The Silver Sneakers Program

On disability and can’t afford a gym membership? You may be eligible for the Silver Sneakers Program.

The Silver Sneakers program was designed for retirees but if you are part of a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement Health plan due to being on disability you may be eligible for a Silver Sneakers membership.

To find out if your health plan participates in Silver Sneakers, click here.

There’s no excuse for me now. I could walk to the YMCA that participates in the program!


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Light Box?

The increasingly darkening days have led me into greater depression in winters past. That, and the fact that Northeastern Ohio has very few sunny days in the winter have me thinking about SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Some people brush it off as the Winter Blues but experts say SAD really exists. According to the Mayo Clinic website, Seasonal Affective Disorder is a subtype of depression that comes and goes based on seasons. Symptoms specific to winter SAD include irritability, tiredness or low energy, appetite changes, especially a craving for foods higher in carbohydrates, and a heavy leaden feeling in the legs or arms.

Risk factors include being female, age (younger people are more at risk for SAD than older people), and having clinical or bipolar (me) depression.

Treatment for SAD includes medication and light therapy, the latter of which I am interested in. In Light Therapy, “you sit a few feet from a special light therapy box so that you are exposed to bright light. Light therapy mimics natural outdoor light and appears to cause a change in brain chemicals linked to mood. It generally starts working in a few days to two weeks and causes few side effects.”

The problem for me is the cost. The boxes and lamps cost $200 and up, not exactly in my budget. But is it worth it to get out from under my winter depression?

Do you have a light therapy box or lamp? Has it worked for you?


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Universal Orlando Resort: Flash Sale!

(My partner, Destinations in Florida, has a very special offer for you. Universal Orlando Specialist Veronica Mazarelli tells you what you need to know!)

Starting tomorrow, November 4, for 72 hours ONLY, you can take advantage of Universal’s BEST OFFER of the year! So let’s plan your amazing vacation, right in the heart of Universal Orlando Resort!

You’ll save on an escape at Universal’s newest on-site hotel, Cabana Bay Beach Resort. Relax in classic retro-style with ultra-modern comforts! Add theme park tickets and make it a complete Universal Vacation! Theme park admission is a 2-Day Park-to-Park Ticket with the 3rd Day FREE!

PLUS get these two FREE benefits:

Upgrade to a Family Suite for FREE and stretch out with handy amenities and space for up to six


Two FREE Blue Man Group Tickets to add even more fun!

Just be sure to hurry. This first-ever EPIC SAVINGS EVENT ends
on Thursday, November 6!

Email me​ at​ for more info… or to get your FREE quote! You must book between Nov 4-6.

And for our MamaSick Readers… book with me, and you’ll also get FREE BUTTER BEER & a FREE TUBE
to use at Cabana Bay Beach Resort’s Lazy River!

(Free Butter Beer will be given in the form of a Universal Gift Card in the amount of $5 per person. You will be able to pick up your Gift Card right at your resort when you check-in.)


Resort stay is a minimum 3-night stay, Sun–Thurs only, at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort.
Must be booked during offer period, November 4–6, 2014.
Booking must be for travel on these selected travel dates: November 4 to 25, November 29 to December 24, 2014 and January 4 to February 12, 2015.
New bookings only.
No Cancellations/Refunds.
Must be paid in full at time of booking.
Hotel stay and Blue Man Group show for Sun–Thurs night only.
Not valid for weekends and holidays.
Block-out dates apply: Dec 25, 2014 to Jan 3, 2015.

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How to Get Co-Pay Assistance

A couple of weeks ago I was diagnosed with Narcolepsy, or excessive daytime sleepiness. What a relief it was to have an answer and to know there was a medication out there that could help me!

But when I ran it by my pharmacy I found out that that my co-pay was $239.00 which wasn’t in my budget and my insurance wouldn’t allow me to accept the coupon that the pharmaceutical company who made the drug offered.

My advice for trying to get co-pay help is to call the pharmaceutical company directly. Through them I was able to network until I finally found an answer for me: Caring Voice Coalition.

“At CVC, we recognize the needs of patients with rare and chronic diseases. By providing assistance through the programs we have available we hope to meet not only the financial needs of patients but to also to provide them with important support and educational resources,” according to Jennifer Previtera, Director of Communications for Caring Voice Coalition.

CVC supports diseases that include Huntington’s Disease, Complex Partial Seizures, Severe Chronic Pain and Narcolepsy, and they were able to provide me with 100% of my co-pay. For a full list of supported diseases click here.

Some of the other services CVC provides are helping patients find new or improved insurance coverage, patient education and helping to navigate through the SSI/SSDI process.

What if you don’t see your disease listed here? Click here on the Caring Voice website, or
as I said, call the pharmaceutical company who manufactures your drug for help.


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Finally An Answer

I had my sleep studies on September 22nd and September 23rd.

photo copy 32

It took the tech 45 minutes to hook me up to all those bells and whistles and then I simply went to sleep without much difficulty.

The daytime, multiple sleep latency test, was a lot more challenging. They woke me at 6:45 and I had to change into my regular clothes. Every two hours they let me nap for 15 minutes. It was hard to stay awake and one time I fell asleep. It was eerie as they yelled at me through the ceiling to wake up.

I saw my pulmonologist and he told me that I have excessive daytime sleepiness, or narcolepsy! It felt so good after all these months to have a real diagnosis and that it wasn’t just in my head!

The bad news about this scenario is that the number one choice to treat narcolepsy is Nuvigil, with the copay for my insurance being $239.00. I just can’t swing that. I’m going to call my doctor and see if there is anything cheaper that I could go on that works nearly as well.

Another cause for concern is that some of these drugs can affect my mental illness. I am also going to call my psychiatrist to see if she recommends these types of drugs.

My pulmonologist did say I will not feel better right away. I do feel worried that nothing will work for me and I will have to live like this forever. I want to get my life back, want to be in control and want more energy and awake time for Tyler. I slept much of the day away today.

But as I said, there is such a relief to know what is wrong with me. My worst nightmare would have been them saying that my tests were normal!

I will keep you posted as I continue this journey.

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To My Son On HIs Eighth Birthday

If you would like to look back at some other birthdays here is Tyler’s seventh and sixth birthdays.

Dear Tyler,

Happy birthday…not sure what to call you because you really hate it when I call you baby, and you ask for me to please not call myself Mommy. It’s “Mom” not “Mommy.”

This was the first year we did not give you a traditional birthday party. It is so hard to find enough kids to get together around this time of the year. We spent more money on toys to make up for it. You loved your Minecraft toys, your Super Man, Mr. Freeze and Flash figures and the new Captain Underpants book.

It’s nice to know that dad and I are friends enough so that we can go out for your birthday as a foursome, with Jaques included. Your birthday dinner of choice was a tunafish sandwich at Subway and four donuts from Dunkin, although I suspect some will get stale.

You joined Taekwondo in August and really like it. We let soccer go this season.

We now look forward to Halloween where you are going to dress up as the Flash.

We went to Disney World this year and we were all amazed.

I wonder if you will remember your 8th summer as “The Summer of Sleep”?

I go for a Sleep Study test on September 22nd but until then, I seem to be sleeping more and more. No one is sure if it is of a depressive or physical nature. Thank God for Jacques,video games and now for back to school because I have a very hard time staying awake for more than a couple of hours at a time during the day.

I explain to you that this is a temporary situation, but “temporary” is hard to grasp for an 8 year old.

Happy birthday, my…baby. Shoot, it’s my blog and I’ll call you that if I want to.


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With Robin Williams Gone I Feel I Can Tell My Story

(Warning: Triggering for suicidal behaviors and thoughts.)

I’m not sure why but it has taken the suicide of comedian/actor Robin Williams to finally allow me to tell about my suicide attempt.

I skirted the issue when I came back from a long state of depression and suicidal ideation in my September 4, 2012, “Dropping Back Into Life” blog. I didn’t feel my readers were ready to accept that I had tried to kill myself, and I even now I realize this comes with a risk.

Despite currently being in a state of depression, I am not suicidal and hope never to be again. But mental illness is unpredictable. It took me a while to look at my attempt and not be properly horrified by it.

Back in January of 2012 I became dangerously depressed. Being turned down for disability in December, along with non-stop pain and dry mouth from my meds and another diagnosis, this one requiring a procedure, fighting for food stamps, again…I felt like I just couldn’t do it any more. Blog-wise, not realizing that this was part of my depression, I felt uninspired. The ideas had always flowed so freely and now there didn’t seem to be anything to write about.

I was at times depressed to the point of near catatonia. I also felt as though I had Alzheimer’s. I couldn’t remember how to shop for groceries or how to cook.

I became agoraphobic and had much difficulty leaving the house.

I also felt like I could not take care of Tyler, that he deserved a better mother. He was only five, he would forget me, and be better off without me. Any mother would be better than me.

Everyone around me, including my therapist, thought I needed a break. That I was too stressed out from everything going on and would benefit from having a kind of vacation in my home.

My mother-in-law flew in to help me, to be followed by my mother, but I just got worse.

The pain from my illnesses, the agoraphobia, the dry mouth, fighting for food stamps and other benefits, thinking that I had failed Tyler as a mother; I just wanted it all to end.

On January 24, 2012, at about 3 a.m., in my pajamas I took the amount of pills I thought it would take to kill me and got into bed. I felt relieved. When the 7:00 alarm rang for school I was angry that it didn’t work. I told Grant what I had done and he called 9-1-1.

I stayed angry for many months, but realized it was more difficult to kill yourself than I had thought and would not try it again, although I would think about it constantly.

I guess I am coming out now because Robin Williams was always thought by people to be so funny and happy but inside he was struggling with a very dangerous illness. His death shows that we never really know a person and hopefully this will open up honest conversations so that people in need will not feel ashamed to reach out and their friends or family will not be afraid to get involved.

It feels good to come out to my readers and the world and I realize I shouldn’t have kept this a secret for so long.

I feel blessed that I did not complete my suicide attempt and that as hard as life is, that I am still around for it.


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Disney Releases Vacation Package Pricing For 2015!

I am pleased to be working with Destinations in Florida Travel, the top 2009, 2011, and the 2012 Disney Destinations Sales Performer and the 2010 & 2011 Universal Studios Travel Agency Partner of the Year!

Let’s hear from Mama Sick’s own personal travel agent, Veronica Mazarelli:

Hello everyone!

Have you heard? Disney has released their 2015 vacation package pricing!!!

This means you are able to book your vacation now and have a year (or more) to pay it off! Make payments as you see fit. It’s like vacation lay-away!

And to make the deal even sweeter…

For every person who books their vacation for 2015 by August 30, you will receive the following:
(approx 2 weeks before your vacation)
• Official Disney World Autograph Book
• Disney Gift Card
• Personalized Mickey Mouse Phone Call
• All of our Extra Free Services provided to each Disney Guest

There are so many exciting things at the Walt Disney World Resort for 2015. Here are some of my favorites:

My Magic+ – Imagine walking right to the front of the lines at the Disney Theme Parks. Imagine never having to dig in your pocket or wallet for your credit card or Key to the World Card. Imagine your child walking through Fantasmic! as the Disney employees says “Hello Tim. Did you see Mickey Mouse today?” These are some of the magic moments you will experience with the new My Magic+ experience with MagicBands and FastPass+ advanced reservations.

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train – The newest ride at Magic Kingdom is the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. It opened a few months ago and it is fun for the whole family. Your kids will love zooming past the dwarfs in the mine and then swing back and forth around the new Fantasyland. It is a great ride and brand new, just for you!

Festival of Fantasy Parade – Everyone loves the Disney Frozen movie! You will get to see Anna, Elsa, and Olaf up close on their own parade float at Magic Kingdom Park, along with your other favorite Disney Characters. This new parade is spectacular and a must do for your 2015 Disney World vacation.

How about a drawing to add to the fun? Everyone who requests a quote for a 2015 Disney vacation through Mama Sick will be put into a drawing for a $15 Gift Card. Then on August 15, we’ll pick a name and see who wins the prize… it might be YOU!

Stay on the lookout for more updates on all the Orlando area vacation spots, with our Orlando Digests. 

Click here to get started! And follow me on Facebook and Twitter!!! 

Have a magical day!

Veronica Mazarelli
​Agent with Destinations in Florida Travel
Let her custom design your vacation experience!
Authorized Disney Vacation Planner, 
Universal Orlando Specialist, 
Sandals & Beaches Resorts Specialist 

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

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Health Update

While some of my health issues are getting answered, other questions still remain.

At the gynecologist’s, it was determined that my birth control, ParaGard, is the cause of my long, heavy, painful periods and that I need to take it out. I’m trying to make sure that insurance will pay to have it removed, although I don’t see much of a problem with it.

The Cystoscopy which examined my bladder looked normal and a another blood test showed no blood in my urine.

I saw the Infectious Disease Specialist and she did not think I had Lyme, but she did not test me for it. I have an email into her as to why she did not actually test me.

My psychiatrist increased one of my meds and lowered another in an effort to decrease my depression. Lowering one of my meds makes me vulnerable to mania but I just can’t stay in the dumps. Bipolar disorder is so frustrating, my balances are very short-lived.

I saw the Pulmonologist last week. The in home sleep-study showed no sleep apnea, but the doctor and I were unsatisfied. The in home sleep-study doesn’t test for REM sleep, narcoleptic disorders, etc. I scheduled a nighttime study for September 22nd and a daytime study for the next day. This is contingent on whether or not my insurance will pay for it. More waiting. September 22nd is so far away.

The Pulmonologist asked me to try one thing: walk for 20 minutes every morning when I wake up. So far I haven’t done it. I know it would be of tremendous help but I can’t even picture doing it. When I wake up I just want to go back to sleep, and do so. I’ll probably buy some active wear this weekend because I feel like a complete idiot for not doing this one thing.

In the meantime, I continue to sleep a lot, due to tiredness or boredom. Nothing interests me because of the depression so there is not much else to do except sleep. I am behind in what I have to do.

My therapist is back from a four week medical leave and I am seeing her tomorrow. I really need it!

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In the middle of all of the tests I have been going through, I find myself in another episode of depression.

All I want to do is watch mindless t.v., if that. I can’t concentrate on anything, I feel like I have absolutely NO interest in doing anything and so I have been sleeping a lot. Like so much I didn’t think it was possible to sleep this much.

I feel so guilty about when I can’t do anything with Tyler and he just plays video games, but the feeling to sleep is so powerful. I am glad that Grant can entertain him when he has him on his days.

I am behind in calls I have to make and bills I have to pay. I can’t seem to face the grown-up things I have to do, I feel frightened.

My psychiatrist has been on medical leave until today and I have a call into her. My therapist is also on medical leave until August 8th. I really like the two of them and do not want to leave the practice. My alternative is to call a county “talk” line but then I’m afraid I’ll wind up in a behavioral health care facility, when all I really need is a medication adjustment.

I am trying to plug along today but it is so dreary out, it is perfect napping weather.

I feel like the biggest loser in the world, and at the same time I am probably gaining weight because I am so inactive.

I am so tired of this depression.


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