It’s Been A While…….

I’ve been off the radar because I’ve been in the lovely blue tube you see above. It’s a Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber and I just finished a course of treatment that involved being in the chamber for nearly 2 hours per day, 5 days per week for 8 weeks. And it’s an hour round trip from my home.

It was a little extreme, but so is having Lyme disease.

The theory behind the chamber is it floods my body with oxygen, which creates an environment very inhospitable to the Lyme spirochetes currently calling my cells home. Apparently, they don’t like oxygen. Well, I gave them a lot of it over the last 8 weeks, and I’m hopeful they didn’t like it very much. I am awaiting lab results to determine how much progress I made. (Note I didn’t say “if I made progress”, I said “how much”.)

Incidentally, I started with a new chiropractor on the very day I started in the hyperbaric chamber. He took an x-ray which revealed a massive curve and other irregularities in my spine. The photo above pretty much says it all. And guess what? The curve and irregularities are in the areas that house the nerves to……….. you guessed it, the digestive organs. I found this to be very exciting news! No idea why I have the curve (the doctor said it looked like a car accident, but I it’s not), and I don’t really care. I’m just happy to have yet another layer of the onion to peel. 

So, one day last October I went to the hyperbaric chamber, and then directly to the chiropractor for my first day of treatment. I have been treated three days per week ever since. (Yet another reason I’ve been off the radar). One adjustment at a time, I am getting straightened out, and as this process unfolds, my entire abdominal area and chest cavity feels lighter, less constricted, and more spacious. It’s incredibly different from what I’ve been experiencing.

And…….. I’ve had several days with no digestive discomfort whatsoever. Basically unheard of in my world.

I think the accidental marriage of my chiropractic and hyperbaric treatments has been very beneficial to me (in combination with everything else I was already doing). My life is still marked by good and bad days, but here’s what has changed since I last wrote:

  • Nothing is cured, but everything is improved. My main issues are: digestive problems, fatigue and brain fog.
  • I am having fewer bad days.
  • My bad days are less bad.
  • I recover from my bad days more quickly.
  • Sometimes I can eat without pain.
  • I have less brain fog.
  • Some days I have more energy.
  • I feel more optimistic.
  • My anxiety has decreased.

Reading that list you would think I’d be doing a happy dance or something. While I am beyond grateful for the progress I’ve made, there is still a long way to go. For reference, in April 2015 my Lyme doctor asked me to rate my overall health on a scale of 1-10 and I gave it a 3. Today I would give it a 4 or 5. Progress? Absolutely. But I need to keep plugging away at this. 

Every day I need to continue to make the choices that will keep me marching forward. For me that includes:

  • 8-9 hours of sleep per night.
  • Following the Paleo Diet (it’s anti inflammatory, and not friendly to Lyme).
  • Daily detox remedies.
  • Daily meditation and mindfulness practice.
  • Chiropractor 3x per week.
  • Daily supplements.
  • Lots of water.
  • Keep stress as low as possible
  • Keep life as balanced as possible (funny, I know).

That’s a long list. And through trial and error, I’ve found sticking to it is basically the only way for me to feel well. Call it my Wellness Window. Stay within it and things are pretty good. Stray, and things are not so good.

Of course, life doesn’t always happen within my Wellness Window – sometimes because of choices I make, and sometimes because of circumstances that are beyond my control.

And that’s my challenge for the New Year, which is two-fold:

  1. Do everything within my power to stay within my Wellness Window (and, yes, I know that’s a cheesy term, but it’s working for me).
  2. When life pulls me out of my Wellness Window, notice it, and course correct to the extent possible.

When you have chronic illness, you get a little head shy about predicting improvement, because the possibility of disappointment is high. But I’m going to go out on a limb and say 2016 is going to be a good year for me. I have no idea what’s in store, or how much progress I’m going to make. But I have confidence in the team that’s helping me, I have confidence in myself, and I’m starting this year with every ounce of positive, hopeful energy I can muster.

Amen.

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