homepage: Dr. Carol JVF Burns

CAROL'S BLOG

Blog is short for weblog (weBLOG).
Check here to see the latest information about my site (and, occasionally, about my life in general).

Wednesday, April 16, 2014
To all my users: I'm sorry I've produced so little new material on my website for months now. I've been very sick.

I'm headed to Massachusetts for about a month to see my Mom, give my sister a much-deserved break for Mom's care, and see some doctors experienced with late-stage Lyme disease, which I suspect I may have.

I had the Lyme disease AB, total, W/RFX to WBbtest performed in Arizona.
The Lyme AB screen maxed out: >= 1.10 is considered positive, and my result is >5.00.
I was reactive on the 18 kD (IgG) band.
I was reactive on the 41 kD (IgM) band.
I was non-reactive on all other bands.
This resulted in a ‘negative for Lyme disease’ diagnosis.

This page has a good discussion of the bands on the Western blot.

There is considerable controversy and discussion over testing for and treatment of lyme disease: see, e.g., discussions at the Lyme Disease Association, Inc. and wikipedia.

In particular, from lymedisease.org (talking about the western blot) I quote (emphasis is mine):
Different laboratories use different methods and criteria, so you can have a positive test result from one lab and a negative test result from another. Lyme disease is known to inhibit the immune system and twenty to thirty percent of patients have falsely negative antibody tests.

I grew up in Massachusetts, and lived there again from 1999 to April 2011, when I moved to Arizona. I was very active outdoors: hiking, gardening, walking. I know I've had tick bites, because I can remember removing ticks. However, I don't ever recall seeing the ‘bulls-eye’.

In November 2009 I was diagnosed with shingles. I mention this only because I've read that a rash caused by lyme disease is sometimes mis-diagnosed as shingles.

Here are my current symptoms (from oldest to most recent):
  • January 2014: weeks of dizziness; upon changing elevation; upon rolling over in bed. The room spins. I self-diagnosed as BPPV, Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo. I had whacked my head pretty hard a few times on the low mini-dome out at our country land (before I made cute braid ‘pigtails’ to remind me of the low ceiling). The diagnosis seemed to fit. This may or may be related to the subsequent symtoms beginning in late February.
  • late February 2014: Numb, pins-and-needles hands and feet.
    Initially, I was numb all the way up to my knees, and all the way to my elbows, but I gained some sensations back. This numbness has been constant; it never goes away.
  • early March, 2014: I tried to do a water-only fast. It lasted 54 hours; I had to stop due to headaches, excruciating upper back pain, and the worsening numbness in arms/legs. I also had severe neck pain for several days, but this subsided, leaving only the upper back pain.
  • early March to present: extreme weakness and fatigue. It is difficult to walk; stairs are particularly challenging. In early April, my entire right leg has severe muscle pain, making it even more difficult to walk.
  • March 12, 2014: I ended up in the ER with a half-paralyzed face. I was eating oatmeal, and my tongue wasn't working right; I couldn't press down on the spoon. It quickly spread to the right-side of my face; I couldn't blink my right eye; when I smiled, it only went up on the left. They whisked me in (stroke concern), and quickly ruled out: heart attack, stroke, brain tumor, severe anemia, electrolyte imbalances, thyroid issues. They diagnosed Bell's Palsy, which seems to be a catch-all for facial paralysis that can't be pinned on any particular cause. They prescribed prednisone, 60 mg/day, to heal the facial nerve. By March 18, I could blink my right eye (which saved me many hours a day of putting drops in that eye).
  • Since my ER visit, I have been prescribed percocet for pain. It allows me to sleep at night; for weeks, I had not been sleeping much due to the excruciating upper back pain. My poor husband! I would pace and moan, and try to distract myself with movement. I am trying very hard to not just pop-a-pill every six hours, but instead to wait until I just can't stand the pain any more, since I don't want to develop a tolerance to the drug.
  • [addition, April 22, 2014] My ankles and lower legs had serious fluid retention on the bus trip from Tucson to Massachusetts (about 72 hours). The swelling has now mostly subsided (about two days after my arrival). My right knee has been troublesome. My entire right leg is much, much worse than it was in Arizona. Pain/numbness extends all the way into my left buttocks. My headache has been much worse than in Arizona.
  • [addition, April 22, 2014] Pain in stomach/chest area. When I laugh (watching a movie with my Mom!) my entire chest area hurts.

I am determined to figure out what is going on with me, and start on the road to recovery! If I have lyme disease, then I'm definitely in the ‘late persistent’ (neurologic) stage. I'm determined to get back to serious work on my Precalculus curriculum!



Friday, April 11, 2014
I've written a couple exercises for Diluting a Toxic Liquid.
Even though there are only two cases, there is quite a lot of variability built in.

Thursday, April 10, 2014
This is a very powerful movie about lyme disease: Under Our Skin

Wednesday, April 9, 2014
I've added an optional section to Precalculus,
discussing a real-life problem where the irrational number $\,\text{e}\,$ makes a surprising appearance!
Diluting a Toxic Liquid
I haven't written any exercises yet, but the concept discussion is complete.

Friday, April 4, 2014
My daughter received an honorable mention for Outstanding Interdisciplinary Development by a Graduate/Professional Student (money even!) at the University of Arizona. I'm so proud of all that she does!

We've finished the logo and main page graphic for my web site re-design. They are so beautiful! Now, I'm thinking that, instead of verbiage on the landing page, I'll have a slide show of graphics illustrating key features of my site. I've got Olga working on the first one, over 300 high-quality math lessons.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014
This is a wonderful celebration of Alice in Wonderland.
The illustrator I'm using for my website re-design, Olga Dabrowska, has an entry here!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014
I updated my monthly stats and website income for March.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Really beautiful inspirational posters.

I need a greenhouse for wind, harsh sun, and pest protection. They're expensive! I found these DYI plans and youtube video and am tempted to build one myself.

Saturday, March 22, 2014
In my continuing quest for the ‘perfect garden system for me’ I like this Square Foot Gardening.
By the way, my sprouts and composter are doing great, and a bunch of seeds are already up (and a few have already been eaten by critters, so I clearly have to solve that problem). Also, birds have discovered our feeder and waterer, which is great.
My face has almost completely recovered from Bell's Palsy (that was the diagnosis at the Emergency Room on Sunday), but my weakness and upper back pain are still debilitating. So, I'm continuing to try and distract myself with gardening projects.

Tuesday, March 17, 2014
This is a great video showing how to use my Victorio 4-Tray Seed Sprouter.
Also, I've got my first batch going in my new NatureMill Electric Composter!

Saturday, March 15, 2014
This is a really neat DIY Cookie Basket Made from a Paper Plate; pretty, easy, inexpensive.
We just made one, and it came out great!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014
I put about 15 new cases in Solving for a Particular Variable,
after some feedback from my niece, Sarah Morley. Thanks, Sarah!

I've been experiencing debilitating symptoms for the past week and a half.
After extensive research, I think I might have the (very rare) Guillain-Barré syndrome.
The good news is that it usually goes away.
Here are some good articles: To distract myself from my pain, I've been a planting fiend! Cherry tomatoes, potatoes, cantaloupe, beans, peas, wildflowers and bachelor buttons, green peppers, cucumbers, carrots, lettuce, and more! I've constructed two self-made self-watering grow boxes; ended up buying a ‘hot knife’ to help me cut the plastic, which works okay (but is very slow).

We've also hung a bird feeder and a hummingbird feeder, and I hope the birds discover these soon. Here's a neat map that tracks the hummingbird migration.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014
I've been fasting, so have been reading about it. Here are some interesting articles:
Water Fasting for Health
What Science says about Intermittent Fasting
Water Fasting: Is it Safe?
Common Physical Reactions to Fasting

I think I'm going to try this Real Food Menu when I break my fast.

Monday, March 3, 2014
I updated my monthly stats and website income for February.

I'm studying the code for the two templates I purchased, and am coming across some good resources:

Friday, February 28, 2014
I'm so excited!! I've ordered my first illustration from olgadabrowska
(of a cat on a swing hanging from a branch of a mathematical tree).
This will be my first business with microlancer.com.
I absolute love her work, and I hope this is the beginning of a long fruitful relationship!

Thursday, February 27, 2014
Unfortunately, things didn't work out with Godat Design. They decided that my needs exceeded my budget, so they withdrew their estimate. I am suspicious that I scared them away with too many questions. Sigh. I feel bad about this. I was disappointed, because I believe they would have done a good job for me.

Perhaps it's a bit of a blessing in disguise, because in ‘going back to the drawing board’ I came across envato.com, with their web design templates and freelancers.

I've contacted olgadabrowska for a possible mathematical tree.
I've contacted dabaman (Habibur Rahman) to see if he does custom web design, because I really like his Jumper and Pen-and-Paper templates.

I'm thinking that perhaps instead of a boring page listing contents, something like this (fifth from left, the Little Warrior) with a snapshot of the lesson content, together with a brief description, might be fun!

So, I spent many hours today going through all thirty pages of freelancers showing off their portfolios in Web Design and UI. Everything just blurs together after a while. I did single out a few that I liked. How does someone actually find a service that's right for them?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014
I finished the web exercises for A Special Property of the Natural Exponential Function.

The rest of this entry is going to read like a commercial, but I just have to share!
For full disclosure—if you order this product through the link I have here, then you support my work. Thanks!

Since we moved out to the country, I've been plagued by this horrible skunk smell at the end of a nearby storage trailer. For weeks, I kept telling myself ‘it will air out on its own’. After about four weeks and absolutely no lessening of the smell, I decided to take some action.

I started doing web research in getting rid of skunk smells. I tried the spray-with-a-bleach-solution remedy, which did nothing. In the process of researching, I came across this product, ‘Odors Away’. I was extremely skeptical. But I was placing an Amazon order anyways, and it wasn't too expensive, so I decided it wouldn't hurt to try.
Oh my goodness, it works! The skunk smell is completely gone after two applications, two days in a row. I put a few drops on a piece of glass under the end of the trailer yesterday, and that helped, but didn't completely eliminate the odor. This morning, I sprinkled about 6 more drops around the area. In all, I probably used only 10 drops. I am so happy to be rid of that smell!! After about 2 months of living with skunk smell that made me nauseous (I have to go there, since it's by our outside water faucet), there was an unbelievably easy solution.

Here's another use. We're currently living in an RV while we build our eventual home across the street. Those of you with RV experience probably know that the toilets smell. There's really not much you can do, because you're basically on top of where the sewage is stored. I am super clean, and the toilet is clean clean clean, but you flush, and it smells. My husband has very bad chemical sensitivities, so I can't use any ‘traditional’ cleaning or deordorizing products, either. Well, I have now velcroed that tiny bottle to the wall by the toilet with instructions "put one drop in toilet after use". What a difference. Hooray!

‘Odors Away’ does have a citrus-type odor, but it seems to dissipate pretty quickly. Also, you have to work pretty hard to get only one drop (which is all you need) because a typical squeeze produces two or three drops. But, with some practice, you can indeed get only one drop, which will then really give you your money's worth from this tiny bottle!

UPDATE on MARCH 11, 2014:
The skunk smell has returned on various days, and I've had to re-apply some drops.
However, it is dramatically lessened from the initial smell.

UPDATE ON APRIL 5, 2014:
I've had to give this to my daughter, since my husband (who has severe chemical sensitivities) is reacting to the citrus-like fragrance.
Here's the Material Safety Data Sheet for Odors Away concentrate (which is quite difficult to locate online).

Changing the subject—I'm determined and inspired to not have any boring bookshelves in our new home!

Finally, this excellent comparison video for flashing-light animal deterrent technology was very influential in helping me to choose two Predator Guard units to protect my Grow Boxes (see prior day's entry) from critters. I've now spent days researching grow boxes, composting and composters, and critter repellents. I think I'm set to go!
Monday, February 24, 2014
I'm so excited about EarthBoxes (and similar self-watering ideas)!
I bought one real one for comparison purposes, and I'm enjoying going through their videos.
I intend to make lots of my own (DIY = Do It Yourself).
Here are a few sites which show a variety of DIY techniques:
Cultivating Conscience
How to build an Earthbox for $20
Container Gardening: Making your own Earthbox
Self-Watering Grow Bag
Global Buckets

This one is fantastic if I can find someone giving away food-grade 55-gallon containers!
How to Build the Ultimate Earth Box, Part I
How to Build the Ultimate Earth Box, Part II
The height saves lots of bending; the large reservoir saves lots of filling time.

Friday, February 21, 2014
I've finished the exposition for A Special Property of the Natural Exponential Function.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Ray and I met with Godat Design to explore giving a professional look to my web site (sorely needed).
They showed us this good site explorer and backlink checker.
They recommended I implement these On-Page factors: aspects of a given web page that influence search engine ranking.
This is a nice summary of reasons to switch to HTML5.
Here's a graphical summary of where major browsers are in HTML5 support.
I wanted to know if JSXGraph works with HTML5:   it does.
MathJax also works with HTML5.
Here's a good graphic that discusses SEO Friendly Domain Migration (click for bigger version).

This technique worked well to get a list of my pages that are indexed.
A bunch of old ones (that have been removed from my server) are still indexed.

Ah hah. This is why lots of my input tests aren't doing anything.

Monday, February 17, 2014
I've finished the web exercises for Introduction to Instantaneous Rate of Change and Tangent Lines.

I also archived this blog for 2013.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014
I've finished the concept discussion for Introduction to Instantaneous Rate of Change and Tangent Lines.
Web exercises coming soon!

Monday, February 10, 2014
This is a good article on pack rats: How to Get Rid of Pack Rats in Arizona
And another: Pack Rats in Vehicles

Thursday, February 6, 2014
We got our second 40 cubic yard dumpster on Monday, and it's just about full already. Yesterday, two relatives helped remove about 20 old rusty stakes (and broken-down fences) using a technique similar to this: How to Remove Metal Fence Posts or Tree Stakes.
However, we used a thick chain with a hook on the end instead of the C-clamp, and we used a solid steel pipe (about 10 feet long) instead of the two boards. Also, we put wood blocks as close to the stake as possible, between the stake and the far end of pipe, and pushed DOWN instead of pulling up. It worked incredibly well! Some of these stakes I had tried to remove (with banging and digging) for hours.

I like these two videos: three classes of levers and Physics class levers.

I'm also working on the next Precalculus web exercise, Introduction to Instantaneous Rate of Change and Tangent Lines, but don't quite have it to the point of uploading.

Saturday, February 1, 2014
I updated my monthly stats and website income for January.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Google has made available a new AdSense Direct campaign, where a publisher (like myself) can contract with a single advertiser. I'd like to get a reputable, professional math advertiser for my site, so I could always count on the quality and appropriateness of the ad that appears. I submitted feedback to Google to see if they are planning a system where publishers can ‘make themselves available’ for an AdSense Direct campaign, and/or find out which advertisers are seeking an AdSense Direct campaign.

Friday, January 24, 2014
I decided to change the style on my homepage.
The design that I viewed as artistic, others viewed as chaotic and unprofessional.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014
I finished the web exercises for Introduction to Average Rate of Change.

Thursday, January 16, 2014
This is a great video for the Speedy Stitcher Sewing Awl that I got for Christmas.

My computer wouldn't turn on yesterday, so I made a trip to the Genius Bar. It is comforting to know that I always have a patient, skilled, professional human being that I can talk to! I needed a new Apple MagSafe 85W Power Adapter, so it was an easy fix (but pretty expensive; just over \$80).

I started the web exercises for Introduction to Average Rate of Change.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014
My daughter posted this on Facebook: an inspiring clip of a young man with progeria sharing his philosophy of life. It is beautiful. Try hard to listen to the entire thing (almost 13 minutes).

We're getting settled in our two tiny trailers in the country, so that we can spend the next year (or so) building our home across the street. It has consumed us for weeks now, which is why I haven't worked on Precalculus lessons. But, I'm finally back to it!

I finished the exposition for the Introduction to Average Rate of Change web exercise.


Thursday, January 2, 2014
My goodness, I haven't had an entry since December 10, 2013. This is definitely a sign of how busy things have been here—we've started serious work on our country land. I now appreciate what 40 cubic yards of junk looks like!

Happy New Year, everyone!

I updated my monthly stats and website income for December, and also for 2013. It's the first time that my stats have declined—this shows the power of search engines. Whatever ‘tweak’ Google made at the end of 2012 hit me really hard. I basically lost two years of progress.

Since I'm making so little income these days, I'm discontinuing my guestbook. People who want to leave me a message can use Facebook instead. I took ‘snapshots’ of all my guestbook entries so I wouldn't lose them, and I've posted them here.

Blog Archive, 2013
Blog Archive, 2012
Blog Archive, 2011
Blog Archive, 2010
Blog Archive, 2009
Blog Archive, 2008
Blog Archive, 2007
Blog Archive, 2006
Blog Archive, 2005