Episode 166 Amanda Zeine Hot Mess to Wellness Transcript

This transcript is from episode 166 with guest Amanda Zeine.

Scott DeLuzio    00:00:00    Thanks for tuning in to the Drive On Podcast, where we’re focused on giving hope and strength to the entire military community. Whether you’re a veteran, active duty, guard, reserve, or family member, this podcast will share inspirational stories and resources that are useful to you. I’m your host, Scott DeLuzio. Now let’s get on with the show. Hey, everybody welcome back to the Drive On Podcast. Today, my guest is Amanda Zeine. Amanda is a pediatrician in the army who is pending medical retirement after a traumatic brain injury that she had in 2018. After her injury, she had some other secondary conditions that caused her to have a loss of identity, some depression amongst a number of other issues.  She’s here today to discuss her experience with her TBI, but the treatment that she went through, and how she created a new version of herself. She’s also the author of the book, Hot mess to Wellness, which we’re also going to discuss a little bit later on in this episode. Welcome to the show, Amanda, I’m glad to have you here.  

Amanda Zeine    00:01:10    Thanks for having me. It’s an honor to be on with you and be able to talk to someone else in the military. 

Scott DeLuzio   00:01:21    Yeah, absolutely. That’s one of the things I love about doing this podcast is getting to talk to all the different service members and veterans. We may never have spoken before we started recording,  like as the case with you and me but by the end of the episode, we tend to just be chatting like we’ve known each other for years, and it’s just that strange connection that the military creates that weird bond that we all have. I really enjoy it. I’ve been doing this for a few years now and I don’t see myself slowing down anytime soon just because  I enjoy the camaraderie and chatting with people like that. Let’s start off with a little bit about yourself and your background.  Tell us who you are for anyone who may not be familiar.  

Amanda Zeine    00:02:20     I am a physician.  I did ROTC and commission for a Lieutenant.  In 2002 had to leave for education, went to medical school, and was commissioned again into the Medical Corps as a captain. Did my residency in Hawaii at Tripler, and have been at Fort Campbell ever since. I’ve been super lucky.  I have been through marriage and divorce, like many others, I remarried. My current husband is also a pediatrician in the military. We’re both pediatricians and flight surgeons,  Lieutenant Colonels. I was the chief of pediatrics at the local hospital here at the community hospital on post. Then I had my head injury, and thanks to my boss. I stopped caring about the clinic and taking care of everyone else. And he forced me to step down and go to what was then called the WTU. It’s now called the SRU, the soldier recovery unit.  I’ve been there now almost three years, trying to get to the point of the army deciding, fit for duty versus medical retirement. It’s been an interesting road.  

Scott DeLuzio     00:04:10    Yeah, it sounds like it. Could you share what happened and what took place was this military-related business?

Amanda Zeine    00:04:30    One story was not combat-related. I was looking earlier, today’s the 16th, so 25 years ago today. I had a bad car accident and I had my first TBI,  which I think set me up for where I am now with my TBI that occurred in 2018.,I had to get multiple letters even to get my first scholarship. Then I had five waivers to be on flight status.   I had to go through a lot to get into the army and then to be on flight status, to be an applied surgeon, which at this point I am still considered a flight surgeon, but I wouldn’t ever be able to be on flight status again after this TBI. Then this current injury happened the day after Christmas in 2018. We were ice skating and I have never worn hockey skates, but I have taken figure skating lessons. I’m actually not a bad skater on figure skates. I didn’t realize hockey skates were a lot different and I fell and hit my head pretty hard twice. Of course, my husband wanted to take me to the ER and of course, I refused. He deployed five days later and I continued to refuse to go to the doctor. I continued trying to go to work. I finally did go to the doctor and they told me I needed brain rest.  I told them they could have 48 hours.  

Amanda Zeine   00:06:22    Well, I was the chief of pediatrics at the time and I didn’t have the staff to cover my shifts, so someone needed to work. I went back to work the following Monday and I couldn’t get through the day. The room was spinning. Luckily I have amazing colleagues and they finished seeing my patients. I texted my boss and told him that my work was done for the day. My documentation was done. My patients were being seen and he called me and basically, I got in trouble for coming to work. He told me he didn’t want to see me back until it was cleared. I have not worked a full day in the clinic since then. My boss was pretty amazing. He took good care of me. The command of the hospital in general took very good care of me.  

Amanda Zeine     00:07:18    They made sure I took care of myself when I tried to be the hard-headed type, a personality that wanted to continue working because that’s how we are. Both as a physician. I mean, soldiers are just as bad. They don’t go to the doctor when they should. He forced me to take care of myself.  I realized that my symptoms were a little worse than I thought.  I basically had migraines daily. \I finally had some acupuncture and that was the first time I was migraine-free in eight months. I had to keep a headache diary for the neurologist and I had two headache-free days in the first eight months after this head injury. It was mainly migraines. Migraines are the worst.  I did have some balance issues and dizziness, and I now have ringing in my ears and I had concentration issues. They basically told me I had ADHD. But with all of the testing I had to have prior to flight status and everything else because of my previous head injury, I had the neuro-psych testing. We know I don’t have ADHD now I’m testing as if I have ADHD. It’s basically been brought about by the TBI. The medications don’t work and it drives my husband crazy.  

Scott DeLuzio     00:09:07    Yeah.  

Amanda Zeine    00:09:08    Drives him crazy. On migraine days, I’m pretty much worthless.  I just wander aimlessly. I can usually get rid of the pain and I have different ways of taking the medications. I have the devices I have, multiple ways of acupuncture.. My acupuncturist, who was amazing, actually taught me. I have needles that I can, and the pain is not the issue. It’s the aura and postictal, which I did not even realize migraines had as a physician. I did not realize migraines had what’s called a postictal phase, which seizures have when the patient’s just completely out of it after the fact. And I didn’t realize that migraines had that until I experienced it. I’m completely worthless for the day and sometimes the next day.  

Amanda Zeine   00:10:13     I don’t think my husband realized how bad my symptoms were because he was gone for the first nine months. He missed most of it. Luckily his family is local and they took amazing care of me between my husband’s family and my medical care team. I went to the TBI clinic as well. I had some great care and I am much better. I still have a lot of symptoms. Migraines are the main issue, but concentration. I’m so much better than I was  

Scott DeLuzio    00:10:52    Well, that’s good, and I think it sounds like anyways, but you were fortunate that your job had you working with other physicians who probably could recognize some of the symptoms that you were experiencing and really push you to taking the time off and getting the help and the treatment that you needed,  as opposed to someone who was working in any other job anywhere nevermind in the military. Just anywhere where if you’re not working with people who would recognize those things, they may just think, oh, well you’re just slacking off. If you’re not concentrating on your job or whatever. These people obviously knew you and knew that wasn’t your personality. Obviously, there’s something going on and that they needed to help you address that.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:11:48    Right. The treatments, so acupuncture is one of those things that you were saying is helpful. It’s funny. I had someone on, the other day.  A few weeks ago actually. We were talking about different treatment options that are available for various things. Me and needles are just not compatible. It just doesn’t work out for me. When I mentioned acupuncture and I was like, dude, that just made my skin crawl. But there’s other forms of treatment too, that can be helpful for those types of things too. But acupuncture is something that some people may not even have thought of,  prior to hearing it from, from something, someone like you, who has used it with some benefit for the symptoms that you’re feeling, right.  

Amanda Zeine     00:12:45    Acupuncture can treat so many different things as well. Chiropractic really helps. The problem is we have very limited ability to have chiropractic in the military.  I can’t get that regularly,  but that definitely initially. I was getting some chiropractic care as well, and that helped a lot. They also have the Botox injections that didn’t help. I’m on a monthly injection. I have to give myself, to keep the migraines to a minimum, and then I have the medications for when I have them.  I also have what’s called a separate. I know that there are, I’ve actually seen commercials about those. It’s like a little, my husband calls it, my cyborg. It’s A little device that goes right here and it works on the trigeminal nerve.  

Amanda Zeine     00:13:40    It’s almost like a tens unit, where it gives the electrical impulses and helps to use electricity to make the migraine go away. I also have what’s called an alpha stem, which now is very difficult to get, but I got mine before some of the changeover and that actually helps a lot with anxiety and, but also can help with the pain. I have all my different modalities for when I’m in pain. The problem is none of those help with this aura that I have, where I basically am complete. It’s like the Claritin clear commercial, just, I’m in a fog.  I can’t drive or I won’t allow myself to drive. When I have those days, but those are few and far between, I only have about three to five a month., and, I’m definitely better and hoping to get to the point where I can be working again. but I, right now I’m just kind of, I’m in limbo waiting.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:15:04    It sounds like this is something that you could overcome to some degree where you could get back, to work, and not have the symptoms quite as bad. So is it something that you’re expecting is like a lifelong kind of injury that you’ve experienced or are there ways that you can reverse these effects down the line?  

Amanda Zeine    00:15:29    I don’t know that anyone really has that answer. I’ve had one neurologist that told me, and I don’t see him any longer. Well, it’s been longer than a year. You’re never going to get any better and I’ve actually improved since then. When he told me that I was re-referred to a different neurologist. I’ve had other people who have suffered from a TBI tell me it took them eight to 10 years, but they’re back to 90% of what they were before. I don’t know that anyone really knows, and every experience is different. I think that’s why a lot of the sports teams and everyone in the military are so focused on concussions and making sure that they keep track of numbers. If you’ve had multiple concussions, they’re trying to really keep an eye on it.  

Amanda Zeine     00:16:26    Because even the people I worked with were thinking, this is so odd. We have, we have on being a pediatrician, we have kids come in all the time with a concussion and you look back at that and you think, why did they get better? You’re not getting better. You have to look at each individual situation differently. Multiple service members have had TBI after TBI and had issues while deployed and, the concussion of explosions and whatnot. Were they adequately treated? It’s hard to say because some of them were before we were really keeping a close eye on it. With my first TBI, it wasn’t even really a focus when I was in high school and got in that car accident. I had so many others, I mean, I had two chest tubes. I had both lungs collapsed, bilateral hemopneumothorax.  

Amanda Zeine    00:17:31    I was life-flighted to the hospital. Those injuries took precedence. And so no one really thought about the TBI and no one really, it wasn’t at the forefront because of all the other injuries. Of course, I had brain rest because I couldn’t do anything.  I never really thought about it. Then when I was in the recovery for this one a lot of the neurologists and other specialists that I spoke with said, well, that probably is part of the reason it set you up for having the worst worsening of the symptoms. Then also the fact that I was in a  position and working at this high level. Now I can’t. I think that was one of the biggest things I had a problem with was I can’t do what I used to do.  

Amanda Zeine     00:18:28    I used to be able to run a clinic, see patients work inpatient and outpatient, and make the schedule. I was always tired. Of course, I didn’t realize I had sleep apnea until they tested me for that. After I had my head injury, I just thought I was a tired doctor.  I had a really hard time accepting the fact that I am not who I was. That first, six, eight weeks, and I wasn’t able to drive. Luckily my husband’s family was there for me and they took me to my appointments and took care of me. His sister was amazing. She was always there for me. but once I actually got past that and was able to start going back and I tried to go back to work and realized that I couldn’t see patients as quickly.  

Amanda Zeine   00:19:37    Then I started having issues again with that loss of identity, like, what am I going to do? What am I going to do with my life? It was April of last year when I finally was like, all right, enough is enough. Like I’ve gained all this weight. I feel horrible. Is it because now I’m overweight and eating crap. I just was wallowing in self-pity and I was doing all the things I shouldn’t be doing, eating all the junk. I shouldn’t be eating comfort food. I decided,  enough is enough. Of course, I go to the bookstore and I’m like I’m gonna start a new diet. I’m going to get an exercise routine. There’s nothing out there for the average person. It’s a hit or P90X or crazy stuff that the average person who is just wanting to get up and move more.  

Amanda Zeine     00:20:44    Isn’t going to be able to just jump off the couch and do those. And then you got all the crazy diets. As a physician, I know you should never completely cut anything out of your diet. I know that some people do very well with keto and whatnot and gluten-free and whatnot. But if you do not have a true gluten intolerance, and I talk about this in my book, if you do not have a true gluten intolerance or celiac disease, there’s no reason to cut gluten out of your diet. There’s no reason to ever cut anything completely out because then you just end up binging. That’s the problem with most diets. I mean, you get the diet and you end up following the strict diet and okay, I’m going to do this diet for 90 days and you lose all this weight.  

Amanda Zeine     00:21:41    Then you go right back to the way you were before and you gain it all plus some. That’s why we have this yo-yo diet society in America. Well, it doesn’t help that everything we eat is supersized and you go to a restaurant and you’re getting three times the amount of bread and meat that you should be eating and the vegetables, fruit and I’m guilty. Trust me, I’m guilty. I wanted to have a plan and there was nothing out there. So I started writing up a plan and then four pages later, I was like, I should write a book. I Googled, how do you write a book? I came up, right, everybody Googles nowadays. I came across self-publishing schools and a little plug for them. It’s not cheap, but they walked me through every step of writing a book and helped me publish my book.  

Amanda Zeine    00:22:54     I continue to meet with a coach. I hope to maybe do some children’s books, being a pediatrician. but this book really was more for me than for anybody else. I was writing it for myself, but at the same time, hoping that it would help that other,  a 40-year-old woman who is overweight and sitting on the couch and needs to get moving and do the right thing. It was supposed to be my accountability. Now, Christmas came and I kind of fell off the wagon and I’m slowly working on getting back up there. My habits kind of changed, in the book, you can jump back in at any point.  I talk about more than just weight. I talk about more than just me because being skinny isn’t healthy. My first chapter is on mindfulness, just because if you’re not mindful, while you sit on the couch and eat a whole bag of chips. If you’re not mindful, you’re constantly on the go and forgetting things.  I already forgot everything. Anyway, if I don’t lose my keys at least once a day, it’s not a normal day for me, I’m constantly forgetting things. I don’t know how much of that is my head injury and how much of that is just me. I’m constantly forgetting everything I have to write everything down now.  But mindfulness, relaxation, hydration. A lot of people don’t realize they may feel hungry when really they’re thirsty. We are chronically dehydrated. We don’t drink enough of the correct fluids.  

Scott DeLuzio     00:25:01    That’s the key, I think right there because we can, especially when we’re talking to people in the military, we can, we can pound back the energy drinks and after hours we could be found to back the beers and everything else. But that’s not what your body is really looking for. It needs water and that type of hydration. 

Amanda Zeine     00:25:26    I had not really been an energy drink person. Then I deployed and my first deployment, I started drinking the,  

Scott DeLuzio    00:25:35    Because they’re everywhere,  

Amanda Zeine     00:25:39    Now though I found a new energy drink that I like. It’s actually made by the VA. Yeah. It has more caffeine in it than what a cup of coffee or a cup of tea would have. And it has a serving of fruit and vegetables in it.   

Scott DeLuzio   00:26:00    Oh, there you go. It’s probably the healthiest energy drink out there. I don’t know. I haven’t looked, but it sounds like it anyways.

Amanda Zeine    00:26:09    I actually had to look into the energy drinks, having been a flight surgeon, and I looked up all of the different drinks. Actually, all I had to do was walk around one safety brief and take drinks away from soldiers and look at the backs of them because every different kind of energy drink known demand was that, that safety brief. and I actually looked into a lot of the energy drinks. A lot of people don’t realize that it’s not just caffeine, that’s in, there are other forms of energy in there that are just as bad as if not worse than caffeine. At levels that are crazy high because it’s more than one serving usually. And I talk about that in the book as well, that a lot of us will look at something and be like, oh, it’s only 120 calories.  

Amanda Zeine    00:27:06    Well, it’s also two and a half servings. I go through a steak dinner in the chapter where, when I go through the book. I start out and I tell people, take a week for each chapter, try to create a new habit, try to change your habits rather than just go on a diet. I start with mindfulness and then I talk about relaxation because as a doctor. I didn’t know how to relax. I actually had them ask me what my hobbies were. I said, what happened? I don’t have time for hobbies. One of the things that they told me I needed to do was come up with a hobby to work the other side of my brain. I needed to come up with something like a craft. My niece took me to the bookstore.  

Amanda Zeine     00:28:05    Books-A-Million and we looked into all that. I tried origami. Yeah, perfectionists can’t do origami. There were a lot of faults in that paper. It looked horrible.  But I ended up crocheting, and as of January 1st, I have my own business called Amanda’s crochet cubby. I just do little craft fairs. I have a couple of vendor boots here in town.  I have a little Facebook page and it’s something that gives me purpose right now since I’m not working. Crocheting actually helps with my headaches and it actually helps with my anxiety,  which went through the roof after my head injury. The relaxation is the second chapter. Then I talk about, what do I talk about? Let’s see, oh, sleep is the third chapter. Because well, none of us get the amount of sleep we should get.  

Amanda Zeine    00:29:06    It talks about sleep hygiene. A lot of people want to say, oh, I can’t sleep, but they have a horrible routine at night. That really is the number one problem is not having a good routine and a set schedule because when you’re going to bed at all different times, as if I, as a physician, was ever one to talk because I was working nights, working days, working nights, working days. I can actually try to have a little bit better schedule.   I talk about hydration, water. I myself do a lot of decaffeinated, unsweet ice tea because I get sick of water. My husband calls it my colored water because I drink it light that he calls it my colored water. but we switched to decaf tea at home because we drink a lot of tea. It just was a better option for us.  I get into the diet and not being on a diet, but I talk about portions and I go through the steak dinner. The fact that a portion of meat is supposed to be the size of your palm. Now, usually, steaks are more than technically, I think that’s like three to four ounces and we’re getting what 12-ounce steak.  

Scott DeLuzio     00:30:45    Right.  

Amanda Zeine    00:30:47    Then you’ve got the potato and the bread. You’re supposed to have one serving of starch. Like half of one of those big potatoes is probably a serving and the butter and sour cream and everything.  

Amanda Zeine     00:31:04    Right. Right. Well, and fats are good. That’s what a lot of America doesn’t realize because we went through that low-fat phase, but that’s actually good. That is not the problem. Believe it or not, starches and carbs are the bad carbs, not the vegetables, not the fruits, unless, of course, you’re diabetic. Then that’s a whole nother story. But, really the problem is, the junk that we as Americans love eating the chips and all of them, the processed foods, the fast foods, the things that are easy and it’s hard to eat healthy, it takes some work, it’s hard to eat the right foods. 

Scott DeLuzio     00:32:01    Yeah. I mean you read the ingredient list and you can’t pronounce half the things on there because there’s so many different chemicals. You were talking about some of the migraines and things like that you’re having. My wife was suffering from some headaches like migraines and stuff after some seizures that she had a few years ago. She found that one of the things that was triggering some of these migraines was some of these artificial sweeteners, like aspartame and she would have a diet soda or something. That would just trigger, almost like within 10 or 15 minutes,  her migraines were just kicking in. She was like, why is it happening now? Then she put two and two together and figured out there was a correlation every time that I started having these migraines. I just had that type of drink and something with those kinds of artificial sweeteners. 

Amanda Zeine    00:33:15    Oh, well, some people can do it. Some people process meat there, and that’s why a lot of times we’ll have people do a diary because it’s crazy the things that can trigger. Honestly, when I eat healthy, when I eat good food, I notice a difference in how I feel, and I love eating comfort food, but once I start doing that, I end up noticing there’s a difference. I don’t think it necessarily triggers my migraines. I don’t know. Maybe I’ll have to keep a closer eye on that. really weather is really horrible for my migraines. The barometric pressure changes. We have a big storm coming through. It’s not a good day for me. trying to do too much when I, when I don’t get enough sleep. I try to fit too much into a weekend or just try to do too much.  I usually pay for it. The next day I’ll have a migraine, it’s different for everyone, but,  

Scott DeLuzio   00:34:31    That’s one of the things with, with our, our brains are so complex and so different, one injury that, that one person has, could affect them differently than the way it affects somebody else. You fell in and hit your head and that triggered that this type of a response in you where someone else could, could fall in very much the same fashion and not have, they might have a headache for a day or two, but then, then maybe nothing after that. I guess it all depends on your unique set of circumstances, how your brain is made up, and maybe what part of your head you fell on? 

Amanda Zeine     00:35:20    That’s another reason why coaches, even in high schools and even down to grade school level, are really keeping an eye on these kids who hit their heads. I know that I haven’t been in the pediatric clinic in almost three years.  I know that when I was in there and practicing regularly, we had to let these kids back into sports. They would not let them play until they were evaluated by us. It was okay for them to go back and even so if they had a concussion, they weren’t allowed to play for a week, or there are actually rules and regulations in the different sports. The high school and elementary and grade school associations, they actually have rules that forbid the kids from playing if they’ve had a concussion because they’ve seen that if you have another concussion too soon, it can actually cause more damage than then later on.

Scott DeLuzio    00:36:47    That’s probably similar to what you experienced with the one injury that you had years ago. Then this other one, it could be, it could not be exactly, but it’s like why take the chance to play another football game? Is it really worth it for a lifelong injury like that? Where you could easily avoid that by riding the bench for another weekend or something like,  

Amanda Zeine    00:37:18    What’s really hard to get a young kid to understand,  sorry, dude, you’re not playing this weekend. They don’t understand because they’re so in the moment at that age, but even with me, there are a lot of things that I used to enjoy doing that I don’t do anymore. I want to go horseback riding. My niece even looked into buying me a helmet, one of the really good helmets. I’ve been told I’m not allowed to horseback ride anymore.  

Amanda Zeine    00:38:03    There’s too much at risk. If I were to have another bad head injury, we don’t know what would happen and nothing may happen. I am getting back into things last summer. I did get the kayak back out. We went kayaking again. I really enjoy the outdoors, and I’m slowly getting back into all of those things, and kind of testing things out. What I’d really like to do is get back to work. And so coming up here within the next month, I’ll kind of find out for sure what’s going to happen with the army. If I’m found fit for duty, I’ll go back to work. Hopefully, I can slowly work my way back up. That’s what I was trying to do before, but I wasn’t doing well.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:39:05     It was probably too soon at that point, you probably just weren’t ready to start. 

Amanda Zeine    00:39:10    I think I try to do too much. Okay.  

Scott DeLuzio     00:39:13    Yeah, that makes sense.  

Amanda Zeine     00:39:15     I think I tried to jump in and do too much. If I’m medically retired, I’m hoping to find a position where I’m not expected to have problems with medicine. Now it’s all about seeing a certain number of patients in a day, and I need to find a place where I can go at my own pace. It may be, COVID opened up a lot of doors. Virtual medicine is definitely something now that can be done. I might be able to do that, but in the meantime I crochet and I have my crochet cubby. My husband likes to tease me about that. I have been enjoying that because it’s something I enjoy doing and it gives me purpose. I

Scott DeLuzio     00:40:19     I was going to ask about that because I know with others like mental health aspects. A lot of times things like a craft or a hobby or something is suggested to people, painting or, like a craft, like crocheting or, baking or whatever, gardening, doing something like that because it helps you stay focused on the present moment, like here and now, and focus in on that. I was actually gonna ask about that. Do you feel that crocheting, in addition to just being something that you enjoy doing?  Do you feel like it’s helping you stay focused more on what’s going on now?  Is it something that it’s just one of those nice things that you just enjoy doing?  

Amanda Zeine    00:41:18    I think it definitely helps me to have a purpose. I think part of my problem, in the beginning, was there was no reason to get up and get dressed and do anything because I had a headache and I couldn’t go anywhere and I couldn’t do anything. And then I started trying to go back to work and now I’m not allowed to work until we kind of figure everything out. And so I needed to do something I needed. I can’t not have a purpose in life, just I have to be doing something. The crochet at first, it started as just a way for me to not have headaches and a way for me to decrease my anxiety and just kind of because they told me I needed to find something to do. I started doing it and realized, wow, this actually helps my headaches.  

Amanda Zeine     00:42:32    If I have a headache coming on and I sit and do crochet, it actually helps it.  I kind of started having things pile up and I thought, I need to just start selling this stuff. I put it in one of the little vendor places, and I don’t really make money off of it. By the time I buy all this stuff and then actually sell something. I break even but it gives me something to do and now I have my little business. a purpose for life until I figure out what the heck is going on in my life. I think we all kind of need that.  But as far as the head injury goes I hope I continue to get better.  

Amanda Zeine     00:43:32     I get to the point where I can get back. I still have my medical license. I’m still credentialed.  I can still see patients. I still have it all up here. I’m just much slower than I used to be.  I can’t multitask. I used to be able to just put out fires left and right, and talk to this nurse and do this and do that and do the other. Now it’s like, wait, you can’t talk to me until I finish this thought and I’ve finished what I’m thinking.  Now you may talk to me. I can only do one thing at a time. In today’s world of medicine, you can’t be that way. You have to be able to go, go, go, go, go. it’s expected that you see a certain number of patients, in the civilian world. They don’t make money if you don’t see patients. They’re not going to pay you if you’re not seeing patients. That’s kind of where I’m hoping to be able to work my way up to it, I just have to find a place that will allow me to do that.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:44:41    I think that you made a good point because there’s just a shift in your expectations for what you’re capable of doing in the present moment.  Things may change down the line, but for right now, this is, this is your limitation. You’re at this point where you can do it. I don’t mean limitation as in like you can’t. You’re mentally capable of doing things. Like you said, you still have that information up there that the medical information that you’ve had for all these years. it just means that you’re not multitasking the way you used to. You’re not talking to three or four different nurses at the same time trying to solve all the world’s problems.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:45:34   The reason why I bring that up is I think other people who maybe have experienced some sort of brain injury, like what you have or even a combat-related one, it’s probably pretty frustrating to be in a position. I don’t know, because I haven’t been there myself. I have to imagine it’s pretty frustrating when you look back at just a few years ago and all the things you were able to do, and then now all of a sudden you can’t do hardly any of it.  I think it, it, your mindset needs to shift to say, what, okay, I’m not the same person that I was back then. There’s something that happened that changed a part of who I am, and I need to adjust my expectations for what I’m able to do. If we’re sitting there beating ourselves up, because we can’t do the things that we did five, 10 years ago, I can’t run as fast as I did when I was 18. That’s just a part of life. Things change. Things happen to you, things change. You just have to, I think, learn to accept that.

Amanda Zeine     00:46:55    You have to stop having a pity party. I’ve had plenty of pity parties. You have to stop though, and you have to realize that your injury doesn’t define you, you define you and you have to find the new you, and it’s taking, it’s taken me a long time. I still have my days where I get upset that I can’t do what I used to be able to do. I can do so many things. I said I’m still credentialed. Cognitively, I still have all the information in there. I’m just a little slower at getting it out. Sometimes I have a hard time finding words and especially if I’m super stressed out. I have to do things a little bit differently than I used to. It took me a long time to realize that that’s okay. That I am this new me, and I’m no worse.  

Amanda Zeine   00:48:04    I’m just different. I can’t imagine being in the position of an amputee or someone who had a major injury. I can’t imagine being in that position, but I would imagine that they have a similar situation where they have to think about this is the new me and they, and it’s hard to think I can’t do what I used to do, but at some point, you just have to get over it. Not to say that I don’t still occasionally have my days. but I have a great support system. That’s super important is to make sure that you have a good support system because you have to have those people who will kick your butt into gear. You can have those people that will let you cry on their shoulder and that’s okay. But sometimes you need that person who’s going to give you tough love. I definitely have that person. He happens to live with me. He really, really pushes me to do what he knows I can do, even when I don’t think I can. You gotta have that support system.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:49:40    Yeah. I mean, the support system is great. I think kind of what you were saying is focused on what you can do and not necessarily on what you can’t do.  Because you’re still blessed with a lot of abilities. You still have things that you can do, and you even can learn new skills along the way from shit, right? Like before all this, you didn’t have that. It’s funny to some extent, it’s true. It shows that, even though you did have damage to your brain, the thing that learns stuff in your body, you still were able to learn something new. It’s not like it’s a complete disaster in your brain. You still have that ability to go learn new things. the end of the world for, for you and your,  your, your injury. If there’s, there is still hope for you. There’s still hope for other people who are out there who are in a similar situation.  

Amanda Zeine     00:50:52    It could be worse.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:50:55    I always try to tell people that you’ve already survived a hundred percent of your bad days. That \ you’ve gone through in your life. Tomorrow is going to be better than any one of those days. Wake up tomorrow and put a smile on your face if you can.  Just go out there and try to try to do something to challenge yourself and get better at whatever it is that you’re doing. It’s been a pleasure speaking with you today, talking about your experience and your book. One thing I don’t think we covered is where people can go to get a copy of your book, where it is Hot Mess to Wellness.  

Amanda Zeine   00:51:44    So it’s available on Amazon I believe the E version is a dollar 99 and the softback is, 10 95, 

Scott DeLuzio     00:52:03    We won’t hold you to that.

Scott DeLuzio     00:52:07    I did the same thing with my book, the prices I changed them every once in a while. And they do, you may find, go on there and find it at a lower price. That’s great. Go check that out. I’ll have a link to the book in the show notes. Anyone who’s looking to get a copy of the book can go and grab that,  lots of great information about just overall wellness.  I love the title from Hot Mess to Wellness.

Amanda Zeine    00:52:36    That’s because, well, I am still a little bit of a hot mess, I was a complete hot mess. It’s a lifelong journey. You can always go back and reread and re-attempt to pick up those good habits because it’s a lifelong journey. It’s hard to do the right thing.  

Scott DeLuzio   00:53:03   You were talking before about being a physician and knowing all the right things like you would. If you had a patient sitting here and saying, this is a problem I’m going through, you would tell them the right things to do. Even in that situation, you still found yourself doing some of the wrong things. I guess I’m saying that with, the thought that it’s okay, it’s okay to give yourself a little grace and know that, that, that, that could happen to, 

Amanda Zeine    00:53:41     I had someone tell me once that, and I wrote it down because I knew I would get it wrong because I’m that person who always messes up the punchline of the joke,  a lapse in pattern doesn’t have to be a relapse. Just because you have a lapse in your pattern, whether it be you stop working out, you stop doing something, going to the gym or whatever it was, or you had that binge day where you just decided enough, whatever I’m done with this, that lapse in judgment does not have to be a complete relapse.  I thought that was a great bit of advice that you can turn it around. Like you said, tomorrow’s a new day and you can start fresh and whatever happened yesterday is yesterday.

Scott DeLuzio     00:54:37    Yeah, you can’t change the past, so focus on the future.  I think that’s true with all the things that we were talking about today. You can’t change any of that, focus on what you can change and what you can, can, do, and accomplish, and look at the bright side of things and focus on that. Amanda, thank you again, for joining us and sharing your story. I really do appreciate you coming on and, looking forward to seeing, seeing your progress and hopefully,  bring for the best that you will have, have a positive outcome,  with all of this. Looking forward to hearing more about that and thanks again.  

Amanda Zeine     00:55:25    Thank you for having me.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:55:26    Thanks for listening to the Drive On Podcast. If you want to check out more episodes or learn more about the show, you can visit our website, DriveOnPodcast.com. We’re also on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube Drive On Podcast. 

Leave a Comment