Sunday, May 5, 2013

How Understanding My Brain Helps Me Be the Best Me

The bottom image is  the brains electrical activity during a seizure.
I have epilepsy. I've had 3 seizures in my life: two on October 12, 2000 and 1 on August 12, 2012. The three of them have occurred while I was sleeping.

Through blood tests, they found that I had neurocysticercosis - "the result of accidental ingestion of eggs of Taenia solium (ie, pork tapeworm), usually due to contamination of food by people with taeniasis. In developing countries, neurocysticercosis is the most common parasitic disease of the nervous system and is the main cause of acquired epilepsy. In the United States, neurocysticercosis is mainly a disease of immigrants." I was born in Mexico  and came to the U.S. right before turning 8. So I may have eaten undercooked pork as a child in Mexico. Yuck....

According to the neurologists I've seen and the MRI scans, only 1 parasite entered my body and when it did it was already dead. However, this little thing got stuck in my brain's left hemisphere. Now it turned into a calcium deposit that occasionally adds pressure to my brain, thus causing seizures.

My condition has raised so much awareness on my overall health and I better understand that I am on a mission in this beautiful planet.

Seeing scans of my brain (which are AMAZING!!!) made me realize how important this organ is. It is the most complex thing in the universe. I am intrigued by my brain everyday. 

Scientific American Magazine
I've been reading books, web articles, magazines on the brain and the mind lately. I just finished reading this issue of Scientific American: MIND (paper) magazine. In it there's an article that claims that "A focus on the present, dubbed mindfulness, can make you happier and healthier. Training to deepen your immersion in the moment works by improving attention." I am trying to understand the way my consciousness (and unconsciousness) works. I want to improve my ability to focus to be productive and to concentrate to get tasks done in the most effective way possible. I seek to challenge my brain and increase my brain's plasticity (growing more brain cell connections as I learn new things and make connections to what I already know).

Coping with my condition has helped me so much to take better care of myself from the inside out. I can't control the electrical activity of m brain. But what I can control are my actions, my words, my reaction and attitude towards life situations. I can learn to laser focus, I can challenge myself to be the best I can be.

Our brain is always learning and evolving. Although we can't grow new brain cells, we can increase the amount of neuron connections in our brain.  We can do this by eating healthy, exercising, loving, reading, writing, learning new things, engaging in stimulation conversations, and practicing mindfulness. It is never too late to do these things for a healthier, sharper brain!

I get it now: we are the health of our brain. Everything starts with the brain, what goes on in our mind. How healthy we are depends on how healthy we are on the inside and outside. We either use our brain or lose it. So I encourage you to learn about your amazing brain, understand it, love it, appreciate it and be the best you.

Love, joy, peace and health,


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