Sometimes God Answers Prayers Really Fast.

Yesterday was a bad day. My brain was fatigued, my body was fatigued, my stomach hurt, and I had no appetite. 

This is nothing new to me. I have good days and bad days, and I’ve come to take each in stride. Neither is going to last, so I try not to get too invested in how I feel on any particular day.

I used to get very excited about a good day, thinking I was turning a corner, only to be crushed when the next bad day came along. Inversely, I used to wake up on a bad day thinking I would never again have a good one.

Vicious cycle.

Through meditation I’ve come to understand that everything is always changing. As such, I try to be present with whatever is happening now. Whether it’s a good or bad day, it’s the day I’m having and has no bearing on tomorrow. I am not clairvoyant so I will have to deal with tomorrow when it comes. And not a minute before.

This is much easer said than done, particularly when you’ve been trying to stay level headed about good and bad days for over 5 years. Some days, it’s very difficult to remain level headed, and yesterday was one of them. My bad day was overwhelming. It broke me in a way. 

On these occasions I am usually able to find a way to see light, even if it’s just a speck. But yesterday it was only dark. I hung my head and asked God to show me some light. Please, any sign that something might change for me. I wasn’t asking to be cured, I was just looking for the tiniest reason for optimism. A thread.

Before I could even finish my prayer, the following notion shot right through me: “I am on the journey I am supposed to be on.” It brought me a comfort I can’t adequately explain. I had been holding my breath all day, and I was finally able to exhale.

It’s not my job to understand where this journey is going. Rather, it’s my job to stand in it one day at a time. To be mindful of what I’m supposed to learn, how I’m supposed to grow, and figure out how to use my experience to help others.

This is happening to me for a reason. The reasons reveal themselves to me in ways both big and small, but when I have dark days like yesterday I need to remind myself that God’s not done teaching me yet.

I am a willing student. I’m listening.

My Demeanor Matches the Sky Today.

Grey. Heavy. Leaden.

I’m not depressed. That’s not the problem. Rather, my mental and physical energy are so low that I just can’t get going. Here is my to-do list:

7:30 AM Drive daughter to school.

1:30 PM Haircut

3:10 PM Pick daughter up from school.

5:15 PM drive daughter to her dad’s.

Doesn’t seem too taxing, right? Today, to me, it feels impossible. I am presently in the period between the school drop off and the haircut, and I am wondering how I will find the energy to deal with the rest of the day. I literally don’t know how I will do it.

PL (pre Lyme) I was a very active, type-A person. It was my nature to be on the go, all the time. That’s just how I rolled.

Now, the simple act of daily living is exhausting to me. I am coming to believe this stems from both mental and physical fatigue. My brain just isn’t right in ways it’s hard for me to explain.

For example, my brain feels like it just isn’t processing information the way it should. It’s just not crackin’ along with me in the way it used to. It’s a step behind. It’s tired. It craves silence. Nothing but silence. Anything else is too exhausting. Too overwhelming.

I’ve been here before. Many, many times. And I’m always surprised by my ability to rally. In this moment, my stomach hurts, my brain hurts and I’m tired. But somehow, some way, I will do everything I am supposed to. 

I will mindfully put one foot in front of the other at a pace that works for me, and I will reach the end of another day.

And as always at the end of the day, I will go to sleep hoping the next day will be better.

One day it will.

Lyme Disease is Really Glamorous.

Don’t I look lovely? Here I am at the infrared sauna this morning. Sorry for the poor quality photo but low light = bad photo. (I’m not wearing make up, so maybe that’s OK.)

Why am I at the sauna?

I am at the sauna because my body is seriously bad at detoxifying. And now you are wondering why that’s important.

Here’s the way my doctor explained it. We are all exposed to toxins every day – in the air, in food, in plastics, etc. Most people are pretty efficient in dealing with them: toxins in, toxins out. 

I’m not one of those people. In my case it’s toxins in, toxins in, toxins in. Not so much on the out.

It turns out the body gets angry when toxins overstay their welcome. It’s probably why I have chronic lyme disease in the first place, and it’s most likely the reason I can’t get rid of it.

The theory is if I can improve my detoxification channels, I will stand a much better chance of getting well. So, I am doing everything I can to show toxins to the door.

The infrared sauna helps me sweat them out. Same goes for green clay baths. My diet helps as well – I try to eat nice and clean so I’m not introducing toxins through food. Additionally, I try to limit toxins in the home, in my beauty products, in cleaning products, and in food storage containers (glass, yes, plastic, no.).

Emotional toxins can have the same negative impact as environmental ones, so I do my best to clear those through talk therapy, meditation and practicing mindfulness. More on all this later.

In the meantime, I’m off to do my toxin free shower/beauty routine.

I See This View A Lot.

Fatigue attaches to me like a second skin. Occasionally I slip out of it, but usually not.

When it strikes, I hit my chair and rest. Sometimes for an hour, sometimes all day.

Fatigue is different than being tired. A nap usually ends tiredness. Fatigue laughs at naps. They have no power over fatigue.

My Lyme-induced fatigue feels like this:

My body feels heavy all over, as if I have lead in my veins.

I have heaviness behind my eyes. I picture it as black coal sitting behind my eyes, sucking my energy out.

I sit down in a chair and wonder how I will get back up.

Going up and down the stairs is exhausting. Sometimes I do it at a snail’s pace.

Sometimes I don’t have the energy to shower (and I am a shower-loving person).

My brain feels like a molten pile of cotton candy and it literally hurts to think.

So, it’s a blast.

This probably sounds a lot like depression. I have been depressed, and I have suffered fatigue, and I can tell you fatigue is different. It’s a beast. Oft misunderstood, judged, and not taken seriously. I’m here to tell you it’s real as a heart attack, as my husband would say.

I have spent a lot of time being frustrated about the way fatigue gets in the way of what I want to accomplish in life.

However, over time I have come to understand the futility of getting frustrated about things I can’t control, so I adopted a motto:

“Make hay when the sun shines. Rest when it doesn’t." 

I try never to lose sight of the fact it’s a blessing I am able to rest when I need to, unlike many who struggle with this dread disease yet still have to go to work.

In spite of the fact I am oh-so-tired, and my brain hurts, and I am in my chair for the foreseeable future, I have gratitude.

I have a husband who loves me, supports me, and works so I can rest. I have a daughter who is my whole heart. And the sun is streaming in as I rest.

I am in my chair, but my heart is full.

Life Gave me Lemons, So I Baked a Lemon Pie.

I have been waging a semi-successful, fully frustrating battle with Chronic Lyme Disease for five years. I’ve had success. I’ve had failure. I’ve had everything in between. I’ve tried everything, done everything, been to doctors all over the country, yet I cannot seem to get the upper hand.

As a result, my life has changed in dramatically painful ways. I am a fragment of the person I used to be. Every day is a physical and emotional struggle.

I do my best to meet the struggle with grace.

But I am growing weary. Oh, so weary. And on a particularly low day I found myself lost in the following thoughts: “I’m so sick of this, I’ve been dealing with this for so long, will this ever end” and on and on and on.

Then an opposing thought literally shot through me. The thought was: “None of this is helping you. The situation is bad enough as it is. Don’t add to it with with negative thinking.”

So I decided to turn back to the positive side. But I felt horrible, which made optimism a challenge. In that light, I decided to take stock of what would be possible for me that day. No, I couldn’t do any of the things Lyme Disease stole from me: the ability to run, the ability to eat and digest normally, the ability to think clearly, the ability to do things that bring me joy like volunteering, the ability to not feel pain on a daily basis. No, that’s all gone.

And then for some reason, the idea of a lemon pie popped into my head. And I thought, I can’t spend this day the way I would choose, but I can make a lemon pie.

That notion brought me more joy than I can adequately express. It changed the entire trajectory of my day, and the pie turned out beautifully.

Of course, it wasn’t really about the pie, though.

Things I have done to fight Lyme Disease:

$30,000 work up at the Mayo Clinic.

GI specialist in Huntsville, AL.

Over 200 acupuncture sessions.

Vegan Diet.

Paleo Diet. (yes, I see the irony)

Immunologist in New Jersey.

High dose antibiotics.

Specialist in San Francisco.

Books, articles, websites, anything.

Two years with a Lyme-Literate doctor in Minnesota.

Hemp Oil.

Buckets of supplements.

Homeopathy doctor in Pennsylvania.

Homeopathy doctor in Minneapolis.

The Cowden Protocol.

Therapy.

Frequency specific micro current.

Yoga.

Meditation.

Therapeutic massage.

Prayer.

Detox baths.

Nutritionist.

Chiropractic.

Far Infrared Sauna.

Castor Oil Packs.

Essential Oils.

Green smoothies.

Second Lyme-Literate doctor in Minnesota.

Thyroid medication.

Earthing.

Rest.

Exercise.

And I’m not better.

You could look at this list and think I’m a crazy hypochondriac who just likes to try things.

Or you could look at this list and see what happens when Western Medicine denies the existence of an epidemic, leaving people to figure it out on their own.