Thursday, December 24, 2009

May we have our own 'nativity' experiences and find joy in our hearts...
Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The smiling crippled girl

Qian HongYan lost her legs in an accident

Her family in China are poor and couldn't afford prosthetic legs, so she uses a basketball to help her move.

Qian uses two wooden props to drag herself, and never complains, even though she has worn through six basketballs.


She attends her class


She always smiles

She Is Always cheerful

She is always positive


With help from kind souls she is now able to afford a pair of prosthetic legs.

Smile always
Be grateful with what you have.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Phenobarbital, a barbiturate, is used to control epilepsy (seizures) and as a sedative to relieve anxiety. It is also used for short-term treatment of insomnia to help you fall asleep.

This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

How should this medicine be used?

Phenobarbital comes as a tablet, capsule, and elixir (liquid) to take by mouth. You may obtain a specially marked measuring spoon from your pharmacist to be sure of an accurate dose of the liquid. It usually is taken one to three times a day and may be taken with or without food. If you take phenobarbital once a day, take it at bedtime. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take phenobarbital exactly as directed. If you are taking phenobarbital to control convulsions or seizures, follow the exact schedule prescribed by your doctor.

Phenobarbital can be habit-forming. Do not use phenobarbital for more than 2 weeks if it is being used to help you sleep. Do not take a larger dose, take it more often, or for a longer time than your doctor tells you to. Tolerance may develop with long-term or excessive use, making the drug less effective. This medication must be taken regularly to be effective. Do not skip doses even if you feel that you do not need them. Call your doctor if you have convulsions or seizures while taking phenobarbital. Do not stop taking this drug without talking to your doctor, especially if you have been taking it for a long time. Stopping the drug suddenly can cause withdrawal symptoms (anxiousness, sleeplessness, and irritability). Your doctor probably will decrease your dose gradually.

What special precautions should I follow?

Before taking phenobarbital,

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to phenobarbital or any other drugs.
  • tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking. Some medications may add to the drowsiness caused by phenobarbital.
  • tell your doctor if you have or have ever had anemia or seizures, or lung, heart, or liver disease.
  • use a method of birth control other than oral contraceptives while taking this medication. Phenobarbital can decrease the effectiveness of oral contraceptives.
  • tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking phenobarbital, call your doctor immediately.
  • if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking phenobarbital.
  • you should know that this drug may make you drowsy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this drug affects you.
  • remember that alcohol can add to the drowsiness caused by this drug.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

If you take several doses per day, take the missed dose as soon as you remember it and take any remaining doses for that day at evenly spaced intervals. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Side effects from phenobarbital may occur and include:

  • drowsiness
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • depression
  • excitement (especially in children)
  • upset stomach
  • vomiting

Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • nightmares
  • increased dreaming
  • constipation
  • joint or muscle pain

If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:

  • seizures
  • mouth sores
  • sore throat
  • easy bruising
  • bloody nose
  • unusual bleeding
  • fever
  • difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • severe skin rash

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].

source :

I visited my neurologist yesterday for my bi-annual follow up. We had a good discussion about my phenobarbital intake. I was made aware of the facts above. My neurologist concluded our discussion with a strict and stern commandment - THOU SHALL START TAKING THY CALCIUM SUPPLEMENT. "Yes sirree Madam, I will obey", I answered.

One prominent side effect of phenobarbital is it depletes a person's calcium level rather quickly which is why it is important that people who are on this drug MUST take Vitamin D and calcium regularly in order to maintain healthy bones.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


I have had the privileges and blessings to meet many people at my epilepsy awareness booth which was closed down two years ago due to family commitment. Mitchell is a special lady I met at my booth. Since we first met, we have become and stayed as good friends till now. Mitchell wrote and shared with me about her first meeting with me.

""Serene, did you know that when we first met, I was actually feeling very nervous. I had had my first seizure at age 41 and it was really difficult for me to accept but I knew I had to learn more about this condition called epilepsy. And then I saw a write up in the paper about a lady who has a booth at the Mall. It says that this lady is an epilepsy activisit and she has this booth to help answer questions about epilepsy. And so thats how I came to your booth.

When I approached you, I was very nervous. I didn't want to reveal too much and yet I wanted to find out as much as I can. I am glad that I went to see you because it was nice to talk to someone who had been there, who understood and who cared enough to share. You gave me brochures and shared freely with me about your own situation and that was the best help of all. Just knowing that I am not alone. I don't know how to thank you so I wrote you a poem instead. I hope you like it.""

You look as Serene as your name

and you greeted me with no shame
You told me that epilepsy is not something to be afraid of
You just have to educate yourself and those you love

Your look is so calming
And you were really caring
You helped me to learn more
I learned that life can go on as before

You made me feel calm and assured
Despite hearing about what you had endured
Having epilepsy is not the end
It need not be something beyond comprehend

Your look gave me confidence to confide
knowing there is nothing to hide
One should learn as much as they can
About medicines and procedures like the scan

You have a face that says its ok everything will be alright
The future can be still bright
As long as you understand
Life is not as fragile as the sand

So love, laugh, live,
You can still have the same drive
Understand, learn and take your meds
There is no need to let life hang on a thin thread

Thank you Serene for being there
For me and others who felt despair
I hope you can continue to help many others
Who needs to help themselves, their brothers or mothers

Thanks again Serene!