Celebrating Relief From Stiff Person Syndrome


Ms. Pizzinni has the same disease that I do. Please read and share to raise awareness for stiff person syndrome. If you would like to hear my story, leave a comment and let me know.

Originally posted on Rush InPerson:

Sindanny-PizzaniBy Sindanny Pizzini

Stiff person syndrome is a neurological disease that only affects one in a million people. I am one of them. Even rarer, after nearly dying from my illness, I’m someone whose SPS is in remission, thanks to my doctors at Rush.

Stiff person syndrome gets its name from its chief symptoms, which are rigidity and/or spasticity of the skeletal muscles. The spasms result in unrelenting pain and typically disability. They even can cause broken bones.

The disease also can cause tremors, anxiety and a hyperexcitability of the muscles, known as the startle reflex. Emotional stress, a sudden, unexpected noise, or even a gentle touch may cause prolonged, often severe spasms or rigidity.

I began experiencing these symptoms in my early 30s. Because SPS is so rare, I suffered from the spasms and pain for five years without my illness being diagnosed.

Uncontrollable spasms

On Mother’s Day of…

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Random Acts of Kindness – Two True Stories of Kindness Among Strangers

Random Acts of kindness - Helping a Stranger in need.

Random Acts of Kindess – Helping a Stranger in need.

It was 1999 I was 21 years old. I was making my move from Pensacola, FL. to Misawa Japan but was making a trip home for Christmas and to drop off my car.

I admit that at 21 I wasn’t the most responsible person in the world but I had this particular trip planned to a T. I left FL early in the morning so I wouldn’t have to make any stops late at night and planned my gas stop for a part of Birmingham, AL. that I was familiar with.

I reached my exit in Birmingham right on schedule. I pulled into the familiar gas station and up to a pump. I slid my debit card into the credit card reader and received the scariest message any 21-year-old woman hours from any one they knew could see, “Insufficient Funds”. I couldn’t believe it. I had checked my bank balance the night before and had plenty of money for the trip but I guess I hadn’t accounted for an automatic bill payment.

I didn’t know what to do. I leaned back on my car, stared for a moment and started to cry.

Moments later a man about my father’s age approached me. I braced myself, keys in my fist protruding through my fingers ready to scream “rape” or “fire”. The man didn’t come too close just close enough to say, “Go ahead and pump your gas. You should have change, go in the market and get a coffee or soda, I don’t want you tired on your drive. I have a daughter your age and I wouldn’t want her stranded this far from home.” I assume he read my tags and saw I lived in Nashville.

I said “Thank you” and he slipped into his car and drove away.

I stood there for a moment in dismay. If I tried to pump gas had it really been paid for? If it hadn’t and I pumped it how would I pay. I just had to have faith that what the man had told me was true. I pumped a full tank and reluctantly went into the store to see if I really had change. It was true, there was enough change for me to get some coffee and a cookie. I thanked God, I knew he had sent me an Angel.

Flash forward almost 15 years. I am now a responsible adult. I have a good job and I’m on my way to work. I know that my disability makes me appear vulnerable and sometimes worry that I will be a target.

Every morning on my way to work I stopped at the same market. All the staff knew me. As soon as they saw me pull in they knew I wanted a croissant for breakfast, 2 chicken tenders to pack in my lunch and that I would be getting a coffee and a soda.

One morning I pulled in as usual. As soon as I stepped out of my car a man got out of his car and started to approach me. It’s a busy market, especially in the morning. Why is he approaching me. I don’t drive a nice car, nothing about my clothes scream “I have money”. What could he possibly want from me.

He stopped about 2 spots from where I was parked. He said “can you help me”. It was freezing cold outside but I stood and listened as he explained that a family friend had called him for help late at night and he left home in a hurry. He had left is wallet at home. His friend was now in the hospital and he didn’t have enough gas to get back home. I glanced at his car tags and assumed he lived about a County away. I told him I didn’t carry cash but to pull up to a pump and I would see what I could do.

I went in, picked up my planned purchases and paid. I then asked for $10 on pump 3 and another cup of coffee. All the clerk said was “Be Careful”. Apparently the man had been there a while

I left the store. I didn’t approach the man but I said loudly, “go ahead and pump your gas and you have a coffee waiting inside.” He didn’t say anything. He put both his hands to his chest and kind of bowed his head. When he looked up he appeared to have tears in his eyes.

I never saw or heard from that man again but I still think of him from time to time. Any of us could end up in this situation and there aren’t many people who would help. There are so many people now who make their living standing outside of gas stations or markets claiming to be out of gas or food. Most of them want cash and won’t accept gifts. Many times I have offered gift cards or food to beggars and had them decline. It’s become so common place that it’s easy for us to just walk past someone with their hands out asking for help. How are we supposed to know who is really in need?

Would you help a stranger in need, have you before? Has anyone ever help you when you were in need?

Fat Cat Lady

“Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.” – Princess Diana …

How I put a $1700 dent in our budget with a simple error


Protecting Ourselves form Ourselves. Avoiding silly mistakes that can bust your budget. An experience.

Originally posted on Canadian Budget Binder:

Nothing Lasts Forever If You Are Careless

If you follow me here at Canadian Budget Binder you know I am a big fan of having anemergency savings fundand using a budget. Every month I post our budgetand net worth update to show how we made out for the month and areas we need to improve on or we feel we are on target or exceeding with.

Unfortunately not every month is going to be a good month and sometimes we have to suck it up and move on just like we’ll have to this month with a silly error that cost us $1700 but the buck didn’t stop there let me assure you. We often ask ‘how can I protect my computer from viruses?’ but sometimes you also need to ask yourself ‘how can I protect my computer from myself?’

Water in computer

It all started one…

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Going to the Movies

Going to the movies - or not in my case. Illustration by The Fat Cat Lady

Going to the movies – or not in my case. Illustration by The Fat Cat Lady

Ok, so the title is a little misleading. I don’t actually GO to the movies for a lot of reasons.

First of all its almost impossible to go to the movies in a wheel chair. That one little section that they leave seat free for people in wheel chairs is ridiculous. People are in wheel chairs for multitudes of reasons and in my case it’s because I can’t move my whole body not just my legs. So sitting in the very front of the theatre and having to crane my head and neck up and to the side to see the screen just isn’t possible. Someone contact the ADA!

Ok now that I have that out of my system (shwew) the main reason we don’t go to the movies is because of the expense. I love movies and I am just as excited as the next guy when a new one comes out. However, I can wait a few months for it to come out on video. They seem to be going to video faster lately.

Snacks. OY! $26 for popcorn and 3 bottles of water when I have free popcorn and water at home? One thing I do like to do is when a friend or family member posts on their Facebook page that they are going to the movie I do ask if they will bring popcorn home to me. There is just something special about movie theatre popcorn that no microwave bag will ever be able to achieve. Besides, if they buy a large the refill is free!

We used to rent movies from our cable provider but it became a hassle (and another large expense). At $5.99 a pop I expect to not have to deal with pixelization, freezes and other digital media inconveniences. Sure I can call the cable company and have the charges removed but have you called your cable company lately?

So now we exclusively get our movies from the library. You can’t get any cheaper than free! The only movie watching dilemma I have left is helping my husband to realize that the library has a whole selection of movies that don’t include car chases, aliens or guns. Yes, the library has movies for women and children as well.

Fat Cat Lady

“You know what your problem is, it’s that you haven’t seen enough movies – all of life’s riddles are answered in the movies.”

Steve Martin

P.S. Yes I made my own graphics, they are a little silly but I think they are cute. I am pro “not stealing images” and since I can’t get to the movies to take my own I drew some. Enjoy :-)

How to be a Christian without being a jerk about it


It’s as if you crawled into my heart and wrote what I could not speak. I was raised a Christian and have been a Christian since I was old enough to understand what it meant. It isn’t tatooted on my forehead but I do have a small white gold cross that I wear on my medical alert bracelet so in the event that I need prayer they will know who to contact ;-) I personally am a big fan of Matthew 6:6 “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” To me it has many meanings and one of those is don’t be a loud obnoxious bible thumping Christian. I am not completely against public prayer I personally pray in public all the time (quietly in my head) but sometimes when I am in a large group of people and I know some of them are not Christians I feel like (or know that) it makes them uncomfortable. Being a Christian isn’t about making someone else feel uncomfortable to make yourself feel more like a Christian. Lastly I am so glad to know that I am not the only one who thinks that the world is not a billion years old. My husband loves to watch science based shows on TV and he hates it when I correct the TV and tell who ever is speaking there is no such thing as 6 billion years ago.

Originally posted on Feet in, Arms out:

A few weeks ago, the marvelous Lindy West over at Jezebel wrote an excellent post called, “How to be an Atheist without being a dick about it.” As someone who has been the target of my fair share of dickish Atheists in my life, I really appreciated it. However, the behavior of dickish Atheists pales in comparison with some of the behavior of my Christian brothers and sisters. So, ladies and gentlemen, here I give you some instructions on how to be a Christian without being a jerk and turning everyone off to not only Christians, but to Jesus. (I’m going to try to cut back on the language in the event that some Christians who need to hear this are turned off by the swears. Let’s see how I do.)

1) Stop threatening people with hellfire and damnation. Nobody likes it. It achieves approximately nothing so far…

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What Kind of Ebay Seller Do You Want To Be

What kind of Ebay Seller are you? Ebay sellers defined.

What kind of Ebay Seller are you? Ebay sellers defined.

The first step to selling on Ebay is deciding in advance what kind of Ebay seller you want to be. This will impact other decisions you make when setting up your Ebay account.

Casual Seller:
The casual seller is someone who occasionally sells things from their own home or things they couldn’t sell at a yard sale. This is how I got started selling on Ebay. Feedback isn’t as important to a casual seller because they aren’t worried about things like TRS (Top Rated Seller), being in the top of search results and they aren’t depending on the money from the sale. This is the best way to get your feet wet as an Ebay Seller.

Ebay Shop Owner:
This was the next step I took with my Ebay selling. I opened up an Ebay shop. An Ebay shop owner is more serious about selling on Ebay than the Casual Seller. They usually like to give personal touches to their packages and focus on return or repeat customers. An Ebay shop owner is more likely to make multiple sales to one customer and usually offers multi purchase discounts and shipping discounts. An Ebay shop owner may or may not be selling as a profession, when I opened my shop I was still selling as a hobby. An Ebay shop owner usually sells in one primary category and most of their items are generally similar. *Note this may not apply to everyone who has an Ebay shop. Some people open them just for some of the additional benefits it supplies. I will go more in-depth on Ebay shops in a future post.

Ebay Re-seller:
An Ebay re-seller is someone who can purchase bulk items at a deep discount and then re-sell them on Ebay. Perhaps you live next to an outlet mall and you are able to hit up the clearance sales, then maybe Ebay re-selling is for you. Ebay re-sellers are definitely more invested in their Ebay business because they have more MONEY invested in their Ebay business. I really don’t recommend starting your Ebay selling as a re-seller. It really is a gamble and if you don’t have sales experience or time to devote to promoting your items you can lose more money than you make. This is another topic I will go more in-depth with in another post and I will share with you some of my experiences from when I gave it a try.

Ebay Niche Seller:
This is very similar to an Ebay shop owner and most Niche sellers do have Ebay stores. Ebay Niche sellers go out and find rare or hard to find items to sell on Ebay. They purchase items at live auctions, estate sales, yard sales and thrift stores. The items they sell are usually rare, unique or antique. They are knowledgable about the items they find and often are able to find these items cheap and sell them high because others pass them by and see them as junk. Being an Ebay Niche seller can provide enough money to be considered more than a hobby, some are even able to make a living off of it. However, if you have special, unique or hard to find items sometimes you have to wait for just the right buyer.

So these are some of the types of Ebay sellers I have run into over the years. Of course there are all kinds of sellers on Ebay but this will give you a start. So give it some thought, decide what kind of Ebay seller you might want to be and sit tight, the next post will be about getting started on Ebay.

The Fat Cat Lady

“Without goals, and plans to reach them, you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination.” Fitzhugh Dodson