A Shared Journal

A Review and a bit more: Brain on Fire

It took me a long time to do this review because it hit me pretty close to home. This post will be a little bit more than a review.

Brain on Fire is a movie based on the true story and book Brain on Fire My Month Of Madness by Susannah Cahalan. She writes her battle with her own mind as she waits for a diagnosis. It is an absolutely compelling story of human strength and resilience and also highlights the flaws in our perception of healthcare for the mind.

Be prepared with a box of tissue because this is a movie we can all relate to. I asked a few of my friends and family to watch it as I felt a little exposed because of all the symptoms she was showing and her struggle to try to tell anyone that something was not right.

I can honestly say that this movie depicts and most accurately describes what my brain goes through before and after seizures and complications from brain damage caused by Multiple Sclerosis. The hardest part to watch in this movie was the confusion and the withdrawal she goes through. I have felt this first hand. It’s a slow decline where I would notice I was “spacing out” and couldn’t focus on my computer screen. To this day when there are a lot of noises and people it can overwhelm me and I literally can’t understand what anyone is saying although they are speaking perfect English. Over stimulation and stress can leave me so confused I become bedridden for days from brain exhaustion. To be so misunderstood as “lazy” “bitchy” etc. my entire life only to find out that my complaints were more than legitimate. The brain damage caused by MS is irreversible and equivalent to a traumatic blow to the head, only nothing externally has happened. Like in the movie, when your own brain is sick and injured it is the worst feeling of loss, confusion and frustration any being can go through. I will also agree with the recovery process. It is a long and ongoing travel to a full recovery and I’ve learned how to adapt to some of my inabilities. I can tell you first hand, it is not easy relearning how to do basic things like walking, writing and learning to trust your own mind even though it has failed me time and time again. I have to tell myself daily who I am, how many kids do I have, who my family members are.

The impact her condition caused on her entire family is also a very difficult thing for me to watch. I still struggle with not wanting to ask for help for fear of burdening my loved ones. I accept that I do have positive people around me who do enjoy helping me and it’s not so bad asking for help.

It is so important that I share my personal journey because I see it every day. More and more people are being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Multiple Sclerosis, ALS, BiPolar disorder, Depression… it’s overwhelming and terrifying to know and feel that you are losing your mind and you don’t know why or what is real.

I wish I could tell you that everyone is helpful and that everyone is understanding and kind, but that is what Hollywood is for. I’ve experienced bullying, abuse, disbelief.. the truth is not everyone is kind and looking out for your best interests. Some family and friends didn’t believe me when I said I felt like I was dying. I’ve been called a liar, a “great actress”, “she’s not really sick” and once the initial shock of the diagnosis, I was still told there’s nothing wrong and I need to get over it. I look back on how wrongly I was treated and I think about those who remain trapped in their minds and lose their ability to even verbalize how they feel before they even get close to a proper diagnosis. All of the negative parts of finding a diagnosis are born out of ignorance and there is a quick cure for that. Knowledge.

I highly recommend this movie found on Netflix and I hope it helps you to understand how to navigate through finding a diagnosis for yourself. I hope it also helps you understand how complex the disease of the mind is. It is a terrifying and life threatening road that many don’t make out of alive. Susannah Cahalan received the cure in time and this movie leaves a lot of promise for future research and cures for brain diseases.

My next stop will be to pick up the book!

Hope you enjoy the movie!

Much love,

SS

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A Shared Journal

Review: Le Petit Marseillais

I was sent some samples of Le Petit Marseillais Shower Gel in Mandarin & Lime scent for review. It couldn’t come at a better time right in the hottest days of summer and when I’m on the hunt for a new summer soap!

The shower gel has a green tint and it the scent was full of fresh citrus and sweetness. I have extremely dry skin, especially when my skin is transitioning to the humid heat.

I applied it directly on a washcloth and began to scrub. The gel didn’t lather up with suds like previous shower gels I’ve tried, but I gave it my best effort. So as far as suds it’s on the low-key side. My skin was left feeling refreshed and squeaky clean.

After my shower, I made sure I didn’t add any lotion or moisturizers to get the full before and after effects of the gel. My skin began to dry up and look scaly. The package did say it was “extra gentle” but I don’t think my skin agrees. I tried it a second time ( I was given 2 samples ) but this time I added the shower gel to my getting ready routine to see how it held up under more normal conditions. I, again, applied the shower gel with a washcloth and the same results of no suds and no lather. This time I used moisturizer as usual and my skin was still dry just not as bad as the first trial.

I didn’t particularly find anything life changing about Le Petit Marseillais’ Shower Gel. Yes it is milder than other soaps and gels with a fantastic scent and I found a 400ml bottle at Walmart for $4.97 CDN. I would recommend this product as a mild daily soap for use in travel to the beach or camping. A great alternative to messy bars of soap for children.

Final thoughts

My favourite feature is the scent, it is mild and lingers pleasantly on your skin which is extra nice during hot weather. I was expecting a thicker gel consistency but it was more liquid like the consistency of syrup. If you like bubbles and suds you won’t find them in a bottle of this product and it left my skin dry. It’s affordable for families, it’s available at stores like Walmart and you can find it on Amazon as well.

Score: 3/5

✔️ Affordable

✔️ Great Scent

✔️ Available in Walmart and Amazon

✖️ Left my skin drier than normal

✖️ Very runny not a gel consistency

More reviews to come! ☺️❤️Much love,SS 💃🏻👠

*Product provided for review complimentary of Influenster

A Shared Journal · Reviews · Stiletto Vlogs

Fried Frog

Vlog #30: Fried Frog

The heat is on and it has been scorching hot outside over the past few days. With weather history in the making we have the lava flowing in Hawaii and poor air quality readings which seem to be triggering a lot of allergy suffers. I don’t have allergies, but even I notice how hard it is to breathe outside. I’m praying for safety and good health for our dear friends in Hawaii.

Summer Umbrella is up!

So much is happening that I was starting to feel like I was even giving myself enough time to rest. I evaluated my current status and I was slowly starting to slip back into my workaholic tendencies. My worst “crash due to exhaustion” left me so mentally drained I couldn’t even remember how to write my name! I had orders booked and was working at a great pace, I was trying new techniques and really having fun, BUT I was working around the clock. I was designing as I was doing detailed work then taking pictures and shopping for supplies.. I was all over the place. The thing that was the most exciting was how productive I was and how ahead of schedule I was in all that I did. I was down to my last two orders and I remember working all day and I stayed up until 4am. The birds were chirping and I got up from my desk and stood out on my patio deck staring at the rising orange sun. I stood out there for, what felt like hours, 20 minutes and felt all my lack of sleep hit me so hard my knees buckled a little. I had to struggle to keep myself balanced. I went right into the house and straight up to bed. I was completely exhausted and in bed for 4 days. My deadlines were getting closer but I was done. I could hardly stay awake. I do not need a repeat of that!

Dog Days of Summer

I decided to keep the weekends as my designated “No Work” days, so far so good. 👍🏼

SS

Video: Fried Frog

A Shared Journal · Stiletto Vlogs · Travel With Me

A Fresh Place to Shop

Another very interesting week of up and down weather. BIT I’m still not complaining! I’ve been looking forward to coffees outside in the mornings and afternoon barbecues.

I decided to go to the local farmers market (Trails End) for some fresh produce. This is my favourite place to shop, I like to travel to small towns to shop, I find so many great deals! This visit, I purchased some smoked mackerel fish, broccoli, asparagus and mushrooms. This is one of the kids’ favourite meals, of course with a side of rice, lol.

I browsed around the furniture section ( I’m redecorating the basement ) and got some great ideas. There were also some beautiful summer dresses for sale that I found. I’ll definitely be going back to stock up. The resort will be open this weekend so I need to get prepared!

If you get a chance, please support the local farmers in your area and fill yourselves with some fresh fruit and veggies!

SS

A Shared Journal · Stiletto Vlogs · Video

Vlog #19 Stuffed.

I had a fantastic Thanksgiving celebrating with family and some new found friends.  I love being surrounded by so much positivity.  The weather is beautiful, the kids are happy and there’s nothing but awesomeness coming up!

Happy Thanksgiving!

A Shared Journal

Action and Progress

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You know those corny sayings that seem to clog the internet, you know, the ones where they are supposed to inspire you or uplift you?  I read those quotes and I find one common thread between them all and that is the moment I was reading them, I should have been moving on and taking the next step towards my goal.  As positive as they are, these are things we should be telling ourselves on a daily basis.  I’m a strong believer in self preservation for the sake of the quality of life that you really want.

I was doing research, making appointments, drafting plans… and I stopped myself and smiled.  In all my adulthood, 2017 has been the best I have had yet.  I used to do things here and there, not out of things I had to do but for things I felt I needed to do.  Going with the flow and letting go of this invisible control we all think we have.

Today, I started to notice how all the things I’ve been doing up to this point have come to fruition.  I used to get stressed out when I didn’t know what was going to happen after working so hard.  Now, I find myself smiling more and knowing that this whole journey was preparing me for something bigger than just what I love to do.  I’m on my way to fulfill that mission I gave to myself.

My new addiction… The art of letting go…

SS

A Shared Journal

Over already?!

It's the Civic Holiday weekend and it feels like the summer months passed by so fast! I blame most of this on the weirdest weather I've seen in years! It would rain so hard it sounded like hail against my windows, thunderstorms at least once a week followed by extreme heat where I could hardly breathe. Although, I'd rather have this weather than the upcoming winter months.

The back-to-school supplies and clothing are in all the stores, I can almost hear my bank account cry for my school shopping days that are just around the corner. It will be an emotional school year for me as my last little pterodactyl will be leaving the nest to go to school. So far, he knows his numbers up to 10 and backwards, but he refuses to sing the alphabet song lol. Thanks to the iPad he does know what the letters are, but he just doesn't like the song. I'm guessing that he thinks the song is dumb, he rolls his eyes every time I ask him to sing it.

Lately, my days are filled with doll orders and event planning. It's a truly exciting time for me. I have found what I love in all aspects of my life from the kids, social life and now my artistry. They often say that when your personal life is good everything else around is chaos. I am living proof that the saying is NOT true. We all need to find the balance in our own lives or things get harder and harder to do. It's like the universe makes some things in our lives difficult in order to accept something better in our lives. "Out with the old, in with the new" has a deeper meaning than we think. This whole year has unraveled many important life choices for me. My family relationships have been stronger now than ever, financial security is finally here, reuniting with my childhood best friend, maintaining deeper relationships with my friends from all over my online world and forming new amazing friendships who have cleared my mind and settled my soul.

Yes, you can have it all, yes abundance is attainable. If you want these things, you have to release everything that you know is holding you back. It will seem so difficult to let go, but it will be worth it and those difficult moments you are experiencing right now, will be in your distant past. Right when you're about to give up hope is when you have to gather up as much strength as you have to get through the rough moments. You will see your end goals, not when YOU want to see it, but when you're ready to accept it.

SS