Health

The Unknown Future After COVID19

As our world faces a pandemic, we realize that these eerie days have not been seen in our lifetime. During this stressful and uncertain time, I can’t help but to be a wallflower on occasion. Initially, I watched as many people denied the unfolding events. First, I heard from a majority of people, “only old people or those with underlying conditions are dying. I’m not worried!” People were not concerned as this virus did not affect them personally. Then, others jumped in and said, “hey, these old people are my loved ones!” Others stood up and said, “I am immunocompromised.” As days slowly passed by, more and more people started to realize that this was not a conspiracy or hype and others were being shamed for their selfish and inconsiderate opinions. People have slowly come to terms that this is a serious matter, whether they take it calm and lightly or are anxiously buried in the stress of it all.

The beautiful part of this scary mess is that, oftentimes during a disaster, people do come together. In this case, distantly or even virtually. The stages of grief apply to a pandemic. People are initially shocked and in denial. Then, people become angry; whether it is over the empty shelves, the media, or the behavior of others… people get angry. Next, we begin to realize the inevitable and reality of the situation and bargaining takes place. Depression may follow for many as they lose their income and their daily routines fall apart. Acceptance, the most important for a clear mind, is when we finally prepare and consider others.

For the first time, I am seeing the world in my shoes. Not just my shoes, but the shoes of those with invisible illnesses, chronic illness, compromised immune systems, and underlying conditions. People are taking measures to protect themselves and others from possible risks and exposure. Every day for people with underlying conditions, we fear the unknown. People recklessly come to class sick, bring their ill child to a hair appointment with me, or stop by for a visit with sniffles and a cough. The thought is ALWAYS in the back of my mind that their ignorance could harm me.

Last year in May I had pneumonia. I was very sick and my primary-care doctor prescribed the wrong antibiotics. After a week, I didn’t get better and with my heart conditions I decided to go to the ER for a chest xray and possibly more meds. I knew something was very wrong and I could not breathe well. Before I even sat down on the bed, the doctor already walked in and glanced over quickly, smirking and announcing to the nurses and techs in the room that he suspected I had whatever was going around. He quickly writes a script for antibiotics and steroids and sends me out the door. I never even sat down in the room, nor did I have any tests. Okay, I thought, maybe this will help; he knows best. Days went by and meds didn’t kick in like I hoped. My breathing was not improving. I wondered if going to another ER would make me look crazy. I kept seeing the ER doctor’s smirk and imaged he would roll his eyes and send me out with a suggestion of chicken noodle soup. Again with my cardiac history, I went with my gut and drove to an urgent care facility. The doctor initially seemed hesitant but after understanding that he was the third doctor I’ve seen, he kindly ordered a chest xray for my peace of mind. He walks in with a large shot, and tells me that I have pneumonia. If things didn’t improve after this hefty dose then I would need to be admitted. Fortunately I did improve. I share this incident as a glimpse into the reality of how our healthcare system can be at times.

I can only hope that when this passes, people will be more compassionate and cautious about risking the lives of others. I can hope that people will stay home when they are sick and consider the risks that they are taking that involve another’s life. I can hope that our government will now consider that sick paid leave is important, as well as universal healthcare. I can only hope that one day the rich and the poor can be equally able to fight for their lives in the same hospital. I can only hope.

After every storm, the rain eventually stops pouring and the sun slowly comes out to shine. It is then when we take a deep breath and exhale the weight of the world. When we fall, we shouldn’t just get back up but we should learn what caused us to fall in the first place. We should learn how to be stronger, more experienced, and wiser, all while helping our community. Disasters, failures, mistakes, trauma, and unhinging should all evoke growth. As this historical time is abruptly shattered, let us write the future in a way that can change the world, and put the pieces back together stronger than before. Let this be the moment that shifts us toward an improved direction.

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Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Information

  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the name of the virus that causes the disease COVID-19. According to the World Health Organization, viruses are named separately from the disease that the  virus causes (think HIV and AIDS).
  • NIH, or National  Institutes of Health, announced March 17th, 2020 that SARS-CoV-2 is stable on surfaces for hours.
  • According to the CDC, the Spanish Flu pandemic infected 1/3rd of the world’s population (500 million people), causing 50 million deaths in 1918-1919. Approximately 1 million people worldwide died in 1957 from H2N2 and in 1968 from H3N2. The 2009 swine flu (H1N1) caused 12,469 US deaths and 575,400 worldwide. Source: https://www.health.com/condition/infectious-diseases/worst-pandemics-in-history
  • You can view updated stats of COVID19 here.
Health, Unveiling Invisible Illnesses

Coronavirus Hype or Not?

It must be lovely to be a healthy individual during a health epidemic such as the Coronavirus COVID-19. Those in general populations may be at a lower immediate health  risk; however, those in larger populations with international locations, such as airports, may have an elevated risk. Elevated risks also include those who are in the healthcare industry and those who have family or friends that have recently traveled. The Coronavirus is an infectious respiratory illness that has symptoms similar to the flu, yet it is a different virus.

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Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

Yes, the flu does have a significant amount of cases and deaths in comparison to the Coronavirus, though numbers are dramatically increasing. Many healthy people will exclaim that they “don’t buy into the hype.” Media can create hype to increase website traffic and viewers. Hand sanitizer and protection masks are sold out everywhere online.  People become scared and start to panic. The smartest thing you can do is always just be a little prepared in general, epidemic or not. Make sure your medications, water, nonperishable foods, and other amenities are stocked to avoid contact in high traffic locations. Unfortunately, when you go out to eat at a restaurant or retail location, most employees are not able to call out sick if they are short staffed. Decreasing your chance of  exposure is one thing, but if you are sick, please avoid exposing others.

What healthy individuals fail to consider is that a flu may knock them on their ass for a few days or weeks, but they get over it. They continue to go to the store, to work, the gym, out to eat, etc. They continue to spread the virus to an unsuspecting passerby that may have a compromised immune system. This person already feels like they have the flu 24/7, 365 days a week. A simple flu could put them over the edge and kill them. So may be you are not buying into the hype and you’re be cool as a cucumber, at least just consider others.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Hand washing is claimed to be the hope and savior for preventing illness, but it’s not going to do shit in reality, so stay home. Viruses are typically contracted through droplets up to six feet away, being inhaled into the lungs (CDC). Washing your hands is very important since the virus can remain stable on surfaces for days and enter your body just simply by you touching your eyes or nose. The virus can attach itself into the epithelial layer that lines your nostrils and other inner cavity surfaces. According to WebMD, you are contagious from 1 day before symptoms occur to up to 7 days after you feel sick. We are talking an entire day (or longer) before you even realize you are sick that you are spreading germs, and then again for the rest of the week. For someone who could potentially die if I contract the flu or Coronavirus, I not only have to worry about the common seasonal flu that is rampant this year, but a double whammy: another virus. Though you may not be worried about the Coronavirus per se, factor in the number of hospitalizations and deaths from the flu as well. I would say when you factor in both deadly viruses, we should worry a little. Numbers add up.

Once again for those in the back: if you are healthy, good for you. Please keep those who are not into consideration. Remember that invisible illnesses exist. There are people like me who are not elderly or obviously compromised. There are people with heart conditions, autoimmune disorders, diabetes, weakened immune systems and other chronic health issues that may not be apparent to you, hence the term “invisible” illness.

Hype or not, it’s kind of a big deal.

 

 

Shop Sick AF Loose Herbal Tea for immune boosting benefits

Health, Unveiling Invisible Illnesses

Holistic Vs. Modern Medicine

The ongoing argument forever continues as people debate which is better: holistic or natural medicine? Supplements vs. medications, surgery vs. a holistic approach. Which is the best? The seas part and divided we stand on either side, just like a political preference or religious choice. The sides argue with one another. il_794xN.2012082761_8020

As someone who owns an apothecary shop that offers herbal tea, CBD, and other natural products, I can say that the natural approach is always a great start. However, I don’t strictly preach one side or the other. I believe in the balance of all things. Sure, too much of anything can be damaging but that also includes nutrients. Did you know there is a such thing as nutrient poisoning? Many people are quick to blame everything on lifestyle choices but nothing is ever a one-size-fits-all, including health. Eating a raw vegan plant-based diet or starting a yoga regime is not going to fix a congenital heart defect.

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Lifestyle choices can and will impact your health. There is no doubt about that. However, I am sick and tired of that being the sole blame of having health issues. Ableist behavior typically stems from a healthy-ish person who can’t relate or wrap their narrow mind around the idea of someone being chronically ill.

“Maybe if you started working out.”

“It’s probably just stress.”

“Have you tried ________?”

“You’re always complaining about something.”

“You’re a hypochondriac.”

“Have you tried keto?”

“Maybe it’s all in your head.”

“Just be positive.”

“Heal your childhood trauma.”

Thanks to modern medicine and advances in technology, my quality of life has improved drastically. I have a dual lead pacemaker and I take three heart medications. That’s right… I take pills. I am thankful for them. I also take supplements, vitamins, eat clean, and stay hydrated. I also get IV saline infusions in the summertime for hypovolemia to help with dysautonomia. I am thankful for my hysterectomy, pacemaker, four cardiac ablations, and open heart surgery. I tried the holistic approach but it’s not a cure for me. Don’t shame others for not following your views. I am the balance of both worlds with medicine, herbs, surgery, and supplements. Just because I take medicine does not mean I am not taking responsibility of my health.

Stop pill shaming. This toxic berate makes vulnerable people feel shame and guilt about their health as if they aren’t trying hard enough or that it’s their fault. I am sick of the words: truths, journey, healing. Not everyone gets to heal. Some of us are just trying to survive. I commend those who can make a few lifestyle choices and hit the gym to become a new person. However, the shoe that fits that person, pinches another.

Just be open to what you don’t understand. Be supportive. Keep your unsolicited opinions to yourself.

 

Health, mental health

Does Anyone Really Want Space?

When a person says they are giving you space, it’s not actually for you; it’s for them. After isolating themselves from you during a difficult time, they claim that they decided to make an assumption that you needed space. The reality is that they don’t know how to react or be there for you. It’s about them not you.

 

Yes, after something profound happens in your life it can be very difficult to be around people. However, no one truly wants space. We want to know that someone is there. We want to pour our sadness, anger, frustrations or heartbreak out so that we can process it. No, we don’t want to talk right away but we want to know you are there when we are ready. We don’t want to be left alone. We don’t want weeks to go by wondering why you dropped off the face of the earth.

Even if it means leaving flowers at our doorstep, or a cheesy sympathy card, or a random hug, there are subtle ways to be there without actually being there. Food is always an easy way to help or show your love and concern, or by sending loving texts every day. We are going to say no when you ask us if we need anything because we are lost and don’t want our burden to pour onto your shoulders, but when you show up anyway we are forever grateful and it won’t be forgotten.

The people that do show up are usually the people who have been through it too. They understand the grief and the heartache. Or, they are very intuitive and empathic to others. We forever remember those who were there at our worst, not our best.

When a friend fills empty space between you and them, time just slowly drags on while you wonder how solid your friendship was in the first place. It’s lonely and isolating. Friends aren’t supposed to abandon you during the hardest times in your life, but some do. Then, suddenly they pop back in with “I was just giving you space.”

 

Take all the space you need, because other people showed up when you didn’t. As we get stronger and grow through the grief, we move on from your absence.

*If someone does say they need space, it’s just for a damn day or two, not weeks. Don’t make empty promises that you can’t keep or your friendship will forever have a painful scar. Never, ever make assumptions.

 

Health

Thrive Tape Kinesiology Joint Pain Support

Thrive Tape “Far Infrared” Kinesiology Tape helps support muscles and joints while also targeting pain and recovery in most injuries.

This tape is for everyone. Not only is it great for athletic people but it is also used often for people with connective tissue disorders, like myself. Many people who are neither chronic warriors nor training athletes can also benefit from this kinesio tape. Whether chronic or acute, many people experience pain from sore muscles, have previous injuries or just need a little extra support to prevent a strain.

It’s very simple to use! I keep a roll at home and a roll in my car. There is also a small pamphlet for instructions and visuals on common injuries or painful areas.

  • First, cut the tape to desired length.

  • Second, fold evenly and round the edges.

  • Peel the tape off

  • Place the tape in the desired area

You can wear and customize the tape for any area. This makes it much easier that purchasing several braces for multiple joints that you end up losing or getting dirty.

You can use my personal code THRIVEDAY for 20% off your order at https://thrivetape.com

mental health

Forever My Dad

I remember reaching my hand up to grab onto my dad’s pinky finger as we walked. I looked up at him and his loving smile. He always had an unconditional love for everyone. He had the biggest heart.

My family was not perfect. There were dark times in my childhood but I blame it all on mental health being something that gets swept under the rug. I held grudges but then worked through them when one day it hit me that hurt people hurt people. My dad had a lot of pain in his soul. He drank. There was that side of him that was hard to be there for but we never gave up on him. We just told him that we love him.

People told me to cut him out of my life but that was not the conditional love that he showed me. I never wanted to lose him one day and have our relationship end on bad terms. I knew he loved me and that he was just hurting. I couldn’t live with myself knowing he passed away wondering if I loved him. So I kept him in my life, even when it was difficult. I never gave up on him.

He will always be such a big part of who I am. My entire life he made me take vitamins. He made breakfast on the weekends. He had nicknames for everyone. He called me Miss Lu, farty pants, baby cakes, love bird. When he said hello, he said “hi-lo”. He loved animals and talked to them in a funny voice just like I do now. He loved adventures and road trips. I get my deep wanderlust bug from him. He has taken me all of the country while the fresh air poured in through the car windows and music blasted on the radio as he sang along. My first camera was his Pentax k1000. He loved deeply.

I will never forget that side of my dad and I have forgiven the other side of him. Just one hour before he passed, I asked the nurse why he seemed like he was fighting so hard to let go. She said in her 13 years of experience, it’s usually because they want to know everyone will be okay. She advised that I talk to him one last time.

I told him that I love him so much, that we all will hold on to the good memories. I told him we would be okay and that it is okay to let go, to find peace.

“I will always be your baby girl and we all love you so much.”

An hour later, he let go.

He may no longer be here but he is always going to be my dad and I will always love him. He used to tell me, “I love you more than love.”

A little piece of my heart it gone.

mental health

Tarot by Leah – February Reading

This month, I have a very special guest, Leah! She has done a collective energy tarot reading for February 2020. Leah was also featured in my Unveiling Invisible Illnesses series where she discusses her life with Ménière’s Disease.

Links:

Tarot by Leah Instagram

Tarot by Leah Facebook

Ménière’s Disease Interview

Contact Leah to get your own personal reading!

mental health

You Never Hear About Parenting Teens

You always hear about how hard it is having a baby. The sleepless nights, the diaper blowouts, getting peed on, the tears and exhaustion. Everything is all worth when you get that first smile, all the snuggles, and to see the milestones of the tiny human that you created.

You hear about the terrible two’s and the temper tantrums, but you hold your breath until the phase passes. After that, it’s awards and concerts at school, accomplishments, performances, and smiling photographs plastered all over social media.

We just assume from there that everything is going well and that those kids were raised to be happy, healthy adults. The reality is that they stop sharing the details of their parenting. Everyone Likes to appear together on social media so we post our sweet memories and precious times for all to see, hiding the low times. We ask for advice on the best diaper bag but everything else is hidden. No one shares their stress and exhaustion; that’s private.

Nobody discusses parenting teenagers. It’s much harder than having a baby. It’s more difficult than the terrible two’s. It’s going to be the hardest of all. This is when depression, hormones, drug and alcohol curiosity, testing boundaries, wanting more independence, sex, attitudes and disrespect enter the picture.

No one tells you what to do when your baby grows up and tries to sneak out of the house or tells you to shut up. No one talks about those sleepless nights and the newfound anxious feeling that has taken a permanent residence in the pit of your belly.

No one talks about how to get your teenager through their first broken heart or depression from being bullied at school. This is when holding your child in your arms doesn’t make everything okay anymore. This is when you feel utterly helpless and lost, hoping that one day they can see how perfect and beautiful they are; just like the way you see them.

We just hope and pray that our children turn out okay and that they are happy. We hope they are successful and that we did a good job despite feeling like we are crumbling some days.

I can only hope that we discuss the difficulties of parenting more often and make the topic an open subject for others. Therapy is always a great option for your teen or for you, maybe even for the family. It doesn’t always mean that things are bad; it’s a tool to make everyone stronger.

It’s important to break the silence so that others aren’t blindsided when their perfect baby is suddenly a depressed teenager. Teenagers and mental health need to be a topic of discussion. Parents also need emotional support and advice but many are too afraid to reach out or share this side of their life. They are lost and don’t know what to do, because none of this shit is on Pinterest.

Resources:

http://www.taylor4teens.org/

Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800-273-8255

Health

Have The Conversation

“In my time of dying want nobody to mourn. All I want for you is to take my body home.

Well, well, well, so I can die easy

Well, well, well, so I can die easy”

-Led Zeppelin

 

Nobody wants to interrupt the family dinner to simply state, “I want to be cremated.” When someone does mention the grueling details of where they are purchasing their pre-paid plot, it gets dismissed as if it will never happen.

“Stop that. I don’t want to talk about that.”

However, this is an important conversation to have. Death is very much a part of life. We discuss the details of our wedding, birthday parties and even what we had for lunch. This important detail gets swept under the rug. We all feel immortal and invincible. Perhaps you have thought about your plans but decided to discuss it or deal with it later.

Sometimes, later comes sooner than you think. You will not be there to discuss the details. Maybe it was too late and that life insurance policy that you put aside on your desk just simply collected dust. Your loved ones have to put their grieving aside and the pain and sadness of your loss to focus more on worrying about the sudden decisions they must make, and the hefty fee that comes along with it.

Cremations start at the very minimum of $700 and that doesn’t even include transportation of the body or the box the ashes go in, nor does it include a service. According to Lincoln Heritage Funeral Advantage, the average funeral costs between $7,000-$12,000.

Not leaving a will or sharing your last wishes can strain a family. I have even heard of people you would least expect having to go to court over assets. Could you imagine your loved ones stressing about what to do or fighting over who gets what? Death isn’t this sad cinematic moment where the loved ones scatter ashes over a  mountain’s edge while wiping away a tear as they smile about the fond memories of you. Though, it can be… if you just take the time to talk to your family about your final wishes. Purchase a life insurance policy so that your wife and children don’t lose their home, or write up a will for your loved ones to know what to do. Maybe you don’t have assets but even purchasing your cremation or plot can help make one less thing to worry about while your family mourns your loss.

Whether you are 28 or 63, death doesn’t discriminate. Always be prepared, for your loved one’s sake. You may not be here to worry about the final details but everyone else is.

Health, Unveiling Invisible Illnesses

What “I’m Tired” Really Means

When someone with a chronic illness says they are tired, it is not the equivalent to when you work a long day type of tired. It’s not the same as you not getting enough sleep last night type of tired.

Fatigue for someone who is chronically ill is much different than being just tired. It is the utmost pure form of exhaustion. It is as if your body and your mind are separated. The mere thought of lifting your limbs to get out of bed sounds like the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest. Every cell in your body aches. Blood slowly moves through your veins; it’s as if there is not enough air to fill your lungs.

Unlike you, taking a nap or getting a good nights rest is not going to relieve anything. There’s no amount of self-care in the world that can touch this feeling. Imagine when you wake up your body aches and you’re so tired, dizzy, and exhausted and realize that you have the flu. The good news is that in a week or two you will be all better and back to your normal self. For somebody who is chronically ill, those two weeks last forever. Those two weeks never end. You’ll never wake up feeling better.