What’s new in my world? It’s been a tough spring, I won’t lie. In March, I had to take a medical leave from work. I was just dragging at everything, missing work days, spending every minute at home laying down. It truly was torturous. I couldn’t manage to gain any ground at all even after resting all weekend long.
It was depressing as hell. It was like watching a movie. You could see what was going wrong but no control in changing it. I was just a zombie. The chronic fatigue was impenetrable. I was out of work about 3 weeks. I tested positive for Lyme and EBV again (not new infections but chronic ones) and my doctor put me on antibiotics. I was a little better when I went back at the end of March. It was still a challenge daily to get through each day but it has progressively improved.
I’m still on antibiotics. I’ll have another follow-up on June 28th, so we’ll see. School is out for the summer and that helps too. I considered not working next year, but I’m hopeful I can gain ground this summer and honestly, I’m scared to not work. I know, it’s weird. It’s all very emotional and right now; I am planning on returning to work in August.
I’ll post an update about my doctor visit I had in May with my doctor out-of-town. She’s offering up some treatments being done overseas that sound both promising and expensive. I’m trying to do some more research. More to come and soon!
I hope your summer is off to a great start! I’ve missed blogging, and I look forward to reconnecting with you all!
Today, I had my 6 week follow-up with my doctor. Six weeks ago, after the 3rd CDC positive Lyme test in the 4 years I’ve been treating (not a new infection), my doctor put me back on antibiotics. I had been off of ABX for about 18 months.
My doctor wanted to try Rifampin. It is an older Tuberculosis medication but supposedly, some patients who have been sick with Lyme for a long time and who continue to have bands show on bloodwork are finding this medication is helpful, particularly in treating persister bacteria. I figured “Why Not?” Let’s give it a go.
So here I am six weeks later. The fatigue is definitely better but it’s still there. I have some short bursts of energy (or energy for me at least!) periodically. At least the fatigue is not as ridiculous as when I had to take medical leave from work in March. Oh, Snap! I don’t think I mentioned that before – time for a post about THAT and soon. But otherwise, I don’t feel much different than I did 6 weeks ago.
Luckily, I’ve had no issues with this particular medication. I’m just trying to take probiotics religiously!! Since my doctor takes insurance, I literally see her for about 8-10 minutes per visit and today was no exception. In fact, today, I think we had a whole 5 minutes together. Insane.
Yes, there are other doctors I could possibly see. However, in Texas, the options for docotrs who know and BELIEVE in Lyme disease are very, very few and far between. Yes, I’ve had some more wise and more dedicated Lyme patients tell me to “Go out of state” and/or “do experimental treatments.” (Uhm, yes, there is a saracstic tone in the last sentence). While I sincerley wish I could do and try EVERYTHING to try and get better, the reality is that I don’t have the money for all of that. Not even close. I’m just doing the best I can with what I got.
Conclusion of said visit? Keep taking the Rifampin. Check on Lyme and the fatigue through blood work (results in 5-7 days). Revisit in 2 months. Like I said, short, short visit.
I will see my other out-of-town doctor mid-May. She is no longer taking insurance so I’ve been saving up my shekels so I can at least have an hour with her. This will run $299+. This will not include any extras. I would love to do a Vitamin C IV ($175) and a Glutithione IV ($175+) but that isn’t going to happen. Honestly though, I am looking forward to spending a whole hour with my doctor. An hour! That’s more that I spend with my doctor here in town in a year. No lies, people.
Lyme disease, once chronic as it is for me now, it a very difficult and complex beast to tame and treat. I know that seeing a doctor for 5-10 minutes every 3 months isn’t working anymore and probably hasn’t for awhile. I’m really counting on this May visit with my other doctor to be awesome. I’ll keep you in the loop!
Hoping all is well in your world. I’m going to do my best to post more frequently. Let’s just say that March was a real *biatch and leave it at that.
First, HAPPY NEW YEAR! We’re having a very lazy day here at the RBTL casa. I hope you and yours are doing well. 2017 has arrived!
I found the below post in my drafts; I have no idea why I didn’t publish when I composed it but, hey, Lyme Brain here so cut me some slack. Anyway, it actually seems appropriate for today, on our new, shiny bling bling, January 1, 2017. And BTW, I still most definitely recommend the movie Begin Again.
A date aroundish August 22, 2016:
First, have you seen this movie, Begin Again? It’s one of those you pick up thinking, eh, it might be OK. I’m not usually a big fan of Kiera Knightley but I am a huge fan of Mark Ruffalo. Anyhoo,this movie is great!! Check it out if you have some time. You won’t be disappointed. Promise.
So, I’m back at work, but without students. As teachers, we have 2 weeks of professional development before students are back. For the past 15 years, usually this is only a week but our school calander for 2016-2017 has changed and so, this is happening.
So far, it’s been great! It’s always nice to see everyone after an extended break and to also see friends from other schools. My favorite interaction so far has been seeing my very awesome and wonderful first team leader. This lady. She amazes me with her skills and kindness.I love to see her because it brings back those sweet memories of when I began my teaching career 15 years ago. And while I’m sure she is at a point she can retire, she told me that she has no plans of doing such because she loves her work. She LOVES her job. Now if that isn’t inspiration, I don’t know what is.
Teaching has brought so many gifts to me it’s hard to count them all. I was, shall we say a little late to the game, in that I worked outside of education until I was about 30. Honestly, I’m glad I waited and did some things not related to education. Those other skills, customer service, managerial, have served me very well as a teacher. And it’s always a nice comparison to have when the going gets tough.
Anyway, as a teacher, I always feel like it’s the New Year right about now and for our profession, it is. We prep, we make resolutions and goals, we plan. And we get to do this with a group of people who are all on the same page. The energy and the collaboration going on is pretty amazing.
Are we idealistic? Yes.
Are we filled with eternal hope? Always. Our students deserve it. We deserve it.
P.S. I wish you all an amazing 2017. Let our shared journey around the sun Begin Again. Throwing lots of love out to you and into the world – B
Hi my people. Yep, I’m missing you too. But, I am struggling with inspiration and with life in general at this point it seems. These past few months have been tough. I know I am being vague in a way, and I am so not trying to be evasive. Overall, it’s been a challenge to keep working. A real challenge. Don’t get me wrong. I love my job. But overall, it has just been a struggle to keep it up while dealing with the chronic fatigue and a myriad of illnesses I contract due to my sucky immune system.
So, yeah, both the emotional and the physical challenges of working a full-time job have pretty much consumed all of my time in recent months. Unfortunately, I am also trying to dig deep to find joy. Even in the little things. I don’t know if it is the time of year or the incessant constant day to day barrage of symptoms, or the trying to escape some of the chronic symptoms that seems to have made me shut-down a little on the inside. I’m trying to figure it out but honestly, I have found even that kind of thinking and reflection just exhausting. IDK.
I just wanted to check in becasue, well, I miss the blogging world and my blogging people. I promise that I am making a concerted effort to get myself back on track and back in the Game so to speak.
I hope this finds you well and full of JOY. Peace. -b
** “I have been given this product as part of a product review through theChronic Illness Bloggersnetwork. Although the product was a gift, all opinions in this review remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company.” **
I’ve always had sensitive eyes. My eyes are blue, and so anytime I am outside, even on a cloudy day, I have to wear sunglasses. But since contracting Lyme disease, the light sensitivity has increased, and I have to be careful about too much exposure to light, both outside and inside.
With this light sensitivity sometimes comes a migraine. I never had these either before Lyme disease. Now, I have daily headaches and periodic cycles of migraines. I have found that light can be a trigger for a migraine. I am especially sensitive to fluorescent lighting which is pretty much everywhere!
So when I was given the opportunity to try out Axon Optic eyewear, I jumped at it. Axon Optics offers special glasses and sunglasses for light sensitive migraine sufferers. As a part of the review, I was able to pick from 3 different frames. Axon offers their eyewear with prescription and without. As I wear contacts most of the time, I opted for the glasses without prescription. Axon offers a wide variety of frames both modern and classic making it easy to select a pair of glasses that complement the wearer’s face shape.
When the glasses arrived, I was really excited to try them out, especially at work where all of the lighting is fluorescent. The glasses were the exact frame I had ordered and the lenses were a tinted rose color. Hmm, I thought. These will be pretty different from other glasses most people wear.
At first, I was hesitant to wear them while I was teaching. I teach teenagers and well, as we know, they are not forgiving when it comes to fashion. Again, the rose tint makes these glasses stand out. But one morning while at work, I felt a bad headache coming on, and I bit the bullet. I began wearing them about 8 a.m. Pleasantly surprised, I received many compliments on these glasses from both co-workers and students!
I wore my glasses all day that day, and I kid you not when I say that I began to experience relief within a few minutes of putting them on. It was almost like a protective screen immediately came down between my eyes and the lighting. The rose color was soothing. Since being diagnosed with Lyme and chronic migraines, I do have migraine medication that I can take as needed. But since receiving my Axon Optics lenses 2 months ago, I have only had to take the migraine medication twice.
I carry my glasses with me everywhere I go now. When I begin to have even the slightest headache, I pop on my Axon Optics glasses. These glasses are also very versatile; I wear mine both inside and outside in the blaring sun. No need to switch over to sunglasses when I leave work. My Axon Optics do the trick!
If you suffer from migraines or even light sensitivity, I would highly recommend a pair of these glasses. Not only have they helped me reduce the number of headaches and migraines I experience, they have also helped me to cut down on the medication I have to take. In the future, I am going to invest in a pair of Axon Optics prescription glasses so I can have a pair to wear with and without my contacts in.
These glasses do everything the company promises and more. Please take a minute to visit the company website, Axon Optics, or their blog for more information.
P.S. Right now, Axon Optics is offering Free Shipping on all orders through November 15th!
Lately, I have been feeling like I haven’t been hitting the mark. What is the mark, you ask? Just feeling like everything is balanced. Right now, I don’t feel balanced in my work nor in my personal life. The scale has been unavoidably tipped, and all of my time seems spent on How I Feel. I am diligently working towards getting this scale balanced again, but now, throwing work back into the mix, it feels like an impossible mark to hit. While my job is rewarding in so many ways, it also drains every ounce of physical and mental energy I can muster each day. By the time I make it home, I feel wasted and withered, no matter how easy or how difficult the day has been. I can’t seem to change these dynamics, which is so frustrating!
After years of fatigue and physical pain, I still haven’t figured out how to squirrel away any energy for myself and my personal life while I am working. I wish I had like a bank where I could deposit blocks of energy, then withdraw as needed! How awesome would that be! When I feel this way, Guilt stealthily creeps in, the guilt involved with not feeling like a productive partner in my marriage, like an active participant in social events with friends, like an emotional engaged human. I know guilt is self-imposed and controllable, but it is my go to feeling when I am worn out and stressed. No bueno. Trying to play psychological games with myself, every time I feel “guilt”, I am working to replace it with feeling “Grateful” instead. Am I hitting the mark? Who knows.
Yesterday, I started feeling Guilty for not immediately reading a student’s novel she wanted to share with me. I asked her to email it to me for future reading. Realizing the Guilt was moving in quickly, I endeavored on removing the Guilt and replacing it with the Gratitude that this person is willing to share a piece of herself with me. I will read the novel, and I will give feedback. I just couldn’t manage it during my lunch break yesterday. It’s all good.
Do you feel Guilt? Do you feel like you are hitting the Mark?
Hi there. I know, I know. It’s been awhile. Too long in fact. I hope things are joyful in your world. Between going back to work (over 2 months ago), and dealing with this severe fatigue, I haven’t really done much at all besides try to get to work each day. Nothing to write home about, you know? It’s kinda boring to write Hi Guys, I still have Chronic Lyme, Chronic Fatigue, and Fibromyalgia and some other stuff. And even more boring for you to read! But we’ll forge on.
While things at work are going well considering my limitations, I’ve been struggling physically and emotionally, mostly because, well, first, we are getting close to the 4 year mark of this diagnosis and the beginning of treatment for said diagnosis. And, yes, as I’ve shared before, there has been progress made, man, it sure feels like it hasn’t been much. I mean not much for a 4 year mark. As the patient, it is very difficult to be objective about measuring “progress” as well. Another reason I have been struggling is that the severe fatigue is back, yet again.
There’s no way to plan when dealing with severe fatigue. I can’t rest one day, and then feel so much better the next. I can’t save up energy to use as I would like to. Not that there would be much energy to save up at this point. Still, if I could save up energy, I would totally be strteggically planning! But, severe fatigue is somewhat or more like always unpredictable. Anyway, it’s back and rearing it very ugly head!
As many chronic fatigue sufferers try to explain severe fatigue to a “normal” people, there don’t seem to be enough metaphors nor analogies to clearly describe what severe fatigue feels like. The Spoon Theory is a good start, but on some days, we have no “spoons.” So we get up, maybe, and start the day with a zero balance or a deficit of energy. And this just keeps going on, day to day. Month to month. It can be a spirit breaker for sure.
My doctor, at least my local doctor, looks at my labs and says, “yes, of course you are having severe fatigue.” All the numbers doc watches are low when they should be high. The EBV is flaring again, so that adds to the crazy chemistry going on in my body. Inflammation markers are off the chart too even with my dietary changes. Add that to the fatigue as well. Doc tells me to keep doing the B12 shots, the ATP Fuel, the Glutathione shots. I say, OK as I wonder when I might be able to make it through a day without feeling the crushing tiredness. I know (or at least keep the flame of Hope lit) that this cycle will end but sometimes it is hard to remember when every day, every hour is weighing on me like a heavy stone.
I feel bad when my friends ask how I am doing. They try to keep up with me, but I move at a snail’s pace anymore with nothing new to report for months, and now, for years. They ask, How was your weekend? Are you ready for the holidays? What are you doing next Saturday? And right now, unfortunately, I honestly don’t know how to answer.
How was your weekend? A: It was great. I spent most of it in bed.
Are you ready for the holidays? A: My head explodes, LOL – God, no.
What are you doing next Saturday? A: Uhm, I think I have an important appointment scheduled – with my bed.
Speaking of my bed, I need to go change the sheets and get it made so I can climb back up in there. Hoping this Sunday brings you cooler weather and happiness crafted for the soul.
P.S. Thoreau makes me happy. I hope he makes you a little happy too.
Hi out there! I wrestled with writing two paragraphs about how work is going and then, bam, they were gone. Since I cant muster anymore energy, it will have to wait. Maybe the disappearing text is reflective of my segue back into work? LOL
More to come on how work is going. Right now my Lyme brain cannot do anymore, so I bid you all a goodnight. Peace, my peeps – B
Can you tell I’m a little MEGA stressed out about returning to work full-time on Monday? Maybe more than a little? Don’t get me wrong; I do love my job. Teaching definitely is my thingy, and I wouldn’t want to give it up for any reason. Yet, there is a big BUT. There always is, isn’t there?
Since my diagnosis in March 2013, working has been tough. That spring semester, I’m embarrassed to say, is a blur. I was extremely sick most of the fall semester 2012 then diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, and Lyme disease in the spring. Immediately, my doctor put me on antibiotics and treatment began. Unfortunately, I missed many days that semester. My students were amazing as were my colleagues. I had support everywhere I turned. This made it bearable and motivated me to get to work when I could.
The thought, “I love what I do,” sustained me through many, many hours of pain, nausea, headaches, and much more. It helped me through the 2nd year post diagnosis as well. By the end of the 2nd year, I shed some of the responsibilities I had beyond teaching, being department chair, a sponsor for a club on campus. Letting these things go was so, so very difficult. I felt like I was losing parts of myself that I might never regain. I almost felt at times that I was giving into the illnesses by cutting back on things I just couldn’t do anymore. For awhile, I felt “less than.” It messed with me psychologically and sometimes, it still does. However, it was for the greater good.
Yes, I am glad that I passed the torch to others who can and will do an exceedingly good job. So this 3rd year of post diagnosis found me (and finds me this fall) in a less demanding position with more time to accomplish much needed tasks at work rather than bringing everything home. Strangely though, this past year (school year 2015-2016) almost seemed the hardest one of the past 2.5 years. I’m still trying to figure out the Why it feels like it was such a challenge. Granted, some symptoms have improved. This past year, I didn’t miss as many days and at least 3 of those days were doctor appointments. So, what is the problem? Why am I so dang worried about this new year starting up??
The main thing I am most worried about is the ability to continue my work. I am down to a very limited amount of paid sick days now; I do not have long term disabilty (although added this August, the wait time is 12 months for any claim). Some money is saved for emergencies but not enough (I never think it is enough!). I hear you, my friend, you’re telling me to take one day at a time, and I agree 110%. I so completely agree. And yet.
While I say that my main concern is whether I will be able to continue to work, yes, while that is the big picture, more disconcerting is worrying about how I will feel each day. Last spring was really hard. I wouldn’t have made it through without my BFF/teaching buddy, for reals. She was/is my angel, and I never worried about when I might be out because we shared everything. But my angel has retired. I am freakishly happy for her, but I’m not sure how I will make it without my little buddy cheering me on every day.
In January 2016, I had a cold that turned into bronchitis. Then, I went through a severe fatigue cycle, which lasted several months. And to top it off, I missed a week of school in May due to a terrible rash I developed on the left side of my face, my left hand, and right arm. In between all of this, I saw my regular doctor here in town 4 times, a rheumatoligist 2 times, and my out of town doctor once. Oh, right, and I was trying (key word is “trying”) to teach, 5 classes, every day. It got so bad that I would go to work, barely make it through the day (God forbid there was anything scheduled for after school), come home, feed the puppies, throw in some laundry, and then go to bed. Sometimes, the thought of sorting the mail or taking a shower made me cry. No joke.
Most of April and May were this way. Weekends? No, I could not do anything on the weekends. If I wasn’t trying to catch up on grading, then I was mostly in bed resting or dealing with a migraine and nausea. Both total killers and kill joys. The only function I attended in the spring of this year was a dinner with friends and a graduation party. I missed out on many events, a baptism, birthday celebrations, a theater show, baby showers. My life literally passed me by. And I am afraid of going back to that level of non-functioning.
Well, there it is, boiled right down to the syrup: FEAR. Fear of ending up at that place where all I can kind of manage to do is work. I felt so disconnected from myself and from others when I reached that bottom line, you know, the one below the E? I know that sometimes, we have to go through the motions so to speak but doing that every single day for months? It’s a dream killer, my people.
A.Big.Fat.Dream.Killer. Just barely surviving hour to hour takes the fun out of any and everything. It takes the joy rogh out of talking and bonding with students, chatting with colleagues, planning lessons, etc. I don’t want to go back to that type of physical and emotional state. Did I make it last year? I did. But I honestly didn’t realize how much it took out of me and how much of life I missed every day because I was again, just on the edge of survival.
Maybe you are in a similar situation? Or maybe you need to do a reboot on how to juggle your chronic illness and work? I HEAR YOU! I have to get my head right before Monday.
Here’s my plan of attack, and maybe these can help you too. We (yes, plural pronoun!) NEED TO:
Pace ourselves – uhm, yeah, THIS! And it is #1 for a reason.
Stay on our special diets! For me this is – No sugar, no gluten, no processed carbs, no soda, AND mucho water! When I am feeling tired and stressed, I have a strong voice telling me to eat sugar or drink caffeine. Just say NO.
Try out 2-3 yoga poses at lunch or during a break every day. Just taking a few minutes to stretch can feel rejuvenating.
Shoot for a 5 minute meditation session every day. I mean worst case, I will do my best to squeeze in 3 minutes. Yes, it sounds goofy and yes, it will be a real challenge for me but I keep hearing great things about doing this. I’m going to use the Insight Timer app for Android. It’s free and has some great sessions to choose from.
Try and do something fun/social once a month. This one will be extra HARD!! It’s not that I don’t want to do things; I am sure you are the same, but like me, I am sure you also experience so many times where you are sick and so fatigued to the point you just can’t do anything but rest and/or sleep. Let’s try to do this one and without feeling guilty if we just can’t sometimes.
**Good point. We will revisit these in a month’s time to see how “WE” are doing!!**
What else can I/we incorporate in the day to day to relieve tension and frustration? Any suggestions or wisdom you can share with me?? Any self care I/we can use to keep it together (like everything together)? Really, I appreciate any feedback, suggestions, advice!
On that note, I take leave of you for now. Have a great evening. Here at our Casa, we are going to watch some of The Good Wife and chill in the A/C! Blessings to one and all – B
“Bus is coming, it’s time to leave
the summer’s gone, and so are we…”
“Let’s go shut it down in New Orleans…”
“Miami” – Counting Crows
It’s hard to say goodbye to the extensive time off I’ve had these past 2 months. When I first started teaching, I worked every summer, as well as an extra job on weekends or in the evenings to catch up and pay the bills leftover from divorce. Summers and evenings during the school year were spent slinging coffee, teaching, or both. But for the past few years, and especially now that I’m dealing with Lyme, summers are truly “time off.”
Since we are heading back sooner than soon to teach the young minds of America, my brain is shifting into overdrive. I’m thinking about overhauling one of the courses I teach. Without boring you too much with the details, the overarching theme is the American Dream. It’s a great theme. BUT, I’m seriously wanting to spice it up a bit. We’ll see.
Anyway, I would like to be able to share some of my ideas and get some feedback from you periodically. So, I am creating a new category for these posts. What might these posts entail?
1. Cool stuff related to the content that may come in handy for me later on ( and Lyme is sincerely stunting my short term memory right now)…
2. Ideas for teaching visual rhetoric and argument. I need to
do way more of this with my students.
3. Just writings, songs, authors, art, whatever related to the content I teach, and things I like and love. Like Henry David Thoreau. Or Ralph Waldo Emerson. Or….
4. Lessons I find that are awesome and that I can modify – maybe – to use in my classes (with permission of creators, of course).
5. Ideas for integrating yoga poses. This one is a stretch (and yes, pun intended!) But, I’ve read some research that using yoga with students can be a positive! More info needed along with a lot of consideration for logistics, student participation, etc. This may not be something I can really do this year.
I just wanted to give you a head’s up that I will be doing these posts randomly so you aren’t like, Say What? Yes, I will continue to blog mostly about my journey with Lyme.
With this American Dream stuff though, I will need some help. So get your brains in gear, too!
Hoping your evening is going well. Here’s some Counting Crows for your segue into sleepy time. Peace -b
This is my journey; intended solely to spread awareness of a debilitating, life threatening group of diseases spread by a tiny little tick, spider, flea, mosquito and other tick borne disease hosts. (PLEASE: always discuss your concerns with a Lyme Literate Doctor)
This blog is all about roaming the Bicol Region, Philippines wisely on a budget. We'll talk about what Bicol has to offer when it comes to great hotel deals, good food and where to go on your vacation. So, I hope this blog site will be helpful to those of you on the look out for great deals while you have fun in Bicol. After all, the wisest of us believe that the concept of toil is just a myth, and life should be a never-ending vacation.