Fire in the Hole

Fourth
Fourth

Well, I certainly haven’t been diligent with posting. Just a quick update, I’m still having issues with my lower back. Insurance has denied a lumbar MRI. Doctor exploring possible colon issue, possible pinched nerve, and a few other things. The pain is bearable, and I just don’t have the gumption to fight the insurance on it. My kidneys are good and they were my main concern. However, I have had all kinds of other check-ups and doctor visits just to make sure the rest of me isn’t falling apart: eye doc, dentist, general doctor. All of those visits have turned out just right. None of this is an excuse for not posting!

Hopefully, all of you enjoyed the 4th of July weekend. We had plans both Saturday and Sunday, but Lyme played its card, and it was a doozey. One positive is that since I have been having better days, I can really feel the herx when it comes on. I started feeling under the weather on Saturday. I honestly just chalked it up to a busy week; I actually was doing things a “normal” person might do! Running errands, grocery shopping, doctor visits. It was all kind of amazing. I haven’t been up for much of any of that in a really long time. Last summer I had a PICC line so I was somewhat limited in my scope. I also didn’t feel really great most of the 5 weeks I was dosing. Anyway, by Saturday afternoon I was in bed with a headache. My husband had to go to our friends’ party by himself but he was very understanding and that helped me not feel so cruddy.

By Sunday though, all was lost. I woke up about 3 a.m. and felt so nauseous. I managed to slip back to sleep for a few hours but by 6 a.m. I was up. Everything was hurting. Joints, head, tummy. Oiy! I took a hot Epsom salt bath and went back to bed. Yet again, we had to cancel with friends. But I just couldn’t even “suck it up”!  I mean, have you ever felt that kind of nausea where you just do not want to move because it makes it worse? Yes, that was my Sunday in a nutshell. I was literally in bed all day long. And no reading or anything productive. The little a/c window unit on high, the curtains drawn, and the heating pad on full blast was what my day entailed. I finally crawled out of my cave about 7:30 p.m. and ate some corn on the cob.

Today is better. I’m exhausted and my stomach is still making some strange noises but overall, I feel like I am going to make it. I really thought I was doing a decent job on detoxing but maybe not so much. I am just so grateful that it is summertime, and I can manage this disease a lot easier and without inconveniencing a bunch of people. Of course, I am sorry to have missed all of the fun with our friends. Trying not to beat myself up about letting people down is a real struggle for me, as I am sure it is for all chronic disease warriors.

Again, I hope this was weekend you were able to make some great memories, – B

The Livin’ Ain’t Easy

Hello to all. Summertime is here, and Janis Joplin’s rendition of “Summertime” is playing in my head. The “livin’ is easy,” no? Alas, not so much. It’s been a challenging first 2 weeks of this break to say the least. Summer began last week, (and I am a teacher 🙂 ) and I had a few days that I sincerely enjoyed. I worked one day, but then by the next day, I had so much back pain I could not get out of bed without help. The pain was on my right side and severe. Not just like a pulled muscle but achy and sharp all at the same time. So, I rested. Logically, I figured my body was just finally relaxing. I just needed to rest. Yes, right, rest would help. Also, I was able to get an appointment the next day with my LLMD just in case.

But, the pain did not improve. By Friday, the pain was almost unbearable. But no fever. My husband had to drive me to my doctor appointment. I broke down in tears several times because of the pain; it was ridiculous. You may be asking, Why didn’t she go to the ER? Well, we know with any chronic illness one doesn’t get far at the ER.

After a urine analysis and some more tears, it was determined that there were no kidney stones and no kidney infection. Whew. But I did have a possible UTI. Doc prescribed different antibiotics from the ones I already take for treating Lyme and some mega pain meds. Thank God. She told me that we would treat for 3-5 days, and then I should be good to go or at least back to Lyme Normal.

But, here I am, a week later and still having lower back pain. Not as crazy or severe as last week, but boy howdy, it’s still there. Next up then is a lower back MRI with and without contrast. This isn’t scheduled for another week. Before my diagnosis with Lyme Disease, actually 2 full years before being diagnosed, I had a spinal and brain MRI. I was having hip pain on the right side and numbness in both feet (both decent symptoms pointing to possible Lyme disease). That MRI was inconclusive for MS so the neurologist sent me on my way. If only one of the  4 doctors I saw that summer had tested me for Lyme I could have started treatment 2 years earlier and 2 years less sick. I’m not trying to be whiney, it just makes me angry sometimes.

I spent yesterday and much of today in bed. I’m struggling to be productive, to be of value but I spent and will spend most of my time online here or FB. I need distracting, and I don’t have the concentration skills for reading of any length right now. Struggling to stay positive and pain free are the real challenges at this moment.

Am I worried about the MRI? Not really, and why waste time worrying? I am hoping of course that it gives us some insight into what is going on in my lower back. I’m sure that whatever it is that it is Lyme related somehow, and I am very grateful that I now have a doctor who can and will help me and that it isn’t a waste of time and a lot of money like the last one I had in 2011. Last time I definitely got conned in that I had no idea that the Imaging office was out of network even though my neurologist had sent me specifically to that place next to the hospital where he was located! Oy. Insurance companies, but that is for another post.

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I’m trying my best not to be depressed. But thoughts and lists are piling up in my brain:  I’m not doing anything productive or fun. This is my summertime and the days are precious. I had to cancel a few appointments because of the pain issues. My husband has been working non-stop, and I haven’t seen him much. I haven’t been away from the house for a week, whine, whine, whine.

Anyway, thanks for listening and thank you all so much for reading. I do hope you and yours are having a good time and that you are able to enjoy the good stuff coming at you.
Gracias – B

Peace and joy to you all – B

Identity and Lyme disease

I find it interesting when people say, “I’m not going to let this or this define me.” I mean I understand the literal and also the deeper meaning, but I’m always curious as to why it needs to be stated at all. My guess is because as humans we are already predisposed to discriminating and organizing pretty much everything and anything we encounter. We want to be able to have control over things, however illusory that control is. And defining and categorizing helps us create the illusion. The illusion of control.

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So we look at people and we begin the never-ending calculations in trying to “know” someone as well as trying to figure ourselves out. We see ourselves as separate entities, as individuals.

Anyway, back to the identity issue. I guess I started thinking about it when I came across a post or rather several in a Lyme forum. “I will not let Lyme define me” someones wrote. And while I agree, I don’t want Lyme to”define” me either, it is still, at least right now, a huge part of my life. Oh, yes, do I ever want control over it though! But just saying something doesn’t define me doesn’t mean it doesn’t define me in other people’s or even in my own mind. I mean when we get down to it is there anything that really clearly defines us from one another as humans/people? I argue no.

Anyway, I realize this is all kinda philosophical mumbo jumbo but the brain keeps itself busy when the body is broken. Well, at least now that the fog and the mental confusion have improved in my brain area.

Wasn’t it Walt Whitman who wrote, “I sing the body electric”? he goes on, ” Was it doubted that those who corrupt their own bodies conceal themselves? / And if those who defile the living are as bad as they who defile the dead? / And if the body does not do fully as much as the soul?/And if the body were not the soul, what is the soul?”

Some beautiful words to ponder about who we are and how we figure ourselves and others out, or at least try to. Check out Whitman’s complete poem, “I Sing the Body Electric”, at http://www.poetryfoundation.org.

Wishing you a wonderful pain free day. 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

Take the Lyme Disease Challenge!

The Challenge!
The Challenge!

A big howdy to everyone out there! I hope this finds everyone having a pain free day. For this post, I just want to promote the Lyme Disease Challenge. This is a social media movement striving to bring more awareness and understanding to Lyme Disease. Check out www.lymediseasechallenge.org  for more details and printables!     Lyme-Disease-Challenge-Informational-SM-Flier-240x300

Even if you cannot donate to the cause, even just doing the Challenge would be awesome. All donations will go to benefit the International Lyme and Associated Diseases (ILADS). Already, almost $15,000 has been raised. This is a great opportunity for all of us to get involved and spread awareness about this disease. The ladies who organized this have worked long and hard, and now it is time for us to do our part!  We have a voice, we have the tools, and now we have the movement!  I hope to see your posts taking a Bite out of Lyme soon. #lymediseasechallenge

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Peace – B

Word Loss

**WARNING – THIS POST IS DEPRESSING. PLEASE DO NOT READ IF YOU ALREADY FEEL DOWN.

These past 2-3 weeks have not been good for me. I am struggling in every single area of my life: work, personal, mentally, physically. I have not been optimistic in awhile. Between attempting to cope with my cognitive issues, which have become many of late, along with the physical challenges of nausea and body pain, my personal relationships are indeed failing. I can see it happening, but I don’t know what to do to make it stop. Any of it.

I do my best at work. I know my attitude is not always optimal, but I am really trying my hardest. Communication is difficult even on a “good” day. And communication, well that’s kinda “my thing.” It’s something I take great pride in and something I have been good at my entire life. But not now. Although an overused analogy, my brain feels like swiss cheese. I can’t remember regular words such as pliers, consistency or ambiguity when I need these words. My short term memory is almost nil at times. I keep asking co-workers and my husband the same things over and over. I feel like I am slowly going insane. Not being able to remember, not being able to recall basic words while speaking, spelling words incorrectly all of the time is so very frustrating and aggravating. This proceeds to heightening my anxiety and my anger. I imagine that to some degree, this is what is is like to have the onset of Alzheimer’s.

And so, my negative persona and my overall hostility rises. I avoid conversations like the plague. I don’t want to talk because, to myself, I seem to make no sense at all. I imagine that others feel the same when I speak. I am alone. I feel so singularly alone in this.

There is no quick fix, and I get it. I have been very patient and open to any and all treatment over these past two years; I have diligently taken my meds. I do my best to keep my diet in check, I try to stay upbeat and optimistic. I am still working full-time. Yet, I still lose.

I still have the dreaded headaches every day. Joint pain. Every single day. I have made some progress with endurance but I still exhaust quickly. While, I think when in the midst of a migraine and nausea, “this is the worst!” really, the slow decay or what seems like decay of my memory and cognition is ultimately the issues that worry me the most.

For if I can’t use words correctly, beautifully, exacting, then who am I? Always one to rely on my wits and sarcasm, without these, I can’t and won’t ever find my way home, back to who I am. I know, I know. One day at a time. Like the Indigo Girls sing, “We’re sculpted from youth, the chipping away makes me weary.”

Right now, I am weary.

Peace. – B

Apologies

Hi all. This may not be a positive post so I understand if you have to skip it. I’m struggling. There is no other way to state the fact. It’s been really tough since the New Year when I contracted a cold/upper respiratory infection. After three weeks of all that stuff, then it’s that time of the month, followed by the full moon, and here we are.

Last Sunday through this past Thursday was like a challenge course. Hip pain, lower back pain and headaches plagued me all week long. I attributed some of it to the full moon on Monday, but who knows? I have also been on Stephen Buhner’s suggested herbal protocol for Lyme for about 3 weeks now as well. Then yesterday, I actually felt fairly decent!

What a terrible trick though. I started the day positive, without much pain at all which I realized made my brain work better. So I felt like I was a super ninja most of the day. Until about 3 p.m. Then, the storm clouds rolled in.

My head began to ache accompanied by nausea. I took a pain pill. Nada. The headache laughed in my face. Headed home, took some alka selzer gold, slapped on my eye cover and proceeded to lay in bed until about 7:15. The pain dulled a bit, but I could tell it was still lurking in the shadows…..

I was supposed to work this morning. With my team. I had planned to do this for months. But the headache came back with a vengeance about 5 a.m. this morning. One huge apology sent out to my team leader about how I could not make it today. I was so disappointed with myself. I continue to stack up all of the things I plan and then cannot follow through on.

But, I thought I would still be able to make it to dinner with our friends this evening. Well, I’m sure you can guess the outcome of this drama. I had a few decent hours. Until about 3 p.m. When I told my husband I couldn’t make go tonight, he was understandably upset. Then I got upset. I’m just so very tired of apologizing to everyone for everything. I’m tired of making plans and then canceling. I’m tired of not being able to hold up my end of any bargain.

I love my husband, my friends, and my work. I don’t want to let anyone down and yet, I feel like today was a trifecta. And I am sorry this post is so negative.

Thinking of you all – B

#readbetweenthelyme

Agitation and Frustration

Hi out there! I sincerely don’t remember when I last posted so just in case, Happy New Year! I was sick through the holidays, and I finally kicked the crud after 3 weeks, a shot of antibiotics in the butt, and some more oral antibiotics. So, it is back to dealing with Lyme only which is a good thing in a way.

I wasn’t going to write today because I haven’t been doing well emotionally this past week, and I don’t really know how to explain it as I am also having difficulty with word recall and with just plain old thinking and processing, but here it goes. This past week, I have been experiencing a lot of agitating and frustrating feelings/thoughts. I think it is caused by stress on top of my limitations to process said stress. Multitasking is just a bad joke on me with my cognitive skills impeded. For the most part, I can manage, but I’m not sure what happened this week. One day, I felt like I was in an agitated and stressed mode all day long to the point that by the end of the day, it felt like it had amped up and turned into significant anger. Anger at what, who knows? I just felt very aggressive, and this is not me. I could not rid myself of the feeling. The thought of feeling insane crossed my mind. It finally went away hours later.

It happened again yesterday morning as my husband and I cleaned the house. We were working and talking about any and everything and I just started feeling the agitation building up. It is really a different feeling than feeling overwhelmed. When I feel overwhelmed, I feel like getting under the covers and staying there for a month. I don’t feel angry; I feel defeated. But this is much different. My mind starts racing a mile a minute and yet, I can’t think fluently. I try to express myself but nothing comes out the way I am thinking it will. Then, as if to add to the pile of thoughts, my brain starts honing in on things like I need to pay bills, how will I make it through the work week, how can I get my grading done with my brain in jumbles, what meals will we need for the week and how will I get to the store? It all starts tumbling around in my head and then my mouth starts moving but in no way am I articulate. Finally, it feels like everything speeds up, and I can’t stop it.

I tell you that this is a new thing. I am wondering, is this a new symptom of the chronic Lyme? My husband agrees and says it is new as well. I really don’t like it at all (not that anyone would) because I start feeling out of control, and I am not sure how to make the OCD thoughts and the agitation stop. Does anyone experience this or something like it as well? And if so, what kinds of things do you do to cope? Yesterday, I went outside and tried to do some breathing exercises. It did help for a bit but it was still kinda scary. Even at this point, my brain feels like it is gearing up now and just thinking is becoming tiresome and yet, stressful!

I sincerely would appreciate ( insert NEED) some feedback and suggestions. Thank you! I hope your week has been a good one! -B

Back to the Twelve Steps

Howdy out there, friends and a big Happy New Year! I can’t lie, it’s been a tough couple of weeks. Coming down with a cold on Christmas Eve and working itself into some kind of bronchitis, I am just now starting to resurface into the land of the living. Seriously. While the holidays were great, I was sick for much of the winter break. And, I barely made it back to work this week; three days out and a trip to the doctor finally has culminated in what I hope to be a complete recovery from this midwinter cold! I hope all of you fared much better over the course of the holidays.

Did I make any resolutions? Not so much. Except this. Health has to come first this year. No matter what. A friend and I were visiting last week, and she asked me what the hardest part of having this chronic disease is, and I really had to think for a minute. For me, the most difficult thing has been this: I am a workaholic or at least I was. Working hard and giving it my all has always been a brick and mortar component of my identity. Working hard and being independent. Learning how to step back a bit, learning how to balance work and home; learning how to say no, or no, I can’t do it? These have been really difficult challenges.  In recent months, I have had to, just for survival reasons, take a few things off my plate. Framing this is a positive way to myself is the real struggle for me. I am trying to take it all in strides and to learn as much of what I can about myself as I go through this process.

Have I learned anything thus far? I think so? 🙂 I have learned that NO amount of stubborness and hardheadedness (what a word!) will make something happen if I physically and/or emotionally cannot do it! Ha ha! As if this needs to be learned at my age! But apparently, it does. So that is one thing. What else? Yes, that in fact, the world will not end if I cannot do something or take on another responsibility. And, I have also learned that if I do not answer an email ASAP, nothing will actually catch on fire. Again, I laugh at myself for being a bit anal and uptight this long as far as some of these things are concerned. I have also learned how amazing my support system is and how grateful I am to the people who put up with me each and every day.

If I had to make an analogy, and I will although no one is asking, I would say that for me, dealing with a chronic illness is like the road to recovery. Like AA, or Al-Anon in my case. Here’s what I mean. Every single day has to be taken one at a time. I have to be diligent to not fall off the wagon of gratitude and thankfulness into the pit of depression. I have to keep looking for those little daily gems of awesomeness and learn to enjoy them. The first step in Al-Anon is to admit we are powerless over alcohol-that our lives had become unmanageable. Instead, I substitute Lyme Disease for alcohol. So, here it goes, 2015. I admit that I am powerless over Chronic Lyme Dis-ease and that my life has become unmanageable.

Damn. That was hard.

DaliLama

Hope this finds you all well and toasty. Peace – B