Amazing Month of Busies (Part 1): “Walkin’ the Town”

22 01 2011

In the past month, Windsor and I have been walking farther into town INDEPENDENTLY, without a caregiver. They are our “Adventures” and represent more evidence to my brain healing progress on the Brain Protocol and to Windsor’s ability to care for me by himself.

We’ve walked to local businesses like a favorite cafe to get bagels (for me, not Windsor B.), Home Depot, and the bowling alley.  We know people along each route whom I can ask for help, the layout of each business, and some of the employees, who know my condition in case I need help.  Twice, we made a 4 mile round trip.  My walking can be very slow, so even though it took me three hours to walk that 4 mile round trip, it was a fantastic adventure and feeling of success for both Windsor and me.  He’s proud to take care of me and I’m so grateful for his ability to take his work seriously.

Twice in the past two weeks, Windsor and I have walked 1.5 miles to the bowling alley where I go for therapy.  (I’ll share more about the bowling therapy, it’s affect on my brain, and Windsor’s “bowling talents” in my “Amazing Month of Busies (Part 2).”)  Normally, we are driven to and from bowling, so walking there is a new “Adventure.”

Windsor and I are working on some basic guide dog tasks that are further assisting me even though Windsor is a mobility/medical alert dog.  Walking to the bowling alley challenged both of us and our abilities as we crossed 5 major intersections and at least 10 driveways into businesses where vehicles enter and exit constantly.  It takes great concentration for me to think through all the “safeties” of the moment while coping with the noise outside and the fast movements around me.

Just crossing the street at a light requires a deeper amount of concentration than I used pre-brain injury.  Now I have a learned sequence or “crosswalk procedure” to follow:  push the crosswalk button, cautiously turn back around while “finding” my balance, get set up physically to walk safely down the crosswalk ramp, wait for the green-blinking OK signal to cross (WATCH CAREFULLY!  Do NOT go on the non-blinking, red-hand signal.), check for cars and whether drivers see us before we begin walking, etc.  All of this alert thinking is major stimulation for my brain.

In addition, I must be prepared if Windsor alerts me to a seizure-like episode coming on.  I must stop the crosswalk procedure immediately, OBEY him, and wait until Windsor gives the “OK signal” that the episode has passed.  Then I go back and begin the crosswalk procedure again, starting with pushing the crosswalk button.  Sometimes, I’m mentally overwhelmed “checking for all the safety factors” amidst busy traffic, but I do relax about my seizure-like episodes because of Windsor’s medical alert/response expertise.

On our first “Adventure” walking to the bowling alley, we came to a major intersection, one we’d never crossed before.  While watching for the “Green OK To Cross Signal,” a man in a truck drove into the far right turning lane, the lane closest to us.  He did not stop behind the crosswalk line as is the proper and legal driving action.  He continued to drive into and thru the crosswalk, stopping partially in the intersection, completely blocking our safe way to cross the street. I noticed the man see Windsor and me, so I waited hoping he would reverse his truck since there were no other vehicles in the lanes around him, nor coming from behind.  Alas, my wish did not happen.

The “Green OK to Cross Signal” continued to blink, so even though the man did not reverse and make clear our way, I gave the “Let’s go” command and Windsor led me around the truck.  What then surprised me was that Windsor maneuvered me out of the intersection and back into the crosswalk boundaries.  I’ve been training Windsor to find crosswalk ramps for me, but I’ve never taught him to walk IN~BETWEEN the two solid crosswalk lines.  I was flabbergasted as I, once again, witnessed Windsor’s high level of intelligence to think safely for us.

I marvel at Windsor’s “giftedness” as a service dog and how he continues to mature and learn.  I was amazed at how Windsor found a way to solve the crosswalk problem.  I believe angels and a higher heavenly being, the Holy Spirit, watch over me, watch over Windsor, and help Windsor make wise and safe decisions for us.  Sir Windsor carried on getting me through the crosswalk, helped me to balance and stabilize getting up the ramp, and moved into our preparation sequence for the next crosswalk we needed to take to clear the intersection.  Windsor was SPOT ON leading me thru each challenge to get to the bowling alley which helped me relax and continued to build my faith, trust level in him.  That’s my boy!  We made it to bowling ~ by ourselves ~ INDEPENDENTLY!  Who cares that it took us an hour to walk the 1.5 miles?  It was an amazing adventure walkin’ the town!  Whee!!!  (Stay tuned for Amazing Month of Busies (Part 2):  “Bowling ~ Spare, Strike, and UH-OH!” coming in a few days!)





A Season to “Go Tell It” in 2010

2 12 2010

 
Here and below, is the facebook link to click in order to see our new video.     http://www.facebook.com/v/165577280147215   Making it was a special time to reflect on my healing progress from the past few weeks.  I’m still overwhelmed watching, just as I was making it, when I realize…

  • I spent years living in a dark, quiet room by myself due to complications from a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in 2003.
  • I spent almost 4 years in a wide-brimmed hat, with 3 specialized glasses for photosensitivity, and a dark towel covering my face in order to endure the torturous car ride to medical appointments.  Being unable to walk, I was then taken from the car to the doctor’s office by wheelchair.  Then in my constant, “round the clock” agony, I’d be returned home to my darkened, quiet room.
  • I spent one year being unable to ride in a car at all.
  • I spent years being unable to walk.  After having started the Brain Protocol, in Feb. 2008, I began to “teeter” for periods of time, making it downstairs, and beginning to walk on my legs.
  •  In Dec. 2008 I began to be in a car again for 1-2 miles at a time.
  • Look at me now in Nov. 2010! ~ car rides, walking, being in public ~ Here’s my thankfulness to God, many people’s prayers, and the BRAIN PROTOCOL!  I believe none of this progress would have occurred without those three significant parts in my life.  There’s so much to be thankful for this holiday season!

    Click ON the facebook link below to enjoy a VIDEO of some miracles from healing over the past weeks! 

     http://www.facebook.com/v/165577280147215

P.S. I believe the long car ride was made possible due to faster brain healing since I started going camping every night!   (“Going Camping Every Night” is explained in https://hopeforchristy.com/2010/11/21/sweet-dreaming-in-my-campground/.)

Are you still looking for the perfect give for an animal lover?  Windsor was selected to be in a SERVICE DOG CALENDAR!  He’s “Mr. August” which coincidentally, happens to be my birthday month.  If you’d like to view and/or purchase the calendar, click here  http://www.cafepress.com/pleasedontpetme.487655278?utm_medium=cp_social&utm_source=facebook&utm_campaign=PremiumShopPDP





Windsor’s Medical Alert and We Ride the Escalator

22 11 2010

Many have asked, “What does Windsor do to alert you?  What does an alert look like?”  It’s hard to capture the moment on film PRIOR to the alert to an episode starting.  However, we were filming about our preparation as a service dog team to ride an escalator when Sir Windsor began to alert me.  Windsor’s medical alert begins at 1:07 and ends at 3:36ish.  This shows one example of how he alerts me if I am standing.  He alerts differently if I am sitting or lying down.  Following the alert, I continue discussing our preparation for safety on an escalator and then we demonstrate our escalator techniques as a service dog team. 





Sweet Dreaming in My Campground

21 11 2010
I’m officially a camper!  I’m completely addicted!  I camp more NOW than ever!  I camp EVERY night!  My bedroom is my official “campground.”  I’d love to truly camp in the great “outdoors,” as I’ve treasured those moments in my past, but doing so every night is a bit unrealistic! Camping in the great outdoors even once right now would be too much change to my routine, a struggle for many with TBIs (Traumatic Brain Injuries), and is well beyond my physical limits, but apparently there is another way to bring the camping experience to my very own bedroom!

In the past few weeks here, many changes to reduce electrical issues (EMFs=Electric~Magnetic Fields) during the day and the night have been made to the house.  A building biologist, who is an EMF consultant, and a team of electricians have been my “camping guides.”  After analyzing the house, the two primary rooms from which I operate had a high amount of EMFs emitting from the wires in the walls, floor, and ceiling.  There were 2,500 milliVolts of electric field exposure within 8 feet of my bed ~ under me, over me, and beside me!!!  It didn’t matter how many items I turned off or pulled out of the wall ~ tv, computer, stereo, power strips, lights, etc. ~ phantom electricity still runs through the wires in the walls, floor, and ceiling. 

The high milliVolts made it easy to see why I (and many people) am struggling to “break through” for more physical, brain/body healing.  The EMF team set out to reduce the milliVolts to be UNDER 100.  Eventually, they reduced the electric field exposure to now be at 60 milliVolts when I sleep!!!  This major reduction in electricity SIMULATES CAMPING in the wilderness, away from cell phone towers, power lines, and more.  (To learn simple tips you can use in your house, please visit http://www.createhealthyhomes.com.) 

By taking electricity away from impacting my body, it improves my quality of sleep, thereby allowing my brain and body to “recharge” in hopes to bring more and faster healing, especially to the physical issues that cause me to so struggle with electricity.  It is a great hope that “Camping” with the reduced milliVolts will allow my pineal gland, a very weak point in my brain, to heal, to relax with less stress, and in turn produce more melatonin, a much needed hormone for proper sleep and restoration. When the “switch” in my room turns off the electricity, there is an instant “Aaaahhhh….” as I feel the relief instantly.  Somedays, I leave it off in the daytime, enjoying the relief when I’m awake also.   
 

The "Camping Switch" to turn off all the electricity, including what's in the walls, floor, and ceiling is on the right. It is currently in the "On" position, so electricity is in normal operation mode. The left switch is for the light in the room and can only operate if the "Camping Switch" on the right is in the "On" position.

I’m still adjusting to when the “Camping Switch” is turned on and the electricity instantly bolts back through the house.  I’m so sensitive to ANY electrical change whether in the house or in public that my breathing can stop, my legs can collapse, and I can experience unbelievable pain.  I’ve found it’s easier for me to go outside and come back in after the switch has been turned on and the electrical change occurs within the house.  In time, with more healing, we hope that will become easier on me.  In the meantime, Windsor is learning to turn off and on the switch as I need it.  It’s interesting to note the impact the switch has on my parents.  They too “feel” a difference in their sleep, waking up more rested.  I believe Windsor is having more well-rested sleep because he is brighter, more energetic, and more ready to learn and work each day.

Some of you may remember I experienced a major and dramatic setback at the end of May due to a cell phone being on in the house. (Cell phones, cordless phones, laser devices, “wireless” electronics are some of the devices not allowed in here.)  That one painfully excruciating and frightening incident left me extremely susceptible to many problems with electricity and I lost about two years of ground I’d made in overcoming certain problems.  It made for many difficult moments for me and for those around me throughout the summer and into the fall. Physically, I lost “much ground” as I struggled to speak, could not cope with much electricity, needed help with many basic daily tasks, could not walk beyond a few steps for about a month, and more.  I was primarily housebound again and bedridden many days.  Emotionally there were moments of discouragement, frustration, and crying to God via my silent words at not being able to be part of this overwhelmingly, electronically filled world.  At the same time, medically, emotionally, and spiritually I’m thankful that I was not and am not without hope. 

An example of brain progress is that I made Windsor's candy corn costume. It took me 6 months to process how to make a gentle leader for him. This vest only took a few weeks. Windsor REALLY ENJOYED people taking treats from his pumpkin bucket!

 

One of the fruits of this hope is the precious “camping” gift, the process of which began on my August birthday, which was one of my “rougher” days physically.  A dear friend, who has been a prayer warrior for me on this journey, has researched electricity and the impact it has on the human body and functioning powers.  With his knowledge and his contacts, he provided all of this new help within the house, for which I’m beyond grateful!  Over the past months, I’d been discouraged at times to have to “repeat” ground I’d already covered in the past three years of healing on the Brain Protocol and I didn’t have too many “New Brain Busies” to share.  However, since the “Camping Switch” was put in, I’m bounding forward again in my healing process, and many around me are SURPRISED at what I’ve been able to do!  In a few days I’ll post a video that shares and shows some of the joys!   

So “Sweet Dreams” to everyone! Thank you for your support, your time, and your encouragement!  I’m off to my campground where I camp in my own bed, with my own comfee pillows under my head, and with a certain fur~ball who’ll be next to me or close by to alert me. Oh! I see he’s already beat me to the campout! “‘Sweet Dreams’ everyone!”

Camping gear ready? Check! Fluffy pillows, comfy bed, active mobility/medical alert dog ~ optional tennis ball.





Professor Windsor’s Class = In Session

9 10 2010
 

Christy & Windsor ~ The service dog and teaching team

 

Dear Mom,

     A few weeks ago, I approached you and asked if I could write something for the blog.  I wanted to share my expertise and write a service dog page ALL by MYSELF!  Mom, although I caught you sneaking a peak a few times, and I threatened to change the adminstrator password so you couldn’t see my writing until I finished, thanks for waiting to do the full “teacher check,” the proofreading til I finished.  I think I did a GRRRRRREAT job!  Now I see why you like teaching so much!  I think we make a great teaching team too!

Love, your humble and adorable ~ Professor Windsor

 

Dear Professor Windsor,

     WOW!  You definitely reveal how you are quite the service dog expert on your new “I Am A Service Dog” page on the blog.  I’m quite impressed with the amount of information you shared.  It’s quite thorough and I believe it will help educate others, as you wanted to do.  There were only a few grammatical tweaks for me to make here and there! I’m very proud of you and how we are continuing to learn and grow together!

Love, your caring Mom

P.S.  To everyone, here is a peek at “Going Into Public As A Service Dog Team,” one of the videos on “I Am A Service Dog,” the new informative blog page about service dogs written by Professor Windsor, A.K.A. Sir Windsor B. Derby.

If you’d like to learn more from Professor Windsor, click on “I Am A Service Dog” at the top of the page or on the following link.  https://hopeforchristy.com/im-a-service-dog/





A New Friend Arrives: Our Mobility Harness

4 10 2010

This Thursday is a big day for Windsor and me.  We officially start our formal mobility harness training.  For the past couple of weeks, we were instructed to “get the feel of it.”  Below is one of our “get the feel” of it sessions, mistakes and all.  In the beginning of the video I teach since it’s still in my blood!  P.S.  If the words are too fast, just click on the play/pause button to pause the video for a moment.





The “Butler” Helps with Yummies

26 09 2010
 

The "Butler" Pose - "How may I help you?" (6 months old)

Prior to Windsor arriving here from Kansas, I described Windsor in jest as to how he would be my “butler.”  Rather than asking a person, my butler, A.K.A. my service-dog named Sir Windsor B. Derby, assists me as much as possible.  Sir Windsor helps provide me more independence. 

Now that my “butler” is here, I thought you might like to see him in action.  In the first video, Windsor, “The Butler,” demonstrates service dog tasks as he helps me to prepare HIS yummies.  Windsor decreases some of my physical difficulties by picking up and carrying his bowl, by tugging open the door which is often painful and sometimes impossible to do, and by closing the door behind me which keeps me from being dizzy.  In the second video, the butler helps me prepare MY yummies.  (Sidenote: “Busy” is my word used ALOT when I get confused and struggle to think or find the right word.)





My ABC’s Back to Reading

12 09 2010

My reading a paragraph is dedicated to my “Special Reading Buddy,” Hailey Dugas!  She’s another trooper working to read and speak the words outloud!  We can both do it!

This is a “first” for me.  It’s my first time to reveal much of my speech which takes great effort.  It’s a first to read outloud on video.  All week, I practiced reading the paragraph to prepare for this debut.  For those who knew the “Old Christy,” “New Christy” sounds different.  It’s common for brain injuries who learn to speak again to have a high pitch.  As I’ve progressed in my healing, my pitch is lower at times and higher at other times.

You’ll also witness “Little Brain.”  I have involuntary speech.  As far as we know, I’m the only patient on the Brain Protocol who has this unique reaction.   “Little Brain” is my “Happy Brain,” the “Cheerleader” you’ll hear.  It bubbles out of me and reveals my true spirit.  I’ve cheered myself on through much of my struggles to heal.  I love to cheer on others in their lives too.  As I continue to heal and normalize more, my involuntary speech decreases, but inside I’m still thinking, “Yea for me!  Yea for you!  Wheeeeee!”  





Time to Celebrate!

26 08 2010

Today is my THREE YEAR ANNIVERSARY on the Brain Protocol!!! 

I’m not finished healing, so I keep striving forward.  God gives me the daily strength not to give up.  In this post, I share some of this year’s brain progress which includes my preparation & work with Windsor, my service dog.  Also, there are  my gains with computer abilities, writing, and adding to normal daily tasks.

As predicted and hoped, having a service dog has increased my brain activity.  “TEACH EVERYDAY”  as I work with my one student, Windsor B.  Here’s one of my “teaching moments” from Facebook.  

Anyone want to go MAN HUNTING with us?     “Say what?” Yes, I’ve been a “Man Observer” before, but not a “Man Hunter.” Windsor loves men, but should NOT “Sniff” men when walking by one. Today, we went “Man Hunting,” finding men to pass in the store as I prepped him with “No Sniff.” A man turned to look at me & I said,… “It’s OK sir. YOU can sniff!”

Working with Windsor and his commands, incorporating what he knows and how that can help me, reflecting on what worked today and what needs improvement so as to think through creative solutions, are all ways to stimulate my brain.  Since March, my brain focus is primarily working with Windsor and making all of the adjustments.  It’s a great priviledge to have him in my life!

I continue to work at “remembering” how to use cash/credit cards, how to cook meals I used to prepare, how to read/follow recipes, and how to do laundry.    Plus, now I have my butler-helper, my service dog Windsor.  Windsor helps pay by credit card, carries bags, picks up items I drop in the kitchen or wherever, helps with the carrying/sorting process of laundry, and much more.  (No, Windsor doesn’t get the “scraps” of food I may drop on the floor.  That’s a service dog no-no.)

My interaction with people, although still limited, has definitely increased.  There are days where I can verbally speak and listen, understand language more.  There are days I can type, therefore “talk” up a storm on Facebook. 

  • I started Facebook in March 2010, another stimulator for brain activity and a fabulous way for me to connect with people.  Some of my Facebook friends are disabled which has been encouraging for me to have a few people who can grasp some of my difficulties and vice-versa.  
  • Reading other people’s days via written language is helping my verbal and written language to increase.  Facebook has even helped me to finally begin to understand jokes againI still don’t grasp jokes verbally, but understanding them via writing is a step in the right direction.  Some people say I have funny moments on Facebook myself. 
  • I can’t scienfically explain this brain issue, but I still struggle to respond to emails and comments here on my blog.  Hopefully in time, with more healing, my brain will make all the right connections for me to respond.  I do read and re-read every comment left on my blog.  The heart-felt words uplift me and carry me thru the discouragement of physical setbacks, the joys of remembering/relearning tasks, and the desire to be more in contact with people I love. 

I know that the next year will bring more healing.  I have to wait patiently to see what paths my brain clears, but the evidence of healing over the past 3 years leads me to continue to have hope.

THE FAMOUS “Sir Windsor B. Derby” UPDATE:  Windsor responds to me via verbal commands, sign language, or grunting noises I’m able to make.  Windsor helps me with mobility assistance and alerts me medically prior to episodes.  His ability to alert keeps me safer in public and in the home.  He frequently blocks me from crossing streets when I don’t know an episode is coming which can obviously be dangerous.  He’s my great protector.  I’m amazed by Windsor’s gifts.  I believe that God and His angels alert Windsor somehow.  Disabled people give off a chemical that alerts animals to episodes, seizures, etc.  However, Windsor can detect a problem even when separated from me by being down the hall, downstairs, or outside down the block.  Countless times, he’ll be somewhere else in the house, come charging into my room and alert me, or tell whoever may be walking him outside to “Go back home so I can help Christy!”

Windsor also gives me lots of lovin’, makes me laugh and provides entertainment for other people too!  Here he is learning to play on the slide!  Yes, service dogs get to play too! 

Welcome to my cool slide!

My mom's teaching me to slide safely by staying down on my belly.

That was awesome Mom! Can we do it again this way now?

 





I’m A Canary Who Wants to Fly

19 07 2010

From the 18th into the 20th century, coal miners took caged canaries into the coal mine.  If the canary became distressed or died, it was a warning signal for the men to evacuate due to the air being contaminated by toxic gases or fumes.  I’m not supportive of any animal being put in harm’s way, but I realize this was their survival technique to save lives.

Dr. Abell has referred to me as “The Canary in the Coal Mine,” but in today’s world I’m “The Canary in the Electronic Age.”  Scientific research shows that electronic devices, wired and wireless, are affecting everyone’s body.  Some people “feel” it via headaches, nausea, lack of concentration or disoriented thoughts.  Others don’t feel a thing, but their cells are being affected by the Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR) and Frequencies (EMF) whether they realize it or not.  Some cell phones show problems by getting hot.  I’m one of the “feelers” in a drastic fashion.  I can stop breathing, fall down, pass out, be immobilized and unable to move any part of my body, be in great pain, be disoriented, and more.  “I’m the canary!”  The federal government sets radiation safety limits, but due to my extreme sensitivities from my traumatic brain injury (TBI), I still suffer.  

A few years ago we operated more like “Little House on the Prairie” in the house here.  No lights, telephone, computer, televison, washer/dryer, stove, oven, microwave, etc. were used due to my brain/body struggles with electricity.  Only the kitchen and garage refrigerator and one bathroom night light were in use.  Most electrical devices were unplugged due to phantom electricity emitting even though the device was turned off.   

As I began to heal via the Brain Protocol, slowly my brain could handle all of the electronic devices in the home beginning to operate more.  (Although no cordless or cell phones are allowed.)  On most electronic devices mentioned above are BIOPRO Universal Chips which help to block the EMFs.  The BIOPRO Universal Chip, validated by Cedar-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, is one of the reasons I can operate on the computer.    

I do go out into public some, so obviously I’ve healed enough to encounter cell phones, etc. around me some.  However, by the time I return home, my brain is tired and does not cope with them.  At the end of May, I had a setback due to a cell phone accidentally being in the house and receiving an incoming call.  It left me weakened, susceptible to more “hits,” as I call them, from other electronic devices.  With 10 hits, I’ve struggled to think clearly, my pain increased, my legs struggle to be under me.  I’ve needed people to make my meals, do my laundry, etc. – all tasks I have taken great pride in handling myself now for over a year. It has required some living the “Little House on the Prairie” life again.  This past week I have been doing better, am active on the computer more, and I successfully ventured out into the “electronic world” in public. 

When in public, I keep a watchful eye.  I often veer away from electronic devices that cause me physical stress.  This includes people texting or talking on their cell, using cameras, employees scanning inventory on shelves, checkers using a hand-held laser device to scan prices at the check-out counters.  Even though “creative solutions” must be used to be out in public, it’s a great pleasure for me and great evidence of my healing on the Brain Protocol thus far to be out in public around people, to see many colors, to listen to sounds, to relearn how to operate in the world, and to feel a part of this world.

I’m not functioning at the level I was at before the end of May, but I will be as I wait patiently and follow the medical directives from my doctor.  Experience on the Brain Protocol, plus the use of other brain supplements from my regimen, have taught me that I will return to my previous functions prior to the setback when my brain/body is ready. We are continuing to find other solutions to help with my EMF difficulties, so there is hope.

Here are some facts that may interest you…

Spanish Scientists discovered that a cell phone call lasting two minutes can alter the natural electrical activity of a child’s brain for up to one hour afterwards.  (Source:  Spanish Neuro Diagnostic Research Institute) 

EMF is classified as a Group 2B carcinogen under standards established by the World Health Organization’s Agency for Cancer Research.  The chemicals DDT and lead are also Group 2B carcinogens.  (Source:  National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences) 

People can suffer nausea, headaches, and muscle pain when exposed to EMF waves from mobile phones, electricity pylons, and computer screens.  (Source:  Health Protection Agency, Britain)

Wondering about your cell phone’s radiation and simple ways you can protect yourself?  Check your Cell Phone’s Radiation Limit by visiting Environmental Working Group at http://www.ewg.org/cellphone-radiation

To learn more about BIOPRO Technology visit http://www.bioprotechnology.com/Company.aspx.