When You're The College Girl With A Chronic Condition

When You're The College Girl With A Chronic Condition

I won't allow my pain to stop me. I won't allow my condition to control my life.
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College is hard. Not just the school work, the tests, the essays or research papers. Not just balancing a social life, sleep, and maintaining a good GPA. But all of it, from organizations, GPA, social issues, peer pressure, somewhat learning how to be an independent adult, finding yourself, and making important life decisions.

It's a crucial part of our lives for those of us that choose this particular path, and it's not easy. But when you happen to get a chronic health condition thrown your way on top of the usual college, or just life, stress, things gets harder.

Professors don't always want to work with you when you miss an exam for a doctor's appointment since it's the third time it has happened that semester, even if you can't help it because your specialist is only available on certain days.

It's not always easy to understand material when you miss a lecture (I don't understand how some people skip).

Club leaders aren't always sympathetic when you can't make an event because you're having an episode and can't make it out of the bed.

Not everyone is going to understand, or even try to.

Your new friends might not understand why you're just really down some days. They might not get why you can't drink with them because you're not supposed to drink with the new medicine your doctor prescribed you. They might not get why you don't always act like the rest of them.

It is okay though if they don't understand or if they aren't sympathetic. What they don't see is that because we are dealing with everything they deal with, plus a health problem that sometimes tries to take over our lives. We are some of the strongest people they will ever meet. We can handle just about anything, because we pretty much already do. We might not act like the normal college kid, but that's because we aren't.

And the most impressive thing is that regardless of everything, we don't let it stop us. We join that sorority or fraternity, become a member of that club, go to that formal or football game, and we try our very best to have an absolutely normal college experience. We schedule our surgeries around tests, we take our medicine in our bag so we can take it on the go, we try to manage the pain on our bad days, and we push through.

In the end, we know we won't ever truly get sympathy or a break from the people in this world, and we don't need it. We know there is a reason for it all, and we will come out stronger in the end.

So for those of you fighting through college, a job, or even life with a chronic disorder, disease, condition: push through. Prove that you are strong and that your health won't hold you back.

Prove that you can do it because you can.

Cover Image Credit: A.Robillard / Flickr

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Everything You Need To Know About BANG Energy Drinks

Say goodbye to your favorite pre-workout drink.
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BANG energy drinks from VPX Sports are the hottest new products for athletes everywhere. On every can, you'll find their catchphrase "Potent Brain & Body Fuel" and it gives you just that. Clean energy, laser-sharp focus, and no sugar induced crashes are just a few of the reasons these bad boys are flying off the shelves faster than retailers can keep them stocked. Haven't heard of them? Sound too good to be true? Let me answer your questions.

What is it? It's an energy drink that's kind of like your typical Red Bull or Monster. It's a perfect substitution for pre-workout supplements or coffee.

Who's it meant for? Anyone! A better question to ask is, "Who isn't this drink meant for?" On the can, you'll find a recommendation for no one under the age of 18 to consume the drink. You also may want to steer clear of it if you're sensitive to stimulants like caffeine.

What's in it? BANG energy drinks contain zero calories, zero carbohydrates, and zero sugar. But what you can find are BCAA's, CoQ10, creatine, and copious amounts of caffeine. These are things athletes often take as supplements.

What are BCAA's? BCAA's are Branched Chain Amino Acids. They are known to stimulate protein synthesis, increase muscle function, decrease your soreness after a workout, and even aid in repairing damaged muscles.

What's CoQ10? Coenzyme Q10 is found in the mitochondria of your cells and sparks energy production. It helps produce energy your body needs for cell growth and maintenance. People often take this as a dietary supplement when they feel tired or lethargic.

What's super creatine? Creatine does a great job in enhancing athletic performance by aiding growth of lean body mass (AKA muscle). When you take creatine orally, the amount in your muscles increase and helps regenerate ATP more efficiently. According to the nutrition label, this so-called "super" creatine is bonded to Leucine to make Creatyl-L-Leucine. On SupplementReviews.com, a VPX Sports representative allegedly said the following about the Super Creatine in the drink:

"The creatine in there is actually something very special...it is the world's only water stable creatine. It is Creatine-Leucine peptide. Think of this...if you mix creatine in water, it sinks and if you mix leucine in water, it floats....if you combine the two into a peptide, it creates a water soluble and water-stable form of creatine. It also has a fatty acid chain that makes it easier to cross the blood brain barrier. The focus of the super creatine is not for muscle function, but for cognition...by combining this form of creatine with caffeine, it works synergistically for mental focus."

How much caffeine is in one can? In one can of BANG, you'll be blessed with 300mg of caffeine. This is the equivalent to over three cups of coffee.

Is that even safe? Yeah, it is. In order for the caffeine in the energy drink to be lethal at any capacity, I would have to drink 30.7 cans.

So, what are the downsides? There are two things that come to mind. One is that consumers have no idea how much BCAA's, CoQ10, or creatine is actually in the drink. It could very likely be trace amounts too small to do anything beneficial. Two, BANG energy drinks do not go through the FDA approval process.

Is it really that good? Well, out of 113 reviews of the product on Bodybuilding.com, there's an average 9.6 overall rating. Most reviews comment on the quality of the energy, the cognitive focus, and the non-existent crash once the drink wears off.

What kind of flavors can I get? There are currently eight BANG energy drink flavors on the market: Black Cherry Vanilla, Cotton Candy, Sour Heads, Star Blast, Blue Razz, Champagne Cola, Power Punch, and Lemon Drop.

Where can I buy BANG energy drinks? You can find BANG energy drinks at Amazon, your local GNC or Vitamin Shoppe retailers, Bodybuilding.com, VPX Sports' website, some gas stations, and privately owned retailers.

How expensive are they? This depends on where you make your purchase. The cheapest place to purchase your BANG energy drinks is at Bodybuilding.com for about $2.00 per can. You can find similar prices on Amazon and at your local retailers. The energy drinks are most expensive through the VPX website where you'll pay about $2.75 per can.

How does BANG compare to other energy drinks? I'll give you some data on nutrition facts and you can make your decisions based on that:

16 oz. BANG: 300mg caffeine, 0g carbohydrates, 0g sugar.

16 oz. Monster Energy (regular): 160mg caffeine, 54g carbohydrates, 54g sugar

16 oz. Red Bull (regular): 160mg caffeine, 56g carbohydrates, 56g sugar

16 oz. Rockstar (regular): 144g caffeine, 54g carbohydrates, 54g sugar

Cover Image Credit: Youtube

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Poetry On Odyssey: A "Break" At Work

Breaks at work aren't always what you think.

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There are times during work where the stars align, and I'm right in their sights to get supremely screwed over. If things get slow and quiet enough, and I've just finished something I've been focusing all of my energy on, something...happens.

I break.

I don't know if I would call it a panic attack, since it's less fear of dying and more sudden hyper-awareness and inability to deal with anything, but it sucks all the same. It completely swallows me into a dark pit of brokenness.

One of the things I do to try grounding myself is messaging those close to me. I structured this poem similar to what one of those conversations was like. During all of the edits, I decided to keep it mostly short and disconnected because that's exactly how I feel during these moments—disconnected and unable to keep a coherent thought.

I hope you never have to experience something like this; I hope this poem gives all you need to know about what these "breaks" are like.


Break at work, everything to think about
Chores, writing, apartment
Chores, writing, apartment

Can't do any of it
Can't move
Can't hear

Everything
Too
Much

Panic attack?
Don't know
Not good

Bathroom? Fresh air?
Not possible
Can't move

Breathe?
Bra too tight
Suffocating

Deep breath anyway
Ignore the constricting
Actually focus on it

Water?
Cold and hurts
Drink more anyway

Food?
Nauseous
Can't eat anyway

What do?
Don't know
Can't think

Cry?
Can't do
At work

Nails in palms, eyes shut tight
Focus on breathing exercises
Focus on chest pain

Focus
On
Pain

Deep breath in
Hold it
Slow breath out

Ignore how it stabs
Ignore the tightness
Focus on the rhythm

Inhale
Hold
Exhale

Keep eyes shut
Until breathing
Is stable

Open eyes
Blink because it's bright
Inhale, exhale, breathe

Hear the quiet of work
Everyone doing their own thing
Oblivious to what just happened

See the sharpness of screen
Blink it into focus to see
Everything I have accomplished

Drink some more water
It's necessary, it's good
Not cold, not hurting, just soothing

Inhale
Hold
Exhale

Breathe in relief, it's over now
The world has returned
To what it ought to be

Whatever it was
That break
Was not a break.

Cover Image Credit:

https://www.pexels.com/photo/light-light-bulb-bulb-heat-40889/

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