The Author Marianne Strnad

The Author Marianne Strnad
Thanks for visiting me here!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Migraine Awareness Month #5: "Do That To Me One More Time."

Migraine Awareness Month #5:   "Do That To Me One More Time." 
What comfort measure do you find helps you enough during a Migraine that you go back to it again and again, and how do you use it?  

  Oh man-this one is easy!  First, It's Excedrin Tension Headache medication or any facsimile thereof.  This usually does the trick. If that doesn't work, I try any caffeine product; coffee, soda, chocolate, etc.  I am partial to chocolate shakes because they are cool AND creamy-lol!  But I must say that I do hate it when food becomes my medication.  To me, that is wrong on so many levels. 

  Which reminds me...several years ago I made a watershed discovery.  I knew that if I ate something very sweet-say chocolate cake-in the morning, I would often develop a headache as a result. And it would be a very bad one.  However, if I ate something protein-dense beforehand-like a hardboiled egg-then I would be perfectly fine.  That is a strategy that never fails me.  And I love eggs-lol! 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Moderation is Key!

Migraine Awareness Month #4:  "June Is Bustin' Out All Over!" What's the best tip you can offer others for having some summer fun despite Migraines? about the old adage, "Everything in moderation"?  Yep, that's how I would do it!  Overdoing anything leads to sleep deprivation-one of my biggest triggers.  Just because it's summer doesn't mean you can get away with less sleep, believe me, your body will tell you otherwise-and in no uncertain terms!  Let's also throw in drink plenty of water-because dehydration also causes headaches.  Those who drink too much should know that well!
  So, go forth and have fun-but be smart doing it! 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Hello folks! It's been a while since I wrote on my blog.  I'm jumping back in for Migraine Awareness Month.  I've accepted the blog challenge made by a site called "Fighting Headache Disorders...through Awareness"at

  Each day they ask bloggers to write on a different theme, so here I am. Today's theme is "Just Shoot Me!", about my worst migraine triggers, and if I can avoid it and how I can handle it. 
  My worst triggers are pretty typical; red wine, the weather (sunny, high pressure days-yeah, total bummer-I know!), sleep-deprivation, and food-deprivation. Some I can avoid, others definitely not. Most entail taking care of myself. Obviously the weather must be dealt with medication, and when that doesn't work, sleep. 

No matter what I do, THIS is the result to be avoided! What are your triggers, and how do you handle them?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

To Honor The Brave


The soldier stood and faced God, 
Which must always come to pass.
He hoped his shoes were shining,
Just as brightly as his brass.
'Step forward now, you soldier,
How shall I deal with you ?
Have you always turned the other cheek ?
To My Church have you been true?'
The soldier squared his shoulders and said,
'No, Lord, I guess I ain't.
Because those of us who carry guns,
Can't always be a saint.
I've had to work most Sundays,
And at times my talk was tough.
And sometimes I've been violent,
Because the world is awfully rough.
But, I never took a penny,
That wasn't mine to keep...
Though I worked a lot of overtime,
When the bills got just too steep.
And I never passed a cry for help,
Though at times I shook with fear.
And sometimes, God, forgive me,
I've wept unmanly tears.
I know I don't deserve a place,
Among the people here.
They never wanted me around,
Except to calm their fears.
If you've a place for me here, Lord,
It needn't be so grand.
I never expected or had too much,
But if you don't, I'll understand.
There was a silence all around the throne,
Where the saints had often trod.
As the soldier waited quietly,
For the judgment of his God.
'Step forward now, you soldier,
You've borne your burdens well.
Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,
You've done your time in Hell.'
Author Unknown~

Thinking of all the


and British Soldiers


This picture just cuts me to the core!




It's the Military, not the reporter who has given us the freedom of the press.

It's the Military, not the poet, who has given us the freedom of speech.
It's the Military, not the politicians that ensures our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
It's the Military who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag.
If you care to offer the smallest token of recognition and appreciation for the military, please pass this on and pray for our men and women who have served and are currently serving our country... and pray for those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for freedom!

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Spice You Don't Want in Your Life - A Professional Article Published in the March 2011 issue of "ASCLS Today"

  The toxicology department at the Seattle Division of VA Puget Sound Healthcare System has been fielding an increasing number of queries regarding the currently legal synthetic cannabinoid drug called “Spice,” also known as “K2.” Spice is a psychoactive chemical product marketed as an herbal smoking blend and as an “herbal potpourri” in the U.K.2 Due to the rise of its adverse side effects and its unique pharmacology, the drug is worthy of academic scrutiny.
  Spice first appeared in Europe in the 1990s, but did not impact American popular culture until midway through the first decade of the new millennium. The drug initially attracted attention when its users - usually teens - began falling ill post use. Side effects run the gamut from nausea, anxiety, and hallucinations to brain swelling3, sequela arising from an allergic reaction to the compound.
  Researchers, particularly in Germany where the drug is now banned, have discovered it to be comprised of a hodgepodge of herbs, plants and chemicals that together produce a cannabis-like high. Although the mixture does not contain any marijuana, it has shown to be a potent cannabimimetic that tests negative for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in traditional toxicology analyses.
  Several synthetic cannabinoids in particular are most often used in the mixture. One such compound is cannabicyclohexanol (C47,497).1 This drug is a cannabinoid receptor agonist developed by Pfizer in 19794 for research into the physiology of the endogenous cannabinoid signaling system at the molecular level during drug-receptor interaction.5 Other synthetic cannabinoids worth noting are JWH-018, JWH-073 and HU-210,1 all of which are currently legal in the U.S. as of this writing. Because of the current legal status of the ingredients used in the Spice mixture, many erroneously believe that Spice is a safe alternative to marijuana. However, this assumption could not be farther from the truth. In fact, a discussion of the pharmacology of JWH-018 in particular, will clearly prove this point.
  JWH-018 is a cannabinoid agonist, meaning that although it is not THC, it can still activate the cannabis receptors in the brain. Chemically, it is an aminoalkylindole derivative, versus THC which is a terpenoid compound produced by the Cannabis sativa plant.4 The two compounds are structurally unrelated to each other:
Structure of the Aminoalklyindole

Structure of THC

Structure of JWH-018
  Although there are multiple classes of structurally distinct cannabinoid agonist drugs, the amnioalkylindoles were the ones developed by Pfizer designed to target cannabinoid receptors to study drug-receptor physiology in research models as stated earlier. As illustrated, one can see the structure of JWH-018 is more similar to the aminoalkylindole structure than to that of THC. 
  At the heart of the production of the drug effect is the ability of the drug to bind to its specific receptor in the brain. Here, the target is the cannabinoid CB1 receptor. It is expressed widely throughout the brain and mediates the psychotropic effects of THC.

  Although only a few studies have examined the pharmacology of JWH-018 at the CB1 receptor, they have shown that JWH-018 is more potent than THC due to its ability to produce a physiological response at much lower concentrations. According to a 2000 paper in Drug and Alcohol Dependence by Huffman and Martin,7 JWH-018 binds to the CB1 receptor at nearly 4 times the potency of THC. This demonstrates the higher efficacy of JWH-018 than THC due to the production of higher maximal effects per dose.
  The December 2008 Journal of Mass Spectrometry compared the pharmacological properties of cannabinoids identified in synthetic cannabis, with THC.1 They noted that another synthetic cannabinoid - HU-210 is hundreds of times more potent than THC.6
  It is clear that synthetic cannabis is by no means a “safe” alternative to marijuana. It should also be clear that test systems need to be developed to analyze urine specimens for the metabolites of these synthetic cannabinoids. During the writing of this article, the author learned that a few reference laboratories are offering directed chromatographic testing for parent and/or metabolites. However, testing is still far from being standardized and therefore results should be interpreted with caution.9
  On November 24, 2010, the DEA notified the public through the Federal Register of its intent to temporarily control five synthetic cannabinoid chemicals found in so- called “fake pot” products such as K2 and Spice. Those chemicals are: JWH-018; JWH-073, JWH-200; CP-47,497 and cannabicyclohexanol; and CP-47,497 C8 homologue.
  The Controlled Substances Act requires the DEA to publish a Notice of Intent for at least 30 days before issuing a Final Order. Currently, DEA is working diligently to finalize that order which will place these five chemicals in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act for at least one year. DEA will publish the Final Order in the Federal Register that serves as the government’s official means for public notification.8 The Order may be published at any point in time so it is suggested interested parties continue to check the Federal Register on a regular basis at

1.  “Synthetic cannabis”. Wikipedia. Wikipedia Foundation, Inc. Web. 22 Jan.2011.

2.  Ford, Richard. “Spice ban as tests show lethal herbal drug is as potent as cannabis”. 
     Sunday Times.12 Aug. 2009. Print.

3.  McClain, Melissa. “Spice: A Dangerous New Drug”. Hubpages. N.P. n.d. Web. 16 Jan. 2011. 

4.  Dr. Leigh. “Cannaboid agonists and JWH-018-part 1”. The Path Forward. Wordpress. 
     Web. 6 June 2010. 

5.  Abel Pharmboy. “What’s the buzz? Synthetic marijuana, K2, Spice, JWK-018”. Terra 
     Sigillata. ScienceBlogs. Web. 9  Feb. 22010.

 6.  “Spice-Plant Material(s) Laced With Synthetic Cannabinoids or Cannabinoid Mimicking
       Compounds”. Microgram Bulletin. The Drug Enforcement Administration Office of 
       Forensic Sciences. Web. March 2009.

7.  Huffman, J.W. “Influence of the N-1 alkyl chain length of cannabimimetic indoles upon
     CB(1) and CB(2) receptor binding”. Drug and Alcohol Dependence. 60.2 (200) 133-40. Print.

8.  The United States Department of Justice. Drug Enforcement Administration. “Schedules of
     Controlled Substances: Temporary Placement of Five Synthetic Cannabinoids Into 
     Schedule 1”. Federal Register. 24 Nov. 2010. 75.22671635-71638. Print. 

9.  Clinical and Forensic Toxicology News. “DEA Files Notice to Regulate ‘Spice’ Marijuana
     Substitutes”. Washington, DC. December 2010. Print.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Epiphany

   I am the key operator of our automated urinalysis instrument in the lab. It's not a glamorous job, but is very necessary.  One day when I was working at the UA bench I had to perform a manual microscopic exam on a patient's urine sample. When certain biochemical and analytical results are positive on a sample, we have to spin the sample down and view the sediment  through a microscope for better detail in order to confirm the presence of certain formed elements that lead to diagnosis. I was very suspicious that the sample I was analyzing contained a certain parasite called Trichomonas. I looked at every area of the slide hoping it would just move itself  into my field of view so I could finally stop looking for it, as the presence of one is good enough for a positive result.  ***BANG***  The idea hit me. What if I had the power to call hidden things forward into view-wouldn't life be so much easier then?  I thought that that idea was a great superpower for a person in a paranormal novel!  Even better, what if I could write a novel for young people that would draw them to the sciences and who might even consider medical technology as a profession?  I'd have to write it with just the right balance of intrigue, science, humor and romance (for the gals especially) in order to accomplish that task.  Thus, the idea for my first novel was born.  My goal is to write a young adult paranormal novel to bring the masses back to medical technology to the point where the old schools have to be reopened.  I would also write the book as a part of a series in case it is successful and readers want more.  Yep, that is a hugely optimistic goal, but remember that a journey toward a goal takes just one step.
  I will be attending the Romance Writer's of America convention in Orlando next week.  I'll return with a new blog post at that time.  I'm going as a budding writer and new RWA member, and as a major fangirl wanting to meet her favorite authors, of whom Kerrelyn Sparks is one. The humor, intrigue and sex appeal of the vampires in her "Love At Stake" series has given me many hours of reading pleasure, which has helped this tired old med tech to relax after many a hard day.  She knows who I am (fangirl squee!) and knows that I will be attending. We plan to exchange hugs-I might cry! I also am looking forward to meeting some new favorites, such as Bonnie Vanak and Jennifer Ashley, and probably others I'm forgetting. I love you all!  See you latter my beloved peeps!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Journey Begins

  Each new endeavor begins with a single step. If you were to link a bunch of steps together you would create a journey, so here I go with step one.  Welcome to my first blog; my biggest hope is that you will be comfortable visiting here.  In my line of work, change is a constant.  With that in mind, I plan on changing things on this blog from time to time in order to decide how I prefer to set things up around here on a more permanent basis.   So, thanks for bearing with me.
  As my "About Me" box says, I am currently a Medical Technologist. It's a lay term for "Clinical Laboratory Scientist", and that is a more apt description.  I've always been interested and involved in the field of science, beginning with my class choices in school and volunteering as a candy striper as a teen.  I have always been compelled to help others, and I credit Dad with giving me my compassionate heart.  He was a real soft touch, and I miss his gentle ways so very much.  But, that is only half of my story.
  Enter Mom.  She was a gregarious and beautiful woman with a creative streak a mile wide.  No wonder dad fell head over heels in love with her; she created her own orbit and everyone around her was drawn into her world.  My creativity manifests itself mostly in writing, and I've actually been at it a while. I still have the poems, stories and class papers from high school and beyond that were my favorites.  Several ended up in the school paper over the years.  I also dabble in jewelry-making and cooking.
  After nearly losing my husband to an illness years ago, I decided to finish the degree I started many years earlier.  Off I went to the university and got the thing done.  It took a lot longer than planned due to another family crisis, but the goal was to finish before I turned 40, and I reached that goal with a few years to spare.   Now that I've been working a while, I feel the need to allow my other heart's desire to have its turn in my life.
  The field of medical technology is suffering a horrific decline and brain drain nationwide.  Schools all over the country are closing-including my own-which does not bode well for the future of health care.  The sick need doctors and nurses as we all know, even children know that.  However, you cannot run a hospital and cure the sick without a laboratory on hand to help divulge the body's secrets. Labs are responsible for ~70% of the healthcare decisions, but comprise less than 10% of a hospital's budget. Disproportionate you say? We've known it for decades.  You cannot diagnose, treat, or follow the course of someone's treatment without a laboratory running tests to determine cause and effect.
  So, what does this have to do with writing?  I had an epiphany at work a while back, and it led me to a grand idea. More on this later, time for bed!