I am an Undergraduate Student who has Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy and embraces the Vegan lifestyle. Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy is a Chronic Neurological Condition that I hope and pray there will be a cure to one day. Until then I live my life to the fullest, embrassing the life the Good Lord has given me.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Those Who Motivate Us

Last night I was filling out a scholarship application and it got me to thinking about what actually motivates me. Each of us has something that motivates us whether it be a significant other, a goal, or even a life long dream. These motivations help us get through the everyday grind. They help us realize the bigger picture in the long run.

When I was twelve I never realized how much my life was going to change once I sprained my left wrist. My life has been blessed from the people who have been put in it, the challenges I have had to face, and the accomplishments I have made. I say that I'm blessed from my challenges because they have helped me learn about who I am this also includes getting RSD. If someone where to ask me if I could take it all back, I honestly don't know if I would.

About six months after getting RSD my Uncle got very sick and passed away. From watching the nurses taking care of him in the hospital came my desire to become a nurse. From my continuous treatments and visits to my PM's office my desire to become a nurse has grown simply from being with my Uncle the last weeks of his life. My Uncle was always supportive of me and stepped in as a substitute Grandfather he had passed away before I was born. It saddens me to know he isn't here to see me in college. I have two motivations; my Uncle and my RSD, both have helped me realize how blessed I am to be in college and be succeeding.

Monday, April 26, 2010


This past weekend was a great time to help me get refreshed for the upcoming week. As I mentioned before I have several tests before finals and I needed an environment to study and need to get some healing food. One of the things that helped me loose the tension this weekend was to cook.
I absolutely love putting different ingredients together and knowing something scrumptious is going to come of it. Also since becoming vegan I have become more receptive to trying new food and love to discover new flavors. On Saturday my dad and I went to the store and bought some stuff that we just generally needed. I of course brought stuff that I could bring back to school and would help me get through finals. Things like celery, strawberries, apples, ect. that are convenient yet nutritious. I also bought some vegan veggie burgers which I had one of that night. My dad made burgers on the grill and I had my own vegan version. I was happy though that he went for the vegetarian backed beans when I suggested it and he even ate them. I say this because anyone who knows him knows he is extremely picky.

I had two tests today, I started the day off with a almond milk, banana, apple and hemp protein smoothie. I defenitly see a differnce in how I feel, compared to last semester at this same time. I am still tired and hurting RSD wise ect., but I have more energy too and my stamina is up. I am always excited to discover new foods that I can eat and their "powers".

Here are two pictures of the meals I made over the weekend.

Tofu Scramble

Made Sunday Morning

Rice, Beans, and Almonds

Made on Sunday

brought the rest back to school

Sorry the pictures are dark, I took them with my phone.

Until next time!

Sending Healing Thoughts to all!

Friday, April 23, 2010

How Food Can Make a Difference

Since I was little Ive always love "healthy food". I would be the one that would have to be forced to eat the steak on my plate or would pack a salad for lunch during high school. When I found this world of food and how it can help heal our bodies and how it can help prevent certain genes from being turned on it simply blows my mind.

When I was 17, my RSD spread into my right arm from me slamming my pointer finger on my right hand in my car door. I ended up getting sent to a Pediatric Rehabilitation Hospital with a Tunneled Epidural Catheter in my spine (like a pregnant woman's epidural but more complicated and somewhat portable). My roommate was another girl who had RSD, she and I became quick friends. She was wheelchair bound, couldn't feel her legs, and highly allergic to several medications that she was put on to treat her RSD. Bethany had went into remission but her RSD came back when she stepped on a nail and had to get a tetanus shot. I am telling you all this because she is the one that inspired me to follow this diet.

Bethany and I both developed an infection in our spines from the TECS at the same time. She and I ended up being "paralyzed" for a good period in time. My symptoms wore off with in about two weeks, Bethany's persisted. After a couple months of no Dr's Bethany decided to go 100% raw Vegan and after a while on this diet she started getting movement in her legs. Today she is pain free and walking all over the place.

When I heard of Bethany's success I couldn't believe that food could have such a huge impact. That same year I stoped eating beef to give it a try. Within a month of the beef being out of my system my pain levels went down, I was hooked and was a believer. It took me a while though to cut other things out of my diet though. After a 1 1/2 yrs of not eating beef I gave up all meat and shortly after became vegan. I didn't see the reason to stop eating meat but to still consume dairy products. I also believe that I am lactose intolerant which doesn't mean much being vegan.

At this point in time on my RSD journey I don't believe I will be completely pain free. I do believe though that my life style choice is going to help with my RSD and to help prevent other health conditions in the long run. Its taken a little effort on my part on planning meals, reading food labels, and explaining my life style but I'm loving every minute of it.

Right now I am at how trying to recuperate from several long weeks at school. I have one week left before finals and then I am officially done! I have three tests next week and three finals so I may not be on much this weekend or before finals. After the stress is relieved I do want to post about my theory on how I think RSD can be developed even before we are born.

Until next time!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Information Overload

I am sorry for my absence, I hope you will understand. Last weekend and the last few days have been crazy and that is an understatement. I have been in a flair, had to study for two quizzes for yesterday, deal with social issues, had a test today, and haven't gotten more than 5 hours of sleep each of the past two nights.

I am absolutely exhausted and don't know how I am upright at the moment. I have so much to do in such little time. I have finals in two weeks, 2 comprehensive exams, 1 not. Before finals I have a lab practical and 2 tests scheduled.

Since my body is pretty run down I have been trying to fill it with healing food and foods that will help aid me especially since finals is coming up and no one is a fan of finals. I have started using a hemp protein powder and mixing it with almond milk and a banana. It is absolutely delicious, according to one of my friends its "disgusting" but its actually good and I know its helping my body heal itself from the wear and tear I put on it.

Even though I throughly enjoy school I am looking forward to summer (im taking a summer class). Im looking forward to going to Farmer's Markets and getting truely fresh vegetables and spending time with family and friends outside. I am also looking forward to forgeting about days where I feel like this.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Who Are You?

WHO, What, When, Why, How? Are the questions we are taught to ask and answer through Elementary School through College. These questions not only apply to us being in school but our everyday lives also.

We tend to let society define who we are. A lot of people if asked to define themselves usually define themselves by their profession; teacher, mom, college student, ect. People dont realize that this is letting society define them and thats not exactly 100% a bad thing. We do need to find who we really are.

The only way to find who we really are is to find ourselves in God. Building a relationship with God is the way each one of us will be able to find our real selves. Having a relationship with God has helped me with my journey with RSD. God has shown me that I am stronger than I thought I thought I was. He has also given me a desier to help others who also have chronic pain by becoming a Nurse and then hopefully a Nurse Practitioner.

Today was a beautiful day and I was able to spend a great amount of time outside with some great friends. Friends also help define who we are since we spend so much time with time. My good friend Rebecca and I made a door sign for my other friend Mike since it was his Birthday. Rebecca and I had a great time collecting the supplies from Campus Activities and making the sign itself. We also had 6 balloons which Rebecca blew up (I have bad lungs) and we hung them all over Mike's door along with the sign. I got a call and he was very appreciative of it. :-)

Sending Healing thoughts to all!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Live, Lauph, Love

The past couple days have been hard for me. With the temperatures suddenly taking a downward turn and the rain coming in my body didn't know how to handle it. Thankfully the extra pill I was allowed to take helped the pain a little as well as extra rest. On Thursday night after my last class I was truly excited to change and know that I could stay in the rest of the night and sleep in the next day.

Every once in a while I'm in class I will doodle on my notes when nothing too exciting is going on. I have heard that doodling during class or during a meeting can actually improve memory. Here is a study that was conducted of doodling http://www.newsweek.com/id/186738. The thing that I doodle the most is "Live, Laugh, Love". We have all seen these words on plaques or picture frames but what do they really mean? Well here's my interpretation.


Evey one of us lives a life, but do we really live? There are people that don't start living their life until they get diagnosed with a chronic condition. My RSD taught me to live my life and to never take advantage of the good days I had.


Each of us needs to be able to laugh at ourselves. If we aren't able to then what gives us the right to join in the jokes positioned at others? Each of us makes mistakes and being able to laugh at those mistakes not only shows other people we have a sense a humor but can help lower stress levels as well.


Loving one another is important. Forming relationships is one of the most essential components of being a human. We all might have great relationships with our pets but eventually we are going to need human contact. Love conquers hate and finds compassion for the people in your life who have hurt you emotionally and physically. A lot of times we forgive for ourselves not for the person who is hurting us.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Warm Weather is Here

I am truely excited that the warm weather is here. For me it means a slight reduction in pain levels, hopefully. With the amount of rain and humidity that comes with spring I do start to flair a bit more than the other months. I cant deny that I rather have the warmer weather though.

I saw my Pain Management Dr today. I dont see my PM too often, maybe about every 3 to 4 months. Lately I have a an increase in pain and was going to switch over to the nucynta but it was simply too strong for my body to handle. We talked about other options. I am going to stick to my regular pain medication but I can add an extra pill or two of Ultram during the day as needed. I believe this is going to help significantly. My Dr also asked about my SCS. I love my SCS and think its one of the best decisions that Ive made regarding my health. It takes away the majority of my burring pain that I experience. According to my Dr it seems to do that and my pain medicine helps with the stabbing pain. He suggested that I get my SCS re-programed so that I have several options or programs to work with. Right now I have two programs; 1. Im up and walking, sitting, ect. 2. Laying down (spinal cord is compressed).

We also talked about how my stomach has still been giving me trouble six months after the first symptoms started. It was suggested that I start writing a food journal or diary and keep track the foods that cause me a problem. I told him about my switch to veganism and how when I did do milk products I would get sick so I stopped. Also how veggies help me from getting sick, Im guessing because they are high fiber foods. I am going to do the food journal though starting tomorrow and see if I can actually pinpoint what is making me sick or if I actually do have RSD in my stomach like I think I do. The thing is though most people with RSD in their stomach cant absorb foods and vomit them up, I think the RSD is just affecting my pyloric sphincter (the part of the stomach that lets the food pass from stomach to intestines). In the meantime I am still on the Levsin before I eat which helps but is a pain to remember to take before hand and takes forever to dissolve in my mouth.

Ive been hurting a bit more lately due to the rain and moisture in the air. Im not sure if its a good thing when your able to predict when its going to rain just by your pain levels going up.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Amazing Life

I have such an amazing life. The last couple days have been quite amazing. I spent almost all of Friday and Saturday outside enjoying the gorgeous weather. Sunday was spent with my family, Celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus.

On Saturday my dad and I spent some time together. Him and I planted around 500 onion sets. The quote from me to him was "Its weird I kind of like getting dirty". Later on Saturday my mom, Aunt, and I went to Olive Garden. We shared a nice meal and thankfully they offer great vegetarian meals that can be easily made vegan. My mom and I then had to run into our local Walmart to get some items for our Easter Dinner and for my vegan granola bars. When we came out it had dropped 16 degrees within 15 minutes a change that I had predicted thanks to my arms hurting like crazy at Olive Garden.

For Resurrection Sunday mom and I got up early for Church. I woke up a bit earlier like I usually do to search and open my Easter Basket. Many of the treats I cant eat so I simply left them at home. My parents did get me a air popping popcorn maker since most popcorn have milk in them. After Church my siblings came over to enjoy a meal and each other's company. I made myself a vegan chili and sweet potato. My mom had also made several of the items so that I would be able to eat them.

I hope you are all doing well and had a great Easter as well.

Firstgiving Website: http://www.firstgiving.com/erikkafightingagainstrsd

Sending Healing Thoughts!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Vegans are Limited? I think Not!

I am officially home for Easter break! I came home last night and spent a nice evening with my parents, aunt, and dog.

I made a trip to my local Giant Eagle today to get some food for the weekend and for Easter. Last night I decided to make a Black Bean Chili over Sweet Potatoes for my Easter meal, this already has my mouth watering. I discovered that our Giant Eagle or Giant Eagle in general is getting more vegan friendly. I am ecstatic about that and just wish that my school cafeteria would put the effort toward getting vegan products. They had a boca burger for maybe a week and the staff didn't know what they were or how to cook it. When I asked for it they were frozen and like I said, they didn't know how to cook them.

At Giant Eagle I found Vegan lunch meat, Vegan Cheese, and Dairy free ice cream. They still have the Morning Star Products and it looks like they are getting more organic and dairy free products on their shelves. I am very thankful since Whole foods is a bit expensive even though I do like their products.

I am getting my hair done a little later today. My mom and I are then headed to the mall so that I can get the knot out of my neck. I'm excited that the weather is beautiful today and I got to enjoy a
beautiful walk with my dog!