Happy Halloween

Pie: HAPPY HALLOWEEN to my goblins and ghosts out there. A shout out to all who are feeling particularly creepy today. I was thinking about halloween, and one major thing about halloween (besides getting dressed up) is getting scared. Right? Going to  haunted houses being scared by people jumping out of a bush and so on. I was thinking of things that scare me, one of which occurred last night actually. It was about  10 at night and I was home alone, I needed to go up to my barn and let one of my horses out of his stall and into the larger arena area. Every time I walked out of my house, I would freeze. I was TOO AFRAID to walk 50 yards in the dark…. PATHETIC RIGHT? Isn’t that kind of how POTs is though? You are too afraid to go out of your comfort zone because you may be punished with ill health in the near future.

I thought the boogie man would jump right out of the darkness and throw me in a canvas bag and I would cease to exist. Pleasant visual don’t you think? I think it took me three times to actually get up to my barn.Once I got there I had 3 groggy horses who were very excited to nuzzle me and rub their heads on my inviting back. But I was terrified to originally go up to my barn. This morning I was almost laughing at myself because it seemed so stupid. In the light my backyard looked inviting and beautiful. With the change of the clock I entered a dark scary arena where I was uncertain at every step.

I’m not normally scared of much though. I (for the most part) like insects except for spiders, scorpions and cockroaches. I’m not even really terrified of them its more of a mutual dislike. That’s kind of it…..like I said I’m not scared of much. I don’t like horror movies haha. But I was really scared when I thought I was dying in 5th grade. I was at the point where I was almost too sick to even notice though. I was normally not really frightened but every once in a while I would get a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach and I would ask my Mom if I had cancer. She always said no, thankfully. But it’s a really eye opening experience. I pray for people who aren’t quite as lucky as I am. When they ask their Moms if they have cancer…their Mom will tell them yes. To all of you out there who have gone through that or are currently going through it right now I just want you to know I will be praying for you (it’s totally fine if you aren’t religious, it’s the thought that counts right?). But I feel like all illnesses are scary. Your body is doing things that you have no control over. Once I had a dream I was in a car (or plane????),

my car flew off a cliff and I was falling through the air. I knew I was going to die. It’s actually hard to explain because even though it was just a dream, it was so real and I knew I was going to die. There was nothing I could do to stop it from happening.  I had no power to save myself…nothing could save me. Then out of nowhere a big mat saved me….but that actually isn’t my point. When I think of illnesses I think of a plane (car whatever!) that isn’t working properly. When you feel well the plane flies through the sky without any trouble BUT when there is something wrong with the engine the whole plane is in chaos. That’s how I feel when my sickness takes over. I feel like a plane with a faulty engine. Yes, it is a strange way to tell you that I know how it feels. Everything that I am scared of seems pretty small and silly when next to my REAL health issues. I would much rather be in a blackhole of darkness covered in bugs than have POTS. That’s what makes you brave (not the blackhole stuff….). What makes us brave is the demons we have to face in our lives. They aren’t cute little kids with cotton devil horns. They are more terrifying and more worthy of your fears. I guess I am sort of trying to say don’t be afraid of things that don’t hold a candle to real troubles. Don’t be afraid to try to figure out any possible way to avoid your plane from crashing. Don’t be afraid of what you are, or what your body is capable of. Don’t be afraid. I’m sorry if this is kind of a strange post for halloween… it sort of just popped out. I just don’t want you to be afraid of your sickness. I don’t want it to own you. Don’t feel like it is a bad dream so you refuse to sleep. Don’t refuse to go down without a fight. Have a little fun in there too okay? Be strong, brave, mighty, and be what your sickness have never allowed you to be. You are a free person, whose limitations are a bit different then the average person, but that’s okay! That’s exactly what makes you brave enough to face your fears. I hope you have a wonderful HALLOWEEN!!!! Be safe, eat candy, be bold, be BRAVE!!!!!!!!

❤ Pie

 

P.S. Here is a really funny video that will make you laugh ❤ Enjoy (Please excuse her need to curse)

One Comfy Day, coming up!

So you need a day in bed. Preferably one with rain hammering on your window so you will be free of guilt not to go outside. You also need some calm, yet lyrically interesting music, a good movie, exciting book, and some tea that is beyond compare. Look no further, I, Teddy, can arrange it all!

It’s Friday (and if anyone sings that song I’ll become a homicidal maniac)! And we’re all spent. Pie and I both have stomach bugs (guess diseases can be passed over the phone now…) and we can’t be the only ones that need a day in bed.

Step 1: Go to bed. Now. This is non-optional. You’ve been upright for a week now and it’s doing you no good. (By the way, did you know POTS people spend 3 times as much energy standing upright as normal people? It’s like we’re jogging in place at all times, except no ones asking us to become swim suit models). But put some pajama pants on first, preferably flannel. There ya go!

Step 2: You forgot to bring your laptop didn’t you. Utter fail on your part. Now, slide under the covers and put on some perfect music for a fall day. My favorite right now are Bon Iver, but my dear friend is getting me hooked on Angus & Julia Stone. They’re also quite good for a lazy day. But my Bon Iver pandora playlist has exceeded all boundaries (40 hour time limit? pshaw) so I’ve been thieving from my friends’ itunes libraries and have developed quite a good playlist full.

Step 3: But you’re probably feeling guilty right now, about being in bed while it’s sunny and the leaves look so appealingly crunchy. So here’s a guilt-free trick to soothe your frazzled nerves, put on Rainymood off of google and your life will be instantly better. It sounds amazing on top of just about every song, so it’s time to experiment!  http://www.rainymood.com/

Isn’t everything better when you look out your window and all you see is this instead?

Side note, now that RainyMood is on, try it with my favorite song by Bon Iver: Woods. It captures a feeling, a piece of longing tied up in joy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_cePGP6lbU

Step 4: Your mind has been blown by supermegafoxyawesomehot music, but now you need something a little more sustaining. I bring you, a book. I can see the shocked looks on your faces quite clearly through my monitor. Most specifically, a series that will keep you excited for quite a while. I give you, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo!

To be clear, this is not a series that should be read by anyone under seventeen. For everyone over that age level, it is mandatory. I know it was super popular a few years ago, but I didn’t read it. It’s stupid, but if everyone tells me to read it I won’t. I feel like it’s probably mass produced garbage *cough twilight cough* So when my dad told me to read it and that it was already downloaded on my kindle, I gave up. It is a detective/thriller novel, but the mysteries aren’t something we can solve. They’re more like tragedies that are exposed to the light by the protagonist (a journalist in Sweden). The other protagonist is a seriously abused girl who kicks butt in the awesome department. I adore her, she’s not someone you would want to be friends with, but rather someone in your school who you just watch, amazed that she inhabits the same planet.  In Steig Larsson’s first novel they are investigating a girl who has been missing for several decades. It takes over a hundred pages before you get into it, due to some necessary background information, but then you can’t stop. Honest. I read them in a week during midterms, and they really opened my mind to some things I had been ignoring. Small warning, there are several graphic rape scenes in these books. The first especially. The working title of the first was “Men Who Hate Women” and violence is the main theme in all of these. This is not my common fare, but it’s something that everyone should be aware of. Plus it is such an enthralling read, please read it for me.

Step 5: You’re too tired to read any longer (and who could blame you? It’s grown dark and you’ve created a fine bed-nest for yourself). But it’s still too early to go to bed just yet. Now, eat whatever mess you have in the fridge. Now thats out the way, slice up some ginger root for tea and make popcorn in the microwave. Apparently ginger tea is super healthy, but it tastes way too good for that to be true. Douse the tea with honey (want a little tea with all that honey? 😛 ) and climb back to bed. That was exhausting. Now, turn off the music, because you’re about to…

Step 6: Watch The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo! The first movie is one of the best I’ve seen. It’s a dead on interpretation. The second isn’t nearly as good, but worth a view if you have time. The third is much better than the second, but definitely a few hairs short of the first. So, if you’ve read the books (or part of them at any rate) watch the movies. They are on instant play on netflix. If you have read them, watch the first and third movies. They’re totally worth it. The second is useful only if you need the plot. Or you’re SUPER sleepy like I was this week. But then again, isn’t that what this post is about?

Step 7: You probably finished the whole thing didn’t you? It was WAY too good to stop, just like I said. Anyways, shut off your laptop, take your meds, brush your teeth, and go sleep. It’s probably later than you anticipated. Just like this post is longer than I anticipated. So I might head to bed too. *yawn*

Or keep reading. Dunno how you expected to stop in the first place. Guess you have a full night ahead of you, say hi to Micke for me!

Be Well,

Teddy

P.S. g’night!

Teddy’s Guide to Sleep

Hello dear Readers!

Today I wanted to talk to you about the importance of sleep. Now I’m sure you’ve all been lectured time and time again about that the modern human does not get enough of it, and that teenagers need more than adults. High school and middle school classes talked about it incessantly, but I never noticed how consequential it was to my well being until I became ill with POTS. It became apparent since I was tired constantly and yet could not sleep. Once diagnosed they assured me it was a common symptom of POTS. I’m sure many of you have to deal with this on a regular basis.

Insomnia is a nuisance, plain and simple. And it is dreadfully misunderstood by the general populace. Everyone has slightly different sleep requirements, the statistics are just averages. I personally need 9-10 hours which seems excessive, even to me. I can function on 8, even though it’s a risk, and by 7 I begin to look like a Teddy Zombie. Not to mention if I don’t get enough sleep for a few nights I will probably come down with an infection of some kind.

Yes, that is Zombie Teddy. It must be avoided at all costs for the safety of the world.

There are many brilliant medications that you can take to help you sleep. But, let’s be honest, most of us are on enough already. Plus, they sometimes counteract each other or give us a brilliant belly-ache. So I’m going to discuss the natural methods first.

One thing that many specialists recommend is to have a set routine every night. This is hard and I can’t actually ever accomplish this, but it’s a good idea. If you go to bed at the same time every night eventually your body will get the hint and become sleepy at that time.

So my favorite nightly ritual is some warm milk and honey. Milk has Tryptophan in it, an amino acid that helps you sleep. And if you put a little bit of honey in it the glucose relaxes you (so I’m told). This isn’t an old wives tale, it actually works. I add a few drops of vanilla extract and some cinnamon as well. The smell of it once it is mixed is really really splendid, and the taste is even better. Make sure you add the vanilla after you heat it up or you won’t be able to smell it as well.

Here are some things that prevent you from sleeping:

Coffee/Tea/Sodas

Spicy Foods

Sugars (esp. CHOCOLATE)

Meat/ Anything high in Protein blocks production of Serotonin

Alcohol Drugs/Cigarettes (because they are nuerostimulants)

Refined Carbs (*cough* white bread) because it drains B Vitamins

If you have trouble sleeping you probably spend a very long time awake in bed. Everyone has a favorite position, but I change it night to night. So if you’re spending hours tossing and turning, you sure as heck better be comfortable. This is more of a personal preference than anything, but I have a love affair with flannel. I have flannel sheets on my bed all year long, regardless of the weather. If you find it too warm, crack a window or put on a fan. Trust me, it’s soft enough to be well worth it. I also wear flannel pajamas, so it’s like a softness overload.

Ok, so don’t roll your eyes at this one. Exercise is pretty key to sleep and the lack thereof. Because POTS kids need to exercise every day anyways, this should be easy. Just make sure it’s well before you go to bed (at least two hours before) so your body has plenty of time to relax. If you don’t work out, walk, or run because your brain doesn’t make enough serotonin. If you feel dizzy and weak all day the biggest temptation is to stay put in your chair. But for the good of falling asleep, exercise! It will help over time. And working toward the goal of health is something we should all strive for. We will get better. I think I sometimes forget that. I doubt I’m the only one.

Aromatherapy has been used for a very long time to help induce sleep. Lavender is used especially. I adore the scent personally, but there are other herbs that work as well. Put roses in your room or rosemary. Sweet smelling sheets, pillows, or pajamas all help signal your body for sleep. I put a little satchel of it in my drawers. A friend of mine puts lavender in her pillow at night. So, try it. It can’t hurt to have a room that smells like a garden.

So I said I’m not going to recommend any drugs to you. We really do take quite enough of them including all the multi-vitamins. But a great deal of sleep is chemical. There are some supplements that are pretty safe to take. I am not a doctor, so ask yours before adding any of these to your diet. (I am a doctor’s kid though, so medical stuff is a common household subject)  Melatonin is completely natural and works in very small doses. I take one or two milligrams a night one half hour before I go to bed. They’re over the counter and have no side effects. As weird as that sounds, it happens to be true. Another odd sleep inducer is calcium. Calcium, especially when contained in food, has a sedative effect on the body. A calcium deficiency in the body causes restlessness and wakefulness. Magnesium, can help induce sleep. Magnesium deficiency is responsible for nervousness that prevents sleep.

Magnesium-rich foods include kelp, wheat bran, almonds, cashews, blackstrap molasses, and brewer’s yeast.
The B vitamins are known to have a sedative effect on the nerves.

Speaking of food, don’t eat right before you go to bed. Eat your last meal a few hours before bedtime. That is all.

Several of these tips include not doing anything rigorous before bed. A summery of them is to not exercise, eat, or use the computer for  very long. The bright screen messes up your body’s signal that it is night time. Many people read before going to bed (that stimulates my mind, it doesn’t make me sleepy. But some people can fall asleep to a perfectly good book ( Who wouldda thunk it). Listening to music helps me. Do things that lower your heart rate (so no push ups or sit ups). Just calm the heck down! I get stressed easily about things I need to accomplish. So one thing that I do is to write a list of all the things I need to do. This sounds boring and vaguely old lady-ish, but somehow writing down what you need to do makes it seem much more finite and manageable. So try that.

None of these recommendations are guaranteed to work for everyone. A common problem for POTS kids is to fall asleep at night so there really isn’t one quick fix. But all of these have helped me. So maybe, just maybe, they will make you sleepy. I know this post was rather boring, but I want to talk to you guys about helpful matter just as much as I want to talk about silly things. Speaking of silly things, Pie had some awesome quotes today. We were cleaning out our closet today and trying on old clothes.

Pie: “Teddy, how am I a sexy hippy?”

Pie: (I’m trying on a sweater). “Is that made of alfredo fur?”

Teddy’s Response: “I think you mean alpaca fur. And no.”

And a friend of mine showed me a video I think you will enjoy. Her little brother is singing a sped up version of an Avril Lavigne song, it is hysterical. Little boys do the silliest things, I can’t wait until they’re old enough to be teased about it. So without further ado, here is the video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ufJQB6dEjs

Have a great week guys! My goal for the summer is to write to you every Tuesday, so hold me to it.

Be well!

Teddy