Yes, stay positive! BUT don’t stop having feelings. We have become such an image of perfection and only showcase the positive side of our story. This makes us feel like we can’t ever be raw or have feelings. It’s okay to be frustrated, cry or feel angry. Just don’t live there. It’s okay to feel! 💛👏🏻
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.
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 email@example.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.
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?
3) Words of Affirmation
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.
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.
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.
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?”
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!
Laura Kay Halcom from Rockledge, Florida is 1 of 10 who struggle with endometriosis, a painful disorder in which the tissue that grows on the lining of your uterus spreads to other organs like the fallopian tubes and ovaries. With no way to exit the body like normal menstruation, the tissue becomes trapped and causes pain, scaring, adhesions and fertility problems.
Endometriosis is difficult to diagnose without an invasive procedure, a laparoscopy. Often times it will be misdiagnosed with IBS or deemed psychological. Symptoms can range based on severity but can cause nausea, low grade fevers, heavy bleeding, lower back pain, pelvic pain, painful intercourse, painful bowel movements and fatigue.
Treatment usually starts with birth control hormones to try to regulate your cycle but unfortunately, some women are very sensitive to the hormones and don’t always respond to that treatment. Another option is an endometrial ablation, but it is not always suggested if you plan to have children. A hysterectomy is a final option but there are studies that it still is no cure and it is a rough surgery. If your endometrial tissue grows onto other organs, removing the uterus is not going to help. There are studies that nutrition can play a big role. An anti-inflammatory diet can help minimize symptoms.
Avoiding gluten, red meat, sugar, caffeine and alcohol can help alleviate symptoms and inflammation. Having a well-balanced diet full of nutrients, antioxidants, fatty acids and iron rich foods is important. Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory compound that you can take as capsules or sprinkle on your food. Having plenty of rest, staying hydrated and support will be your best friend for this diagnosis.
What is your invisible illness?
Endometriosis, Depression, Anxiety
When and how were you diagnosed?
Endo: June 2017 by laparoscopic surgery. It took 12 years and dozens of tests for me to be diagnosed. I have had anxiety & depression since I was 16.
What were your struggles and fear after diagnosis?
There is no known cause, and no cure. Now, the treatments of birth control and antidepressants are just making things worse. I also fear infertility.
What advice do you have for anyone going through a new diagnosis?
Be patient with yourself. Keep records of everything. Find your community of people struggling with what you are fighting. Talk about it. Educate yourself so that you can educate others.
What are your goals and dreams in life?
My goal is to finish my business degree. I want to be an educator and an entertainer. I dream of my own business, where I can express myself through art, music, and nature. I dream of adventure in far away places.
Three things you cannot live without: Sunshine, hugs, and my heating pad!
“What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?”
Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disorder in which gluten ingestion can cause damage to the small intestine and other long-term health issues.
Theresa Lanno is a hairstylist and my business partner at Bombshells Barbershop & Glam Lounge in Rockledge, Florida. We busted our asses to open our salon. Stress can do a lot of things to our bodies. Theresa was rapidly losing weight without trying. She was coughing up blood and having stomach issues. The first doctor she saw gave her ulcer medication and chalked it up to stress. Can you imagine if she just took those pills and did not push for further tests? She would be damaging her body for many years to come and suffer from more health issues. Many autoimmune diseases are a dominos effect on your health.
Long Term Health Effects
Celiac disease can develop at any age after people start eating foods or medicines that contain gluten. Left untreated, celiac disease can lead to additional serious health problems. These include the development of other autoimmune disorders like Type I diabetes and multiple sclerosis (MS), dermatitis herpetiformis (an itchy skin rash), anemia, osteoporosis, infertility and miscarriage, neurological conditions like epilepsy and migraines, short stature, and intestinal cancers.
*Read more here.
Theresa also had a vitamin D deficiency, which can cause brain fog, bone pain, fatigue, depression and muscle weakness. Deficiencies are common with celiac disease. Gluten is a protein found in wheat and 1 in 100 people overreact to this particular protein, which damages the villi in their small intestines and causes poor absorption of food. Malnourishment can eventually lead to infertility, miscarriage, bone density loss, neurological diseases and certain types of cancer.
Fortunately, the cure for celiac disease is to completely cut gluten out of your diet. My goal in unveiling invisible illnesses is to push others to be their own advocate and to get answers and not just accept the first guess a doctor quickly throws at you before their next patient. We want answers and and test as well asnproper treatments and not bandages or pills to mask our symptoms.
Even if you are not Celiac, gluten sensitivities can cause similar issues minus the intestinal damage. Gluten has been know as an inflammatory food. You can read more here about research and references.
*Photos by Misti Blu
At what age did you discover symptoms and how long did it take to get an official diagnosis?
Theresa: I found out I have Celiac disease in April. I’ve always had stomach aches and low energy. I never thought anything of it until the past two years when my life got miserable. I couldn’t eat or drink with out feeling sick. I would get migraines, nausea, dizziness, heartburn, brain fog and joint pain, which ruled my life.
How do you feel about the healthcare system?
Theresa: The healthcare system is very flawed. I went through tests for 2 years before getting a diagnosis. Every doctor said I was young and healthy with low vitamin levels & stress. I lost 20 pounds in 2 months. I knew it was something else and not just stress. Thankfully, after many different doctors, I went to a walk in clinic begging for answers. They finally sent me to a gastroenterologist. Even after going through all my tests it took over a month to get a diagnosis. Celiac disease isn’t very common and many doctors still don’t have knowledge about this disease, which is so frustrating.
Do people have a hard time understanding your illness?
Theresa: Yes! The worst thing about this disease is that the only way to feel better is by sticking to a strict gluten free diet. Cross contamination is a nightmare, which makes eating out almost impossible. Also, people use gluten free as a fad diet which makes restaurants not take it seriously. I get asked if my body’s intolerance to gluten is “a choice or an allergy.” Why anyone would make this choice for no reason is beyond me. Gluten free is not a fad, actually gluten free breads and sweets usually have more sugar and calories than “regular” things do!
Do you have a message for people in your shoes who are struggling with this illness?
Theresa: It gets easier! The cravings are part of the disease. Be strong and don’t give into cravings. Celiac disease is strongly linked to cancer, MS, neuropathy, and diabetes. It’s no joke and there are so many people out there who feel the same!
What do you miss the most from before your diagnosis?
Theresa: I miss having a normal dinner with my friends and family. I was such a foodie! I still am but it’s just harder now. I don’t want to be the person who asks the waitress a million questions or has to fear getting sick from a chef’s negligence or server error. But, most of all I miss real New Haven style PIZZA!
What is your new favorite (gluten free) dish?
Theresa: I have learned to make almost everything I loved before in a gluten free way. My favorite thing has been chicken parmesan! Barrilla makes the best GF pasta! I love Boars Heads deli meats for lunch and Goodie Girl Cookies are the shit for snacks! Sweets are my weak spot, and the Melting Pot has the best GF spread you will ever see!
How have you changed or felt since your diet change?
Theresa: All in all, the sucky diet is so worth the change. I feel so much better. I am down 20 lbs all together. I still have days where my energy sucks and everything hurts but that is part of the autoimmune thing. No more crippling migraines or joint pain. It sucks sometimes but it could always be worse!
The past couple of days have been rough. I have had sugar the last two days when I felt worse so I am hoping eliminating sugar again will help. I usually don’t have sugar in my diet but caved and had some dairy free Ben & Jerry’s almond ice cream. Basically, I have been having PACs, which feel like extra heart beats and bouts of Inappropriate Sinus Tachycardia. I have had these issues prior to the pacemaker that I just got on June 8th (2017) but was unable to take medication due to chronic Bradycardia, a slow heart rate. Now that I have the pacemaker as a safety net, I am able to take medication to help with the other issues. At this point, I have to wait 6 weeks to let the pacemaker fully heal and the meds to kick in and then we can re-evaluate the situation and discuss a possible Cardiac Ablation, which would be my 5th. I would then be 100% paced. I am trying to be positive and hope that avoiding sugar will help calm things down and that my heart is just angry and still needs to heal and adjust. In these last two days I have had PACs every single minute, sometimes more, sometimes less and about 5-10 episodes of Inappropriate Sinus Tachycardia (IST) each day. The IST will kick in randomly, often when I lie down from sitting up. My heart rate goes from 60s to 140s in seconds and my chest feels tight and constricted while my lips get cold and tingle or go numb. It is VERY uncomfortable and annoying, to say the least. The PACs sometimes will feel so strong that they jolt me out of bed.
I saw the doctor today and am still paced in the 80 percentile and they were surprised to see how often it kicked in. When my heart rate was higher from walking or with activity, it would have dropped and I could have passed out had the pace maker not been there. That is called Neurocardiogenic Syncope, which was confirmed in a Tilt Table Test I had a few weeks back. I am suffering from Dysautonomia but have not found the right doctor to determine why. I am currently trying to find a good rheumatologist to look into a proper diagnosis. Most signs point to Lupus (SLE) but nothing is set in stone. I definitely can tell how beneficial this pacemaker is and a life changer at that, I just really need to get the the bottom of what is causing my body to suffer.
I guess I just get worried because I also have had open heart surgery in 2011 for severe Aortic Insufficiency. I had my valve repaired and currently all 4 valves have mild insufficiency. I also have thickening on my aortic valve and a thickened heart muscle with slight left ventricular enlargement. With all of this and an undiagnosed auto immune disease, I sometimes have a hard time keeping my chin up. I also have recently discovered that I have multiple complex cysts on my thyroid, which will need to be biopsied for cancer.
Never take your health for granted. It is really tough being patient and waiting AND WAITING for answers. In the mean time, I am home in bed and away from my salon. I would love to be back to work and travel and run around and feel free again. I am currently trying to get disability so that I can ensure medical coverage (since there will likely be billions of dollars in cuts for Medicaid) and qualify to go to the Mayo Clinic so that I can get the proper care and treatment that I have needed for a decade or so.
I think that is all for now. Rubix cube still being solved. To be continued….
Anyone can try CBD oil. Even kids and pets! CBD oil is safe and has been used medicinally for decades. CBD provides the medical benefits of the marijuana plant without the psychoactive effects and high produced by THC.
Here is an example of a case study of a young girl with PTSD from sexual abuse: Pediatric Anxiety And Insomnia
CBD can be used for PTSD, insomnia, anxiety, menstrual pain, migraines, nausea, inflammation, IBS, Chron’s, autoimmune disease, arthritis, fibromyalgia, and much more. It is my go to for all of my ailments.
Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is a cannabinoid in cannabis. CBD makes up 40% of the plant extract. It is the second most medically beneficial cannabinoid, after THC. CBD can actually counteract the psychoactive effects of THC.
What I love about CBD is that I feel like I am in control of my symptoms instead of my symptoms controlling me. Most medication are taken every 6-8 hours, have side effects, can be addictive, cause withdrawals or long term effects such as damage to your liver. With CBD I can take it whenever and as needed. For example, the other day was very rough for me. I had a splitting headache, intense nausea, felt like I had just fallen from a three story building and increased heart rate. I felt aweful. I had doses every few hours or so and made it theough the day. Some doses even back to back. You could NEVER do that with pain medication or most medications. Then, I have days that are not so bad and might just skip doses all day and have one dose in the evening.
CBD is legal in all 50 states as long as it meets the requirement of containing no more than 0.3% THC.
Follow Blu Dream Health Collective on Facebook for more information or subscribe to this blog for updates and how to purchase CBD oil.
There is a High Times article on 10 Little-Known Uses For CBD states that CBD can curb nicotine addiction and also help with acne. CBD is a huge anti inflammatory! Washington Post has plenty of doctors stating the anti-cancer properties and powerful positive effects for epileptic patients. Cannabis can suppress a hyperactive immune system and lower inflammation, which are two important concerns in Autoimmune Diseases.
CBD is safer than aspirin. There are overwhelming studies that prove just that. Medical cannabis has never killed a single patient.
CBD can be vaped, ingested transdermally, sublingual or in edibles. There are capsules, creams, salves and so on. I strongly suggest that you do your research and get the best product available. I only use Fountain of Health CBD because it is Colorado grown, non-GMO, vegetarian, alcohol-free and coconut oil base. Many companies do not even list their ingredients. This is also the highest strength for the best price available on the market. I carry the 1/2oz size in my shop and online store [link available soon] and it is 1,000mgs. You only need 2-5 small droplets under your tongue (sublingual) and it takes effect within minutes.
Throughout my entire life, I have been living with chronic ailments. I remember being in grade school screaming in pain from stomach issues.
I remember when I was 7 years old, running around and my heart felt like it a hummingbird and I would get dizzy. The adults said that it was normal to have your heart rate increase when you run around. My softball coach in 4th grade would tell me to keep going. What they did not know is that my heart was in the 250 beats per minute range. When I was 15, the school nurse finally caught on. Supraventricular Tachycardia. They said I would outgrow it but it got worse and more frequent. It would happen 20 times a day. It was exhausting. But, this was my normal.
I have always suffered from migraines, chronic pain, depression and fatigue. Every day I had a complaint and after years of being told I was just a hypochondriac, I stopped bitching about it. This was my normal. Normal was insomnia. Normal was waking up at 4am every morning in pain. Normal hurts. I’m normal. Suck it up, Misti!
I discovered CBD Oil after a recent two month long streak in and out of ambulance rides, ERs and hospital admissions. “Everything is fine”, they said. “This is anxiety”, they laughed. I never felt worse and I thought my life was coming to an end. I went back to the hospitals I had been to, down to the the medical records department and got copies of every single record from the last two months. No, I was not having anxiety attacks. My neutrophils were dangerously low, lymphocytes high, my bun/creatinine was very elevated… to name a few. My 30 day heart rhythm monitor was a scary mess. The nurses and doctor mocked me out the door, dismissing my concerns. “Everything is normal.” Needless to say, my third electrophysiologist is the one. Third one is a charm, I guess. Everything was not normal. My body was giving up on me. I was withering away and living in fear of each day being my last day on Earth. I have three amazing children and the love of my life by my side to fight for.
*Photo by Arlene Jacobs
After countless hours of research and second and third opinions, I demanded to get my ANA tested, which determines if you have an autoimmune disease. Though, they thought it was excessive and unnecessary, they placed the lab orders anyway. It was positive.
Had I known this 15 years ago, before 4 cardiac ablations, one open heart surgery, preterm pregnancies, endometrial ablation, hysterectomy consults, years of self medicating with marijuana and wine, chronic episodes of depression, decades of minimal sleep to the point where I had sleep paralysis, endless pain and so on…. I could have gotten the right treatment and care and changed my diet and learned how to manage my health conditions.
I should not be here. If I listened to my doctors and did not put up a fight, I could be dead. If I did not take aspirin each time I began heart attack symptoms, I may have not made it. I was having vasospasms, spasms of the arteries and vascular system, which was constricting blood flow to my heart and extremities. I was going into circulatory shock from sinus node dysfunction. And to think, they suggested Xanax and sent me out the door!
I have not been back to the ER in a month, since my last hospital admission, which lasted 5 days of no answers. I imagine it is a number of reasons: new heart medications, CBD oil, bedside essential oil diffuser, removing sugar and preservatives from my diet, finding out my allergies and triggers. CBD is a huge anti-inflammatory and helps with pain, nauseous, spasms, and sleep disorders, which are a few of my medical issues. I sleep so much better! I can keep my heart rate down and blood pressure lowered and stay calm and relaxed. My menstrual cycle is no big deal now. Leg cramps and pain throughout my body is now managed and I am in much better spirits! CBD oil is such an important alternative to the slew of pharmaceutical drugs that have been pushed my way.
Every day is a new day. I take each day at a time, treat my body right and eat healthy. I still have a lot of pain and now need a pacemaker but at least I am getting answer. I even got genetic testing for Elhers Danlos Syndrome which is also something I pushed during my endless research since I fit the criteria very well.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to be your own advocate and educate yourself. Put up a fight! Take care of your body.