A Reality Check

It’s December 12th, heading swiftly towards that blinged-out-commercialized-day of Christmas. I’ve put up a few decorations, the tree, some lights outdoors. The weather has been in the highs of 78-80 this week, but it is now pouring down rain and windy as all get out outside. We finally not only saw the snow geese (Canadian geese); we saw a few flocks of them as well. Supposedly, the weather is turning chilly in the next few days as a cold front creeps its way down here. I’ll believe it when I feels it.

Since my new doctor appointment early in November and since starting on the herbal tinctures as my new treatment, dropping the antibiotics, I actually have felt half-way decent. The fatigue has decreased, the migraines are few and far between, and the nausea is way less. It honestly has been a nice breather from the new normal of suckthelymeville. Thanksgiving break was pretty awesome. I was able to do a few things that I haven’t done in so, so long. It was a real treat!

But I knew these next few weeks would be the real challenge at work. The weeks between Thanksgiving and Winter break. While yes, technically, this is only a span of three weeks, believe me, it feels like six. It’s the end of the semester. Things are coming at teachers from every which way. It is always a tough time of year, but as usual, for me it is breaking me down. I know it did last year as well. I’m not trying to be whiny about it at all. It is what it is. I try to keep in mind that even for normal, healthy people, this time of year is extremely stressful no matter what profession and this helps a bit. But I will say this, by yesterday, I was all played out. All day long, my brain was empty and sore. I couldn’t focus on anything at all for more that a nano second. You laugh, but this is the truth. I tried to be productive. Now, I am laughing!

Today, I feel like a bus hit me. The soreness, the aches, the headache, the beloved (not!) nausea. I haven’t slept well in the past few nights and last night was no exception. Tossing and turning. Laying too long in one position produces pain, this wakes me, I turn over, kind of awake, then the process begins over. The unrestful sleep is killer and is just exacerbating all of the other awesome Lyme stuff. My head is hurting. Not a migraine, but just enough to make my stomach nauseous. I hate this combo of symptoms in particular. It feels like having the flu which is just downright miserable in and of itself. Only with Lyme, you don’t know when it might let up or go away. So, Reality Check.

 

Guess what, sucker? You still have Lyme disease!

I LOVE to fantasize. About activities, about going places, about projects at home, about eating yummy food without experiencing indigestion. It keeps my mind busy and delighted, it can sometimes distract me from the ugly gloogy gooks rumbling around in my body. And then. Sometimes, I go a bit overboard going so far as to actual Make Plans to do a said fantasized scenario. This rarely works out well. This holiday season, we have two events we have said “yes” to: an open house event and a dinner event. And even committing to these two things were difficult. While I definitely want to go and have fun with people, especially this time of year, I worry so much about getting to that day / evening, feeling terrible and then canceling. Not only is it disappointing for my people, and for my husband, but it is so freaking disappointing for me. The fantasy comes crumbling down, and I’m left with the slap in the face. That realization that I’m still limited. This is Reality.

How is everyone doing out there? Drop a comment or two so I know I’m not alone. Hoping it’s a pain-free day for all! -B

 

 

 

Warm, Warm, Cold!

It was 80 degrees here yesterday, a/c on, hair frizzies and such abounded. Today? Why, it is 46 degrees! Getting up was tough. It was a 3 hour process. We woke up at 5 a.m. Hub’s alarm went off; he was taking the kids to an outside event today. I had to give one of my dog’s his medicine. I switched the a/c to heat and then jumped back into bed and turned on the electric blanket. AAH. But lights were on, and activity was happening, the dogs were restless. Almost falling back to sleep, Boo woke me up trying to play. About 6 a.m., I gave in and got up, made coffee, crawled back into bed and watched a little Netflix with the free tv juice (satellite) until 8 a.m. I just couldn’t coax myself out of the cozy, warm bed.

Everything is sore for the most part. It’s the damp that is getting me. When the front came in last night it rained, the damp sleathly crept into the stillness of my bones. Hips, lower back, ankles….these are the places the cold likes to settle. My BFF in the winter is a heating pad. I seriously have about 5 of them pretty much everywhere! School, couch, bed, office chair. I really need to get a heated car seat! Maybe Santa can check that out for me.

It’s been a good week. I’ve done more this week than I have in the past 2 months, or at least it feels that way. For the most part, my energy has been decent, and my mood has been a positive one. One thing I have realized this break is that I’ve become overly cautious. What I mean is this: I never know how I will feel after doing something out of the ordinary in my daily routine, whether that is an extra hour at work, taking on a project, going out to dinner, etc. With this in mind, I go about my every day doing the known routine and scared to do anything outside of this routine because I don’t know what the result will be. I know this sounds a little crazy, and it kind of is, but my worry is that if I break my regular routine and overdo, I may be paying for it longer that I want to or can afford to financially and otherwise. So, I err on the side of doing less.

The result of playing it ultra safe has been that I have sacrificed some of myself and my relationships with others. It is true. And this does hurt. It’s just really hard to figure out a balance as far as my energy tank  is concerned so there isn’t a terrible backlash. I’m not sure how to navigate this new found obstacle I am now aware of.

black-and-white-branches-tree-high-landscape.jpg

In perspective though, I am grateful that I have energy to worry about doling out.  This is a definite sign of improvement and I’ll take it. Any tricks or tips you can share about managing your energy account?

I hope you all have had a good, pain free week. Until next time, stay frosty – B

Talk About Zombies

The fatigue is back, and it is taking absolutely no prisoners. If you recall, my LLMD had me take a break from the antibiotics for about 7-8 weeks, recently. I’m really not sure why except that I could use one after 27 months on abx. For the first 3-4 weeks, all was good. Headaches let up, nausea was less. I was hopeful. Then at the beginning of September, I caught a cold. Pretty much all hell broke lose.

I had the cold a solid week. Then I still had sinus, coughing, lingering everything. And the Zombie fatigue came on, full throttle. Ah, the misery! And the achy joints and just body aches. I was convinced also that the EBV was activated again with the fatigue being so terrible. It took everything I had to get to work, and then back to bed every day. I spent the weekends in bed. When I get into my doctor at the end of the month, she said upper respiratory infection caught me. Let’s check for the EBV. I assumed, and I had a list – that we would also check Lyme, Mycoplasma, HHV-6, thyroid, etc. since I told her I was having such severe fatigue. But,nope. EBV came back quiet, and she had actually tested for nothing else. And my follow-up? Yeah, in December. December?!?! Frustrated, I emailed my doctor about my concerns, and now I am going back in a couple of weeks. I’m not sure what will be different this time around, but it’s worth a shot. My doctor did not have a suggestion for the fatigue other than she still thinks it is caused by Lyme. Honestly, I don’t know. When I was at my sickest, right before being diagnosed, I did have this kind of fatigue so it is very plausible. I just worry that now that I have been dealing with the Lyme for so long, is something else rearing its ugly head?

In about 3 weeks, I am actually also going to see a new LLMD. I have been scouting about for someone else to add to the “team.” I love my doc, but I feel like we never have enough time to address all the issues I am having. Lyme is so complex once it is in the chronic stage, and she really just doesn’t have time for the treatment I need right now. I am hoping this new doctor works out; I will still see my LLMD here as well. The new doctor is about 5 hours away so it’s not like I can jump in a car and go see her anytime I want to. I have heard she likes to try to treat Lyme as a whole rather than in pieces. FIngers and toes are crossed that she can help me out.

But this fatigue needs to go! I’m taking iron and vitamin B hoping that helps some. We were supposed to go out of town this long weekend, but I actually got really sick Friday afternoon, and we couldn’t, or rather I, couldn’t manage the trip. It was disappointing. My husband and I were looking forward to going to the beach and getting out of the house. Instead, I was in bed Friday afternoon through yesterday mid-morning. I think I may have actually had the flu on top of the Lyme issues. I’m feeling a little more like myself today.

I’ve never experienced fatigue like the Lyme fatigue that comes on. When I used to say, “I’m tired” I meant that I had worn myself out doing most likely something physical. But once rested, I was back to it, taking my energy for granted. Now, I never feel rested. I sleep, I rest, I don’t do much, and I still feel so exhausted; it is a chore to think about getting up to brush my teeth. The fatigue just adds to the memory issues and the brain fog. Sometimes, I just want to lie in bed, in the dark, with no sensory anything because sometimes this is the only way I can think straight. Does anyone else need to do this? Just go somewhere quiet and lay down?

I know it is overused, but this fatigue really does make me feel like a zombie. I seem to move in and out of each day half-awake, in a weird trance. It’s hard to explain. Outside of work is difficult enough but I can lay down whenever I want. Work is a whole other challenge. I just try not to think about getting through the week ahead but instead focus on getting through the day. This strategy helps I think. And no matter how much I rest each day, by the next day, the fatigue is compounded. But I want to work. I want to do things. I don’t want to be a Zombie. None of use do!

Happy fall, peeps – B

Fall in the mountains

Two Steps Back…

Hey all you people! I haven’t been in touch lately. School started back, and it has been a whirlwind ever since. Mostly, I come home and lay in bed to rest. I rest on the weekends so I can work through the week. Or at least try to. I’ve been off of antibiotics for almost 7 weeks now. At first, there  wasn’t a considerably difference. After a few weeks, the headaches became less and the nausea was a lot less. Otherwise, things were not better or worse. But then, the first week in September, I caught a cold. My husband was in bed for three days over Labor Day weekend; I stayed as far away from him as possible! But so many people were sick at school, it was impossible to stay away from the germs.

So it got me. I held on, and I really thought I was winning the battle. But since then, things have gone south. My energy level is nil. I have a recurring sore throat on the right side and I have issues going on with my sinus. I’ll spare you the gory details but suffice to say, my sinuses are full. I can breathe through my nose most of the time, but there is stuff way up in there that comes out in the morning and evening through coughing. The body aches and the back pain are back. No appetite really. I’m guessing that the EBV is active again and maybe the Mycoplasma pneumonia load is high again. Depressing? A, just a little.

Walking forward.
Walking forward.

Heading to my LLMD tomorrow. While I look forward to going, I know I will walk away disappointed. Labwork takes a week, and then it is a VM recording from the doctor about the lab numbers and what is next for treatment. Nothing seems to change much. No matter what, I am guessing my doctor will end up putting me back on some antibiotics, and we move sideways? It hasn’t been a move forward in ahile by my account. While the summer was nice because I could rest as needed, I feel as though I haven’t made much progress in terms of my health since I had the Picc line last summer, 2014.

So, now what? I drag myself through every day, hoping the next day will be better. I’m finding less and less to enjoy as I am too fatigued. I have an appointment with a different doctor in November; I’m hoping to try and find some other ways to treat this along with antibiotics. I do have tons of supplements and I am trying to take some antivirals, but it got to where I was taking like 30-40 pills a day and that got old real quick. My diet needs to change. I know this. And I need to make it happen. I just get so tired!

We’ll see how tomorrow goes. At least I can tell my doctor what is going on and that in itself can be a relief. I promise to update soon.

Peace – B

Derailed

Hello out there! I apologize for being gone for so long.

I had a bit of a scare though, and it has been a struggle to get back on track. So I caught a cold at the end of March. It was the 3rd one I have had this year; the immune system is shot and I am a teacher. The odds were not in my favor. Also, it was a stressful time of year, state testing, and I guess all of this made for the perfect storm.

On a Monday, I got up like I normally do. I had coffee and started to get ready for work. About 30 minutes later, I started feeling really dizzy and nauseous. It was terrible. My head started pounding, and I had to lay down. I could not go to work like that.I spent the entire day in bed, fluctuating between sleep and pain and nausea. The next day, the same scenario played out. Wednesday I went to my LLMD. She tested me for h pylori, EBV, and Mycoplasma. She told me to rest through the weekend.

I will tell you, this was a scary experience for me. With all of the symptoms I have encountered with my travels with Lyme, I have been able to manage them to a degree. But the dizziness? This was new and something I definitely could not control. I was out of work a week. I have never missed that much school, even when I got married. It made me start thinking about all kinds of crazy (yet possible) scenarios. I tried to figure out a Plan B,C, and D. None of those plans look too great. We need two salaries. I most likely cannot qualify for any disability as I have been working. I have been trying to save monies for an “emergency” in which I might use up all of my sick days and still need time off. But what if there is a point where I really cannot work? I don’t have an answer for this.

After all of my labs came back, it really wasn’t clear why I was feeling so terrible. By the end of the weekend, I was on the mend, but again, there really was no clear answer to why I felt the way I did at all. In my own medical experience …ah,hmm, I am guessing that my body was just done. The cold knocked me down and then along with the stress and the Lyme and Mycoplasma, I just didn’t have a shot.

Since that incident, I have been feeling a tad better. Less overall pain, more mental clarity than I have had in quite sometime and less fatigue. Go figure.I had 2 full weeks of feeling almost normal and now, the headaches and the joint pain is creeping back in. Anyway, I hope this finds you pain free. Take care!  Peace -B   #lymediseasechallenge

Off the track!
Off the track!

The Turbulence of Lyme Symptoms

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2336338/The-everlasting-storm-Stunning-images-unique-phenomenon-Venezuela-lightning-raged-EVERY-NIGHT-thousands-years.html
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2336338/The-everlasting-storm-Stunning-images-unique-phenomenon-Venezuela-lightning-raged-EVERY-NIGHT-thousands-years.html

One thing that I think all of us experience as Chronic Lyme patients is the comings and goings of many different symptoms. Oh, yes, there are some symptoms that stay with us loyally, never leaving our sides. But then there are those symptoms that show up off and on like fair weather friends. You know the ones. For me, my Lyme best actors are joint pain, headaches of some degree, and muscle aches. Best supporting actors? Nausea, dizziness, achiness, joint pain in other joints, well, I could go on. For me, the hardest thing about all of these is how they can come and go so quickly. I have tried to find rhyme or reason for this but there really doesn’t seem to be anything that is a consistent trigger, at least for me, other than overdoing in some way (physically and/or emotionally) the day before.

Sometimes, I can go for half a day with just some joint pain and a nagging headache. This isn’t bad at all! Then, BAM. Full blown horrendous flu-like symptoms. I have to get to a place to lay down, shut out the light, try and think about happy moments in my life because my head feels like it is hitting a wall. My stomach cramps up and the nausea is overwhelming. This is what I like to call the main event. It can last for minutes, hours or days. How does one plan for anything with these kinds of things happening seemingly out of thin air?

Like you all, I try to plan ahead. I hope and pray that on the day of a planned out, party, dinner, etc. that I will be feeling “good” and that I can attend. More than many times, I have had to cancel plans. I have even tried resting the day before but again, it doesn’t seem to effect the next day’s outcome at all. It’s upsetting, frustrating and most of all disappointing. Staying at home in bed is not my idea of a good time.

So for an example, my husband and I were out yesterday, picking up some items for our garden beds. Actually, it was nice being out and about, looking at all of the beautiful plants and flowers. I guess we were there about 40 minutes. By the time we left, my head was beginning to play its tune; it was time to go home. Once home, I had what felt like a flu. A strong headache, stomach nausea and indigestion and stomach cramping. I spent the rest of the afternoon in bed, nursing my symptoms as best I could.

Today, I was able to work a bit outside earlier in the morning. Feeling the cool breeze on my face and the sun on my back was pure joy. The dogs kept us company while my husband and I pulled weeds and cleaned up the garden area. My husband, a very sweet man, said, “I’m glad you are out here.” I was glad to be out moving about, too. One day at a time and sometimes, one moment at a time.

Happy Easter, friends. Don’t forget to take The Lyme Disease Challenge if you haven’t already!  🙂   -B

All the Noise, Noise, Noise!

Howdy! Hope we are all having some relief!  Lately, I have developed a sincere noise sensitivity. At first I thought , oh, I can’t really hear well (although I have never had any issues with my hearing). Then, it was, oh, I am just getting old (although I really am barely middle age). And then, I finally realized that I am having some certain noise sensitivities! This is a newer symptom, and it seems to get worse as I progress in my treatment. I have read about people having both noise and light sensitivities with Lyme, but I have always been very sensitive to light  and only just recently am I noticing the noise issues.

Hmm. No bueno! I don’t seem to struggle much when it is a one on one conversation but if the pitch is too high or low, watch out! My poor husband. We get up early for work, about 5:15 a.m. and there are some mornings like today, that I keep telling him to please lower his voice a tad to the point where I can’t even hear him. Then he is like WTH?!?!  It’s a weird feeling when this happens. It is almost like the sound travels in my ears directly to my brain and zaps it. My thoughts start jumbling up and my head starts to hurt. Does anyone else have this experience?

Of course, it is waaaaay worse in a crowd, and by crowd, I mean like more than 4 people. Haha! No, really. In a crowd, there are just so many different noises and pitches and inflections. I try to focus on one, but I just can’t. When this happens, I get really frustrated. Some places/situations I have issues: when one person is talking to me at the speed of lightening, talking on the phone, parties, classes, stores. You name it. Pretty much anywhere there is a cacophony. It for sure makes it even more difficult to socialize…..What is “that”, you ask? 🙂

It’s been happening more and more lately so I am going to discuss it with my doctor on the 22nd. However, I am guessing there is nothing that can be done? I mean besides becoming a hermit which I have down except for this silly working thing. I am making light of all of this but it can be really irritating and depressing. Anyone else dealing with this phenomenon and if so, how do you do it without becoming the Grinch, like me?

GrinchPeace and joy to all of you. Thank you so very much for stopping by and reading.  – B

Back to Bed

Well, all in all, this Thanksgiving break, I have had a decent run of it. But Thursday and today, I am paying for it. It’s 12:30 p.m. on a Saturday; my husband and in-laws are outside working on our new shop and here I lay in bed. We did go to our friends’ house last night for dinner. It was lovely, and I had not seen them since Labor Day weekend! When I am at work that is about all I can manage to do so socializing it not something  can partake of much these days. The evening was nice and I kinda felt normal, and not the “new normal”, the old normal.  🙂

In an offensive move, I played everything safe, too! I took my meds as scheduled, I drank just one glass and a smidge of champagne, I ate more salad than anything else, and I shared a piece of cheesecake with my husband. I know that alcohol and sugar are not great for me but, I promise, the rest of the time, I do a pretty good job of not using either. We were home by 10:30 also!  But then, I could not go to sleep.UGH.

I took my doxepin as soon as we arrived at home. I knew it would take a bit to kick in, then I took lunesta. But for the life of me….I think I finally managed to fall out about 1 a.m. I guess this is part of the reason I feel so horrible today? Damn! Waking up about 6 a.m. to give my Chihuahua Chino his anti-seizure meds, I could barely get out of bed. The bodyaches were everywhere; I basically limped to the kitchen. No worries thought I, I will take a pain med and all will be better. Chino got his meds, and I took mine and headed back to bed. I was finally able to get warm and cozy and doze off for a few more hours. At 9, when I did get up for good today, I was in as much pain all over as I was at 6 a.m. Plus, the headache started its familiar knocking. Moving around as much as possible and having my daily cup of joe, I still could not shake the body pain. It’s one of THOSE days, friends. Uncool.

Struggling and stubbornly, I did some household chores and then headed back to my sanctuary, my sweet bed. But, I am still hurting, and I feel frustrated. Chino and our other Chihuahua, Boo Boo, are on the bed with me sacked out, and I am writing this blog.

Where I am today!
Where I am today!

Can anyone suggest anything to help alleviate the bodyaches and pain? Anything? I have tried an Epsom salt bath, and I have taken a pain med. Both have helped a bit, but I a still having difficulty moving around which is a bit scary, honestly. What are some things you do to at least push back these symptoms and/or take the edge off? Thanks in advance.

Peace, B