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News Article
The butterfly rash that isn't so pretty

Most days Beth Darville wakes up in pain, then struggles through her daily routine in pain before taking to her bed at the end of the day -- still in pain. It's a day that's incomprehensible to most people, but there is a segment of society that understands Darville's pain. They are all Lupus suffers.
Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease. It occurs because white blood cells attack the body because they cannot differentiate between healthy cells and dangerous ones. The most affected parts of the body include the brain, kidney, joints and skin. But the most defining mark in Lupus is usually the butterfly rash that spreads across the patient's nose.
According to general practitioner, Dr. Patrick Whitfield who works out of the Oxford Medical Center, the illness occurs more commonly in females than in males with a ratio of 11 females to one male. He said the disease affects women in their childbearing years normally in their 20s and 30s. In the United States, statistics show 52 cases per 100,000 are diagnosed with Lupus. With this in mind the physicians says if the Bahamian population follows a similar trend it is likely that with a population of about 400,000 that over 200 people are diagnosed with the illness.
Forty-five-year-old Darville's life has been a rollercoaster of discomfort and debilitating aches since she was diagnosed 15 years ago with the autoimmune disease.
Her painful journey began when she started having unexplained ulcers in her legs often accompanied by excruciating joint pain. She visited doctors on many occasions but was told there was nothing wrong with her and she was a hypochondriac (a person preoccupied with the idea of being medically ill). Despite this she had an underlying feeling that something was not right.
"Even before I was diagnosed with Lupus I knew something was not right. My doctor kept telling me I was over-worrying myself with something that didn't even exist but I knew that I was not wrong. What worried me even more was that my symptoms were similar to those of my older sister, Shirl, who had been diagnosed with Lupus 15 years prior to when I thought I was experiencing the same thing. But it was only when I had my daughter, Lyette Darville, and I visited another doctor that I was finally taken seriously and eventually through numerous tests I was diagnosed with Discoid lupus erythematosus."

Diagnosis
The diagnosis terrified her even though she was happy to be able to put a label on what was going on with her. She had watched her sister battle the disease for years and even knock at death's door on numerous occasions. Darville could not imagine having to go through the pain and suffering she watched her sister endure. She dealt with her diagnosis by avoiding the medication hoping the illness would go away. But after a number of hospitalizations -- one due to her bladder muscles collapsing, made her realize that she had to take the illness seriously and not play Russian Roulette with her life.
"It is hard to come to terms with this illness but through seeing my sister fight so hard and successfully with this illness I knew I could do it. She is my hero personally and I realize more than ever that there are so many people who are worse off than I am and they still fight it and can smile. But even though I am now on my medications properly and I am fighting to be in the best health possible everything does not go well. Emotionally this illness is unpredictable. One moment I can feel great and happy and then the next I feel terrible and cranky. It's hard, but it's something you can't shy away from."
Besides the arthritic pain and swelling like many other patients with Lupus, Darville also suffers from Raynaud's Syndrome, which means that smaller arteries that supply blood to the skin narrow, limiting blood circulation to affected areass. (The condition causes some areas of the body, such as fingers, toes, the tip of the nose and ears to feel numb and cool in response to cold temperatures or stress). To combat this she always takes with her a tam, scarf and gloves. And is aware of how ridiculous she may look with them on in the middle of summer.
Since she accepted her disease she said she has learned to get accustomed to the changes that occur within her body and how to manage her drastic personality changes. But she admits it's not easy. Her daughter sometimes refers to her as the "Incredible Hulk". She said even her co-workers know when she is down and playfully refer to her altered personality as "Beth Ann". But even through her crankiest moments Darville said it is through their support of her on her good and bad days that she has been able to cope as well as she has throughout the years.
"When you have Lupus it's hard to keep a job because of the pain and anxiety you can feel. But I have been able to work through it thankfully because of the support of my boss and co-workers at IBM. Days when I am really down, particularly in the rainy or cold weather I am allowed to work from home. Even days when I am down but I still manage to go in to work, my co-workers, Tiana, Abigail, Inae and Marie always find a way to make me smile and laugh. They have been among the most supportive in this entire ordeal."

Appreciate life
Since taking her disease seriously, she has started a journal to chronicle her daily experiences and to properly monitor her stress levels which is important because her illness thrives on stress and she can experience flare ups when she is too tired.
"At the end of the day although Lupus has given me pain and discomfort it has taught me to appreciate life, value good friends and shown me that family is not always blood relatives, but people who treat you as such. It has taught me to forgive and let go [because] with this kind of illness you can't carry around things like hate or anger because it causes more stress within the body which can literally make me sick. I have also become stronger in my faith and I have learned to give a lot in time and talent."
It has been 15 years since her diagnosis, but Darville finds difficult the fact that many of her family members still don't understand fully what she goes through. And at this stage in her life she said she does not always try to explain it anymore. She has come to realize that some people will never understand just how painful the illness can be from moment to moment.
Like many chronic diseases, Lupus sometimes takes a while to be recognized and properly treated according to Dr. Whitfield. He said this is because the symptoms can be mistaken for other illnesses and as a result sometimes people underestimate their problem. He said the constitutional symptoms of Lupus include fatigue, fever, joint pain, weight changes, muscular and skeletal pain (joints of the hands, wrists), skin changes, photo sensitivity and hair loss.
"Even though you may have these symptoms, they may very well not be Lupus, which is why to be sure you have to get a doctor's diagnosis," he said.

Survival rate
Dr. Whitfield said that although Lupus can seem depressing and is very painful, the mortality rate for this disease is relatively low. There is an 80 percent chance that patients will make it to at least 15 years after diagnosis. Also with regular care and treatment, mortality is also greatly reduced. However, there is a 50 percent chance that people with Lupus will suffer from kidney diseases which is difficult and if it leads to kidney failure it can decrease their life expectancy. He also said that reports show that about a third of all Lupus patients in the U.S. died below the age of 45, but even so chances were still good for people with the disease to live a relatively normal life if they are on the right medication and are vigilant about their health.
If Lupus is left unmanaged people run the risk of developing symptoms that affect the kidneys and lead to failure with each new relapse said the medical practitioner. Neuro-psychiatric features like seizures, psychosis with hallucination, delirium and meningitis can also occur. Sometimes antibodies can attack the spine so patients can develop a weakness in their lower body making it difficult to walk. Strokes can also happen as well as a cognitive disorder similar to Alzheimer's. Untreated patients or those who are lax in their follow-ups, even with a relapse can eventually get lung and heart diseases like pleurisy or pericarditis respectively which are illness where the linings of the organs are inflamed.
Dr. Whitfield said early treatment can decrease the damage that the disease can cause and allow a person diagnosed with Lupus to live a normal life. He said it's a disease that should be taken seriously.
Because of her experience Darville advises people with Lupus to find support groups that suit their needs. She used to be a part of Lupus Foundation of America but found it was too depressing. She also was a part of "Life with Lupus" support group which she finds is far more supportive and uplifting. But the first local support group that she is a part of "242 Lupus Bahamas Support Group" is one she is pleased with. She is able to share her experiences and uplift new people diagnosed with the illness.

World Lupus Day
As May is Lupus Awareness Month, World Lupus Day will be celebrated on Thursday, May 10. The local support group is asking the Bahamian public to P.O.P. (Put On Purple) for Lupus to raise awareness of the illness.
"Putting on purple is a simple way to show support for this cause,"said Shonalee Johnson, vice-president and public relations officer of Lupus Bahamas 242. "Whether it's a tie, a blouse or even purple shoes, we want to appeal to the general public, corporate Bahamas and schools to participate in this exercise. This is a global exercise and we want to do our part locally to stop and recognize the impact that Lupus has on lives here in The Bahamas."
On Sunday, May 20, the group will also host a Purple Hat Tea Party Affair at St. Matthew's Anglican Parish Hall to raise funds for research.
Lupus Bahamas 242 was officially launched last month with the goal of increasing information and providing for people living with Lupus in The Bahamas.

oFor more information on the group and for information on upcoming events, visit the Lupus Bahamas 242 page on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lupus-Bahamas-242-Information-Support/161404860604123 or email lupus-bahamas@hotmail.com.

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News Article
Adult flat feet is a common condition

If your arches are flat and the feet points outward, you have flat feet. If you have pain in the heel, arch or ankle you may have painful flat feet and need to be seen by a podiatrist for relief.

What is adult flat foot?
Flat feet or fallen arches is when the arch on the inside of the foot flattens and the entire sole of the foot touches the floor when the person stands up. Flat foot is a common and usually painless condition, where the arches do not develop during childhood or may be flattened due to an injury or other foot changes. Flat feet can sometimes cause problems in the ankles and knees because it changes the alignment and functioning of these joints.

Anatomy
There are two main arches on the bottom of the foot, the longitudinal and transverse arches. They are maintained by the shape of the bones, muscle activity, tendons and ligaments of the feet. The posterior tibial tendon and the spring ligaments are vital to maintain the arch and when they are damaged lead to flat feet. It is estimated that 20 to 30 percent of the general population never develop an arch in one or both feet. Three studies of military recruits showed no increased injury, or foot problems, due to flat feet, in people without prior foot problems.

Causes of adult flat feet
A flat foot is normal in infants and toddlers because the foot hasn't yet developed the arches. In most people the arches develop throughout childhood, but in some people the arches never develop. This is a normal foot type, and some people without arches may or may not have foot problems.
On the other hand, arches can also fall over time. This is known as adult acquired flatfoot. Years of wear and tear can weaken the posterior tibial tendon, which runs along the inside of your ankle and maintains the arch. Flat feet can also develop as a result of an injury, illness, biomechanics (excessive pronation or rolling inwards of the foot), or as part of the normal aging process. Dysfunction and injury to the Posterior tibial tendon is one of the most common causes of flat foot. Other known risk factors include obesity, aging, arthritis and chronic diseases (hypertension and diabetes). Temporary flatfoot can also occur in pregnant women as a result of hormonal changes but can become permanent. Flatfoot is most common in woman over the age of 40.

Symptoms
In individuals with flexible flat feet, the arch will be absent on standing (weight bearing) however when standing on tiptoes or with flexing the toes, the arch reappears. These persons may not have any foot complaints. However, some people experience foot pain, particularly in the heel or arch area, difficulty standing on tiptoes, swelling along the inside of the ankle, the foot turns outward and can cause pain in the ankles and knees. If foot pain persists, it is time to see the podiatrist.

Diagnosis
When you go and see the podiatrist, your medical and family history will be reviewed and your feet examined. The podiatrist will also observe your feet from the front and the back, you will be asked to stand on your toes and walk to see the way the foot works. Your shoes will also be observed for wear pattern. Sometimes, x-rays are ordered to examine the joints and bones of the feet.

Treatment
No treatment is necessary for flexible flat feet if there is no pain. Oftentimes, over the counter insoles and supportive shoes may be recommended to assist in supporting the foot structures and prevent future foot pain.
For persons experiencing acute foot pain, rest is important. Your podiatrist will recommend rest and avoiding activities such as walking barefoot or sporting activities that may aggravate your condition until your feet feel better. The use of medications such as non steroidal anti-inflammatories can assist with pain relief.
For persons experiencing foot pain, the podiatrist will prescribe shoe inserts (orthoses or orthotic devices). Based on the severity of the flatfoot, these can be over-the-counter arch supports or custom-designed arch supports, which are molded to the contours of the feet and will relieve foot pain. Shoe inserts won't cure the flat feet, but they will reduce the symptoms, raise the arch and give the support the foot needs to prevent foot pain. Once ordered, orthoses are generally worn for life to support the feet and prevent pain. They will need to be replaced or refurbished over time.
Wearing the right type of shoes is also important to support the feet. Sneakers or well-constructed, supportive shoes with good arches are the best type of shoes to wear. If you are overweight, weight loss is also a very important strategy to help in the treatment of flat feet.
Stretching exercises are also important because some people with flat feet have a tight or shortened Achilles tendon (heel cord). Exercises to stretch this tendon may help.
If disabling foot pain persists, surgery may be needed to provide long-lasting relief. Surgery is necessary to relieve the symptoms as well as improve the foot structure and function. The surgical procedure or procedures are selected depending on the severity of the symptoms, the type of flatfoot and the degree of deformity. Surgery can be performed to realign tendons, ligaments, muscles and bones which will create a permanent arch where none existed before. If you have flat feet and continue to have foot pain, you need to see a podiatrist.

oFor more information on flat feet, email me at foothealth242@gmail.com or visit www.foothealth.org or www.mayoclinic.com. To see a podiatrist visit Bahamas Foot Centre on Rosetta Street, telephone 325-2996 or Bahamas Surgical Associates on Albury Lane, telephone 394-5820.

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News Article
Pain and swelling in the front of your lower legs means you have shin splints

Most athletes get shin splints at one time or another. But even if you aren't a professional athlete and at one time or other, you may have had to sprint to catch a bus or chase down your toddler, you may have shin splints if you feel throbbing and aching pains in your shins.

What are shin splints?
If you have pain and swelling in the front of your lower legs, you have shin splints. It is inflammation of the front of the lower leg and is also called tibial stress syndrome. The shin or shank bone is the tibia, the larger and stronger of the two bones in the lower leg that connects the knee with the ankle bones. It is one of the strongest weight-bearing bones in the body.
Shin splints are very common - especially in athletes. They cause 13 percent of all running injuries. They are often seen after runners increase their workout intensity (distance, length or speed) or change the surface they run on - like shifting from a dirt path to asphalt. Shin splints are also common in dancers, soccer players and can be seen in almost any athlete.

What causes shin splints?
Inflammation to the shin results from the repeated pulling of the muscles in the leg away from the shin. A number of factors can contribute to this including having flat feet, tight calf muscles, improper training techniques, overuse of the muscles causing them to become irritated and swollen, stress fractures (tiny breaks in the bone), worn out or improper workout shoes/sneakers, as well as running or walking on uneven surfaces.

What do shin splints feel like?
Most people with shin splints complain of dull, aching pain in the front of the lower leg. Some people feel it only during exercise; others feel it when they've stopped exercising. Sometimes, the pain can be constant.
Depending on the cause of the shin splints, the pain may be located on either side of the shinbone or in the muscles themselves. These painful, swollen muscles can sometimes irritate the nerves going to the feet, causing them to feel weak or numb.
Get help if the pain to the lower leg continues, it is recommended that you see your podiatrist for an evaluation and necessary treatment. To diagnose shin splints, your doctor will perform a thorough physical exam. They may want to see how you walk or run to look for any gait problems. In addition, x-rays or bone scans may be ordered to look for fractures.

Treatment for shin splints
Regardless of the cause of the shin splints, treatment is usually the same.
o Rest is vital to allow the area to heal. Take a break from your exercise routine allowing the muscles of the lower leg to rest and heal.
o Ice the shin to reduce pain and swelling. Apply ice for 20-30 minutes every three to four hours for two to three days, or until the pain is gone.
o Anti-inflammatory painkillers. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) will also help with pain and swelling.
o Arch supports for your shoes. Orthotics will help with flat feet and decrease muscle strains from over pronation.
o Stretching and range of motion exercises are very important to increase flexibility. Athletes must do warm-up and cool down exercises every time they work out.
o Neoprene sleeve shin guards can be used to support and warm the leg, especially during exercise or sports.
o Physical therapy to stretch and strengthen the muscles in your shins.
o Wear properly fitted, supportive shoes that are in good condition and not worn out.
o In very rare cases, surgery is needed for severe stress fractures.

When will shin splints heal?
You cannot predict exactly when the shin splints will heal; it depends on what caused it in the first place and how well you are following the treatment recommendations. It can take anywhere from three to six months to resolve. The most important thing is not to rush back into your sport. If you start exercising too soon before your shin splints are healed, you cause permanent damage.
I know it is very difficult for someone who exercises regularly to not exercise. While the shin splints are healing, you could take up a new non-impact sporting activity that won't aggravate your shin splints like swimming, cycling, weightlifting, etc.
Shin splints are fully healed when the injured leg is as flexible as the other leg, it feels as strong as the other leg and you can jog, sprint, and jump without pain. X-rays are repeated and will be normal, showing that the stress fractures have healed.

How to prevent shin splints
To prevent shin splints, you should always wear shoes with good support and padding, warm up before working out, ensuring that you stretch the muscles in your legs. Stop working out as soon as you feel pain in your shins and don't run or play on hard surfaces. It is better for your feet and legs to work out on a wooden floor, packed dirt/sand rather than asphalt or concrete.

For more information on shin splints email foothealth242@gmail.com or visit www.footphysicians.com or www.webmd.com. To see a podiatrist, visit Bahamas Foot Centre on Rosetta Street, telephone 325-2996 or Bahamas Surgical Associates on Albury Lane, telephone 394-5820.

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News Article
Bahamian designer debuts Minka swimwear line at Miami Fashion Week

Back over Versace, Bahamian fashion designer
Latoya Hanna-Moxey is making her way down the catwalk this week,
debuting her line of Minka swimwear at Miami Fashion Week.

The Miami Beach International Fashion Week is
said to be the fifth largest event on the fashion calendar and from
March 21 to 24, the Caribbean is being represented in a big way.

Hanna-Moxey has been invited to showcase a minimum of 20 pieces in her collection this week, with accessories and shoes to boot.

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News Article
Pitt rings in win off two-day training

KELSIE JOHNSON

Guardian Sports Reporter

kelsie@nasguard.com

Lightweight boxer, Richard'The Hammer'Pitt may surprise himself if he decides to train harder for a big fight.º

With only two days of training, Pitt stepped into the ring on Saturday night and landed a victory. The technical knockout(TKO)came in the third when Pitt hammered Dencil'Death'Miller to the canvas. Having already boxed his opponent out of his shoes, Pitt put together a series of punches that staggered his opponent. The referee moved in, instructed Pitt to the corner and then put Miller under the count. The delirious Miller would not recover in time.

Pitt said:âEUR^"I had two days of training. My coach who brought me in, Ray, he can tell you that he saw me twice in the gym training about an hour the most. After that IâEUR^had to head back to work. If that was a name brand fighter, I would have had to[have]been in the gym regularly, but he is a no-name brand cornflake and I didn't have to train like that to fight a no-name brand.

"The boxers know that I am right-and left-handed. IâEUR^kept putting it on him and I thought he would have understand. When I got tired of giving him my left, I changed it up and gave him a right and another right and that worked out. The right hand got more knockouts with him than the left, but the left hand ended up putting it on him more than the right hand. So the left is a little bit mad with the right, but they still work out. I almost beat the shoes of his foot; that's how bad I beat him."

In his debut as a professional fighter, 16-year-old Lester Brown is off to a grand start. He knocked out Anthon Ward in the first round. The fight lasted a minute and a half.

"All I can say is he is a good fighter, but we did what we came here to do,"said Brown who also thanked his trainer."We trained really hard. We sparred a lot, did a lot of running and a lot of endurance work. I am pleased. You can expect a Bahamas championship title in the next year or two."

When asked why he decided not to continue on in the amateur ranks, he said,âEUR^"Because[in]amateur, IâEUR^wasn't getting any fights like that, so we made the decision to go pro. IâEUR^have the talent and it will move my career along quicker."

The King of the Ring Series also showcased fighters in the Mixed Martial Arts field. Ronald'Smokey'Martin emerged victorious after pinning Herbert"The CEO"âEUR^Heastie to the canvas.

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News Article
In the fight of her life

To look at her, you couldn't tell that Tamika Pratt, 36, is battling a disease that can cause life-threatening bleeding. A disease that is rare in people under age 40, and which generally occurs around age 60 and is a disease that is more common in men than women.
The mother of two is fighting for her life as she battles acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a cancer that starts inside bone marrow, the soft tissue inside bones that helps form blood cells. It's a cancer that grows from cells that would normally turn into white blood cells. The bone marrow, which helps the body fight infections, eventually stops working correctly. People with AML become more prone to infections and have an increased risk for bleeding as the numbers of healthy blood cells decrease. And it develops quickly, replacing healthy blood cells.
Pratt, a mother of two, Davonte, 17 and Jermika, 11 was diagnosed with the disease in September 2010. Since then her life has been a revolving door of hospital stays for chemotherapy treatment and blood transfusions. (She's had so many transfusions that she's stopped counting). And she's been in and out of remission. What she really needs to turn the tide of this disease is a bone marrow transplant. And she and her family have tried a few inventive ways to get her plight before the public, including offering cell phone cards in $5 and $10 denominations to the public in an effort to get them to donate blood to her cause. Most recently, Pratt took to the Internet to explain her plight in hopes of identifying a bone marrow transplant donor to hopefully provide her with a cure for the aggressive cancer that she has.
She is registered with bone marrow donor programs, but a compatible donor has not been found. And doctors in the United States have told her that the percentage for black Americans in the registry is very low.
"For me, time is running out. This is why I have decided to reach out to my Bahamian people for bone marrow. You could save my life," she said in her Internet appeal.
People between the ages of 18 and 60, in good general health who aren't greatly overweight or have or at a high risk for contracting HIV can be a potential donor. Even people with elevated blood pressure (hypertension) can still be a donor, once their hypertension is well controlled by medication. But they need to get tested to see if their bone marrow matches with Pratt's, through a simple swab of their cheek. The test costs approximate $200, but if you don't want to get tested in her e-mail, Pratt asks people to help someone with funding who would like to be tested to cover the cost of the test.
Symptoms of AML include bleeding from the nose, bleeding gums, bruising, bone pain or tenderness, fatigue, fever, heavy menstrual periods, pallor, shortness of breath (gets worse with exercise), skin rash or lesion, swollen gums (which is very rare) and weight loss.
At the time of Pratt's diagnosis she said she was just feeling extremely tired all the time. During her regular physical, her results showed that her counts were not normal. She was referred to a hematologist who did a bone marrow biopsy. It was determined she had myelodysplastic syndrome [MDS], or what is known as pre-leukemia. She was not worried at that point because she was told it was treatable, but that she had to seek treatment abroad. Less than a month later she had traveled to the United States to seek medical care. It was there that she was given a second bone marrow biopsy. The result this time was that the aggressive cancer had moved beyond MDS and she had leukemia.
The mother of two spent five weeks in hospital receiving chemotherapy treatments. From then to now, hospitals at home and in the United States have been a "revolving door" for her.
"I knew from the beginning that I would have to have a bone marrow transplant, but I was hoping the chemotherapy treatments would work and it wouldn't get to that," said Pratt. "But since this is my third relapse, I said I'd better try see what I could do for myself, so this is something I'm doing on my own trying to find people. I don't know where I'm going to get the money from, but somehow it's going to happen," said Pratt. People wishing to be tested have to pay out of their own pocket, or Pratt will have to "pony up" the cash and pay for them.
Sadly, she does not have any full siblings that can be tested to donate marrow. She has two half-siblings born to her mother, and another 10 half-siblings from her father who have not been tested, because there is only a one-percent chance they would be a match for her. Her mother and one sister have both been tested, but they are still waiting on the results. Her father is deceased.
Most of the time, a doctor cannot tell what caused AML, but there are things that they believe lead to some types of leukemia, including AML, like certain chemicals, certain chemotherapy drugs or radiation. It is also believed that problems with genes may also play a role in the development of AML and that the risk increases if a person has a weakened immune system due to organ transplant, or certain blood disorders.
Since her diagnosis, Pratt said she has not cried once or adopted a woe is me attitude. She says she has accepted what has happened and is taking one day at a time. She says while she tries to maintain a smile on her face and be upbeat, she admits to having her moments.
"Sometimes the devil comes in my mind," she said. "Christmas gone I went and picked up little things, and the devil came in my mind and said, 'Girl, what you picking up these things for? You ain't going to live to see Christmas,' but I simply said, 'Devil, you're a liar.' My son is graduating high school in June and sometimes I wonder if I will be there, but I'm going to be there," she said confidently.
As she searches for a bone marrow donor, she is appealing to Bahamians to donate blood to the hospitals because getting transfusions which has been getting her by, has also been a problem for her.
"I'm just pleading to the public to come forward ... and I wouldn't even go as far as the bone marrow transplant. If they could just put themselves in somebody else's shoe and commit to once a month donating a pint of blood, they could save somebody's life," she said. "If it don't hit them home, they don't feel like they need to do it. And I didn't realize how bad it was until it happened to me."
She admits to not knowing how important it is to be a blood donor until she found herself in the situation she is now in needing to have blood transfusions performed almost every other week.
Pratt's battle has also been expensive and she is thankful for her husband's insurance coverage. But exactly how much she has left of that gives her cause for concern.
"I'm scared to even try to add up the amount I've spent. I'm even scared to call the insurance company to find out how much coverage I have left. My first bill from [the U.S.-based facility] was almost $200,000 for the five weeks I spent there. I have my hospital bill there, my hospital bill here, and I have my doctor bill here. I have stopped asking. I'm afraid to ask," she says.
As she looks forward to her future she says she has no reason not to smile and be depressed because God has been good to her. And her husband, Jermaine Pratt stands by her. Plus she does everything she can to keep up a happy front for her children which she said was challenging initially because she tried to keep her illness from them.
"I didn't want to burden them down, so that was a challenge for me. Even when I went away the first time I told them I went away to do testing, but not what was going on with me. And that really had me stressed. After a while I told them separately and explained it to them differently, taking into account their ages. My daughter was pretty good, and the only thing my son wanted to know was whether it would happen to him too. But I told him no that he would be fine. They handled it so well. I didn't give them enough credit. Sometimes my son comes to me with questions, and once I answer him, he's fine.
As she searches for a bone marrow donor, in her fight to live, Pratt has been thrown a number of curve balls, including losing her job in the middle of 2011, which she says she's understanding of because she realizes her employer's office had to continue to run and her home was burgled. Thieves made off with money she had in a drawer to pay for an airline ticket to receive treatment. That was followed by her husband's car being broken into.

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News Article
Retailers enjoying last-minute shoppers

While many retailers in New Providence are enjoying the holiday boom, other businesses have been feeling the pinch.The spike in business during this time of year doesn't come as a surprise to The Sports Centre. The company's operations manager said the store is braced for the late rush.

"We double our staff for Christmas Eve and we are very prepared for the wave that happens every year," Catriona Eldon told Guardian Business." Bahamians have a habit of waiting until the last minute to shop, and with Christmas Eve falling on a Saturday we are ready for what awaits us then."

Eldon mentioned that it's encouraging to see that sales are up year-on-year to this point despite the economic challenges that residents are faced with they are still able to squeeze some shopping into their budgets. Additionally, she added that the affordable prices and wide variety of items make The Sports Center a "go-to" location for consumer needs.

"The Sports Centre is a great brand, but we have reasonable prices on other things outside of athletic[items]and we have three locations so it's more convenient for our customers to shop with us," Eldon said. "We have a great cross-section of items and have developed a great reputation among our customers."

The Sports Centre is no stranger to the Christmas wave of shoppers, but a relatively new player in the retail business has also seen some success out of the gate. Quality Home Centre, located on Carmichael Road, has been open for about a month and is already reaping the benefits of having an all-around store in a heavily populated area.

Trevor Davis, the owner, told Guardian Business that the initial success his company is experiencing is a great start to what he envisions to be a staple in that community.

"I'm happy that a lot of persons are staying in New Providence and not traveling to the U.S. to shop and I'm grateful that they are choosing to patronize Quality Home Centre," Davis said. "Sales have been good and the support from the community has been great, and this is certainly a huge step in the right direction."

With Davis' business being fresh on the scene, he said having the first Christmas wave of shoppers arrive at his establishment is a "great feeling". His focus is not outperforming the competition, saying that everybody can equally benefit from the scrambling shoppers.

"As far as competing, I feel that there is enough for everybody and all of the similar business can do well during this period,"he said."Us being geographically located on Carmichael Road makes it easier for customers to access a store that sells specific goods they are looking for, and we are focused on maintaining this level of success."

Some newer businesses are not as fortunate to have high traffic like Davis, or are even eager to discuss how sales are going. Guardian Business can confirm that a well-known store that expanded in the Carmichael Road area refused to comment on its holiday performance after several attempts.

While some establishments are having a difficult time getting consumers to walk through the door, Eldon is encouraging customers not to hesitate to enter the doors of The Sports Centre, saying that they are confident that they will meet the demand of its customers in the coming days.

"We have items that are arriving daily so customers shouldn't have to worry about not finding something that they are looking for,"she said.

"Our hot items like the Air Jordan shoes and the basketball systems will be available up until Christmas Day, so our customers won't be disappointed at all."

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News Article
Doctors Hospital Continues Annual Contribution to Aids Foundation

Nassau, Bahamas - Promoting awareness of the number one killer in the Bahamas - HIV/AIDS - the Bahamas AIDS Foundation
is once again soliciting the support of corporate sponsors to assist in
awareness, prevention, treatment and reducing HIV/AIDS in the Bahamas. In conjunction with Colina Insurance Ltd., the
annual Red Ribbon Ball is scheduled to take place on Saturday, November 20,
2010, in the Imperial Ballroom of the Atlantis Resort, Paradise Island,
under the theme "I am accepted". The Ball promises to be another
wonderful evening filled with prizes, gifts, fabulous entertainment and fine
dining.

The ball gowns, tuxedos and dancing shoes are yet
again being prepared with excitement, anticipating their turns and spins on the
dance floor, all for a worthy cause but a

s arrangements begin for the upcoming Red Ribbon
Ball, ignorance and silence continues to fuel the spread of HIV discouraging
people from testing for HIV...

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News Article
Catching Up With: Lyford Cay International School headgirl Johanna Kleijn

Becoming a global leader may be Johanna Kleijn's aspirations for when she grows up but for now, her role as headgirl of the Lyford Cay International School is good enough for her. The 17-year-old overachiever who is passionate about languages and being helpful to others, says her latest endeavor as co-head of her student body has truly been a challenge, but one she is glad she took on.
 
Q. What challenges have you faced as headgirl and how are you tackling them?
A. I think the biggest challenge for me is balancing my responsibilities as headgirl and handling my twelfth-grade academic program. It's quite rigorous. There is lots of scheduling and taking time out for both. I try to be there for the other students but I also have to let my ambitions be important too. So really the biggest challenge is time management.
 
Q.  When you found out that you would be headgirl what did you expect your role would entail?
A.  On a personal level, I expected I would be a role model for other students. I would also be expected to connect with others and ensure they feel comfortable talking to me about issues that affect them. I also knew I would have to ensure everything is running smoothly, such as there being no uniform violations, and the campus environment is clean. It has lived up to that and so far being headgirl has been good.
 
Q. What is an important lesson you have learnt while being headgirl?
A. I have learnt that you can't expect everyone to agree with you. So it is important to look at everyone's opinions and put yourself in someone else's shoes. I think it's something you have to do if you are really trying to understand what is going on completely and you can create a good solution.
 
Q. What qualities do you think made you stand out enough to your peers and teachers to be elected as headgirl?
A. I think my well-roundedness and ability to relate to others assisted me in being elected. Academically I do well and I also think I am a good role model. I am also close to my teachers and I work well with the others since it's very important. I also speak well in other languages like Dutch, English, French and German. So I think it's about being well-versed in many areas that made me a good overall choice.
 
Q. Seeing as you speak four languages compared to the one or two most students are pushed to study, what value do you place on knowing so many tongues?
A. I think it is very useful to know as many languages as you can. Many of the students at my school are from other countries and we embrace their diversity. Our curriculum also helps us to focus on the global market and making ourselves ready to face what is out there. I think it would do students a great deal of good to be more open-minded and the more culturally diverse they are, the more marketable they will be. With the way the economy is going it would be great to have an advantage in some way. So I would suggest students  learn to speak more languages and visit other places because it expands you as an individual in more ways than one.

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News Article
Foot pain is not normal

The foot is the foundation of our entire body. Pain in the foot indicates that there is something wrong with either the structures or functioning of the foot. Foot pain should not be ignored. In fact, it is said that when your feet hurt, you hurt all over your body. How, when and where the pain occurs depends on what's causing the pain. When there is pain, the body reacts by changing the way it functions; it walks and stands differently, in an effort to decrease the pain. This change may prevent the normal movement and cause more injury to that foot or the other foot.
Causes of foot pain
Foot pain may be caused by many different diseases, biomechanical conditions or injuries. Acute trauma, disease, or combinations of these problems are the most common causes of foot pain, seen in sports and workplace environments that require a lot of physical activity. Poor biomechanical alignment and wearing tight shoes or very high heels may lead to foot pain.
Sprains, injuries to the ligaments of the foot, occur when ligaments are overstretched. Acute Injuries such as sprains, muscle strains, bruises, fractures and loosening of ligaments in the joints of the foot may also lead to foot pain. The foot muscles' bursa and fascia can be strained by over-stretching, overusing, overloading, or bruising; a cut may also cause foot pain. Achilles tendonitis is also a common and painful injury. Fractures or broken bones are painful and are caused by a single blow or twist to the foot, or by repeated trauma in the case of a stress fracture. The long term effects of foot deformities like bunions, and hammer toes, irritation of nerves and joints, damage to the skin and swelling can also lead to foot pain. Disease caused by viruses, fungi, and bacteria may also be the sources of foot pain.
Symptoms
Pain and tenderness are the immediate indicators that something is wrong in a part of the foot. The onset of pain, whether suddenly or over time, is an important indicator of the cause of the problem. The following questions are also important to answer for a doctor to treat the pain correctly: Where is the pain? When did it start? Is there pain with movement of the affected area? Does walking or standing on the foot make it worse? Does it change the way you walk? Is the pain there all the time or does it come and go? Is it better or worse at any particular time of the day or during any particular activity? For example, sharp sudden pain to the foot after twisting may indicate a sprain or fracture, whereas pain and redness at the edge of a toenail may indicate an ingrown toenail or numbness and burning pain may indicate neuropathy.
Diagnosis
Proper evaluation and diagnosis of foot pain is essential in planning a treatment. A good general guideline is to compare the injured side to the uninjured side. The doctor will ask you several questions to determine how the problem began. It can be helpful to tell the physician about how and when it started, how it affects you, when it bothers you and what you may or may not have done to make the pain better or worse. A physical exam will be conducted to determine the cause of the pain, and if there are any other injuries. Depending on the pain, the feet will be physically and visually examined at rest, with weight, and non-weight-bearing movement. The foot and arch will be touched and manipulated and inspected to identify obvious deformities, tender spots, or any differences in the bones and shape of the foot and arch. Then the muscles and joints of your foot will be tested. The nerves in the foot will be tested to make sure no injury has occurred there. An X-ray, MRI, or bone scan of the foot and arch may be taken to determine if there are injuries or abnormalities of the bone and/or soft tissues.
Home treatment
When you first notice discomfort or pain in the area, you can try to treat yourself at home with rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) to relieve the symptoms. Rest will allow the tissues to heal by preventing any further stress to the affected area. Crutches should be used if you have difficulty putting weight on the foot. Using ankle and foot supports may also provide rest, comfort, and support to the affected area. Ice should be applied to the area for no longer than 20 minutes. The ice may be put in a plastic bag or wrapped in a towel but not directly on the skin. If more discomfort occurs, stop icing immediately. Compression and elevation will help prevent any swelling of the affected tissues.
Over-the-counter medications can also be used to reduce discomfort and pain. There are two types of over-the-counter medications that may help with the pain and swelling of foot pain. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) will help reduce the pain, while a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin), or naproxen (Naprosyn) can help lessen the pain as well as reduce the inflammatory response. Caution should be taken when using these drugs; dosage should not exceed the labeled directions, and medications may need to be taken with food.
When to seek help for foot pain
When the pain begins to interfere with your daily activities, or if you cannot perform your activities without pain, you should consider seeking medical attention. Other signs that you should seek medical care are if the area looks deformed, you have loss of function, change of sensation, a large amount of swelling with the pain, prolonged change of skin or toenail, the affected area becomes warmer than the
surrounding area or if symptoms increase or worsen.
Medical treatment
Treatments are directed toward the specific cause of the pain. Once the severity and cause of foot pain is determined treatment can begin to correct and or treat the cause.
Therapies may be used to treat foot pain, including electrical medical devices such as ultrasound, various forms of electrical stimulation, LED light therapy (laser), and/or manual therapies to reduce pain and increase circulation to the area to promote healing.
Relative rest
The podiatrist may order rest or modification of your exercise routine to maintain your fitness level, such as doing alternate activities that can be performed so the injured area is not made worse. For example, instead of running, he or she may suggest that you cycle, use elliptical trainers, step machines, swim or use ski machines to minimize impact and allow you to maintain and improve your fitness.
Corrective prophylactic measures
New shoes or the replacement of shoe insoles or orthotics can help prevent and treat foot pain. Proper footwear fitting, including lacing and socks are important when purchasing shoes. Additional supports can be added to the shoes such as heel pads or cushions, arch supports, and various wedges to help maintain the foot in a proper position. Remember, athletic shoes wear out after a while. A good rule of thumb is to replace your shoes every six months or more often if you wear them a lot.
Muscle strengthening and flexibility
You may be given exercises to increase the strength, flexibility and stability of the affected area, and to correct muscles that may not be balanced. Flexibility helps to make muscles stronger and less likely to be injured.
The podiatrist will also order medications to control inflammation or symptoms. In some cases, based on the cause of the pain, surgery may be necessary.
Prevention
To prevent injuries and pain, a general physical exam and a foot exam may be recommended before starting any exercise program. If you have conditions such as gout, diabetes, certain types of arthritis, and neuropathies, they should be treated before beginning any exercise program. If you have had an injury to your foot or ankle, it is best to have the area evaluated by the podiatrist to get the okay to resume exercise. Proper technique and a gradual increase in activity can help you develop good biomechanics that can prevent foot injury and pain. Properly fitting shoes and proper foot hygiene can also prevent foot pain.
Remember, if you feel pain when working out or walking, try decreasing the intensity of the workout or walking less. If the pain persists, stop immediately and see a podiatrist to discover the source of the pain. Pushing through pain often results in injury. Foot pain is not normal and is there to tell you something is wrong. Get help.

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