To be or not to be? Lyme disease

Ticks spread lyme disease

Adult deer tick. Image source: Wikipedia.

It’s such a small insect – ticks. How could one ever imagine that a single little bite from one of these guys, can kill a person?

A year ago, I was admitted to hospital, thinking I had a back problem. A few months later the pain spread around my body, to every single joint. January and February this year I was so ill and had so much pain that I could not see any ways out. And if it wasn’t for Norsk Borreliose Senter, who could test and prove that my sufferings was caused by lyme disease and give me correct medications, I would most likely not have been alive today.

Both the tests and treatments of lyme disease is a well discussed topic in both public and private hosptials and clinics in Norway and around the world at the moment. On Friday the 10th and Saturday 11th of May there will be demonstrations held in 28 countries to raise awareness, information and discussions with politicians to better the conditions and help for people suffering from this terrible illness.  In Oslo both Jordan Fisher Smith and our very own wildlifeman Lars Monsen will be speaking in front of the parliament. Lars Monsen is still batteling lyme disease himself, and knows just how difficult it is to have a disease which the public health system does not know how to neither test or treat properly.

Meeting the public health system is not easy. Only 1 1/2 years ago I was a healty, fit and active mother of 2, farm wife and business owner. In short time I was transformed into a shadow of myself; exhausted, struggeling to keep myself standing up with enormous amounts of pain, and in need of help to do even the simplest tasks in life.

When trying to discuss the problems with my doctor she kept returning to the same phrase “oh, you should not stress so much”, and kept offering me antidepressants. After waiting for 3 months to see a rheumatologist, I did, of couse, have some expectations. I was in his office for less that 15 minutes, he pushed a few places on my body and asked if it hurt, told me I had fibromyalgia and that I should go home and get a good night sleep. This just points to the difficulties of getting the correct diagnosis.

But when I finally received help at Norsk Borreliose Senter, it took only 2 weeks on antibiotics before I started  feeling better. Now, 2 months after starting the treatment, I am still getting better, slowly but surely, improving a little week by week. And as the sun and warmth of spring is brightening up our days on the farm, I hope to be at least well enough to have the energy to be present for my children this summer.

Another side of receiving treamtent for lyme disease, is that as long as one is not treated in the public health systems, but private clinics, it becomes a very costly affair. Many people have difficulties covering their expenses, both for the consultations and the medications, and the public system covers none of these.

So what can we do? As the Norwegian public health system does not approve of this extensive use of antibiotics (same as in many other countries), there is no treatment for people suffering from long time lyme disease.  Not even the tests used in the public health system gives accurate results to find out weather or not the patient is actually suffering from lyme disease. In a country as wealthy as Norway I find it quite incredible that we do not have a health system to care better for lyme disease patients. And I would love to be in Oslo on the 10th of May to take part in the gathering. Unfortunately my health does not allow for this far travelling quite yet. But I would like to encourage everybody who is able to make it to these demonstrations  – no matter where you are in the world – to take part and help make our health systems better.

I would also like to thank Lars Monsen for the fantastic work he is doing by shining a light on the situation of so many people suffering from lyme disease. By showing what it is really like to have a disease no one can see – and the doctors can’t test. Making the politicians have to see how difficult it can be for an ill person to get proper medical treatment in Norway.

Would you like to know more? Or wondering if you have lyme disease? You can find a lot of useful information at Norsk Lyme Borreliose-Forening‘s website. Norsk Borreliose Senter can certainly help, and it is also possible to take a test directly through BMLab in Oslo.

Otherwise you will find that Lars Monsen updates his blog with information. Jordan Fisher Smith also has information on lyme disease, especially his documentary film Under Our Skin is worth checking out.

And last, but not least; my personal recommendation for pain management for everyone  suffering from lyme disease or other pain related illnesses: Aloe Heat Lotion. This heat lotion penetrates deep into you skin and soothes and relaxes your muscles. I personally find it great to use before bedtime for a relaxing feeling and a better chance for a good night sleep. Based on natural aloe vera, this is no medical ointment, it’s purely natural without side effects, for a littel pain relief.

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Beaten to death by his step father – childrens rights or parents rights?

Christoffer Kihle Gjerstad

Christoffer Kihle Gjerstad, 8 years old boy, killed by his step father, Kim Morten Larsen in Norway 2005.

Kim Morten Larsen

Step father of Christoffer, Kim Morten Larsen, who beat 8 years old Christoffer to death in 2005.

The 2.february 2005, 8 years old Christoffer Kihle Gjerstad was beaten to death by his step father. As time has passed and both the step father and the mother has been sentenced for the crime, the momory of little Christoffer still lives in all Norwgian hearts for a long time to come.

Many Facebook pages, blogs, websites and organisations has arised since Chrisoffer’s death, and the focus on childrens rights are growing. But still many children, in Norway and other countries, are re-living little Christoffers experiences. Why?

In Norway we see it time and time again; people are too scared to report to Barnevernet, which is the Norwegian department for the protection of children. Why? Still today in 2013, there are no laws in place protecting the witness. If the case goes to court, the name of the person who reported the concern, will come out.

Anonymous people are often not taken seriously by Barnevernet, and schools and kindergartens are not allowed to be anonymous when reporting to them.

Of couse we do not want a society where neighbours tell on each other through Barnevernet because of some old neighbour dispute. But without a protection of the witness, one cannot expect people to tell on someone else’s possible child abuse. The risk can be too high, as if in the worst case scenario, the abuser might want “revenge” and could take his or hers frustrations out on the reporters child(ren).

The discussions around Bernvernet as been going on for years. Situations where they have been too late to act, and situations where they have taken children out of good homes “by mistake” are many. Is it the childrens rights or the parents rights they are working for?

A law who protects the witness or person reporting, a better Barnevern system, and better qualified Barnevern staff is essential if the protection of Norwegian children is going to get better.

The step father of Christoffer was sentences to 8 years in jail. Is this a fair sentence for such a heartless deed? Do we really want him out again in 8 years? Is jail going to change him, so that he will not repeat the history?
What is your opinion?

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Et hatet folkeslag – for 100 år siden og i 2013

Opp igjennom tidene har få mennesker lagt skjul på sin forrakt for rom folket. De blir beskyldt for ran og tjuveri, juks og fanteri, barnemishandling, organisert kriminatiltet, mafia virksomhet med mer.

Det er ikke til å legge skjul på at de de siste årene har endret bybildet flere steder i Norge. Og vi kan heller ikke nekte for at noen han stjålet noe noen gang. Men hvordan ser vi nordmenn ut i utlandet? Visste du at i Italia finner du gateskilt på norsk hvor det står “spytting forbudt”? Og da skandinaviske aviser trykket Mohammed karikaturene noen år tilbake, likte ikke vi som turister i muslimske land å bli forbundet med dem. For ikke å snakke om alle nordmennene som reiser til utlandet for å kjøpe sex og utnytte fattige mennesker i nød. Det finnes nok rimelig mange mennesker i andre land som ikke har det beste inntrykket av oss. Likeledes liker rom folket det dårlig når vi forbinder dem med tjuver og kjeltringer – som vi finner i alle folkeslag, kulturer og religioner.

Det er viktig at før vi dømmer folk, må vi huske at de også er mennesker. De er mennesker som har blitt hatet, jaget, undertrykt, flyktet og herjet med i århundrer. Og som det sies, det finnes tjuver og kriminelle blandt dem også. Men husk på at blandt disse menneskene så finnes det mange ærlige og redelige menneske, som ønsker å jobbe, som ønsker å ta del i et samfunn, som sloss hver dag for en fremtid for sine barn, og som mest av alt har behov for å bli sett på som medmennesker.

Gi enkeltpersonen en sjanse. Det sier vi for våre egne svake. Rusmisbrukere, de som sliter med mental helse og andre stigmatiserene diagnoser – se enkelt individet.

Det betyr ikke at vi skal ofre vår velstand for å slippe dem inn. Det betyr ikke at vi skal la organisert kriminalitet herje i vårt land. Og det betyr heller ikke at rom folkets tilstedeværelse skal gå utover våre egne svake. De kommer til vårt land uten å kjenne vår kultur – så gjør de noe du liker dårlig – så ta en vennlig tone og vis dem hvordan vi gjør det her. De vet det ikke før de blir fortalt det.

Dersom vi hjelper rom folket i deres eget hjemsted, vil de ikke ha behov for å komme til Norge. Så attraktivt er ikke gatelivet i Norge med minus grader og de fordommer og rasisitike holdninger de opplever her. Myten om at de ikke vil jobbe er faktisk så gammel at folk som skylder på den bør unne seg selv en god oppdatering i dagens samfunn. Har du tatt deg tid til å snakke med dem selv? Har du noen gang tilbudt dem arbeid og hørt dem avslå? Jeg har god kontakt med rom folk i Norge, og har enda tilgode å høre noen som har takket nei til et verdig jobbtilbud, eller som ikke har ønsket seg arbeid.

De kommer ikke hit fordi de ønsker å “overta” noens plass eller steder, redusere noens salg av gatemagasiner eller ta noens tiggerplasser. De kommer hit for å overleve. Akkurat som våre egne svake som får inn noen ekstra kroner på denne måten.

Diskusjonen som raser i flere avsier og på nett for øyeblikket om konflikten mellom selgere av =Oslo og Folk er Folk bladene er trist. Her må lederene av begge organisasjoner ta tak, komme sammen og holde en åpen, vennlig og målrettet dialog. Hva gjør du selv når dine barn krangler? Tar du del i krangelen, eller tar du ansvar som den voksne personen du er, kommuniserer, går foran som et godt eksempel, og lærer barna dine hvordan man oppfører seg mot hverandre?
Her har både Anlov Mathiesen og Bjønnulv Evenrud en jobb å gjøre med å ta ansvar for å løse konflikten som voksne mennesker og ansvarlig ledere, og vise sine egne hvordan man oppfører seg mot sine medmennesker.

Jeg blir så trist når jeg leser alle de enormt hatefulle artiklene om rom folket. Og det er trist at til og med i Norge i 2013 er det fortsatt mange som er preget av fremmedhat, gamle myter og usikkerhet overfor ukjente kulturer.

Jeg lurer også på om det virkelig er slik at Oslo Politiets rapporter, statistikker og utvisninger av rom folket, kun er basert på proffesjonellt politi arbeid, uten fordommer? Tvilsomt. Folk er Folk dokumenterer for øyeblikket problematikken mellom politi og rom folk i Oslo.

Min utfordring til deg er: hvis jeg reiser til Romania for hjelpe rom folk til selvhjelp – slik at de kan bli værende i eget land og livnære seg selv der – har jeg din støtte? Det betyr en bedre fremtid for dem, og et gatebilde i våre byer som er mer likt det du ønsker deg.

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Crash course in how to tie a tie

As a mother of a young man to be, I was not surprised that this situation would arise. I was just not prepared for the timing. 4th grade was having a costyme party, and my 9 years old son was dressing up as Harry Potter. And the one thing I had forgotten to ask my husband to take care of before he went to work that morning – was the tie.

So – in the middle of making breakfast and preparing school and kindergarden lunches, dressing children, packing school bags, feeding the house pets and making sure we would get to school in time – I thanked God for the internet and learned to tied my first tie.

On an internet site I found great, detailed instructions for four different knots. So easy that even I could manage to follow, and create an axeptable tie knot in few minutes and still have the children at school and kindergarten in time. So to all others who might need to tie a tie at some stage of your life; this is absolutely recommended: how to tie a tie.
Good luck!

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How (not) to write about Africa

I could not help but loving this video! Therefore I am sharing it with you today.

There are so much critics these days about how not to write about Africa – and they are well deserved. But is there any posts that covers what should be written? You are welcome to post links, and I would love to hear your opinion!

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Africa for Norway – the tables have turned!

How often do we see the terrible pictures and videos from Africa with starving children, illness, famine and whatever worse situations you might find in Africa. But do we ever get to see the other side of the coin? Do we ever get the see the rapid growth of development and technology, the beautiful beaches, luxury hotels, happy people, awsome safari lodges, high level schools, business development and all the other beautiful sides of Africa?

And by the way – what does “Africa” mean to you? Do we ever even remember that “Africa” is actually a continent – not a country? It is different from one side to the other – just like Europe. The people, the cultures, the nature and all – is different from one country to another. But for a tourist in “Africa” for the first time, who does not speak the language…. it might be difficult to understand and to see it?

Some Norwegian student has really taken a stand to the way we present Africa to the rest of the world. The project Radi-Aid and the fantatsic video Africa for Norway  gives a clear picture of the impression people will get of a country or continent if they are only represented with one side of the coin – the negative. They are creating awarenss of how and what we are presenting to people when working with aid.

Africa for Norway is doing an absolutely wonderful job creating awareness of the impression we are giving the rest of the world when distributing negative information to try to create a positive outcome. How would we like Norway to be presented to Africa??

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Fair trade – for both people and the environment

Maasai Dog Collar - Fair trade

Halter & Lead is taking action to better the world: now forcusing on fair trade and eco friendly products. These are Maasai Dog Collars made by the Maasai people in Kenya.

I have been running a webshop for petgear for about 6 years now. Yes, it’s fun, but it can also be very demotavating some times – specially when my focus is elsewhere. So I had to figure out what would actually be motivating to sell. And after a little planning - we are now changing course! Halter & Lead AS is now going to focus on taking in products who is eco friendly and is made under fair trade conditions.

Our first product in is the Maasai Dog Collars. These dog collars are made by the Maasai tribe in Kenya. So we are told that these collars are made under fair trade conditions, but as we all know – things aren’t always as we are told. Does anyone have any “real life” experince as to where and how these collars are made? I would love to hear about it!

We all want a better world, but it is easy to put business first and say “yes, but I need these products. I can’t get those products fair trade og eco friendly”, but if we can put that aside for a moment, the market will have to adjust accordingly to customers demand.

So – WAKE UP – everyone who produces pet gear – we now want eco friendly products made under fair trade conditions!

Do you have a pet at home? How much money do you spend on that pet? Wouldn’t it feel better if you knew that those money where actually taking part in changing the world to the better for everyone?
Leave me a comment – I’d love to hear your opinion!

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