A Story to Tell

The other day, I met a sweet elderly patient who drives 4 hours to get her teeth cleaned. Granted, it’s kind of ridiculous. But her sweet smile and bubbly personality seem to make her life so easy.

She also had the curiosity of a mouse and asked me right away if those were hearing aids. “Yep!” I said. “How did you lose it?” “Why I was born this way.”

As I began her cleaning, she went on to tell me a story of her deaf uncle. He was so devoted to his country that he lied about his hearing loss to get into the military. He read lips so well that he fooled everyone. Until one day, they dropped coins on the floor to get everyone’s attention, everyone shook but HIM. He was unfortunately discharged immediately and got into a ton of trouble. Most people would do anything to not be drafted. He, however, is my kind of hero.

As I’m finishing up, the curiosity in her proceeds in asking more questions about my hearing loss and life. As I’m answering her, her bubbly personality seem to diminish and finally asked if it’s really okay to ask me all these questions. Feeling perplexed so I said to her, “Never be afraid to find the story in all of us”. Her smile grew bigger than I saw earlier in her appointment.

I challenge you all to sit down with someone who is alone at a cafeteria table at school, someone who may be quiet at a gym, someone who may be struggling with something at work, someone who seem to work harder than most people and ask about their story.

We can be your best friend and you can be our champion.

My Journey With Stomach Issues: Part One

I’ve probably had stomach issues dating back since college. I remember having so much stomach pain, I could barely walk that I ended up in the ER. Multiple times.

Fast forward, after my trip to Mexico circa fall 2010, thinking I had travelers diarrhea sickness, which was never the case. A few months later, I lost 12 lbs in 4 weeks. I was unable to hold anything down, losing time at work and ended up in the ER again and again.

I finally had both colonoscopy and endoscopy done at the same time only to find out I simply had “inflammation” in my intestine. I was also ruled out Chron’s Disease, Celiac Disease, or cancer. Good news right?

But why in the world was I still feeling like crap?

I gave up sugar and cream in my coffee, began a Paleo diet, started cooking more at home, and drank a ton of water.

Fast forward to today. I decided to start seeing a chiropractor to take better care of myself since I was having upper back and neck issues from the daily demands as a Dental Hygienist. At first, he was having trouble adjusting my back since it was so tight. By the 4th or 5th visit, he noticed my joints were also soft and inflamed. He started palpating other areas and noticed my rib area under my diaphragm was so tight and it hurt by pressure. It’s where my gall bladder and liver is.

Hold on. I would work out and feel like I have a stick in my rib constantly. It’s always in the same place. Which blew my mind because I’ve had this “stick” feeling in my ribs for such a LONG time! I had so many questions. I wanted more answers.

Here’s what we did:

  • Written frequency test
    • This was to find out how often my symptoms happened
  • GI Comprehensive Stool Test
    • I’ve given a stool sample in a doctor’s office in the past. This one was a very in-depth test of your bacteria levels in your system
  • Celiac Antibody Test
    • This was to test out the food sensitivity. In-depth as well.

Not only I was free from any signs of stomach diseases but I found out I had bacteria in my intestine that was resistant to 3 different types of antibiotics. Which made every sense in the world as I looked back wondering why this or that time it wasn’t exactly working for me. I don’t have a single allergy to any antibiotics.

Also, I had several low sensitivity reaction to foods such as:

Banana, Bean sprout, Cayenne, Cod, Cow’s milk, Egg white, Gluten, Lactalbumin, Lobster, Millet, Parmesan cheese, Pecan, Pineapple, Pinto bean, Sage, Sesame, String bean, Thyme, Yogurt

He explained that when I eat the food listed above, it can cause a “delayed reaction” to it due to it being low. Not quite an allergy but “mildly sensitive”.

I’ve stopped eating these almost “moderate reaction”:

Kidney bean, Mushroom, Parsley

I was quite shocked. Most of them are part of my daily diet. Especially, eggs and yogurt. Even bananas and pineapples at this time of the year. Lacalbumin is actually whey. Good bye whey protein, hello plant-based protein.

When I found out I had a poor intestinal permeability or borderline “leaky gut” which

“is a condition in which the lining of the small intestine becomes damaged, causing undigested food particles, toxic waste products and bacteria to “leak” through the intestines and flood the blood stream.”

….I had all the symptoms of headache, itching, adult acne, bloating, fatigue, diarrhea or constipation, and indigestion.

Poor intestinal permeability in my case, not exactly a full blown Leaky Gut, comes from the diet. When I was eating greek yogurt and a bagel, my body went to overdrive, producing antibodies, triggering an immune response that caused bloating, diarrhea and headaches.  He immediately put me on Silver Colloidal protocol to help with ridding the body of bad bacteria in your gut. (PLEASE DO NOT DO THIS WITHOUT A DOCTOR.)

It’s been over a week and not only I feel so much better, the gall bladder inflammation I had under my ribs went away where I worked out for the first time without a cramp, my workout recovery improved, my Chondromalicia knee pain subsided, my mood changed drastically that I came back for a follow up and he told me I look like a completely different person.

Mind you, the week before, I was sobbing in his office. He’s not even a psychiatrist but he knew every reason why and how I’ve been feeling this way.

Elimination diet begins and the journey continues….stay tuned.

The Stress of Hearing Loss

Lately, I’ve been having major writers block and decided to take time off from writing over memorial holiday weekend. Not only was May Mental Health Awareness Month but it got me thinking about the stress of being a deaf individual in today’s crazy world.

I get it. You must be like “How does this individual with hearing loss have stress?” “Can’t she just turn her hearing aids off?” “Why is stress involved?”

It’s extremely stressful. I was realizing just how much I needed a vacation again. How often I feel the need to have one. Whether it’s sand between my toes, the sound of waves, sightseeing the wonders of the world, get out of this rat race and really just go. Like “BYE FELICIA!”

There are situations involved where you’re under a ton of pressure. There’s embarrassment, sweat, tears, the oops, the uh ohs, the constant what if, and multiple anxious moments.

It really puts a toll on your body, both physically and mentally. It’s excruciating to really manage it, for your health and peace of mind.

Why this stress thing?

We’re limited. “Oh Amanda, can you call this patient for me?” (Crickets in background) Here’s another situation – Dentist with mask on “Ok mark it #5 MOD.” (When it really sounds muffled)…..And one more – When you’re trying to order food in an extremely loud restaurant and the waiter isn’t really moving his lip….shit it’s harder to have a nice night out with your husband too!

It’s the daily communication issues, the fear of missing something important, the embarrassment and blah. Blah blah. Not to mention the exhaustion your poor brain entails.

Like I explained in my last blog Easier to Identify as Deaf.

“Hearing aids are lifesaving technologies. They are there to help you hear better. If you’re a lip reader you may and will always still be a lip reader even with better hearing aids. Like I said it doesn’t cure.”

Since life is stressful that way, we still do our best even when no one understands. It’s called having empathy people.

Below is some of the things I do to cope. Now, everyone is different in their own ways.

1. Exercise

There’s a reason I continued my dance career all through college and NFL. Once retired, I found Crossfit. Now since we have a garage gym, I’m able to come home from work and de-stress by doing a workout or lifting.

2. Travel

It’s a wonder what it can do for me. Constantly bringing a smile to my face. I truly enjoy seeing the world, immerse myself within the diversity of cultures and learn what they have to offer. If only I could do this full time!

3. Mediate

Doing yoga or even reading a book you enjoy helps keep my mindset healthy. But honestly, I’m grateful for my three dogs. Best therapy ever.

4. Eat healthy

Nutrition plays a huge role on health. Being stressed can lead to overeating, weight gain, health issues. Not only it keeps you healthy but also nourishes your mind.

5. Plan ahead

Why would I plan ahead? The OCD in me like to stay on track and make sure everything is in order for situations to go as smooth as possible. Keep everything on a calendar. Get to work early. Get things done ahead of time.

One more thing I learned, it’s ok to ask for help. Keep in mind, You’re not doing anything wrong by asking for help. You are if you’re not asking for help.

I feared judgement. Past tense. Now I can say I’m a rockstar. PS: I still have my judgement days okay? I’m allowed to be human. A deaf one.

“Whatever living beings there may be — feeble or strong, long, stout, or of medium size, short, small, large, those seen or those unseen, those dwelling far or near, those who are born as well as those yet to be born — may all beings have happy minds.”

—The Buddha, Karaniya Metta Sutta