Archive for December, 2013


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I want to send our Best Wishes to all of you who read and support our Charcot Awareness Education Foundation, It is so exciting to know we have friends around the world in over 186 countries. You really make a difference in the lives you touch. We hope those of you who are experiencing foot pain, or are going through foot surgery find that awesome doctor and answers to your problem.

Also, take time to reach out to someone you haven’t touched base with in many many years, or someone who is alone much of the time. Your smile, presence and warmth will make a difference in their life.

Stay positive, happy and healthy in the new year. Keep in touch and share your story with us. We love to hear from you.

Annita’s, (Founder), continuing story

Brought to you by Charcot Awareness Education Foundation

Humor: A Happy Prescription

Laughter is a good form of medicine, in fact one of the best. Put a smile on someone’s face and many problems disappear. We found this to be true when my husband, Max, was undergoing his x-ray treatments for prostrate cancer. Walking into the waiting room finding everyone in doom and gloom, he decided to bring in some jokes and give them to the nurses. They hated to see him leave after his thirty fifth visit. They said his humor had really made a difference both for them and the patients.

Ken ShawMy father was one who loved to laugh. His ability to remember jokes was amazing. He was a farmer in Nebraska, an occupation that had lots of times when a mental pick up was needed. He had heart surgery in Seattle, his grandson, Justin, told a joke to his surgeon that turned a frown to a smile.

The entire time I worked with Dr. Roukis and his staff, with my Charcot Foot, we exchanged humor, including teasing. This always seemed to eliminate any stress that might have been.

It has been proven that laughter is very good medicine. Norman Cousins (1912-1990) was editor-in-chief of the “Saturday Review”. He advocate for world peace and later dealt with the issues of illness and healing. Cousins, himself, faced numerous health issues. In 1964, doctors discovered the connective tissue in his spine was deteriorating. The condition was called Ankylosing Spondylitis. Chances of survival approximately 1 in 500. Faced with this, he needed to figure out his roll in his own recovery. He eventually did three things, not necessarily what the medical community wanted to hear.

First, researched all the drugs he was on. They were depleting his body of Vitamin C. Doctors Norman Cousinsagreed to take him off several of the drugs and inject him with large doses of the supplement.

Second, he decided to check himself out of the hospital and go to a hotel. All of the hospital practices, he determined, were not an environment that would contribute to his healing. I believe, because of Cousins actions, Cousins found that after laughing so hard, his healing caused many things to change in the hospitals, such as colors used, hygiene practices, over medication, as well as, negativity.

Third, He got a movie projector and a large supply of funny films, including Candid Camera tapes and old prints of Marx Brother’s movies. Cousins found, after laughing so hard at the films, the first night in the hotel he slept several hours pain free. When the pain returned he simply turned on the projector.

1 Smiling CatNow off the drugs, taking Vitamin C and laughter, Cousins described being in a state of euphoria and as he continued to laugh, within a few weeks he was back at work at the Saturday Review. He continued to heal.

There is much written on Cousins and laughter as healing. you could check out the web site TheHealingPoweroflaughter, His book Anatomy of an Illness is enlightening.

Keep laughing. Stay positive. Take charge of your own health.

Annita’s, (Founder), continuing story

Brought to you by Charcot Awareness Education Foundation

A Time To Be Thankful

This is the time of the year set aside to give thanks for blessings that have been bestowed upon us. Though being diagnosed with Charcot Foot was a shock to hear, the entire process from diagnosis, through surgery and recovery consuming three years resulted in a very positive experience. I am so thankful for all of you who have touched my life. I am very thankful I am now able to walk because of a very skilled surgeon, Dr. Thomas Roukis and a wonderful husband, son and support group.

My husband took on the role of caregiver. We had been quite close before, but relatively independent. Suddenly, I relied on him for everything. I didn’t really like this feeling, but he did a great job. Many had given him the impression he wouldn’t be able to do this. We planned together which helped make it work for both of us.

My son was there whenever we needed him. I think it was a bit tough to see mom unable to do the usual things and to think she was getting old and confined to a bed. His presence and strange sense of humor (my description not his) was always welcome. His sensitivity and caring makes a mom think she did all right.

My friends, neighbors near and far were wonderful. They sent greetings, made many phone calls, and email filled with good wishes, love, prayers and humor. They made my many weeks move more quickly and gave me hope and encouragement.

The pool was a therapeutic blessing. Those that worked the pool were wonderful as they helped my husband with the lift to put me in and take me out of the deep water. They helped me with exercises to build strength.

Strangers, people I met when in the wheel chair, would stop me and ask me what my problem was. Rarely did I find someone who knew what Charcot was. This gave me a chance to teach. They were kind and encouraging. They showed so much interest in what I had to say. Many were unbelievably helpful when in a restaurant. In fact, because of the way we were treated, we became very regular customers in some places. Being out and about was important for us. I love the arts so a good friend of ours arranged to have us located in a wheel chair friendly part of our local theatre. The 5th Ave theatre in Seattle also made special accommodations for us. The Casino that we enjoy was more than helpful. People are so wonderful and gracious. I’m blessed to have met them.

My faith seems to pull me through showing me the good in people and life. As a farm kid, I often left the house at night, climbed on my horse bareback and rode around the corral looking at the stars and talking to God. I enjoy going back to my home church in Nebraska. The people there are still family, though none of them are actual relatives. They have kept us on their prayer list and sent us cards and little gifts throughout the years, a very comforting feeling. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for the church family we have here.

P7090075 copyWe met a very special lady who lives in Moscow, Russia prior to my surgery. She is now 80 years young. During my hospital stay, she spent several hours standing in a Russian Orthodox Church praying for my recovery. The Thursday morning before my dismissal I looked out my hospital window and awed at the lovely pink clouds around Mt. Rainier. Once home, I called her daughter and told her about this beautiful sight. She told me of her mothers prayers and she was sending me a sign in pink. We both started crying. This dear lady recently passed away. We miss her and her caring.

I am so thankful for my healing and being able to walk again, but mostly for those I have met along the way and these experiences.

Brought to you by Charcot Awareness Education Foundation

A Gift Of Healing

When one looks back over the years, you think about those things that impacted your life, several things come to my mind. In 2007 after surgery during my first visit with Dr. Roukis, I remember his turning to my husband, Max, and say “Do you smoke?” Of course the answer was yes. Max had smoked most of his life. When he retired from the Navy, he was smoking four packs a day. He decided then we probably couldn’t afford that much of an expense and decided to switch to the pipe.

I was glad he did that, but I really wanted him to quit completely. I chose not to bug him about it, however. He did choose to smoke some really good smelling tobacco and it never ceased to amaze me how many women told him how nice it smelled and asked what it was. I always felt this was encouraging him to continue to smoke.

Dr. Roukis went on to say he really didn’t care if he smoked. “BUT you won’t smoke around her!” he said. We were both quite surprised and wanted to know why? He was very clear about the fact that I was a diabetic and diabetics don’t have a good history of healing well, or quickly. He said the smoke makes it even harder for one to heal. If Max chose to smoke, he could do it outside and away form me, but not around me at all. Max agreed to do that.

However, on our way home he lit the pipe as soon as the traffic grew heavy. After some time, I realized that when he drove he was stressed the smoking began. What was bad about that, was the fact, I sat behind him. Even though, he usually had the window open, the smoke found its way to me. He really tried his best, but it was really hard for him. When at home it wasn’t too bad. He didn’t smoke in the studio at all. He did smoke while he worked on his computer and outside.

On our next trip, 2008, to the farm in Nebraska, he was realizing it was harder to breathe at the higher altitude. He began to smoke less. Since, we were living in the RV, he had to go outside to smoke. He decided he would quit smoking all together. Once home, he did just that. He said this was easier than quitting cigarettes. He used cinnamon disk candy to help him quit. He did gain some weight which he has started to loose now. We also try to exercise four or five days a week. He works in the gym and I exercise in the deep water pool.Max in chair

Unfortunately, the smoking did damage after all those years and he is now on oxygen at night and during the day as necessary.

My healing went well. It was even a bit ahead of schedule. I am very thankful for Max’s commitment and stopping smoking, as I believe we will have many more years together. Hopefully, we will be able to help others conquer their fears and fill some of their dreams. His gift to me, though not a lavish one, certainly holds a great deal more than money can buy. It was sent from the heart with love.

May the meaning of this Holiday Season take away the silent shadows in your world.

Brought to you by Charcot Awareness Education Foundation