Saturday, 30 November 2013

Cholesterol...and ED?

A typical work-up for any patient includes blood tests. A sample of blood can tell us a lot about the health of a patient, from electrolye levels to cholesterol. For ED patients, this can be very important because it can help us see what we need to do to help them. For example, low iron (typically from low meat or protein intake, as what happens in starvation) can cause anemia, so we might give the patient iron supplements. Similarly, we might see low calcium levels, along with a bone scan, and decide that the patient needs calcium supplements or vitamin D. We can also see their glucose levels and determine if their blood sugar is within the normal range.

All of this sounds helpful, right? But what about when the blood tests come back normal? Is the patient 'fine'? Does that mean that the patient cannot possibly have ED, or is not 'sick enough'? NO. Something I always tell my patients and nursing peers is that medicine is simply ONE tool to help us help others - it cannot be used alone. For example, we would need to conduct a thorough assessment on the patient and see what their hearts sounds are like, breathing sounds, muscular ability is, etc. To top that off, we need to know that blood values, like other things, are not always exactly 'perfect' in the information they tell us. This post is going to give one simple example about a blood value often seen in ED patients, and why so many patients continue to be ill because their medical teams believe that if their tests come back normal, they must be normal, too.

Blood tests can include cholesterol. We know that cholesterol is an essential part of many processes in the body, including making cell membranes and hormones. If a patient has ED and is not eating, you would expect cholesterol levels to be low, right? After all, if they are not eating enough fats, how would their body make cholesterol? Well, the interesting thing is that often in ED patients, cholesterol levels are high (http://www.endocrinetoday.com/comments.aspx?rid=40070 ). Once a physician sees this, they usually tell the patient to eat a low-fat and low-cholesterol diet. BUT WAIT! Patients wtih ED need to eat a variety of foods, including cholesterol and/or fats because our bodies need this to survive and function properly. Is there some kind of mistake here? Do we get another blood test? Or does the patient really need to eat a low-fat diet? Why do some patients with ED have high cholesterol levels?

Let me offer one explaination from a medical perspective: we know that cholesterol is made by the liver. When levels of fat/cholesterol in the body get too low, the liver needs to make more cholesterol to meet demands. In a patient with ED, low levels of fats means that the liver needs to make some. This is important because we need enough cholesterol and fats for normal functioning. So, the liver begins to make more and more cholesterol to keep the body in balance. But, this means that at any given moment, the patient's blood values may show elevated cholesterol levels. Does this mean that they should eat a low-fat diet? NO NO NO NO NO! This means that their liver is now working overtime to keep the body stable. Actually, to be healthy, the liver should be making only enough cholesterol to keep one healthy - not stressed trying to make more because the body is low on fat stores! Blood values in patients can return to normal once they are weight-restored and eating enough variety and the nutrients they need.

What do we learn from this? First, do not go by medical tests only. While they are helpful (I am a nursing student and know the value of my blood tests!), they cannot be used alone. We must use our discretion and careful assessments to better help our patients. We also learn that patients with ED who have high cholesterol levels may not need to be put on a low-fat diet. In fact, one of the best predictors of not relapsing and staying healthy in recovery was eating a diet that had enough fat in it (we need fat for cushioning, warmth, cell membranes, hormones, and so much more!). On a final note, we can learn that while patients may not appear to be sick, this can fool us because the body is extremely efficient at battling the stresses it faces...until it can no longer survive. So, do patients with ED need to eat low-fat diets? No. Not unless there is some strong compelling reason why they should be (as in, a major threat to their health that has been proven and is definite. Please note that this post refers to ED patients only. If you are a patient without ED a have high cholesterol levels, you may very well need to eat a low-fat diet for the sake of your health. Please talk to your doctor in that case!). In other words, don't judge something by simply what it looks like, or what you know. A blood test is a great way to learn about health, but it isn't the ONLY thing to look at. Remember how I always say that weight isn't the only indicator of health? The same thing applies here! Some might be underweight but healthy, whereas others may be a normal weight and still have disordered eating. Do not use one thing to make a judgment - be aware and informed!

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Is 'fast food' BAD?

Does eating fast food cause obesity? Will I get fat if I eat a burger from McDonald's? Should we not encouarge kids to boycott Tim Hortons so that they will not gain weight? What if we decide to eat fruits all day and not eat chocolate or cake? Will we be healthy and lose weight? Commercials should stop telling us to buy their foods, right? This will stop obesity from occuring! Right? Maybe not...

You are probably familiar with the phrase 'obesity epidemic'. This refers to information that shows that over the past few years, obesity is on the rise. Researchers and medical professionals alike (along with parents, teachers, teens, and many, many people!) like to blame the fast food industry for this problem. They say that restaurants like McDonald's and Burger King, along with desserts like cake and pizza, are the cause of this problem. Their solution? Discourage the consumption of fast food! After all, if fast food causes obesity, the rational solution is to boycott it all together. But wait for a second. Are we not forgetting that obesity, like many other things, is not caused by ONE factor?

What causes obesity? We don't really know, to be honest. But we DO know that it is caused by many different things. Genetics, lifestyle, work, peer pressure, the media, and food availability are some factors. What does this mean? That eating fast food alone is not the cause of obesity. Of course, eating too much fast food, like anything else, can contribute to weight gain. Why? Sometimes, food that is not made in the home can be saturated with oil, butter, or other fats that can have negative effects on one's health. But, that is not to say that eating out occassionally is harmful. In fact, it is quite normal to do so, and is 'okay' to do in moderation. The problem becomes significant when one eats consistently out and does not balance this with an increase in excercise or an increase in consumption of other foods, such as whole grains, fruits/veggies, etc. In simpler words. eating out once in a while will NOT make you fat. Take a look at the picture to see how many factors are related to the development and maintainence of obesity.

In fact, to a certain extent, a low-fat diet is harmful. We need fat in our diets for some vitamins such as A, D, E, and K. Fat is an insulator, protects our bones, and can even serve as an energy source in desperate times. Low-fat diets are associated with an increase in adverse health effects. If this does not make sense, think about what happens to ED patients: they lose so much weight and do not consume enough lipids in their diet that their bodies begin breaking down muscle and proteins for energy, they starve, and they become very ill. Again, remember that everything is healthy and even 'okay'  - and needed - in moderation.

Let's return to the 'obesity epidemic'. What I want you to get out from this post is that fast food or certain foods alone cannot cause obesity. This is why it is wrong for the media/others to focus on JUST fast food as the sole purpose of obesity. I, being recovered from ED, still consume fat/oil/chocolate/cake/cookies/pizza/burgers in my diet. But I do so in moderation. AmI unhealthy or fat? No. But the media makes it seem as though eating at McDonald's automatically makes you fat or a big. They scare us with pictuers of big Macs and then frighten us with storeis of heart attacks. In a way, they are right that too much fat/cholesterol can lead to heart attacks and other health issues. But will eating out once in a while do so? No. Is eating out the ONLY way that people come to struggle with obesity? NO. Why, then, does the media focus on fast food? Because it is easy for them to do so. It is easy to use this 'shock factor' to make people interested. Imagine what happens when parents hear 'Burger King makes your children more likely to have heart attacks at age 30!'. Parents will be frightened. It works well. So, in a way, this is a smart technique used by the media.

BUT what makes it so foolish is that INFORMED CONSUMERS (which you should be by now, considering that you have read my blog and have heard all my rants about the media/body image/food!) know that this relationship between fast food and obesity is not a CAUSAL relationship. Remember that association does not mean causation. Yes, too much fat in the diet is associated with heart problems, but so is a diet that is too low in calories in fat (as an example, my heart was failing last year because I was eating so little). Too much cholesterol is associated with gallbladder problems, but so is too little fat. Too much calories can contribute to obesity, but too little calories can cause kidney failure and death as well (again, think back to my story last year).

What's the message? BE AWARE. Do not let the media or other 'professionals' convince you that fast food alone is what is causing the obesity epidemic. If that were the only reason, obesity would be easily solved by eliminating all fast food. But that is not the case, because we know that obesity is caused by many different inter-related factors. The media, sadly, is always looking for quick and easy ways to make money, and it does this by telling us that we need to stop eating McDonalds and Starbucks because they are making us all fat. Well, after reading this post, you are hopefully convinced that they are not correct in making this assumption! Next time you watch TV or hear an advertisement about obesity/fast food, really think about what you are watching. What is the message saying? Does it make it seem as though fast food/fat/oil is the cause of obesity? You will be surprised to see how common this is. Now, you are more aware. When I was sick, I failed to realize how much the media and health professionals dwell on this. Now, in recovery and more aware of these things, I have come to see that my lifestyle and health are related as a WHOLE. One burger will not suddenly make me obese. People who are overweight are not just overweight because they eat too much fast food. Again, it is about the person's lifestyle, as well as their genes, environment, etc.

So....is fast food BAD? I think I have made my answer pretty clear...what do you think?


http://www.eabbassi.ir/what%20if%20its%20all%20been%20a%20big%20fat%20lie.pdf

Saturday, 23 November 2013

'Why you should date a girl with ED'

Unfortunately, there are still many people in our society that don't understand how serious and deadly eating disorders are. Very recently, this article appeared on the internet:
http://www.returnofkings.com/21313/5-reasons-to-date-a-girl-with-an-eating-disorder.

As a quick summary, the male author of this article claims that males should try to date a girl with an eating disorder (ED) because of the many 'advantages' this has for him. He gives five reasons for this: the girl wont be eating, so the man doesn't have to pay for her food. She is also probably rich since most girls who have ED are rich; thus, the man can get money off the girl. The author also mentions that  Oh, and she will be skinny, so you don't need to worry about being teased in public for being in a relationship with a 'fat girl'. Plus, she is insecure about her body, so she will always come to you looking for appreciation about her body...and if you give her a few compliments, she will agree to have sex with you.

DOES ANYONE ELSE SEE A HUGE PROBLEM HERE? I couldn't believe that someone had the audacity to write this article, and that it actually got posted n the internet. This is disgusting, horrible, untrue, and foolish. Firstly, if this man knew anything, he would know that ED is a mental illness and that his article is neither funny nor true. Secondly, is using someone's sickness to your advantage a wise and fair thing to do? If the female is ill with ED, is using this to have sex with her being loyal and honest? Is that all relationships are about - sex and money? The victim with an ED needs help, support, and love - not a foolish and egotistic man to use her as an object. And what about all the myths and wrong words in this article? Are ALL people with ED rich? No. Are they all thin? No. Do they all have such low confidence in themselves that they would easily sleep with any man who told them that they were not fat? No.

What does this article say about ED? That it is not a serious illness. That ED is, ultimately, a choice that females make because they want attention and simply want  a man in their lives. That someone with ED does not need treatment - that all she needs is to hear that she is not fat, and then all will be well. This article belittles that ED can kill any of his victims. The author makes ED seem like a glamorous choice that victims choose, and that using this to have sex with a girl is a perfectly normal and acceptable thing to do. This man is forgetting that ED is the number one killer among all mental illnesses; he is disregarding the fact that people with ED are in need of loving and genuine people in their lives. In effect, he is saying that all males should try to date a girl with ED because she is cheaper to please, easy to persuade into having sex, and likely rich at the same time.

Perhaps this author may say that his article was meant to be funny and that he meant no harm. But is this a joking matter? No. Would it be funny if I wrote an article about why you should date someone with cancer because chemotherapy would make them lose hair, so they would spend less on hairdressers? No. Would it be funny if I wrote about how you should date someone with depression because the person would be so sad all the time that you could easily convince them to sleep with you? No. Would it be entertaining if I wrote about how you should date someone who is blind because then they can't see what you are actually doing? No.

So, why are EDs any different? Maybe its because some people still don't understand that they are serious illnesses. Maybe its because this man is simply looking for attention and thought that this was funny. Or maybe its for both reasons, and even more. But whatever the case is, this article is unacceptable. It not only hurts those who are ill with ED, but also those who recovered and anyone who knows someone with/used to have ED. This article is false, useless, and disrespectful. I don't understand how anyone would have the nerve to write or even think of something like this. But sadly. this world is full of foolish people who are too stubborn to open their minds and learn about what is right and what is not. to be honest, I feel sorry for this author because he doesn't know how much damage he is doing to others. He doesn't understand EDs, nor does he know about what constitutes a healthy relationship. Is having a relationship with someone only about sex and money? Is that what true love is? Is love only about getting what you want from the other person and not helping them or supporting them with what they need? There are so many wrong things about this article. The only beneficial thing that comes out of this article is that it shows us how one distorted thought and the misconceptions about ED can be harmful and even deadly to others. Be informed, and don't make the mistakes that this foolish author did. Right now, he may not understand why his article is inappropriate and hurtful. But when he meets someone with ED and he sees their struggles, he will regret that he ever wrote such an awful thing. Or maybe he won't ever understand why his article is wrong. Whatever the case is, I feel sorry for him. He is misinformed, not funny, and inappropriate. He needs help, and he needs to get educated before he writes such detrimental and foolish things.

'Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails' (1 Corinthians 13: 4-8).

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

More ED and Mental Health Myths

I found this online and thought that it did a great job of busting some myths about eating disorders. It is worth reading - before suffering, I admit that I believed some of these myths. Sadly, society still has many misconceptions about eating disorders and this is why I work to raise awareness about this illness and mental health in general. I think this is a great fact sheet to look at and to question yourself about. For example, many people think that eating disorders are all about getting attention. Others think that ED only happens in Europeans and only in females. Take a look at these myths and what the truth is. Become informed and be aware! For more information or to see the picture in a greater size, you can visit http://www.nedc.com.au/myths-about-eating-disorders.

Before you read the picture, try asking yourself or someone you know these questions about ED and/or mental health, and see what the response is. Do you know the truth, or are they myths?

1) People choose to have eating disorders
2) It is easy to recover from ED
3) Recovery only means eating lots of food
4) Mental illnesses do not cause death
5) You always know when someone has ED or a mental illness
6) Only people with dysfunctional families get mental illnesses
7) You have to be a perfectionist to get an eating disorder
8) Recovery is never truly possible
9) Most healthcare professionals know how to help patients with ED
10) Mental health stigma no longer exists


Sunday, 17 November 2013

ED and Culture - is there a relationship?

I have already posted about how ED does not discriminate; indeed, ED can hit anyone of any culture, religion, background, ethnicity, or gender. However, many people have asked me to exapnd on this. So, here it is. I hope this helps!

First, I want to say that any medical provider who tells you that you do not or cannot have ED because you are of a certain culture is WRONG. Although data MIGHT show that ED is more prevalent in certain backgrounds (ex. Caucasian or Whites), this is for different reasons. One reason may be that in Canada and the USA, we have more awareness about ED and therefore diagnose more people with it. Also, our culture is open to talking about this. In my home country (Egypt), ED is fairly rare because not many know about it, and people do not discuss it. My parents never knew about ED until I started showing the signs of it. For some cultures, ED is not given enough attention because of how 'important' food is. For example, Egyptians LOVE food, and they always have food whenever people get together. To them, how could I, an Egyptian girl, have a sickness that makes me not like food and not eat? How could I not eat when all my family LOVED food? Was I crazy? Why was I being so stupid? It took a lot of time for my parents and family (and community) to understand that ED is a real, mental illness. It does not matter what culture you are from - it still is serious.

My point? Do not let someone say that you are stupid for having ED. They are unaware and need to be educated. In truth, it is not completely their fault. People do not know about ED because we do not really talk about it. Someone starving themselves to death does not get attention as much as other things, like depression or cancer. But YOU can change this. Learn and educate others. Visit websites and credible sources and know the facts. Then help others around you understand, too. It is only when my parents understood the facts about ED that they were able to see that I was seriously ill and not trying to kill myself - I was ill with a mental illness and I deserved care, gentleness, and help.

Now, let's talk about who ED hits the most. Again, we cannot really say. Data MIGHT show America as having the most cases, but as I discussed previously, this can be because of many factors. The truth of the matter is that no one culture is more prone to having ED than another. Yes, media can make things worse. And our attitudes about food and weight can wrosen things as well. But these are ENVIRONMENTAL factors. What this means is that these are things around us: our communities, the media, attitudes, etc. But perhaps ED is a mix (like all other illnesses) of genetics and environment? In other words, nurture vs. nature. Both play a role. I love posting information about how ED changes our hormones and neurotransmitters because this shows us how ED is a true illness on the biological level. I truly believe that my ED is a mix of enviornmental and biological factors.

I am going to post a link to a study that shows that ED is not related more strongly to one cutlure than another. It is kind of old, but it proves my point. Basically, this study shows that ED can happen anywhere - it is a mix of factors. While Western cultures may have more cases, this is largely a result of the mix of nature and nurture.
http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199804233381717

In summary, I want to say that ED is not related to your ethnicity. I have seen people of all sorts of backgrounds have ED. Yes, it may be harder to find in some cultures because of the lack of awareness, or because the typical attitude of that race may be different towards food, weight, and illnesses. My case is a perfect example: Egyptians love food, and here I was, an Egyptian girl, refusing to eat because I did not want to get fat. People did not understand how I was so foolish. But it is a real illness. It is when my parents and I learned about ED that we knew that this was not my fault. It was also not silly for an Arab girl to have this disease. Diseases do not choose between cultures. We do not choose ED. ED chooses us. Likewise, ED does not choose recovery. WE DO. So, if you need help, get it. Do not let someone tell you that you cannot have ED for any odd reason.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

'Fullness' cues?

I have talked a lot about hunger cues and how they can be really off in ED patients. It is not that patients are trying to lie that they are not hungry - it seems that the brain and body actually do not sense hunger in ED, But, what about 'fullness' cues? Do patients with ED, specifically AN, feel full? This something that I really struggle with. I definitely do not have good hunger cues, and this is why I need to eat by the clock. It does get annoying, to be honest. Imagine trying to eat when you do not feel hungry or do not have an appetite. It feels so...wrong, especially for someone who has/had ED. But now, think about the opposite side: feeling full. When I was sick, I had a great excuse for why I could never eat: I already felt full. In recovery, I felt this way as well. How could I be expected to eat when I still felt full from the last meal? How could I eat when I felt fell?  In later recovery. the problem remained: how could I continue to finish my meals when I felt full after taking a few bites?


Fullness cues are related to hunger cues: if you feel full, you do not feel hungry. If you feel hungry, you are not full and can still eat more. But with ED, the problem remains that foods needs to get in and the patient needs to eat. But how does this happen when the patient feels so full all the time? For example, I often feel full after taking a few bites of my meal. I look down on my plate to realize that I have only eaten half of my meal. Then, somewhere in my head, I realize that ED wants me to stop eating.

That's enough. You have already gained all the weight back, even more than you needed to. Why keep eating? You were not even hungry at the beginning, but you still ate. Now, why on earth should you continue to eat? You are full. Eating more makes you a pig. Come on Is it not bad enough that you have gained all the weight back? Do you want to become fat again, and go through it over again?!

What makes this hard to deal with is that inside, I really do feel full. It is not like in ED when I had not eaten anything. Now, in recovery, I HAVE eaten. But the thing is, I have not completed my meal. So, what to do? Inside I know that I did eat something. but at the same time, I know that it was not my entire meal. Was it enough? Sometimes I feel that I actually do not know what is enough! This makes it hard - I am trapped and have no idea what to do. If I keep eating, I will feel even MORE full and then I will get uncomfortable. But, if I do not eat, I will not have finished my meals, and how can I be sure that I am eating enough?!

It seems like a lose-lose situation. I hate feeling full - this time, it is real. I feel full of food. I have eaten. I am uncomfortable, and my jeans are getting tight. When this happens, I panic. I start to feel fat and ugly. But at the same time, I know that I cannot depend on my fullness cues - just like my hunger cues. With hunger cues, I can look at the clock and know when to eat next. But what do I do with fullness cues?

The solution, for me, is to simply eat. Yes, I may not feel hungry now. But if this is what I had planned to eat today and I am following a meal plan, this is likely what mu body needs to be well. On the other hand, if I have eaten something extra today and am REALLY feeling full, maybe it is okay to eat a bit less at this meal. But the important thing is that I ensure that I have truly eaten enough. It is frustrating, to be honest, to not be able to rely on my hunger OR fullness cues. But in the long run, I know that this is what my body needs. I may not like it, but I know that this is best for my health. Maybe my hunger and fullness cues will return to normal some day. Maybe they will not. But whatever happens, I have found a way to keep myself well. As long as I am healthy, life will move on and I will stay strong in my recovery. That is all that matters - I can wait for my cues to return some day. What matters is today: how strong and healthy I am, and how happy I am. Thank God, despite the messed up hunger signals and the stresses of life, I am doing well. Life is tough, but I am tougher.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Published AGAIN! NEDIC: Body awareness

So far, my work has been published three times by Fr. Anthony, and approximately 10 times by NEDIC. Let's not forget about the conference I gave, as well as the two radio interviews! I'm amazed at how God has blessed me - and thank you to all those who read this blog, comment, and share with others. Without all your support, I would not have become so strong and open to sharing my story. God bless you all - your love and kindness mean so much to me, and I am blessed to have all of you!

This post on NEDIC is about body awareness - remember how I spoke before on how we need to learn to love and/or accept our bodies? This is the focus for this post on NEDIC. http://www.nedic.ca/blog/?p=935

As a sneak peak, just remember that our bodies do amazing things for us. Sadly, society teaches us that we should only like our bodies if we are a certain weight or body size. But society is WRONG! Think about your life without a functioning leg, arm, brain. heart, stomach, etc. It is simply too hard! This is because we NEED our bodies; thus, we need to keep them healthy and strong. With ED, this task can be even harder than in those without ED. But taking the time to appreciate your body, as well as pamper it in any way, allows us to understand just how much we depend on our healthy and strong bodies.

So, check it out! And remember: loving your body doesn't mean that you fit into what society says is beautiful or attractive - it means learning to accept your body for YOU!


Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Published again! God's Plan for YOU

 I have more great news! My work has yet again been published by Fr. Anthony, this time on how God works wonders through our lives and experiences. Please take the time to read the post, and understand that you too have a plan in store for you - and that all things happen for a reason! Stay strong, and never give up. Life is tough, but you are tougher! You can read the published post here http://franthony.com/2013/11/i-know-the-plans-i-have-for-you. If you would like to, please leave a comment HERE and on my post at Fr. Anthony's blog.

So many times, we get caught up in this world and we have no idea why things are happening, why we aren't getting what we want, and why things are so tough. But sometimes, it takes some time to see what God is doing in your life. Tired? Frustrated? Angry? Sad? Stressed? Bored? Hopeless? Faithless? Powerless? These are emotions that we all have at one time or another. But what is important is that you DO NOT GIVE UP. Do not let things take a toll on you. Let not your experiences make you feel inferior or weak. Do not get fed up and feel that you have no purpose or use. God is here, and He knows what He is doing. Let go and let God. Stop trying to make sense of what you do not understand - and start praying and working hard. Do not lose hope when things are tough - no matter what you are experiencing. I am proof of this. I was dying in the ICU and I didn't give up. Everyone prayed for me. I wanted to die, and I didn't know why this was happening to me. But, God did. God kept me alive for a reason - and look at where I am today! At the time, I had no idea why I was experiencing so many hardships. But now, I see why. I see that my experiences have made a stronger and wiser person, and that without this, my blog would not have been created.

Please take the time to read the post on Fr. Anthony's website. And, when you have a chance, think about something in your life that made you question or fear. Look back at it now: I guarantee that it made you stronger, served a purpose, helped others, or taught you something. God has plan for YOU.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

AMAZING! Success!

I am so pleased to update you on the status of both my health and my blog. To start, I am maintaining my healthy weight and loving it! I look and feel beautiful (inside and out!) - and I am not affected by any talk of weight gain, food, or body sizes. I am eating enough and normally, and life is good! Recovery was the smartest thing I ever did - and the hardest. But as I am strong today, I can say that I am so pleased with my decision and commitment. What a huge accomplishment!

Now to my blog. I am overwhelmed and so proud to let you all know that my blog has been nominated for an award: Best Canadian Blog about Lifestyle, Health, and Inspiration/Advocacy (http://www.canadianweblogawards.com/2013-categories-nominees/). What an amazing honour! I only started this blog about two years ago, and look at it now! I'm being nominated for awards and it is gaining so much attention! I have been doing radio interviews, which have become a huge hit, and I am constantly being asked to come back and do more interviews. Let's not forget as well the blog posts I write for NEDIC! In addition, my blog has readers from all over the world. After only a year and a bit, my blog has around 60, 000 views!

Also, my video on social media bullying was a HUGE success, and I got so much positive feedback on it. Everyone enjoyed the presentation and told me that they learned a lot from it. I was also recognized by the Police Committee in Brantford as being an activist for social justice! Furthermore, I have been invited by McMaster's School of Nursing to give presentations on mental health, community nursing, and more!

I am so amazed at how God has used all my experiences to help others, and He has made me stronger in the process. All of this would not be possible without the support of my family and friends, as well as those who read this blog. I am so thankful to all of you - for your love, kindness, and support. I am humbled by the amount of love you all show and the support that you provide. I am so much stronger and wiser now, and all of my experiences have made me the person who I am today. Because of all of you, God has blessed me and allowed me to become a stronger person and use my experiences to help all those around the world with mental health, healthy living, and more. I am so blessed!

THANK YOU to everyone! Can you believe how successful this blog has become? How far I have come? How this blog has made us all stronger and happier, wiser and more aware? What a blessing! May God continue to bless all of you, and may His love and peace continue to shower you all. I pray that this blog continues to touch and empower people, and that we all continue to learn and support one another! Look at this way: in 2011, I was dying in the ICU. Today, in 2013, I am healthy, strong, and wise. This blog has been nominated for awards, I have been doing interviews and presentations for Members of Parliament and more, I am a leading advocate for NEDIC, and my work has been published by so many organizations and people! Glory to God! SUCCESS!