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Signs From Marie Laveau?

By PaganismNo Comments

Marie Laveau (1801-1881) was an African American lady who was a Voodoo Practitioner, Wise Woman, Herbal Healer, Spiritual & Community Leader and Business Women in New Orleans, USA. This incredible woman I recently got educated about by my good friend Sally, at The Lancashire Witch.

Since Sally told me about Marie Laveau, I’ve been unable to escape very obvious signs that I need to know more about this wonderful woman. The first sign was reading something about Marie Laveau’s gris gris bags.

I’ve been creating gris gris charm bags and feeding them daily with an oil mixes ever since I came across the idea online several years ago. I even put some of these type of Spells into my book SpellCast – Folk Magic for the 21st Century, that I co-authored with Luna Hare. I had no idea that these type of Spells came from Voodoo.

The next sign came when a book by Marie Laveau appeared on my Facebook feed. Someone had posted it in a Witchcraft group. The thing is though: it wasn’t a Witchcraft group that I was a part of or had ever liked or commented on anything in. Now, I don’t always pick up on subtle signs and I am almost famous for ignoring signs, passing them off as coincidences.

But this was like a slap in the face of a sign to me. I’m not sure what the spirit of Marie Laveau wants with me, a White, British, Gay Witch. But Marie, or Mrs Laveau, whichever you prefer, you’ve got my attention and I’m listening. Feel free to send more signs and for my part I’ll be doing some more research into your life and Voodoo practices.

Write soon,

Antony

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My Latest Pagan Wall Artwork – Art on Slate by Kate McKenna bought on The Wonky Cauldron

By Happiness & Joy, Inspiration, Paganism, ShoppingNo Comments

Hello all!

Welcome to 2019. So far, my January has been really busy. But I wanted to share with you my latest purchase. This gorgeous slate wall artwork:

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Avebury Tree Goddesses by Kate McKenna.

It’s called Avebury Tree Goddesses by Kate McKenna. It’s gorgeous and I love it. High quality shaped slate with a beautiful print on it.

I discovered Kate McKenna’s artwork on The Wonky Cauldron, which I discovered through an ad on Facebook.

Kate doesn’t have her artwork on sale on her website, but The Wonky Cauldron has a wide range of her artwork available to buy.

I’ve spotted another slate with Avebury Stone Circle on. I think I might have to buy it to compliment the one above.

Blog soon,

Antony

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The FreeStyle Libre Flash Glucose Monitoring System: Getting Started on My New Health Plan

By Health, Technology, Thinking9 Comments

Hello all,

I’m a type 1 diabetic who has always struggled to have good control of my blood sugars.

I’ve been using a traditional glucose meter (a TEE2). Every diabetic will have a glucose meter. The meter tells the tester what their blood sugar is at the time that the reading is taken.

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My traditional glucose meter the TEE2 by Spirit Healthcare Ltd.

Nothing had really changed in the management or treatment of my diabetes for the last decade. That was until just over a week ago. It started when I saw this photo in the media:

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I saw this photo of Theresa May (the current Prime Minister) who is Type 1 diabetic. I wondered what it was on her arm. (I’ve added on the circle and arrow on to the photo.)

I posted the photo on Facebook and asked if anyone knew what it was. I quickly learned that it was a sensor for the FreeStyle Libre Glucose Monitoring System.

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The FreeStyle Libre Sensor (left) and Reader (right).

The FreeStyle Libre Glucose Monitoring System is a revolutionary and life changing way to monitor blood sugars for diabetics.

A sensor that has a needle that goes into the interstitial fluid is placed on the back of an arm. The sensor on the skin is about the size of a two pound coin. The sensor takes a reading every minute and stores readings at 15 minute intervals. The sensor can store 8 hours of data. A sensor lasts 14 days.

A Reader downloads data from the sensor, including the most current blood sugar reading by placing the reader near the sensor (using Fear Field Communication (NFC)). You don’t even need a Reader if you have a phone with NFC. You can download an App available for both Android and Apple smartphones that allows you to use your phone as a reader. I haven’t got a phone with NFC, so would need a reader.

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So I did some research. I read the entire FreeStyle Libre website including watching tutorial videos and FAQs. Then I read some posts on the Diabetes UK Forums. I watched every video about the FreeStyle Libre on YouTube.

I discovered that in November of last year (2017) the FreeStyle Libre became available on the NHS. However from reading the forums it seemed that availability depended on local criteria.

I decided I needed to trial the FreeStyle Libre as part of a new health plan to improve my health and prevent illness where possible.

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I managed to buy two sensors at my local Boots Pharmacy. A sensor cost more than £50 each. This was because I thought I’d probably have to self-fund due to the cost to the NHS.

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But I couldn’t buy a Reader anywhere. I rang my local Diabetes Specialists Centre. Their criteria for starting me on the FreeStlye Libre is: 1. is type one diabetic and 2. testing blood sugar 6-10 times a day. I met the criteria so they sorted me out with a Reader.

The Diabetic Specialist Nurse at my local Diabetes Centre was amazing. She sorted me a Reader. I saw the Diabetic Consultant in January and have been awaiting an appointment with a Dietitian. She said she’d chase this.

The Diabetic Specialist Nurse and I also arranged an appointment together in a few weeks time. This is so I can give her an update on my use of the FreeStyle Libre and so that she could write to my GP about putting the sensors on prescription. She informed me that if there was no improvement in my blood sugar control after 6 months, that my GP may choose to stop prescribing the sensors.

Excited I put on the sensor:

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The sensor should be placed on the back of the arm. Start by cleaning with a pre-injection swab (provided with the sensor).

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The sensor is assembled by pulling off the lid of the white tub, then matching up the gray lines and pressing down. Really easy and simple.

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Place to your skin and press down. It’s painless and makes a clicking sound.

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There it is. Sensor on.

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I’ve chosen to put a 10cmx10cm dressing on my sensor to better protect it.

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All set up. Quick, easy and simple. I’ll let you know how I go on.

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I’ve been wearing the sensor and using the reader for a few days now. So here’s the pros and cons I’ve discovered so far:

Pros Cons
  • The sensor isn’t noticed by others being on the back of my arm (covered even by short sleeves).
  • I don’t feel the sensor in my arm at all. No discomfort or pain.
  • The reader is pocked sized.
  • It’s quick and easy. A quick swipe and you have your current blood sugar along with a line graph showing your blood sugar throughout the day (and night) from readings the sensor has taken.
  • It’s more discrete swiping the reader near your arm, rather than getting out your glucose meter and pricking your finger.
  • I can check my blood sugar as often as I want, without worrying about running out of testing strips.
  • The reader has a whole host of useful features including: reading alarm reminders, logbook, daily graph, average glucose, daily patterns, time in target glucose range (which you set when you setup the reader), sensor usage, add notes to go with readings (including units of rapid-acting insulin, units of long-acting insulin, food – carbs, medicine and exercise).
  • It tells you how many days you have before you need to change the senor on the home screen.
  • The daily graph along with arrows showing whether your blood sugar is increasing (and how quickly), stable or decreasing (and how quickly) are enabling me to make better bolus insulin adjustments. The food notes will enable me to better match the number of rapid insulin units I need to administer based on the number carbs I’ve eaten.
  • The reader is helping me to identify trends in my blood sugars and helping me prevent my blood sugar from rising too high.
  • FreeStyle have software for both Windows on Mac that uses the data to create reports that you can share with Health Professionals.
  • If you have a phone with NFC you can use an App on your phone rather than using the reader. The Apps appear to have all the same features as the Reader.
  • The reader comes with with a USB wire (for connecting to computers) and has a plug to charge it from mains. According to the manufacturer, a full charge lasts about a week with average use.
  • The sensor takes the reading from interstitial fluid rather than blood. This means that the reading is 10-15 mins behind. This is not an issue if your blood sugar is stable, but could be an issue if it’s dropping.
  • The reader feels a little flimsy and doesn’t come with any cover or pouch to protect it from damage and general wear and tear.
  • The DVLA don’t currently allow readings from this monitor to count as a before driving test. Therefore a traditional glucose meter and finger pricking is still required prior to driving.
  • The sensors are expensive, costing over £50 each. This is a Con whether you are paying for them privately or whether the NHS is being charged for them (as we pay for the NHS through our taxes).

I was going to do this blog posts as a vlog (video blog). But I couldn’t get my head around the video editing software, so opted for the written method instead. That’s why the photos of me look like image captures from a video, because they are.

The FreeStyle Libre Glucose Monitoring System is just one part of my new health plan. I also want to become SmokeFree for good and lose weight through a better diet and regular exercise.

Write soon,

Antony



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My Blog Stats for 2017

By The WebNo Comments

Here are my blog stats for 2017:

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Lets have a look on how they compare against My Blog Stats for 2016. The number of blog posts was 71 in 2017 and 82 in 2016, meaning a decrease of 11 posts. However the number of comments have increased by 23 comments, with 58 comments made in 2017 versus 35 comments made in 2016.

In 2016 my blog had 1, 811, 905 hits. I don’t have data for 2017 due to switching hosting providers partway through the year. However the number of unique visitors in 2017 increased by 8,863 (35, 363 in 2017 versus 26, 500 in 2016).

The top referrer in both 2016 and 2017 was search engines. However in 2017 StumbleUpon past Facebook. Android-app remained in fourth place in 2017 as it was in 2016.

Twitter dropped off the Top Referrers list in 2017, which was disappointing as I increased tagging of relevant users, used hashtags better and tried to engage more with people on Twitter. But it was replaced with PLU Blogs which I listed my blog on as a bit of an experiment. It was also replaced by Pinterest another site that I had experimented with in 2017.

My Top Clicks for 2016 and 2017 remained the same with GuysWay first and Amazon second. However in 2017 I was glad to see Odd Prints getting some traffic from this post I wrote back in 2014: OddPrints – Print Photos in Any Size (including 3×3 & 4×4).

Fourth and Fifth on My Top Clicks relate to this blog post I wrote in 2016: A List of Famous People with Dyspraxia, Dyslexia and/or Dyscalculia. According to the stats this blog post has been popular throughout 2016 and 2017.

The sixth on My Top Clicks for 2017 was Male Massage Manchester and relates to this blog post: Review: A Marvellous Massage by a Masseur found using GuysWay.

This year (2018!) I would like to exceed the number of posts written in 2017. I’d like the comments to remain high, as well as the hits and unique visitors to continue to increase.

Write soon,

Antony

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