If you know me, you know I joke all the time about the cheesiness (even though I love watching) of Hallmark Christmas movies or my all-time favorite soap opera during the holiday season (Days of our Lives) when someone always gets their Christmas Miracle.
If you follow my story, you know earlier this year, I was diagnosed with an inner ear imbalance called Meniere's Disease. Surprisingly, the doctor discovered that a bone in my inner ear did not grow correctly, which in the past was never detected. Due to this abnormality, fluid builds up in my ear, creating havoc in the vestibular system. Before this discovery, it was a rough few months dealing with balance issues, constant vertigo with sporadic drop attacks (falling to the ground while conscious)hearing loss, and tinnitus with extreme sensitivity to sounds. I was taking medications every day with back-to-back days in bed. In October, I was fortunate to meet with a specialist in Wayne, New Jersey. And, after a series of tests, she FINALLY put all the puzzle pieces together. We discussed different treatment options from injections in the ear, daily medications, surgeries, or various lifestyle changes.
I chose to go with making lifestyle changes before trying any new medications or procedures. I started a low sodium diet by tracking my daily sodium intake. I also upped my water intake drastically, cut down to 1 cup of coffee per day, and decided to eat more fruits and vegetables while eliminating dairy products. I also researched the benefits of green tea(natural diuretic) dandelion tea and different vitamin protocols. 🥑🍏🥦🍄🍎
When you start to keep track of the foods that you eat daily, you will have lots of AH-HA moments. One of the first foods I discovered that was the culprit of making my symptoms worse was my favorite dried seaweed snack. I was in shock, but a little disappointed in myself because I ALWAYS check food labels. I am the one that takes my family and friends to the grocery store to teach them how to read labels.
I mean, HELLO, my degree in Health Education & Promotion, has a strong focus on Dietetic courses. I also TEACH well-being strategies to college students, lesson learned!🤦♀️ When I flipped the back and read the sodium amount- I was eating a whopping 830 mg of sodium in one serving. No wonder I had fluid and inflammation in my ears. 🤷♀️
LONG STORY SHORT.......
Before I went to the last check-up for the year, I was nervous about the hearing exams, along with performing the balance tests and even more scared to receive the results. In October, I learned that I lost 50% of my hearing, which put me in a downward spiral of "feeling sorry for myself." I also failed every single balance test. My health was going down the sinkhole fast.
BUT, my doctor was encouraging and firm, stating that I was at an age where some of the damage could be reversible with drastic changes in my lifestyle. So, I added fitness, increased my faith, and incorporated healthier foods to my protocol, and on December 13th, I received my Christmas miracle ( because I put in the work) with 25% of my hearing back, my balance still a little wobbly, BUT the clearance to get back to the gym, exercise, and even dare I say, try something completely out of my box when it comes to fitness next year. ( We will see, I have some goals)
MORAL OF THE STORY: Never Stop Believing in YOURSELF. The "Miracles" in movies can come true in your life if you have faith & put in the work to achieve a healthier lifestyle.
CHEERS TO A HAPPY & HEALTHY NEW YEAR! 🥂
Jennifer Castro is the owner of JAC Wellness Solutions. She is a Health Educator, Nutritionist, and Patient Advocate specializing in Women's Health & Vestibular Disorders. When she was diagnosed with an inner ear imbalance called Meniere's Disease, she knew she had no choice but to step up her game and become a detective for her own health. Coach Jenny is studying to become a Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach while creating course content for health coaches and educators. She created an educational program for preschool teachers called Jump & Roll Fitness. The program provides lesson plans on how to create healthy habits for preschoolers. She also works as an Insurance Broker providing insurance solutions for small businesses, wellness, and medical practitioners. This blog is ALL about health, well-being, nutrition, lifestyle and kitchen hacks. She also tells stories of her own personal health journey. Coach Jenny loves to garden, spend time with her hubby, and loves to bake new recipes. She likes to put her own "healthy" spin on her and her hubby's favorite sweet treats.
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