One Year Ago

December 2016

 

One year ago, I was diagnosed with Lyme.

lymeheadAnd I still can remember all the difficulties I faced as my Lyme progressed from annoying symptoms to full-blown pain, brain fog, dietary issues, weakness, and exhaustion, and finally, being out of work for six months.

I can remember early on, trying to keep a semblance of routine at home and make my daughter’s lunch for school. That 10-minute job caused me extreme exhaustion, and a return trip to bed for two hours.

I remember trying to exercise on the advice of medical doctors, which never went well.  Later on in that winter, I tried vacuuming a 5×7 rug. I needed a three-hour nap after that.

I remember starting what I call my Lyme Bible.  It contained sections with each doctors’ contact information, copies of my blood work reports, diagnoses, as well as my food diary and symptoms tracker.  DataScientistJobDescriptions

I remember my husband asking me one morning, “Where is the jelly?” And I literally did not know. I couldn’t tell him, and I got upset because I knew my brain was literally fading a way bit by bit, and there wasn’t anything that any medical doctor was telling me that was helpful or hopeful.

I remember being frustrated listening to people with MD after their names giving me any number of diagnoses: Lyme, not Lyme, fibromyalgia, coxsackie, EBV, a virus…and even, “Yes, you have Lyme, coxsackie, and EBV in your blood work, but we don’t know what is causing your symptoms. Just eat right and exercise.” I’ve got letters that I’ve started that I intend to send to all these medical professionals to both ease my conscience and anger, but also potentially change how they actually address a patient’s course of treatment when they have Lyme disease.

I remember hearing about a holistic practitioner that helped a cancer patient who had tremendous results after major health issues. At that point, I was ready to find a new avenue that didn’t lead me to another medical doctor whose hands were tied against me.20160413_103853

I remember thinking during my first appointment, his methods seemed so strange and out of the box in terms of medical treatment as I knew it, and yet, after only 4 months, I was back at work full-time and able to conquer my full teaching day without turning into a puddle by 10:30 am!

I remember feeling so tired from work, I was in bed by 5:30, and still not rested to face the next day. Squeezing the shampoo bottle in the shower bothered my right thumb, and drying my hair with the hair dryer made my elbows hurt tremendously. Even driving would bother my elbows.  And reading…forget it.  After ten minutes,  I could feel my mind drifting away from the words on the page.

I remember a time last year when I didn’t put the my prized under-the-counter radio on when I was in the kitchen.  It’s presence changed from a comfort to just noise. The feeling of wanting music on had left me, and it didn’t bother me for many months that I didn’t put the radio on to keep me company.

Tonight, I connected my Bluetooth Pandora on my phone to that radio. I listened to a Martina McBride holiday channel, and I sang along to almost every song. It was  like a drug to me; I realized how much I had missed my music and I finally had the chance to enjoy it again.  I had to force myself to turn it off and go sit down when tiredness of the day trumped the music.

As I am writing this, I am thinking of how fortunate I am that my health has returned almost to normal and I am enjoying things that I couldn’t do a year ago.

What a difference a year makes!

Yours In Lyme Adventures,

TWL

 

 

 

 

 

New Laws for 2017

 

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With the advent of a new President, laws will be overturned, changed, and created.  I began thinking about the laws of my own castle, and came up with a few for my family.

Here are a few laws I’d like to put in place for my family this year.

Dishwasher Law

Whoever runs the dishwasher must empty it within 12 hours of said action. And all items in the dishwasher must be put back in their correct place.  If the emptier is unsure of an items location, that person must inform the Queen within 1 hour and learn where the item should be placed. It should not be left on the kitchen counter for the Queen to later find and put away.

Clause #1: Any pots or pans that are washed and left on the stove to dry must be put away within 12 hours of drying.

Clause #2: Any plastic items left on the kitchen counter to dry must be put away within 12 hours of drying.

Clause #3: When the dishwasher detergent gets down to 5 tablets, the Queen must be informed so more can be purchased.  This clause also includes dish soap, hand soap, shampoo, paper goods, and other home cleaning and personal cleansing items when they become low and need to be replaced. Users shall not use up all products without having replacements readily available.

Personal Belongings Law13563367_10206797327347133_996769700_n

Whatever personal belongings are NOT placed in their correct place within 12 hours of being left all over the castle, the Queen has the direct authority to do whatever she wishes with said item(s). The King and Princess have NO AUTHORITY on this matter and must abide by this law. The Queen has jurisdiction over all areas of the castle, including the kitchen counter, kitchen and dining room chairs, living room couch, staircase, bedrooms, and bathrooms.

This includes but is not limited to keys,  belts, hats, shoes, winter wear, backpacks, toys, and other personal items. The owner of the item(s) may or may not see the item(s) ever again, depending on the mood of the Queen.

Laundry Law

All folded laundry shall be placed neatly in the owner’s drawers and not left on floors, chairs or in baskets.  Any laundry left in these areas longer than 24 hours will be subject to removal by the Queen. (See Personal Belongings Law for clarification of the fine for breaking this law.)

Tomato Sauce Lawimg_0693

If you made sauce, you must clean up the spatters on the stove upon completion of cooking.   This law also applies to when sauce is reheated on the stove. The Queen shall always have non-toxic cleaners available.

Box Law

All boxes shall be either burned or ripped up upon opening and emptying of the boxes. Boxes shall not be thrown down the basement stairs left to create a pile of cardboard resembling the Eiffel Tower or the New York skyline.

Royal Pet Law

Whomever is the first to arrive home must feed the Royal Pet food and water.  The Queen will provide food and bowls for said job.

Clause #1: If a subject ‘forgets’ to feed the Royal Pet, that subject shall be forced to eat food of the Queen’s choice.

Clause #2: More than one incident of not feeding the Royal Pet will result in further punishment to be determined by the Queen at the time of the infraction.

 

Healthy Eating Law

20160525_121345_resizedAll members of the castle must try kale and refrain from any grimacing or negative comments. Punishment for breaking this law will be determined at the time of the infraction.

 

Do you think they these laws will can be implemented and followed ?

Yours in New Year Adventures,

TWL

 

 

The Holiday No One Talks About

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It’s start of the holiday season, and just coming off of the bazillion Thanksgiving posts from grateful people, we are now inundated with posts of people’s decorated Christmas trees.

I, for one, boycott decorating for Christmas until the first weekend in December. I say “boycott” with love and affection because I just can’t enjoy one holiday by rushing into another. And truthfully, I still haven’t put away all my dishes from Thanksgiving yet, so I’m not ready to make another mess in my home without cleaning up from the one I already have right in front of me.

And besides, there’s still ONE more unnamed holiday event that I need to get through before putting up the tree and lights. Mother Nature sponsors this magnificent occasion, and yet it doesn’t get a special date on the calendar. Instead, we recognize this as an entire SEASON of colorful joy, known simply as FALL, or more delicately, as AUTUMN. And the crowning event of the Autumnal Season is that glorious holiday, Leaf Raking.img_0429

Now, I know what your thinking. How is leaf raking a holiday? Well, naturally, fellow New Englander, it IS a holiday since we go through the same stresses of holiday cheer and angst for raking leaves as we do for celebrating any other date on the calendar.

Let’s take a look, shall we?

First, there is the anticipation of the event. As the weeks roll from September to October to November, we anticipate the joy of fall, the changing of the leaves, and the cooler temperatures. Much like any other special event, I look forward to fall to temper my days and my wardrobe. Fall makes me realize what a great life we do have in New England and how lucky I am to be surrounded by maple and oak trees. Waiting for the hallmark leaf-raking event is like waiting for that suprise gift at Christmas or my birthday. It’s just looming in my future, an ever-present invisible force in my life that continues to create more excitement and wonder as the days draw cooler and darkness falls sooner. When  the leaves start to signal their arrival by gracefully floating to the ground in my yard, I know that the holiday is soon approaching . The only difference between the gift receiving events and the leaf-raking holiday is that not one tree ever thanks me for my leaf raking skills, and I don’t thank the trees for their bountiful yearly gifts, either.

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This year, the leaf raking celebration took on an added element: wood stacking from a felled tree. Oh, joy!

Next comes the actual pre-planning of when to rake so the town can collect the leaves. Just like any other celebration, leaf raking requires preparation, and in order for it to be a wonderfully remembered event, all the little details need to be attended to before the big day. Between Mother Nature and the local paper, I can determine when our leaves will be picked up, and then I can begin to plan when to start to rake. (Luckily, we don’t have to bag our leaves where we live…that would add another whole layer of planning!)  Raking before rain or snow hits is extremely important. Nothing breaks the blissful leaf raking spirit than soggy leaves that have been left too long to create mold on the underlying grass. Personally, I like to savor this holiday, much like you savor a delicious piece of chocolate or dessert, and do a little raking at a time.  My husband, on the other hand, likes to wait until all the leaves have fallen before participating.  But this type of thinking leads to wet leaves, colder temperatures, and generally a longer celebration. Every once in a while, praying for strong winds to blow some of the leaves out of my own yard and into the neighbor’s crosses my mind when planning for the upcoming leaf raking day. But this type of prayer always back fires.  Mother Nature somehow works it out with God to make the wind blow the neighbor’s leaves back into my yard, so I strongly advise not wasting your prayers on this self-serving invocation.

Then comes the actual day of leaf raking. Hallelujah! We’ve been waiting and waiting with our rakes in hand for this sacred day for months!  Dressed in our fall raking clothes, hats, and gloves, I want to get the holiday festivities underway as soon as possible, much to my football-loving husband’s disappointment. He’d rather stay inside and watch the 500 football games on television instead extracting the million or so leaves that we have out from under every bush and hasta plant, between the fence, and under the patio furniture. img_0424

It’s usually on a Saturday morning when we celebrate leaf raking together, and if we’re lucky, it is a sunny one. Gathering up the holiday tools like the tarp, the blower, rakes, and electrical cord isn’t too much of a hassle, but it is at this point where celebrating this joyous event takes a drastic turn for the worse. No matter how much planning or work that is done in advance, there is always anger and bitterness that comes instead of rejoicing in Mother Nature’s leaf raking ceremony.

On the days when the leaves are dry and brittle, it is pleasurable to rake if my husband and I show up with the right attitude. But adding one little change to the environment, like a whipping wind for instance, our attitude shifts very quickly, giving just the right spark to light our short fuses. I hear Mother Nature’s silent laugh as the wind continues to howl, causing the tarp not to want to be placed on the ground and the leaves to exit quickly from where they were placed. Of course, this stressful situtation forces us to speak to each other in flamboyant language, bringing unexpected color and excited gestures to the experience. These words cause a rift to rise between us, completely changing the festive tone of the event from delight to dread.

img_0430Aside from the wind whipping issue, our own ideas of how to appreciate this particular holiday to its fullest potential often cloud our pleasure. Take this common scenario: my husband wants to lug the leaf-filled tarp one way, and I want to go another way and I wonder aloud in a sharp and fiery tone, “Why are you going that way?”  This ignites some anger and makes my husband, the lead person on the tarp, to walk faster, thus pulling the tarp in such a manner that I lose my grip on the tarp. Leaves tumble out, creating another pile needing to be raked and extending the anger jamboree.

Another common issue is that my husband walks faster than me, so I can’t keep up, and I literally have to run with the tarp in hand to the curb without tripping. As you can imagine, I do trip, and more colorful words ensue between the two of us as leaves continue to tumble out of the tarp.

Pace also impacts our raking. Typically, my husband rakes more quickly and thoroughly than I do. And because of this, we are often in competition with each other to get the leaves done our own way. I’d rather take lighter trips with the tarp to the curb whereas my husband would rather fill it so it weighs as much as a blue whale and then drag me behind, tripping and cursing.  Clearly, our pace and viewpoints are no match for the glory in leaf raking.

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Then the blower or rakes get misplaced, seemingly miles away from the actual leaves, making it more tiresome to retrieve these items after each turn-over of the tarp. Or one wants to use the blower instead of the rake, or both of us want the blower, and the other is putting the tarp too far away from the leaf pile or heaven forbid, ON TOP OF some leaves! The emotions overflow for hours during this holiday affair, and we are both are thankful once the nightmare of leaf raking is finally over.

The tools are slowly returned to the garage, and the merriment is over until next year. The yard still has leaves that have been missed and will have to wait until spring, because by this point, I don’t really care if every leaf hasn’t made it to the curb. I just want to sit down and watch the 5o0 football games we missed.

I just love the holidays, don’t you?

Yours in HOLIDAY adventures,

TWL

That’s What You’re Thankful For?

Here are 5  items that a year ago, I wouldn’t have put on my ‘thankful’ list. My, how times have changed!

My Nutritionist, Maureen Wasik

Maureen, without you,  I wouldn’t be eating all the green vegetables and protein that I need to function like a semi-normal human being.  Heck, before last December, I didn’t even HAVE a nutritionist! And thankfully, I’ve not had to go back to you since the summer since I’ve kind of surpassed what I needed your expertise for in terms of my own food intake and needs.  But truly, if I hadn’t found you when I did, I wouldn’t be as healthy as I am now. Thank you.  (I still haven’t eaten liver since that first time….I hope you understand.)

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Kale and Brussel Sprouts, you are the two greens who have helped to turn my cells around and give me back some of my energy lost from Lyme. A year ago, you wouldn’t even be on my grocery list, let alone in my refrigerator! Now, you are my friends that I love to eat and must have every.single.week.  I find that when I can’t get my fix of roasted brussel spouts with garlic and bacon, I’m missing you terribly..not in the same way that I miss chocolate, but almost. Thank you.

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Green tea, you have allowed me to have one more fluid to drink besides water, and for this, my taste buds are truly appreciative.  I love to have some kind of ‘taste’ in what I eat and drink, and without you, I’d be stuck drinking plain.old.water. Thank you for giving me something different to drink each day, as well as provide some more ‘green’ in my diet.

Olive Oil

You truly know how to make a gal happy!  Just a few turns of you around the pan, and my eggs easily release and taste delicious, too! You also help keep my cholesterol and blood pressure low. And it goes without saying, my kale and brussel sprouts just wouldn’t be the same without you.

My Woo Woo Guy, Dan Court

And last but not least, Dan Court, my “woo woo” guy, you have started me on a healing road with the supplements that I faithfully take. I call you my “woo woo” guy because truthfully, your methods are so “woo woo” to my own experience.  And yet, your non-Western medicine methods helped me tremendously when the medical community, with their regulations and man-made medicines and by the book diagnoses, weren’t correct and didn’t work.  Yes, you are a long drive away from my home, and yes, I wish you took insurance to make my wallet a bit more full. BUT….had I not heard of you from a friend of a friend of my husband’s ,  I believe that I wouldn’t be as well as I am.

And I most certainly wouldn’t be back at work handling my 20 scholars with the full energy level that I currently have and need this year!

Thank you for opening my eyes and getting me back on the road to wellness!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Yours in Lyme Adventures,

TWL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Work Smarter, Not Harder

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Today, the weather is beautiful outside with no humidity, and I’m feeling relatively normal for me, so it’s a ‘cook in bulk’ day today.

I was advised that I need to do this, since I have such a limited diet and must prepare fresh meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Every. Single. Day.

It’s taken me a while to figure out what I can eat as well as how much I should eat. I also know that once I start a task, I have to stay in close proximity in order to finish it. Otherwise, the short-term memory function in my brain shuts off, and lunches are left partially complete on the counter, laundry is left in the washing machine for days, and animals don’t get fed.

So, I pulled out the chicken, bacon, and tea kettle to made my bulk food. After putting the meat in the oven, and turning on the timer, I went back to into my happy little office to working on a few writing projects.

My attention span is short and quick, like the squirrels that zip up the oak and maple trees in my yard. Writing work is interrupted by taking my Scrabble and Dice turns, checking my Twitter, Facebook and Word press accounts, reading and perhaps following random writings of bloggers, and responding to anyone that comments on a post or follows me. I get up to meander around the house, check on my blooming perennial garden outside, open a few windows, put some odd objects left on the counter or dining table away, water my plants. It’s like I have ADD with a hefty dash of Alzheimer’s sprinkled in. Quite a combination.

I  smelled the bacon instead of hearing the timer.…triggering me to get up and go back into the kitchen. The meat was done.

I decided today to actually cut up all the meat before storing it, since I always cut it up when I eat it in one of my three main kale and meat combinations anyway. Smart, right?

My green tea is brewing in the kettle. I like to keep a glass container of it in the fridge to drink so I have some variety between tea and water. My new batch for today will be ready to drink.

I also have some fresh kale that I need to chop in my Ninja. It’s a pain to do, but it definitely helps having it all ready to toss in a salad or a pan of olive oil. And I recently discovered you can kale and brussel sprouts frozen, too. Victory in the kitchen will be mine!

 

Now if I could just remember to close the cap on my water bottle next to my laptop….

Yours in Lyme Adventures,

TWL

Losing With Lyme Makes You A Winner!

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I grew up and still live in Connecticut, where Lyme disease was first discovered in 1975. I just recently heard through a cousin about a connection between lab experiments at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center in New York and Lyme, Connecticut. Smaranda Dumitru writes about the possible connection and the medical community’s attentively blind eye approach to this rampant disease, on the State University of New York at New Paltz’s website, Tick Talk.

Whether you believe in the Plum Island/Lyme disease connection or not, according to the CDC, over 300,000 people are diagnosed each year.

Even though I had heard of Lyme, Connecticut, and I had heard of Lyme disease, I was completely ignorant of what it can do to the human body until I contracted it.

Having Lyme disease has opened up my life to so many new discoveries about myself. One of the greatest discoveries is unlike that awful meal at your favorite restaurant or your idiotic ex-boyfriend, Lyme disease is a lasting, every changing relationship that never gives up on you!

It’s not all that dreadful–you really can benefit from having Lyme disease. Below are some of the positive losses that you can experience living with Lyme.

Hair loss

You can save a lot of money on hair coloring, cuts and shampoo.

Memory loss

Now, you really have an excuse for not sending in your child’s field trip money or why you didn’t reply to that birthday invitation!

Energy loss

Now, your spouse or partner can do all those mundane and annoying jobs like wash the windows and empty the cat box.

Job Loss

Yay! All your dreams about not dealing with unrealistic demands and crazy coworkers have come true!

Weight Loss

You can’t eat your favorite foods, but you sure look good in those jeans that used to be too tight!

 

Some other benefits of Lyme disease are you always get complimented on how well you look, even if you feel awful.

You have a bon-fide reason now to stay at home in your jammies and be lazy on the couch.

imagesYou turn into a little detective, honing your research skills to find new treatments, new doctors, new protocols, and new recipes to try.

You reach out to complete strangers for answers and information, willing to try even the most obscure of methods to ease your symptoms. And some of these strangers become new friends.

You really get to know your body and how it reacts to different compounds and foods.

And you find healthier ways to keep on living.

Yours in Lyme Adventures,

TWL

 

http://www.cdc.gov/lyme/stats/humancases.html

https://sites.newpaltz.edu/ticktalk/social-attitudes/story-by-smaranda-dumitru/

 

images from Google images