Tag Archives: Exercise

Livin’ Life Up To Full Volume!

NEW BOOTS!
NEW BOOTS!

Happy Monday everyone! Can you believe that the weekend has come and gone already?! I sure can’t. I have been having quite the interesting month so far. I have been doing extensive testing at a Neurological Hospital in Montreal, Quebec (Canada!) I’m not sure if I ever mentioned but I’m a Canadian! Ok but that’s besides the point. This weekend I was able to live up life since I have been in the hospital for all these tests. It’s a great hospital, but I am not going to lie I was starting to wonder if I was ever going to see civilization ever again. Thankfully I have been discharged until the 29th, so I spent the past weekend exploring Montreal. It was fantastic!!! I have been to Montreal before, but only for  short chunks at a time. Or, to spend time in the hospital. So, in the past mentioning Montreal has always evoked thoughts about going to the hospital. Nothing more exciting!

Well this weekend my Mom and I went shopping and I found these amazing vintage cowboy boots for 30 bucks! 30 BUCKS!  What a steal! I also found a really cute second hand dress and this really cute bird pin that is made solely of feathers. I already plan on pinning it to a new hat that I have back home. In addition to shopping, I took a million photos. There are so many cool murals all around Montreal (well at least in the area I was) and I have a little digital camera that I can slip discretely in and out of my jacket pocket. It has re-vitalized my passion for photography. I have always been in to taking photos, but lost my camera for a little bit, but then wasn’t super inspired to take photos because I wasn’t seeing anything new. I was also so grateful to get out and about and stretch my legs as they have been mostly chilling in a hospital bed. With every step I took I heard them saying “Thank you Sita! Thank you for using us!”

VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100My medication has also been changed up a little bit by my doctors, and I am super pleased to say that I only had one seizure this entire weekend! That is impressive since I was so busy and active. Even though I am here in Montreal for medical reasons, it feels like a quasi-vacation, which is pretty fun!

Hope you had a great weekend! Love you lots! xox

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5 Tips For Better Seizure Management

Healthy Life Next ExitSo I was recently looking back on my childhood and youth, and I was trying to remember what I did to manage my seizures. Man, I make myself sound SO old! My childhood and youth weren’t actually that long ago! Anyways, now that I have done some memory retrieval I have come up with a list of Five Tips for better Seizure management. They may seem obvious, but when you are out of a routine, or are new to seizures I think they could come in really handy.

  1. Get Lots of Sleep!
    I cannot stress this one enough! It is SO important! Being in a regular routine of getting up and going to sleep at a certain time really helps your body to be in a proper sleeping cycle. I remember when I was back in middle and high school I would get up at the same time and then generally always go to bed at the same time, unless if there was a special school event that was happening. Lack of sleep is a major trigger of seizures for me, so this habit really helped to keep them on the down low.

  2. Eat Regularly
    food quoteThis tip may seem like a “no duh” tip, but I have found that eating three square meals a day plus snacks really helps. When I have not eaten in a while (which I am guilty of) is sometimes when I feel symptoms. This tip makes so much sense: lack of food+ lack of energy=fatigue and sometimes seizures. Planning out your meals can be a useful way to avoid this. When I was cooking for myself I usually made huge dishes of something, such as a vegetarian lasagna, to name one. I would put each individual slice into a Ziploc tupperware container and kept some of it in the fridge and some of it in the freezer. When I came home after a long day I didn’t have to spend extra time making food because it was already done! I just popped it into the microwave and added a salad. Easy as pie! I also sometimes keep protein bars on me in case I feel extremely fatigued when I’m out and about during the day. I find that helps to keep me going until the next meal. 

  3. Exercise Regularly

    EF2087Before my seizures relapsed a few years ago, I worked out at the gym at least four days a week, plus dance and running classes at The Running Room. Exercise served as a way for me to get rid of all my stressors, plus I was able to just enjoy some “me time” while listening to my ipod. Even though I am slowly getting back into dance classes, I try to go for a walk 4-7 times a week. Walking as exercise is so undervalued and has so many health benefits! Don’t under appreciate walking as a form of exercise!

  4. Spread out Your Activities
    Peanut-Butter-Jelly-Sandwich-Options-KidsThis one can be hard to do, and difficult to master. I kind of see it like this: when you put some peanut butter on a piece of toast, you don’t want all of it right in the middle. You want to make sure that you smooth it out all over the bread so its equally distributed. If fatigue and over exhaustion are seizure triggers for you, try to equally balance your work and social life. I try to avoid having a bunch of social engagements all in one night. I get tired easily, so going from party to party is a likelihood for disaster. My ideal week would look like this: go to work 8:30-4:30, have selected days that I go to work out classes and go for walks on the days that I don`t, have a few days where I see friends, and have a day or two all to myself doing chores and errands and or just lazing around with my boyfriend. Does that make sense? I’m not trying to do everything possible in one week, and in some cases I just need to say ‘no’. I have been told that I am “gregariously introverted”, so basically I love to socialize, yet I love being by myself and don’t get bored in my own company. Don’t feel silly about turning down social engagements! If your friends know and care about your seizures, they will understand. Health always comes first.

  5. Take your Medications Regularly

    It is super super important to take your prescribed medications regularly. When I was kid I used a little medication holder. As I’ve gotten older I stopped using it, but am going back to it due to poor memory and an incident of taking too many meds. Not fun at all!! I would 100% recommend using a dose it, so that way you know that you have taken your medication or not. Setting daily alarms can also help for you to remember to take your medication. Even if you are “feeling better” still take your medication. It means that the medication is working and going off of it could have severe consequences. Going off of medication is something that you can discuss with your neurologist, but never EVER do it own your accord.

I hope these tips have been useful! Feel free to leave a comment or even ask if I have any more tips for seizure management! I am pretty sure that I have more than 5 up my sleeve. 😉

scrabble healthy life

Woes of Unemployment

stuck in a rutSo I think I forgot to mention a crucial milestone in my past few posts. I have graduated from my Bachelor’s degree in Social Work!!! All my hard work finally paid off. Now I have to deal with the fact that I’m a: no longer a student, and b:since I am not a student I need to look for employment. Yikes. Looking for jobs is tough, and since they can be scarce and competition can be stiff it’s hard not to get discouraged. I’ve been looking online as well as doing some networking with organizations that I would be interested in working for. So far it’s been going well, although today was an exception. Instead of writing an essay of thoughts I decided to write a train of thought poem of how my networking session went today. I haven’t written much poetry in awhile so hold on to your seats.

Woes of Unemployment

Today’s meeting didn’t go
so well.
Or maybe it did
I’m not sure
I got flustered when I got lost

Those were the most vague
Directions ever

The lady didn’t seem very
engaged.
It’s a small company
don’t hire often
Felt discouraged.

Got my shoes wet and muddy for a 20 minute
talk.
What was the point?
You have to work to find a job. No  one
will just hand it to  you
This is part of the process. You need
to put yourself out there
What kind of work am I even
qualified for?
Why do so many jobs require a driver’s license?
So unfair.

Stop whining you mofo
Whinging just takes up breath
Maybe I’ll get an interview for
one of the jobs I’ve applied for?!

Maybe I’ll be the exception to the
rule of not getting hired to the first
job I applied for.
Graduating is so stressful!
I wish I could have eased into it.

You’re seeing friends and feeling better
so that’s important
Your health is improving!
You are exercising!!!
You are strong.

Just keep carving your path
Sometimes certain things happen for a
reason.

You are like a tea bag in hot water
Just add that zest of Sita to these
tough times.
You are not alone
Friends and family love
you

You perform well in interviews
Everyone goes through tough times
Just breathe.
Remove that guilt
Pat yourself on the motherfuckin’ back
You have gotten through so much
so keep at it

Hug every day
Dance like no one gives a shit
Smile at the silly things in
Life.
I am proud of
You.
.

So there ya go! Ultimately self love came of my woes, thank god. What did you think? Are you going through similar stuff? Any suggestions? Hope you are doing well! Love you all! xox

Confessions of an Epileptic: My Body Image Sucks

Picture of me 9

I have struggled with my body image for a long time, but have always found it a difficult subject to broach. “I feel like my hips are fat.” isn’t the most glamourous way to start a conversation. For the record, I am self conscious of my thighs, especially my hips. Also from a women’s studies perspective, it is worrisome that talking about negative body image as it may create more negative body image amongst my friends. I never really had a safe way of talking about it with my friends, as it is hard to know who may feel triggered by certain comments. Additionally, I never thought that body image and chronic seizures could have any form of correlation. Through having severe seizures and the feeling of complete loss over my own body has made me feel negatively towards my body in general. Also going from completely active with regards to working out at least 6 times a week to only going for moderate walks every day (if I could muster it) was a complete life style change that I was not sure I was willing to accept. These added on challenges to an already feeling of insecurity towards my body has been a difficult path in these past couple of years, especially because I want to feel at peace with my own body and how I relate to it. 

   Sometime in late 2012 I was put on Topamax, which is an anti seizure medication. Topamax completely suppressed my appetite, which is a common side effect, although it does not occur in everyone who takes it. Dinner became the most painful meal of the day, as I had to sit at the table with my parents and literally shovel food into my mouth. Eating was no longer enjoyable and started to feel more like a chore than an enjoyable way of socializing with my friends and family. I felt full all the time and no longer had any cravings or desire for some of my favourite foods. I still ate food, but the pounds fell off as they pleased. No one said much, except for the scale screaming my weight up to me past my toes. I began to notice that my face was slimmer and my jaw line seemed to be less cushy. It wasn’t until I went to a program coordinator for the Social Work Program at my university did I realize how evident my change in weight was. Although I wasn’t there to discuss my weight, she had no issue in telling me her thoughts on my appearance. “Wow Sita! You’re so slim! I can’t believe it! You’re just so tiny! You look so great!” I ignored her comments and looked helplessly at my friend who had come to the meeting with me. I pushed past her comments to further discuss the academic matters I was there to see her for.

      After the meeting I just felt so confused. Was it good that I was “so thin?” Did everyone secretly think I was fat beforehand and now was just a convenient time to tell me that I was too skinny, yet looking great?My current ‘skinny’ weight also happened to be my stupid self internalized “goal weight”, but I here I was getting a slap across the wrists saying I was “too skinny!!” Due to my insecurity of my body image I should have been elated at losing so much weight, but I started to worry that I would continue to lose more weight. I didn’t have much more to lose! Although I did not have an eating disorder, I felt uncomfortable having lost so much weight. My old weight was healthy! I had more muscle on me and I exercised at least 6 times a week. At this weight I was so sick I couldn’t even go to the gym and my friends and family were constantly watching my back, braced for my next seizure.

    Okay let’s fast forward to 2013. Thank gawd I was taken off of the Topamax (which was a relief because it slowed my brain processes in addition to making me lose weight). It was great to have my brain processing at a sharper speed again but I had lost so much muscle due to my sedentary lifestyle. I was also fearful of having a seizure while exercising at the gym, and ultimately that fear came true when I fell off of a stationary bike. After that incident, I felt like I did not belong in the gym anymore. For a period of months I started to feel more and more like a blob, while constantly reminiscing over the days when I could run 5 km in 30 minutes, and when I took Burlesque classes with my friends. (Yes, that’s right! Burlesque!) This feeling of being ‘too soft’ and ‘not muscular enough’ trickled into 2014 until the beginning of May when I did a fitness class with a friend. It was a Barre class which was high intensity yet still close enough to the ground in case anything happened. Also the fact that I had a friend there helped a lot. Today my thighs are killing me but it was so worth it! I also bought a 10 class dance pass from Groupon which was valued at over 100 dollars but I paid only 19 dollars for it! I can’t help but say that it’s a helluva deal! I can’t wait to do some more Zumba, Burlesque, hip hop, and the other styles of dance that are offered. Dancing isn’t super close to the ground like the Barre class was, but I am too excited to back out now! Since I will be working out more, I bought a pair of cross trainers for the dance classes and other aerobics classes in general. I love them! Aren’t they cute?! 

Picture of me 10
SO SO much shoe love!

I guess I’ve kinda come full circle: supposedly too skinny, to feeling like a blob, and now back on the dance/exercise bandwagon again. It’s amazing how seizures have affected my body image and how I view my body. Even though I was insecure about my body image, it has intensified during my period of illness. It is slowly recuperating, but it just goes to show how illness can affect how we view our own bodies and or our loss of control over them. In this case, epilepsy is highly relevant as epileptics literally have no control over their bodies when they are seizing, which is absolutely terrifying. It is also amazing how the intensity of a person’s seizures can limit them from every day physical activities that people who are not affected with some sort of illness may not think twice about. Remember to count your blessings, and if being fit for you means taking a short walk every day then pat yourself on the frigging back! You deserve it! Yay for being fit again! I can’t wait! Love you all! xox

Reflection on the Past Year: Where I’m at Now!

Owl pun

Hey everyone! Time for some reflection time. As I write this I am on a Greyhound bus heading from Kelowna, BC back to Vancouver. It’s pretty cool. These buses are pretty fancy and they have plug points and WiFi, which makes it easy for me to update my blog!

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the things I am able to do now, versus the things I wasn’t able to do about a year ago. It’s a pretty dramatic shift, and I think by writing down the changes, it will illustrate how far I’ve come.

Over the Last Year

  • I wasn’t allowed to go anywhere without someone driving me, or supervising me on the bus in case of a seizure
  • Stopped going to the gym
  • Stopped working
  • Stuck in bed
  • I felt depressed
  • I felt uncertain about the future with regards to seizures and felt overwhelmed with working with a medical team to making things better
  • I had so many side effects of my medication
  • Took a year off of school

Since April

  • I have taken the Greyhound bus from Vancouver to Kelowna all by myself (it’s about a 6 hour bus ride)
  • Taken a plane ride (5 hour trip) all by myself
  • Taken the bus/subway
  • Worked out in the gym for an hour (did half an hour on the bike and lifted free weights as well as weight machines)
  • Went for hikes (lasted about an hour)
  • I have been volunteering on a regular basis
  • Practised dance routines on a dvd on a regular basis
  • I Feel more positive with regards to seizures, and working with a medical team to make things better
  • The Side effects of my medication is more controlled (this is amazing!!)
  • Going back to School in September!!

Now that I have weighed things out, I realized that I really have come a long way. Sometimes it takes looking at things on paper to realize that things have really changed and I have made a lot of progress. It’s really easy to get stuck in the future: such as what else do I have to do? Will I have more problems when I go back to school? Will the stress of school cause seizures and will all this hard work have been for nothing? These thought patterns are useless so I’m trying to imagine that they are in a train crash and throw them off a cliff. I have no idea what’s going to happen. Worrying about tomorrow robs today of it’s joys, an excellent quote said by someone that I can’t remember at this moment. Living mindfully will help me just live, moment by moment. Second, by second. Focusing on the breath brings you back to  your own being. I’m sure everything will work out. It’s all depends on how you handle it. Hope you’re well! xox

Pink

Back in Action Baby!!! 50th Post!!!!

Hey Guys!

So, I’ve been kinda MIA for the last week or so. Sorry ’bout that. I guess it’s been a combo of writer’s block and dealing with some other things. Usually I’m churning out ideas like there’s no tomorrow but I guess I’ve needed a  mental break. Oh well. I’ll tell you what I’ve been doing during my mental break. I’ve been doing workouts in my living room and holy geez! My thighs, legs, EVERYTHING! ACHES! Holy *&%^! I was also pretty stressed on Monday because of the Boston Bombing, and I accidentally clicked on some pretty graphic images. For those of you don’t know me well, I can be sensitive at times. So, I decided to just cuddle under a blanket and I ended up watching the Katy Perry documentary, “Part of Me”. It was actually really good! I’d never really paid much attention to her before but now I’m listening to her non-stop! Something about pop music is so inherently addictive.  You might think “Oh how ignorant! Watching a Katy Perry documentary on the day of the Boston Bombings!” But you know what, I need to take care of myself. Especially with seizures, managing stress levels is essential.

I also found a good post about how to keep your shit together when you’re depressed. Since my post about depression resonated so much with so many people I thought I’d share it! Not written by me, but I thought it was cool! Check it out people! http://www.diycouturier.com/post/47249603128/21-tips-to-keep-your-shit-together-when-youre

I also made the most AMAZING smoothie this week! It’s a Banana Chai Smoothie, and it basically consists of lots of spices and a Banana! It’s perfect if you don’t really like to eat a huge lunch, because it’s super filling! I put Peanut Butter in mine, so it thickens it up a bit. It’s pretty tasty to have after a workout or just in between doing this and that. If you like spicy food you will LOVE it. I guarantee it! Shout out to my friend Kat for giving me this recipe!http://www.choosingraw.com/banana-chai-smoothie/

Hope you’re all doing well! xox

katy-perry

Sita’s Top 10 Things To Know About Living with Epilepsy

1. Phoning an Ambulance is not Always Necessary

Ambulance trips are usually annoying, and expensive. Let me stress the latter: EXPENSIVE. Okay, the most recent times that I’ve been in an ambulance is when I have been in a province where I was covered by a different province. Long story short. A couple weeks later, I received a lovely bill in the mail, charging me for their services. This is not to say that ambulance trips are not always necessary. But generally if I am out and about and I have a seizure, that is everyone’s immediate reaction. I appreciate the care, but remember to time the seizure and if it goes over five minutes phone 911. A hospital can do nothing for me, except throw me in a bed, jab an IV in me filled with Ativan, and give me an emergency button to press for when I feel a seizure coming on. Basically, we’re just waiting for a seizure to happen. Otherwise, they’ll send me home. Ambulances can be very important for other people, but for me, they are rarely needed.

2.Recording Seizures is Absolutely Essential

Recording seizures is no fun, because you have to go through your mind and try to remember what happened during the episode that just happened. It might have been traumatizing, and you might not even remember it very well. I find that if I was alone when I seizure occured it is difficult to record, because I have no one to ask questions. Some questions that I might ask are: “Did I seem kind of out of it when we were chatting on the couch before the seizure happened?” Or, “Was I drooling when you found me on the floor?” Kind of gross I know, but recording seizures help keep track of whether your seizures are increasing or decreasing, and I can show them to my neurologist on my visit. I can also track them and see whether they occured during highly stressful times, during my period, or other notable events. I used to just write the number of seizures I had out by hand in my agenda, but I found a great online tool www.seizuretracker.com that goes into detail of every seizure characteristic. The site also allows you to make graphs to see how many seizures you’ve been having per week per month. It’s an excellent tool to have, and I use it when I go to see my neurologist, as he needs to know whether my seizures have been increasing or decreasing, so he can increase or decrease my medications.

3.Drinking Coffee and Alcohol is a No-No

You have been hearing me rattle on about caffeine, but I can’t stress this enough! Some people with epilepsy seem to be able to have coffee, but I can’t have it. When I first got to University I would get lattes to look all posh, and then I was drinking way too much coffee because I was drowning in work and fatigue. However, coffee just makes me feel more twitchy, and it doesn’t pair well with my already super sensitive body.

As I have made the personal decision to drop coffee from my diet, Alcohol is a non-negotiable. There are even warning labels on some of my medications stating “to not drink while taking this medication”. I don’t drink because I am more likely to have a seizure if I were to, and I don’t want to know what would happen, I don’t want to risk anything. Some people ask me if I feel like I’m missing out on things since I can’t drink, but I honestly don’t, since I’ve never drank before. If I go to a party I will bring an Arizona (the huge cans of Ice Tea) and sip on it the entire night, or if I go out I will always order a ginger ale. I usually just feed off of other people’s energy, and nobody makes a big deal out of me not drinking, since they know I can’t. I’ve even been in situations in restaurants where I wasn’t charged for my drink because it was assumed that I was the designated driver. I don’t even have a license! Hey-o!

4.Getting a Good Night’s Sleep is a Non-Negotiable

Some people can pull all nighter’s and stumble through the day, barely managing, but they make it. If I lose so much as three hours of my regular 8-9 hours of sleep, it feels like death. I don’t have the coffee to keep me going, and I have the side effects of the medications to contend with. While I was in school, missing hours and hours of sleep wasn’t doable. I couldn’t give up all my energy studying or writing an essay and then go to school on no sleep and be expected to pay attention in lectures. There is no way that I can focus. I have learned that I need a very solid routine of going to bed. My routine has changed since taking my medical leave from school, but now I usually start looking at the clock around 9, and will crawl into bed around 9:30, meditate for 20 minutes, and then watch some Youtube videos or listen to some podcasts before sleep. It is hard when I get invited out to an evening party, and I start to feel tired at 11, while everyone else is still partying at full blast. What can I say though? I just need my sleep, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

5.Eating Regularly is Essential

It seems like a no brainer: don’t skip meals! It’s bad for you. But it’s so easy to forget a meal. You get caught up in something, and before you know it, the morning whizzes by, and it’s late afternoon and suddenly you can’t wait for an early dinner. I generally didn’t skip meals, but now I have noticed that when I spend too much time without eating between meals, I get sluggish. Then I get even more fatigued, and the fatigued can eventually lead to a seizure. So if I am going to be out and about for awhile, I keep a protein bar in my purse, just to make sure that I have some back up form of food source.

6.Self Advocacy is Difficult, yet Important

Sometimes I find it difficult to advocate for myself, because my epilepsy is a hidden disability . It is hard coming out and explaining to people that I have seizures and going over with them the proper protocol of what they should do if I have a seizure in their presence. It’s kind of like ripping off a bandaid over and over again. I have gotten more used to it, so I am getting better at speaking out for myself.Essentially, self advocacy is so important for epilepsy (and other chronic conditions) because you need to speak out for what you need. I have had to write letters, make phone calls, and have meetings explaining things all pertaining to my epilepsy. I am understanding my epilepsy better, so now that I have a stronger awareness of it, so I can better vocalize it to others. I am also learning to deal with the emotional aspects of having epilepsy, so it does not interfere with my self advocacy. It’s not a skill that comes overnight, but I’m getting there, slowly but surely.

7.Learn Skills to Deal with Anxiety

As you may have read in my previous post, https://sitagaia.wordpress.com/2013/03/10/dealing-with-the-anxiety-of-seizures/ anxiety plays a big part in having seizures. Even if I haven’t had any seizures in a certain        number of days, there still lies the fear that a seizure will occur in a second. I have learned that meditation helps to calm my breath, as well as talking about how I am feeling with my friends and loved ones. If I am not feeling well, it is essential that I talk about it with someone, no matter how embarrassing or silly it sounds.

8.Exercise on a Regular Basis

Exercise is super important! I can’t stress this enough! Before my medical leave, I would go to the gym at least four days a week. It made me feel so happy, and it helped release any stress that I was feeling. Now I am not well enough to go to the gym, but I go for a walk every day, and since I live in a very hilly area, I get a pretty good workout! Stretching your legs can do wonders for your body and mind! So don’t leave this one out of the equation!

9.Keep In Touch With My Doctors

It is essential that I keep in touch with not only my neurologist, but my family doctor, to monitor the progress of my health. I need to go to my scheduled visits in order to determine what direction to take with my medications, and to see if there are any other specialized doctors that I should be seeing.

10.Never Leave the House Alone 

I never leave the house alone! Even when I take my dog for a walk-I bring my dog! Even then, I bring my phone and tell my mom the route I am going to walk. My seizures are not stable enough for me to take public transit or anything like that, so I need to make sure that I am always accompanied by someone, just to make sure. It’s okay with me, I mean I never get lonely! Over time I will be well enough to go places by myself, but for now, this is just how it’s got to be!

Anyways, remember that this is my own personal list. Hopefully in a year (or less!) it will change for the better! What are some of the things off of your list? Lots of love! xox

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