I contributed to The Beachside Resident for their September 2018 issue. Check it out!
A Smoothie a Day
I contributed to The Beachside Resident for their September 2018 issue. Check it out!
A Smoothie a Day
Food is medicine! We are destined to age, but why not do it well? This blend of herbs and spices have been around for a long time. The selected blend has many anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic properties that also reduce risks for heart disease and brain diseases. Antioxidants, fiber, minerals and vitamins also encompassed in this healing mix.
Sprinkle it on your cereal, oatmeal, toast, or mix it into your smoothie blend. Add it to your desserts, muffins, brownies and baked goods. Top in on sweet potatoes, coffee or fresh fruit. This is an easy way to maximize your health and get natural plant-based benefits.
*Please consult with your doctor before adding spices into your diet if you are on certain medications
Roxanne is a strong woman with a masters in education and a passion for caring about others. The past few weeks have been roadblock after roadblock. Towards the end of her pregnancy, Roxanne was diagnosed with preeclampsia. She had to deliver her daughter early, by c-section, missing her maternity photo session and her baby shower, while worrying about the health of her preemie. After weeks in the NICU, they finally get to enjoy life at home as a new family of three, then Roxanne had a gallbladder attack. Soon after, she lost vision in one of her eyes.
I came to visit her in the hospital and she was in great spirits. While staying positive and hopeful, I still see a glimpse of worry tucked away. I recently came up with the name Post Traumatic Health Disorder (PTHD). Amidst the healing, support and love, it can still be tough not to be scared.
Roxanne shares her experience in hopes to let others know that they are not alone. As grateful as a new mother can be, it may also be difficult to see others have normal pregnancies and birth while going through many storms. At the end of the day, things could always be worse and we are given what we can handle and we grow from these experiences. We teach others how to be just as strong.
*I will continue to update this post, should there be any health updates while she is in the hospital or after she is discharged.
What is your invisible illness/diagnosis?
Preeclampsia, which has now become high blood pressure (hypertension), and idiopathic optic neuritis.
When did you start experiencing symptoms and how long did it take to get a diagnosis?
I had no idea I had preeclampsia until I was taken to labor and delivery at 32 weeks and told I was delivering that night. They said this was the only way to resolve preeclampsia. Luckily, another hospital I was taken to did not want me to deliver, but allowed me to be on bed rest after 24 hours of a magnesium drip and 24 hour urine collection. My diagnosis then was mild preeclampsia with edema, high BP, and protein in my urine. I was told to have NST (non-stress test) and labs twice a week to ensure the baby was doing well. I received two doses of steroids to speed up the baby’s development of her lungs, just incase she came early.
How many weeks were you when you had Brinley? Did you have any symptoms leading up to having her early?
I was 34 weeks and 5 days when I had another screening and was told my placenta has given out and she needed to be taken out by csection before she was stillborn. She wasn’t get blood and oxygen quick enough.
Did you have any health issues after she was born?
My health issues continued after she was born. I continued with the high BP, but swelling and edema went away. Brinley was in the NICU for two weeks. We were only home for a week when I had a gallbladder attack. I was three weeks postpartum and thought it was still preeclampsia related. We got to the ER and after testing, I had no swelling, high BP still, but no protein in my urine. I had my gallbladder removed at 5 weeks postpartum, and at 6 weeks postpartum I was taken off BP meds and dismissed.
Fast forward to 8 weeks postpartum and my eye was sore. With just one eye hurting, I figured it was from being tired with a new born so I brushed it off. I finally went to the optometrist where we thought allergies. It wasn’t. It got worse the next day and by day four I had lost all vision in my right eye. I saw an opthamalogist (a medical doctor) and had an MRI. They were looking for what was causing the blindness. I was diagnosed as optic neuritis. This means that something else is going on, because it’s not a single diagnosis but an underlying symptom of something bigger. Next, I’m admitted in the hospital for five days of high-dose IV steroids, and watchful eye on my BP and blood sugar. They have run many tests. I’ve been poked and prodded: two MRIs that show I’m perfectly healthy, and cleared from MS, lupus, Lyme disease, NMO, ANA, and everything auto immune. We still wait for the spinal tap to come back, but until then… it’s still just idiopathic optic neuritis. We are now on day four of steroids and my vision is slightly improving to where I can see shapes. It may take 4 weeks to a year to get back to where I was, but I will never be 100% in that eye. It’s scary, and my maternity leave has consisted of me and my newborn daughter taking turns in hospitals.
How do you juggle general postpartum with having health anxiety from so many traumatic health experiences in a row?
I don’t juggle. I’m just taking each day at a time. I’m not sure what else to do but to express my feelings and learning to try and deal with the fear of what’s next.
What advice do you have for anyone who is experiencing what you have gone through?
Trust your body and your instincts. I’m the most stubborn person I know, and I’ve had to push that aside and lean on people. My husband has been my rock, and without the support of him and my family and friends, I’m not sure I’d be doing as well as I am. Mental health is also important, so I’m seeking therapy now to help deal with anxiety and I will be the best I can be for my family.
It used to be, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” But it has progressed to, “This too shall pass.” It has to; and I will come out stronger than ever.
Three things you can’t live without:
My family, friends, and the ability to have a voice to help others and express that no matter what, you are not alone in your struggles.
What is the best way to support someone in your position?
Listen. Don’t react or give advice until it’s asked for. Listening and understanding, to a person struggling, is much better than just cutting them off and offering a solution. Sometimes we just need someone to hear us and know that our fears and anxieties are real and justified. It’s easy to tell someone to get over it or just move forward, but with trauma, no matter how big or small to you, is still trauma to that person dealing with it. It affects us all differently, but in the end…you are not alone.
Our blood sugar or glucose levels should be in the 74-100 range. Glucose enters the bloodstream then to your cells. Our pancreas produces a hormone called insulin, which regulates the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and protein. Chronic high glucose levels will create issues with your insulin levels.
Having high levels of blood sugar on a constant basis can damage your blood vessels, leading to atherosclerosis (the hardening of your blood vessels). In time, this can create the perfect environment for heart disease due to the damage of long term elevated glucose. Sugar can increase the risk of stroke or heart attacks due to ischemia, or lack of blood flow to an organ, just as bad as cholesterol and high blood pressure. Besides heart disease and stroke, the narrowing or hardening of blood vessels can also compromise other organs and cause issues such as kidney disease, erectile disfunction, vision issues, poor circulation, nerve damage, slow wound healing and a weakened immune system.
You can run around the gym and count calories all day, but what you put into your body DOES matter. Justifying your workout so that you can eat processed foods with high sugar content or artificial ingredients will not work long term. You may feel fine now and slim down but as you age, these issues will catch up to you.
Foods to avoid:
*Check the labels! These can still be good as long as they do not have a high sugar content.
Best option, low glycemic:
Maple syrup and local honey are great natural sweeteners and substitutes for sugar. Artificial sweeteners and even many natural sweeteners like Stevia are still very processed to the point of losing all natural value. Remember to read the labels and sugar content. We sometimes see products that are marketed as healthy as assume they are okay, but are often loaded with sugar.
Every day is a new day. Every hour is a new chance to start over. Many of us mess up and fall off the track, then stay there. Pick yourself back up, and start over. You are worth it. Your future self with thank you.
We are creatures of habit and you will change your habits and lifestyle if you stick to it. Prevent disease and future health issues by eating clean and keeping your body in balance.
We live in a progressive world where modern technology and artificial intelligence are profoundly innovative and advanced. Because or these technological advancements, there have been substantial high-tech solutions in diagnosing, monitoring and treating an array of medical conditions. Though our high tech innovations have made an impact in the healthcare industry in many ways, there are also consequences that may come with these sophisticated advances. It is important to find the right balance between machine and human skills in the medical field. Artificial intelligence may make advances in medical technology; however, there will always be a downside and we should never solely depend on AI, as it comes with great responsibility.
Having a robotic surgical system requires an abundance of special training and offers a minimally invasive approach to surgery. The da Vinci Surgery has been used on over three million patients throughout the world, providing the option for minimally invasive procedures in which a surgeon can offer a robot-assisted surgery by controlling a device that operates on their patient (da Vinci). The da Vinci reduces the recovery time, minimizes the patient’s hospital stay and reduces blood loss. The nine-week training requirement for surgeons to use the da Vinci has been dropped and one cardiac surgeon states that he did not feel fully comfortable until he performed 200-300 surgeries (The Bleeding Edge). Can you imagine being one of the first few cases? Because the medical device industry is so profitable and easy to get approved through the FDA, many devices have been approved under the 501(k) and were able to surpass clinical trials and the patients are left to discover the side effects and complications (The Bleeding Edge). Sure, innovation and the vast improvements of medical technology have been known to greatly improve the medical world, but lives should not be at stake in the process of this growing billion-dollar industry.
Too much dependency on artificial intelligence could have negative consequences in the medical field. Disasters can be natural and range from fires, earthquakes, storms or floods, or a disaster can also be man-made, such as a terrorist attack. During a natural disaster, modern technology or computers relying on Internet and electricity may not be available. A doctor or healthcare provider may depend on devices to care for their patients and not be prepared in an instance in which those devices are not readily available. In the example of a war zone or large-scale trauma, there may not be high tech devices in range or enough to help everyone (Pourhosseini et al.). Ensuring that modern technology is not our sole focus is important in understanding the basic foundation of medicine, so that patients can be treated in any scenario. There are various aspects of healthcare services that require management, including the mental health of victims, which can not be assessed by a device. Psychological support needs to be provided by a team of specialists to evaluate victims of disaster (Pourhosseini et al.).
Healthcare technology, just like human error, can also contribute to medical mistakes (Siwicki). Though medical technology is designed to reduce errors in healthcare, there are still occasional unforeseen types or errors that can occur (Agrawal). Relying on computers to calculate the correct dose is a way to prevent medication errors (Agrawal). What happens when a medical staff depends on artificial intelligence rather than exercising their education? Proper training is crucial in working with artificial intelligence to reduce the likeliness of errors (Fasig). Documenting and reporting errors will help reduce mishaps long-term. Creating a system to avoid mishaps and minimizing possible risks by thoroughly investigating and researching new medical devices can help prevent errors (Siwicki). The third leading cause of death in the United States are a result of preventable adverse events in the medical field, which often happen when new technology is introduced without proper training (Fasig).Medical errors should be more transparent and available for patients and doctors to be aware of, for the sake of education and safety. New innovations are unproven until time exposes thefaults a device may or may not have. Typically, surgeons and patients are not well versed or educated on the process of approval for medical devices through the FDA (The Bleeding Edge).
Doctors willing to provide computer-assisted surgeries should be required to a more in-depth training process to use these advanced medical devices (The Bleeding Edge). Healthcare providers should understand and know the importance of leaning on the basic foundation of healthcare rather than solely focusing on technological advancements. Proper training in computer systems is crucial in avoiding medical mishaps (Siwicki). Stricter guidelines and regulations of device approval through the FDA could help minimize risks. Cutting corners in healthcare, with the use of artificial intelligence, should be done with caution due to the risks involved. Computers do not come with doctor-patient intimacy or weed out rare patient circumstances that do not adhere to standard textbook criteria. Simply put, safety should be the number one priority in healthcare, rather than profit.
by Misti Blu Day McDermott
Agrawal, Abha. “Medication Errors: Prevention Using Information Technology Systems.” British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 2009. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2723209/
The Bleeding Edge. Directed and produced by Kirby Dick, 2018. Netflix. http://bleedingedgedoc.com
“da Vinci Surgery: Minimally Invasive Surgery.” Intuitive Surgical, Inc., 2018. http://www.davincisurgery.com
Fasig, Jimmy. “New Medical Technology Can Lead to Errors that Create Liability if Users Are Not Properly Trained.” Fasig & Brooks, 06 May 2015. https://www.fasigbrooks.com/blog/2015/may/new-medical-technology-can-lead-to-errors-that-c/
Pourhosseini, Samira, et al. “Key Aspects of Providing Healthcare Services in Disaster Response Stage.” Iran J Public Health, 2015. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4449997/
Siwicki, Bill. “State Finds Hundreds of Medical Errors Linked to Medical Technology.” Health IT News, 2017. https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/state-finds-hundreds-medication-errors-linked-healthcare-technology