It has been almost three and a half years since I started my battle with Lyme disease. My “diagnosis”(–many like myself, who have Lyme, don’t get a definitive “You’ve got Lyme” confirmation from a medical doctor–) gave a name to my symptoms, but not a solution. My health declined steadily within a few months, and then kept me out of work for six more. My visits to medical doctors, who did not give me the correct help that I needed, left me questioning everything I had come to expect as fact about myself, my health, and the medical community at large.
Since I took control of my health with lots of legwork and missteps along the way, I’ve come out much better than most with Lyme. It is still largely misdiagnosed and not treated properly, causing more undue damage to so many victims. Over 300,000 people are diagnosed each year, and people can die from complications from this insideous disease. It affects all organs in the body, and can render people with debilitating neurological and other health issues. I was determined not to be a casualty from Lyme disease, and out of this horrible experience, many wonderful things have happened.
In three years, I have learned to manage my diet to control symptoms. I’ve found out about Nutritional Response Testing, which has helped me to manage symptoms and continue to improve my health in slow, steady steps.
I use essential oils both topically and in diffusers to help boost my immune system. I have salt lamps and air-purifying plants at home and at work.
I’ve learned to say ‘no’ to various social activities when I feel like I won’t have the stamina for it, and not feel guilty about it. I try to delegate chores more now at home, realizing that I only have time and energy for so much in a day, Lyme or not.
And I’ve learned to appreciate each day, and enjoy little things that I took for granted before Lyme: reading a book, making my daughter’s lunch, vacuuming!
But one of the truly remarkable things that have come out of this is my new hobby of making soap, thanks to a cousin of mine. At that time, in the midst of learning about my illness and my body’s response to it, I was trying to rid my body of any extra toxins that could possibly be in all the typical products that I used for daily routines of health and cleanliness. This hobby, spurred on for health reasons, quickly sparked my creativity. Over a year later from first learning how to make soap, I had made over 100 bars and was giving it away! So many people I knew kept asking, “When are you going to sell? When are you going to sell?” One thing led to another, and then my home business started. I am happy that my soap is now being sold in two local stores, and I will be celebrating one year in business this August. When I look back on these past three years, it seems so amazing to me that I’ve been able to go from being completely bedridden and homebound, to back at work as a Kindergarten teacher, to the owner of a home business!
My husband has been my biggest supporter from the start. His background in art and graphics was a wonderful asset when we worked together to name my business, and he then artfully designed my beautiful logo. He’s given me ideas of how to label the various soaps that I create, and even helped transform a room in our home into my soap office by building two shelving racks for curing my soaps.
My family, friends, and coworkers continue to give me product ideas as well as leads of where to sell my product. And acquaintances and even complete strangers have purchased my product and continue to inspire and support me.
In support of Lyme Disease month, I am also trying to raise money through the sales of some of my lime inspired soaps. Any monies raised are going to the American Lyme Disease Foundation, located in Lyme, Connecticut.
I’ve also started a Lyme Disease support group in my hometown. We met for the first time last week, and I’m hoping as more people become aware of the group, we can do some outreach in our town to help educate and inform residents. I felt like I lost so much time when I was so sick three years ago, so I’m now trying to find little ways to support those who suffer. Lyme is a very isolating and complex illness that requires persistence and passion, and a steady hand to keep it in check.
Lyme disease has truly changed my life, but without it, I know I never would have taken control of my health, or started a business, or a created a support group.
Who knows what is next for me? I don’t know, but I do know that slow and steady wins the race.
And I’m determined to win at this race called Lyme Disease.
Yours in Lyme Adventures,