Step by step

Ever been in a situation where it was a bad situation overall but if it was going to be bad you’re glad it played out like it did? Like you got really sick when you had planned on using your vacation time at work for a staycation. Yes it sucks you’re spending your off time sick at home but hey at least you’re getting paid for it and at least they already planned for you to be off. Thats how this past weekend was for me. Seizures are the worst and will continue to be miserable however VNS gave me a glimpse of how it can help with some of the side effects of seizures. Friday Night busy night at work not overly stressful but it had been an overall bad day for me. I had a seizure but was coherent well before the EMS got to the hotel they were impressed. Though I don’t remember all that was talked about I know I talked about my VNS and was asked about who the president was and I want to say I said “It’s not Obama anymore…” but I can’t remember if I actually said Trump even though he was inaugurated months ago. After I went home I had no trouble going to sleep which was unusual for me normally my mind races and I can’t get it to quiet down. The next day I woke up surprised to find I didn’t have a headache, I didn’t have muscle soreness I felt normal. I called work and they were also surprised to hear i was coming in because normally they tell me to take a day and sleep it off. Everyone at work said I acted normal not sluggish or anything that next day. So while we are still trying to figure out what the correct level to put my VNS at I’m just happy that I have a course of action I can take in the form of the magnet instead of being a time bomb that may or may not go off. That it lessens the effects of the seizures and shortens recovery time. The magnet isn’t complicated to use and fits in my pocket. It is helping. It just is taking time for my body to adjust and one day i’ll get there.

Published in: on May 8, 2017 at 5:59 pm  Leave a Comment  
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VNS update 2.0

I’ve been asked to give my two cents on my vns experience thus far. I love it. It gives me peace of mind that I haven’t had before even with medication there was always that underlying fear that you would get used to the current dose and it wouldn’t be effective but you wouldn’t know that until you had a “breakthrough seizure” or unless you had regular testing and who wants to have brain tests done several times a year not to mention EXPENSIVE! VNS therapy is a stimulation therapy known also as “the pacemaker for your brain” it’s also used for people struggling with depression.  The electrical current runs up my Vagus Nerve every 5 min it gives me a 30 second current of energy. The strength of the current is slowly being increased as you would slowly introduce a new medication into your system. The first level I didn’t know what to expect but I got used to it fairly quickly. I will say I’m glad my job doesn’t depend on me talking on the phone all day, making speeches or singing because when this thing goes off I sound robotic. There is a way to “pause” it but it comes with it’s own negative results so I don’t like to do it especially when I first get it turned up. Being I’m only the second person in asheville to have this particular model which reads my heart rate my neurologist is fascinated as am I by the data my device provided at my recent appointment. We think that it might be too sensitive because it’s firing alot and maybe more than it should. When it does it’s a stronger signal and it typically fires when I climb up a big hill and I feel like i’m being smothered and it’s really hard to breathe. It’s a weird feeling since i’ve been blessed to not have asthma or breathing problems it kinda freaks me out. But so far so good and I’m looking forward and hoping for the day where people only know I have epilepsy because I have told them about my VNS not because they have experienced my seizures first hand. Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers. If you have any questions feel free to ask away I love talking about it since it fascinates me 🙂

Published in: on May 2, 2017 at 3:32 am  Comments (1)  
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The brain is a fun place….

You might ask why I title my blog post this but the brain is so cool in all that it can do and my reflection goes through my journey in epilepsy.  I’m not entirely sure where to begin my blog but I wanted to thank my family, friends, roommates, and coworkers who have come along this journey with me. I’ve tried a myriad of medication over the past decade all of them have helped with the seizure symptoms somewhat but not completely and they caused an additional problem. Problems ranging from sentence construction, loss of focus, headaches, crazy vivid dreams, enhanced auditory senses, nausea and loss of interest in food. I had a hard time at work and started having more seizures at work. It made my chefs and co-workers nervous around me like I was a bomb just waiting to detonate and there wasn’t anything I could do about it.

I couldn’t continue to live in fear. So in November I participated in a sleep study where my neurologist collected data on my seizures and proposed I get a new implant surgery. VNS or Vagus Nerve Stimulation implant was something I had read about in studies and had recently met a girl who was a couple years younger than me that had had the surgery and it had done wonders for her. After thinking it over I decided to go for it because in my mind there wasn’t another option. I was able to get time off work, insurance helped pay for the surgery and I found out that I was the first person in asheville to have the newest model installed and monitored in asheville.

I’m two weeks post surgery and they decided that today would be a good day to turn on the device. I was a little nervous walking into the doctors office this morning, almost an hour early for my appointment, not entirely sure what I should expect. I was led through the labyrinth, that is the doctors office, by the nurse while she rattled off the generic questions to which my answers rarely change to their biggest exam room. The nurse briefly left me in the room before my neurologist came in followed by her entourage of three other VNS reps.

Over the next few months they are going to be working on increasing my “dose” with the goal of reaching “1” for the device right now I am at .25 for 30 second intervals every 5 minutes It also reads my heart rate and if it spikes rapidly like 60-84 in 5 seconds it will send a .37 current because often times increase in heart rate is an indicator that a seizure will proceed so this feature attempts to neutralize that. Another feature is the magnets which I will keep on my person in the event where I feel like a seizure might happen or if someone sees me having a seizure they can take the really strong magnet and swipe it across my heart (where the device is implanted) and it delivers a dose twice as strong as the normal for 1 minute.

Eight hours later my comments would be sometimes it takes my breath away. I feel like had a workout today when I didn’t do a whole lot. Sometimes it makes me cough of suddenly intake air. Sometimes it feels like mild suffocation with the pressure and feels like someone took one of those cheap dry erase markers with the erasers on the cap and after it had been used for awhile rubs it up and down in the same spot on my vocal chord. Not super pleasant but I’m hoping that over time I will grow used to it and that I can be another success story. I want to look back on this year and see change. Thanks for all of your continued prayers and support!

~Brehana~

Published in: on April 1, 2017 at 1:22 am  Leave a Comment  
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Protecting your reputation

Ever get to that point where you have so much to do that you just say “thats it I’m laying in my hammock all day”? Thaats how I feel about my blogging I have so much to write about my trip to guatamala and one day (don’t worry I took notes so as not to forget anything) I will get to blogging about it but right now something else is on my mind.

Have you ever thought about what would happen to you if your reputation was shaken? Have you ever wonder what type of people worry about their reputation? Is it just politicians? CEOS? Pastors? People in the public eye? People who have the job of protecting a politician’s reputation have a difficult what kind of screening process do they have to go through to get that honor? I realize this is a lot to process and questions that don’t have answers for us unfortunately but feel free to use it to jumpstart a conversation with me or someone else. Another thought, I was listening to elevation worship and have been thinking about their song “I can’t believe” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9iyPmYqVx8  and it just hit me God has a reputation and he doesn’t need defending but he has chosen us to know him and give us the responsibility of being his ambassadors. “I can’t believe you chose someone like me to declare your name…”  I guess the reason we hire people to protect our reputation is we have something to hide. It’s funny how God chose us to be holy like he is holy and he has nothing to hide.

Published in: on May 18, 2016 at 4:35 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Duck duck…GOOSE

I’ve been doing a poor job keeping this blog updated on the fun places and hing I’ve been doing here in asheville! New places I’ve visited recently are Sierra Navada, White Duck Taco both locations, The Biltmore Estate, 9rounds kickboxing gym, Art Museum downtown and the wicked weed just to name a few.

One of my friends came and visited and after always visiting me in the itty bitty town of hotsprings,va. it was nice to actually have places to visit. We started our city exploration with White Duck Taco. 

there are two locations in asheville one in the river arts district which is a small shop but their food is legit. I would put this place on my list of places to visit with friends who are visiting. LOL. Get the Fish or Shrimp taco! next I want to try the duck taco. The Other location is in downtown asheville. Same menu but the atmosphere isn’t as warm more on the professional side.

Sierra Navada is a brewery near arden NC.   

The picture doesn’t do it justice. It was impressive.  I was expecting it to look industrial but it didn’t have that look or feel. Next I go back i’d love to book a tour to learn more about the brewing process.

Wicked Weed was a restaurant downtown which I had always tried to go to but it was always closed but now that i’ve been I was unimpressed with the menu but I will say I enjoyed the atmosphere.

Asheville Art Museum

unfortunately it was a cold day to be walking around downtown so we found ourselves at the art museum. I can’t say I’ve ever been to an art museum before then I grew up going to the science museum though. We were one of the few people looking/commenting/pondering the art. One of the exhibits featured reflective strips which we were encouraged to take pictures and tag them on social media. (though I broke my phone so I can’t get to my pictures). It’s a fun rainy/cold day activity. 

Back in January my family came to visit and in addition to enjoying the National gingerbread competition at the grove park inn we ventured to the biltmore estate.

The estate was huge and it was well worth your time to have the historical audio tour. Admission to the house provides a wine tasting and you can choose to wonder around the gift shop. If you can help it don’t go on a day where there is a bike race going on. 😉

Over Thanksgiving I’ve become slightly obsessed with 9rounds kickboxing gym 

I have been able to increase my strength and feel accomplished. There are 2 different locations in asheville but the workout changes everyday so I don’t get bored and I am amazed how much I get done in 30min.

My next exploration goals are to get out and try hiking/outdoor hangout, international travels to guatamala and find a good place to hangout/meet up with friends.

 

 

Published in: on March 3, 2016 at 6:49 am  Leave a Comment  

Everytime a bell rings an angel gets her wings

Last saturday, God rang the bell when a young lady in the Roanoke community passed away after fight the battle with leukemia for 2 years. She was not only well known in the community for being a women of God she was joyful, encouraging and loved her family and friends. She and her family were/are close friends with my family so we are really feeling their loss too. During her battle she internalized psalms when david said “bless the lord o my soul let my inmost being praise his holy name.” She trusted the Lord with all her heart leaning not on her own understanding because her situation didn’t make sense and nothing seemed to fix it. In all her ways she acknowledged God and he promised and did make her path straight.Maybe not in the way we would have chosen but she’s in heaven and everything makes sense there.

We never understand why God takes young people before we think is their due time on the earth, but for Hannah, God wanted to show himself through her not through her healing but instead through her sickness. Throughout her battle she was a joyful spirit who had a heart after Gods so I believe she would consider it worth it all if just one person came to know and trust Jesus or even just was encouraged to learn more about Him too because that’s how God feels about us. He died on the cross to forgive our sin so that we could have fellowship with God without the burden of sin in the way.

As a human I struggle with being content and understanding God’s way. I wonder why perfectly healthy people throw their lives away physically and emotionally just check out. You would think it would be fair to trade places with them if you’re sick and want to live life to the fullest. Everyone takes something/someone for granted which others pine for. Children, freedom, job, relationships, car, health or even basic things like new clothes or a house.

Be thankful for what you have and remind the people in your life that you are blessed to have them. Allow others to bless you so you can continue being a blessing to others because you never know what you have that others wish they did too.

Published in: on January 21, 2016 at 6:18 pm  Leave a Comment  

From the page to your heart

I’m an easily distracted person. I can multi-task pretty well which makes me good at my job but sometimes it doesn’t leave time for things that are important. God is one of those things that I say that he’s important but if you looked at my life you might not see it because the devil puts up so many distractions that it gets overlooked. Distractions  like my job, my computer, my tv, candy crush, friends. While these are all good things in moderation when they become distractions from greater things you need to take a step back and refocus your priorities. I’ve been seeing these posts on Facebook about 30 day scripture copy reading. The idea is they give you scripture to read, copy and reflect on. This came up at the perfect time since I often have no idea where to begin to open my bible. Today’s reading was Isiah 43:16-19, 2nd corn5:17 I thought I’ve already read that alot of times look at all the underlining in my bible and even side notes but ok lets give it a shot.

“This is what the Lord says; he who made a way through the sea a path through the mighty waters, who drew out the chariots and horses, the army and reinforcements together and they lay there never to rise again. extinguished, snuffed out like a wick! ‘Forget the former things don’t dwell on the past, see I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up do you not percieve it? I am maing a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland!’

“Therefor, if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation the old is gone and the new has come!”

It Got me thinking and even though God was talking to the Israelites in Isaiah it could be easily be applied to me in 2016. He talks about his love for Them/Me :

  • God created me
  • He formed me
  • He has redeemed me
  • He summoned me by name
  • I am His
  • He will be with me
  • I am precious and honored in His sight
  • He will sacrifice anything in exchange for me and for my life. (jesus)
  • He created me for His glory and to be his witness that He is God.

He Also tells us who He is:

  • Before Him, no god was formed
  • He is the Lord
  • There savior apart from Him
  • He has revealed, saved and proclaimed
  • He is God
  • When He acts, no one can stop it!
  • He is our redeemer
  • He is Holy
  • He is King
  • He blots out my transgressions and remembers our sins no mores

I was also thinking about what word should be the word I focus on for this new year 2016 and I’ve decided on: Glorious/Glorify. Two Songs that helped me in my decision.

Just thinking about the glory of God just blows me away and I want to keep that perspective this year. Second song that affirmed my decision sometimes songs communicate what words alone can’t.

This church writes their own own worship music and their lyrics never cease to blow me away.

Published in: on January 2, 2016 at 5:13 pm  Comments (1)  

Fine dining for 2

It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged not b/c I havn’t had time or material to blog about i just havn’t felt like writing. So remember when I joined ok cupid? Just b/c why not? and those blogs I wrote “The woahs of online dating” and “one fish in the middle of the sea” This past week I went on a first date with this guy. I havn’t known him for very long but b/c we’ve been friends for awhile beforehand this momentous “first date” so wasn’t as nerve wracking as most. Yes I was still nervous/excited. Yes I do have friends who were/are anticipating the low down on how it went (no I won’t give those details here). Some people say a good relationship is built from friendships while there have been other people who say it’s better the other way around. Who knows, but I think relationships are built off friendships. Anyways we went to :

It was a fine dining restaurant . The server was attentive and it had a nice calming atmosphere. I had a mushroom medley appetizer served with thinly sliced and toasted french bread, while he had thinly cut fries with a truffle dipping sauce. For my entree I had quail stuffed with a cheddar/bacon breadcrumbstuffing cooked in a red wine demi, swiss chard and a cream sauce. His entree was lamb with fresh tomatoes and fresh pappardelle pasta and basil pesto. We both enjoyed the food as well as the creme brulee. It’s a nice place to go for a special occasion but I wouldn’t make it a go to place.

I’ve kinda lost track of some the other places I’ve visited since my other blogs. From what I can remember The Hop, bruggers bagels, waffle house, papas and beer and green sage. I had all good experiences. 🙂

Published in: on November 11, 2015 at 7:38 pm  Comments (1)  
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Silencing the internal soundtrack of lies

I’ve been reading this book by my pastor Steven Furtick “Crash the Chatterbox” It really hits home with me because it goes to the root of the problem. Why do we have such a negative soundtrack? Why do we believe the devil’s half truths? Why are we scared of the unknown? It has really gotten myself to become more aware of my thoughts, opinions and beliefs about who I think I am and who God says that I am and who he’s making me to be. If I was to be honest with myself I would say I’m a joyful person most of the time but there is one issue (my epilepsy) that always brings about a negative soundtrack. This is what goes through my mind in the hours, days, sometimes weeks after an episode: I’m sure I really scared the crap out of those people, I’m sorry I can’t control it better and that I scared you, OMG why can’t I stop crying people must think I’m a mess that I can’t even do anything by myself, What if this never goes away? What if it does? is my identity so wrapped up in this that if i were to be free from it I wouldn’t be ME? I’ll probably never own my own car or know what it feels like to go on a road trip bymyself to surprise a friend just for the heck of it. I’m a burden on people they always have to go the extra mile (literally) for me. I’m a mess why can’t I be ok with this? I’ve dealt with this for years and i’m not as bitter as I once was but it still hurts. what’s the difference between putting up a facade and faking it until you make it? It takes awhile for me to pull myself out of that pity party and combat it with truths. During that time I will say I’m doing good when I may not be good. I am a hot mess sometimes. However God’s soundtrack sounds very different in comparison to mine Maybe you did scare those people but they are concerned for your safety and have your best interest at heart, I made you I know what you can handle don’t think that you are less than what I’ve made you to be, you can do all things through me who gives you the strength, if it doesn’t go away then I have bigger plans for you, Your identity is in me and I never change, the people who love you will be happy to go that extra mile, you have built stronger friendships b/c you have to depend on them. 

If you are with me during this time know that I love you and it means the world to know that I can depend on you and you don’t see me as less of a person because of it. Also I’ve heard that in that semi conscious state I have said some things unfiltered that some might take offense to, please don’t take them personally. I pray that you won’t live in fear that it will happen. The best thing for me is to make sure I’m not physically hurt, let me cry and hug me.

Published in: on November 5, 2015 at 6:01 pm  Comments (1)  

the secret to being a joyful person

It’s been a little while since i’ve written a blog. I havn’t been experiencing much culinary exploration lately. I’ve been doing a pumpkin exploration at home. Making pumpkin cream cheese, pumpkin mac and cheese and a pumpkin smoothie. All of which were delicious. 🙂 I’ve been also doing some thinking. Self reflection is good right? As I look back and think about the past 5 years, i’m amazed at how far I’ve come. I think everything I’ve gone through living and working at the homestead with knowing so many new people has pushed me way out of my comfort zone and has taught me to live life through the adventurous lens. What’s the point of  going to work if I’m not enjoying my days? I need a job where I am fulfilling a purpose, making a difference and ultimately loving what I do. If I have the opportunity to try something new whether it be a new adventure, new food place or going someplace new. Im always looking for new suggestions 🙂 Through all this I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m more secure in who I am right now than ever. I am a child of God and nothing I do can change that, I am justified, there is no condemnation, i am holy and accepted in christ, i am a work of art, and I am complete in christ. He is enough for me and for the first time I not only know these things but I feel them to be true. They always say fake it until you make it. Well I’ve known these truths for years and now I’ve made it. (not that it was faking it was just a transfer from head knowledge to heart knowledge). I’ve also learned to do things and be around people that bring life to my soul. Some things that bring me joy and breathe life into my soul: trying new foods, creating something out of nothing, cooking a masterpiece or turning a pbj into the best thing ever!, hiking a mtn to see the glory of nature, being at the beach having my feet slowly sink into the sand or walking seeing the indentation as I draw hearts and squiggles in the sand, the different personalities of animals and how pets can make a bad day turn into just a bad moment in time, water sports, laying in the sun while floating on the water, swimming, swings, the holidays where everyone gets together and celebrates being festive, inside jokes, uncontrollable laughter, dance parties while singing off key in my kitchen, seeing a passion in someone else it could be something that i wouldn’t be interested in but b/c their passion makes me want to be an expert just so I could share it with them, learning new things, games, competition, sports and routing for a team that I know nothing about, a good workout, having a lazy day, being productive, taking a nap, cuddling, hugs, long walks, bonfires with acoustic worship music, traveling, road trips, exploring, playing piano. I could probably go on and on but you get the point. Figure out what those things are for you. What do you want to be remembered for? someone who was working all the time, strict about money and time or someone who enjoys their life and spread joy because they felt so much it just came bubbling up and out. My next planned adventure is a greek festival tomorrow so stay tuned for that fun blog!

Published in: on September 25, 2015 at 4:28 pm  Comments (1)