You can be in a state of disease BECAUSE you are struggling to be healthy, or struggling to be wealthy, struggling to be accepted, or struggling to be perceived as right. 😖
I have as friends who says "What other people think about me is none of my business." 😏
Dis-ease comes from Dis: lack, without, away from… 🚫
A lack of what? 🤔
A lack of Ease: comfort, tranquility, pleasure, wellbeing. 🛀
It is hard to live an awesome life in a state of dis-ease. 🕺
And it’s so easy when it’s easy. 💃
Sometimes, life is made harder for humans in order to protect a reputation, a story, a nation, a government, a family name, a certain amount of money, an aesthetic, a norm, a tradition, a religion, etc. 😕
In sociology, all of these can be called social constructs: things that people in society have agreed to give value to.
Many people contribute to a state of disease by placing the value on these constructs above the value of human beings. 👥
I value your freedom.
I value your ease.
Freedom comes from the root “Pri” which means “to love.”
The evolution of this root has brought us “friends”: free members of one’s clan.
For me, there is nothing more important than the freedom and ease of each and every living individual.
No amount of money.
No family name.
No thing is more important to me than the freedom and ease of human beings.
And any aesthetic…
Any family name…
Any friendship, partnership, or any other relationship that values the construct over the freedom and the ease of the humans involved is contributing to dis-ease.
My mom was there each day to sing and to talk to me as if I was present. On some level, I was. She put a ball in my hand and instruct me to squeeze, explaining what I would need to do to get better... And I squeezed. I was becoming more alert each day.
Late after the sun sunk, Jami called to say that she was almost there to pick her up, but it was after visiting hours. "Please come in." my mom said. Free from the tube that had been in my throat since the injury, my head bobbled from side to side as she spoke.
Jami got out of the car and called to tell her that she was outside. My right arm hyperextended as I tucked my chin.
My mom`s gaze followed the squirming motions that I had been making for days. My head then jerked straight back in the inclined bed where I lay... there was a pause... and my eyelids popped open! Kris gasped.
"Oh my god, Jami!" She whispered in suppressed excitement as butterflies fluttered in her stomach. "his eyes opened!" Each of them paused to digest. "I`ll run down and let..."
"Don`t you dare!" Jami interjected, "I`ll find a way in." She jogged in heels to the side exit door until someone walked out for her to intercept the doorway. Maneuvering up the elevator and through the halls, she came to my room.
My eyes widened further as Jami entered. "Oh my god, baby!"
Every brain injury is different. I exhibited many of the same characteristics as an infant... I was overstimulated, wide eyed with dilated pupils, and had a playful and explorative disposition.
Jami grabbed my left hand that was glued to my chest. With my good hand, I rubbed her waist, inching my hand to her butt. And I squeezed. I was becoming more alert each day. 😝
When working with clients who have a loved one in a coma, I encourage their loved one wake with recognition, humor, and memory by implementing high-dose DHA and EPA rich omega-3s as soon as possible.
EPA and DHA have been used in patients to bring people out of a coma after being given a very grim prognosis.They can reduce damage to the BBB after stroke and TBI and can stimulate the brain’s “growth hormone” (BDNF).
There`s more at adventuresintbi.com. If you need help, reach out!
When I was admitted to the hospital a full body CAT scan showed no signs of brain injury except a concussion (which is a mild TBI). It showed that I had a fractured hip, broken tailbone, 3 broken ribs, a broken nose, concussion, lacerations on my kidney and severely bruised lungs. They tied me down and sedated me. They were mostly worried about my lungs at that point. They suctioned out the fluid when they could. The next day, I was still unconscious. They didn’t understand why I wouldn’t wake up because the CAT scans didn’t show the extent of my brain injury. I had another CAT scan done which now showed bruising of the left frontal cortex of my brain and some bleeding that created pressure on my brain and skull. They thought that they may have to relieve it by drilling a hole into my skull or removing a section of skull, but thankfully did not. This bruised left frontal cortex should not have prevented me from waking either. So they attempted to wake me again, this time by forcing me to breathe on my own (wean from oxygen). My mom says the hospital staff wouldn’t let her in. They didn’t make a big deal of it at all afterward. They just said I wasn’t ready. My mother and I read the medical reports later to see what had happened. On May 10th they weaned me off of oxygen, because they saw no reason why I wouldn’t breathe on my own, but they still didn’t know the extent of my brain injury. I became extremely agitated when they turned down the oxygen - I bit down on the tube in my mouth that provided oxygen. It was a soft plastic tube, and it may have been better using a rigid tube or a bite guard because my involuntary reaction blocked ALL oxygen to my lungs. My oxygen level dropped to 60% (95-100% is normal). I was quickly sedated and resaturated to 98% within a minute. I was moving all 4 extremities prior to this. Now I was no longer moving the left side of my body. I must have had a hypoxic stroke (stroke due to a lack of oxygen).
I am currently on tour helping survivors and loved ones around the country. Follow my journey, and feel free to reach out to see how I can help you on yours. 🙏
"Walking around the block again?" The doorman asked. I had been insistent on walking outside with someone at least once every day. My mother and I had started by walking a half block and back... then a whole... then a little more until I was walking around the whole block.
"That`s right," my mom said. "Maybe two blocks! We`ll be back in an hour or so." She smiled.
I was a high risk of falling and my hand was still flexed inward. I could now almost wrap it around the neck of a guitar... almost. My wrist would lift, but my fingers wouldn’t extend, so I ordered a device for exercising the extension of my fingers. I`ll link the device in the comments.
One morning while using this device, I had to go to the bathroom. I practiced sitting up like I had been working on, and I held my walker. Step by step with the walker I slowly inched to the bathroom as I had been doing. Setting the walker aside, I held onto the frame that we had fitted over the toilet, turned around, and sat down. This is the process that I would undergo to pee since my catheter had been removed and I was now using a walker.
After walking back to the couch and sitting, I picked up the finger extensor and wrestled with my hand’s lack of ability. Suddenly I heard a gasp. "Where’s your walker!?!?” my mother exclaimed with a familiar tone of fear and alarm.
I had walked from the bathroom to the living room without a walker!
With a smile on my face, I stood up effortfully and slowly and intently moved towards the bathroom, being very careful about my balance. With my hands on the door frame I entered the bathroom, braced myself with my walker and moved back to the couch.
My mom`s open jaw had turned into a smile and she pulled out her phone to film me.
Today, I guide my clients to visit their future yourself`s and to receive guidance from the most qualified teacher there is.
You see, my future self showed himself often. "Leave no room for regrets," he would tell me.
If I were never able to walk or speak again... if I were to be permanently shaky and uncoordinated... I would not leave room to look back at myself and to wish I would have tried harder. #tbi #recovery #futuredesign @adventuresintbi...
Escorted by my nurse, my mother wheeled me to the elevator to the ground level, passed the coffee shop, and towards the exit of the building. My wheel chair rolled to the edge of the sidewalk a walker was placed for me to brace myself. I had practiced this transition with my physical therapist several times.
I struggled until I sat somewhat upright in the back seat of the cab, and I looked at nurse Joy. "Thank you so much!" I mouthed as my left palm trembled to meet my right. The car door shut, and the cab began to move, closing the chapter on my several month stay at the Traumatic Brain Injury Unit at Mount Sinai.
Panting as the car moved, winded from the transition, my stomach began to turn. I had only been in a vehicle twice since my injury in May. "Car sickness" would be an understatement. After several miles in stop and go traffic, we arrived at a building on Park Avenue. A doorman introduced himself and helped my mom to move me to my walker, into the building, and up the elevator.
In the apartment, six large boxes filled with more boxes of medical supplies stacked in the entryway. These boxes contained what I needed for my handicaps.
For the bathroom, there was a toilet frame with handles to assist me on the potty, and a seat for the bathtub/shower because I couldn’t stand on my own.
There was also a humidified oxygen machine, used to cover my tracheostomy tube, protecting me from directly inhaling anything nasty that might have been in the air. The box contained a nebulizer for breathing treatments that I would have twice a day, and cleaning kits for my tracheostomy (2x/day) and dressing for my peg tube, which was to be cleaned and dressed each day. I also had a wheelchair that I used almost always, and a walker that I could use to rebuild my strength.
Transitioning from the hospital to outpatient care is a big step, especially with medical equipment necessities. In outpatient care, my clients are able to get the care they need without being dependent on an understaffed nursing home. It may require more of an emotional, physical, and financial investment, but we are able to control the type and level of care for their loved one.
VOICE OF HOPE After the procedure that left me breathing through a tube in my neck, I awaited a test to see IF they could perform the surgery to give me my voice back.
Unbeknownst to me, this surgery may not have been possible.
If this were the case, I would be unable to speak while breathing through a tube for the rest of my life.
My mother kept this scary possibility from me.
An unfamiliar doctor entered my hospital room.
"Hi Cavin. My name is Dr. Altman. I gave you a tracheostomy a few weeks ago." I stared at him blankly.
"While we were working on your throat last month, we saw a lot of scar tissue. I`m here today to check it out. Is that OK with you?"
Dr. Altman lubricated one end of a fiberoptic cable and fed it into my nostril, through my sinuses, and to the back of my throat. With this device, he could now measure the size and amount of scar tissue in my trachea.
After sliding this unfamiliar object back and forth in my nose and throat, he saw what he was looking for and retracted the fiber optic cable.
"Good news, Cavin!" He said with a proud smile. "The stenosis is just within the margins. We are going to be able to resection your trachea!"
I just shrugged with my thumb up, not knowing that I may have never spoken again.
This tracheal resection would start by cutting into the front of my neck. Next, the surgeon would carefully saw through my trachea on either side of the scar tissue, throw away the occluded piece, and sew the two ends of my trachea back together.
They were going to slit my throat to save my life.
When my mom arrived, I wrote the news. Relief washed over her and she broke into tears.
She knew all along that I may never talk again, and had protected me from the heaviness of this possibility. She was protecting my psyche and motivation.
In working with clients in these kinds of situations, I have found two factors to be the most important to determine the probability of a successful recovery:
1 - Community support.
2- The motivation of a survivor (which is very much influenced by community support).
Feel free to share this with anyone or to reach out with any questions about recovery.
VIDEO 1: A neurological condition rendered my left hand and my left foot nearly unusable.
My foot pointed like a ballerina and my hand curled in like a talon.
My frustration was immense and I feared that my hand and foot would stay this way forever. My hips were also broken and I was not able to bear weight on them until I was cleared to do so.
This involved several X-rays until a doctor gave the OK. I had not healed enough to attempt to walk for over two months and I was getting frustrated in my place of inability. After being wheeled into the therapy room, my physical therapist greeted me with enthusiasm.
"Well, Mr. Balaster," she said "You have been cleared for weight bearing!" After I had fractured my right ileum and right sacrum more than two months earlier, I could finally attempt to walk.
The work I had done so far was to gain strength after being in a hospital bed for months. Even though my hip had now healed enough and I was stronger, my stability, balance, and coordination were not. I had to relearn, and a walker could act as my “training wheels.”
People take walking for granted. It takes enormous coordination and thousands of processes happening all at once in order to simply take a step.
In my state, I was like an infant learning how its body worked. It was like I’d never walked before. The area of my brain that stored all of the “muscle memory” (cerebellum) had been damaged, and I had to relearn. I had to redevelop.
The probability had been that I wouldn`t wake from a coma. Now the probability was that I would not fully recover.
"What if probabilities were just a challenge?" I thought. My competition was only with the odds.
VIDEO 2: Probabilities only seem to apply to normal people anyway. And anyone who knows me will tell you... I`m not normal!
And I will tell you... my clients aren`t normal either. 🙂
It is amazing how much we can move the needle on peoples recovery by doing targeted exercises to each individual`s neurology.
If you are in a place, or if you know someone who is in a place of inability... and if you, or someone you know is committed to regaining abilities, share this or message me.
“Hello there." a friend said as she glided into the entryway towards the hospital bed where I lay. "Whatcha doing, Cavin?"
My eyes met hers and I swallowed with a labored and only partially successful gulp. “Swallow.” was mouthed by my silent lips.
“Don’t worry… you’re gonna eat soon.” The nasogastric tube protruding from my nose slunk down my face like an elephant`s trunk. “Snuffaluffagus” I wrote on the yellow notepad, and she smiled.
A deck of cards appeared from her bag and a smile appeared on my face as she let them fall from the box into her hand.
“You wanna play War?” The card game of “War" is purely a game of luck. This was the first card game I ever learned. There really is no skill needed, only the ability of at least someone in the game to count.
In my work in supporting clients and loved one`s of TBI survivors, This makes for a great game for those who are unable to strategize yet and it helps to teach patients how to count.
She dealt the cards out one by one until the entire deck was divided evenly between us. Both my half and hers lay face down on the table and we would each flip a card over for each play. Even though I was uncoordinated on my left side, I only needed one hand to play.
After a few turns, I remembered that my occupational therapist wanted me to use my inwardly flexed left hand as much as possible and I began willing my left hand to play.
Then... out of nowhere, I felt the uncontrollable urge to sneeze. My face scrunched before erupting with a spray and force that was more powerful than my atrophied muscles could endure, and the NG tube that protruded from my nose launched towards the table.
My right hand pinched the tube and slid the last inch out of my nose and She gasped. With shocked eyes and her hand covering her open mouth she began collecting the tools needed to clean up my mess of snot and tubes...
Story continued at the link in my bio - @feedabrain
I remember a seemingly new MD entering my room, a line of residents following behind him. He carried himself with an unshakable confidence and ego towards anyone without letters after a name that would rival his own.
With his chest inflated proudly, he took a look at my chart and then looked to me to ask “What did you used to do before this?” I still could not talk, so I wrote “I used to play music and bartend.” I remember him giving me a quick assessment, and then looking towards the line of students that had crowded into my room. “Well he’ll never do any of that again.” he said coldly with a chuckle I’ll never forget as he put my chart back and walked away.
It was like a kick that knocked the wind out of me. The fear that rode with me everyday magnified as each student took one more look of pity over my sad state.
At the end of the line there were a pair of soft brown eyes that locked with my sunken and scared optics as she walked out the door. She seemed to move much slower than the rest of the residents, and I could feel a compassion in her unlike the other students. “Yes you will,” she mouthed with her slow motion departure.
I put a voice to her lips that repeated in my mind everyday. “Yes I would,” I told myself, and even if it looked to be impossible, I would recover. “Yes I would.” 𝑰𝒕 𝒍𝒊𝒕𝒆𝒓𝒂𝒍𝒍𝒚 𝒎𝒂𝒌𝒆𝒔 𝒏𝒐 𝒔𝒆𝒏𝒔𝒆 𝒕𝒐 𝒑𝒓𝒐𝒋𝒆𝒄𝒕 𝒑𝒆𝒔𝒔𝒊𝒎𝒊𝒔𝒎… 𝒐𝒓 𝒕𝒐 𝒑𝒓𝒐𝒋𝒆𝒄𝒕 𝒘𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝒎𝒂𝒏𝒚 𝒑𝒆𝒐𝒑𝒍𝒆 𝒎𝒊𝒔𝒕𝒂𝒌𝒆𝒏𝒍𝒚 𝒄𝒂𝒍𝒍 “𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒍𝒊𝒔𝒕𝒊𝒄.” An empowered perspective is a prerequisite to a successful recovery.
In my experience working with folks surrounding neurological trauma, what I have found is that what people aim for and what they expect is what is actually realistic.
Our dreams… what we imagine... has the potential to become our reality.
So it makes absolutely no sense to imagine the future we don’t want.
And it is a disservice to project that kind of perspective onto others.
Encouragement beats criticism and pessimism (even pessimism disguised as realism)… Every. Single. Time.
It’s amazing how a large portion of my recovery has been accomplished through focused attention on visual and vestibular pathways. . It is widely said that the eyes are the window to the soul, but our eyes are LITERALLY the window to our brains! 👁 🧠 . You see, our brains have 12 superhighways that send signals to and from the brain. . These superhighways are are called cranial nerves and, while 6 of them affect our visual system, 4 of them are DEDICATED to vison! . This means that ONE THIRD of the superhighways that send signals to and from the brain ARE DEDICATED TO less than 1% of our body’s physical realistate: OUR EYES! . Our eyes are not only a literal window to the brain, but they are also a therapeutic window to the brain where we can effect neuroplastic change! 👁 🧠 . . . . @northwestfunctionalneuro @glenzielinski @feedabrain @adventuresintbi . #NeuroPlasticity #Neurology #FunctionalNeurology #Tbi #recovery #TbiRecovery #adventuresintbi #feedamind #feedabrain...
@AdventuresinTBI PODCAST episode with Nora Gedgaudas: “I think neurofeedback is the single most effective intervention that can be brought to improve brain function in a person compromised by brain injury.” (link in description) . . . #foodforthought #neurofeedback #eeg #biowave #health #brainhealth #primalgenic #neurofeedback #recovery #biohack #paleo #Neurotherapy #ketogenicdiet #lowcarb #highfat #adventuresinTBI #feedabrain #primalgenic...
Happy Halloween! It’s been 115 hours since my last meal and I’ve had nothing but bone broth, electrolytes, and supplements (feedabrain.com/supplementguide). . I checked my weight this morning, and I have lost 10lbs using bone broth from @brothmasters as my main form of nutrition! (coupon code FEEDABRAIN) . Unfortunately , this is not the longest I’ve gone without solid food cause, while I was in the hospital, I was tube fed for months (not recommended). Including a high quality bone broth bone broth (like @brothmasters) makes it all so much easier and I’m loving the way I feel: clear, organized, energized, excited for Halloween (y’all can eat your candy... I’ll drink my bone broth)! 🎃 👻 👽🤖. . Ok... I’m still having crazy chocolate cravings! 😋 🍫 🤤. . #Fasting #BoneBrothFast #BrothFast #Paleo #Keto #KetoPaleo #PaleoKeto #Tbi #TbiRecovery #Recovery #BrainHealth #FoodForThought #FeedABrain...
The last time I ate anything solid was late Saturday night. Some friends (@alexrmurf and @alliwo) were planning to fast Sunday afternoon to Wednesday afternoon. I just got a shipment of my favorite bone broth (@brothmasters), so I decided to join in with a bone broth fast (have nothing by bone broth). . Last night, I checked my glucose and ketones and i was pretty solid. This morning is even better! . I’m totally in ketosis (nutritional ketosis is between 0.5 and 3.0 mmol/dL) and...my fasting BS is looking good! (If you go by American Diabetes Association standards, “normal” blood sugar is less than 100 mg/dl fasting). . Feeling good... and clear... and like I have plenty of energy! And... the only thing I’m really craving at this point is super dark chocolate (like pure 90-100% cacao). 🍫 😂 . Have you tried fasting at all? What was it like for you? What was your first meal after (your break-fast)? . #Fasting #Tbi #TbiRecovery #BrainBoost #Keto #KetoFasting #BoneBrothFast #Recovery #BrainFood #FoodForThought #feedabrain...
A warm greeting from Tricia Carrick at the International Symposium on Clinical Neuroscience 2019! @carrick_institute @iscn_events #iscn2019 #Neurology #Neuroscience #Recovery #Tbi #Brainhealth #FoodForThought #BrainFood #adventuresintbi #foodforthoughts #feedabrain...
I love how Austin is so full of amazing people Involved in health: resilience, strength, science, sex, power, and everything else involved in living your own kind of full spectrum life! The sxsw health expo is kind of epic for a health/life enthusiast/nerd like me! I mean... human hardware is pretty awesome! 🧠💃🕺🥳🥰😎 #Health #Wellness #Neurology #BrainFood #Tbi #Recovery #FeedaBrain...
I once wrote that sticks and stones may break my bones, but words… words can rewrite history. Words are so powerful. Written words change people‘s lives... they have changed mine. I believe that words are magic! And how are words created? They are spelled. If words are magic, and they can be created by casting a spell, what is it that those spells are cast with? What is the wand? The pen. The pen is the wand that casts the spell. When we connect our brain to our pen to our page... when we wrap our fingers around a pen and begin to scribe, the neurological processes that take place are astonishing. Magic is a skill, and the tools I use to create magic just got an upgrade! comment in if you’re interested in upgrading yours! 💥 🧠🖊📓 ✍️ 💥 #Writing #Journal #Magic #Spells #Wand #Neurology #Neuroscience #Recovery #AventuresinTBI #FeedaBrain...
If you are interested in keto for any reason, this episode will give you some awesome tools towards self-reliance and bad-assary to be the best you that you can be. And in case you still haven’t noticed, I think that being the best you that you can be is what it’s all about! 😂 I am very excited to bring this episode to you! I met @thetraininsideme at @ketocon in 2017 (we’ll both be speaking again at KetoCon 2019), and we became fast friends. Have you ever experienced a seizure or have a loved one who has or who continues to have seizures? Well, Jade has had epilepsy since age 8 and has been on so many anti-epileptic medications to manage her seizures (each with their own nasty side effects) that she’s lost count. She now manages her seizures while weaning herself off of medications, and it was an absolute treat to have her share her wisdom with us. In this episode, we explore how and why ketogenic metabolism can be so neuroprotective. Learn tips and tricks to get into and to stay in ketosis from someone who takes it seriously... As serious as a seizure! (link in description)
The ways and the extent in which things affect us are largely based on our reaction TO them. Everything that occurs in our world is not passive. Everything that happens TO us also happens WITH us. And in that space between whatever happens and the strength of our ability to harness how we respond is where our freedom truly lies. This is what I mean when I say “Strength & Serenity.” #tbi #power #recovery #brainpower #foodforthought #mindbullets #feedabrain...
When I was asked to speak for The Northeast Ohio Brain Injury Foundation (#neobif) at the @clevelandclinic, I was told that they wanted to be sure that the food was in line with what I write and practice. And they delivered! I got to work with the @ mustardseedmrkt to create a #feedabrain dinner for survivors the night before. Because it was so good, I even went back the next day and ended up meeting one of the owners, Abraham (@saiyan46n2), whose ideas of health and resilience were so aligned with my own. If you’re ever in Akron, go to this market! #tbi #brainhealth #recovery #foodforthought #health #eats #brainfood #feedabrain...