Monday, November 11, 2019

A salute to all U.S. veterans

Today is a day of remembrance of all those who have served our country to defend our freedoms, our Constitution, and our way of life. Thank you to all men and women who have served and are presently serving in the U.S. military, including many of my family and friends. I am humbled by your sacrifices.


Saturday, November 9, 2019

small prayers big blessings

If you ever doubt the value of even a small prayer, you're missing out on some big blessings. In fact, you probably don't even count the smallest of blessings but only see coincidences in your life. I feel sorry for you, because you probably also miss out on the blessed light of truly meditative prayer. There is a wondrous light that can fill all the holes in your soul and quench the thirst for belonging to something greater than you alone.

Faith in the one true God is rewarded with the sharing of his Holy Spirit, which is as a fire in the soul. Deep, mindful prayer seeing the truth of God will connect you with this. And it will have profound effects on your life, as you learn to maintain that state of grace for longer and longer periods. (This state of peace had a big influence on my Starfire Angels series, which is Christian allegory for those who want Christian books without the preaching or not for those who don't want to read something overtly Christian. Yes, my faith comes out in my writing in different ways.)

But there are lesser prayers to be made throughout the day. I give thanks for all the little blessings.

Today, I asked specifically for a small blessing. It was a chilly day--mid-40s--but without the wind, a fairly good day for a ride. I didn't need to cover my ears and didn't need more than a jacket and vest. I wasn't so sure what Buddy would do, however. Small prayers can work wonders, though. Today, before heading out on my horse, I asked St. Francis (of Assisi) and St. Christopher for a safe ride on my boy... I had a great ride and the wind held off until just after we returned to the barn after being out in the open pasture. It was a strange thing that as I was taking him into the barn that's when the wind started to blow. It had been so still until then, and I hadn't been trying to rush anything. I didn't know what the weather would do. The wind held off until I was done, and I know there was a divine influence in that. Buddy turns difficult when the wind comes up.

When I arrived, the horses were in the corral. The pasture was open, which worked out great to ride in the open instead of in the yard. I was hesitant to take her but let the donkey follow freely. While I rode Buddy, she'd get behind eating and then come running to catch up. Buddy didn't get excited as I expected him to. Nor did he worry about his footing. The ground was slightly wet from the snow that had melted from our October snowstorm, and the ground was too frozen deep down to drain off and the air was too cold for the water to evaporate. Buddy didn't worry at all in fact, which also surprised me, because he's always been a worrier about the slightest change in footing. He even crossed the creek areas without a fuss.

While we were out riding, we practiced our dressage work. In different flat areas of the pasture, we worked on our haunches-in and even small steps of walk half-pass. But it was the flexions that really calmed him. I have to remember that. Buddy worked hard--he was sweaty half-way through our ride and I was mostly walking with a little trotting. But the bending work was quite the workout for him.

I didn't have any major act-ups from Buddy, just a couple of small, easy-to-correct issues. So, my prayers were answered. I had safe travel (St. Christopher, patron saint of travelers) on a healthy and listening horse (St Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals), if a bit of a fatty right now. It was a blessed day and a good likely last ride of the season. I am grateful for that, especially since it's been about five weeks since I last rode him.

Never take the small things for granted.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Ebook giveaway - Enter today!

Enter to win one of 100 Amazon ebook copies of A NEW BEGINNING from Goodreads. To enter, click here: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/299983-a-new-beginning.


Goodreads Book Giveaway


A New Beginning by M.A. Nilles

A New Beginning

by M.A. Nilles


Giveaway ends December 10, 2019.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

This is the first of a multi-book space opera series that is ongoing. Presently, the first three books are available with the fourth book releasing on December 19, 2019.

I am currently writing Book 6 and have a dozen more planned, as I've been saying on this blog since writing this first book pictured above.


PLEASE SHARE THIS OPPORTUNITY!

The downside of having given up on most social media is limited reach. Please share the link above with your contacts wherever they may be, especially if anyone is a Starfire Angels fan or loves space opera with action, intrigue, aliens, and episodic stories with an overarching plot throughout the series. All I can offer in return is many thanks and prayers, and maybe another free book, but you'll have to send me a screen shot of your post.

Thanks for your support!

Saturday, November 2, 2019

horses are ready for winter

Since mid-summer, I haven't been getting nearly as much horse time as I'd like. However, I do what I can. It's just been too darn busy or the weather is uncooperative. A wet year and too many appointments for me and the kids in my free time eats away at my available horse time, especially when I have to plan two hours for driving time round trip. And then there are days that I just really feel blah or am on a writing streak I don't want to break (but I break them anyway if the weather is too good to pass up).

But I do get to the farm to see my Buddy and my family when I can. I haven't even ridden Buddy since four weeks ago. He's fat and fatter and getting a winter coat now. They all are.

I didn't ride, but I did check up on him and lunge him, trimmed his mane and pulled burrs from his forelock and tail. Feedlots were getting cleaned, so the commotion was a distraction, and it was a bit chilly. I was bundled up too much to want to deal with any antics if he acted stupid because of the activity.

Nevertheless, I took some pictures today, just for fun...



Me: Let's try a selfie.
Buddy: I know there are treats here somewhere! 




Don't tell my sister, but I think Jewel likes me.
Although I still find her to be a nuisance,
I’m doing what I can to make things work
and I pick burrs from her when I can.
When the other horses finally wandered off today,
she wouldn't leave me alone. Only after I
closed the gate and started away did she start
hee-haw braying to them and then ran off to join them.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Happy Halloween (early)

Many local events for Halloween take place on the week of or before the fun holiday of dressing up and make-believe in being something else for a day.

At least one of the local high schools has indoor trick-or-treating for the kids put on by the high school students and their teachers. While my oldest helps with the event as part of her school group, the youngest likes to dress up and get candy.

I got into the spirit a little with a picture of my youngest in her wizard costume. The photo manipulation isn't perfect, but it was fun to create. Below are before and after pics of my Photoshop manipulation.




And here's what my family did for jack-o-lanterns with pumpkins from our garden this year, the few pumpkins we had:

HAVE A HAPPY AND SAFE HALLOWEEN!

Saturday, October 19, 2019

creative sparks

This morning, after a fairly good night of sleep (which is elusive for me), I was lying in bed thinking about Forgotten Worlds #6.

I've been cruising along writing but was feeling like something was not coming together with the story, and I'm at the midway point. I knew it was there and that the link existed but couldn't quite see it yet. I'm a plotter as a writer, but I also allow room for surprises. And those give me a rush, which I suppose is akin to a gambler winning at slot machines (I don't gamble). I LOVE those moments!

It happened again with this story. I could feel in the back of my thoughts for the longest time, but I didn't know what it was. I was having trouble with inserting the action I wanted in a transition in this story and trying to come up with the right way to do it and to keep the characters in trouble--without challenging the characters, there is no purpose to the story. I had to dig the hole deeper for the characters, instead of letting them crawl out. I'd been struggling with the right way to do this.

This morning, while lying in bed thinking, the answer finally emerged. I had the missing link in the story and the revelation that the story needed. Then everything made sense, and my characters got into even deeper trouble. Even better, it adds a twist that will really add some intrigue and new concerns to the rest of the series.

I hate sagging middles and do my best to prevent them. This will definitely lift it.

I feel like the evil genius rolling his fingers together and grinning malevolently as his diabolical plan unfolds better than expected.

Until you read this next summer, you can catch up on the series so far by reading A NEW BEGINNING (#1), THE RULE OF YONDER (#2), and VAULT OF THE CELESTIALS (#3) and by pre-ordering IN DARKNESS, LIGHT (#4). THE DESTRUCTION OF WALLS (#5) will be listed for pre-order once a release date has been determined.

Keep up on the latest book pre-orders and new releases on my MeWe page at https://mewe.com/p/melanienillesauthor or follow to receive notifications from my Amazon profile at https://www.amazon.com/Melanie-Nilles/e/B002KL0B2Y?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_4&qid=1571500586&sr=8-4 .








Friday, October 11, 2019

October snow storm

We've been in the midst of a big snowstorm this week. It was beautiful on Tuesday, which is why I went out to see my horse (see Tuesday post). Wednesday was cold and misty. The storm was supposed to hit overnight then but it wasn't too bad yesterday. Last night, however, the snow fell heavily and the wind blew hard. The deck was protected from the wind, so we get a better idea of just how much snow fell. The wind created a big drift in our driveway. Luckily, school was canceled and hubby had already taken the day off. I did the same; my regular job is flexible.

I had also planned and made sure we had supplies on hand for several days of being snowed in.

What I can't believe is that we had a snow storm like this so early in October! This is usually reserved for November, but anything can happen and has happened in North Dakota. Looks like it'll be a loooong winter! Bring on the global warming!


Dargo looks out the back deck door.

The front yard and the big drift in the driveway.

A couple hours later, the drift is almost 3 ft high
and about 40 ft long (half the driveway).

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Happy Birthday, Dargo!

Our second oldest kitty turns 9 today. Happy birthday to my big beautiful baby who still acts like a kitten, because... Siamese.







Tuesday, October 8, 2019

horse time (pictures!)

Today was a gorgeous day that I couldn't let go to waste. It was a cool mid-70's, almost 80. But there was that cool breeze. We're expecting a winter storm starting tomorrow night through Saturday. It was like a summer day, and being the last nice day that we'll probably see this year, I had to see my Buddy boy.

He's been a real pill lately when being ridden. Ever since he and Jewel became BEFFs (best equine friends forever), I almost can't ride him. He goes nuts about being away from her. After the last time I rode, I decided I'd had enough of this behavior and would let the little ass accompany us. (I write ass, because it is a legitimate term when referring to a donkey, although the double entendre is intended also.)

It turns out she isn't as annoying as I had thought, and I was right that it did keep Buddy calm, except that he fussed with a threat to buck when I asked him to canter. I just have to get comfortable in the gait on him; but his behavior isn't helping us get past that, and so my anticipation of trouble just makes it more likely. It's a vicious training circle that I'm trying to break. At least I had a good ride. It looks like I need to let her come along from now on, if I hope to get any actual training in, instead of a rodeo.

Jewel actually wandered back and forth from me to Buddy to patches of grass or just checking things out in the barn. She was like a foal around its mother being handled by humans. Except I think she also wanted me to take the burrs out of her coat. She kept coming to me and standing for that, unless they were in pretty deep. I had to get a scissors for those. I think she appreciated getting those off.

I took some pictures today because a friend asked for them. I figured I might as well share them here. In a couple days, I'll probably be sharing snow pics. I'm surprised how well some of these turned out, since Jewel kept coming right up to me and the sun made it hard to see my phone.

Jewel, the mini-donkey



With all the rain out on the farm these last few weeks,
the dam has turned into a lake! Bucket debated crossing
to reach Buddy and Jewel coming back to the herd. Eventually, he did.



ps--I'm told that she bites, but she hasn't tried to bite me yet. I wonder if it's because she knows I come for Buddy and they are friends, so I'm a "friend" or if it's because I've given her a treat a couple of times when I've gone out to catch Buddy.

pps--After I was back up at the barn and left them at the gate in the last pic, I turned around and saw Buddy and Jewel chasing each other, playing.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Forgotten Worlds series keeps growing

I'm not posting much, because I've been busy writing. I'm actually having a very good weekend of writing and was getting too excited to keep it to myself. Besides, I haven't updated the blog in a while.

Starting #6 of Forgotten Worlds was a challenge, but once I hit on the right start, it took off. The false starts aren't so useless after all, but they never are. I keep all the scenes I write in one form or another, usually in a "deleted scenes" file for each book, so it's easy to go back and pull in scenes that didn't fit when I originally wrote them but which do fit later.

The two scenes I wrote in my first attempts to start this book don't fit as openings, but they do fit into the story. I'm so glad I have them, because they fit perfectly into the story in other ways. I wish I could describe the format and how that works, but I don't want to ruin anything.

Forgotten Worlds #6 is about 1/4 drafted with those scenes inserted where they fit. It's not too hard to reach those milestones since these books are each around 40,000 words, just long enough to be called novels but nowhere near modern novel lengths. As I've said before, I love this length. It's just enough to write a fun story but not enough to feel overwhelmed in one big doorstopper book. I can do a lot more with this series than I can with fewer but longer books. Shorter books mean more books and more adventures!

I hope you're enjoying the series so far. Granted, only the first three books are available, but in just over two months, on December 19, book 4, IN DARKNESS, LIGHT, will also be available and book 5, THE DESTRUCTION OF WALLS, will go up for pre-order. I think you'll like the new character introduced in #4; I did. He proved to be exactly what the team needed.

I have many books planned for this series. I hope I can keep going for a couple of years yet. I don't have every book outlined, but I do have many ideas outlined. The problem is that I keep coming up with new ideas and so keep adding to the number of books this could be. I can make this a good long series. I can also tease you with one thing--there will be a book of the Orast Belt race (mentioned in THE RULE OF YONDER). I have that all outlined and am looking forward to writing it, but not until a couple books ahead of what I am currently writing. There is an overarching plot, after all, that I need to keep up, and the Orast Belt story will be more of a fun side-track story. I love the variety in this series!

Thanks for reading!



Friday, September 27, 2019

unconventional storytelling

My muse is a mercurial maiden who likes to tease and torment me, but I think she may have finally led me to the best way to start FW #6. At least it seems to be writing itself more easily than the other two starts.

It took three tries at starting for me to realize this was going to be unconventional in its telling but similar to some episodes of the shows I love--a lot of my inspiration for FW comes from science fiction tv I enjoy. I love this series--all of the Starfire Angels--because it's let me flex my writing muscles in all different directions. But this particular branch of it is most interesting. I'm basically putting into prose what I would like to see in visual media. I think I've said that several times before.

This isn't the first book in the series that I've used unconventional techniques to change the way the story is told. I do a little of that in #4, IN DARKNESS, LIGHT. As of this time, you can't read a sample yet, so I can't say much. Describing it and experiencing how well it worked are two different things. I don't think you'd appreciate the technique from me describing it. You'll have to trust me. That's also the book where a new, exciting character joins the group already established.

This latest, however, will fill in some gaps about the Inari and their homeworld that were learned in the original young adult branch of the series, the Dark Angel Chronicles. It's fun to revisit that and bring it into this branch for readers who might not have any interest in a full-on young adult series. Nya's young, although past the young adult stage in this series. She has some life experience under her belt, although she is still a bit naive about some things.

There's so much more to come in this series. As long as I have stories to tell, I will keep writing.


Sunday, September 22, 2019

starting again

I finished more rounds of editing on #4 and #5 of the Forgotten Worlds series recently. Those have shaped up to be very good additions to this series and will have more editing before they are ready but are already very polished. I put a lot of effort into each, which doesn't require too much time since they are only around 40,000 words each, the bare minimum to be called novels according to SFWA. (Book 1 actually fell slightly short of that.) The books have been creeping up in length with each, but overall staying within the 40-45,000 word length.

Since I finished the editing yesterday morning, I was trying to figure out how to start #6. I knew where my characters needed to go and what they would be doing, but I didn't know at what point to start. That's a tricky part of writing. I hate rewriting opening chapters but will if I feel it's necessary. Instead of just starting to write, however, I'd rather get as close to the right starting point as possible. That meant giving myself some time to think.

I think I found the right starting point on the newest addition to this series. Once I finish the first draft, that could change. For now, it gets me started writing again. That challenge is over. The adventure is yet to come!

Books 1-3 of Starfire Angels: Forgotten Worlds are available from major ebook retailers, including Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.

Available now: 
A NEW BEGINNING
THE RULE OF YONDER
VAULT OF THE CELESTIALS


Coming December 19, 2019: IN DARKNESS, LIGHT
Coming spring 2020: THE DESTRUCTION OF WALLS

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Happy Book Day!

Vault of the Celestials is here!

This is Book 3 of the Starfire Angels: Forgotten Worlds science fiction adventure. Be sure to pre-order IN DARKNESS, LIGHT, Book 4, so you get that as soon as it's available on December 19, 2019.

Follow me as an Amazon author so you receive updates with each new book as it becomes available--https://www.amazon.com/Melanie-Nilles/e/B002KL0B2Y?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1568313771&sr=8-1.

Now, the first three books of this series are available, and there is MUCH more to come!



Saturday, September 7, 2019

Health - eliminating the air hunger sensation (long post)

Some of you may be familiar with the sensation--you take a deep, clear breath but don't get the satisfaction of feeling like you're getting a satisfying breath. You keep breathing even yawning, maybe even panicking (leading to anxiety, not the other way around), until that "catch" comes and it finally feels satisfying. Then it start all over. Over and over it goes for hours, days, weeks, months, and maybe even years. It's a terrible feeling. Yet a pulse oximeter will register 96%, 97%, 98%, even 99%. You're getting oxygen in the blood, just not registering somewhere in the brain or nervous system. Worse, the doctors think you're anxious. Sure, but only because you don't know what's going on. You see doctor after doctor, have blood test after blood test, maybe even try various medications, only to get no results.

Those of us who have experienced this awful sensation call it "air hunger" because you're starving for a satisfying breath of air, despite getting enough oxygen. It is a form of hyperventilation and/or dyspnea, just not the way doctors think of those. They don't understand that it is a complex issue.

I lived with this for too long. It started almost four years ago and only resolved this past summer, with some occasional reprisals. It hasn't returned to as bad as it was the spring of 2016, however. I don't have asthma. In fact, I did see a pulmonologist, who gave me an inhaler (my mother has asthma and her mother had COPD, but I don't)... which did NOTHING for the air hunger. I got better results from taking Pyridoxine aka B6, but that wasn't the solution to the air hunger.

Causes of Air Hunger:

After trying dozens of diet changes and supplements, even that inhaler, I finally realized that there is something in the body that is dysfunctional to prevent the brain from registering oxygen or maybe that oxygen didn't get into brain or the CNS (central nervous system) cells. All my blood work would be all right or perfect and my heart has been perfectly healthy too. This past spring, I helped on my family's farm and that air hunger sensation finally disappeared, except on occasions when I did something that brought it back. Those returns of the air hunger made me look more closely at what had changed. I've come to realize that the following causes contribute to this awful feeling, and they all tie together:
  1. The endocrine system is one contributing factor. A variety of hormones (I'm looking at you, thyroid and adrenals) carry substances (enzymes, oxygen, electrolytes, etc.) into and out of our cells so they can function. If something is off there, things go wrong, including air hunger.
  2. Another is nutrient deficiencies. B vitamins, are necessary components for nerve function. B6-B9-B12 in particular are the nervous system necessities. The others or even activated B's can actually make air hunger worse if you're not ready for them; at least, they did for me. Electrolyte imbalances are another contributing nutrient factor to consider; deficiencies in any or all of the bodies electrolytes can throw everything off--magnesium, zinc, potassium, sodium, chloride.
  3. A third missing piece to this puzzle is the gut. Yes, the gut. The gut is our second brain, producing most of the body's serotonin. It also affects the endocrine system and the absorption of nutrients (see #1 & 2 above). I've noticed that most probiotics cause me to return to having the air hunger sensation and jittery/speedy feeling. This was the final missing piece for me and probably the start of this journey. When the gut flora are unbalanced, it can upset the whole system. My air hunger problems started after a few months of powerful probiotics. They probably healed my gut but then started leading to other sensitivities. It took years of avoiding probiotics and probiotic foods and returning to a mostly "normal" diet (reduced sugars, grains, dairy but otherwise most foods included) to decrease the air hunger sensation and definitely no fermented foods. I came across this discovery when retesting probiotics--the air hunger and anxiety came right back after having been eliminated and nothing else had changed. I tested with limited probiotics and finally came down to one. The only probiotic I can tolerate is a single strain found in Align, and then only for a few days at a time. I don't tolerate lactobacilli or even other strains of bifido very well. Something in probiotics brings back the air hunger, along with lactate and/or histamine issues.
  4. Other underlying health issues. Some other health issues, such as cancer, can cause a sense of dyspnea, but that's not the only cause. I'm not sure if this is the same sensation I've experienced, anyway. In my case, I had to finally have my malfunctioning gallbladder removed before I could begin to really heal my adrenals, thyroid, and gut and recover from nutrient deficiencies.
  5. Pinched nerves. I've noticed that if I sleep "wrong" (for me), the air hunger can be worse. I'm adding this because I've remembered now that I started seeing a new chiropractor who showed me the subluxated atlas I have supporting my skull and the whiplash and arthritis in my neck (probably related to my horse activities, especially a major head injury when I was a teen). From what I could find about the atlas (first cervical vertebrae), this could affect a LOT of nerves.

Overcoming Air Hunger:

There are a few other tips I have for anyone who might be experiencing this horrible sensation. Doctors don't get it, and even the integrative medicine specialists don't understand. They'll suggest a number of treatments, and I think I've tried them all. Here are my tips, from my experience, but I'm not a medical specialist, so take this as advisement to your own medical professional:

1) Avoid restrictive diets as much as possible. That being said, however, eliminating foods that cause inflammation isn't a bad thing; it probably won't affect the air hunger but will affect your gut bacteria and probably lead you to trying probiotics, both of which which can lead to the air hunger. Autoimmune protocol is good for finding those foods, but add foods back as soon as possible or you risk other problems, like oral intolerance. Restrictive diets can also lead to malnutrition, which contributes to air hunger.
  • If you do try a restrictive diet, reintroductions can be confusing. Reintroducing foods can cause some issues, because your gut needs to adjust to digesting those things again. Symptoms will pass if you go slow and gentle. I find that a reaction usually happens within 24 hours, but if your gut moves slower than mine, it can take longer. That's why reintroductions need to happen while eating a little of a certain food every day for a few days at a time. Just remember that the first day you notice a reaction is from the reintroduced food moving throughout your gut for the first time. If, after a few days of symptoms starting, they don't decrease, remove that food, let things settle, and try again or move onto the next food. It's better to do this with whole foods only. Always read labels on packaged foods--any reaction you may experience could be from the minor ingredients, which makes reintroductions confusing. (For example, I can tolerate plain oatmeal but not some granolas.)
  • Remember that probiotics can have strains that you don't tolerate. If you can't eliminate lactate or have trouble breaking down histamines, be especially careful with fermented foods and probiotics. This is why I recommend avoiding them altogether.
2) Restrict or eliminate caffeine. Seriously, at the beginning of my air hunger issues, even white tea was out. I could be breathing fine until I took one sip of a delicious white tea, and then I'd have problems the rest of the day. Now, I can enjoy limited amounts of green tea again without problems (except maybe histamine issues). I can only dream of enjoying a delicious cup of black chai latte again. Maybe I'll get there and maybe I won't; but I'll work on that. If you're a coffee drinker, I'm sorry, but that will have to go if you have air hunger... This all goes back to the endocrine part of the puzzle--caffeine affects the adrenals. And don't think you can get away with decaf--it still has enough caffeine to cause problems. Tazo decaf chai, however, may be another matter; at least, it's a delicious alternative.
  • Air hunger can both cause and be caused by anxiety. Caffeine can lead to anxiety or directly lead to air hunger, which can then lead to anxiety. Honestly, once you realize what's going on with the air hunger, you may quit having anxiety attacks of this nature because you'll realize what's going on and be ready to cope. I learned to deal with it and my anxiety turned into frustration. (That being said, anxiety can also be caused by other dietary/gut, nutrient, and/or endocrine issues, which all fits into what I said in the first part of this post.)
3) Introduce only the supplements you need and be careful what order you introduce them. Depending where you are in your journey, you may need a supplement but it could be wrong at that time in your healing. You'll have to play around with this one. I always recommend low and slow.
  • As an example from my own experience, I needed B vitamins (we all do, every day, because they are water soluble and flush out of our bodies), but until I got the "good" bugs out of my gut that were causing the jittery speedy feeling with the air hunger, I couldn't tolerate them. And it was at about the time the air hunger started that a naturopath saw my MTHFR homozygous status and and told me to take methylfolate. At first, I felt great, but within a week, I started having problems; however, all the online information I found suggested I just had to push through it to get better, so I continued. Nothing I found explained that my COMT status could be the root of problems with methyl B's rather than just having to let my body adjust--my body wouldn't adjust. It took me a long time to find an explanation that made sense and, through experimentation, to learn that I have to be very careful with activated B vitamins. These can be more detrimental than beneficial to me. (Like the B9 issues, I also do better with Pyrodoxine HCL than with Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate (P-5-P), the active form of B6.) That methylfolate was the straw that broke the camels back after months of trusting the wrong probiotics as the start of the air hunger and sleep issues I've had since.
  • I've learned that I also need to pulse my supplements by listening to what my body needs on any given day. This takes practice and experimentation, and you may need to keep a journal of diet, exercise, supplements, and symptoms, including times, until you get a feel for what your body is telling you.
4) Get as much sleep as you can. This helps the endocrine system relax and the whole body to heal. I've had a terrible time with sleep since around the time I started taking methylfolate (which I had quit within a couple months of starting--took me a while to realize it wasn't working for me), and that's when the air hunger started coming on fully; my sleep was always a bit of trouble but tanked after trying methylfolate. (I now only take a quarter to half of this folinic acid lozenge per day as my B9 supplement.) If I have a sleepless night, the air hunger is more likely to re-emerge, just as it is if I take the wrong probiotic or take active B's.

I'm lucky to get more than 3-4 hours a night, but I'm also in my mid-40's and female, so not unexpected. Nevertheless, I can function quite well most of the time as long as I at least stay in bed and try to sleep the rest of the night. The wrong probiotics or diet can reduce my sleep also (e.g. - no meat for me and no high-histamine foods after lunch, at least for now). It's all intertwined, which is what made figuring out the root so darn difficult.

Here are some tips from the pros and from my own experience for improving your sleep:
  • Avoid eating two hours before bed. This reduces the chance of acid reflux or bile reflux, either of which can disrupt sleep.
  • Avoid heavy evening meals for the same reasons stated above.
  • Exercise early in the day, not the evening -- exercise raises cortisol for a time, which will make it more difficult to fall asleep. You want your evening cortisol to be at the lowest. Try exercising first thing in the morning to boost morning cortisol, when cortisol levels should be highest to give you the energy to get through the day. (Cortisol is not a dirty word but is a necessary hormone for your body to function correctly. "Refined sugar" is the dirty word, or phrase for the grammar nazis.)
  • Avoid digital devices at least an hour before bed. The blue light of screens can reduce melatonin levels.
  • Avoid caffeine after noon, and avoid it completely, if you have trouble falling asleep or adrenal issues.
  • Avoid alcohol in the evening. It may make you drowsy, but it can cause middle of the night waking. It also is high in histamines, which act on neurotransmitters and can stimulate your brain and lead to an overactive mind causing wakefulness.
  • Drink plenty of water, but not at bedtime. Your body needs water to process toxins, especially during the healing at night, but you also don't want to have to wake up to go to the bathroom and you don't want to dilute electrolytes too much. If you don't have to avoid salt, you can also try a pinch of sea salt at bedtime. I've found that this can be helpful with sleep, at least sometimes. (It's not a sure thing.)
  • Avoid sitting up or getting up in the middle of the night. Activity will bring on wakefulness, which will lead to trouble falling back to sleep. (Ties into avoiding bathroom visits in the middle of the night.)
  • Be sure to get plenty of B6-B9-B12 early in the day. These three B's help promote restful sleep. Just don't take too much (learn your dose). I find that I have to avoid supplementing the other B's or to minimize them as much as possible, because B1, B2, B5, and B7 tend to overstimulate me. Natural food sources are tolerable for me but no more. They're great for my creativity, but I can't fall asleep at night, much less stay asleep. Then it becomes a Lunesta night, and I try to avoid sleep meds as much as possible.
  • If you can tolerate it, try magnesium citrate before bed. I recommend Calm, which is the one that most often works for me. (Magnesium tends to overstimulate me half the time--my body is weird.)
  • Integrated medicine specialists will often also recommend L-theanine or GABA. I've had no results from these, but they may work for you.
  • Be sure your iron/ferritin levels are optimized. Low iron and/or ferritin can affect sleep, but high iron can be fatal, so follow the advise of a medical professional.
  • Get your thyroid and adrenals checked. Anything off in these can make sleep more difficult and can also cause air hunger in themselves, as touched on above. 
5) Take care of any other health concerns. If something else is wrong in the body, as it was with my gallbladder (and that was over ten years in the process of failing--see this post for that summary), that can lead to other problems that can directly or indirectly lead to the air hunger sensation. It could be food allergies or sensitivities; organ issues like kidney, liver, heart, lungs; autoimmune; endocrine (thyroid, adrenals); etc. Be sure that you take care of those. And be aware that anxiety and depression outside of any life issues are most likely caused by underlying physical problems. Don't let doctors tell you that you only need anti-depressive or anti-anxiety medications. Those won't eliminate an underlying health concern and could actually cause more problems if you don't take care of the root cause. Those medications can be temporary fixes, but keep digging and work with your doctor. Push them or find a new doctor and push them to find the problem, but stay reasonable and have some patience. You live in your body 24/7; they don't. The effects of an underlying health problem can be subtle and difficult to diagnose. That's why it's important to keep a journal, noting everything, even stressful situations in life. And if you see a chiropractor who doesn't first take x-rays, find one who does.


Closing:

I've been working to resolve this for four years with a lot of wrong turns trying to get rid of air hunger, some of those mistakes by "medical professionals". At other times I thought that I had resolved it only to have it return. It's only been in the last few months that I finally realized that there wasn't just one piece out of place, but several. It's a puzzle, but one that is unique to every individual. It can be very frustrating until you have time to see the pattern emerge. I think I finally have, which is why I'm sharing it now.

I hope that this can help someone out there. I've done a lot of searching and reading of other people's experiences with air hunger in the quest for a resolution to my own and never found the right answer, because it is a complex issue; hence all my experimentation. There were suggestions of breathing techniques, but that didn't help me. For some, controlled breathing might work, but for me, it only made me feel worse. You'll have to work with a medical professional to get to the root or roots of your own issue.

You have my sincere best wishes to resolve your air hunger, but hang in there and keep believing. You can overcome this, but it may require some lifestyle changes, experimentation, and time. (Remember, low and slow in everything. Run from any medical practitioner who wants you to take large amounts of supplements, and don't take supplements at their full strength--open capsules with powders and cut/break tablets to reduce the potency until you find what's right for you.)

Stay strong!

Monday, September 2, 2019

In Darkness, Light

IN DARKNESS, LIGHT has a release date!

DECEMBER 19, 2019

Watch for it to become available for pre-order from retailers soon. This is the longest of the books so far, although still a short novel.


After leaving Ethal, Nya is on her way to visit the worlds of the Starfire crystal with her friends. However, Zaer has unfinished business, a delivery rumored to give enemies of the Issan a chance to defeat them, and she's not about to abandon it for any reason. Nya and the others have no choice but to go along with the plan.

What should be a simple exchange on the quiet, lowly world of Kurtuz turns out to be a trap. A group of Issan supporters are waiting and ready to do whatever it takes to stop the little black box from reaching its intended recipient. When her friends are taken, Nya must join forces with a mysterious stranger to save them before the Issan capture everyone.

$2.99 at these and other retailers:

Amazon
Apple
Barnes & Noble
Kobo