Mindfully Integrative Show

Mindful Chat with Amanda Zeine-US Army Lt Colonel Flight Surgeon, Pediatrician Hot Mess To Wellness

March 11, 2022 Season 2
Mindfully Integrative Show
Mindful Chat with Amanda Zeine-US Army Lt Colonel Flight Surgeon, Pediatrician Hot Mess To Wellness
Show Notes Transcript

 Amanda L. Zeine, DO, is a board-certified pediatrician (Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics), wife, mother, and Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army. Dr. Zeine was born and raised in a small town in central Illinois. As a child she dreamed of becoming a doctor and after high school attended Illinois State University while participating in the ROTC program. She graduated in 2002 with a bachelor’s in science degree in biology. With an educational delay granted from the United States Army, she attended Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine. After graduating as a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine in 2007, she attended her pediatric residency with the United States Army at Tripler Army Medical Center. While in residency, she was blessed with a beautiful daughter. After graduation, she was moved to Ft. Campbell, Kentucky, and has practiced as a pediatrician and Army flight surgeon. While serving as a flight surgeon, she has been deployed twice. She married again in 2017. In December 2018, Dr. Zeine sustained a traumatic brain injury. With an eleven-year career as a physician, she had a loss of identity when she could no longer practice effectively as a physician. Leaning on her experiences throughout her recovery and journey to better health, Dr. Zeine applies her medical knowledge and personal story to guide and support others on their journeys to optimal wellness.

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Damaris Grossmann:

Welcome to mindfully integrative podcast with your host, Dr. Damaris G. Mindfully integrative is a podcast discussing ways toward mindfully incorporating integrative health into our lives. This podcast will have informative resources, fun topics, interviews, and discussions relatable for today with a true mindful perspective in a mind body Holistic Life approach. Hi, how are you? This is the Maris Maria Grossman and this is the mindful integrative Show and today we have an amazing guest for our mindful chat. It's Dr. Amanda zine and she is a pediatrician and a US Army veteran, US Army active and I can't wait for you guys to chat with her today. She has a plethora of information and just has an amazing story on how she kind of helped heal herself and is has a great book out too. So thanks so much for being on the show. Oh, thank you for having me. Yeah, So Amanda, it can I call you man?

Dr. Amanda Zeine:

Yeah, absolutely. Oh, no, no, Amanda.

Damaris Grossmann:

Okay. Awesome. So, tell those listening and watching a little bit about yourself. When I read your story. You're a doctor of osteopathic, your pediatrician, you know, you're an Army veteran flight surgeon, or fleet fleet out there. That's quite amazing. So talk to me about how you know a little bit of your work history and then kind of where you you know, transitioned to kind of your we're a big book about your hot mess to wellness, like, just this big thing of kind of like, transition. You know, there's everybody has that little aha moment. And I've had mine, you know, obviously, I've had new ores. I've read your part of your book, and I'm still reading it. So talk to those about it and I really like you to share.

Dr. Amanda Zeine:

Excellent. So I am a pediatrician and a flight surgeon because in the military, you are not just a pediatrician, you are a general practitioner, and I so I did my residency in Hawaii. And as I was getting out of residency, I was told you will be going operational. So I chose flight medicine. And flight surgeon is not a surgeon who does surgery and Hottel copter like my mother was telling her friends. So I basically was with an aviation unit, my first three years out of residency, not taking care of kids, and taking care of soldiers. I deployed twice. I have spent four of my 14 years in the Army taking care of adults, even though I'm a pediatrician, and I loved every minute of it. It was an amazing, amazing adventure. And it helped to help me be a better doctor, I think. So I went to the hospital in 2013 at here at Fort Campbell, and I've been there ever since I was the chief of Pediatrics. And I had my accident in December of 2018. So it's been three years since I fell What kind of

Damaris Grossmann:

accident Yep, um, because I may know those haven't read your book. But in general, you had a pretty big accident.

Dr. Amanda Zeine:

I never really disgusting.

Damaris Grossmann:

Like you had an accident that caused injury.

Dr. Amanda Zeine:

Well, it's nothing fancy. I fell I skating.

Damaris Grossmann:

It's okay, whatever the I still got an injury. Unfortunately, I

Dr. Amanda Zeine:

had a bad car accident in high school and life flighted to the hospital, a very, very bad head injury. And because of that, it set me up for the symptoms that I've had since falling and hitting the head twice on the ice. I of course, being a doctor did not go to the doctor. It was family time. And I didn't want to interrupt that my husband was getting ready to deploy. And we had all the kids here we both have kids from previous marriages. And I didn't want to interrupt family time. So I refused to go to the ER and didn't go to the doctor until my husband continued nagging me for my wreck. And finally went to the doctor a week later, where they forced me to go on brain rest because I continued trying to work despite almost passing out twice at work. Oh no. And then after 48 hours of brain rest, I went back to work. And my boss basically said you will not come back to work. Because I had another episode where I got dizzy and had to one of the other providers had to finish seeing my patients. I think just one patient for me at the end of the day. I was in clinic and I had to have my sister in law come pick me up and so my boss basically said you cannot go back to work until you've been cleared by a neurologist and a month later they named an interim chief of PD. Address and three months later, he told me I was going to the Warrior Transition Unit, which is now called the soldier recovery unit. And here I am Three years later, still there waiting for the army to figure out whether or not I'm truly fit for duty and able to go back to work.

Damaris Grossmann:

So you working in the soldier recovery unit, or you are in sort of recovery unit for yourself.

Dr. Amanda Zeine:

I am in there as a patient. I am I have a patient unfortunately, I I haven't been able to see patients since I think June of last year was the last time I saw patients. I did go back to work twice, and did not do well. It wasn't all my symptoms. I actually was, was one of the people who helped stand up the COVID triage line when COVID happened in 2020. But it just it was it was too much it was into my migraines i i have a lot of symptoms, which are definitely better. Don't get me wrong, I am definitely better than I was initially initially. I wasn't driving, I sat at home in the dark, because I had migraines daily for eight months until I finally started getting acupuncture. Acupuncture was a huge, huge success for me. And so that kind of brings me to my aha moment i i was sitting alone because my husband was deployed. Luckily, his family is local here. And his sister got to the point where she could hear a text message that I was having issues. And either she or her significant other would come pick me up and bring me to her house. And I would lay on her futon while she worked. She's a home health coding nurse. And so she works from home. And I would lay on her futon while she worked. And I practically lived at their house while my husband was deployed. Because I I was depressed and couldn't drive and sitting in the dark and had every app known demand. It says so in my book, every app that could deliver, and I gained 30 pounds, I couldn't do anything. I had a lot of issues with my balance. Like I said, I had the migraines literally every day it was it was it was rough. And in April of last year, I stepped on the scale. And I was the heaviest I've ever been heavier than when I was pregnant with my daughter and time for delivery. And I decided you know what? No, no, I feel horrible. How much of this is my head injury versus just feeling horrible? Because I'm eating junk. I'm not sleeping well. I'm tired all the time. I'm still having headaches regularly. We haven't gotten my my regimen down, right. And so I sat down and started googling. And I couldn't I went to the bookstore, I couldn't find something that fit what I was looking for all of the books out there. And all of the groups, they talk about, ooh, this magical cure, ooh, this magical pill. And you try all of them because, well, you want it to work, right? And you do the diet and it lasts for a month, two months, three months, and then you gain it all back. And you try the exercise. Oh, wait, I can't do that because it makes me dizzy. And I'm thinking to myself, I'm just gonna make my own plan. More pages later. As I'm writing it all, I think to myself, why don't I just write this and write a book and and share this with everyone? So I Googled how do you write a book? You know, Mister Mister Dr. Google. And I came across self publishing school, which has been amazing. And they basically walked me through how to write a book and I've had a coach throughout a writing coach. And they helped me find great editors formatters for discounted prices, because they're working with the school. There's an online group that is a community that helps you find the right cover and helps you with your launch. And it has been a great experience. And it's also held me accountable. Part of writing the book was selfish. I I I use the book as my accountability in

Damaris Grossmann:

I and your prescription. It was your own personal But now, your prescription for others,

Dr. Amanda Zeine:

right? Right, right. If I'm going to write this and tell other people to do it, I try to be a doctor that do as I do not do. As I say,

Damaris Grossmann:

I'm not intolerable. You're authentic. So you're being you're true to yourself, like you, I am going to try my best to these things that I state, this is what I want.

Dr. Amanda Zeine:

And I fall off the wagon, sometimes Christmas was rough, those Christmas cookies, oh, my goodness, they're so yummy. So I, I write in the book, that it's a journey, I am still a little bit of a hot mess. And wellness to me isn't about being skinny, I would love to be skinny again. However, I am 40 years old, and I don't have the metabolism I had at one point in time, I have my own health conditions. And so to me, optimal wellness is trying to be my best self. And I continue to try to be my best self. And that's what the book is about. It's about helping people to see that it's not about some fad diet, it's not about some fad, crazy exercise that most people can't do. It's about that 40 year old woman sitting on the couch that wants to feel better. And it helps take people through and build better habits. And I try to have better habits. But there are times that again, the do and do not eat foods, the recommended not recommended foods in my book, I eat them in moderation. And that's another thing about diets that I hate is everybody wants to don't eat carbs, don't eat fat, don't eat this don't eat, you can't cut any of that stuff out of your diet. It's all needed in some form. And so the don't eat carbs, and cutting all the fruits out of your diet, there are so many nutrients and fruits that you need. Right. So that's what the book is about. It's eat these fruits less often because they have more of that starch that's going to turn into fat, eat, eat these fruits more often and eat things in moderation. And if you eat this, it's not necessarily a bad food. It wasn't recommended, but it doesn't mean that now that you've eaten that you've completely failed, and you should eat the whole bag of chips, because that's what I did. Not anymore. I try not to anymore. But that's that's the way I was

Damaris Grossmann:

having a different relationship. So whether it's the food part, the food element of you know, the wellness, wellness is in many areas, and as you have seen on this podcast alone, it has many parts. And you've realized that through your journey, right? I mean, you're a well educated, informed conventional medicine pediatrician, but you know, military individual, and you've had to take on your health issues where there's probably plenty of doctors that you've probably gone to, that haven't been able to fix some of these parts of your health.

Dr. Amanda Zeine:

You know, and, and a lot of it was difficult, because partial,

Damaris Grossmann:

maybe a small amount, you know, and maybe some parts, you know, so it just depends, right? Well, and it's

Dr. Amanda Zeine:

difficult when you have multiple medical issues, because you don't know how much of this is that, like I said earlier, how much of this is the brain injury? And how much of this is I feel like crap, because of what I'm eating. Right. And

Damaris Grossmann:

I so that it's a combination, so but it kind of can be a cycle, right? Which you've learned, you know, absolutely. Absolutely, what we've found, oh, you hear my little you must have found through time, like, you know what I mean? The it's like food as medicine part of it. But then there's this other aspect of you know, that as I call it sustainable, healthy now and that integrative part where you had to find these other parts to get yourself into, and you can save many lives. And Trinus and I don't know how you feel about this, but being in the medical field, like, we are so good about saving everybody else except for ourselves, you know, and then looking within and kind of sitting back and it took me a lot of like being in the bottom, you know, it sounds like you had a really rough time and you were in those dark places for you to finally go oh wait, I gotta fix this, but it's like, ah,

Dr. Amanda Zeine:

you know, well, part of and part of the head injury too. When I was going through all the therapies I had to have all of the different I was I went to the the TBI clinic. And so I had the multidisciplinary approach. And so they also look at the mental side of things. And through some counseling, I realized I was close to burnout. Being a doctor, being the chief of Pediatrics, my husband was deploying, and I was planning on using work to get me through that deployment. And I very well may have burned out this may have been a blessing in disguise, because I very well may have burned out now. It wasn't necessarily true blessing, because obviously the multiple CWLA that I've had sorry, sometimes words

Damaris Grossmann:

are hard. Oh, no, no, it's yeah, it's getting the Yeah, um,

Dr. Amanda Zeine:

but, but I definitely think I was on my way to burnout. Yeah, with my job. And we all are, we are a fast paced society. And so in the beginning of the book, I talked about mindfulness. And I talked about the relaxation part of things. And I think one of the things I've learned is happiness, we really need to focus more on our own happiness, not just go Go, go, go, go, go go and giving constantly to others, because a lot of the people in our profession, and our profession are so burnout. That's what we do, especially right now with COVID. And the short staffed and, and I see it constantly.

Damaris Grossmann:

Yeah, it's it's so sad. I mean, yeah, it's like, it's an it's kind. It's almost like a daily thing now. You know, and more and more, I kind of go, oh, you know, what can we do? What can we do can change this? Or what can we make, you know, to make it better? And then I said, I think I think about, you know, we're trying to make it better by changing I think trying to change the dynamic, or I don't know, if it's the fun not like, we're trying to make a different perspective on just the medicine, there's acute medicine, which but even in the acute setting, I feel like there still needs to be a change in the way we work and the way that we think and the way that we're, you know, like, it just there has to be like this, more of a connection and more of like, looking at the whole picture more, I feel like, we're just there's something you know, missing here, you know, and through your story, you obviously, now, I know that you're saying you're still growing, and you're still going through your own discovery, but you've come a long way since your injury. Yeah. And you're eventually you know, you want to get back to work, or at some point, or some or wherever that work is free, whatever that is, you're still you know, you're a doctor. But, and you're making your message through your book, and to others. What do you think? Like, do you feel like you the lessons that you've learned from this injury? Has it made you better?

Dr. Amanda Zeine:

Yeah, yes, I definitely think so. Uh, so one of my, one of my biggest difficulties with all of this, because I'm a type A who go, go, go, go go. I tried to go back. Like I said, I tried to go back to work multiple times. And one of the times was my boss calling me saying, Amanda, we need you. And he was the most amazing man, the most amazing boss. He is probably one of the best mentors I've ever had and is now a good friend and is retired. He's a retired full bird Colonel. And he called me and I said, Sir, I'll do whatever I can. That was back when he was still active. And so I helped stand up the COVID triage line, the phone lines, and I hadn't worked a full day since prior or to my injury, or right after my injury when I was still trying to go to work. And my first day I worked 18 hours and it was my

Damaris Grossmann:

that's not a short day you know overworked at your most you must be almost overdid it. You know, I

Dr. Amanda Zeine:

did? Oh, I did. And I was determined to not fail him because I'm the type of person that is absolutely unable to do wrong to someone who I respect I, I am the type of person who cannot fail someone. And so I was like, it's just so strong. I was determined to do this for him. And a month then I emailed him and said, Sir, I can't I can't be doing this. So I started working from home some and then just coming in for shortened hours. And then a few months after that, I called him crying. And I can't do this anymore. I My mood swings were getting worse, my migraines were getting worse, my concentration was getting worse. And it was starting to affect my home life, my family life. And I said, Sir, I can't, I can't do this, I just can't. And so he found a replacement for me. And then I started working part time, and that was much better. And I could work very well sitting at a desk at a computer or on the phone. And, and doing all of that, occasionally seeing a patient here and there. But I can't see the 20 Plus patients a day that are expected of me if I'm a clinic doctor, and not more, if not, more. Right, right. So 20 You're being nice. I remember the days when it was like 60. So in the army, they don't make us see that money. Right now. Um, so it is, but it is expected by DHA, every provider sees 20 Plus patients a day. And there's just not enough time in the day to do that as a provider who has at 100%. Now I'm not at 100%. Right. And so I don't want my colleagues to have to pick up my slack. Right, right. And so and so that's where I am now is, and my husband keeps telling me Stop worrying about it, stop worrying about it.

Damaris Grossmann:

I think I think that yeah, and it's us, but that's the journey of this, right? And talking about how your journey and your health changes, and realizing like it's okay to, to not go full throttle learning that and, and then it's like, it's okay to kind of sit with what's going on with your stuff. Because then you're going to teach someone else about it, right? And you're going to be guiding other individuals to be like, it's not, it's okay to not go go go. And it's okay to kind of, or sometimes people don't know how to look within and be like and lift, they don't even listen at all, you're listening to yourself, right? You're trying to take a change. People don't even want to do that. That's a scary thing to go, oh, wait, I have to change.

Dr. Amanda Zeine:

Right? Well, and one of the hardest things for me was to realize I am not who I was, that doesn't make me a bad person. No. And this injury does not define me. And I have to create who I am now, I will never be who I was, I will never be at that. I shouldn't say level, because I'm still a good person, I'm still a good doctor, I just absolutely can't perform as quickly. And I have basically ADHD that's not treatable with medicine. So I'm pinging everywhere drives my husband crazy, especially if I haven't had caffeine, the caffeine does help some. So I do drink a lot of coffee in the morning. But then I follow it up with my decaf tea. Um, because I can't have too much. But I definitely have a hard time focusing. And they tried treating me with ADHD meds and they didn't work. And it was described to me as well, you don't truly have ADHD, this is because of the head injury. Right. And so because I have that, that also works against me, I used to be able to, you know, as the chief of Pediatrics, you know, I'd be sitting at my computer reading email, listening to a nurse, give me report, and I'd have people lined up outside the door, I'd be putting out fires and I jumped from thing to thing to thing. And I didn't it

Damaris Grossmann:

wouldn't be a problem who has no problem right?

Dr. Amanda Zeine:

Now I have a nurse, come tell me about a patient, I have to go then go see the patient right away. And then I'd come in and I have to finish my note right then and there. Because at the end of the day, I'm not going to remember what happened. Right? And they don't give you enough time to do that. In convention.

Damaris Grossmann:

It's just a different way and you and you're aware of that. And now it's a change. And I think what is good for people to hear is it's okay to be different now. It's a way that your chief change, right? Or to change whether it's from this injury or from an illness or from a trauma or from whatever that is. And it's also okay that where you're at is beautiful. Like maybe it is the time to slow or it's a transition to something else in medicine for you or the book that you've written for someone else to hear and, and get guidance on. I mean, I I was definitely defeatist of myself. Oh, I'm not this I'm not that, you know, and it's like, oh, I didn't do that what's wrong with me and then I go, You know what? It's gonna be okay. You know, and it's that that self, you know, trying to keep going, not self hating, self loving and, and I can still talk Yes, yeah, that self talk that we do.

Dr. Amanda Zeine:

Yes. So self talk as your is your biggest enemy. Usually we are our biggest enemies we we put ourselves down more than most people. And one of the biggest things I had to realize realize was that I am not who I am. This injury doesn't define me, I define me and I have to stop with the self hate and the negative self talk. And that's where the mindfulness comes in. That's where, you know, learning relaxation comes in. And so one of the one of the things that they had me do for my recovery, they told me to find a creative outlet to help with my brain recovery. Now, being a perfectionist and a type A personality, it's very difficult to find things, because you want everything to be perfect. And so my knees, my, like I said, my husband's family has been amazing through all of this, my niece, my, my, on my husband's side, took me two books, a million, and we looked for hobbies. Because I had no hobbies, I had zero hobbies, because I all I did was work. And if I took off work, it was family time, right? I didn't do anything for myself. And that's something else than that, we have to realize that you have to take time for yourself. Yeah, if you don't take time for yourself, and have a hobby, or a way to relax or an outlet, then stress just builds and builds and builds. And so I tried origami, I failed miserably. I those four little pages had so many folds in them from undoing them and redoing them and undo it. I said no, this is not for me. And it took me three attempts at crochet before I finally took up crochet. And now it is it is it helps me with my headaches. If I have a headache and I crochet is my relaxation, I will sit and crochet. If we have the TV on at night, half the time I'm not even watching it. I'm crocheting. And honestly, it's become one of my main ways of of relaxation, and I started selling it. So

Damaris Grossmann:

you can always have those in the show notes too.

Dr. Amanda Zeine:

Oh, right. Yeah, Amanda's crochet cubby is there? Yeah, actually, I have an official business I applied for my business license, just in case it goes somewhere. And then I have a Facebook page. So yes, it's it's been, it's amazing. And, and I never imagined any of this, this is, if you would have asked me 20 years ago where I'd be right now, I would not have ever thought I would write a book. I never imagined I'd be on podcasts. I never imagined I don't a crochet business. And, and and it's just God works in mysterious ways. He opens doors where you never imagined they would be opened and you have to step out of your comfort zone,

Damaris Grossmann:

you really do beautifully set and step out of your comfort zone. And those doors open as one of my guides or you know, had told me when when when they start opening, that means you're supposed to be walking through them when they start closing. And it's difficult. That's not there's there's a reason for that, even though you may not see that. So all of the difficult things that you've gone through, may have seemed impossible to get through. But now these openings are you're seeing more light and more opening. And it's just with time

Dr. Amanda Zeine:

little by little. Well, I truly believe everything happens for a reason why? I don't know. Sometimes we eventually find out. But everything happens for a reason. And someday I may understand why all this happened. But at this point, I just have to continue moving forward. And that was part of writing the book was one kind of looking at what do I need to do for myself? And to maybe I can help some other people. And we'll see what happens. I've sold a little over 100 copies. That's not a lot.

Damaris Grossmann:

Grab it. Oh, every little bit.

Dr. Amanda Zeine:

It is what it is. And I didn't write it to make money. And it was more of a hey, I can actually do this. And just like years ago, I ran a marathon because I always wanted to and I wanted to prove it to myself that I could and I will never run another marathon get well, one because now I can't. But to as I was finishing that I said this will never happen again. A couple of those. Oh my goodness gracious. I couldn't walk.

Damaris Grossmann:

I agree. But

Dr. Amanda Zeine:

I wanted to be able to do it and I did. My mom is a cancer survivor and I did it with team and training. And, and she was my hero. So I had a purpose for it. But it was also to prove to myself that I could do it. I'm, I'm one of those people I, I take on challenges to prove that I can do it, not to anyone else to myself or ourself.

Damaris Grossmann:

Yeah, I can I can relate to you on that. Um, I had such a pleasure talking with you today, I would love for you to I'm going to put a URL in the show notes for people to reach out to you. Okay. Absolute Amanda's, you know, crochet Cubby. But also your book is hot mess to wellness, right?

Dr. Amanda Zeine:

Yes.

Damaris Grossmann:

And is there something that you'd like to send out to the ER little note of mindful tip as I would say, Oh, great, hot mess to wellness, love it. Seven Steps to better health, when you have tried to add it

Dr. Amanda Zeine:

when you tried it all and had enough

Damaris Grossmann:

love it, love it. And then I'd like to know, if you have a little small tip you'd like us to leave listeners?

Dr. Amanda Zeine:

Ah, so basically, a lot of them we've already talked about, right? You You really we forget about ourselves a lot. And we forget that it's not about work, work, work, work, work. Relationships are one of the most important things in our lives. And keeping those positive relationships and looking at the negative ones. And deciding do they truly need to be in your life. And having a good support system is definitely a good thing to have. And it's definitely a part of your life that you want slowing down. I mean, especially now it seems like everyone is in such a hurry, and so angry. And everyone is so short staffed, and you go into a store and you see such hateful people and just surrounding yourself with positive influences and being a positive person and I, I'm not always positive, but we can all do better. But but that is something that that we definitely definitely need to do. And remembering that, that it's it's us that decides anyone can say anything to you, and make you feel like you feel a certain way. But in the end, you're the one that controls those feelings, and you're the one who it's how you react to other people, and how you react and an act. And that's part of the hotlist wellness is unless you want to do it, you won't. And so if you're sitting on the couch, and feel like being lazy and not doing anything, and go buy a book, but you're not ready to actually take action. You're the only one that can take that step. You're You're in charge of you. So but you can do anything.

Damaris Grossmann:

I love that. Oh, thank you. So what else? God I don't have business right. So proud of you. Dr. Amanda. Yeah, I have so much to offer and so much to share and so many things more for people to reach out. So I really appreciate you being on the show. Excellent. And thank you so much for your time. Oh, thank

Dr. Amanda Zeine:

you for having me. I really enjoyed talking to you.

Damaris Grossmann:

Oh, I love it. And I can't wait to be working with you in the future for other future invent endeavors. So I'll be great. Yeah, so thanks, guys for coming on the mindfully integrative show and as I say, make sure you find a mindful way each and every day. Thanks for listening to mindfully integrative with Dr. Damaris JY. Make sure you subscribe so you don't miss an episode. If you enjoyed our show, support us by leaving a mindful review on Apple podcast or your favorite streaming site. If you would like to be a guest of our show or interviewer email us at info at Damaris maria.com. If you want to learn more about the resources mentioned in the podcast, you can find those in the show notes to connect mindfully with Dr. Damaris G reacher@www.de Maris, maria.com or connect via social media links. We appreciate your time connecting here with us. May your strength and peace within bring you more balance every day. No Ma stay