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the patient’s survival guide to:: syncope

Syncope, or fainting, can be one of the most terrifying symptoms you may feel while battling an illness. It is often the sign of the brain not getting enough oxygen, which results in fainting or near fainting. The tunnel vision, cold sweat and temporary paralysis can leave emotional scars. Syncope often hits suddenly and quickly, and leaves us in fear of leaving our safe spaces.

My goal as your health coach is to improve your quality of life with your illness by providing you with the right information for your bio individuality and your diagnosis. Syncope can appear differently in people but it does have a basic outline:

+a sudden loss or near loss of vision, strength in the body and ability to talk

+clamminess or a cold sweat

+pins and needle feeling in limbs or even the entire body

 

Other symptoms can present as well but these are the three usual symptoms.

If syncope or near syncope keeps rearing it’s ugly head at you, scope out this checklist and see if you can narrow in on the possible trigger. Then, email me for a consult and find out how to eliminate this issue for good! Knowing your trigger(s) is key in order to fix it. I find that doctors don’t talk often about this issue (“panic attack” anyone?) and this issue is a very common goal I work on with my clients.

possible near syncope triggers::

+as a pain response to any type of physical or emotional event (you may feel other adrenaline related symptoms if this is the case)

+hypoglycemia or ingestation of too much sugar. Balance that blood sugar!!

+DEHYDRATION. Your kidneys balance your body’s overall mineral levels. If you are chronically ill, you are in a constant state of mineral depletion. Make sure to drink your fluids and to include the proper electrolytes and minerals with them!

+a sudden change in blood volume. Were you constipated for several days and finally able to move your bowels? Did you have eat a large meal quickly? Experience loose stools or diarrhea in the past couple of days? Chug a ton of liquids? All of these events are known to trigger syncope episodes within 48 hours of happening. (fun fact:: this is the most common cause of POTS symptoms!)

+heat intolerance, too much sweating — even hours after coming inside.

+not exhaling as you change positions, allowing gravity to suck the oxygen out of your brain too quickly. Make this a habit!

I’ve had numerous syncope episodes during my years of Lyme disease and the POTS life. All of this info was gathered from my personal experience and the education of my doctors. I love teaching on this topic because the truth it, it is actually quite easy to correct this issue, but the process looks different for everyone. I encourage you to get in touch and schedule an intensive with me to come up with a plan of action for you, especially if you have POTS!

Hope this helped! Leave your comments and questions below!

 

 

 

dear weary warrior; what i’ve learned as a lyme disease patient

dear weary warrior,

i have been where you are right now. emotionally exhausted, body in pain, feeling like you are trying to see through eyes covered with ten layers of saran wrap. your brain is foggy and you aren’t sure what you are even thinking anymore. the road has already been long but seems to stretch out endlessly in front of you too.

i have been where you are right now. no plan, no hope, no help, no resources. it takes true courage to overcome the shadows each day. it takes a village and a toolbox to help you move forward. know that it is possible- if not today, then tomorrow. hold on to hope.

there are many things i have learned in my seven months since finally being diagnosed with lyme disease and several coinfections after 7 years of being mysteriously sick. seven months may seem short to you, but it was a whole life time to me. the lessons i learned are ones i will never forget. the person i am today i am grateful to be.

these are three of the biggest themes i have been experiencing in my life since getting those positive test results:

  1. self care, self care, self care: if you are tired of hearing this, you don’t truly understand what it means. you aren’t practicing it daily and therefore, aren’t healing the way you have the potential to. taking care of myself first every day is what helps me build up a reserve for the next day. we never know what we will come up against physically- that is why it is so important to incorporate habits and attitudes that enable us to feel mentally strong and resilient. showing love to myself by taking care of my faith, heart/mind and body is the best way to build courage and strength to be ready for whatever may come my way in the future.
  2. don’t fall into the label. MANY people are so relieved at finally getting a diagnosis, that it becomes all they can identify with. they spend all their time and energy talking to others who share the same symptoms and fail to work on building their way out of the hole- through relationships, hobbies and future goal setting. it’s ok to need to relate to others who truly understand sometimes. but don’t slap the label of LYME or something else over your entire life. you can have the tshirt, bumper sticker and fb friends– but are you nurturing those standing around you right now? are you finding ways to integrate back into the “real” world as you improve? have you found a purpose or an inspiration that lights your soul on fire and brings you renewed strength and energy? all of these are important.
    physical dis-ease is the last stop on the train. there are layers of factors that get piled up before our body begins to break down on the cellular level that lets disease take over. you should be spending AS MUCH OR MORE time addressing your emotional and mental health in form of removing negative thought patterns, limiting beliefs and trauma effects as you do taking care of yourself physically. the subconscious mind holds this load– and it is through alleviating that stress that we can being to experience true health.
  3. BREATHE. even when it feels endless, even when you truly believe the next time you close your eyes will be the last, IT WILL ALL BE OKAY. morning always follows night. always. remember, courage first, then conquer. pray for safe people. pray for clarity on the path forward. pray for real, quality sleep. pray for revelations of where you are stuck. pray, pray, pray. voicing our struggles out loud allows the brain to get unstuck from it’s negative thought loop. in releasing the negatiev thought, you allow space for a new pattern to be created. one you control, one that is positive, one that is uplifting. one that can drive you forward.

i say all of this in love. my journey is not over yet and neither is yours. but if we can approach our illness as a curious journey to be explored, i truly believe the possibilities are endless, the potential is limitless, the opportunity is great. of course, those are just my thoughts. i would love to hear yours: what do you think is the most important lesson you’ve learned through your chronic illness? comment  below or shoot me an email.

 

out of the fog, part three;

out of the fog part three;

so there i was, a brand new mom, sleep deprived but so so happy. like most first time parents, all those hours spent awake and in zombie-zone got me thinking about what would be going in to the perfect little body of the child that was now our responsibility to raise and nurture. i made the goal of nursing for a year but i had no idea what i was getting into. [another story for another time. nursing isnt for everyone. and that whole thing about how its “natural”? baloney.] my main motivation behind that decision was looking at myself and wanting him to be as healthy as possible. i wanted the absolute best for him, like any parent does. so i decided: “if i can nurse, im going to nurse as long as possible.” we made it two weeks shy of his one year birthday- liam weaned himself naturally. it was a war [shout out to my husband for being our biggest cheerleader. we never would have made it without his support!] but we made it.

later we would find out how much i wore out my body by breastfeeding that long but it is a decision i will NEVER regret.

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the turning point: i was five months partpartum, liam was still waking every 2-3 hours at night and i was deliriously happy. but as the months went on i started to notice that i REALLY wasn’t feeling right. it wasn’t an emotional thing, it was physical. this is where doTerra comes in: a friend of mine in california posted online about her essential oil experience and offered to explain them more one on one when i asked for more info. at this point, what did i have to lose? we felt like we had tried everything. will was on board to give it a try so we placed our first order — and we haven’t looked back! the day our kit came, will had a horrible cold that had him kept him home from work for the past two days. melody texted some suggestions and within five minutes of applying peppermint to his sinuses, they were clear! he felt instantly better and continued to use them throughout the day. that night he slept great and went to work feeling almost 100% better. a few days later we used them to treat liam’s very first ear infection. our pediatrician was impressed and we were sold! i began diving into the essential oil world more doing research, taking classes and using them on myself, will and liam. it was a ray of sunshine & hope in a confusing, new time. [email me for the rest of our essential oil story. there’s so much more to it!]

at 8 months old, liam was finally sleeping 6-7 hour stretches but i was a complete mess. my vertigo had become a daily thing, i felt faint and nauseous all the time, and i STILL felt like i had morning sickness all day long. my stomach was constantly burning, from the moment i got up in the morning until i went to bed. since i was nursing, there wasn’t much i could do about it. i used my oils religiously and they NEVER let me down– but there was an underlying condition. something was wrong and it felt like it was getting worse. to figure out what it was, i had to keep searching. i was tired of having no energy, vision problems, freezing cold hands and feet, blood pressure that was way too low, ovarian cysts, night sweats, the list goes on and on…

my doctors in canada kept telling me i was just experiencing post partum symptoms and i was getting angry. the UTIs were still happening. the vertigo was debilitating. i was having episodes of suddenly losing strength in my legs and falling. i couldn’t leave the house even to go to the grocery store without thinking at least once i might toss my cookies right there in the cereal aisle. my sister traveled up to stay with us for weeks at a time that first year to help with the baby. there was no way this was “normal.”

finally, will had the idea to go back to my urologist in ohio and try his suggested treatment. it seemed logical to think that it all started with bladder infections so why not go back to the root of the problem? where it all started? it would mean a lot of change and hard work but we were desperate. my health was not only my problem but it was will’s and liam’s. that wasn’t fair to them. i decided right then and there i would do whatever else it took to get better. my family needed and deserved a better me! (as draining as the physical symptoms were, the daily emotional barrage of guilt was worse.)

so we arranged for health insurance in the states again and while waiting for january 1st for it to take effect, i began to take control and made some changes. first, i added magnesium to my daily routine after coming across wellness mama and her amazing blog. within a few days i felt better! next i tackled blood sugar regulation and learned all i could about proper food combinations and what super foods would benefit me most. with the help of a health coach who specialized in hormonal health, we built a protocol specially fitting my needs and within three months i was on my way to healing. when the first of the year came i began specialized treatments with a chiropractor, my urologist and pelvic floor therapy. i also began biofeedback treatments and worked with a functional medicine doctor– i really began to improve after that. i wasn’t back to old care free myself, but i was definitely better. finally.

fast forward to present day and i feel like a new person. do i still have weak days? absolutely. your adrenals take a long time to heal but as long as you are taking proper care of yourself, you have no reason to think they wont. i still deal with vertigo and low blood pressure on a daily basis but i am healing myself through nutrition, holistic remedies and self care. i am forever grateful to my team of doctors and healthcare professionals who have gone above & beyond by working together and working relentlessly to find my diagnosis. (more on that later.) my faith in God and His leading was my lifeline during these years. He truly was my arrow when i had no idea where to go.

-originally written in fall 2015

 

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adrenal fatigue is a very real struggle. there is a huge need for awareness, support and simple actionable steps to take when someone is suffering from a body in constant fight or flight mode. don’t give up! as a health coach, i am here to help those with adrenal burnout. i have been there. it’s in my rearview mirror. i was blessed with arrows in the fog and footprints in the sand and i am now on the right path, thank God. He has watched over me this whole time and He is enabling me to help you now.

 

there is still so much more to my story, but i will leave it like it is here. my recovery protocol was tailored to me, as yours should be you. do you have a plan? are you ready to take control of your health? lets work together!

the day i found out i had lyme disease

my life with lyme; part one
a big huge THANK YOU to all of you who have reached out to lend me some encouragement and support when i shared my lyme diagnosis last week. one thing you are always immensely grateful for as an invisible illness patient is support- when it comes. sadly, most people can’t honestly say that their support team is solid, and that is a tragedy! you are so sweet to take the time to send me a message. thank you!
i’ve gotten so many questions in the past week, its blown me away! most people want to know what life with lyme is like, how am i coping, what does this mean for me now, what supplements am i taking, etc. i’ll answer those as best I can as this journey goes on but please remember this- my journey is mine. i will be making choices and decisions based on what is best for me and my current life situation. always do your own research, ask ALL of your questions and find that peace before moving forward with anything. i am not a doctor and will not be giving any medical advice in these blog posts. however, i have come to realize that it is important to share how this disease shows in order to spread awareness and help promote healing. someone very wise told me last week, “as a health coach, you’re a leader in health first, before anything else.” how true!
that being said, i’ll take today to answer the question i’ve gotten most—how am i doing since i got my results?
in my video last week i mentioned that i was not shocked to get my positive results. there were several reasons why:
1. my doctors had prepared me well for what the test would look for and how my symptoms were matching up with lyme disease and its coninfections, even after i have spent the last 9 months thinking i was in the beginning stages of MS like they originally thought.
2. i did my own research from all kinds of angles to see if i could come to the same agreement they had. bottom line, once i started reading, it all fell into place. the more i searched before getting the test, the more i knew in my gut that this was my root diagnosis.
3. i didn’t get the igenex test kit ordered until i was sure i was ready to go down this path. let’s be honest, there have been dozens of tests. there have been monthly blood draws and urine tests, all kinds of radiation exposure and multiple heart monitors, tilt table and physical therapy maneuvering. i didn’t have it in me to keep testing without having a clue what we were looking for. i didn’t want to spend more money on theories, i was emotionally done. ordering the test kit and getting the required bloodwork was me reaching the point where i had to know, one way or another, if this was lyme. i made my peace with the possibility it could be negative and i still wouldn’t have an answer. but as i said, in my gut, i really felt like this was it for me and i had to know.
we originally made the decision to get the test at the beginning of may after talking it over with 3 of my doctors. i had just had a procedure on my spine and recovery was much tougher than anticipated. a few errors with the kit itself happened and before we knew it, it was july. my lab was happy to draw the blood for free but I could only come in for it during certain times. matching those times up with when i knew the bacteria was out in my blood and replicating was tough. (that was my hangup, not something the doctors advised. i wanted to make sure they drew the blood during a time i was very symptomatic in order to get as sure of a results as we could.) i took the resistance as a sign i was on the right track and didn’t let it get me down. as time passed and my treatments continued, new symptoms started and i knew i was headed in the right direction.
by the way, shout out to igenex for great customer service. they called me when my kit arrived, verified my information and asked if i wanted a copy of the results myself. i said yes and they informed me that within 13-15 business days i would have them. i started stalking my poor mailman on day 12 in hopes of early news but it took 3.5 weeks. just when i had finally given up and told myself they would come eventually, they showed up a couple days later. (on the bottom of a very big stack of mail of course.) i almost missed the envelope!
opening that fat envelope and seeing all the pages inside made my stomach just drop. lots of info is always a good sign, but in this case, you don’t want lyme to be complicated. i was shaking all over. in the end, it was only the results of my coinfection panel. thankfully, because of my education as a health coach and from working in the lyme world these past few months, i was able to interpret the results myself. at my next doctor’s appointment which was three days later, they confirmed it.
so what’s next? that’s a good question. thank God, i am already responding to the treatment protocol i am already on. the neurofeedback is really starting to kick in and i’m seeing a lot of results after those sessions. my nutrition is good, i’m starting to notice more energy. the supplements i’m on already are known to be fantastic support for lyme patients — how amazing is that? what a blessing. there are still a lot of questions to be answered but in the meantime, i have begun looking for a lyme literate doctor. they’ll look at my history, results and symptoms and present treatment options and we will go from there. I plan to use an integrative approach but if there’s anything to learn it is that there is no plan for lyme. It will change and we will have to adjust.
there’s a long road ahead. i know that. it’s already been too long. but i’m still here and i’m still fighting. my dragon has a name now. i am a warrior. i refuse to let this disease win or define me. for the sake of my son and all my loved ones, i have to keep fighting. i’m not giving up yet.