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Waking up to a nightmare

Waking up to a nightmare

Hi, my name is Camille and at 26 I had my first stroke, yes that was just the beginning of my story. It’s a bit unusual, sure, but I’m a survivor. So many people told me this is my chance and they’re right – this is my chance to be everything I can be. In this story, almost fable-like, I hope you don’t have to go through my experience to learn my lessons. Love and light, Cami xo

 

Bali. The ultimate vacation destination. To say I was excited is an understatement. I was over the moon, ecstatic. I even packed a couple of weeks in advance which I hardly do these days. I arrived and it was beautiful, the place and the people. On the second day in Bali and I could tell something wasn’t quite right. I was exhausted. I put it down to being jetlagged, I needed to rest. So my second day was uneventful (seemingly) and I had a migraine (unsurprisingly) I’ve had one almost every night for 7 years. The second evening comes, it’s 2am and I’m beginning to panic, I have no strength in my left side, I’m worried because breathing is getting hard. I don’t want to tell my sister, she’s sleeping in the room next door with her hubby and two little girls. I’ll wait til 8am. 15minutes pass by and I am starting to truly panic. It’s hard to even take a sip of water. I’ve gone downhill fast and feel desperate. I call my sister “Gala!” (her name is actually Gisella), “Pleaase take me hospital!” I say crying standing between my room and hers. I know I am frightening her and the kids, I’m starting to frighten myself. I leave a few voice messages on Facebook messenger to my hubby telling him about my  plans. He’s a cluey one, that guy. He’s booked a flight to Bali first thing in the morning, despite me telling him not to. Thank goodness he did. After heading to an international hospital, several hours later (and injections) I get CT-scan results. I tell them I’ve had a migraine before. Then they turn to me and say I haven’t got a migraine, I’ve had a stroke. If ever there was a wtf moment this was it. I was 27, on holiday in a foreign country, this couldn’t be happening right? So, that’s the beginning of my tale. I literally woke up to a nightmare, only this was very real and truly happening.  In the next blog posts, I’ll be tackling each “lesson” head on that I encountered on my journey. Thanks for tuning in 😉


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How to keep warm and pain-free this winter

How to keep warm and pain-free this winter

“Winter is coming!” if you’re a GoT fan, this may mean a little more to you, but even if you’re not, I’m quite serious – winter is coming and if you’re like me, your joints are already letting you know it’s starting to get colder. In this post, I want to share some tips on how to keep warm and pain-free this winter.

Warm Bath

Ok, so it doesn’t get too cold, snow is probably the last thing that could happen when it’s winter here in Brisbane, but it does get cold, especially for an autoimmunee. One of the best things ever invented to help warm up cold muscles, aching joints and overall exhausted bodies is a warm bath! If you don’t have a bathtub, don’t despair, you can still warm up with a hot foot spa (fill your foot spa and basic basin and stick your feet in!). This can help you raise your core temperature and signal to your body to relax.

    • Make a Muscle Relaxing Detox Bath. Add some Epsom salts (about a small handful); some pure essential oils like peppermint or lavender (25-35 drops); 2 teabags of Tension Tamer (open up and sprinkle contents in the bath; you can rinse after); and a small capful of Olive Oil (this makes the tub slippery so be cautious, the oil acts as a skin cleanser and moisturizer). Then mix it all together until you’re ready to get in. Try to let your body soak for 15-30 minutes.
    • Apple Cider Vinegar Bath. Bathing in apple cider vinegar can help reduce the symptoms of pain and arthritis. It also aids the mobility of the joints greatly as it reduces the excess uric acid build up in the body. Just add 1 to 2 cups of apple cider vinegar to a warm or hot bath and soak for up to 30 minutes. Make sure to drink lots of water before and after your bath.
    • Click here for more recipes:

 

 

Avoid alcohol and drink more water instead

Alcohol causes blood to rush towards your skin, lowering your core temperature. It also keeps your body from shivering, which is a key part of how you stay warm. Drink as much water as possible because if you’re dehydrated, your body will send the fluids you do have to essential organs like your heart and brain, instead of your fingers and toes. For people with poor circulation from conditions like diabetes and Raynaud’s Disease, that lack of blood flow can worsen hand and foot pain.

Keep Moving

Arthritis can affect people at anytime throughout the year, but the winter and wet weather months can make it even harder to manage symptoms. The cold and damp weather affects those living with arthritis as climate can create increased pain to joints whilst changes also occur to exercise routines. We have an instinct during winter to hibernate; however, a lack of physical activity will cause joints to become stiff.  Exercise eases arthritis pain. It increases strength and flexibility, reduces joint pain, and helps combat fatigue. To manage arthritic conditions during the cooler months, individuals need to plan physical activities that are easy to do during winter, such as:

  • Walking indoors, such as around shopping centres
  • Household chores, like vacuuming
  • Playing with children
  • Swimming indoors, such as Hydrotherapy
  • Taking an aerobics or yoga class
  • Listening to music and dancing
  • Using the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Stretching or doing light exercises while watching TV

How cool would it be to have an indoor endless pool?

Have you got some more tips to keep warm and pain-free this winter? Share them below.


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Temporo-Mandibular TMJ Injection Patient Story (Aka Cortisone Injection for joints in the jaw) **updated**

Temporo-Mandibular TMJ Injection Patient Story (Aka Cortisone Injection for joints in the jaw) **updated**

Hey! So one of my resolutions is to be as open and real about what’s happening with my health, and given I have a bit of a minor (but major to me lol) procedure coming up. Though it might help also might help others who might have something like this coming up too.

What is it?

An ultrasound guided injection of a corticosteroid to my jaw joints (left and right, temporo-mandibular joint)

tmj injection

When?

Next Monday, Feb 20 at 1 in the afternoon.

Why?

Late last year I had problems opening my jaw and had limited opening. I had an MRI earlier this year which showed I had severe degeneration of the joint (arthritis in my jaw, both sides).

What happens?

So, I thought I’d write this blog post in two part, one before (this one) and one after (next week). From my understanding, the injection includes anesthetic so that’s the part that stings.

Tips

I have a wonderful friend over at www.enabledisabled.com.au who has a wealth of knowledge especially when it comes to arthritis-related issues, having juvenile arthritis herself she’s experienced things first hand.

  • If you’re nervous like I’m sure I will be on the day, take a Valium about 45mins before the actual procedure and ask a loved one to be with you (I’ll be taking hubby in that’s for sure) just to calm down anxiety
  • Make sure to eat 6 hours before as you’re not allowed to eat after that as the injection may make you nauseous
  • You may sip water up until 2 hours before your appointment (other than your Valium 45mins before) you water intake shouldn’t be more than a small half cup per hour.
  • On the morning of the procedure have a shower and change into comfortable clothing. Minimise jewelry and valuables that you bring
  • Don’t take anything that has blood thinning properties e.g aspirin, warfarin etc.

Part 2

**Update!!!**
So today I went to the hospi. All prepped up and ready…and it got postponed! :O

This was because the flare up aka symptoms I had late last year have subsided. While the MRI scan shows the degenerative joint, the procedural doc was like if you can open your jaw I think we should wait for the next flare up so you can know (and feel) the difference. I’m like yeah that’s what i was wondering. I already resigned myself to the fact that I need to do this but my symptoms of the jaw have been subsided since December. So he was like i will talk to your Rheuma, but as of right now I don’t feel it’s good to risk the infections possible if you don’t have pain because the injection is asymptomatic and i want to provide relief not further traumatize you lol. The ultrasound doc was really nice and explained the procedure for next time too so I’m more prepared.

Here’s what I’ve noted:

  • During the procedure the finest needled is used. In it is a mix of the anesthetic and the steroid. In one shot, better than the anesthesia first to numb the area because it’s a bigger needle too. So it’s all in one shot.
  • Before the shots on both sides, I can take 10mg Valium about 45 mins before. Usual is 5mg
  • Make sure someone is with you after the procedure and watching over you overnight to follow just in case…of issues.
  • Don’t use your jaw at all for the following 48 hours (e.g talking, yawning, chewing etc)
  • Since you shouldn’t chew, have smoothies prepared for nourishment (frozen banana & berries/frozen zucchini & broccoli etc)
  • If you feel a cold ice pack is almost cool, put an old pair of denim jeans/shorts in the freezer, it’s cold enough for relief but not painful relief if ya get me 😛
  • When sleeping, lie on your back avoid sleeping on either side that your jaw injection was on (in my case both)
  • Note also, you shouldn’t have more than 3 injections in a joint within 5 years (more could lead to necrosis of the joint)

Thoughts

So we’ll wait until the next flare up (hopefully not in the jaw ever again lol) and if symptoms are back I will get the proper shot. Stay tuned. If it does happen, will let you guys know how it goes 🙂

 


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Food Labels

These thoughts have plagued me over the past few weeks and I can’t help but try to make means of them.

Nope, I’m talking about labels on food, but the labels we put on ourselves.

Vegan? Vegetarian? Pescetarian? Fructose Free? Meat Eater? Ovo-lacto vegetarian? There’s labels for everything but not really a category for anyone who is one and none at the same time? Some could says that’s just being indecisive, you either you or you’re not right? But I feel the whole things with diets, with the feeling of “limits” or “cutting out” is just a way to fail keeping to your nutrition goals. So instead, I like to say that I am a CONSCIOUS EATER meaning I am conscious with what I put in my mouth. I’m pretty much 70% veggies and fruit anyway, but I do still eat the occasional meat and what not, but I do this making the conscious decision of how it will affect me and others, and thus don’t eat it often.

Healthwise, red meat has never really been “on my side” per se and probably doesn’t good to anyone else (human and non-human) I always experience more exaggerated symptoms following a big piece of steak, such as stiff joints and more nodules, hence you’d think I’d cut eating it altogether knowing this, but hey sometimes you forget, we’ve been conditioned to love a cheeseburger or a lamb roast and yet you know it’s not good for you. Surely not a few times would hurt? Actually it would, but we must accept as human beings, behaviours (conscious and unconscious) take time to re-program, re-educate. I could go the route of letting it all go, but it comes down to taste. Sometimes you would really like to a fully-fledged vegan but when you get into cooking vegan meals, it just doesn’t taste all that great. So it takes time to learn the recipes, the substitutions, until they no longer become the “substitutes” but rather the first ingredient you think of. So it’s a learn process. So while we undergo these changed, we need to settle with being conscious eaters, noticing how it makes you feel, really feel. Not just the instant gratification but hours later when you feel bloated or have rashes. Then we look even further outside of ourselves, how it affects the animals, the world. Watching cowspiracy you see the environmental impacts on a grand scale of what eating meat does.

It’s sad because all the signs are there, but yet still it’s hard to make the switch, we are so firmly rooted in what we have always known, sunday roasts with the family, fiesta time, all our major events in life focus on food. How can we reclaim these times, still have it centered around food but CONSCIOUSLY thinking of food that’s not just sustainable but TASTY.

As an Autoimmunee, this is my challenge, I’ve already started being more AWARE of sugar and fructose, which has greatly helped, there is certainly a lot more to learn and instead of being overwhelmed, I see it as a lifelong task we should all strive for. So are you ready? Be a conscious eater with me, axe the labels and get down to what it is you want to do with your health/what kind of human being you want to be in the greater scheme of things. LET’S SHARE AWESOME RECIPES THAT MAKE US FEEL GOOD BOTH INSIDE AND EVEN DEEPER INSIDE, RECIPES TO FEED OUR TUMMIES AND OUR SOULS.


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Fruit Lover

Let’s talk Fruit. As you know I’m on a fructose free kick, but I still have natural fructose in fruit. I know that there are all sorts of tables out there available counting sugar and what not in fruit, but I don’t go that far. As long as I avoid junk foods, refined sugar and other unnaturally sweet things, than fruit to me is fine. In moderation of course. Here are some fruit staples I always have in my kitchen, what about you guys?

  • Bananas (must have!!!)
  • Avocados
  • Naval Oranges
  • Berries (raspberries, blueberries, black berries, strawberries etc.)
  • Apples
  • Dragon Fruit (special)
  • Pears
  • Rockmelon
  • Watermelon

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Veggie-Rama!

There are heaps of veggies out there, in fact if you were to go vegan and ate the right mix of veggies you could have a balanced diet including all the needed vitamins, protein and minerals. But that’s for another time. For now, just want to share with you what’s on our veggie shopping list usually:

  • Chokos
  • Bok Choy/Pechay
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Pumpkin
  • Carrots
  • Zucchini
  • Cucumber
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Eggplant
  • Capsicum

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Breakfast Smoothie

I tend to have the same everyday and I love it. What’s your favourite go-to brekky smoothie? Share with us in the comments below.

My Fav Brekky Smoothie

Bsmoothie

Ingredients:

  • 300ml Almond Milk
  • 1 Frozen Banana
  • 1 handful Frozen Mixed Berries
  • 1 tbsp Psyllium Husk
  • 1 handful of Kale and/or Baby Spinach
  • 1 tbsp Rice Malt Syrup
  • 1 tbsp Greek Yoghurt
  • 100ml water

 

 


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Getting back up

I know the feeling of giving up. There’s a reason. There always is. Several weeks ago, I got Shingles under my right breast. Yep, it sucks. Not sure what it is? Google it if you want, it isn’t pretty. It got me off my exercise for a while. I know it’s a legit reason to stop exercising for the time, as Shingles can get pretty painful and I wouldn’t want to sweat on top of that too. But I used it as an excuse to throw out all notions of a healthy lifestyle, I used it as an excuse to eat crap. Is there ever a good reason to eat crap? Nope! It just made me feel more crap. But it’s easy to slip into old habits when you feel like crap – being health conscious takes effort right? Have you ever done this? What was your ‘excuse’? ProjectBE is all about making this a lifestyle, a new habit that we want to stick. How would you keep up a healthy lifestyle? If you haven’t been able to before, what do you think you could do differently?