The Governments Axing Of Lifeline

I was chatting to a friend via Facebook this morning. My friend is one that dedicates some of his time (voluntary) to Helpline.

Helpline provides free 24 hour health assistance for people
with issues such as depression, bullying and suicidal thoughts. I am keen to perhaps get involved in the future.

So, this morning he told me that the Government is withdrawing funding, so Helpline only has enough money to run for another 6-12 months. This was a real surprise because New Zealand has some of the highest suicide rates in the world.

So Helpline is doing everything possible to stay afloat. The New Zealand Government has very much increased the amount of money put into roading. Our road toll is far to high.

Here is some statistics for you. If you look at current figures, the Government is putting over $600,000 per person saved from road death or serious injury – about 900 people over 10 years. In that time, based on current figures , over 5000 may die from suicide . I know it’s not really a positive conversation, but these are obviously the facts. So you would think that they would be prepared to invest more money for them wouldn’t you ?

Government says it has increased mental health spending by 300 million over the last 7-8 years, which is an impressive figure. They say that helpline will be replaced with other resources, but will these resources be able to fill this role ?

Only time will tell I guess… I’ll watch this space.

Click here to watch the piece on “Seven Sharp” – NZ Current Affairs Show

The First Seizure & Diagnosis Of Epilepsy

Most people experience a sense of shock, fear and panic when seeing a seizure for the first time. That is completely understandable.

Many people have very little understanding of Epilepsy… well, that’s what I have found. The best thing to do is offer moral support.

So, as you may know,a person having a Tonic – Clonic / Grand Mal Seizure should be laid on their side. This is once any convulsions have stopped. Something soft should be put under their head. Nothing SHOULD EVER be put in ones mouth when having a seizure.


Is it worth calling an Ambulance ?  If people understand the Epilepsy, it may not be required. This is something that has been frustrating over the years for myself. I now pay an annual membership fee to St John ( NZ Ambulance Service ). It is $80 a year and this covers our whole family. It’s very much worth it , because if you aren’t a member and receive their service, you are charged MORE THAN $80. I can’t recall exactly what it is.

It is important to make sure the history of what happened is recorded. Personally, I write about every seizure I have.

What happened ?

Why did it happen  ?

Where did it happen ?

By keeping record of my seizures / turns , I can see whether my number of turns is increasing or decreasing. It’s always interesting to count them once we reach the end of the month. It seems like my turns have increased a wee bit over the last 12 months.

We must remember that there are other conditions that cause a person to have a seizure like episode. Perhaps someone may jerk and twitch, fall down or lose consciousness.This isn’t necessarily Epilepsy. The likes of an E.E.G / Scans looks further into this. All the Scans , etc , that I have ever had have never shown an reason for my Epilepsy.



bryce rae


Does Money Buy Happiness ?


Have you heard “Money doesn’t buy you happiness” ? I think you probably would have. I don’t agree with it 100 % . Something money does give you is piece of mind. Piece of mind that you can pay the bills, make your mortgage payments. One with a good steady income is able to relax more than the opposite. When money is an issue, it can be always on the mind. Saying from experience, it’s not at all pleasant.

Sometimes the people who say “Money can’t you you happiness ” are extreme wealthy or the complete opposite. An example is ones who are very successful.  We often hear this from the likes of famous people such as famous Musicians / Movie Stars. Perhaps they have had drug or alcohol issues. Some sort of addiction. Maybe they have been married several times. Maybe money is the reason they have had problems…they have so much money they can do what they want, when they want.

We often hear stories of people winning Lotto. They win thousands and thousands of dollars then end up broke. This is crazy. If one wins Lotto, they should think about the long term future. Money should be invested to provide a long term income. You could possibly get rid of your mortgage. I have read many times that is what should be done before anything else.

There is often debate that top earners aren’t paying enough tax. I disagree with this.  If one has a successful career and maybe a 6 figure income, they should be complimented. They are often looked upon as bad people.

So, where were you a few years ago ? I’m probably happier when I was a few years ago. I have things I want to achieve in the next 12 months. Some of this is in regards to money. This will make me alot happier.

Wealth could always be looked upon in more than just monetary terms. I’m glad I have a roof over my head. I’m wealthy because of my supportive family. They have and always be there for me regardless what the situation is. This provides a good piece of mind.

So, I think money can bring happiness …….

in the form of piece of mind.

And Remember…




Motorsport… watching paint dry

Sport can help us –

  • Beat stress
  • Improve confidence
  • Socialise and make new friends
  • Have healthy joints, bones and lungs
  • Control weight
  • Keep blood pressure and cholesterol low
  • Reduce risk of heart attack or stroke

Continue reading “Motorsport… watching paint dry”

Not the best of days…

Today has been one of those days. You know , right ?
What I mean is a day when things aren’t much fun, you look forward to when the day is over. I felt a bit frustrated this morning. The usual bit of silliness that happens when the kids are having breakfast. My wife leaves just after 7 in the mornings, so it’s just me when the kids are eating. I often tell them to stop mucking around and eat their breakfast. They complain that the other is looking at them !! CRAZY KIDS !!!

Continue reading “Not the best of days…”

Qualifying for SSD with an Invisible Disability






The concept of disability is an interesting one, mostly because when people think of disability, they think in terms of the physical inability to do things that come naturally to most people, without some sort of aid. However, there are disabilities that cannot be seen as such, and yet they impact as much on the sufferers as those that suffer from ‘seen’ disabilities. These are often referred to as hidden or invisible disabilities, and limit the earning capacity of the person who suffers from these unseen conditions.

Conditions for Qualification

In order for a person suffering from an invisible disability to successfully qualify for a social security disability, or SSI claim, there are certain conditions that must be met. These conditions are very straightforward.

First, you must have worked in jobs that are covered by social security. Basically, you have to have worked long enough in order to qualify for SSD. Besides that, your employment must have been recent, and self-employment is covered by this as well. The reason for this is that your Social Security work credits are determined by how much your yearly income was. Each year is about 4 credits. The number of credits you require will depend on the number of years you have worked, as well as your age when you stopped working. Second, you must have a medical condition which actually meets the definition of disability as specified by the SSA. According to the Social Security Administration, this means that you are unable to work. You would most likely qualify if you are unable to do the same work you did before you incurred your disability, and are unable to adjust to another type of work. Additionally, if it is clear that the disability has gone on or is expected to go on for a year or more, then you would probably meet the conditions.

What are invisible disabilities?

Many people with invisible disabilities either do not realize that they are suffering from hidden disabilities, or do not consider themselves as such, and so there are many people who would ordinarily qualify for SSD that do not apply. The problem might stem from the fact that society at large, and some Social Security officers, that find it difficult to accept conditions such as extreme fatigue, chronic pain or sleep disorders as disabilities. However these are invisible disabilities. According to the Center on Disability Studies, other conditions which fall into this category include:


– Asthma

– Epilepsy

– Diabetes

– Traumatic Brain Injury

– Psychiatric Disabilities which include bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder   major depression, etc.

– Chronic fatigue

– Learning Disabilities (LD)

– Attention Deficit-Disorder or Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD)

Common Factors with Invisible Disabilities

Although there are so many invisible disabilities, they do have certain things in common. Chief to them is the fact that the disability is not ‘seen.’ Another thing they have in common is that there are often no visible supports; sufferers do not have the support of wheelchairs, canes, hearing aids or other support aids used by people with ‘typical’ disabilities. What is true about such disabilities is that they are often permanent and those who suffer from them have to cope with them on a daily basis. In order to qualify for SSD, there has to be documented evidence on the disability. In most cases, the sufferer is dealing with some sort of physical or emotional pain as well. There should also be evidence that this disability has been managed through medication or behavior.

Are you living with an invisible disability that no one seems to understand?


WRITTEN BY – Amy Patterson –


No More Fizzy Drink !!!


Fizzy drinks…..I drink my fair share, but I don’t think I do too bad. I know people who drink alot more than I do. I have written about my addiction to drinking V.  Well, not quite an addiction, but V is a drink I enjoy and health wise I would be better off without.

In the media this week ( here in New Zealand ) , there has been discussion about schools banning fizzy drinks and restricting drinking to just water. Sounds like a good idea to me. Our kids, aged 4 & 6 , only really drink water. They sometimes get the treat of orange juice, but because it’s always been this way, we never hear too many complains about it.

We always seem to be hearing about our children. But isn’t it a parent job to make these decisions ? I really get sick of everyone thinking the government is responsible for everything. Shouldn’t your kids be your responsibility ? If you decide to have children, you need to take responsibility !!! You are the parents, not the government. it’s up to parents to make decisions.  People seem to blame the government for everything. If you decide that your children shouldn’t have fizzy drink, then take action.

My answer to this is “Everything In Moderation” . It is O.K to drink some fizzy drink, alcohol, eat some takeaways…… you know what I’m talking about.These sort of things. Most people enjoy these things and that’s fine. But , just don’t have too much.

New Zealand is evidently the 3rd most obese country in the world. I’m surprised by this. But, what is classed as obese ? How are you puthick-373064__180t into this category ?

Obesity is measured by BMI ( body mass index ). An equation is made using ones height and weight. It doesn’t really take much to be classed as obese. Some of our greatest sports stars are supposedly obese.  I guess they would be full of muscle though and muscle weighs more than fat.

Looks like I have gone off the topic of Fizzy Drinks !!! In the last week , a Fizzy drink tax has been put in place in the U.K. So, should NZ have a Fizzy Drink tax as well ? That was a question of the week. My view is NO, we don’t need one. Why ? well, it won’t raise the prices much. Things like this should come from people taking action, not pricing.

So, I’ll continue to enjoy my fizzy drink in moderation.

Moderation is the key to many things.












ALERT , ALERT !!! Medic Alert


So, Medic Alert ….

Medic Alert is a way your information is kept about your health issue. You wear a wristband / bracelet or something around your neck. On there is what health issue you have, plus a pin number. Do you have something like this where ever you live in this big wide world ?

So say something happens and you end up in the arms of Medical staff, they can look at Medic Alert and see why whatever happened may have happened. Perhaps they will discover there are some drugs you can’t take. I know a few people that wear Medic Alert for this reason. Of course, mine is for my Epilepsy. One thing we haven’t done is kept my info up to date. I should go through my doctor and get things signed off. This would be what medication I take, etc. My medication has changed many times over the years.

I  always wear mine around my neck. I have worn a wrist band a few times, but it annoys me a bit. I guess it is something you’d get used to.

I recently received an email from Medic Alert. They were asking me to fill in a survey about my experiences . The main question was whether I had had any experience of medical staff missing my Medic Alert / not taking notice of it. This has happened to me several times.

I had a seizure ( turn) one day when I was picking my son up from school. Even though I probably would have been fine, some thought I was having a heart attack. So, the Ambulance arrived. Did they see my Medic Alert around my neck ? NO !! Don’t you think they should have looked for it ?

So from the look of the survey, it sounds like there has been other people go through this. We pay a yearly fee for my family to be covered for Emergency services like this. I think we pay about $90 a year.  Without this , it would pretty much cost that for using their services just once. So it’s good it covers all 4 of us.

Our Ambulance service comes from St John . They rely heavily on donations/ fundraising  from the public. Perhaps the government could assist them a bit more.



Living Life With Epilepsy


This post is part of the Epilepsy Blog Relay™, which will run from March 1 through March 31. Follow along and add comments to posts that inspire you!


Most people with Epilepsy have an everyday life pretty much the same as everyone else. Well, that should be the goal. Epilepsy isn’t the same for everyone. There are a few things to think about, such as how often one has seizures and what sort of seizures they have. Epilepsy can limit some parts of life. For example, some with Epilepsy are unable to drive. There is normally a stand down period if one has a seizure such as 12 months. Others need to think about what their life would be without a license. Not been able to drive for 1 month, 6 months, 12 months. How would you handle this ?  Some with Epilepsy have NEVER had a drivers license. Employment can be another issue. It’s really about finding an understanding employer.

There could be problems with bullying & teasing. Maybe some will be excluded from groups. But, what one with Epilepsy needs to remember is that ANYONE CAN DEVELOP EPILEPSY AT ANY TIME. If one move away from someone who develops Epilepsy, then perhaps they aren’t the sort of person to be spending time with.

Parents need to continue to be positive. Communication is the key. As with anything, it’s good to talk. Talk about anything including Epilepsy.Supportive family and friends are essential. . Yes, everyone should be aware of ones Epilepsy and we all need to be taken care of when required. But, this can go to far. NO ONE SHOULD BE PUT IN COTTON WOOL.



thumbs upAttitude… Does one have a good attitude ?

Thinking positively is the key !!




One should always provide the likes of school /social groups with information. What type of Epilepsy and how often seizures occur ?  What they should do if a seizure occurs. The public generally have very little understanding of Epilepsy. If not informed, it’s possible a seizure could be misinterpreted.

One with Epilepsy should try and interact with others who have Epilepsy. This shows them that there are others out there with Epilepsy.They are not alone .This can sometimes be difficult. Some with Epilepsy like to keep their Epilepsy a secret. They need to understand there is nothing to be ashamed of.

They are not alone !!


NEXT UP: Be sure to check out  for more on Epilepsy Awareness.

For the full schedule of bloggers visit

Be sure to check out the Epilepsy Blog Relay Thunderclap to raise epilepsy awareness. And don’t miss your chance to connect with bloggers on the #LivingWellChat on March 31 at 7PM ET.

Diagnosed with Cancer? Five Questions to Ask Your Doctor

By Matt Rhoney 

According to the National Cancer Institute, in 2015, an estimated 1,658,370 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. and 589,430 people will die from the disease. Some of the most common cancers include, but are not limited to, breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer and pancreatic cancer. While many individuals may not develop cancer, it will undoubtedly affect everyone in one way or another.

If you or a loved one has received a cancer diagnosis, you may be emotionally and mentally overwhelmed by the information and your head may be full of questions. While your doctor should address any questions you may have, you may not know where to start. These questions are a good starting point and will help you get the valuable information you need to be better informed about your health and your diagnosis:

Is My Cancer Treatable?

This is an incredibly important question to ask. Depending on the type of cancer you have and the stage it’s at all will help your doctor determine how treatable your cancer will be. Treatment options vary for every patient and while one type of treatment, such as surgery, works well for one person, radiation is a better option for another.

What is Your Experience Treating This Type of Cancer?

As patients in the world of medicine, our knowledge is often very limited and we rely on the experience and honesty of our doctors. While most doctors are committed to making the most accurate of diagnoses, they are not immune to human error. According to Long Island Medical Malpractice Lawyer, Stephen M. Cohen, if you received a delayed cancer diagnosis or your doctor failed to diagnose your cancer, you may be a victim of medical malpractice; you deserve to have above standard care.

If you second guess your diagnosis or don’t feel like your diagnosis is being handled properly, you have the right to a second opinion. Far too often, patients are too afraid to ask doctors questions about their professional experiences. It’s your health, you have the right.

What Kind of Side Effects Can I Experience From the Cancer and/or Treatments?

While your doctor may not be able to answer this question with full accuracy, he or she should be able to tell about what to expect. What you may feel and experience all depends on the stage of your cancer and the treatment route you choose to take. While some patients struggle with everyday activities, others are able to continue to work. Remember, the more information you receive can help you better prepare yourself and your family as you are on your journey.

When Should I Tell My Family and Friends?

There’s no right or wrong answer for this, but many doctors recommend taking some time to figure out a treatment plan and gathering all the information you need (complete diagnosis, type of cancer, etc.) before telling children, extended family, and friends. Remember, when you share the news there will be many questions for you and you will want and need to know how to answer them.

Is There Support Available?

Family and friend support is always welcomed and necessary, but for many individuals facing a cancer diagnosis, it can feel lonely. Unless another family member or friend has experienced cancer, it’s not very relatable. Many doctors, working with many patients like you, are likely to have a list of resources and can recommend a support group to help you get started and work through the issues that you and your family may be facing.



Matt Rhoney is an avid reader on trending topics and a writer in his spare time. On the beautiful coast of North Carolina you will usually find him catching up on the latest news with locals or on the beach surfing, kayaking or paddle boarding. He loves to write pieces on health, fitness, and wellness, but often writes about families and safety




Joy’s Story

It’s always exciting to interact with others who have Epilepsy. I have recently exchanged messages with Joy. She has a blog as well – GROWING AND LIVING WITH EPILEPSY. 

My name is Joy. I am a 45 year old stay at home wife and mother, and have had Epilepsy since the age of 9. I hope to help spread awareness about Epilepsy with my blog, Growing and Living with Epilepsy. My blog tells about when I was first diagnosed with Epilepsy, and how I’ve come to cope with it over the years. But it’s about more than just me. I hope for this to become a place for others to share their story as well. Informative videos, poems to enjoy, and your own page are some of the features included in my blog, plus regularly updated posts. Come by and check it out –



It’s Nearly Christmas !!

Well, not quite nearly Christmas, but one month is down already. Only 11 months left !! Before we know it , Christmas will be upon us once again. Time seems get quicker & quicker all the time. I used to love the idea of time flying by, but I’m not so keen on it anymore. I’ll be 35 in May. I sorta think being 35-40 means your pretty much half way through life. It seems like just yesterday I had my 21st birthday. Before you know it,  I’ll be 40.

Next year our daughter will be at school as well. I do look forward it this. Many parents are in tears the day their kid start school. I can partly understand that, but that won’t be me. In a recent chat with my brother, he said how thinking of his kids turning 18 scared him a bit…. his oldest is 13. So, once my girl starts school, it will then be a time to either continue to work from home, or perhaps go out and get a day job. My goal is to continue at home.

Another reason I don’t like time flying by is my parents. They are getting older and it will eventually come to a time they are no longer with us.  They help me out whenever I need it and are a couple of my best friends. Our kids really enjoy all of their Grandparents. Hopefully we have still got a few years yet.

But, hey…… have you heard the saying……

“Time flies when you’re having fun”

Not all times are fun. Just after Christmas my father and I put up a trampoline. It was one of the surprises from Santa for our kids. THAT TOOK US 4 HOURS TO PUT TOGETHER. But you wouldn’t have known. As I said , it wasn’t that much fun, although we were very busy.



When your keeping busy or having fun, time does fly.

So, keep busy and have fun !!




Our Technological Revolution

RIP For The Lives Taken by Epilepsy

Life at Full Volume

andlelight vigil
Hey friends, I hope you liked my new category on fashion. Today I am a bit more serious though. I was planning on going to my Mum’s Unitarian church with her this morning, and I had set my alarm. I even planned my outfit!

My night was rough though and I ended up seizing all throughout the night. If you have ever had a seizure during the night it can be tough to wake up in the morning. I slept and slept, then ultimately I was able to wake to the morning sun. The first thing I said to myself was “Thank you for another day”. I was still mustering the energy to wake up when I got a text from my friend who is across the country. She told me that one of her friends had died from epilepsy. She proceeded to tell me how much I meant to…

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A Break At The Beach

I have just had 3 nights at the beach with my Mum and Dad. JUST ME !! My wife and kids were of course welcome to come, but she decided not to so I could have some time to myself before everything such as school starts again. 🙂


My daughter starts Kindy on the 27th , and my boy is back to school on the 2nd February. During my 3 nights are the beach I went on big walks,probably totaling about 50 km. I had a spa each day and a swim at the beach . I haven’t had a swim at the beach for a very long time. My sister and 2 of her 3 boys joined us for a night and she came for a walk with me on Thursday. We walked 10 km along the beach.


I could see myself living at the beach. Hamilton ( where I live ) is one of the very few places in New Zealand that isn’t on the coast. I do love Hamilton. The good thing about New Zealand is where ever you live, you can get to the beach in 90 mins or so. When you compare that to other countries where hours of travel is needed, we are very lucky. It is a goal of mine to one day have a house at the beach. On one of my calls home while I was away, I told my wife that if /when she works at another school, she could get one at the beach. But…this was said with a grin on my face.

So, not long to go now and everyone will be back to work, school and kindy. As we all do, I very much look forward to Christmas and the 6 week break. I’m very lucky because my wife is with us for most of it. But, when it’s nearly finished , I start to look forward to things getting back to normal , the routine of everyone going to school each day.I’m hoping we can go back to the beach in February.



Epilepsy Drugs & Birth Defects…



Hope you had a fantastic Christmas. I had a pretty good one. It’s hard to believe that it was 2 weeks ago. Time goes to quickly. There are times when that’s a good thing, but there are also times I wish it would slow down. For example, I was looking forward to the school year ending, meaning more family time. But , before we know it January will be gone and everyone will be back to school. I enjoy the holidays because of Alie ( my wife ) being a teacher.

So, a little while ago there was a very interesting story on the news. This was about a mother who was taking Epilim while pregnant and wasn’t informed of the issues it leads to. Her teenage daughters have had some development problems.

People are very unaware of this. I recently learned about this at The Brain Train. The Brain Train was an Epilepsy Meeting with a few knowledgeable guest. One of them was from FACSNZ  which stands for Foetal Anti -Convulsant New Zealand. She told us how many drugs can have a real effect on a pregnant woman, leading to their babies / children. It seems not many know about this. But,it is a topic in different places online.

There was a reaction to this news story on Facebook. Many people seemed to think they were an experts. This is the same whenever it comes to Epilepsy.  Frustrating !!


Take a look at the news story – HERE 

Christmas Lights

Merry Christmas !!!!!!!


Our boy with Santa
Our boy with Santa

We have just been for a drive. The kids have had a late night. We took them for a drive in their P.J’s to see some Christmas light. Man, the extreme that some people go to. It’s great to look at, it certainly got the kids excited, but they have fallen asleep as soon as they got into bed.

1 or 2 streets were packed full of cars with people walking around. I feel a bit sorry for the people not participating. But I guess it’s only for a couple of weeks.
So, are you excited about Christmas ? I’ve been counting down the weeks. I have the privilege with Alie ( wife ) getting a few weeks off due to being a teacher. We’ll be going away to my in-laws for about a week. This year my parents are going to come and stay with us as well. So, the kids are pretty lucky. They will be able to enjoy both sets of Grandparents. Our girl turns 4 a couple of days before Christmas. Not the best date in some ways. We have to make sure not to  pull her birthday into Christmas. She finished at a kindy a couple of days ago. She will be going to a new one next year. She has been going there for a couple of years so her last day was a bit sad. They do a great job, much appreciated. The same goes for our boy at school. He had another lovely teacher this year. So , enjoy ya Christmas, Drive Safe !!