Breaking Free

My health has been the dominating factor in my life. Anyone who knows me knows my life revolves around one word, Cortisol.

Whether its me managing my own cortisol, or advocating for better cortisol care options through my non profit, Adrenal Alternatives Foundation, Cortisol is my life.

Recently, the foundation hosted this huge event for Disability Equality and Adrenal Awareness. It was an incredible event and it showed me just how important the work is that we are doing. It showed me that so many people are suffering, and that we could help.

But working and living on the front lines of cortisol deficiency has taken its toll. I began to feel suffocated by my purpose, which was also ironically my fate. My symptoms are a constant battle, and I was constantly battling for those who suffered just as I do.

I was suffocating within the weight of my own fate, and watching the world crumble around me was only feeding the stress on my empathic soul.

I knew I had to break free, because it was breaking me.

I think the concept of stress is really wrong in modern society. We think of stress as one solid event that makes us angry or causes excess emotion, but we don’t realize how we are literally bombarded with stress constantly.

It wasn’t until I made a conscious effort to eliminate EVERY stressor in my life that I discovered how truly smothered we are with stress. Chronic stress is parallel to American life.

The news constantly shows us disturbing images of disasters and suffering. It plays us voice recordings of ailing humans and hurting children. It tells us of death rates for diseases. It warns us of wars happening all around the world. It speaks of crime rates, murders and financial hardships.

The internet is full of opinionated cold people who expel negativity, hate and strife, shielded from the consequences of their words from the safety and protection of a computer screen.

Social media is filled with the realities of other’s lives, which can be both good and bad. People post about their joy, their sadness and record their human experience.

Even within our daily conversations, we discuss the problems in the world. We discuss the hot topics like covid-19, the war in Ukraine, the horrible impact of inflation on gas prices and the costs of food.

This is what we are constantly bombarded with.

Consciously, we may think this is just reality and the way that it is. This is life right?

But subconsciously, all of these images, sounds and conversations are being stored. They are being processed and held inside us. Your subconscious records everything, all the time, all your life.

You may not think you are stressed, but your body is like DUDE! There’s a pandemic and a war and we cannot afford gas!

Chronic stress is undetected and unrecognized.

I would have told you before, “Oh no I’m not stressed” because we get conditioned to what we think is just “normal.” We are taught to give 100% of ourselves every single day and just roll with the punches.

It wasn’t until I backed away from the “norm” that I was able to break free.

As someone with a body that literally cannot handle stress [my body doesn’t produce the stress hormones] I can tell you that stress is the BIGGEST factor in health. It’s not exercise, it’s not diet, it’s the body’s ability to handle stress and restore itself.

I believe there is a reason that restoration has the prefix of REST.

I quickly realize my body didn’t know how to not be stressed. I definitely got worse before I got better.

My migraines consumed me. My pinched nerves inflamed. My intracranial pressure rose. My stomach absolutely shut itself down and I suffered gastroparesis.

I wracked my brain to figure out WHY this was happening? I was supposed to be getting better! Why was I getting worse?

I prayed. I begged GOD for answers and I researched.

I believe GOD guided me to acupuncture and traditional Chinese Medicine.

Out of desperation, I went to a local holistic clinic and got needles stuck into me. To my surprise, it was the miracle I’d been asking for.

The very first session, the practitioner placed a needle in the top of my head and it felt like someone hit the “snooze” button in my body. Instantly, my body calmed and I felt like I was on drugs. This scared me! I told the practitioner, am I supposed to feel like I’m on drugs? His response, “You are on drugs. Your body is making it’s own.”

I felt calmer that evening than I ever have EVER before in my life. So, I decided to go back again….and again…..and again……. and scheduled to go consistently twice a week.

Now, mind you, I have been trained by western medicine. My positive reaction to acupuncture didn’t make any sense! This was pseudoscience! Surely this was a placebo effect? I obsessively researched to try to find the answer as to why acupuncture was so magical.

My migraines were decreasing. My energy was increasing. I was sleeping!

Upon my research, I discovered that magical needle going into my head had a name, Bai Hui. In traditional Chinese Medicine, Bai Hui is the point in the body used in acupuncture to “calm the Spirit.”

Naturally, I started researching more and more into Chinese medicine. I discovered that system of teaching recognizes the endocrine system, specifically the adrenals way more so than Western medicine did.

I have found more healing and more information about my own condition in a month of acupuncture than I ever did in my years in modern endocrinology.

Am I cured? No. But for the first time since being diagnosed, I feel like I’ve broken free.

I feel like the disease isn’t chained to my soul. I feel like I can live.

I feel like I’ve discovered the secrets to overcoming adrenal disease. So I will share them with my readers.

1- Eliminate Stress.

Get off the internet, take the apps off your phone.

If you want to keep social media, only get on it periodically.

Delete any source or person of stress and unfollow ANYTHING that is even remotely stressful.

2- Turn the TV off.

Media is full of things that empaths don’t need to see. I don’t want to see people suffering. I don’t want to hear children crying. I don’t want to see problems I can do absolutely nothing about.

3- Change your focus.

Focus ONLY on the things that bring you joy or that you can personally change or help. Love your family, love your friends and help them if they need it, outside of that do NOT focus on it.

4- Fill your Ears with good.

Only listen to positive things. This includes music, audiobooks and conversations.

5- Speak Life.

We have become conditioned to talk about our problems and the problems of the world. When we stop, it is amazing how much healing and vitality enters our souls!

6- Befriend your own mind.

Negative thoughts, worrying and personal degradation are messengers to your body. Sad thoughts, fear and anger LITERALLY send signals to your body to produce certain hormones. Take it from someone with adrenal disease, you want to keep those suckers happy.

Negativity is Poison. Don’t allow the poison inside you.

7- Stop living in debt.

Ok most disabled people are broke [haha meeeee] So, I don’t mean financially here, I mean learn to budget your energy and emotions just as vigilantly as you do your money. We are conditioned to think that we start out every day with 100% go to sleep and then wake up again with 100% when even in normal, non sick people this is not the case.

Somedays we give our all, and some days we have nothing to give. Learn to budget your energy and respect your body.

8- Eliminate the vampires.

There are some people who are life energy vampires. They complain, they tear you down, they are unstable and some are even quick to blame you for their issues. These people have no place in the life of someone with a chronic illness. If someone cannot respect your life, they do not have a place in your life.

That may sound harsh, but it is critical to health and survival. A normal, healthy individual that loves and supports you will respect boundaries and support you. If someone does not, why would you want someone like that in your life anyway?

True love heals. Selfish love hurts.

People will SHOW you what you mean to them. Watch actions, don’t just hear words. Words lie, actions don’t.

9- Practice Peace

Peace in life is the greatest accomplishment. It is what every single human should strive for. What is having a lot of money worth if you’re not at peace?

What is having the perfect body worth without peace?

In this crazy world how can you make your own peace?

Fill your mind with thoughts of gratitude, memories of joy and hope for the future.

Make your home [or even just your room] your sanctuary. Put up pictures of good times. Decorate with things that make you smile. Paint your favorite colors.

Play positive vibes in your home. Solfeggio Frequencies are HIGHLY recommended.

Do not allow negative energy into your home.

[I literally have a sign in my foyer that says the rules of my house. Leave your shoes and bad vibes outside 😀 ]

10- Believe.

I honestly think half the reason I am doing better, is because I believed I could. My theme for 2022 was

“Believe, even if you don’t.”

We have to BELIEVE in ourselves. We have to BELIEVE we can experience Joy. We have to BELIEVE our lives are worth living, so they will be.

Am I cured? No, but I believe I have healed.

Wishing you hope, healing & happiness.

Love,

Win

A Cross LESS Heavy

I haven’t updated this blog since my last post when I discussed the exciting news that I finally got Cleveland Clinic to approve my life changing request to have a 24 hour cortisol test done to evaluate why my adrenal insufficiency is so bad. My hope was that this test would shed light as to why I am still struggling with quality of life.

The test, unfortunately never happened. The Cleveland Clinic endocrinologist I was seeing dismissed me as a patient, citing the reason she did not have the knowledge base to best manage my care. Which, I respect because it takes a lot of courage to admit when you don’t know something, especially as one of the top medical professionals in such a prestigious system that Cleveland Clinic is.

She referred my care to the adrenal specialist at Mayo Clinic. I waited months for my appointment. The Mayo clinic endocrinologist was incredibly knowledgeable about adrenal insufficiency but told me what I already knew. I was doing everything possible and she wasn’t sure why I was struggling. She suggested adjusting my current meds but offered no real solutions.

I was grateful to have spoken to a doctor who understood how difficult adrenal disease was to manage, even though it was disappointing she could not help me.

My quality of life continued to decline. The headaches became so unbearable that I ended up in the emergency department, unable to speak, move my jaw and trembling from immense pain during the weekend of Thanksgiving. After that event, I saw a neurologist and an orthopedic specialist, who both concluded I needed an MRI.

I had always assumed these unbearable migraines were from the unstable cortisol levels but to my surprise, the MRI concluded I had many herniated cervical discs and pinched nerves. I have suffered with these issues for years and for the first time ever, there was physical proof of the agony.

The doctors prescribed me a nerve medication, mild muscle relaxer and put me into a physical therapy intensive.

I fully attribute the steroids I’m forced to be on to manage addison’s disease for creating this issue. Steroid side effects have been no stranger to my life. The weight gain, blood sugar issues and now the thinning of my bones. Made me wonder if the treatment was actually as bad as the disease.

But also, for the first time in a long time. I had hope that maybe if this issue was “fixed” I could find better quality of life again. If I had less unbearable pain, I could experience life so much more.

I had wished this same wish a thousand times. The dashed hope of improvement wasn’t something I welcomed again.  

I started to view my healing in a different way. I looked into coping methods instead of curing methods. The attempts of trying to fix myself were driving me mad. It was almost an obsession to get back to who I wanted to be. Thin, energetic, pretty Winslow was fighting to return.

I quickly realized that once things are broken, they may never again be as they were before.

This devastated me. But I didn’t want to give up.

I realized I didn’t have to give up, but I had to give in.

I had to give into the idea that this was the reality I was facing. My body is plagued by a disease process I cannot seem to stop. I had to give in to the facts.

But that did not mean I had to give up. I simply had to shift my focus.

I had focused so much on my broken body, I neglected the most important part of me. The part that is untouched by disease, steroids or the tragedies and losses my health has caused.

That part is the essence of me. It is eternal and will carry on far after this body is gone.

That part, is my soul.

I began to try to “heal” in a new way. I began to feed my soul. I dedicated my time to focusing on the things my health could not damage.

Every day, I made sure to do things I enjoyed. I went outside. I “earthed.” I felt the sunshine. I breathed in the wind. I listened to the sounds of life around me. I talked to God, and really talked to Him. Didn’t beg for healing, didn’t ask why, just thanked Him for what I did have.

I took the pressure of “healing” off of me.

I stopped the endless chase of finding “another doctor who could fix me.”

I gave myself permission to accept that I had done my best and may never be as I was.

I stopped making myself eat an extremely restrictive, caloric deficit to try and reverse the effects of steroids.

I gave myself permission to nourish myself without guilt.

I stopped forcing myself to get up early and function like a normal non healthy person.

I gave myself permission to rest and accepted the fact that living in a broken body is exhausting.

I stopped pushing my body to perform chores and tasks through pain and fatigue.

I gave myself permission that everything didn’t have to be perfect all the time.

I stopped forbidding myself from wearing pretty clothes because I didn’t like the size.

I gave myself permission to wear clothes that I liked and what made me feel comfortable, regardless of the size.

I stopped loathing the mess I saw in the mirror.

I gave myself permission to view my many imperfections as battle scars that proved I was stronger than what tried to destroy me.

I stopped hating the size my body has become because of my illness.

I gave myself permission to see my weight as protection, my body was just doing it’s best to sustain a very sick person.

I stopped pining desperately for who I was before the illness happened.

I gave myself permission to love and appreciate who I’ve become now.

I stopped trying to make sense of it all.

I gave myself permission to believe that somethings I will never understand, and that is okay.

Because the reality is, health isn’t what we think it is. In my opinion, health is just the absence of symptoms. That was my new goal, to lessen the symptoms.

I shifted my focus to ENJOYING life instead of ENDURING it. I may never get rid of adrenal disease or msk, but I believe I can lessen my symptoms.

I think that is what all of us hope, is to just enjoy our lives. None of us walk through live unscathed.  As the old saying goes, we all have a cross to bear.

We can either begrudge our cross or learn to carry it easier.

Personally, I laid my cross of trying to return to who I was before I was disabled. Though I still bear my health’s cross, it seems a lot lighter now.

I now live my current life instead of chasing the one I wish I had.

I wish I had a life without failed adrenals or medullary sponge kidneys, but that is not currently the case. I have healed from the oppression of “healing.” 

I am better.

Maybe not physically, but in life, and in my soul. I got better.

I am pasting this song because it is so incredibly moving. The lyrics are what I attribute my soul’s message to me. The line, “are you ready to break out now” hit me like a ton of bricks.

I’ve been so bound by my physical form, so paralyzed by the limitations it has caused, so damaged from the torment it has brought me and so lost from the people who walked away because of it.

Then I realized, my soul has been completely ignored. Who I really am has NOTHING to do with this physical form. My soul has been waiting for me to “break out” of this toxic pattern. It’s been there all along, just silently supporting the essence of myself.

I am ready to break out now. Ready to break out from the torment of constantly trying to redeem this body to its former strength.

Not anymore.

Now I will focus on the only things that truly matter: my soul and my loved ones.

Remember when you told me how our lives would change
You’d be leavin’ all your fears behind
I’ve been holdin’ a space for us

Uuh, say the words
I’m right here
Uuh, say the words

Uuh, throw me a line
You hear me?
Uuh, throw me a line

Are you out there?
I’ve been waiting for so long
Are you out there?

Are you ready to break out now?

‘Cause I’m ready for you!

I hope all who read this are at peace with the life you have and are able to bear your own cross as easily as possible.

Are you ready to break out now? Cause I did and I’m so glad.

You can break out from what is making your cross so heavy.

It’s ok to let go.

It’s ok to start over.

It’ll be ok, even if it doesn’t feel like it.

Keep fighting!  

Love,

Win

Age, Dreams and Day Curve Testing

They say age is just a number, and you’re only as old as you feel. That statement confuses me for two reasons.

(GIF below is actual footage of me trying to get myself in the mental stage to do anything LOL)

1- I live in Florida and the old people here seem to thrive way more than the average elderly population.

2- I went straight from childhood to feeling old due to my disease, so if you’re truly as old as you feel, I am 105.

Another thing that made me feel really old lately is I’m trying to find a way to get back into school so I can get my medical licensures and go into the field of endocrinology. I tried to request my SAT scores this week. I took the SAT in 2008. I couldn’t even access them online due to the time that has lapsed!

My hope in getting back into school is hanging on some upcoming testing I am FINALLY getting for my adrenal insufficiency. If you’ve followed my blog at all, you know I am on a not widely known protocol to manage my adrenal disease, the cortisol pumping method.

I have been trying to get a cortisol day curve test for years now. This test measures your cortisol through a blood drawn done every hour for 24 hours. It requires hospital admission and trying to access this test in the United States has been an extremely difficult task. I’ve been through six hospital systems in Florida and three in North Carolina who refused to run this testing protocol for me.

Finally, I have convinced the Cleveland Clinic to do this test and the endo team is working with the literal pioneer of the cortisol pumping method, Hindmarsh himself to get the accurate testing accomplished!

It is scheduled for May 11, 2021!

It’s taken me YEARS to get to this point. This is HUGE PROGRESS!

My hope, prayer and sincerest wish is that this test gives me the answers as to why I am still not at the function I want to be. I want to be able to function again. I want to go back to school. I want to help people like me.

I’ve always been an incredibly type A personality. I’ve been called pushy, assertive, bossy, you name it. The past few years of having to rely on others has been a definite test of who I am. But I hope I have learned to prune the bad parts of who I am and excel in the good parts through my struggles.

I look at my reflection in the mirror and I just want to apologize to that girl. I’m so sorry I didn’t know about the pump earlier. I am so sorry I let this disease get so far. The weight, the scars, the lost fertility and years of life/youth that were erased just makes me grit my teeth and swear that if I can help it, I’ll never let another soul suffer the way that I have. I feel like I am on a mission to save others from my fate. There are better options for adrenal insufficiency, and had I known earlier, I wouldn’t be where I’m at.

Maybe Caleb and I would have married? Maybe I’d have had children? Maybe I’d be working in geriatrics? Maybe I would still know Nelson, Thomas, Mitchell and my grandmother by name?

I can’t let myself wonder what could have been, I have to live with what is.

But I honestly believe GOD works through all things, even the darkness in the world.

Deuteronomy 30:8-9 ESV

And you shall again obey the voice of the Lord and keep all his commandments that I command you today. 

The Lord your God will make you abundantly prosperous in all the work of your hand, in the fruit of your womb and in the fruit of your cattle and in the fruit of your ground. For the Lord will again take delight in prospering you, as he took delight in your fathers, 

Many things in this world we don’t understand and the only thing we can cling to is the fact that GOD works through it ALL. Nothing is too bad that GOD can’t turn it around. There is no problem He cannot solve.

So, I’ll conclude this post with a song that I feel like speaks to all of us chronic illness warriors!

The song below is an incredible inspiration to me. It is not a religious gospel song by any means, but the song states a powerful anthem,

I look ahead to all the plans that we made
And the dreams that we had

I’m in a world that tries to take ’em away
Oh, but I’m taking ’em back!

All this time I’ve just been to blind to understand
What should matter to me

My friend, this life we live
Is not what we have, it’s what we believe

It’s not my time
I’m not going

Wishing you all hope, healing & happiness!

Love, Win

Next Steps

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve done the Flight from Florida to North Carolina, I’d definitely be able to afford something fancy! Tomorrow I will once again be flying to NC, but this time, it’s different. This time, I will be packing my house up and preparing to move permanently to Florida in order to get my health straight.

My little life in North Carolina the past year has been an amazing reprieve from the Florida life I’ve had for so long. Its like I woke up to a completely different existence. I got married, I moved into a house in the woods and experienced a totally different life. I feel like GOD gave me a break from Florida to give me enough rest to return to Florida, where I am supposed to be.

It’s so ironic that I am even admitting that Florida is where I am supposed to be. I pined for North Carolina so long after leaving it so many years ago. But the opportunities, healthcare options and loved ones here remind me that this is where GOD has called me to be.

I would be lying if I didn’t admit I wasn’t frustrated that I am having to leave the life my husband I have built together behind. This week we are going back to our home in the woods to pack up everything we own and start over again. But I know that my family, my healthcare and opportunities for my husband’s career are better here. I have to trust GOD that He has a plan, even though I wish I didn’t have to leave my little home in NC behind.

My prayers for our next steps in life are that JP finds a law enforcement position here and continues to make a positive difference in the world, protecting and serving people. I also pray that my health stabilizes enough to where I will have quality of life return.

Our next steps are:

1- Flying to NC. We are packing up our house and getting essentials to bring back down here. We are driving my mustang back to Florida this coming weekend, to stay!

2- Awaiting JP’s equivalency officer training date in order for him to become Florida Law Enforcement certified. Due to COVID, they are cutting class sizes and not hosting as many so we are having to play a waiting game. Once he gets into an EOT class, he will have to take a state exam and then once he passes, he can be qualified for an officer position here.

3- Continuing my work with the non profit organization, Adrenal Alternatives Foundation. We have made huge strides lately regarding helping disabled people! We are currently heavily involved in fighting the injustices happening due to covid restrictions which have negatively impacted the chronically ill community by not allowing patients to have visitors/caregivers present during medical events such as treatments, procedures and appointments. You can read more at this link.

4- Since JP is awaiting his EOT class date, our only income is coming from me in the form of book sales. I have recently released my fiction novel Townsend which is an inspirational read featuring the thematic elements of magic, angels and Native Americans. I also have my other publications, Cortisol Pump 101: A Patient’s Guide to the Cortisol Pumping Method , Adrenal Insufficiency 101: A Patient’s Guide to Managing Adrenal Insufficiency the Arsenal of Arrows Devotional Journal Challenge Series, the Peace by Piece 365 Inspirational Health Log Journal the children’s book The Shivering Sunbeam which explains disability in a way young minds can understand and Chronically Stoned: The Guide to Winning the Battle against Kidney Stones and UTI’s. All are available through Amazon, Kindle E-book and Barnes and Noble. I pray the work the Lord has allowed me to do encourages and helps others. All support is appreciated, even if you don’t purchase anything, shares, page likes, reposts, reviews are all so helpful!

Truth be told, I have no clue what the next couple months will hold. I am anxious about us having to go back tomorrow but I believe GOD will lead us in the right direction if we only surrender to His will!

Psalm 37:23

The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way.

Ready or not, here change comes!

Let’s keep fighting the good fight!

Love,

Win ❤

Into the Unknown- Back to Florida?

One of the most beautiful and stressful facts about life, is that the future is unknown. I am so thankful that as a young girl, I had no idea what lay ahead of me. The reality of what my life would be filled with would have surely incapacitated me.

But fortunately, young me had no idea I had disease lurking inside me, just waiting to devour every dream I ever had. No, my hopes, my dreams and my desires were intact because I did not know what lay ahead of me.

When my health started to fail, it took everything with it. I wouldn’t have wanted to know that reality was my future. The future, was and is….unknown for all of us.

A beautiful unknown that came into my life was my reconnection with my now husband, John Paul. After begging GOD to deliver me out of Florida, He made a way for me to come back to North Carolina. In March of 2020 amidst a global pandemic, I married my husband and was able to go back home.

(You can read our amazing story about finding each other again after ten years and getting engaged after 3 days here or you can watch our incredible story video below)

JP and I had an incredible first year of marriage together. I enjoyed being back home in North Carolina so much. Finally, after all I’d been through, I was back where I belonged. We settled in our home at the base of the mountain and started our life together, him in his career in law enforcement and me running the non profit organization.

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But as life goes, unknowns don’t stop coming.

In December my health started to decline. I spent the last week of 2020 hooked to a breathing machine with o2 in the low 90s/80s, struggling to keep my cortisol levels at baseline and going in and out of adrenal crisis. None of the doctors in North Carolina knew how to handle my care and I declined to a life threatening point extremely quickly. I knew my best chance was to get back to the healthcare in Florida. On January 8, 2021, I mustered all the strength I had and my husband brought me to Florida.

I stayed with my parents and made arrangements for Cleveland Clinic to manage my care. My husband returned to North Carolina with his career in law enforcement with the intention to return to get me when my health stabilized.

Shortly after, I suffered a severe adrenal crisis where my parents found me unconscious. I had the worst headache I’ve ever had in my life that day. I remember fading out and all I can remember is my mom calling and screaming my name. I desperately tried to respond to her but it was like I had morphed into nothingness. All I saw was darkness and I tried to get back to consciousness and follow my mother’s voice.

After my mother administered not one, but two emergency cortisol injections, I returned to life. But after that, my heart struggled from the damage it received from the adrenal crisis and the effects of low cortisol. It was apparent my health returning was not going to happen any time soon.

My husband continued to visit me on the weekends he was off. He would fly in Friday night and leave Sunday afternoon. This was not only financially taxing but also difficult on him physically, not to mention emotionally it was hard to have to let him go over and over again. When your health fails, money doesn’t matter, looks don’t matter, careers don’t even matter. All you want is your loved ones around you. Me being me, never let him see how much it broke my heart to let him go each time. I knew how much his career meant to him, so I said goodbye each time. But the last time I thought he was gone and I turned around to see him still standing at the base of the stairs. He got a full glimpse of my eyes full of tears from my thoughts of “Will I live to see him again” running through my mind.

When he returned to the police department the next day, he put in his resignation. He realized that I was his priority and he wanted to be with me more than he wanted his badge. Ironically, his FTO had told him long before he found me again, “The badge can get you a girl, but a girl can also get your badge.”

He walked away from KPD for me.

Now, we are in the process of moving to Florida. After I prayed so hard GOD would deliver me from here, right back I go. But this time, it’s different. This time, I realized that Florida not only holds the best healthcare for me but also the people I hold dear. My parents, my brother and sister in law and my husband are all here with me.

How in the world could I stay bitter about having to move back when I have so many blessings here?

And that’s the lesson I learned this year. It doesn’t matter WHERE you are, what matters is WHO you have with you. It doesn’t matter WHAT you have, it matters WHO you have in your life. Loved ones are the ONLY thing that truly matters. That’s the only thing we can take with us after this life is over, the people we love.

My husband has taken a huge leap of faith in being with me. He left his career and comfort zone behind to start over in Florida. My prayer is that he finds another law enforcement position and my health stabilizes so we can enjoy a beautiful life together. But if not, I have been so incredibly blessed with an abundance of love from family and friends. If my health never gets better, I will still have lived a life full of joy and laughter.

Here’s to embracing the unknown!

Hebrews 13:5-6

 Let your manner of living be without covetousness, and be content with such things as ye have. For He hath said, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee”; so that we may boldly say, “The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”

Even though this is cheesy, I feel this song is so fitting for what I am trying to say.

Keep fighting the good fight, friends ❤

Love, Win

A heart in two places, be careful what you wish for.

“Be careful what you wish for you, ‘cause you just might get it all.”

I always heard that saying and thought it didn’t exactly make sense. Why would you not want what you wish for?

I wished, pleaded and begged God to get me out of Florida. 

In January of this year, all that I wished for, and even some things that I didn’t, came true.

I permanently moved back to my home state of North Carolina.

My wish came true.

But with my wish, came with the unstable state of the world within the tragedy of the Corona virus.

The irony was I now couldn’t easily get back to the place I avoided so long.

Florida was where my healthcare and my family remained, but traveling back and forth from NC was not so easy anymore.

I found myself remembering that quote…be careful what you wish for….

As many times as I wished I’d never see Florida again….I found myself eating those words…….

Due to healthcare reasons, I have spent the last two weeks in Florida. I get the help I need there to manage my medullary sponge kidney and addison’s disease. I have seen a marked difference in the standard of care. Cleveland Clinic has continuously not only saved my life but helped me find better quality of life, unlike the health care system in NC that completely missed what was wrong with me.

I started seeing the place I hated so much in a different light.  Florida was where I was my sickest, but it’s also where I rebuilt myself.  I always hated Florida for what it took from me, but now I see that It gave me many things too.

Florida gave me time with my family as an adult I wouldn’t have had otherwise. In my time during my bedridden days, I got to know the people who raised me not only as my parents, but also my friends. 

Florida gave me the chance to learn things I never would have had I not gotten sick. My books, my true passion for writing would never have been awakened had I not been forced to recover from my near fatal adrenal crisis.

All of the computer skills and things that I use in my new career, I learned because I was homebound in Florida.

Florida gave me the chance to establish my nonprofit organization, Adrenal Alternatives Foundation because it showed me a deficit in the world I never knew existed. It showed me how many adrenal disease patients were suffering without answers or hope. The 501c3 was born in the midst of my struggles in Florida.  

Florida allowed me to become the woman I am now. My purpose has never been clearer.

My hatred for Florida has turned into an appreciation for what it taught me.   

Now, the irony is, due to health I am considering moving back to FL to run the nonprofit and also try to regain enough quality of life to finish my medical training. My dream is to become a healthcare professional that treats rare diseases and places adrenal patients on the cortisol pump.

Be careful what you wish for, ‘cause you just might get it all.

My husband has graciously suggested that we move back to FL until my health and quality of life improves. We have been a part quite a bit since our marriage began in March due to my medical treatments here and him having to stay behind for his job.

My best-case scenario is that we retain the NC property we purchased together earlier this year and are able to move to NC permanently for our older years.

All I know is that GOD has guided my steps, even when I couldn’t see the path ahead of me. When I went to NC in January, I had no idea what I was going to do. I just knew I was moving back to NC.

GOD prepared a life for me. He gave me a new home, a new husband and a new life. Now I just have to trust that He will continue to guide me into His next steps for my life.

My prayer is that he keeps my marriage strong and focused on him. I pray he allows my health to improve so much that I can get back into my medical schooling. I pray that he allows the foundation to grow so it helps people and they do not suffer as I have.

May we all walk into the doors GOD opens for us. ❤

Love, Win

The closest thing to magic…

Anyone with a debilitating chronic health condition can tell you how much of a nightmare life can be. Couple that with the current insane state of the world struggling with the injustices happening and the drama of the upcoming election added to the COVID pandemic, it’s just a recipe to lose your mind.

Oh, and I picked the greatest time in history to become a police wife……

But honestly, I am at the most peace I have ever been. I know that sounds crazy with the dumpster fire that 2020 has been, but really, I have a peace I’ve never known before in the new life I’ve found this year.

This year, I was able to move back to my home state of North Carolina after 5 long years in Florida. I also married an incredible man and we purchased a little home and 2.5 acres in the mountains of North Carolina.

I had always grown up in the evangelical culture, that taught women that they literally existed to serve a man and how they needed to fulfill the feminine roll of housewife, cook, mother,etc.

Then when I went to college and into the real world and heard the mindset of the modern independent woman, who didn’t need a man and honestly was better off without them.

It wasn’t until I met my husband that I began to fully understand how amazing it is when two people who are compatible work together to create a better life for themselves. My husband and I literally make each other better people. His strengths overshadow my weaknesses and my strong points cover his deficits. We diligently try our best to put each other first. I’ve never known a relationship like this one and I am so thankful it’s the one I chose permanently.

With my health and the current state of the world, our marriage has already faced difficult challenges. But I truly believe we were put together to battle these things side by side. His career in law enforcement, my health and COVID19 have only made us stronger.

I think love is the closest thing we have to magic in this world.

And in a way, love is magic. It can make the hard things seem easier, the work load seem lighter and the world be a little less depressing.

Even more magical, at the biggest weight I’ve ever been thanks to my health and steroids, I don’t feel any less beautiful. My husband accepts me for exactly who I am, weight, surgical scars and all….

In my fairytale, I might be double chinderella, but I think I found my happily ever after.

So don’t give up if you are struggling……..it’s always the darkest before dawn. Your better days are ahead.<3

Wishing you hope, healing & happiness.

Love, Win

Special thanks to Sweet Moments Photography for this amazing photo session!

Loving someone who the World hates- A Police Wife’s Perspective

With the COVID-19 pandemic precipitating the injustice of George Floyd’s death, the state of America is troubling.
I picked a fine time to marry a police officer. This is the perspective from a police wife.

 Loving someone who the world hates.

While my LEO hubby was asleep, I had this horrible dream about him getting injured in the protests that are happening in our town right now.
I woke up in tears, afraid for his life…knowing in a few hours he would wake up and go back into protecting this dangerous world who seems to hate him just because he is in law enforcement.
I watched my husband sleep and clung to him as I choked back tears.
Then I realized I had to be strong for him. He has to go do his calling in this world. My husband was called to protect and serve and that is exactly what he does every single day he puts on his uniform. 
I see how much he cares for this community. I saw the anguish in his reaction when he watched the video of George Floyd’s arrest.
I saw how one bad action could truly impact the world for darkness and evil.
If only one act of courage, love or virtue could have that strong of an effect.
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”― Edmund Burke 
I watched the world go from supporting first responders as heroes to immediately hating them as enemies.
I watched my husband become a target, simply for doing what he believes he’s been called to do.
I absolutely understand that there should be outrage for what happened to George Floyd.
I absolutely understand that racism has NO place in America and we need to do everything we can to support and empower all races. Black lives DO matter.
What I do not understand however is how threatening the lives of police officers and their families somehow fixes this injustice?  
I have personally received death threats simply because I am married to a police officer.
There have been many police officers injured and some even killed simply because of a bad man, who, by the way should not even have the title of officer, because TRUE BLUE doesn’t do what he did.
I don’t know what the answer for fixing America is right now. But I can tell you it isn’t more hate. It isn’t more killing. It isn’t more divisiveness.
I stand with my black brothers and sisters. I have no idea what it is like to be a person of color and I will do whatever I can to make sure equality is available to all races.
I also stand with the thin blue line. True blue sees their job not only as a work position but as a calling to protect and serve. They would not do and would NEVER condone what that Minneapolis officer did.
My husband is a police officer.
He helps get children out of abusive situations.
He keeps illicit fentanyl and illegal drugs out of our community.
He helps car accident victims and makes sure they are transferred to EMS.
He makes sure traffic still goes on when stoplights break or lose power.
He keeps pedophiles out of school zones and away from children.
He investigates every frantic call he receives from a citizen.
He would literally lay down his life to protect and serve. And most, if not all in his PD would do the same.

But more importantly, he comes home to me.

Being a police officer is part of who he is, but it isn’t ALL of who he is. I think people have forgotten the humanity behind all this.
My officer is also a husband, a son, a church member and a bus ministry worker.
I can honestly say I fully trust the staff at his PD, because they see their work as a higher calling.
Yes, there are bad police officers, as there are bad people in every occupation.
Yet I realize that is not an excuse for what happened to George Floyd.
But take heart that there ARE good police officers out there with big hearts who do care.
I will close with this video,
When Louis Armstrong released his song, What a Wonderful World, he remarks about how he was asked how people can see this terrible world as beautiful. His response was astonishing and still fitting for this current age.
“Seems to me it ain’t the world that’s so bad but what we’re doing to it, and all I’m saying is: see what a wonderful world it would be if only we’d give it a chance.
The world isn’t so bad, it’s what we’re doing to it.
So, I challenge all who read this. What are you doing in your world?
We may not be able to fix the whole world, but we can make a difference in ours.

Love one another.  End Racism.  Support your fellow man. Be Kind.

Be the GOOD you want to see in the world.

Wishing you hope, healing & happiness,
-Win
proudPW (2)

Should you be wearing a mask during this pandemic?

Should you be wearing a mask during this pandemic?

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The following content used in this article are opinions based on research done by Winslow E. Dixon and not to be used to give advice. All content is owned and licensed by Winslow E. Dixon. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited, however social media sharing is encouraged.

The 2020 Corona Virus pandemic has struck up a debate on whether masks should be worn or not. With the mounting fears of catching this new, scary, unknown virus, the CDC and WHO have recommended wearing masks. But with the new reports of how this virus is still prominent despite social distancing, the shut down of businesses and restaurants, it begs the question- are masks even effective? This article will tackle that tough question.

First, let’s review the different types of mask options.

Medical Grade Masks

These masks are reportedly the “strongest” protection available. They are made from synthetic polymer fibers and must be approved by a governing authority such as  the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)  to classify for medical grade air filtration.

Examples of medical grade masks are:

Korea 1st class (Korea KMOEL – 2017-64)

DS2 (Japan JMHLW-Notification 214, 2018)

N95 (United States NIOSH-42CFR84)

FFP2 (Europe EN 149-2001)

KN95 (China GB2626-2006)

P2 (Australia/New Zealand AS/NZA 1716:2012)

The statement below is directly from the CDC regarding the use of medical grade masks,

“A surgical N95 (also referred as a medical respirator) is recommended only for use by healthcare personnel (HCP) who need protection from both airborne and fluid hazards (e.g., splashes, sprays). These respirators are not used or needed outside of healthcare settings.”

 

These masks are used in critical healthcare settings and also used to prevent chemical exposure in jobs such as textile manufacturing and those which result in toxic chemical exposure.

 

 

Unlike cloth and surgical masks, medical grade masks must go through the following testing:

 

 

Filter performance – the filter is evaluated to measure the reduction in concentrations of specific aerosols in air that passes through the filter.

 

Test agent – the aerosol that is generated during the filter performance test.

 

Total inward leakage (TIL) – the amount of a specific aerosol that enters the tested respirator facepiece via both filter penetration and faceseal leakage, while a wearer performs a series of exercises in a test chamber.

 

Inward leakage (IL)– the amount of a specific aerosol that enters the tested respirator facepiece, while a wearer performs a normal breathing for 3 minutes in a test chamber. The test aerosol size (count median diameter) is about 0.5 micro meter.

 

Pressure drop – the resistance air is subjected to as it moves through a medium, such as a respirator filter.”

 

Source: 3M Technical Bulletin May, 2020 Revision 3

 

You do not need a medical grade mask unless you are in an active healthcare situation where you will be in direct, close contact with infectious diseases, body fluids or chemical toxins.

 

 

What about other types of masks?

 

 

It has been amazing to see people all over the world take to their sewing machines again to create unique, cloth masks in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  But there has been much debate on whether these homemade masks are even effective in the spread of this virus.

 

Surgical masks are cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to protect against large droplets of bodily or hazardous fluids and are designed to provide protection from airborne emissions.

These masks are not designed for protection against small airborne particles and are not considered respiratory protection.

 

According to the CDC, when used in conjunction with safe practices such as social distancing, handwashing and proper hygiene practices, both cloth and surgical masks are believed to reduce the risk of exposure to large airborne pathogens.

 

However, a study released by Annals of Internal Medicine stated the following regarding the effectiveness of cloth and surgical masks.

 

“The authors in the conclusion stated that surgical and cotton masks seem to be ineffective in preventing the dissemination of SARS-CoV-2 from the coughs of patients with COVID-19 to the environment and external mask surface, but this statement should be complemented by a clear declaration that the samples were taken at a distance of only 20 cm and that these test results do not refer to the possibility of reducing infections.”

 

They also stated:

 

“The authors acknowledge, “We do not know whether masks shorten the travel distance of droplets during coughing”. Although microaerosolization may not be effective with non-N95, a physical mask barrier should impede any large droplet secretions. A more adequately powered study should support the effectiveness of masks (cloth or surgical) in combination with social distancing and handwashing to decrease viral loads.”

 

 

This seems to be conflicting information. If cloth and surgical masks cannot protect against direct exposure, why is the CDC suggesting we wear them?

 

A hilarious retort to that very question is the “Pee On you, Wear a Mask” argument.

PeeMask

The concept of this idea compares the idea of wearing masks to that of wearing pants. If someone pees on you, you still get peed on but if you are wearing pants, you are more protected from the urine than you would be without pants on. Hence, if you are sneezed on with a mask on by someone with a virus, you will be more protected than you would be without the mask. Basically, you still get sneezed on but you are protecting yourself more with a mask than without it.

 

Bottom line, should you wear a mask?

 

The choice is up to you.

 

But there is no justice in acting like a jerk and making some political spectacle of yourself if you choose NOT to wear a mask or if you DO choose to wear a mask.

 

No one can MAKE you do anything, however, common sense and respect go a long way.

 

This pandemic has caused massive suffering. People have died. Businesses have been lost. Weddings and graduations have been cancelled. Birthing mothers cannot have their own mothers by their side during labor. Cancer patients are facing chemo treatments alone. Loved ones can no longer be at bedsides during hospital admissions. Masks are such a small piece of this horrible puzzle, please be kind.

If you choose not to wear a mask, be respectful of those who do and vice versa.

 

Stay Safe. Stay Sane.

 

This too shall pass.

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All content and images used on this site are owned or licensed by Winslow E. Dixon. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.
© 2020 Winslow E. Dixon: Inspire Fire ©

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

 

https://multimedia.3m.com/mws/media/1791500O/comparison-ffp2-kn95-n95-filtering-facepiece-respirator-classes-tb.pdf

 

http://cnse.gov.cn:8080/userfiles/792e4c4686f142d8934c11730ec979d9/files/teckSolution/2019/06/EN149%2BA1-2009Respiratoryprotectivedevices-Filteringhalfmaskstoprotectagainstparticles.pdf

 

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/respirator-use-faq.html

 

https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npptl/pdfs/UnderstandDifferenceInfographic-508.pdf

 

https://healthnewshub.org/health-news-hub/top-news/cloth-mask-vs-surgical-mask-vs-n95-how-effective-is-each/

 

https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/10.7326/M20-1342

 

https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npptl/pdfs/UnderstandDifferenceInfographic-508.pdf

Adrenal Insufficiency 101: A Patient’s Guide to Managing Adrenal Insufficiency

When someone has adrenal insufficiency, they are faced with the task of not only replacing a life-sustaining hormone, but also replicating a failed body system. Artificially managing cortisol is a complex task and is vital to quality of life. An adrenal patients personal cortisol needs may differ from day to day depending on physical, emotional and environmental stressors. This book is a patient’s guide to managing adrenal insufficiency.

 

This book is a collaborative project of the Adrenal Alternatives Foundation, Inc.

There is so much false information on the truth of adrenal disease. I become so weary of seeing post after post on social media of how adrenal patients are not only misunderstood, but also mistreated due to the ignorance on the truth of adrenal insufficiency.

This disease is an absolute nightmare. It is NOT a take a pill and go live a normal life experience for most.

This book contains factual information backed up by credible medical sources, patient surveys and personal testimonies of real adrenal patients.

This book contains the following:

Chapter 1:Understanding the Adrenals 

Introduction

Terms to Know

Adrenal Conditions/Diseases

Symptoms

Diagnostics

Standard Treatment for Adrenal Insufficiency

Steroid Equivalent Dose Conversion Chart

 

Chapter 2:Managing Life with Adrenal Insufficiency 

Exercise

Nutrition

Weight

Mindset

Alternative Options

 

Chapter 3:For Family Members/Caregivers/Spouses 

Basic Necessities

Managing an Adrenal Crisis

Emergency Medical Protocols

 

Chapter 4:Critical Care 

Patient Perspective VS Outdated Research

Emergency Room Guidelines

Surgical Guidelines

 

Chapter 5:The Cortisol Pump 

Subcutaneous Cortisol Injections

What is the Cortisol Pump

How to Start the Cortisol Pumping Method

Pre-pump Lab Assessments

Establishing a Pumping Care Plan

Life with the Cortisol Pump

 

Chapter 6:Miscellaneous Care Concerns 

Blood Donation

Pregnancy

Alcohol

Cannabis and CBD

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

 

Chapter 7:Conclusion

Adrenal Alternatives Foundation

Sources/References

About the Author

Dedications

It’s time the truth of adrenal disease was told.