Tag Archives: Health

Health, Healing and Hippos

Apologies for the length, but I wanted to share some of my medical story. I pray it will help someone today.

My first “migraines” were all abdominal and appeared at 14 along with “womanhood.” I missed weeks of school at a time and I couldn’t explain that the pain was more than “cramps.” (Enter 4-5 years of naproxen.)

My first “head” migraine hit in college and I was so sick a dear friend basically picked me up off the floor at the radio station and took me to the ER where they admitted me. I really felt like I was going to die. The pain was 10/10 and I was 🤮🤮🤮 non-freaking-stop. They did an MRI or CT scan and the entire right hemisphere of my brain was lit up like a Christmas tree. That I remember. There’s other stuff I don’t, but I was there for 2 days. They loaded me with fluids and pain meds and dad brought me home where I had the weirdest “morphine dreams” ever.

Example (embarrassingly admitted, but still makes me laugh…) Jamey Karr, Greg Wheeler, David Le Blanc, David Kilburn, Paige Burrough Ballard, Lani Clark, Brian Frank, Mike, Carla, Tommy, and a few others were all eating out at Blackstone’s. But it was like a scene out of Tombstone and the guys were all in western wear. Paige, Lani, Carla and I were having a discussion about men in chaps.😜Next thing I know they are riding off into the Panhandle sunset on pink hippos. That’s right. Pink hippos. And even now the more I think about it, the funnier it gets…

Phew… back to reality.

For almost a decade and after two kids, I was still migraine free. Those were pretty decent years (aside from female problems that I no longer contend with and IBS, which I do.) Then in 1998 🤯 official diagnosis. I’ve had migraines ever since, but they’ve morphed and changed over time.

I have been on and off preventive meds for years. I even had a couple of years that were just manageable headaches. (But as a ⚠️ WARNING ⚠️ —do NOT take Excedrine migraine heavily… that ended up with a very painful bowel bleed and a lengthy hospital stay because of it. Excessive NSAID use is no joke.)
Then in 2015 🤯 I was diagnosed with Occipital Neuralgia (which I’d never heard of, but have become nearly an expert) and Pudendal Neuralgia (I’m not going into this one.) Apparently my entire CNS is a mess. Fast forward til last week and a half…

I had 4 ER visits in May and June. The pain was intolerable and like many other chronic pain patients, I deal with some depression. I was literally down and out on the 4th visit. That last bill was a whopper, but the ER doc on call was actually a pain management doctor who gave me a couple of nerve blocks I hadn’t had before (and I’ve had more than a few.) My migraine dropped from a 7-8 to a 5 instantly and was at a 4 at discharge. It stayed a 4 and after a good nights’ sleep (something new) I woke up with no migraine or ON pain. I seriously thought I was out of my mind. I hadn’t had a true pain-free day in months (years???)

So… I’m now seeing a pain management specialist, finding a new neurologist here in town (not a fan of the one assigned) and throwing in alt “meds” that help – vitamins, essential oils, massage and going to go to a chiropractor when I get the all clear from the tests and nerve blocks that will be done.

I know weather triggers the ON and migraines – as does lack of sleep. I have certain foods I’ve totally cut from my diet as well. Those are an almost instant reaction. (One of the many reasons I don’t like to go out to eat is I like to know what’s in my food and the consequences are truly dire if I don’t stick to a pretty regimented diet.)

I wanted to share this because I don’t want anyone to give up on ANY problems they have – whether mental, physical or spiritual. There ARE answers out there and you may need a multi-disciplined approach. The doctor I saw last week was “feeling around” my head and neck. I had lost about 75% of lateral movement (didn’t notice because of constant pain) and my head and neck were really swollen. So… 4 new meds (a couple are just short term anti-inflammatory etc) and my dear hubby could actually see some curve in my neck again.

There are many options out there, but research, the right doctor and patience are huge.

I’m broken, but not shattered, and while it sounds hokey to some, I really feel like God is helping to mend the cracks and imperfections in this mortal shell. There have been many days I’ve asked myself if this whole thing is actually a test from God (think modern day Job.) I don’t know. But what I do know is in casting the burden to Him and sharing a bit of my story I hope I might just help someone else. I feel for the first time in years that I’m in a path to victory and to God alone will go the glory for bringing the people into my life that even just by being a friend is healing to me. Thank you for being there. Pink hippos…

Rollin’, Rollin’, Rollin’…

All That & A Bag O’ Chips

“The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.” 

― Julia Child


Every time I turn around there is some new “fad diet” or some commercial hyping a new piece of wonder-equipment.  I hear friends talking about Herbalife, Weight Watchers, Atkins, The Paleo Diet, The South Beach Diet or whatever is the name of the anti-fat game this week. (All trademarked etc.)  And I’m not bad-mouthing them though I’m sure it will seem this way. I know millions of folks have lost weight with them and I’m happy for them and I hope those people can keep it off. However, with some of these, I cannot see why I have to pay money to buy products to lose weight when God has given me natural, pure and healthy foods to eat. It’s the junk that kills. 
I have fallen prey to more than a few fad diets in my 40+ years. (The worst of which I don’t want to discuss, but cost me my gallbladder.) But about a year and a half ago it got real. It took me hitting the 200 pound mark to suck it up and face reality.  It took me hitting a size 22 to do so. Am I proud of those facts? No. It has taken me a year to admit it in a public forum.  Am I where I want to be? Not yet. But I’m getting there. I’m down over 40 pounds and 4 dress sizes and counting. Yay! Call me a happy camper. 
 I’ve been keeping it simple and I’m just calling it the Common Sense Lifestyle Change. 
First, let’s talk about FOOD! (Because we all like food.)

* Most of the foods I buy are organic or generally have ingredients I can pronounce.  I take my additives very seriously and try not to buy anything with hormones or anything that would gross me out if I were to watch how it was made. Very rarely do I buy things that aren’t “simple.” I’m probably about 85% vegetarian about now. I just can’t seem to give up my steak and seafood. Yum. However, I have tried being a raw vegan for a bit and I actually am probably closer to vegan than vegetarian… but for the love of seafood, steak… oh, and Texas BBQ. Mmmmmm. 


One of the main reasons for this is I have to be very careful of nitrates and preservatives in food because of the migraines they trigger. Makes me not so happy.  There are a lot of things in food that affect a lot of people differently. If you have health issues, you might have a food allergy or intolerance. It’s something to at least consider. 


* I generally measure out the foods I’m going to eat.  – Portion control. –  Once you are used to eating a pint of ice cream at a time (which I have done), you have to retrain your brain to understand what a “true” serving size really is.  That’s one of the reasons people are obese.  Learn what constitutes a portion and it gets much easier from there.

EXAMPLE: A chip-bender to the bottom of a 9-ounce bag is 1,260 calories sans the dip. So stick to 1 serving, about 15 chips—that’s 140 calories—or pick up some 100-calorie snack packs and save 1,120 calories

* Learn to slow down when eating and understand what “FULL” really feels like. There’s no need to finish everything on your plate. The first few times I left food on my plate at a restaurant, I felt really, horribly guilty.  (Starving kids in China…?)  But at the same time, most restaurant portion sizes are enough for two people. WHY would I want to do that to myself?  The sad thing is that I did that to myself for a long time. 


* DO NOT EAT IN FRONT OF THE TELEVISION. If you eat in front of the TV, studies show you consume almost 300 calories more than if you ate at the table. 


* Last but not least, I don’t deprive myself. If I want some creme brûlée or dessert once in a blue moon, I will enjoy some. But I’m not going to go Banzai bat crap crazy and I’m not going to feel guilty. I will eat right the rest of the time and make up for it. No starvation. No binge/purge. Just pure, clean eating. 
Now, I know that I’m going to turn off a lot of people when I say the next word, but bear with me. “Exercise.”   But I’m going to add something to it… if you haven’t exercised in a long time, you don’t have to go to extremes starting out,  join a gym, do DVD’s, workout on the Wii or anything like that.  Ready? Cool secrets here:

* If all you can do is walk up and down a hallway of your house do it.


* From the hallway move to the driveway or the front sidewalk or maybe to the end of the block. (You get the picture.)  I used to tell my dad at 90 years old when he was recovering from a fall, “Just take one more step dad. One more step will get you stronger. What will one more step get you?”  

* From steps, move to a strength move of stairs or a curb.  Step up and down. If you need to hold on to something, do it. 

Something fun for cardio and to get the muscles engaged: Dance like there is no one watching. For Heaven’s Sake, put on some great tunes and get moving. It doesn’t matter if all you can do is sit in a chair and tap your feet and clap your hands or raise your arms. It’s SOMETHING. 

     Side note: It’s been said TAPPING YOUR FEET THROUGH OUT THE DAY BURNS ABOUT 350 CALORIES A DAY!!!!! Seriously… those who fidget have got to have an edge on the rest of us. 

Some of my favorite tunes while cleaning house (WHICH ALSO BURNS CALORIES:)
* Aretha Franklin – Chain of Fools
* Michael Jackson – Beat It
* Beatles – Twist and Shout
* Cameo – Word Up

* Fall Out Boy – Dance, Dance
* Fun – Some Nights
* AC/DC – Back in Black
* Toby Mac – Burn For You
* 3 Doors Down – Kryptonite

Again, those are just a few of the tunes I’ll throw on and then dance around like a loon. It’s all about getting your body moving. When you have some upbeat music on, vacuuming and dusting or moping the floor (or what have you) is not only a little more enjoyable, but goes faster and becomes a better calorie burn. 

Like I said… I’ve dropped over 40 pounds so far just using these little tips. You’ve probably heard it before, but I’m the proof that it works.  

There’s no need for anything other than eating right and moving your bod. 

“Diet food is for lazy people.” 
― Ice-T

Waiting to Exhale

I tried yoga once but took off for the mall halfway through class, as I had a sudden craving for a soft pretzel and world peace. 

~Terri Guillemets



In the past few weeks, I have been under a stress load that mechanical engineers would have a hard time finding a logical answer to the equation of “how is it  possible to hold that kind of load.” 

Life changing news has come about which I’m not at liberty to share at this time, I’m 100 pages into my first full-length novel and self-doubt and worry is running amok, my mother’s health is troublesome, my daughters are starting to take test runs from the nest and other things are going on between home and work that have me wondering if I’m made of elastic and what the ultimate breaking point is.  I think my stress load can be equated to the load per unit area or the force (F) applied per cross-sectional area (A) perpendicular to the force as shown in the equation below:
 
Now, the best part of this whole thing is I just probably sounded really smart here and I have to thank Engineersedge.com for their insight for the formula above. I could honestly try to figure it all out, but the left side of my brain, the analytic side, has a very hard time with math and physics. I’m a right-brained person overall and if I think about it at length, it gets complicated and I’d probably short circuit. I try not to think about it.  Darned analytics. Now I’m thinking about it. 

So back to yoga. 

It’s something not-so-new I’m working on. I’m seriously trying to decompress and work on some kind of Zen state I really want to achieve. I seriously doubt I will achieve that calm that surpasses my understanding; however, if I can reach a point where I can focus on the breath and the body and shut the world out for however long, I will have achieved something. Eh?

Now… back to downward dog… Which to tell you my mental state always makes me think, “Bad dog, good dog,” while I’m waiting to exhale… I gotta work on that.