Category Archives: Physical Illness

A Life Altering Experience – Part 2

Share

A Life Altering Experience – Part 2

So many losses. Mercy. Words painted gray with disappointment in my head. What was wanted didn’t come. What came wasn’t wanted. We’re left with shattered lives. In the dark, there resides a pounding and persistent uncertainty between us. Ron isn’t who he was. I’m not who I was. The lost parts of ourselves are vast. How do we proceed with a life altering experience? Good Lord, what’s next?

With a blood clot still in his brain two years after his stroke, Ron, tried to settle 10888736_945259278841328_7498673198762713532_ninto the reality of a different life, and so did I. Physicians had decided that the episode of dizziness that Ron had at work was actually his first stroke, not a pinched nerve. Well, that pissed us off. You mean he was misdiagnosed? How do you miss a stroke? A little more than a week later after his “pinched nerve” on that September day, a major stroke turned his life upside down.

There were many activities he could not do. I was sad for him. He hated taking blood thinners to prevent additional clots. He hated the caution he needed to take so he wouldn’t bleed out from unintentional cuts or injuries. He hated me pushing him to do more than retreat to the sofa. He was quiet, withdrawn. Depression was a companion. He battled to accept the many losses of things that were once routine: his job, playing sports, being able. Now he was disabled with no job, and could only watch sports.

It was about this time that I noticed a tremor in my hands. Like that jitter when you’ve had too much coffee. Except I didn’t drink coffee. Maybe it was a fluke. When I saw my PCP, she thought it was anxiety–stress from Ron’s condition and the stress of my job, and stress of medical bills, yeah, stress. No doubt. I had that!

Anxiety medication did nothing, the tremor remained. Then one day at work when providing an oral report in the daily meeting that takes place, the paper I was reading from was quivering. It was quivering because it was in my hands.

IMG_1027Now I was having anxiety over this alleged anxiety!! Then, while in treatment to determine the cause of my hand tremor, on January 18, 2012, my employer of ten years, suddenly and without warning, “eliminated my position.” What? I was devastated. Wait, what? Crushed. Hurt to the core. I laid in a fetal position betrayed. No one could console me. I didn’t understand. I did nothing wrong. Why did they do this? Was it my hand tremor? Because I was unable to hold paper still?

Ron was on disability and I had no job. Fear pooled in all the spaces left in me.

There were many tests of my nerves, muscles, brain, and blood. There were second and third opinions from the best movement disorder clinics. In April 2012, a month before Ron’s third stroke, at the leading Movement Disorder Clinic in the country, I was diagnosed with Parkinsonism at Rush Memorial Hospital in Chicago. I have the symptoms of PD, but it has not progressed into the full-fledged disorder.

I must seek a way to put myself back together because I feel like someone dropped me on the floor. I’ve broken into pieces. What was God doing? God broke me. He dropped me and I broke. What was I going to do?

I didn’t have much time to reflect on that question. Ron came to me saying he had a headache–that’s kinda a big deal when there’s a blood clot lodged in the brain. He also had sudden vision problems.

Back to the hospital where they again tried to remove the blood clot stuck in his brain. No go. It’s still in a location that they didn’t want to mess with. The physicians agreed he should be transferred to Northwestern Memorial in Chicago where leading neurosurgeons were having some success with cases like Ron’s. Well, that could be a life altering experience.

Nope. After a gazillion tests at Northwestern, they weren’t going to touch it either. But they did discover that Ron’s left carotid artery in the neck is 50 percent blocked. Wonderful. Ron’s lodged blood clot is on the left side of his brain. Oh, AND, he’s diabetic. He’ll need insulin injections, twice a day. Okay, so now I know this was some kind of joke, right?

No.

So that’s the story of the past six years. This is how I became a Life Coach and IMG_1267blogger. Ron does a lot of volunteer work at church and it’s given him a purpose in life and it makes him happy. He gets tired quickly, his speech is off, his attention span is non-existent, and he forgets things most of the time. But he’s stable.

We’re both on disability. Oh, and, we’ve lost everything.

I know there are many people with disabilities that are in even worse situations, I empathize. Tell me how you make it through the day. I want what I don’t have. I wish things were different–the way they were before. I play moments the way I want them to be, not as they are. Damn Reality! A life altering experience.

FullSizeRender (5)Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay unless otherwise noted

 

Fear: The Upgrade of Worry

Share

IMG_1783

We all know what fear feels like: that burning, hot, paralyzing sensation that erupts in the tummy and flows through the veins like lava; that weak, jelly-like feeling in the limbs; that shaky heart-throbbing Oh my God emotion; that I can’t breathe dizziness episode, well, need I go on? No one escapes fear.

Fear is often like a stow-away…it jumps on every other emotion for the ride.

Are you bummed out? Chances are fear is one of the feelings responsible. Anger is always accompanied by fear, and so is guilt. Wondering about getting hurt in a relationship? Getting laid-off? Getting dumped? Losing a loved one? Fear is the main ingredient there, too. Fear has many other names: terror, worry, apprehension, alarm, concern, fret, uneasiness, anxiety, distress, dread, and panic.

Fear is probably the worst feeling, along with depression, to encounter because it’s experienced physically as well as emotionally.

Psychiatrist and author of Worry: Hope and Help for a Common Condition, Dr. IMG_0727Edward Hallowell thinks people worry when they feel vulnerable and powerless. Worrying is used as a means to restore some sort of control—an attempt to reverse vulnerability and powerlessness. If we’re busy worrying, we feel a sense of control over the problem, even if that’s all we do about the dilemma—worry.

A type of worry—the worry or fear of uncertainty—has been shown to cause a devastating result.

Uncertainty is not knowing. It’s a situation that is unpredictable so an individual can’t determine what to think or do. Over a period of time this causes feeling of helplessness. Mounting evidence published in The Complete Guide to Your Emotions and Health, by Emrika Padus, shows that:

Worry over life’s uncertainties—those future “what-ifs” and past “if-onlys” that can drive us crazy with speculation—creates a particularly devastating kind of stress response…It’s what we don’t know (and can’t do anything about) that can really hurt us.

IMG_0322Uncertainty keeps a person in a constant state of semi-arousal which places an extreme burden on the body’s adaptive resources and resistance systems. Not knowing when something is going to happen or what is going to happen means having to stay on guard—tensed.

 

When worry escalates, the result is fear.

Fear floods the body with epinephrine. It’s most powerful effect is felt on the heart—both the rate and strength of contractions increase. Blood pressure soars. If the fear is intense enough, all systems can fatally overload.

Individuals who experience an intruding level of fear have one thing in common: a need for control.

Anxiety is a future-focused state and control has to do with uncertainty. We IMG_0307seek control of people in efforts to influence or guarantee the outcomes to situations that we want. Worry is often viewed as an attempt to control the future. In some cases we can even think that if we worry enough, a dreaded event won’t happen. The amount of fear and anxiety that we experience is influenced by our perceived ability to cope with what we fear.

The minds of worriers become dominated by fear.

But worrying does not provide security or safety. There is no way to eliminate uncertainty.

Think about it.

 

©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net
Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com

Need a brilliant idea? Hold a grudge.

Share

Hold a grudge. Now there’s a brilliant idea!

Yeah, cling to memories of betrayal and hurt. Ruminate over unfairness and CAPUPVE5CARS043CCAOF72XDCA75Z6V9CADGWZF6CAOBVH8ICANMHFYZCATKRO9PCA9XJ8MACAUZ5MIOCA45A0SUCA0R2TBZCAN0OEEQCAZF83JVCAI62Q52CAQ6I7R1CAP6RTDMCAF1ZI92injustice. Hold that bitterness close to your heart so that your entire attitude in life sucks and be sure everyone knows it. Feel entitled to take your anger out on other people—be mean, be blaming, be a bully. Yeah, hold a grudge and think that by doing so you’re somehow getting even. Don’t let the person off the hook–be sure to constantly remember the wrong-doing. Really mess up your head.

The only good holding a grudge has ever produced is the good hold it has on you going down. The wiser you are, the more you refuse to dwell in the toxicity IMG_0717of anger, bitterness, grudges, and resentment—the malignancy of emotions. Animosity eats away as you cling to injustices against you until you’re consumed with rogue anger and bitterness. Marriage to grudges and resentment has put many people in an early grave. The enormous energy connected to the emotion of hate changes the blood chemistry in a person to one that is favorable to disease. You lose power. You lose respect. You lose character. It’s not pretty. You won’t look cool. You won’t even recognize yourself.

Hate is a painful state of self-destruction because the mind is not intended to hate. It goes against the pure core of every human being. We were each born with an incredible expression of our inner purpose—to love ourselves and to love others.

If you’re holding a grudge, the release of that bitterness and resentment needs to be the priority for your own good health–physical and mental. Any period of time spent resenting man-439916_150someone else is time that you have chosen to feel miserable. The more occupied you are in disliking another person, the less occupied you are with pursuing your own happiness and success. You can’t resent or hate someone and feel any happiness or enthusiasm for life. Resentment, bitterness, anger, and grudges are all very expensive and costly to YOU, not to the person who caused it. These negative feelings don’t damage the other person, they damage you. So now you’ve doubled your pain.

The cure is forgiveness. Let it go. Move on. Get back to living. Regain your power and self-respect and loving nature. You can apply the healing balm of absolution and bask in the state of being emotionally malignant free. Only the foolish hang on to bitterness like a trophy. One can only hope that a day will arrive with the insight that the trophy is not an award, but actually a gravestone.

Think about it. In caring, Sandy

©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net

How long should someone be sick?

Share
What period of time is reasonable to have an illness?
We get restless and resentful when our normal routine is interrupted by the flu or a sprained ankle or any other physical disruption. We are a society of fast-forward, hectic pace people, who get our beverage and meal on the fly threw a drive-by. We got things to do. Places we need to be. There’s no time to be sick. And if we’re laid up for two weeks, forget-about-it, our heads will explode!!
Those of us who are always doing something (myself included) have difficulty IMG_0938 - Copy - Copy - Copysitting in one place unless we’re sleeping. So any medical ailment is viewed as something treading on our freedom and responsibilities. But here’s the thing. Our brain is really chummy with all our organs, ligaments, blood, and bones. Our brain knows all our cells by their names! Our brain is the bodyguard. When something isn’t working right, say, in the small bowel, the brain is the first to know and then it tells you how long it’s going to take for the repairs. And instead of being stubborn and defiant, listen to what your brain and body are telling you. Rest, see a doctor, restore yourself, watch Cheers re-runs or Home Improvement.
In The Anatomy of an Illness: As Perceived by the Patient, Norman Cousins, a IMG_0116 - Copyjournalist, professor, and editor-in-chief, tells of being hospitalized with a rare, crippling disease. When he was diagnosed as incurable in the late 1980s, Cousins checked out of the hospital. Aware of the harmful effects that negative emotions can have on the body, Cousins reasoned the reverse was true. So he borrowed a movie projector and prescribed his own treatment, consisting of Marx Brothers films and old “Candid Camera” reruns. It didn’t take long for him to discover that 10 minutes of laughter provided two hours of pain free sleep.
Amazingly, his debilitating disease was eventually reversed. After the account of his victory appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine, Cousins received IMG_0713more than 3000 letters from appreciative physicians throughout the world.  Cousins also served as Adjunct Professor of Medical Humanities for the School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he did research on the biochemistry of human emotions, which he long believed were the key to human beings’ success in fighting illness. It was a belief he maintained even as he battled heart disease, which he fought both by taking massive doses of Vitamin C and, according to him, by training himself to laugh. He died of heart failure on November 30, 1990, in Los Angeles, California, having survived years longer than his doctors predicted: 10 years after his first heart attack, 26 years after his collagen illness, and 36 years after his doctors first diagnosed his heart disease.
The body heals faster when we listen to it and when we have a good attitude about taking time for those repairs.
Think about it! -In caring, Dr. Sandy
©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net