After reading personal concussion recovery accounts online, I also decided to finally see a NUCCA—upper cervical spine—chiropractor. I had a hunch that something in my neck might be tweaked but with no neck pain, my doctors didn’t really think that was the case. The NUCCA appointment was definitely an eye opening experience. Even before he’d examined me, the doctor could already explain to me about why I was having vertigo issues in way more detail than any other doctor I’d seen so far. The thermal imaging and other tests showed that I favored the left side of my body by 838% and my right leg was shorter than my left—something that told him I was definitely out of wack. We took x-rays and it turned out my atlas vertebrae—the one at the top of the spine—had been knocked all the way to the right from the impact and twisted a few degrees. In addition, my spine had also been twisted, though the extent of which some of this had existed before the impact was hard to say. He did the correction by barely touching behind my right ear while I laid on my side, and I left his office with a sheet of instructions for healing and for the first time in a long time, hope that this could be the answer to my lingering symptoms. About 5 days after the appointment, I didn’t really feel much different, though because my vertebrae had been suppressing my brain stem, it wouldn’t reverse itself right away.

I returned to the chiropractor the following week and learned I had held some of the adjustment, but not all of it, so he readjusted my neck for a second time. Based on my condition and history, he recommended a 28 week (!) care plan to get my body to accept the new alignment and to continue in the healing process. Basically, that meant a weekly visit to Charlottesville (a 2 hour drive each way) until I began to show some stability and then we could set the visits a little further apart. (As of today, July 3rd, I still have to go every 3 weeks). I still wasn’t feeling much improvement, but at least there was visual confirmation of a problem that could be fixed with a clear treatment plan, so I remained excited at the prospect.

The next day, I had to drive back down to Winston-Salem for my second visit with my neurologist. I updated her on my symptoms and she prescribed a new medication, Depakote, to help with some of my lingering symptoms and said if this helped get me back to work, she would wean me off of the nortriptilyne. Depakote is an anti-seizure medication that also helps control migraine headaches and although head pain has never given me significant trouble, its hard to tell how many of my symptoms might be rooted in this problem, particularly all of the tension and pain around the eyes and eyebrows. At first, the drug made me pretty dizzy, a feeling that, when combined with my vertigo, took me back to the earlier days of the concussion when everything moved around rapidly—not a good feeling. But I have seen an increase in the amount of stress my body can handle on the drug, so I wanted to continue with it for the next few weeks to see if I notice any real improvement. It’s pretty powerful stuff though—it causes all sort of birth defects—so I only wanted to stay on it if it actually is benefiting me in a real way.

The neurologist also recommended that I participate in a study that took place at a nearby medical facility involving biofeedback and brain waves. She said that many of her patients had experienced great results from the treatment; she had actually sent me information about the study back in the fall, but I decided I didn’t want to pursue it as it would mean driving four hours every day. I still am not sure I really want to participate as it involves sitting a room for four hours every day listening to sounds, but at this point in my recovery, I’m not sure I really have a choice; I just need to get better and move on with my life.

One of my more recent symptoms is the fact that my face turns bright red whenever I try to concentrate on something for a period of time. I’ve always blushed easily, but this is different and takes a long time to dissipate and only seems to focus around my checks and chin, not on my forehead. Still, if this wants to stick around for awhile while my other symptoms go away, I’ll take it.

The month of January 2015 definitely brought about the most significant changes in my recovery process. While I am still experiencing most of my major symptoms, the overall intensity seemed to be decreasing dramatically—hallelujah! The facial pain I experienced is basically non-existent and the face flushing I was experiencing seems to be going away as well. My vertigo and dizziness are as present as ever and still mostly exacerbated by computer work. I have now seen the chiropractor four or five times and although its not been the amazing solution I was secretly hoping for after my first visit, I do think that it has been helping. My spine is still very unstable, so I’ve been continuing weekly visits to Charlottesville for treatment. But, since I love the area and its access to Whole Foods and Trader Joes, I’m not too upset about it.

For the last two weeks, I’ve been in Winston-Salem to participate in the aforementioned study. The process has been both exactly what I’d thought it would be and at the same time completely different. At my first visit, I was hooked up to brain sensors while the technicians took the amplitude of my brain waves at various locations on my head, along with keeping my eyes open, closed, and partially open. Then, for four hours every day, I listen to my brain waves projected back through musical notes. Since music is such a large part of my life, it’s been hard not to analyze the notes—my brain is actually pretty musical!—and not just relax and let thoughts dissipate as I am supposed to. When my eyes are open, I get to read a little bit which is nice. Most recently, I met with the study director to discuss some of the progress they were seeing. I found out that I have a pretty unstable autonomic nervous system characteristic of people who embarrass easily, have stomach issues, and migraines—all of which I have. More importantly, it could be the reason why my brain is taking such a long time to recover since it is so sensitive to normal environmental fluctuations anyway. I also got to see a comparison of the before and after graphs, and although I probably can’t do the technical explanations justice, I was able to see how much more balanced and relaxed my brain was in certain areas compared to before. Still, I haven’t really noticed any significant changes in the way I feel, though I’m hoping I experience more of those benefits when I try to return to work or push my edge, to use Barre3 terminology.

At this time, I also increased my walking exercise to include one mile of running each day. I’m not convinced this is benefiting me as I sometimes get headaches after I run, but I love the feeling of accomplishment and totally losing myself to the rhythm as I once used to. I’m going to keep the mileage low for now and only increase past the mile mark when I feel my body is ready. But man, it feels good to really exercise!

Click for Part One and Part Two and Part Three and Part Four. Part Six, the final part, will be next week!

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Outfit Ideas | Geometric Shift Dress

When I was packing for my NYC trip, I knew I wanted to bring easy pieces that could transition from day to night. And though I thought I packed pretty lightly, I ended up only wearing a few pieces from my suitcase, probably due to the shift in weather from hot + sunny to cold + rainy on Saturday.

Outfit Ideas | Geometric Shift Dress

I found this Joie dress while browsing ThredUp and was definitely excited to see the $30 price tag (the original dress was over $300!). It was in perfect condition, but I decided to take the hem line up a bit–it ended up a bit shorter than I expected but oh well!

Outfit Ideas | Geometric Shift Dress

Since we were going to do a lot of walking, I wore my comfiest sandals and then paired it with my favorite pop of color: my Kate Spade cross body bag.

A special thanks to Sophie who took these photos while we toured Columbia University!

Outfit Ideas | Geometric Shift Dress

Dress: Joie via ThredUp (Similar in Blue)

Sandals: Clarks

Necklace: Lou Lou Boutique (monogram option, state/heart option)

Purse: Kate Spade (similar)

Linking Up with Mix and Match Fashion, Style Elixir, and Stylin in St. Louis

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NYC Recap

by on July 1, 2015

Last Thursday, I flew up to NYC to meet my mom and brother’s girlfriend for a long weekend in the city. There was so much to see and do in such a short amount of time, but since this was our second time in the city, we felt less of a need to do all of the touristy things which left a lot more time to wander around and discover unique little pockets of NYC culture.

One of my highlights, of course, was going to my first studio classes at the Barre3 West Village. But before/after each class, we took time to wander around the Greenwich/West Village area and explore all of the cute little shops and restaurants. For a city, the area had such a smallish neighborhood feel which I loved.

Here are a few highlights:

Grabbing a Green Juice at Liquiteria right next to Barre3

NYC Recap

NYC Recap

NYC Recap

Lunch at Rosemary’s, an adorable rooftop farm to table restaurant.

NYC Recap

NYC Recap

Walking around the neighborhood/shops:

NYC Recap

NYC Recap

On Saturday night, we also saw Beautiful, the Carole King musical on broadway which was completely amazing.

NYC Recap

And then on Sunday morning, it was misting/sprinkling (it had full on rained the night before), but we still decided to brave the weather and rent bikes to cruise around Central Park. It was definitely not a good day to be wearing white jeans but was a total must do if you’re in the city.

NYC Recap

IMG_5889

NYC Recap

Other Random Shots:

NYC Recap

NYC Recap

NYC Recap

NYC Recap

Till next time!

 

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Barre3 Anywhere Challenge

by on June 30, 2015

Barre3 Anywhere Challenge

After completing my first month long Barre3 challenge back in January, I was excited to commit again to the second challenge this year in June. It was aptly titled the anywhere challenge–and I did workouts in three different states in four weeks!

The challenge itself was simple. You had to commit to:

  • 4 60 minute workouts per week, either in studio or online
  • 1 10 minute workout outside per week
  • make at least 1 Barre3 recipe per week and/or focus on healthy eating

Barre3 Anywhere Challenge

Since the challenge in January, I had been averaging about four 60 minute workouts a week anyway, so this time I really wanted to focus on the healthy eating side of things. It proved to be more than a bit challenging with all of the traveling, but I tried my best to at least concentrate on the quality of food I was consuming, even if at times it was still a large quantity.

As I’ve mentioned before, the combination of barre/ballet work, pilates, and yoga has been the perfect workout for me during my concussion recovery process and now as I begin to introduce things  like spin and running back into my life, I am so thankful for the strength and balance in my body that these workouts have provided me over the past year. I honestly feel stronger, have more energy, and am more toned than I ever was during marathon training.

Barre3 Anywhere Challenge

The last few days of the challenge just happened to coincide with our trip to NYC, so I dragged my mom and brother’s girlfriend with me to the Barre3 West Village studio for my last two workouts. It was our first experience in an actual studio class, and it was absolutely amazing!

Both classes we took were so challenging–I was dripping sweat the entire time and my legs were shaking like never before–but also so fun and invigorating. We did have to walk the rest of the day after all (22,000 steps!), and as tired as our legs were, I honestly think the workout helped us do just that.

Barre3 Anywhere Challenge

The studio itself was tiny but so well done, with a small waiting area, two changing rooms, a bathroom, and the studio itself. In the studio, we made sure to get spots by the window to watch the West Village streets as we worked out which totally added to the experience.

After the challenge and our studio visit, I feel even more inspired to make Barre3 a priority in my life and in my workouts.!

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Fresh Recipes | Teriyaki Chicken Quinoa Bowls

I got back from NYC late last night and have to head to Charlottesville today for my bimonthly chiropractic visit, but I promise the full details of my trip will be up ASAP!

In the meantime, I wanted to share a recipe I threw together last week with the remnants of my CSA box and frozen chicken thighs: teriyaki chicken quinoa bowls.

Fresh Recipes | Teriyaki Chicken Quinoa Bowls

These are so easy! Especially since I used Trader Joe’s Island Soyaki Sauce, one of my favs when I don’t feel like taking the time to make my own teriyaki sauce. All I did was let the chicken thighs marinate in the sauce for about an hour while I prepped the other ingredients.

Fresh Recipes | Teriyaki Chicken Quinoa Bowls

I’m going through quinoa like crazy these days, making big batches and then placing the leftovers in the fridge for use later that day/week. For veggies, I used what I had to: zucchini, cabbage, and garlic scrapes, a tasty new discovery in last week’s CSA!

Fresh Recipes | Teriyaki Chicken Quinoa Bowls

Teriyaki Chicken Quinoa Bowls

Serves 4

Print Recipe!

Ingredients:

4 chicken thighs, chopped

1 cup Trader Joe’s Island Soyaki Sauce

1/2 cup quinoa

1 cup water

 

1 zucchini, sliced

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 cup cabbage, shredded

1/4 cup garlic scrapes, chopped

olive oil

salt

pepper

Steps:

Place chicken and soyaki sauce in a plastic bag. Place in fridge to marinate for at least one hour.

Combine quinoa with the water in a small pot. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer, cover, and continue to cook until done, about 15 minutes.

Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add chicken and cook until done, about 5-10 minutes per side.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a small pan over medium heat. Add zucchini and cook until almost done, about 5-7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in garlic and let cook for another 1-2 minutes. Finally, stir in cabbage and garlic scrapes and cook until just wilted, about 1 minute.

Combine quinoa, chicken, and veggies in a large bowl and toss to mix.

Serve immediately and enjoy!

Time: 30 minutes (at least 1 hour marinade time)

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Outfit Ideas | Style Wants

by on June 28, 2015

Outfit Ideas | Style Wants

Color blocked Black & White Tank

Panama Hat

Multi Crystal Ring

Yellow Embroidered Shorts

Black Strappy Sandals

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