From Paralysis to Climbing Mountains-Never Give Up

This is my story of overcoming Guillian Barre Syndrome.

What worked for me may not work for you. We are all biologically unique. Have faith that a recovery will happen.  Always check with your doctor before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle. 

Guillian Barre Syndrome (GBS) is a living hell and is different for every person. If you have Guillian Barre Syndrome patience is greatly needed. Your body is going to begin healing at its own pace. Time is your friend.   Whatever you don’t give up!

My Humble Beginnings

I started my wellness journey in November of 2006 weighing in at a paltry 450+ pounds. This story has been told many times you can read the rest of my wellness journey here. Today is a different part of that story that has not been shared with my friends and readers. It’s time.

In May of 2010 I was diagnosed with Guillian Barre Syndrome. GBS is a form of temporary paralysis that effects the Central Nervous System (CNS). In addition to causing a severe weakening of the muscles in the arms, hands, legs and torso it can affect pulse, breathing, heart rhythm and blood pressure. I was admitted to the ICU and spent four (4) days in the Cardiac Care Unit because my pulse, heart rhythm and blood pressure were going crazy.  They wouldn’t stabilize. The doctors told my wife Gwen they did not know if I would survive. The paralysis stopped at my diaphragm, however, it was having spasms. I was very fortunate because many people with GBS are put on ventilators. I had to closely monitor my respiration rates several times daily. Eventually, they stabilized enough to move me out of the ICU.  GBS kills a small number of those it touches every year. God had other plans for this man!!

I will tell you I was very blessed. I had the slow form and I did not have paralysis of my lungs. I did lose function of my legs and hands and it also greatly affected my autonomic system causing irregular heart rhythm, blood pressure and pulse rates. I almost died.  I was in great physical shape before it started and I do believe that certainly helped me heal faster. As soon as I could sit up on my own and hand enough strength return to my hands and arms I had my wife balance me on my exercise bike we had set up in our living room.  I just tried to pedal and slowly began moving my legs. It was a very slow, painful and long process but by asking my muscles to move, my brain began to rebuild the myelin sheath quicker because I had placed a demand on them. In a few months, with therapy, I was walking with a walker and by the end of a couple of years walking but with poor balance. During this time I also had to learn how to use my hands and fingers again.

They do not know the exact cause of GBS but it is suspiciously tied to a bacterial infection that can come from a particular family of bacteria found on chicken and it can be caused by different viruses. They also know there is a connection with the ingredients in vaccines and GBS.

I had to re-learn to do the simple things we do to live everyday; like walking, ties shoes, eating, buttoning a shirt, bathing, putting clothes on. Hopefully you get the picture.  Additionally the pain caused from nerve damage was unbearable at time. I am grateful there are medications that help relieve that pain. I could not have lived with it.  It took me three years to recover 95% of my normal functionality. GBS was the biggest battle of my life and I was determined to overcome it! Actually, I was very angry that I had worked so hard to get the weight off, get in great physical shape and then to be robbed of all of it in a 3 week period. I was determined it wasn’t going to keep me down! I am a fighter and it took everything I had and Gods help to overcome GBS. I was not going to sit back and just become a statistic of GBS.

I want to tell you how cycling (greatest form of exercise for total health, just my opinion!) gave me my life back. It started in March of 2012 and was a whopping 1/2 mile bicycle ride! Truthfully I was beyond elated that I could do it. The two years prior was a living hell overcoming a form of temporary paralysis called Guillian Barre Syndrome (GBS). Overcoming obesity was very easy compared to overcoming GBS.

Two Years Later

Gwen and I had bought a couple of run around town bikes a year or so earlier and we rarely took them out to ride around our beautiful little South Carolina town. Our town is small enough to think of it as Mayberry like, very quaint and friendly.

After two years of recovery from GBS I was walking but my strength and balance was still poor. I wanted more from my exercise I wanted more from my body! Prior to GBS I was in great shape and spent a lot of time walking, hiking and exercising at the gym.

I decide to pull the old bike out and see if I could even ride it. I was very nervous because my balance was still not very good. GBS greatly affects the small muscles that are so essential for balance. As I took the bike out of the shed and dusted it off I remember mumbling “Okay Lord here we go, I pray you give me the strength and balance to keep this thing upright!” As I pushed off; picture the first time you remember seeing a little one beginning to ride a bike. I was all over the place, handle bars swaying left and right but I was upright and moving forward. It was struggle to keep the handle bars straight because the GBS left me with some hand tremor and arm weakness but I made it 1/4 mile to the end of the street. I stopped with tears in my eyes and said a thank you to God and turned around and headed home.

I can do this! Yes I can do this!! Something inside me said this is the recipe for my full recovery. I knew that the body adapts to the demands being placed on it. I needed to demand more of the nerves in my arms, hands, legs and feet to improve my condition. If I am not showing my body my nerves need to work better by putting them under demand they are not going to improve as quickly or maybe not as much or not at all. My body needed to be told what it needed to fix. Cycling was going to send the message.

I continued riding the bike around town with Gwen at my side. One mile, two miles, three miles. I was ecstatic!! The addiction to cycling was happening. Later that month I bought us both Giant touring bikes and we rode those until I had to have a little more speed. I saw people speeding by us with ease and I wanted to push my body more. As I would mention getting a new bike Gwen would just look at me and smile. She saw my competitive spirit returning and that meant I was healing! I learned to listen to my body. It was not going to recover from exercise like a normal persons would. The recovery process was slower. However, as I continued to build my health slowly, my recovery time got better and better.

Each year my ability to ride further and tougher routes has increased. In 2015, 2016 and 2017 I have ridden my bicycle over 6,000 miles each year, climbed numerous mountains, did dozens of rides over 60 miles long and even did 10, 100 mile rides over those 3 years. I participated in dozens of charity cycling events. We even participated in a charity event called A Ride to Remember (supports the Alzheimer’s Association) which covers 252 miles across the state of South Carolina in 3 days in the middle of the summer (4 times).

Out of the horrific condition  called GBS has blossomed a team of more than 40 cyclist that ride together every chance we get. We cover all adult age groups and sectors of life. We focus on peddling our bikes to help others in need. We all share the same passion of cycling and enjoy this great sport. Our team is called Team Vive.  We celebrate life and every moment it brings.

If you have battled GBS the following information is important.

What worked for me may not work for you. We are all biologically unique. But have faith that a recovery will happen. 

Nutrition

Nutrition is also key to overcoming GBS. I was blessed to have a strong background in nutrition as a Nutrition and Health Coach and knew the right supplements and foods to help rebuild my myelin sheath and nerve fibers. A clean healthy diet is important for recovery of GBS. B Vitamins (particularly B1, B3, B6 and B12), Omega 3, 6 & 9 fatty acids, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and the minerals zinc (should always take a little copper with zinc), and magnesium are important to help heal. There are other nutrients as well that I was taking which are key. Borage oil, Alpha lipoic acid and Phosphatidylcholine in the form of lecithin.  The myelin sheath is 80% fat and 20% protein so these fatty acids are important in repairing it. The nutrients in our diet are those building blocks. Before taking any supplements check with your doctor and do your own research. There are many studies proving certain nutrients help repair the myelin sheath. I have a list of those nutrients if you want them.

Exercise

Exercise is important when you are in the healing phase. Be careful not to overdo it. Pace your self and allow time for naps and rest. Everyone heals at a different pace. Be patient with your progress. Trying to exercise the effected muscles lets the brain know that they need to be fixed. The body has many ways to monitor when things are working or not. I know if you do not try to move them they will not heal. Just as if you sit instead of moving, muscles will atrophy because it gets the message that you don’t need them. Exercise such as strength training and cardio is equally important. Until I could go outside I had a course inside my house that I used the walker to exercise with. My wife was so supportive. Exercise also helps stimulate bowel movements.

Sleep

Sleep is also essential for recovery and healing. Our body builds muscle, repairs tissues and organs, restores supplies of hormones, enzymes, neurotransmitter compounds, immune system compounds and heals when we sleep. However, it takes building blocks (nutrition) to do this work. Sleep is your friend. If you are tired rest, nap and get long deep sleep everyday until you feel more energy.

What to avoid

Eliminate as many artificial sweeteners and food colorings as possible. Try to limit or eliminate as much processed food as possible. They are full of unnatural chemicals that overload the immune system. With GBS your immune system is already out of balance. Processed foods stress the digestive system and immune system. Toxic processed foods, stress, lack of sleep and exercising your body to much is harmful for your recovery. Process foods and junk foods put toxic chemicals in your body that stress the CNS.

PLEASE THINK VERY HARD BEFORE GETTING VACCINES! If you doctors tells you to get the flu vaccine or any vaccine please tell them you have had GBS. It can cause a relapse of GBS.

Do not push your self to hard. I learned the hard way that doing too much to soon will set you back. This is where the patience is important. Take your recovery in baby steps.

GBS Flares

Don’t be alarmed or surprised if you occasionally have GBS flares. They happen for me about once a year and last a month to 6 weeks. A flare is minor symptoms of GBS and fatigue not a complete relapse. Flares can be scary, just pull back on activity (don’t stop exercising, just reduce it), nourish your body more and get more rest.  With GBS its important to listen to your bodies needs. If you feel a relapse happening seek medical attention immediately.

You are strong, be determined to get you life back, get up and do something about your condition, DO NOT LET YOUR CONDITION DEFINE YOU! You attitude about life ends up telling your life story. Make it a great one!

Finishing a 100 mile ride in 100 degree heat

Please contact me with any question about GBS.

To A Long and Healthy Life!

Wally Bishop C.N.C  I.N.H.C.

Nutrition and Health Coach

www.wallybishop.com

Vive shake

 

The information in this blog and on our website ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­is presented as is for educational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for the diagnosis, treatment, or advice of a qualified, licensed medical professional. The facts presented in this e-mail or on the website are offered as information only, not medical advice, and in no way should anyone infer that we are practicing medicine. Seek the advice of a medical professional for proper application of this material to any specific situation. No statement in this e-mail or on the website has been evaluated by the United States Food and Drug Administration or any other regulatory authority. Any product mentioned or described on this website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

We recommend that you do your own independent research before beginning a new lifestyle routine or purchasing anything. Please consult with your physician or health care provider if you have medical issues and before changing your diet or lifestyle or taking herbal or dietary supplements. Never start an exercise program with getting your doctors approval. Never quit taking medications unless advised to do so by your doctor.  Only your health care provider, personal physician, or pharmacist can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for your unique needs.

Getting Better and Deeper Sleep!

sleepI am tossing and turning, toss and turn some more! Count sheep, pray, etc….. I just can’t get to sleep, my brain just will not relax or turn off!!!! I am sure many of you have been in this same situation and it is a very frustrating one. Insomnia! It must have roots in the word insane because several nights of poor sleep I thing I am headed that way.  insomnia can vary from difficulty falling asleep despite being tired, to waking up in the middle of the night. It can also be a temporary, occasional, or chronic problem. But whatever form it takes, a lack of good quality sleep can wreak havoc on your health and make you feel very ill. You can’t concentrate, you are so tired and irritable.

What you may not realize is that many important task are not getting done inside of your body when you do not get the sleep your body needs. Your body can’t restore and build nutritional and body compounds (enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters, antibodies, blood cells, etc…), build and repair tissues and bones when you are awake. Your mind and body require deep sleep for 7 to 8 hours for your bodies systems to function properly.  Everyone’s body is different. Some people can get by on 6 hours sleep and some people need 10 hours of sleep but for most people 7 to 8 hours of deep sleep is required for a healthy body. When you are sleeping the bodies night shift goes to work repairing damaged tissues, building new tissues, and restoring depleted compounds and nutritional stores used the day before.

Your Sleep Clock

You have probably heard of the circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm controls normal sleep patterns and is part of the bodies master clock and is controlled by the hypothalamus gland in our brain. This rhythm is also effected by external factors such as your diet, your environment and behavior. To help establish good sleep never eat in your bed room and start turning the lights and sounds down low. This will begin to signal the body that it’s time to get ready for sleep. It may takes a few day to a few weeks of this behavior for your body’s natural clock to kick in.

Major triggers of insomnia.

  • Lack of magnesium (magnesium is required for muscles to relax)
  • Lack of potassium
  • Lack of B Vitamins
  • Caffeine (particularly late in the evening)
  • Stress (stress causes hormonal imbalances and can imbalance the natural circadian rhythm
  • A lack of complex carbohydrates in the diet (carbohydrates help absorb B vitamins, have tryptophan that help release serotonin and melatonin which help us relax and sleep)
  • Eating to close to bed time (can cause reflux)
  • Eating to much sugar a few hours before bed time
  • Lack of adequate exercise

Improve Your Sleep with These Tips

  • Getting out in the sunshine in the mornings on a regular basis helps re-establish your natural sleep clock.
  • Get plenty of magnesium and potassium in your diet by eating lots of leafy greens, nuts, seeds and whole grains. Whole grains also provide lots of B vitamins and minerals. Blast a wide variety of foods for optimal sleep.
  • Bananas are an excellent source of magnesium and potassium, which help to relax muscles. They also contain tryptophan, which convert to serotonin and melatonin, the brain’s key calming hormones.
  • Tart cherries also increase your bodies melatonin. A team of researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and University of Rochester did a sleep study and they found that cherries, particularly tart cherries, naturally boosted the body’s supply of melatonin.
  • Almonds are a great source of magnesium
  • Chamomile tea is a very helpful for calming and relaxing the body.
  • Green tea contains theanine which is relaxes and helps promote better sleep. Just make sure it is decaffeinated green tea.
  • Exercise at least 30 minutes to 1 hour 5 days per week.  Exercise in the morning gets your body revved up for the day and helps generate relaxing chemicals .  If you exercise in the afternoon or evening make sure you have at least 5 hours before going to sleep. About 5 hours after exercising your body temperature begins to fall triggering your body for sleep. Vigorous aerobic exercise tends to provide the highest sleep benefits of any exercise.
  • You can also buy melatonin and 5-HTP as supplements to aid in your sleep. 5-HTP is a form of tryptophan your body can absorb easily.

Fire Up the NutriBullet for Great Sleep!

Try this mind calming blast about 1 hour before bedtime.

  • 1  banana with slightly green tips
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/4 cup tart cherry juice or 1/2 cup tart cherries

A good nights sleep which is 7 to 8 hours for most people is very important for your health.

Healthy Wishes

Wally Bishop C.N.C.

Vive Developer

The contents of this blog is not and should not be  considered medical advice. This blog is for informational purposes only. Always consult with your doctor before making any dietary or lifestyle changes. Never quit taking prescription medications unless advised to do so by your doctor.

Which Nutrients are You Lacking and Which May Be The Most Important?

Pumpkin Seeds Are a Great Soure of Magnesium

There are many nutrients most Americans are deficient in.  Studies show that the standard American diet is deficient in at least 9 essential nutrients; Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin D, Fiber, Calcium (debatable), Magnesium, Potassium and Omega 3 Fatty Acids. Of these do you know which ones you need every day or maybe a better question is which ones could cause you health problems the quickest if you do not get them daily?

Our body needs literally thousand of nutrients to promote vibrant health, however other than water, certain minerals are needed every day, particularly if you are very active.  Trace minerals are just as essential as major minerals; they are just required in smaller quantities. Without minerals, vitamins are useless in the body. Vitamins need enzymes for many of their functions. Enzymes require minerals to do their work, in this sense they are  co-factors. Enzymes cannot work without minerals (co-factors), and each enzyme is designed to work with a particular co-factor. If the particular co-factor is not present the enzyme will simply sit around watching You Tube, sorry, my weak attempt at humor.  OK, how about the enzyme can do nothing, it is useless.

Of the minerals, it is my opinion that for Americans, magnesium seems to be one of the most important because it is required in so many body functions. A large percentage of Americans are lacking adequate magnesium.  You can go several days or even weeks before needing certain vitamins, however you must have some intake of most minerals at least every couple of days. If you are really active, ill or sweating a lot you will need them everyday.  Minerals  are used by the body and excreted easily.  If you are using diuretics , exercising intensely or sweating profusely,  a diet deficient in the  electrolytes, potassium, sodium and chloride can cause severe health problems requiring a  sudden need for emergency medical treatment.

Caution: Do not drink extremely large quantities of water in a short period of time without replacing your electrolytes. A radio station sponsored a water drinking contest a few years ago. One participant drank almost 2 gallons of water over a period of approximately an hour and a half, she died from an extreme loss of electrolytes.   Get those minerals every day.

How Does a Magnesium Deficiency Effect the Body?

Do you get adequate magnesium in your diet? Almost two thirds  of Americans are deficient in magnesium, a nutrient that is essential to more than 300 activities in our bodies. Magnesium provides your muscles the ability to relax, it moves calcium out of your blood and into bones, it is required to keep blood circulating and the heart beating and it is essential to keep your nervous system and brain healthy.

If you have muscle cramps, particularly at night, the odds are great that you may be lacking magnesium; if you have trouble sleeping you may be low in magnesium, if you are fatigued it could be a lack of magnesium. If you have high blood pressure it may be due to insufficient magnesium, if you are diabetic, low levels of magnesium may be involved, magnesium is critical for carbohydrate metabolism. Magnesium helps keep the heart in a healthy rhythm,  is necessary for protein synthesis and cellular reproduction.

Magnesium is required for good bone health. Magnesium moves calcium out of the blood and  towards bone. In fact a large percentage of the magnesium in your body is in your bones. Magnesium is critical for heart health. It helps blood vessels relax reducing blood pressure and it helps lower triglyceride levels in your blood. Magnesium is also required to make certain detoxing compounds and for a strong immune system.

What Affects Magnesium Absorption?

Magnesium absorption is affected by many factors. Cooking by submersion in water will leach magnesium and other minerals from the food source. Eating a combination of cooked and raw vegetables will maximize your magnesium intake. Steaming or raw is better (legumes must be cooked).  Excessive calcium and zinc intake can cause a magnesium deficiency.  Magnesium absorption may be reduced by gastrointestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome, the use of laxatives, chronic diarrhea, oral contraceptives, high caffeine intake, over exercising, diabetes, advanced age and alcoholism.”

In addition, taking certain diuretics specifically Lasix, Bumex, Edecrin, and hydrochlorothiazide, certain cancer medications like Cisplatin and certain antibiotics such as Gentamicin, and Amphotericin also interferes with magnesium absorption.

Magnesium may play a role in the prevention and/or treatment of the following health conditions and symptoms:

  • Alcoholism
  • Angina pectoris
  • Arrhythmia
  • Asthma
  • Autism
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Diabetes
  • Eclampsia
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • Heart attack
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Hypertension
  • Hypertriglyceridemia (high triglyceride levels)
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Migraine
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Peptic ulcers
  • PMS
  • Pre-eclampsia
  • Reynaud’s syndrome
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Sensitiveness to noise
  • Nervousness
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Mental depression
  • Confusion
  • Twitching
  • Trembling
  • Apprehension
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle weakness
  • Cramps in the toes, feet, legs or fingers

How Much You Should be Getting Daily:

If you get too much the body will excrete it through your waste. This is why magnesium is used as a very safe laxative such as milk of magnesia. The Recommended Dietary Allowances for magnesium, set in 1997 by the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Sciences, are as follows:

  • males and females, 1-3 years: 80 milligrams
  • males and females, 4-8 years: 130 milligrams
  • males and females, 9-13 years: 240 milligrams
  • males, 14-18 years: 410 milligrams
  • males, 19-30 years: 400 milligrams
  • males, 31 years and older: 420 milligrams
  • females, 14-18 years: 360 milligrams
  • females, 19-30 years: 310 milligrams
  • females, 31 years and older: 320 milligrams
  • pregnant women, 18 years or younger: 400 milligrams
  • pregnant women, 19-30 years: 350 milligrams
  • pregnant women, 31-50 years: 360 milligrams

Excellent Food Sources include:

Swiss chard, kelp, millet, salmon, halibut, rice bran, oat bran, buckwheat, bulghur wheat, quinoa,  brown rice, spinach, squash, soybeans, turnip greens, green peas, pumpkin seeds, cucumbers, sunflower seeds, cashews, dark chocolate, almonds, black beans, pinto beans and navy beans. For more foods and their magnesium content check out this USDA list.

Make sure get your daily magnesium, you might be amazed at the health benefits it will  provide for you.

Wally Bishop C.N.C.

www.webnd.com

This contents of this blog is not and should not be  considered as medical advise. Always consult with your doctor before making any dietary or lifestyle changes. Never quit taking prescription medications unless advised to do so by your doctor.