Our Superficial Siderosis Community: Meet Robert Cameron

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  Robert Cameron has seen the world. Graduating with a degree in Marine Transportation from the United States Merchant Marine Academy he rose through the ranks and took command of his first vessel in 1980. A voyage that would continue for more than 25 years, Captain Robert traveled the world; Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Japan and the United States making memories for a lifetime. A meningocele was found wrapped around the nerves at the T-4 area of Roberts’ spine. The discovery led to a 12-hour surgery and resulted in an uncontained slow bleed. In 2005, a diagnosis of superficial siderosis changed his course. Retirement finds him splitting his time between Florida, where he is he under the care of Dr. James Meschia, Head of Neurology Jacksonville Mayo Clinic and his summer home on Nantucket island. Opting to give chelation therapy a chance, he feels there has been a slowing…

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The Common Thread Searching For The Unexplained

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Diagnosis of superficial siderosis is rare. It’s so unique in fact if you searched for information on one of the national or international rare disease databases until the last few years it wasn’t listed.  We should be glad so few will face a diagnosis of superficial siderosis, but you can’t help but wonder. Is there a common thread to be found? I find myself thinking about this subject a lot. Dr. Levy has said they don’t know why some people are overwhelmed by the blood infiltration. An unlucky spin of the wheel. We’re not medical professionals but what if we brainstorm a little and toss around a few ideas. First, let’s talk about what we do know. Superficial Siderosis is not hereditary; you aren’t born with it. Superficial Siderosis is not contagious; you can’t spread it or catch it.  Age or gender do not play a significant role in the diagnosis;…

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Time to Rare Up

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Every February individuals, patient organizations, NIH, medical researchers, hospitals and schools, universities and pharmaceutical companies representing over 7000 rare diseases join forces to raise awareness. The movement began in Europe in 2008 thanks to EURORDIS with 65 countries now adding their voices.  The theme for Rare Disease Day 2018  is RESEARCH You may be wondering what you can do as an individual to show your support. RareDiseaseDay.us is offering everyone the opportunity to take part in this year’s social media campaign Handprints Across America®. They ask patients, families, and friends to print out the Handprints Across America flyer and take a photo of yourself, your family, your friends, your colleagues, fellow students, or others, holding it. Share it on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #HandprintsAcrossAmerica, #RareDiseaseDay, and #YourDisease (#SuperficalSiderosis). Your photo will be included in a group stream dedicated to showing the world the faces of those impacted by rare and chronic illness.

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The Struggle With High Cost Medications

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Life with a rare disease or chronic illness has a way of taking over; juggling responsibilities, appointments, kids, and family. Take your meds on time. Eat something. Try to work. Order your meds. Unless you’re lucky enough to have perfect drug coverage the last one is always a heartbreaker. People who battle chronic illness often struggle to cover their high-cost co-pay share of prescription medications. Newly diagnosed patients are often not aware of the one bit of information that may help ease some of the expense. There are programs out there who offer copay assistance specifically for individuals who have drug coverage but are faced with covering high out-of-pocket costs. Often programs are often offered by the specific drug manufacturer, but there are also many non-profit organizations who will work with your pharmacy or physician, so cost doesn’t keep you from filling your prescriptions. Every day, millions of chronic disease…

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Becoming A Better Friend To The Chronically Ill

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If you are fighting a battle with a rare disease or are chronically ill, you are familiar with the challenges you face daily. Sometimes the same can’t be said of your friends, family or acquaintances. This blog post is for everyone who knows someone fighting a battle, not just with superficial siderosis but any rare or chronic condition. No one ever intentionally wants to hurt someone’s feelings or cause them distress. Intentional or not it happens. I hope you can take something from this post and help yourself and your friend by becoming more aware, present and mindful. Learning to Listen Sometimes people need to practice the art of mindful listening. Engaging in a conversation with someone who has a rare disease or chronic condition requires particular skills. It helps if, in the beginning, you allow them to control the flow of conversation. Take a moment to think about your questions.…

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The Results Are In

Ferriprox

“Does Deferiprone provide a clinical benefit to the superficial siderosis patient?”   If you remember, the April 2017 edition of The Neurology Journal gave us an early peek at what the study findings might be in the final revision of Two-year Observational Study Of Deferiprone In Superficial Siderosis¹. The study was released this past December 28th, and the results have been published. This blog post is our cliff note version of the study, keeping in mind, we’re not medical researchers or doctors.   Initial recruitment included 48 participants.   Nine withdrew from the study because their insurance wouldn’t cover the off-label use of Ferriprox and one for other reasons. 38 people began the investigation, and over the course, two dropped out because of neutropenia concerns, four dropped for cost issues and one left for unrelated health reasons. 31 people completed the study. Each participant submitted a current neurological exam, a…

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A New Chapter For 2018

Living with superficial siderosis website

Honestly, I’m glad to see the back of 2017 Have you ever felt like the proverbial herd of turtles trying to run through peanut butter? Gary’s health gave our family a few frightening moments the first half of 2017. Reality hits when you’re waiting alone in an ER, 200 miles from home. One step forward five steps back, so we’re ready to move forward and welcome a new chapter for 2018. I hope you’ve had a chance to check out our new Tidbits And News page. We needed an area to post bits of news we run across or research topics. It’s an understatement to say I read a lot, so it’s always exciting to stumble across a story in mainstream media about a fellow SS’er. I’ve added a new one today.  Speaking of a new chapter One blog topic I hope to cover this year is nanotechnology. There is interesting research…

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Life Expectancy of Superficial Siderosis Patients

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Life expectancy, on the surface a straightforward question. It’s human nature to wonder “How long will I live?” A life-changing illness and thoughts like this can consume you. Superficial Siderosis Life Expectancy, two words and it becomes intensely personal. The early impressions were dark; no cure, the damage is irreversible and fatal. That word fatal is a definite attention grab. The day we found out about superficial siderosis I read that statement and my heart dropped. Three years into this journey and we can add some personal insight into understanding the nature of this disease. If you study possible combinations of symptoms that could assault you, it should become clear while your body and psyche will suffer none are life-threatening in an immediate sense. It is a fair assumption the toll on your system is punishing. The thought of autonomic problems or dementia is alarming, but only a small percentage will ever face…

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Welcome Accessibility

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If you’re a return visitor to our website, you may have noticed the crazy color and layout changes that have been happening multiple times a day.   Gary’s eyesight has made reading more difficult not only here, but on a lot of online sites he likes to visit. Web accessibility is vital to people with disabilities, so we felt an obligation to try removing barriers that prevent natural interaction with our content. Our primary audience is people with disabilities. Sites like this one have a responsibility to develop content all users can enjoy equal access to both information and functionality. So we’ve done a little winter clean-up, changed the front page photos and found a new color theme. Because honestly, it’s rather sad seeing the same thing for two years. We’ve added two new features this week. The first is located on the top right corner of our site.  If…

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Staying Woke:

Superficial Siderosis Awareness

Get Woke   I like listening (ok, eavesdropping) to my granddaughters when they find time to get together. Our grandkids ages range from a first-year college student, high school, elementary to toddler. Conversations can be eye-opening. You learn a lot: who’s salty, why something’s lit, and being woke. If you follow social media, you see it everywhere. It stays with me, this word. Woke. People are willing to be engaged.   It’s Up To Us   There’s a significant message in “being woke” for the Superficial Siderosis family. We are obligated to spread awareness. Whether for ourselves or an advocate for a family member or friend. Those who suffer from this ultra rare condition need all the support we can give. The Silent Bleed squad has been busy providing flyers, selling wristbands and hosting fundraisers over in the U.K. Here in the states, we hope our blog will help spread…

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