Helpful Hints

What is Your Why

“What is your Why?” A wise philosopher once said that. Actually, it was my twenty-something Ra Yoga instructor with the tightest butt and the wisdom of Nelson Mandela. Nonetheless, it really made me think! I have been feeling enormously better after taking CBD oil, exercising regularly, and eating non-processed foods. Yes, I am one of those people now… I am now a Lululemon-wearing, shopping-at-Mother’s, little miss “I can’t workout till I find my thind eye.” By the way, finding it was really hard at first because I thought I got it removed for half-price in Garden Grove. Eventually, I found out it’s inside me, so, Namaste! As a result of all these new healthy habits, I made through an entire month and three weeks without a seizure, and when I did have one I used my magnet, and it was manageable.

Recently, I have been praying, “God what do you want me to do with my life?” I have been feeling better, but my body is very finicky about what it can or cannot do and when I can do the things it will allow me to do. So, when the genius with the man bun and the six-pack abs asked, “ What is your why?” I thought about it for a while, and now I think I figured out what my “Why” is!

In short, I want to make healthy boxed lunches for the homeless. My boyfriend actually inspired the idea, so I can’t take all the credit. The story goes that, when I would have really bad seizure day and couldn’t really do anything for myself, he would cut healthy snacks up and put it in Tupperware for me, so that he would know I was eating. Then, he decided he also liked what he made, so he started taking the healthy snacks to work with him. One day, he came home and said “let’s give our “Mesa Munchies” to tent city. The next day, the tent city was gone and it was at that point we knew we needed to start giving to people in need.

Dan and I both have a heart for helping people because we have both been through the experience of being in need. We’ve both experienced receiving help from amazing people in our lives. When Dan first met his birth mom, he was starting computer school, and he had no idea how he was going to make it. Cathy, his birth mom, opened a bank account for him and would put money in it every month just so he could survive through school without having to worry. He always talks about how grateful he is for what she did. I had great parents, but we always struggled. People from my church named the Allies befriended me and just made me part of their family. Dr. John just happened to be a dentist and has been giving me dental care for over sixteen years for free. While Dan and I don’t currently have the capability to help people get through school or give them free dental work, we CAN give them a free lunch and I hope they feel as cared for as we did! If you would like to help us on this journey to help others, please message me!!!

Bucket List

Bucket ListAbout a month  ago I was told I was going to get VNS surgery to help my seizures. Awesome news right? Yes, it is amazing, but also a little scary! It
involves surgery, scarring, and it’s implanted in my body to change my brain current. Well, I thought I should go by the words of two of my very favorite men: Jesus and Frank Sinatra. Jesus says,
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life.” The great and amazing Frank Sinatra has said, Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew when I bit off more than I could chew But through it all, when there was doubt I ate it up and spit it out

I faced it all and I stood tall and did it my way I’ve loved, I’ve laughed and cried I’ve had my fill, my share of losing And now, as tears subside, I find it all so amusing To think I did all that

And may I say, not in a shy way Oh, no, oh, no, not me, I did it my way! What was the message from these men that are so alike and so different? I shouldn’t worry! God has a plan, but I should do things that stretch me and make me a better person. I ended up making a bucket list of activities I was going to do before my surgery.

My bucket list was silly, fun, embarrassing, frustrating at times, and a great learning experience. I had to kiss a stranger at a bar, make a homemade dinner, do the trapeze, bring flowers to a retirement home, dress up and go to In and Out, and refurbish a piece of furniture. When, I wrote the list I didn’t think they would be as challenging as they were. I am a people person, but walking up to guys at bars even just to kiss them on the cheek feels super vulnerable. Making a pie for the first time was almost as terrifying to me as jumping off that ledge during the trapeze. And to women or men that prepare two dishes or more at dinner time I would just like to say WoW! I did lasagna and a caprese salad, but I did the salad in the morning, and the lasagna at night. I am going to try to work on doing two things at a time.

I really loved doing all these things, and was sad when it was over! It was nice too because I wasn’t thinking about the surgery all the time and I met some really nice people. I encourage everyone to just do one activity they normally wouldn’t do once a month. I am making a new bucket list for me to do before the New Year. I will show you what I have so far.

Cassidy’s Bucket List before 2017

  1. Watch Goodfellas
  2. Take a Cake Decorating class
  3. Recreate a famous dance scene
  4. Vacuum my house every week ( that sounds weird but I hate loud noise so vacuuming is like hell for me)
  5. Go paddle boarding
  6. Go on a missions trip to Mexico if my Dr. says it’s ok

VNS, RNS, and Cannabis…Oh MY!

0108151153Hi, my name is Cassidy and I have a seizure disorder. I was practicing this line in the shower before going to my first ever seizure support group. I was under the impression I would go meet some nice fellow epileptics, have a cupcake, and go home. Well, cut to me crying in a Lyft car three hours later. Needless to say, I was not aware of what I was in for. I guess it’s not an epilepsy party until the guy next to you tells you what part of his brain has been removed. I think I needed support for the support group. Why was I so affected? What did I learn about my disease and myself?  The next morning, I was thinking and talking to Bette Davis (the cat) about what I could have done differently and what I could learn from the experience. I realized that to start, I could get a boyfriend and stop talking to my cat! Secondly, I could become my own best advocate, grasp my diagnosis by the horns, and determine to live the best life possible. Thirdly, (and this is just for fun) I could start an epileptic dating website called Seize the Date, find a man that is a diligent note taker and gets turned on by a woman who moves in mysterious ways. “ If the bed is a rockin’, don’t come a knockin….or call 911!” I will be putting my profile on the bottom.

At the support group, we were lucky enough to have Hoag Hospital’s Dr. David Millet as our guest speaker.    The main topics we talked about were surgery, controlling seizures with medication, and the use of cannabis. The main surgeries he talked about were the VNS and the RNS. It seemed that RNS is a pretty new surgery that controls both hemispheres, so people not eligible for the VNS are now eligible for the RNS.  Cannabis is now undergoing various studies, so it will probably be a number of years before doctors begin to prescribe it. Overall, there was a lot to take in, so I may have forgotten a few things. There were people there that have been seizure free for up to five years with the help of medication and surgery. The very thought of surgery really scares me, but being seizure free is a strong encouragement as well. The group definitely made me think. Do I know my exact diagnosis? Am I keeping up with all neurology and epileptology has to offer? Should I subscribe to neurology today? I called my doctor because I think I know my diagnosis, but I don’t want to miss out on something that can help. Maybe I need to check in and get a recap. Maybe you should too!

 

Seize The Date Profile

Name: Cassidy

Age: 32 OMG

I am: easygoing, energetic, a little sensitive to loud noises, small children, and flashing lights

What you are looking for: A man with a heart of gold that is a good listener, and great note taker. Tells me I am pretty in an EEG hat. Must be able to talk about both Martin Scorsese and Nora Ephron movies. He likes to laugh more than he likes to hike. Must Love Bacon and Orange Sherbert.

Sieze the Day

Make To Do lists for each day and week. I know it sounds very basic, but we have very active brains and it makes it easy to forget. I have seizures going on all over my brain, and I also take medication morning, noon, and night. One of the side effects from one of those meds is forgetfulness. I use to feel so awful about myself when I would forget something important…now I have it all written down. I don’t know how your medications make you feel, but mine make me super drowsy. I like that I have four or five goals for each day set out for myself beforehand that I need to achieve. Some days I am doing great and I can get more than I need to do done, others a little less but at least I had a goal.

I remember when I first came home from my five day EEG, and they put me on some new anti-seizure medication. The medication totally stopped the seizure, but I remember thinking to myself, “ I haven’t moved from this couch in a week!” I am pretty sure at one point I stared at a lolly pop for at least two hours. I eventually got to where I could get up, but I am still very forgetful day  to day. I need to do lists to be a grown up that can function in the real world.

I use to reject the idea of making lists or having a schedule, because I thought it made me seem stupid. I felt like most girls my age weren’t writing daily activities and crossing them off, but I realized it gave me a lot of security. I knew my utilities weren’t going to get turned off just because I forgot. This really has happen to me. I now feel like all my priorities will get taken care of and my house will get clean without me being in a panic. I use to always feel like I was waiting to the last minute or I was always behind. The truth was that’s because I always did lose track of time and days, so I was always behind and playing catch up. Now that I write things out I can prepare for what’s going to happen. When you have epilepsy you usually have so many doctors appointments and tests it’s hard to keep track. 

You can totally do your list the way you want to, but I like to put mine in categories. For example: cleaning, calling, e-mailing, bills, work projects, and doctors appointments. Then, when I wake up and I look at them I can see what I can do first. Sometimes, it depends on how I feel. When you feel bad e-mail and texting you can do pretty easily  so atleast you are accomplishing something not just binge watching Breaking Bad.When you start feeling better then get your cleaning and your work projects done. We can not control what our body does, but at least let’s work around it so we can get our priorities done.