Answers

For years I went with an undiagnosed brain injury that almost ended my life in 2016/2017. The months following my close shave left my brain unable to understand or process the changes taking place in my body. My brain couldn’t even form relevant questions to ask my doctor that a uninjured person would find easy to articulate. Over the last two years, I’ve done a lot of research and studying of the human brain and nervous system. My determination for answers regarding why my body nearly shut down was and is the driving force behind all my extensive studying.

My prayers have been that God leads me to someone else who has also experienced near death due to nervous system collapse.

Yesterday my mama related to me having met a young lady in a wheelchair while she was at her chiropractic appointment who told Mama of her health journey. This lady mentioned having five kids, and a central nervous system issue/disease (I’m not clear on that) that almost shut her down because she had entered into the dreaded unhealthy parasympathetic state. I have never met anyone who had gone through the same horrific trial and couldn’t believe my ears! In 2017, after an extensive hair analysis test, results came back stating my nervous system was indeed in the parasympathetic state known as the “rest and digest” state of the body. This state can be good but in extreme cases the unhealthy parasympathetic state is dangerous which indeed I was in. The two branches of our autonomic nervous system, sympathetic and parasympathetic, work together to keep us alive. My sympathetic was pretty much gone and my body was struggling hard to stay alive in the parasympathetic state.

This lady was probably more far gone than I was because she had lost the ability to swallow. But here is the good news: she started going to the same specialist as I am and now she too is recovering!!

This news is so hopeful and encouraging to me as I’ve not encountered anyone who nearly kicked the bucket from nervous system collapse. Or who has gone through these cranial adjustments either which is not very well known of.

I want to meet her. I’m thinking of leaving a note for my doctor to give her so she can contact me. I know with doctor/patient confidentiality it may not work but I hope so. God may indeed use this lady to give me some much needed answers!

Much love,

Viv

The Absolute Best

Let’s face it! We all want the best. The best car, the best phone, the best health (don’t I ever!) the best house, the best job, the best friends, the best life . . . .

God has already given His children the absolute best: JESUS!!

He is the best!! The best for our souls is already attained through our Lord Jesus Christ!! We’ve been given the absolute VERY BEST! Nothing comes close than salvation and growing a personal relationship with the best Advocate, Friend, Father, Savior, Redeemer, and Counselor we can ever have.

And the good news is, even if you lack having the best things in this lifetime it doesn’t matter. Turn your eyes upon Jesus, the absolute best and be amazed at how little and dim the things of this world become when you keep your gaze fixed upon the best Person you will ever know.

Much love,

Viv πŸ’šπŸ™

Bumps In The Road

Last week was one of those weeks. Friday I pulled out my back muscles while trying to spray the mold on the ceiling with my nifty mold removing spray. I was craning my neck and I didn’t realize I hurt myself until minutes later when the pain hit.

At the chiropractor’s office she said my para spinal muscles were cranky and advised me to ice my back and rest.

The next morning my friend Emily texted from the ER. She had fallen and hit her forehead on the steel frame of her wheelchair causing a severe concussion. Her MRI came back ok and no bleed on her brain thank God!

We were talking last night about this set back for her and she said. “I thought I was on the right path. ” she had been pushing hard in therapy and it seemed like her body pushed back. Same with me. I had been pushing myself to try harder, do more, be super mom. My body pushed back.

I told Emily. ” You are on the right path these are just bumps in the road.”

Bumps in the road. It doesn’t mean we’re not on the right path. It just means we need to be more careful. Slow down. Stay alert. Listen to our silly, sorry excuses for bodies because if we don’t proceed with caution, the road will tip us into a ditch.

This bump in my road is not a set back. It’s a gift of learning. God is faithful in teaching me not to push myself because of impatience. He’s saying rest. My body and brain are under construction right now and if I don’t listen to the warning signs, it’s inevitable that this injury will continue to bump me back again.

So, while I have spent a better part of this week in bed, I’m doing exactly what I need to do. And that is rest.

Please pray for my friend Emily. She had a TBI from a massive brain stem stroke at the age of 28 and now just this week another TBI (concussion).

I could use some prayer in this area too. I have a type A personality and don’t really know how to pace myself. With TBI and a bad spine it’s a challenge to rest and be still.

But I must!


Much love,

VivπŸ€—πŸ€•

This kind of friend…

There are only a few people you will ever be blessed to meet that will be this kind of friend. A true friend that loves you at your best and worst. Someone who listens and pats your head letting you cry it all out (or write it all out.)

But once you let go, and let the real you shine through, knowing that person still loves you and believes in you anyway in spite of the flaws, well, that’s a real friend.

I don’t know if this kind of friend is a common as we think. There is such freedom in being real, being who you are, letting go of fears that others may judge or think less of you should you show them the real person inside by expressing the depths of your heart. Sometimes, just saying how you really feel is better than bottling it up, because letting it out restores healing.

This kind of friend won’t judge or lecture because they understand rash words or feelings may just be our pain crying out. They know us and love us to know maybe we just need to vent and they understand the root cause of our pain.

Being real takes courage.

Being you takes courage.

But as my beautiful mama says, (paraphrased) Sometimes God uproots the weeds in our friendship gardens to only leave us with the flowers.

I’m so glad for the true flowers still left in my friendship garden. πŸ€—

I pray that I will grow to be this kind of friend.

β€œOh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person; having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but to pour them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, knowing that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then, with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away.”

― Dinah Maria Mulock Craik

🌻🌼🌷⚘🏡🌹πŸ₯€

Keeping up

TBI has a way of making one feel like you’re driving an old back-firing moped while everyone else is whizzing by in their 2018 Harley Davidson with the shiny chrome banana pipes.

Do you ever feel like keeping up with life is just too much? I do. The feeling of being so extremely overwhelmed by keeping up; homeschooling four kids, being mom, tending the home, trying to heal, and just living life makes me feel like it’s an impossible obstacle. I’m trying so hard, but it’s like running on a hamster wheel, exerting energy but not feeling like I’m getting anywhere.

When I was young, my dad, brother and I would take long walks to places in Philadelphia because we didn’t have a car and sometimes walking was the preferred method to buses or subways. I could never keep up because my dad’s long Marine Corps strides were not easy for my little legs and my brother being 5 years older had longer legs too. They were always having to say “keep up.” I tried, believe me, I tried, but the long journeys we took were so frustrating to my 7, 8, 9 year old legs. I had to walk/ run the whole time because it was the only way to keep up.

I’m glad of it! Being the baby of the family could been very detrimental in coddling or babying me, but my parents never did. They never babied me and let me off easy, just because I was their youngest and a girl. They knew how tough life is and didn’t sugar coat my childhood with pillows of fluff, and candy coated ideals.

When I realised my job as a child of keeping up was twice as hard, I could go easy on myself, not chiding or berating myself because I couldn’t keep but, instead, I could feel like I accomplished something as my efforts to keep up payed off from trying twice as hard.

Today, I’m dealing with this. It feels impossible to keep up. The house stays a wreck, school work presses in, and most days I barely have a chance to brush my hair. But when I see other homeschool moms going here and there teaching Latin, Greek, music to their kids and I can barely do the math and language arts, it hurts. But I realise it’s ok. I have a TBI. Not an excuse but a huge obstacle to overcome while trying to keep up. My kids are all excellent readers, great at math, and learning. Maybe not able to do all the fun stuff and extras like soccer and scout troops as before, but they are four great kids and loved. It’s ok! I need to speak this often. It’s okay, because with TBI things are twice as hard for me but in reality, I can keep up……. just in my own way with God’s help.

Yes, my moped still runs, even if it’s slow and not very pretty but that doesn’t matter because I’m still getting there.

Viv

You’re Gonna Be Ok

Please take a moment to listen…..

You will be blessed!

https:https://godswhispersoftruth.wordpress.com/2018/08/23/youre-gonna-be-ok/

I was asking God to let me feel His love today but before my prayer was ended my friend Emily had already sent this song to me.

YOU’RE GONNA BE OK LYRICS

[Verse 1]
I know you’re trying hard to just be strong
And it’s a fight just to keep it together, together
I know you think that you are too far gone
But hope is never lost, hope is never lost

[Pre-Chorus]
Hold on, don’t let go
Hold on, don’t let go

[Chorus]
Just take one step closer
Put one foot in front of the other
You’ll get through this
Just follow the light in the darkness
You’re gonna be okay

[Post-Chorus 1]
You, you’re gonna be okay
You, you’re gonna be okay

[Verse 2]
I know your heart is heavy from those nights
But just remember that you are a fighter, you’re a fighter
You never know just what tomorrow holds
And you’re stronger than you know, hey, you’re stronger than you know
Stronger than you, stronger, stronger than you know…

We need an advocate

One of the things I’ve had to learn and help my family learn is to be a voice for me.

July 2017, when my journey was fresh and healing was raw and rocky, we lost my father-in-law suddenly from multiple heart attacks. He was only 64.

The news hit the family hard and it’s been a long painful road of emotional healing.

I was in no condition to receive such news in the way that it came.

Because of the shock, my nervous system went completely berzerk, causing my heart to beat irregularly since my body went into parasympathetic mode.

I was thrown in the world of normal people dealing with crazy, traumatic death but brain injury kept me from coping “normally.”

Suffering TBI has damaged some cranial nerves including my vagus nerve 10 and nerve 7 and others. The nerve 7 starts at the pons part of the brainstem and controls your facial muscles. The vagus nerve 10 isn’t just a sensory nerve, it’s motor. It’s also a parasympathetic nerve and is one of the longest nerves in the body (over two feet long) which is why it takes longer to heal. It starts at the brain stem and ends in the gut. Because of brain injury my autonomic nervous system has become impaired; therefore the two main branches from that, the sympathetic and parasympathetic, are struggling to keep up and heal.

Because the vagus nerve controls signals to important bodily functions including the heart, lungs and organs, the shock of my father-in-law’s sudden death was almost impossible to handle…..

If I sat or stood up too quickly, my heart would sputter, palpitate, and beat extremely hard and slowly.

Tests showed my heart to be perfectly fine and the paramedics were amazing but it wasn’t until much later that I began to understand the importance of guarding myself from shock.

Now, my husband better understands my frailty and has become quite a terrific advocate. Love him!

My youngest daughter captured this photo of one of my Echinacea flowers.

He’s learned like me, that my body can’t be thrown into highly stressful situations……it’s his job to be a voice for me and he’s stepped up perfectly! If a friend wants to visit we have to be honest and tell them I can only handle short visits, or if stressful issues arise at work or with our finances, he knows how to shield me by dealing with it himself. He knows I can’t handle noisy places, loud settings, social gatherings, and knows how to kindly turn down invitations. He knows to be my advocate because he’s seen the recovery in aftermath of highly stressful situations and what that does to halt my TBI healing and my nervous system’s scary response.

I’ve also learned how to be my own advocate as well. It hasn’t been the easiest thing to say “no” but I’m learning that it’s okay to say no and to not feel badly about it either.

Some will understand while others won’t but it’s okay.

Jesus is my advocate too. He fights for me, strengthens me, encourages me, loves me, protects me, comforts me, counsels me, supports me, shields me, defends me, and guides me every day.

Who is your advocate? That person who’s got your back. We all need one whether broken or not. We all need an advocate passing through this life because it’s tough.

God bless you and thank you for reading this blog article. It means so much to me!

Much love,

Viv

Lovely diagram of the 12 cranial nerves. Haha!