Health, mental health, Unveiling Invisible Illnesses

Health PTSD – Warrior Status

There are some evenings when I can’t help but think about the nights when my heart would struggle to beat. By the end of the day, my blood volume would be so low because I was never educated on my health conditions or how to manage my health and had no idea what was going on. I would go all day without drinking water. I avoided salt because I assumed that’s just what you do, especially with heart issues.

Here is a quick run down about my health history:

Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome was just a small fraction of what I had going on. Last January (2017) I was still very in the dark about my health. Even though I already had four cardiac ablations for Supraventricular Tachycardia, caused by being born with an extra electrical pathway in my heart that caused rapid heart rates and extra beats, I still never had a real team of doctors who had my back.

Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome made it very difficult to have a fully successful ablations due to the extra pathways in very difficult and rare spots of my heart. My electrophysiologist often noticed two P Waves on my EKGs. The P Waves are the little squiggly line that shows where the heart beat originates.

After four cardiac ablations, I needed an aortic valve repair. This is done with open heart surgery and cracking open my sternum. My aorta valve was regurgitating blood flow backwards. This caused shortness of breath and other issues.

Having the ablations did not fix my rapid heart rates. It reduced them but I still got them and often. I needed medication to slow down my heart rate but I also had bradycardia (slow heart rate) so I was unable to take medication for about a decade. I would bounce from 45 beats per minute and jump up to 150, all day. I was diagnosed with Neurocardiogenic Syncope and Sick Sinus Syndrome. This means that my heart would randomly plummet, while doing simple tasks, causing me to blackout or set my heart into a scary arrhythmia. I developed a dysfunctional sinus node. The sinus node produces your heart beat, like a natural pacemaker.

Back to 2017… As if nothing mentioned above wasn’t scary enough, including my brief encounter with cancer, January 5th, 2017 was the scariest day of my life. Unbeknownst to me, my blood volume was dangerously low and I was dehydrated and creeping up to pre-diabetic status due to a careless diet and love for sugar. I wasn’t taking care of myself the way my body desperately needed me to. My heart went tachycardia, which wasn’t anything I wasn’t used to, but then the rhythm changed to chaotic. I was going into a potential fatal arrhythmia.

We called 911 and my husband (boyfriend at the time) held me in his arms as my limbs fell to the side, with no blood flow. I was going into circulatory shock. I told him I loved him and to tell my kids I loved them and the blurry lights in the distance arrived closer. Suddenly I felt my heart convert back to a normal (but fast) rhythm and I could breathe again and move my arms. This happened again and again, several times a week, for months.

I was continuously dismissed, labeled with anxiety and even prescribed acid reflux medication for heartburn. I did not have heartburn, I was having chest tightness and pressure but this was just a small example of being disregarded and carelessly misdiagnosed. Eventually, I had a 30 heart monitor on to capture every episode. The monitor was hidden under my shirt and robe. My body would shut down before the doctor’s eyes as he mocked me and stated it was just anxiety and an EKG or heart monitor wasn’t necessary. Despite my history and the fact that I was the happiest I had ever been, I was always sent home or they couldn’t catch an episode.

Six months later, I finally found an electrophysiologist who set me up with a pacemaker that I needed ten years ago. My neurologist also looked at the tests and confirmed that what they thought looked like an anxiety attack was my body going into circulatory shock. I can also finally take heart medication to keep the fast rates at bay, now that I have a pacemaker.

Like a thick gloom, blanketing you and swallowing your body, the memories take over. There were times that I literally begged for my life. I could barely breathe and my arms and legs lost color and I couldn’t move. My body would start shaking vigorously as I took small rapid breaths. “Please help” was all I could pathetically mutter to the unconcerned nurses who assumed I was a drug seeker.

Those six months still haunt me, especially at night. No doctor EVER thought to ask, “Why does this young woman have such a unique health history?” No one thought to do genetic testing or to ask questions. They all let me slide through the cracks.

I’m here and I am still fighting. I will always fight, until I can’t anymore. I am here to stand up for others like me. I am here to inspire others to advocate for themselves and to not give up. I am still here.

Even though my story isn’t over, I still continue with sleep apnea and my aortic valve has hypertrophied. I will need open heart surgery once again, with a pig valve and possibly in the near future. I will need a new pacemaker years to come. I don’t have insurance so my sleep apnea is not being treated. I don’t know what to expect in the future but I do know that I will love every moment that I am given.

  • Educate yourself on your health conditions.
  • Get every medical record and keep a file
  • Print information on your rare diseases or disorders to give to your medical professionals
  • Find a support group or therapist
  • Eat healthy and stay hydrated
Health, Unveiling Invisible Illnesses

I Believe You

When your medical team thinks you are just stressed or maybe have a common ailment and never test you for anything out of the norm, it can be frustrating. You feel lost and alone and just want answers. Sometimes this process can last years!

Up to 12 million people are misdiagnosed each year (1 in 20) and medical errors are the THIRD leading cause of death in the US (CDC, 2006) and kill 150,000 people per year. It is also disheartening when friends and family start to question you and think that maybe it is in your head. I have been there!

I am lucky to have a beautiful support system and people who care about me and I have made leaps with my health care, though I still have much more to discover. Advocacy is so important. Though my hands are tied due to finances and lack of health insurance, I still do a ton of research regularly and do what is best for my health and wellbeing with nutrition, detoxing my body, supplements and cutting out emotional toxins. If you are suffering from anything, I got your back. I am on your side. I am always here. Don’t ever be afraid to reach out.

Health

I crap. You crap. We all crap.

💩💩Let’s talk about poop. 💩💩

It’s a shitty conversation, but it’s super important. I want to dump this information on you so that you can heal your body and detox. Being constipated is literally a buildup of waste in your body. It can back up all the way up to your ribs and press on your organs, keeping toxins trapped inside your body.

I had a conversation today, with my friend Laila, about how important our digestive system is. We were discussing how no one ever wants to talk about this daily, natural event that occurs and we often dismiss the value of a healthy gut.

  • Drink more water! If your are dehydrated, so are your intestines. Take your weight and divide it in half. That is the amount of ounces the average person need to drink daily. For example, if you weigh 175 pounds, you should drink 75 ounces of water per day.
  • Correct your bowel flora. With food intolerances, unknown allergies, over use of antibiotics and processed foods, our gut flora gets wiped out and this can wreak havoc on your body.
  • Ladies, straining to poo may cause your pelvic floor to weaken by causing damage to the muscles.
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is your body begging you to change your diet. This can cause malabsorption, anxiety and bloating. Stop feeling crappy and work on fixing your gut so that you can absorb all the nutrients your body needs.
  • Arbonne has Digestion Plus, Daily Fiber Boost, Greens Balance, Herbal Detox Tea and Protein Shakes to help get your body on track.
  • Click here to sign up as a Preferred Client for discounts, free shipping and freebies
  • Health

    What is Banana Bag Oral Solution?

    Banana Bag Oral Solution is a specially formulated solution for vitamin deficiencies and dehydration. It is a drink mix and can replace the costly IV from an emergency room visit. The term “Banana Bag” is from the medical field, referencing IV fluids. The drink does not taste like bananas. In fact, it has lemon-lime taste to it. I prefer it to sugary sports drinks that are loaded with dyes, preservatives and artificial flavors. It is also gluten-free.

    Banana Bag has been a huge hit for those with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome and also other Dysautonomia patients. It is beneficial for athletes, hangovers, the chronically ill, people with gut issues causing malabsorption and keeping general health issues at bay that are caused by deficiencies and dehydration.

    This reliable solution restores the body with electrolytes and vital nutrients. It has been a crucial staple in managing my health, especially living with the Florida heat.

    No sweeteners | No preservatives | No dyes | No artificial ingredients | No artificial flavors | No GMOs | No gluten.

    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