the soul. We allow our bodies to build strength gently while working to heal our nervous system and mental space.

“With Yoga for Healing you will: build strength, enhance joint movement, gain flexibility, relax, modify and take things at your pace.”

* * * * *

Affiliate disclaimer: This affiliate disclosure details the affiliate relationships of MS, Health & Disability at 50shadesofsun.com with other companies and products. Read more.

* * * * *

50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, who has enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor, in the print media. During that career he gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. Diagnosed with MS in 2002, he continued to work until mobility problems made him retire early in late 2006. He now lives in the south of Spain. Besides MS, Ian is also able to write about both epilepsy and cardiovascular matters from a patient’s perspective. Besides that, he is a keen advocate on mobility and accessibility issues.

Low fat vegetarian diet looks good for MS patients

How eating meat might possibly affect any disease, let alone multiple sclerosis, was the furthest thought from my mind as a child.

My family, as I was growing up, were all meat-eaters and this has continued throughout my journey into adulthood including one long, but ultimately failed, marriage right up to the current day – almost five years into my second attempt.

I enjoy meat and have always laughed off the scare stories about risks to health. From the mid-1990s to the early 2000s, I was a rural affairs farming journalist in an area renowned for both quality lamb and beef.

Yes, I visited many farms but was able to keep a clear, albeit false, distinction in my mind between animals in the fields and the food on my plate. Lambs could be cuddled but lamb chops were for eating. I carefully avoided visiting the local abattoir, however.

Well, this is now changing, not because of any desire by me to improve my health but because my wife Lisa has started a new anti-animal abuse website called Please – No More! She has uncovered such abuse in terms of the shameful and disgusting methods used in modern factory farming that we have decided to become vegetarians. It won’t happen overnight as we still have meat in our freezer and it won’t help those animals if we just throw it away.

vegiBut once it has gone, it will be gone – and both of us will hopefully benefit from enjoying a meat-free Spanish Mediterranean healthy diet. Right now, Lisa is honing her vegetarian cooking skills. Indeed, tonight we ate a completely homemade vegan lasagna and were both absolutely stunned by the fantastic taste.

Coincidentally, the potential gains to MS patients of a low-fat vegetarian diet have been a topic of discussion for quite some time but without any firm scientific evidence either way.

Now, however a pilot study seems to be saying that such a diet would be beneficial.

A team led by Dr Vijayshree Yadav, at the Oregon Health & Science University, indicates that a very-low saturated fat, plant-based diet, can be a starting point.

The results were published in the study “Low-fat, plant-based diet in multiple sclerosis: A randomized controlled trial,” in the journal Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders.

I am not going to go into all the details here but if you are that interested in reading the entire report, just click on the link above.

Although the results showed no effect on MS disease activity, neither in MRI nor clinical tests, improvement was found in quality of life, including overall mood and levels of fatigue, the latter being a debilitating problem among Relapsing RMS patients.

“Dietary intervention participants experienced reduction in weight, body mass index (BMI), LDL (“bad” cholesterol), total cholesterol and insulin levels,” the authors wrote. “These improvements would likely enhance their long-term general health if they remained on the diet.

“If maintained, the improved lipid profile and BMI could yield long-term vascular health benefits.”

 

new strap

Busy Monday for settlers

cuevas_3

Ok, Monday morning was extremely busy as Lisa and I, with the help of Barry, managed to open a joint account with a Spanish bank, register with the local medical centre and make our first appointment to see a doctor, take the first steps towards gaining NIEs for both of us – and do some much needed grocery shopping.

Once we returned to our temporary accommodation, we received the news that our new home is ready to move into, apart from some necessary handgrips. This means that we now need to buy some essential items such as bedding, cooking pans and utensils, crockery, cutlery and so on. Because of this, we probably won’t be moving in until Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday but we’ll see how it goes.

We had chosen to go with Banco Popular and were both amazed that the procedures were so convoluted and slow. It took more than one hour, actually more like 90 minutes, before our account number was finally handed over. I appreciate that all banks need to guard against money laundering but that length of time seemed excessive.

Anyway, our visit to the gestoria this morning established that to obtain NIEs we both have to apply in person to the relevant office in Almeria, more than an hour’s drive away. He agreed to make appointments for us but indicated that it was likely that we would have to wait two weeks.

Just in case you are wondering, the NIE is a tax identification number issued in Spain to anyone who is not Spanish. NIE stands for Número de Identidad de Extranjero, which translates literally as Number of identity of foreigner or, more properly, Foreigners’ Identity Number. Spanish citizens have their own cards Documento Nacional de Identidad. The NIE is the equivalent of the DNI but just for foreign residents. Spanish citizens get a plastic ID card but EU foreign residents don’t. So if someone asks either of us for our DNI card, we just need to give them our NIE number.

While out and about this morning, we stopped off for a coffee at a local café. Prices here continue to amaze me. We had three coffees and two enormous pastries and the total cost was just 4.90€. I cannot think of anywhere in the UK where anyone could buy the same quality and quantity items for the same price – about £3.45.

Changing the subject, like the UK, with its wintry weather including snow and temperatures as low as -6˚C/21˚F according to the internet, our temperatures have also tumbled. Here they have fallen to 15˚C/59˚F.