You Want Me to do What? Why You Should Consider Clinical Trials as an Option

Okay, so I’m writing about something that may seem totally unrelated to my normal content here on Una Vita Bella, but what’s “normal” for me anymore? Not much. The one thing that is normal is that I have always had a focus on well-being and health and that continues to be the case, whether it be mine, a family member’s or even the neighbor down the street. And with Health Activism as a pretty healthy focus of mine (see what I did there?) I think it won’t surprise anyone too much that I have an interest in sharing information about clinical trials with you.

I used to be afraid of clinical trials, in fact, I would always want to be an informed patient before I participated in one myself, but that’s part of being a responsible patient. After a health scare of my own recently and learning about others who face health challenges of their own and have participated in clinical trials, I’m not afraid to say that I believe clinical trials are important – nor would I hesitate to look into them for a health issue I face personally or for my own family.

Clinical trials are the route all investigational treatments or medications must go through before receiving approval and becoming available to the general public. They are regulated research studies that provide hope to many. Without these trials, we would not see advancement in treatments or medications.

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I have had the pleasure of becoming a CureClick Ambassador recently and as a result I am learning so much about clinical trials and what is available to the public. I sincerely believe these trials are amazing avenues to further our knowledge of diseases and illness and provide unique opportunities for their participants. Because of this, I want to share one particular trial that is accepting applicants currently.

Here are some details:

“The SPIRE program is looking for people who are taking a cholesterol lowering medication but still have high cholesterol. If you qualify, you might be interested in participating in a research study.

This study evaluates the PCSK9 inhibitor, Bococizumab compared to placebo, in reducing the occurrence of major cardiovascular events, including cardiovascular death, myocardial infarction, stroke, and unstable angina requiring urgent revascularization, in high risk subjects who are receiving background lipid lowering therapy and have cholesterol laboratory values of LDL-C >/= 70 mg/dL or non-HDL-C >/= 100 mg /dl.”

The full study details and eligibility criteria are listed here.

High cholesterol is linked to increased risk of heart disease and often times lifestyle changes such as a healthy diet and regular exercise can have a positive impact on cholesterol levels. (Mayo Clinic) There are times when medication is needed and situations where lifestyle factors are not the only factor at play. Some people may have genetic and hereditary causes for high cholesterol. (Mayo Clinic) No matter what factors are involved, it’s an important issue to address. If uncontrolled, you could be at increased risk for heart attack. (Mayo Clinic) With this in mind, if you are currently on medication for high cholesterol or know someone who is, this clinical trial may be a great opportunity for them or you. Please don’t hesitate to share the information because you never know who it may help and who may be eligible. http://curec.lk/1csS0Sz

With all that said, here’s a little more about clinical trials so that you can be better informed, too.

top-reasons-people-choose-to-participate-in-clinical-trialsstudy-volunteer-ratings-of-the-quality-of-care-that-they-received-in-a-clinical-trialPeople tend to choose to participate in clinical trials in an effort to help advance the field of medicine and improve the lives of others, a pretty noble thing to do! Also, participants find that the quality of care they receive while participating is excellent.

Watch for further shares of clinical trials available to you via this blog and on Twitter. And one last time, if you want to learn more about the high cholesterol trial I mentioned above, click here!

HighCholesterolWhile this post may be different from many of my past, you probably know I feel passionate about health and that is not limited to mental health or chronic pain conditions only. To have the chance to spread the word about the availability of clinical trials is something I feel privileged to be able to do! If you would like to know more about my relationship with CureClick, please go here.

Do Not Be Afraid

Share your story. Be real. Be authentic. Find your niche.

I’ve been stuck in this abyss of wondering how to do all of this…for months and months and months. I used to bare it all for you and now I’m afraid. I used to give everyone the nitty gritty details of my life and people read it, seemed to relate and maybe even liked it. I liked it. I loved knowing I wasn’t alone. I loved feeling brave and being real, even if it meant some would misunderstand or misinterpret my words or state of mind. It felt so goooood to release it all, put my mess out there, here and everywhere and get feedback…maybe even I could be so bold as to say I might have liked the attention. 

Life can feel lonely at times. Blogging friends, supporters, Twitter friends, you know…real people acknowledging you, your pain, your joys, your existence, just feels nice, right? 

But, now I sit here (in the hair salon, hallelujah!) and I have to figure out how to be those things I first mentioned in the beginning all over again. I have a new and amazing life. It’s like I received a fresh start in a multitude of incredible and ridiculous ways, but all the things and topics I have touched on before are still a part of my life – and more. 

What to say, what not to say…self-censorship is on my mind more than it ever has been before. 

I fear for saying something my ex-husband could use against me someday in a child custody hearing. I fear that my new extended family would be embarrassed/concerned/ashamed if I bared it all. I fear that discussing the topics I used to talk about so freely (as well as new ones) would hurt my ability to help provide for my family if push comes to shove and I have to look for work in the corporate world or even now as I continue to build my own independent contract book of business.

Paul says, in the Bible, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). And if I’m called to share my heart, then I need to let go of this fear. I can trust in Him. It doesn’t feel so simple today, though.

So, I’m starting by sharing my fears with you here and now about all this because that is as real as it gets. I’m taking baby steps. (I can’t say that without thinking of “What About Bob?“) 

I’m sharing my desire to find my place online again. I’m just another voice in the crowd, but I think all of our voices matter. I think God has given me a story, a life, that matters. 

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The Key to Happiness 

Day two of #HAWMC is a doozy. We’re given one of life’s greatest and most debated questions to answer. The folks at WegoHealth must know how wise we are, us health activists. 

The truth is, whether you’ve faced major health challenges or not, the answer (in my opinion) is the same. How you come about realizing it may be a different journey for each of us, as well as how long it takes to get there, but the getting to it isn’t the writing prompt today. And you know what, I think the answer to this question is actually pretty simple.

Simple. It’s the little things. The key to unlocking happiness (which I must remind you is transient and much different from peace or joy) is in the simple moments and the sacred minutes in life in which you take notice. 

When I was in the throes of illness and pain from Fibromyalgia I gradually learned to treasure the brief and tender moments with my children rather than focus on a perceived lack of them. I learned to focus on the seemingly small stuff in life like a laugh coming from the other room, the birds chirping outside my window or dappled sunlight shining through the curtains. 

Illness taught me to be still. It taught me that happiness really can be found in the wiggling of my toes against cool sheets or in a silent prayer of gratitude. 

My, oh my, how easy it can be to forget this simple little key we all carry in our pockets! In a hurried and busy world full of demands we may find ourselves grumpy and stressed but we can do the simple thing and STOP. Take notice. Purposefully step outside. Take it in. Take it all in. 

Happiness lies in the little things and small moments, friends …with perhaps a dose of good perspective, but it’s there, just waiting to be unlocked.

Wordless Wednesday #HAWMC Style

Thank goodness for the WordPress mobile app! I’m in the pick up line at my daughter’s high school – multi-tasking at its finest, I tell you! No more words…just a picture of one oft littles that expresses excitement perfectly! (please forgive the obvious potty reference)

  

I’m excited for #HAWMC and for Spring and for lots of good things to come!

Progress Report: I’m Getting an F in Motherhood

Nothing is harder than the job of motherhood. You’ve heard this before. But it’s truth is ringing so loudly in my ears right now. Perhaps the most difficult part of the job is the mirror that shines back at me, the amount of self-reflection and judgment turned inward, that comes my way when I see one of my children struggling.

There are health issues unsettled, quirkiness in a child that does not “fit in”, diagnoses that are ignored or not recognized by others, emotional struggles unseen until they pop up in scary ways and then the little things like the fact that a teenager doesn’t know how to do their own laundry (yet) or they forget to use their manners…all these things glare back at us and scream, “FAIL. You suck. You are a horrible mother.”

The work of motherhood is the hardest for the weight it bears on our souls and the cost that it charges to our emotional bank accounts. Unless, of course, you’re perfect, you’ve never made mistakes, and you truly have no flaws…then perhaps you cannot relate with this at all. Then, I say, you and I probably have nothing in common.

I am carrying the heavy burden of a visit from shame, guilt and regret. I feel like I got a progress report in the mail and the teacher told me I’m getting a big fat “F”. The realization, again, is hitting hard that all of my choices have had an impact on my children. There is no way to wipe the board clean, no way to make it go away, no way in my power to erase the pain or heartache that my choices have made on their lives. No greater weight have I ever bared.

As a friend spoke truth to me today, she told me there is no use in focusing on the past now, we can only move forward and as I have heard time and time again in past months, it’s up to me to do the next right thing. And that, I think I am doing, even if it’s with some trepidation.

I am also reminded that there is only one thing, one source I can turn to for real help in this…Jesus, my counselor, my healer, my teacher and comforter. And I ask Him to help me through the muddy waters of parenthood and the pain of regret and poor choices. I ask for forgiveness again and miracles and for complete and total healing, because what else does a mother ask for?

I don’t ask for a just a little bit of the pain to be lessened for my teenager who is struggling with self-worth and what seems like typical teenage angst, no, I ask for it all to be removed, because seeing your child in pain is excruciating. But I also know that a little bit would be a good thing, too. I ask for all of my parenting decisions to be guided with His wisdom, not just some of them, because in all of my efforts to wrap my mind around this parenting thing I can’t bring myself to think that even one decision made by me is any good without some help. I ask for complete renewal of my spirit, even though I’ve asked for it before, because when you feel like you’ve done nothing but screw up, you just want to be made new, again.

How I wish I could have known that the choices I made so young and even ones I made when older would be so profound. But now I know… and I know, too, that “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8.

I can only unleash my love in a way that is promised to cover my sins and help fill my children with the knowledge of their mother’s love and even better, of their father in heaven’s love.

Parenting is hard. Looking in the mirror is tough when you have screwed up, but ignorance sure isn’t bliss. I’m grateful for the opportunity to do things better, to do the next right thing, and to love my children in every way I know how.

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