Anxiety and My Seizure Disorder

The world today is a much busier, fast-paced place to live and work in.  People all around us may have to cope with varying amounts of stress and anxiety almost daily.  Stress and anxiety can be found in most places and situations—you or your co-workers discuss stress and anxiety that is a result of your job, or maybe a situation in your personal life is causing you to be stressed out, or maybe a health concern is causing you or a loved one excessive worry and stress.  Whatever the situation may be, we all need to learn what the effects of living with too much stress, anxiety, or worry can do to our health—both mentally and physically.  I have had to learn this lesson the hard way.

I had my first grand mal seizure when I was 17 years old.  I had gone through a stressful situation the night before,  I was still upset over the situation, but thought no more of it until the following afternoon when my brother and I had an argument (albeit a playful one) about whose turn it was to feed the dog.  During this argument, I started seeing black dots before my eyes.  I remember grasping the bridge of my nose with my right index finger and thumb…and the next thing I remember is hearing my mom screaming my name hysterically while shaking my left arm.  It took me a few minutes to realize that I was lying on the floor.  I was totally drained…I was so weak that I could not even open my eyes at first.  I had no idea what had happened, but my whole family thought that I was dead.  After I regained consciousness and got enough strength back to open my eyes and ask what had happened, my mom told me that I had fallen to the floor with my eyes rolled into my  head and began convulsing and gasping for breath.  She said that at one point I arched my back and stopped breathing altogether.  I stopped breathing until I turned blue, and then suddenly relaxed my back, gasped for breath, and got very still.  I had what is known as a grand mal seizure.

My mother took me to the ER to be examined.  I was admitted to the hospital, and spent a week in the stroke unit undergoing every test imaginable.  The results of all these tests?  No definitive reason about why I had the seizure.  Although I found out I was not epileptic, the doctors could not find a reason for my sudden seizure.  The only thing that they thought could have caused it was the stressful night I had the night before the seizure, combined with the argument I was having with my brother at the time.  They said that even though the argument was playful in nature, it combined with the stress of the night before could have triggered the grand mal event.  I believe their diagnosis, because every time I have had a seizure, it has been after a particularly stressful event in my life.

Long story short—I tried different seizure medicines, but had side effects such as rashes, severe dizziness and nausea, distorted vision, etc.  In the end, the doctor told me to practice stress reducing techniques in order to lessen the chance of having a seizure.  I have used techniques such as breathing exercises, stretching, and meditation to help me lower my stress levels.  I often “turn the other cheek” in order to avoid drama and stress. The doctor gave me that advice 28 years ago, and up until 2 years ago, I had been seizure free.  Within the past 2 years I have dealt with lingering illnesses and deaths in the family, and I began to have seizures again.  My doctor prescribed me anxiety medication to help me better deal with the stress of losing loved ones.  It has been a tremendous help to me, and I finally have control over my seizures.  They no longer control me.

Resolutions Suck

thCA4Q447HEvery year on January 1st the entire nation (and maybe even world) make resolutions to change certain things in their lives—lose 50 pounds, win the lottery, finally clean out that overstuffed closet, etc. And every year, many people break those resolutions within a few weeks or months. I have been no exception to this trend. This year, I decided to break the cycle and not make resolutions. This year, I made goals instead.

What is the difference you may ask? Well, in my mind the difference is that resolutions generally do not have any definition or plan behind them, where goals have some sort of plan as to how to achieve them. With that in mind, I have compiled a short list of goals for coming year. Some of them are health related and will help improve my daily living:

  1. Drink more water: Try to drink at least 2 liters of water a day
  2. Reduce my sugar intake: I love sweets—it’s my greatest weakness!
  3. Increase my activity level: Currently not exercising, so I am going to incorporate using our stationary bicycle for at least 20 minutes a day to begin with and then steadily increase the duration until I reach 45 minutes.
  4. Greatly reduce my eating out at restaurants: I am striving to eat more home-cooked meals so that I can control my salt, sugar, and fat intake.
  5. Reduce my stress levels and learn to manage it better so that I can eliminate my anxiety medication.
  6. Reduce my weight to the point that I can eliminate my blood pressure medication.

I currently weigh 279.4 pounds, and carrying all that extra weight is slowly killing me. My joints hurt, my moods are haywire, and I have chronic back pain. I know this is all a direct result of my weight, so I have made the decision to get healthier. I know it will be a slow process, but I believe that if I take baby steps and don’t expect things to change overnight, I know that I can accomplish these goals.

Freezer Meals

20-Freezer-Meals-in-4-Hours-finalA couple of months ago, my wife and I started making freezer meals that our son or my mother could just pop into the crock pot or oven before we came home from work. We did this because we get home from work around 4:30 pm – 5:00 pm every evening and do not feel like having to cook a big meal. By the time we get home, change into out of our work clothes and get started cooking dinner, we end up eating late at night–like 7:00 pm or 8:00 pm. My wife has gastroparesis, so she needs to eat dinner earlier than that so her food has plenty of time to digest  before she goes to bed, which is by 10:00 or 11:00 pm every night.  If she eats too late at night, then she has to go to sleep in the recliner so that she is not laying flat.  If she lays flat  in bed before her food is digested, then she gets sick and throws up all night.

The freezer meals are proving to be very convenient and are keeping us from eating late at night, which is helping my wife to be able to sleep in the bed like normal.  It also helps us with portion control and keeps us from over eating.  My wife got the idea to make freezer meals from Facebook (of course). There was a link to a site on how to make 20 freezer meals in 4 hours.  I am going to share the link here:

http://www.stockpilingmoms.com/2014/02/20-freezer-meals-in-4-hours/

She then surfed the web for other freezer meal ideas, and we were hooked.  I really recommend that you try these recipes.  They are easy to make, and super easy to cook when you need something convenient and ready to go! We also got into stockpiling some groceries, and this comes in handy when making freezer meals as we didn’t have to spend a lot of money to get the first batch of meals made up and frozen.  So, if you are looking for an easy, inexpensive, time-saving way to make meals for your family, you should check out the link above.

Chili for a Healthy Liver

I have bee on the look out for recipes that help promote liver health.  During my search, I came across a site called www.loveyourliver.com that has a lot of great information for getting and keeping one’s liver healthy.  As I was perusing the site, I came across a great looking Chili recipe, which I want to share:

ChiliChunky Chile Con Carne

Serves: 6

Ingredients

  • 500g stewing steak trimmed of fat and cut into 2cm cubes
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely grated
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 large tins of kidney beans, drained
  • 1 packet salt-reduced taco seasoning
  • Dried chilli flakes to taste
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup salt-reduced real beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Cooked brown rice and salad to serve

Method

  1. Brown the cubes of steak in olive oil and set aside in an ovenproof casserole dish
  2. Sauté the onion, grated carrot, garlic and, if you like a stronger chilli flavour, add the extra chilli flakes
  3. Add the vegetable mixture to the casserole with the salt-reduced taco seasoning, chopped tomatoes, beef stock and tomato paste.
  4. Place the lid on the casserole and bake in the oven at 180°C (160°C fan-forced) for 1 ½ hrs
  5. Add the drained kidney beans and bake for another 30 mins
  6. Serve with cooked brown rice and salad

Picture sourced from: http://www.taste.com.au

 

Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead Part 2

health-benefits-of-juicingLast night my partner and I watched Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead Part 2. We had watched Part 1 several months before, and were eager to see what FSND 2 had to offer. I really like the concept of juicing to reboot my body and to get rid of the toxins that I have been putting into my body all these years. I have let myself go quite a bit lately ( I currently weigh 278 lbs. and I am 5′ 2″), and I really need a change. I want to increase my energy levels, and sleep better at night, and just feel better all around.

I really identified with Phil, who was also in the first documentary with Joe Cross. Phil was a truck driver who had multiple health problems. Phil tried the juicing plan that Joe was promoting, and he lost a lot of weight doing so. He got off of his medications and truly looked healthier and happier. He also appeared in the 2nd documentary, and had had somewhat of a setback. He had gone through a divorce and had regained a lot of his weight. He said he felt alone with no type of support system, but he wanted to get his life and his health back on track.

I identified with Phil in the sense that I also want to get my life and my health back on the right track. I have no energy, my allergies have gotten worse, I have digestive problems, and I just feel “blah”  most of the time. I really think that at least doing the juicing reboot for a few days–maybe a week–would help me get the impurities out of my system and help me get back on the right track.  So I guess my next major purchase will be a juicer.  I have a Nutribullet and the Ninja mixer, but they do not work the same as a bonafide juicer.  Believe me, I have tried them both, and it is not the same as a real juicer.  So, I once I make that purchase I will do the juicing reboot and let you all know how it goes.  I am looking forward to it!