Health, Unveiling Invisible Illnesses

Invisible Illnesses Unveiled – Eosinophillic Esophagitis

Theresa Acker is a firefighter/paramedic and a bright, young woman. Women are often dismissed, especially if they are young and appear healthy. It’s more common to have an ailment blamed on stress or being emotional, regardless of how well a woman is balancing her stress, rather than being taken seriously. The cherry on the cake is when routine blood tests show a perfectly healthy, young woman. There isn’t a fighting chance when many health issues are not recognized through a basic blood panel. Once this is the case, it is time to throw on some boxing gloves and put up a fight. Theresa did just that.

Being an advocate for your health is crucial for many. Not everyone always gets a very thorough doctor and most are trained on the average cases and solely focused on their specialty, which leaves a huge grey area. Researching and getting several opinions is always going to be your best bet.

Eosinophilic Esophagitis is an inflammatory autoimmune disease of the esophagus. This can lead to difficulty swallowing, choking and food getting stuck while in a flare up.

Interview

What is your official diagnosis?

I am diagnosed with Eosinophillic Esophagitis (EOE)

How long have you been experiencing symptoms before getting answers?

I experienced symptoms for approximately 2 years before getting diagnosed.

How has this affected your relationships and work life?

Luckily, my husband is extremely supportive and has even changed his own diet for me. As for friends and co-workers, I honestly don’t think they understand 100% and I feel as if some don’t care to. I feel as if they truly believe it’s some made up “picky eater” disorder but I’m lucky to have a handful of people in my life who actually acknowledge it and care.

What advice do you have for anyone suffering with EOS

Trust your body and get the help you feel is needed. Don’t let anybody or any doctor disregard your need for health care. A food impaction can be embarrassing but it could also lead to worse things. I always recommend seeking medical attention if you have any of the signs and symptoms, because in the long run, you could be causing more issues to your esophagus if left untreated. Not a lot of people or doctors are educated or even know what EOE is.

What challenges have you dealt with in the process?

A major challenge I have had to deal with would be my diet and to actually medicate. I was always the girl to eat everything in sight and love food and with the dysphagia that has changed. I’ve had to limit the types of food I eat, unfortunately. It’s also made it uncomfortable to go out and be the person with food restrictions and being afraid of choking in front of people.

Also, I’m not huge on taking medication. I would rather try a more natural remedy so actually taking the medication is also hard for myself.

What are the scariest or most difficult moments you have gone through because of EOE?

Having impaction for hours. It is hard to breath and very painful.

Favorite Quote:

“Where ever you go, go with all your heart.”

“With brave wings she flies.”

Three things you can’t live without:

I could never live without my family, my fur babies, or laughter.

What are your health goals?

My health goals are to feel like myself again, to not be sick and to not have the awkward fear of choking. I would love to not be on any medications for my GI issues.

*Photos also by Misti Blu

Health, Unveiling Invisible Illnesses

Top Ways to Get Out of a Funk

Everyone from time to time gets in a funk. Personally, I used to often. Here are some tips to stay positive and to keep your mind happy:

1) Supplement or Go Herbal

Going herbal is a healthier option for your mind and body. Besides CBD, Valerian Root is my favorite. It helps with insomnia and anxiety. I like to think of it as a natural version if Valium. St. John’s Wort is a natural antidepressant and for mood disorders. Chamomile and Kava Kava are very calming and help take the edge off. You can take these in herbal teas or capsules. I get mine from Mrs. Mango’s. If you are in a legal state, look into medical marijuana.

CBD oil has many benefits. It is legal as long as it doesn’t contain more than 0.3% THC. Anxiety and sleep disorders can be treated with CBD. It also helps with pain, inflammation, headaches, IBS and several other ailments.

*I started selling CBD oil over a year ago since I have a retail license. If you have any questions or want to purchase a bottle, email me at mistibludream@gmail.com

Vitamin deficiencies can also cause depression or anxiety. Vitamin D deficiencies cause depression, hair loss, bone pain and can contribute to cancer. Vitamin B deficiencies can cause anxiety, headaches, tingling sensations and fatigue. Most doctors don’t test for these unless you specifically request it. Doctors tend to prescribe rather than find the cause.

The beauty of herbs and supplements is that they are all natural and they are not addictive. Having a healthy diet without preservatives, dyes, and artificial anything is also crucial to your health as a whole. Make sure you stay hydrated and take care of your body and it will also help with your mental health.

One of the best things I have ever done for my depression, which changed my life, was when I started taking l-methylfolate after discovering I had the MTHFR mutation.

If you can’t get a doctor to test you, you can actually get the test (along with several others) with 23andMe

2) Get a Pet

Many studies have shown that getting a pet can reduce stress in your life. Think about service dogs for PTSD patients or bringing a puppy into a nursing home or hospital, for example. They put a smile on everyone’s face and provide a sense of calm.  It is a different kind of love and without complications. It gives you a sense of responsibility. Plus, who does not want a cuddle buddy?

Web MD Pets and Depression


3) Words of Affirmation

I regularly need friendly reminders to stay positive and motivated. When I lack the drive or feel lost, I will browse words of affirmations and quotes until I feel motivated again.

Go to google images and type “positive quotes” and click the search button and browse away! I also search Buddhist quotes or Carl Jung, Walt Disney and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

4) Get a Hobby


There is no such thing as too many hobbies. For some, art can be very therapeutic. For others, going to the gym, hiking or playing soccer and being physically active are helpful for their mental health. Everyone knows that exercise releases endorphins. You can still do physical activity even if you are not a very active person. There are many ways to exercise even just sitting in a chair or using a pool to relieve joint pain.

Having a hobby is something to look forward to. Like learning to play guitar, you have goals: Learn chords, learn a song, start a band! Find a passion and a productive outlet.

5) Volunteer

The world always needs volunteers. The options are endless in your community and it feels great to help others and give back. It also humbles you and can make you grateful for what you do have.

Personally, I volunteer at Brevard Humane Society and I walk dogs and pet cats. It is amazing. I leave feeling renewed.

6) Hygiene


When you are in a funk, you are probably in bed, have not brushed your hair and feel like a mess. Get your ass in the shower and wash your hair. Blast some upbeat music, get dressed, brush your teeth and put on a nice outfit. Then, go outside and see the sunshine. It is the best way to start your day. There is something about feeling fresh and looking good that can lift your spirit.

You don’t even have to go anywhere. Sometimes, just freshening up with change your mood. Try opening the blinds or curtains at least.

If you still aren’t feeling it then get a hair cut. Changing you hair up boosts your self esteem and for some, it can be therapeutic.

“A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life” – Coco Chanel

  • If you still can’t get out of your funk, talk to a friend. You can also check your local resources online and find out about counseling or therapy. Many local colleges offer free services.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Call 1-800-273-8255
Health, Unveiling Invisible Illnesses

Once a Day – Engage Challenge

Do we ever really stop and truly engage, looking into someone’s eyes and feel their existence? We are always too busy or thinking about what we want to say, and let our distractions consume our mind. Our world is disconnected, digital and diluted and we wonder why people feel so invisible and the war on mental health continues to bleed on. I challenge you to engage once a day, whether it is a stranger or your child, friend or spouse. Turn your mind on mute and look them in the eyes an listen.

“How is your day?”

Travel

Beautiful Boulder Honeymoon Shoot with Dawn Honsky Photography

Blake and I went to Denver, Colorado for our honeymoon and we met Dawn from Dawn Honsky Photography. She picked us up and took us to Boulder. Dawn was incredibly sweet and gave us the tour of a lifetime! The shoot was so fun and easy. We basically got to hike a beautiful scenic mountain while snuggling and kissing as she captured real moments with a breathtaking view. I highly recommend Dawn for any destination photography.

Travel

Denver Colorado Honeymoon

Blake and I decided on Denver as our honeymoon. While most couples go somewhere tropical, we live in Florida and for us that was not so appealing. I need to see mountains once a year for my mental health and we wanted to go somewhere legal so Denver was a win-win. I had never been to Colorado and it was always on my bucket list. We flew Southwest and had an amazing flight.

I found hotel in the heart of downtown Denver and when we checked in, they told us congratulations and treated us like family. They went above and beyond and set us up with a city view on the 6th floor and surprised us with a bottle of champagne. I absolutely recommend Aloft Downtown Denver!

Of course we went to a dispensary! Euflora was right in downtown and a quick walk and our favorite and first stop to check out legal marijuana. I scored some CBD muscle freeze by Arcanum that helped with muscle aches from walking around all day. I also found some local honey from Colorado Hemp Honey with CBD. We also tried out Mary’s Medicinal transdermal patches.

We had dinner at Downtown Aquarium and did the tour after. The food was delicious and it was a beautiful date night for our first evening in Denver.

I loved walking around Denver. There were so many different sides to see. Being an art nerd, I enjoyed the street art.

We checked out the Denver Art Museum and also saw the Degas exhibition while we were there.

Blake and I went to the Denver Zoo and the weather was absolutely perfect. This zoo was so huge that we didn’t even get to see it all. I was in love with the tulips and bright flowers everywhere and of course my favorite, orangutans! They even had pineapple whip, my favorite!

We could not have asked for more perfect weather! We had a few recommendations for Snooze Eatery and it did not disappoint. We sat outside for brunch. We checked out the shops inside Union Station and then played checkers until our table was ready. The food was so delicious and the staff was friendly and gave us recommendations on places to see.

Denver has so much to do and there is so much to see. My husband and I are not drinkers so it was important for us to find a honeymoon destination that would allow for us to sight see, hike and hang out without revolving around bars. Of course, there are plenty here but there is so much more.

We made a side trip to Boulder, Colorado and I literally could not believe my eyes. It was absolutely gorgeous. Dawn Honsky Photography picked us up and gave us a tour. She was so friendly and made us feel like family. She captured some beautiful shots of us which I will share in an upcoming blog post. Boulder gave us butterflies!

My husband and I left Denver with a piece of it in our hearts. The warm sun, cool crisp air and horizon lined with mountains is something I always daydream of. We will be back!

Health

Tubal Ligation Complications – Filshie Clips

I had a tubal ligation in 2005 after having twin boys and a beautiful little girl. Having heart issues and pregnancy complications, it was the best choice for me. I am allergic to latex and birth control made me incredibly ill.

I was under the impression that they cut and tied or burned the fallopian tubes. I was never aware of anything being implanted or a device. Fast forward to Early 2017, when my heath issues are all over the place. I was having stomach issues, losing weight and dealing with an array of deficiencies and heart issues. I had many ER visits due to severe episodes of Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome and had an xray done at the ER for stomach pain. As usual, I was sent home with no answers and told it was just anxiety.

Being the advocate that I am, I always head to the medical records department soon after a hospital trip. I gathered my medical records, labs and reports and sat down in my car and read through them. You find out much more about your health this way and it’s much faster than waiting for weeks or months for results or follow ups. I found over the years that medical professionals leave out a lot of important information.

One important piece of information that was left out, but mentioned on my radiology report, is that my right tubal clip was dislodged and located on the right side of my pericolic gutter. I was shocked. No one told me. I would still not know today had I not checked my report. I am sure that most of my health issues were not related as I have a long history or heart issues and Ehlers Danlos Syndrome but I’m sure it couldn’t have been healthy to have a metal clip lodging itself into multiple organs.

I made an appointment with my new gynecologist, not the one who installed the Filshie Clips. The doctor who put my clips in was the high risk obstetrician who delivered my daughter. The new doctor took on the challenge to located the clip (at one point was lodged in my bladder) and remove it and the other clip as well.

I am sharing this story because I urge women to ask questions, research and educate themselves. This story is another scary example of why it is so important to advocate for ourselves.

Health, Unveiling Invisible Illnesses

Sleep Apnea

I remember when I was 16, telling a doctor that I stopped breathing in my sleep. “No. Not at your age. I don’t believe you.”

For the last 5 months, I fought for a sleep study. I was denied because of my age and weight. After making several calls, hours on the phone on different occasions, I finally got approved.

Two days after my test I was called and referred to a pulmonologist. In 4 hours and 13 minutes, I stopped breathing 27 times with an average duration of 49 seconds. The highest duration was 117 seconds!

My point is, don’t ever give up. Keep fighting and I believe you.

It’s a bittersweet sweet moment to get these results back. Part of my is relieved to finally get help, answers and care as well as prove that I wasn’t crazy and to not be dismissed anymore. The other part of me wishes they were right and that I was just a hypochondriac.