I have many theories on life. One theory is
that love is the only concrete human experience in this life. We have all
experienced love, being in love, the lack of love and its effects on us. Love
is a part of every personal relationship in our lives, from lovers to
friendship building it’s the fore front of our being. Love is beneficial to our brains in so many
ways. In the early years of life we depend on love. Love is the building block
to our development. Everyone can get by without it right? Sure you can. Not
well though. If a baby is not nurtured and loved there is a high chance for
mental health issues to arise later on in life. Depression and anxiety arise
out of the lack on human connection and lack of love and attachment as an
infant. Special hormones are secreted by neurons in our brains when we experience
love and connection as humans these chemicals help babies develop socially and
emotionally without them there are often developmental delays presented in the
first 2 years of life.
Skin to skin contact or kangaroo care is when a mother or father takes a naked baby and places them on their bare chest. The baby feels the beating of their parents or caregivers heart. The rise and fall of their chest, love and bonding chemicals are released by the brain neurons at this time by everyone experiencing contact. Mama has special hormones called oxytocin. Oxytocin is a hormone released by mothers when feeding their babies. It’s also released during skin to skin contact. When a father lays his child on his chest for kangaroo care the man secretes the hormone vasopressin. The vasopressin hormone lowers the father’s blood pressure allowing him to relax. The father also shows decreases in cortisol levels as well as his newborn baby. When the baby feels the beat of his parent or caregivers heart and the easy of their breath, the baby begins to regulate his/ her breath accordingly. The cortisol levels (stress hormone in the baby drops) and bonding between the families begins. These are the first stages and facilitators to love between families. This is how the brain chemically makes a family “fall in love” so to speak.
Romantic love is so addicting. Of course sex makes love addicting than, companionship, friendship and building a life with someone. Love gets increasingly more or less complicated when we learn about the effect that it has on our brain. Loyola University states “There are three states to love, lust, attraction and than attachment.” The initial lust stage to falling in love is a very hard chemical reaction going on in our brain. Dopamine a chemical flooding our neurons equivalent to that of cocaine is flooding our neurotransmitters creating euphoria. Our cortisol stress hormone is increased, hearts are racing and another neurotransmitter serotonin is depleted. Serotonin levels are lowered at this time creates an almost singled focused obsessed feeling for the person you are thinking about. That’s why you can’t get someone out of your head. Dopamine is also a reward seeking chemical in the brain and a motivator, so of course it really helps us follow up on the person we are interested in.
During the act the sex these happy hormones and endorphins (natural pain killers) are secreted by our neurons, Dopamine, higher levels of serotonin, oxytocin and vasopressin. Over time from having a romantic relationship with the same partner through skin to skin contact and the repeated release of oxytocin and vasopressin (bonding hormones) something special occurs there. is a development of long lasting love.
According to Harvard Neuroscience studies found these hormones are responsible for monogamous and long term relationships that have gone well beyond the lust and attraction phases of love.
WHAT DOES THIS HAVE DO WITH ME?
Love is relevant. It’s part of the very fiber of our beings. Our neurons secrete endless feel good chemicals for us in order to enjoy the endless possibilities of love. From lust, attraction, falling in love, sex and finding the right person to grow old with to finding long lasting love. If we choose to grow a family someone, we even have warm loving chemicals in place to make the best experience of love when hold our child in our arms and up to our hearts the first time.
I wrote this article for two
reasons. 1. If you have a partner, husband or wife and you love them with
everything you have, stop waiting for whatever it is. Don’t sleep on love. Lay
them on your heart. Share some heart beats / skin to skin, get that oxytocin
and vasopressin released. Create your long lasting love.
2. it’s never too late to show anyone you love them especially your children. Of course kangaroo care is out the window once they are no longer babies but you can always place them close to your heart with a warm hug. Tell them you love them. Life is short. I hope this article helped show you that even our brains are connected when we show each other love.
Thank you for reading – Namaste-
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Disclaimer nothing is intended to prevent cure or treat any diesease. Any product mentioned here on the blog is not intended for marketing purposes, only for my own personal recommendation and enjoyment.
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Anxiety definition : a feeling of worry or fear, typically about an imminent event or something with an unknown outcome. Other words to describe anxiety would be panic, agitation, tension, stress, suspense, fear, nervousness, and angst.
Anxiety increases when you begin to physically feel it’s blow, the chest pain, the headaches, maybe shortness of breath, nausea, cold sweats, eye twitches, stammering, forgetfulness, irritable bowel symptoms, inability to perform in regular activities and feeling intense fear.
The DSM- 5 a psychiatric diagnostic tool. It uses specific criteria and rules for diagnosing anxiety. It states that a generalized anxiety disorder is excessive worry or fear occurring more days than not, over a 6 month period that involves a number of events or daily activities such as work, school performance, socialization etc.
“Now is the age of anxiety.” – W. H. Auden.
What causes Anxiety?
Life is a beautiful gift. We are all here breathing but we don’t intentionally use those breaths. Much like breathing, experiencing anxiety is apart of life. Life comes with many changes through out the years and some of those changes can leave us feeling a bit unsettled. Change of course will come with some natural anxiety. Even good things come with a small amount of anxiety from time to time. For some people there is no true root cause of anxiety, they are born anxious. For others anxiety has many causes. Some very logical relevant causes to anxiety can be relationships, work stress, school performance, health conditions, traumatic life events, raising a family, and poverty. These things can weigh heavily on a person and rightly so. Often anxiety and depression accompany one another, playing an ugly game in a person’s mind. Anxiety is often known to run in families. If your family members tend to get anxious easily you may be more likely to be so yourself, it makes sense too because a lot of our behaviors in life are learned from our family. Drugs and alcohol abuse can cause anxiety. Withdrawal from anti-anxiety medications can cause anxiety. Social media can cause anxiety, comparing yourself to others and not having what other people have can lead to you feeling anxious about your life. The Depression and Anxiety Association of America produced an article about how much social media effects a persons mental health and anxiety levels it’s pretty astounding article.
Can I get better?
We can always better ourselves it’s one of our best human traits. When we put our mind to something we can achieve it! You will get better! Seeking the right treatment and making the right steps and starting immediately is crucial in your success for treating anxiety. Don’t allow it to build up. Recognize the warning signs of stress in your body. Are your shoulders tight? Are you getting tension headaches frequently? Are you having digestive problems? How are you sleeping? Are you feeling anxious? Are you feeling overwhelmed? What are you doing for self-care? What are you doing for mental health breaks daily? You can get better you just need to begin. Do not stop trying once you get started. That leaves you with the question we all ask, where do I start?
Where do I start?
Step one: You need to begin breathing. When you find yourself in an overwhelming state of mind. Find intentional breath, not even meditation at this point. Just focus on the in and out of your breath. Tell yourself ” I am breathing in, I am breathing out”. Close your eyes if you are in an area you can do so. Start there. Simply be for a moment. Check in with yourself. Ask yourself 1. How do I feel in this moment? Get used to being in the present moment. Lots of times anxiety comes from living in the future. Our thoughts are not in the present. We are concerned about what may occur in the upcoming moments, months, weeks, years in the future etc.
Step two: Daily movement. You may have a job or school schedule that takes up a good portion of your day. Your mind is tired but your body is not necessary tired. There is stagnant energy that is surrounding you. It’s fueling your anxiety. Daily movement will improve your health by calming the mind, lowering the blood pressure and improving focus, if you are doing activities outdoor you will be getting vitamin D which is a great natural source of happiness and mood boosting qualities.
Yoga : Take a class either at a yoga studio, gym, online, or on the TV ( amazon prime has some great teachers) Audible app also has guided classes that are great! Even a few moments will give you benefits.
Walking: Getting out doors for a brisk walk daily will help you clear your mind. Even walking on a tread mill and taking that time to listen to a positive podcast or active meditation/intention setting podcast is a great way to not only improve you mood but work on yourself mentally. If you are walking outdoors maybe bringing a friend to vent to about life and share your stories with while simultaneously getting fit together!
Martial arts: The practice of self-control through movement and energy release! A perfect combination for some one who has anxiety and perhaps some anger issues as well. (No you don’t learn martial arts to go beat people up.) It’s about learning an art form and releasing energy through a practice of self-control and respect for others. Karate, Tai chi, MMA, Ji Jistu etc.
Running: I am sure everyone has heard of a runners high. Running boosts endorphins. Running is something you can set either pace goals or distance goals for yourself. You can use apps like Nike Training Run app that tracks you distance and has free coaches that inspire you and give you positive pep talks along your route as you run your specific distances and a paces! Running is great for the anxiety/depression combination. Great for the goal setter personality!
Weight lifting: Lifting weights either by following specific training guide lines by in app purchases like BBG, or doing your own thing in the gym, preparing to compete in body building competitions, crossfit or powerlifting. Weight lifting can be very therapeutic for people as they refocus their energy to specific goals they set for themselves.
Zumba: Dancing is a great way to get out there move your body and raise your endorphins, relief anxiety, reduce your blood pressure and get a great fat blasting full body workout in at the same time while having a ton of fun. Studios, Martial arts studio, online/ tv workouts, community centers and gyms all offer a variety of Zumba classes.
Barre: Traditional Barre workouts stem from the beautiful art of ballet, they are upbeat and offer a full body workout that is challenging and fun. On average you burn a total of 500 calories each workout! There is also a floor barre option that is usually fused with yoga, it offers uplifting principles and offers an atmosphere that totally reduces stress! You literally sweat it away!
Pilates: A great way to build lean muscle and gain control your core. If you know one thing about someone who practices Pilates regularly they are in overall great shape! Developed by Joe Pilate, Pilates integrates breath work that differs a bit from yoga but it does reduce stress all the same. Gives a full body workout and it’s a lot of fun! Great for spine and core health! Catch a class in studio, online, on tv or in a community center or gym. So many options.
Biking: So many options here. Outdoors! Yes! Indoors at the gym! Yes! or take a very upbeat competitive soul cycle class or jump on your bike in the gym or at home and take a class in the comfort of your own home, tour Italy! There are so many options! It’s lots of fun! Your mind will get lost in a good way!
Step three: Meditation. I was too jittery and had too much anxiety for meditation. I used to be the person that would roll up my mat before the end of a yoga class and run out before the final resting pose savasana. I could not bear the silence and being alone in my own thoughts. In yoga savasana is often said to be one of the hardest poses. All you are doing is laying flat on your back in relaxation. My anxiety in the silence was overwhelming to me. My thoughts raced. Even closing my eyes was too much. I would just skip it and leave immediately, if I ever did go to yoga back then. Once I was in yoga teacher training many years later, the importance of mediation practice was explained to me. So many thoughts are entering and exiting our minds constantly throughout the day. How do we know which ones are important? My giving ourselves a few moments of clarity. We allow time for our thoughts to clear and once they re-enter we have time to re-evaluate which ones are important.
How to start mediation practice as a person with anxiety.
I move first, before Fibromylagia really took over my energy levels with chronic fatigue. I used to have lots of energy that was stagnant. I needed to move first. I would exercise or practice power yoga first, then mediate. My bodies nervous energy was released and my mind was more clear and ready to receive the practice.
I do guided mediation on my worst anxiety days, If I leave myself to guide my own practice on a really overwhelming day the likelihood of success is not very high.
My goals are small, it’s really daunting to aim to practice 30 minutes of mediation in one sitting a day. Especially if it’s not your practice. Start with 5 minutes a day! If you find that successful increase it each week by 5 minutes or however you see fit to pace it. If increasing by 5 minute increments is too much, try 2 minutes instead.
Time! You have the time trust me! Stop endlessly scrolling through your phone. Set your timer and breath. Down load insight timer on your phone, down load audible get some of their guided mediations and DO THEM!
Step four: Pick up a hobby. Try starting a hobby like reading, painting, sewing, knitting, weaving, flying kites, doing puzzles or collecting bottles. A hobby can be very therapeutic and keep your mind in the present moment.
Non Pharmaceutical Anti- anxiety medications!
Cannabis: My favorite supplement for anti-anxiety! My Soul CBD oil drops! As I had stated before anxiety sometimes runs in families. My sister and I are both using My Soul CBD for our anxiety. I am using it for many other reasons as well but, she is also using it for her anxiety management. The CBD oil is organic, third-party tested for quality assurance and it’s THC free! The CBD tincture is flavored with essential oils and they taste amazing, the flavors include peppermint, orange and lemon lime. Lemon lime has been my personal favorite so far. If you are buying the 1500mg bottle 0.33ml equals to 16.7mg of CBD isolate. My current regime is 50mg of CBD oil daily. I take 16.7mg under my tongue at 10am, 2pm and 10pm along with my seizure medication at 2pm and 10pm daily. My sister purchases the 500mg bottle and takes 1 full dropper daily equally to a total of 16.7mg of CBD isolate daily. I have Epilepsy and Fibromylagia so my needs differ from hers as far as dosing goes. My Soul CBD just released a sleeping aid that has 25mg of CBD isolate along with Valerian root, Passion-flower and Pepper and 5mg of Melatonin. If you’d like to try this product, I have an affiliate link you can go to under my resource section to shop this great product!
MY Soul Sleep Aid 25mg CBD isolate
Orange Flavor Pure THC free!
500mg CBD bottle 16.7mg CBD per dropper!
Kava Kava : Is a herb sold as a tincture, tea or capsule. People often use it to boost their mood, calm anxiety, improve sleep and reduce pain. Some have described its effect as euphoric much like the effects of alcohol. Kava kava has been known to be more effective for women than men, more effective in younger patients and more effective for people with severe anxiety verses mild.
Valerian root: Similar to kava kava, sold in the same form, tincture, tea or capsule form. Most often used for sleep and often mixed into teas that are made for the function of improving either sleep or mood. Valerian roots action on the brain is increasing the Gamma aminobutryic acid (GABA) receptors, this regulates nerve cells and calms anxiety. The pharmaceutical drugs Xanax and Valium play similar roles in the brain with GABA receptors. Interesting right?
Chamomile Tea: Healthline produced an article that states ” Chamomile is commonly regarded as a mild tranquilizer or sleep inducer”. My mom used to prepare Chamomile tea for me as a kid with a little bit of honey and it would give me a great nights sleep. Even as an adult pouring a cup of Chamomile tea has a very relaxing benefit. Anything that makes you feel relaxed enough for sleep of course is a win. Try pouring yourself a cup when you are feeling overwhelmed. The tea taste delicious. Chamomile reduces inflammation in the body and improves digestion, its non habit-forming. Very inexpensive and readily available to use. Overall a very safe to try.
There are numerous options when it comes to prescription anti-anxiety medication. Just remember from the beginning when I stated that even anti anxiety medication can cause anxiety. Two issues are at play here when I mention withdrawal. Withdrawal anxiety is when you no longer need the medication and wish to get off the medication. The weaning process may produce more anxiety for you or an upswing of symptoms. Or withdrawals due to a habit that is being formed from taking the medication either by abuse/ over use or the body is becoming dependent. Talk to your doctor about the severity or risk of habit forming potential of the drug you are trying and about your family history. My Neurologist had prescribed me Xanax for anxiety and it caused me more harm than good. My seizure activity increased, I was heavily confused and had severe memory loss the times that I took it. After trying it 2 times, I discontinued using it. I do have Ativan which is for seizure rescue use and I use that on rare occasions to get cluster seizures under control. Ativan is also used by many people as an anti anxiety medication. I kept in contact with my doctor how I felt the times I took the Xanax. She knew right away it wasn’t for me. Always communicate to the doctor prescribing you medication on how you feel about a drug and do not just accept that is how you should feel, if it’s past a certain point and you should start feeling better by this time and you aren’t then it’s possible this isn’t the drug for you. Not every drug works the same for everybody. You may need to try a few medications first. Always use a medication as prescribed by your doctor. Exactly how it is prescribed! especially anti-depressant, anti anxiety or mood stabilizing drugs, I can not stress this enough! A doctor can not determine if your medication is working or not if you are not taking your medication properly. In nursing we are taught the Right’s of medications. The right patient, the right time, the right dose and the right route.
I always encourage people to get the help they need without fears of stigmas. If you have never been a medication person or you have fears about what others may think of you for needing anxiety medication. Firstly it’s your private medical information, you don’t need to share if you don’t want to. Secondly if you need to take medication to get well, that is what needs to be done. I recommended talk therapy and counseling to everyone with and without medication use who struggles with anxiety. If you like alternative medication. Medical Marijuana and CBD oil are now being prescribed by doctors all over the country, look up the laws in your state and see how you can obtain your medical Marijuana card. The chemical component THC in Marijuana can sometimes have a similar effect on the brain ( depending of the Marijuana used) that may cause more anxiety like some people on anti-anxiety medications. Finding the right medication is a science. It may take some time. Be patient.
You can also cut out all the personal medication trials if you are doing the prescription drug route and look up a company called Genesight. Genesight offers Genetic testing to provide you and your doctor the best information available to you based off your bodies genetic response and tolerance to medication without having to go through the hassle of trial and error. This is available to not only anxiety medication but also behavioral medications and antidepressants. Information will be provided in the resource link. I heavily suggest taking this extra step for your mental health.
Talking to a family member or spouse may not help when your anxiety has come to a point that it’s overtaking your life. Perhaps outside help is necessary. It’s also good to have someone to talk to that is not emotionally involved in your situation in any way. They can give some feedback and suggestions, offer a set of listening ears and some compassionate support. A therapist is also a professional . What you speak about together is completely confidential, if you have had difficult experiences in the past or present and you are having a hard time with them. Your sessions are completely private. The only time your information is shared is if you are a threat to yourself or others. In addition to one on one therapy many therapy offices or mental health clinics offer group therapy sessions. I suggest both talk therapy modalities. One on one is good to get your personal story shared and perhaps somethings you wouldn’t want a group to know or be involved in. Obviously the point of having a group is sharing but sometimes we can all be a bit shy or have fears of over sharing. Group therapy shows you that you are not alone. Everyone struggles. Life is messy and we all go through different problems. We can all connect on some level to each other through these problems and circumstances. Perhaps you can even be there to support someone else through a tough time every once in a while!
Find the right anti anxiety medication through genetic testing with Genesight
All the information I have collected is only to share my personal opinion and story in order that it may benefit you personally. I was not asked by any of the companies I listed to mention them or was compensated in any way. I do have an affiliate link with My Soul CBD oil, I was not asked to mention them here on my blog.
If you enjoy following my blog please give my instagram a follow @namastehealth._
I hope you find this blog beneficial and uplifting ~ Namaste~
No, this isn’t a smoking kills article. I hope in 2019 we have acknowledged that already and I don’t need to go into all that. A puff of smoke is the English translation of Moyamoya from Japanese. It’s a rare neurological condition. It’s most common in East Asia. Although there seems to be a genetic trait to the disease, it still has not been proven. It’s also possible that head trauma can cause Moyamoya as well. Risk factors are being female, having family members with disease, being down syndrome, having sick cell anemia disease, being of Asian descent and being young.
A puff of smoke is used to describe how blood vessels within a carotid artery appear when viewing the brain. When these vessels cluster together they block crucial blood supply and oxygen to the brain. The vessel clusters can cause an aneurysm or stroke. Patients can have seizures, mini strokes, developmental delays, severe headaches, numbness to limbs on one side of the body and face, difficulty understanding language and processing information. As you can imagine this disease is very rare and the complications and symptoms are so extreme. Now imagine yourself 16 years old with your whole life ahead of you and without warning having your first mini stroke! That was just the beginning of a long journey for Brigida. Before I share her story I have key medical terms I’ll share with you so you don’t get lost along the way.
Key words and terms to remember along the way.
neuro– relating to the brain
angiogram- a medical procedure used to view inside arteries and veins ( normally in the heart chambers but not always)
angioplasty – a minimally invasive procedure to widen narrow or obstructed arteries or veins
the left side of the brain- controls the right side of the body
the right side of the brain- controls the left side of the body
TIA– transient ischemic attack also known as mini stroke the damage is normally shown on a CAT scan
CVA- cerebrovascular accident also know as a stroke
fistula– arteriovenious fistula an abnormal connection between and artery and a vein
femoral artery– the artery running along inside of your inner thigh/ groin.
If you met Brigida today, your first impression would be her smile. She is very beautiful and her smile radiates. She is very out going and has a pleasant attitude. She is care free and when asked about her medical condition she doesn’t speak of it in pain like most people would. She is a mother of three, a Zumba instructor and she sells Herbalife nutrional supplements and Monat hair products. Most importantly, she loves life.
If anyone has a reason to be depressed about life she does. If anyone has a reason to be thankful about life, you will after reading her story. I think you’ll come up with a few reasons, trust me. There is a saying that people create their own pain. That pain isn’t a physical pain, rather the perspective you choose to live in. Brigida could describe herself as stroke victim, disabled, moyamoya diseased, scarred, depressed, incapable, instead she is a warrior, empowered, and strong woman capable of handling the crazy health conditions life has thrown at her over the years.
The Teenage Years.
Brigida was a normal teenage girl. She was pretty healthy and played sports in high school. Brigida had high blood pressure but her doctor assumed it was hereditary as her father had high blood pressure so it wasn’t too much of a concern. Brigida began having heart palpitations in class and having to go to the school nurse when she was 16, almost 17 years old. Several times she had gone to the hospital but nothing came of it. At 17 years old Brigida was at home with her mother and her whole right side of her body became numb. Her mom called 911 and she was rushed to the hospital via ambulance. At the hospital doctors explained to Brigida’s mother that she had a TIA (ministroke). Unfortunately correct patient teaching was not completed and Brigida’s mother did not leave the hospital with a full understanding of what that really meant for Brigida’s health in the future. Brigida did have a full cardiac work up following her hospital stay. She had a holter monitor hooked up, which is when a continuous EKG is on your heart to check for palpitations or abnormalities with daily activities over several days time, she also had an ultrasound of her heart (echocardiogram) and was told everything looked great! Perfect! Brigida continued to live life as if nothing ever happened.
One day everything changed.
It was November 2007. By this time in life Brigida was pretty busy. At 22 years old She was already married and a new mother. She had a job and was working towards her career as a Liscensed practical nurse. Attending nursing school alone is hard, being a new mother and trying to study is madness.
One day Brigida was at work, she noticed something strange she was slurring her words and wasn’t able to say her own name! Thinking that was strange. She continued her work day. Following her work day she goes to nursing school. While at school her fingers go numb.Brigida had been studying strokes in school recently and these symptoms began to concern her. She now recalled what happened to her when she was a teenage and went to her Dean of the school and told her ” I think I am having a stroke. The Dean challenged Brigida and assumed she was trying to skip school. The Dean told her if she didn’t want to be at school she shouldn’t come. Brigida assured her she wanted to be at school. The Dean said ” sit down I’ll take your blood pressure, and it was 150/200! It’s even more dangerous when the bottom number is higher than the top. Brigida made arrangements with her husband for their son to be taken care of and set off for the hospital.
Brigida was in the hospital for two months. Brigida was taken off her oral contraceptives and her standing blood pressure medications while in the hospital. The right side of her face was paralyzed from the stroke causing a facial droop. Her right arm was partially paralyzed. Her treatment during her hospital stay consisted of controlling her blood pressure. Physical therapy and Speech therapy. Brigida’s language returned to her within 3 to 4 days of her stroke. Brigida is a bi-lingual speaker. Her first language is Spanish and her second language is English. She speaks both languages fluently. Brigida is often severely anemic on top of her blood pressure problems. Her anemia is often monitored as well.
Her blood was tested during her hospital stay and she was told she had Hepatitis C. Brigida was told about agressive treatment options similar to chemotherapy. She would lose all her hair and possibly her life in the treatment process with this new drug. She under went more testing to prove she had Hepatitis C. Thankfully she did not. Three blood tests came back negative confirming there was a misdiagnosis by the hospital for Brigida having Hepatitis C. In the midst of everything she was dealing with, Brigida was thankful she did not have to under go any therapy or treatments and that the misdiagnosis was caught.
Brigida wanted an answer to why she had a stroke in the first place. She was so young and relavitely healthy woman aside from high blood pressure. She did not receive a diagnosis from the hospital during her time there or clear reasons on why she had a stroke. Her case was considered very special and she was referred to St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital in NYC to a team of doctors lead by a Dr. Barenstein. She had her first consultation in New York and scheduled some testing. She was told to return if she had any problems in the mean time. Of course she did, in April 2008 Brigida had another TIA. This time she received lots of tests from the team of doctors in NYC. These doctors told Brigida she had brought Moyamoya to New Jersey, that is how rare this disease is. They fully educated her one her rare condition and suggested she have a stent placed in her left Carotid artery to provide adequate blood flow and oxygen to her brain. Brigida agreed to having the proceedure done. Her alternative was to continue to have strokes and possibly die. Or have surgery and possibly have a stroke on the table and die. Her options didn’t seem very appealing. Only one option had a more positive outcome for her future. Brigida’s family was very concerned. Brain surgery is a very big deal! We all know the saying to denote anything that doesn’t seem impossible ” it isn’t brain surgery” well this was. I asked Brigida some questions about how she felt in those moments going into surgery.
Me: What were your thought’s exactly?
Brigida:” I’m going back to work, I’m getting up and out of this”.
Me: What did you think about your son?
Brigida: “At that time, I felt like I needed to get back to him, I felt that made me stay positive, his dad was a big help,his family and our baby sitter at the time.”
Brigida mentions her family was consistentlyat her bedside during this time in the hospital.
Wow that is a great perspective on brain surgery. I would have been losing my mind. Brigida had been in the hospital for a while. She was one of the youngest people who this surgery has been done on. They went in and placed the stent into her carotid artery through her femoral artery. Remember our little site key? When Brigida woke from her brain surgery she opened her eyes to a team of doctors clapping and cheering for her. Amazing! Also a little scary. Brigida was doing so well she was allowed to go home just two day after the stent was placed. She was given a cane and instructed to not walk up and down the stairs too much and not to lift anything over 10 lbs. Although she recovered well from this surgery it was not the end of brain surgeries for Brigida.
The stent closed.
2008 held more ups and downs for Brigida. Nearing the close of that year Brigida had another TIA. An angiogram procedure was completed at the hospital and a decision was made to do an angioplasty. With much remorse Brigida’s physicians informed her that the artery was starting to close the stent. Brigida was told this was ” never seen before”. The stent surgery was ineffective. The angioplasty was completed and worked well for some time. Life continued. In 2009 Brigida was getting dressed and her left arm became paralyzed a first for symptoms on her left side, you know what this means? Remember what I told you about the brain? Her right brain is now being affected! Another TIA in the books for Brigida but this time affecting the opposite side of her brain. The side that had been fine. An angiogram was completed during this hospital stay. A mistake was made during the angiogram. unknown to Brigida once discharge she started to have a lot of pain in her groin. Severe pain. If Brigida was complaining about pain it had to be bad. She had an infection at the angiogram site as well as a fistula had formed from the technician accidentally puncturing her vein and artery creating a blood clot. This infection progressed to yet another hospital stay for a special wound treatment called a wound vac. A wound vac works with negative pressure and is attached to a wound to draw out excess fluid.
Once discharged for that ordeal. Brigida still needed to see her specialist. Brigida went to her specialist team in NYC they completed their own angiogram in the opposite leg of course and an MRI which revealed the Carotid on her right side also had Moyamoya she was told it can spread.
Brigida was informed that there was a high risk of placing a stent this time. The last stent did not work and was closed, the team suggested Brigida have a by pass surgery done. This was in June 2009. Brigida really didn’t consider this to be a big deal. Her thoughts were, they’ll go in fix what’s wrong and done. ” I didn’t want to make it a big deal in my head, if I did then I was going to freak out”. Brigida thought it over. Schedules were made. Brigida recalls her father even made a burial plot arrangement for her. She was laughing when she told me about it, she said some of the family wasn’t really as hopeful as she was about how the surgery would go. Brigida was told so many scary things about what could go wrong. She could “die on the table, stroke again, be a vegetable, etc.” One thing that bothered Brigida the most was having to shave her head. She loved her hair.
The doctor’s promised Brigida they would only shave the areas they needed to. I asked Brigida why it bothered her so much that she needed to cut her hair? Everything else was so extreme.
Brigida : ” What makes a woman beautiful is your hair, that is how I grew up my beauty was in my hair. Everyone used to compliment me on my hair when I was little”.
That makes perfect sense. I understand that completely, it makes me think of Breast cancer survivors it’s not always what the disease process entails but it’s also the feminine power that it can strip you of in its wake. . I think we can all relate to her thoughts. Brigida goes on to say that while the physical recovery was about 1.5 months. This surgery was more mentally challenging for her then when she had her first surgery.
As you can see so far Brigida’s life hasn’t been all cupcakes, unicorns and butterflies. She does have a positive mindset. When asked about her thoughts before going into brain surgery it wasn’t I’m going to die! I am pretty sure if it was. She would have died. That seems like an extreme statement on my part. Mindset is everything. We live inside our minds at every single moment we are alive. We don’t have a promised amount of days in life. If we spend our moments waiting for the next best thing. Our life may never happen. Take my Grandmother for an example she died of cancer at 65 years old. She struggled so much and I am sure I don’t know half the pain she went through but she was a pessimist. She saw life through worse case scenario all the way down to the weather forecast. It still bothers me she died at 65, that’s really young. Too young. Perhaps if she saw things in a more positive light she would have just enjoyed the days she lived more even if she never lived anymore days over 65. Do you catch what I am saying? Increase your life by moments, you really have no control over the days or what happens rather your reactions to those events. You can make your life easier.
Brigida’s story will be continued in next week’s blog.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic disease with many symptoms, sometimes it lays dormant for a while and patient’s experience ” flare ups” a time where symptoms become more dominant and overwhelming. This can happen when you have a surgery, become ill with another sickness such as a cold or flu, during your menstrual cycle and even during stressful or emotional times.
Symptoms of Fibromyalgia include, headaches, brain fog, memory problems, insomnia, muscle spasms, tingling and numbness to limbs, irritable bowel syndrome, intense muscle pain, pain that feels like growing pain in bones and joints. Patients with Fibromyalgia suffer from depression and anxiety disorders. Being in chronic pain can really wear a person down. Often times doctors don’t believe Fibromyalgia is “real”. This disease is invisible. Up until 2012 there was no physical evidence of this disease. No known cause, just theories and doctors believing this disease to be a psychiatric condition. I felt that Fibromyalgia was often diagnosed when doctors give up on a patient or refused to do further testing.
All that is changed thanks to Dr. Bruce Gillis of Epi Genetics. He decided that there had to be a specific physical clue to the disease. Dr. Gillis started a research program and found one particular thing in common with all patients he studied with Fibromyalgia. The similarity was the presence unique biomarkers of the immune system. He lays to rest the controversary of Fibromyalgia medically. Dr. Gillis confirms through FDA approved blood testing that Fibromyalgia is infact an immune system disorder. It’s truly physical, not just a fragment of your imagination.
I am not going to go into great detail about the specifics of the immune biomarkers, you can find more information on that at https://fmtest.com/
I already know I have Fibromyalgia, why do the testing?
Testing confirms a true physical aspect of this invisible disease.
This disease is chronic and consistently plaques a person with a variety of symptoms that can have similar patterns that fall closely to other auto immune diseases. It gives the patient peace knowing that a doctor has made the right diagnosis for them.
Physicians will take patient’s more seriously knowing fibromyalgia is “real”.
The test is FDA approved and covered by most insurances.
The test is extremely accurate, it is as accurate as HIV testing.
Having testing completed allows you to participate in Dr. Gillis clincial trial to cure Fibromyalgia. How awesome is that?
Testing may help patient’s filing for social security benefits.
The road to diagnosis.
When my Rheumatologist told me he thought I had Fibromyalgia. I was actually really mad about it. I thought great, such a BS disease, no cause or cure. Just a chronic condition that basically leaves you ignored by physicans. I was skeptical that I had the disease in the first place, I’ve been suffering from symptoms since I was 15 years old. Until last year (at 26 years old) no doctor ever knew what was wrong with me. This doctor diagnosed me before my blood work even came back. I was also concerned that maybe he overlooked something. I researched Fibromyalgia and the FM/a test came up. I looked it over and the next day I spoke to someone at Epi Genetics ( the lab where the FM/a testing is done) the person was extremely helpful and explained the entire process to me. First I needed a doctor to order the test for me. When I intially spoke to my Rheumatologist he would not order the test, he said he never heard of it and that is wasn’t necessary. I didn’t take no for an answer so I contacted my primary physican and he agreed to order the test for me. YES!
The staff at Epi Genetics contacted my insurance company once the order was received, there was no agreed upon amount that my insurance promised to pay. They said that they maybe would pay something towards it. I had to front the money for the test, it was 740.00 ( without insurance out of pocket the test cost 900.00 at the time). I ordered it. The test came in a little box with all the instructions and a test tube. I had to take the test tube to my doctors where they drew the blood for me. I packed the test tube as instructed and sent it to Epi Genetics via Fed Ex overnight shipping. The label and bag was already created, all I needed was a receipt. It’s important to know you need to send the blood out right away and never have your blood drawn on a Friday. The specimen would be ruined due to the lab not being in office over the weekend. I waited about 3 weeks and received my results via snail mail. My ordering doctor also received the results via fax. Any value over 50 is considered positive. I tested positive with a value 65. I felt relieved for sure. Through out the process, I was contacting Epi Genetics regularly to find out more information, ask about costs and the process of mailing and the testing itself. I even emailed Dr. Bruce Gillis and he got back to me. Epi Genetic’s staff were extremely helpful and pleasant during the process.
A few things you should know about the testing process.
A doctor needs to order the test for you, if a doctor will not do it. That’s ok, Dr. Gillis himself can order the test for you. You just need to contact Epi Genetics and tell them about your struggle.
You need to find someone to draw the blood for you. Lab corp and Quest in my area would not do blood draws for third party testing. Luckily my doctors office agreed to doing the blood draw for me. Call different labs in your area first and see who will do third party blood draws. Before you order the test. Tell them you have a third party kit and will handle the shipping process back to the lab. ( do not trust the lab doing testing to send you kit back, make sure you do it yourself)
My insurance paid for the test in the end however, it did take a long time to get my refund. A total of 9 months ( it was allot to pay out of pocket)
A payment plan can be made with Epi Genetics if you do not have insurance. Just know you won’t receive the kit for testing until ALL your payments are made.
If you found this information helpful please give me a follow on my instagram @namastewell_
I was not paid or asked by Epi Genetics to review this blood test. I am not endorsed or backed by any of the sites mentioned above. Although I am an affliate of My Soul CBD they did not ask for me to post anything here. All the information I include is my personal story that I chose to share with you. I hope you find it helpful and perhaps you will consider completing the test for yourself. If you have any questions please ask.
It’s important to remember when you have new or worsening symptoms of Fibromyalgia whether testing is completed or not. You need to review each symptom case by case. Just because you have Fibromyalgia does not mean you can’t be sick with something else.I always encourage people to do all necessary blood work and exams to rule out other disease even if you have received a positve FM/a test. Fibromyalgia often co- insides with other auto immune diseases.