Thank you!

Dedicated to Chris Teodosio, my loving husband, and Allison, Dave, Emily and Maddie Beggs

lymeheadWell, it’s been about a year and a half since I came down with Lyme and embarked on my adventures. And what a year and a half it has been!

I went from being an energetic, functioning Mom, wife, and Kindergarten teacher, to a bed-ridden one, who was out of work for six months.

I became my own best advocate, needing and finding treatments outside of the regular medical field. I slowly found my stamina and drive come back over many months, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t recognize that I wouldn’t be in this healthy place if it weren’t for my husband. Through a series of connections, he led me to my ‘woo woo’ guy in New York, who has really helped me get my life back.

It was not easy to think “outside the Western Medical box” and go the naturopathic route. It took a huge leap of faith for me to do so, but I had gotten to the point in my illness that I really didn’t have much more to lose, other than more of my health and livelihood.

And that just wasn’t an option for me. 
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My biggest struggle with this illness has been the impact of a no sugar, no wheat, no carbs–basically,  a “no fun food” diet. I have been very faithful to what I call my “kale, meat and green tea” diet. Healthy, but not always embraced in our carb-laden society. Nor what my taste buds really wanted to enjoy, either!

But I think my diligence with the diet and the supplements is starting to pay off a bit.

I just recently started eating my favorite summer lunch: mini mozzarella balls, grape tomatoes, cucumbers, and almonds—topped with dressing made with Apple Cider Vinegar, olive oil, and seasonings.

I’m also drinking more flavored teas (I live on the edge–I brew 3 green tea bags and 1 ginger together for a full pitcher of tea.)  This past weekend, I tried a seltzer with orange flavor after having worked in the yard pretty much all day.  It was both refreshing to be outside that long AND drink the seltzer without pain!  YIPPEE!

But this kismet hasn’t been without the constant support of my family and friends.

My sister posted an adorable picture of her daughters doing the Lyme disease challenge in my honor today. Her caption was, “A little late and a continent away, but we did it for you!”

It made my heart swell and made me a little teary.

Because it’s never too late to show your love and support for anyone.

I realize how fortunate I am that I have experienced so much support from the start of my diagnosis so long ago.  Family members would reach out, some of them daily, and my co-workers and students were so generous with their own time and gifts as well.  I still look at the cards and mementos that I received from time to time; it seems so surreal that I was out of the classroom for so long, and for something that I didn’t even realize I had, until my symptoms became impossible to ignore.

When I went back to work this past fall, my colleagues would often ask how I was feeling. It doesn’t seem like much, but those little interactions often got me through some rough days. Days that had nothing to do with my Lyme, but rough nonetheless.  It showed that people really did care and were thoughtful enough to ask.

And even though I am much better, people still ask about my health and share all kinds of information with me about Lyme, just in case I missed something new that has popped up in the news on Lyme research.

My sister’s photo of my nieces biting into slices of lime is yet another reminder to me  of how even the smallest action, like a card or email or photo, can really boost someone’s spirit.

So, thank you for thinking of me.

Thank you.

Thank you.

Thank you.

And think about how you can support those closest to you.

Love is free…so give it freely!

Yours in Lyme Adventures,

TWL

Friday Love Notes

 

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I went back to work the August after an unexpected medical leave in January 2016.

It’s been good to be back, even with the challenges of a larger group of students with varying levels of specific needs.

One of the things I love about teaching Kindergarten is that I can literally shape how a child views anything–even the most mundane task–just by my reaction or how I present it to them.  Work they need to do becomes “a project” or “a puzzle”. Assessments or small group work  becomes “working with Mrs. T” time –-and everyone LOVES one on one time with the teacher! Even a little post-it lunch box note from Mom turns into a glorious love note. The kids BEAM when I gush, “OH LOOK!!!! Mommy wrote you a LOVE NOTE!!” We read it together and the child toddles off with a smile on his or her face, so happy they got a love note from home.

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Sometimes, the children bring in pictures for me—beautiful Kindergarten drawings of us together, sometimes with a drawing of my faithful puppet Red Word Fred intermingled with the hearts and shapes and colors. This year, I’ve had a few of my scholars  say, “I made you a love note,” handing their treasure over to me when we collect the mail at the start of the day. I gush and preen over each note, thanking the child and putting it up on my bulletin board behind my table. My bulletin board is already filled with these notes, and I decided it was time to give back the love to my students.

This past Friday, I sent each of them home with a love note from me. Since we do mail in the morning, I had to remind them they couldn’t open it up now, or on the bus, or at the YMCA program after school. They had to wait until they got home to share it with their families.

Their reactions were priceless as they were handed folded notes. Some said thank you, some sat there in awe, looking at their name and heart drawn on the front, reminding me of Charlie Bucket when he found the Golden Ticket, and others were literally just beaming with joy and smiles. I had enclosed both a note and a dot-to-dot page. I’m not sure what will transpire as far as an extra little goodie inside each week—I haven’t planned that far ahead– but my goal is to give them each a love note every Friday morning to read at home.fullsizerender

I hope the love gets passed around this year between home and school!

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Yours in Lyme Adventures,

TWL

 

 

The Jewels of Life

I love jewelry. Not costume jewelry, but family jewelry. I love a little glitz and glam on my fingers or hanging from my ears or wrists or neck. But what I love even more that the sparkle and twinkle is the family connection behind the jewels that I wear.

When I wear a piece of jewelry that belonged to a family member, I feel as if it’s a deep connection to that person who is no longer here physically. It’s a small measure that I take pride in doing by the wearing the jewels of their life.

When my daughter was christened, my husband’s family had a christening ring that had been worn by every baby in his family since his oldest sister, who is now in her sixties, was born. He is youngest of ten, and I believe that ring was even worn by his father when he was christened. Truly, it is a family treasure, and I loved that my daughter was able to be a part of such a rich family tradition. We have a beautiful picture of her with the little diamond gold band around a tiny finger, a length of ribbon secured through it to her dress as well.

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Even diamond chips are a girl’s best friend!

The first pair of grown-up earrings I ever received were a gift from my mother when I turned 13. They are little gold triangles with diamond chips in them. Not very flamboyant, but I treasured those earrings and still have them. She also gave me a pretty amethyst and gold bracelet from an antique shop as a birthday gift one year when I was growing up, and still another beautiful garnet pendant another year. I love these pieces because they are not traditional, and I wonder about the women who wore them before me. I wear them often and people will comment on them I because they are so different.

 

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Family charms that hang from my wrist.

My husband just recently had a charm bracelet put together for me of with various charms that I have collected over the years. He had given the bracelet to me early on in our relationship, and now, almost 20 years later, I finally have it adorned with various charms from two of my grandmothers, my mother, and his mother. All of these women have passed on, but I treasure having the bracelet to wear to keep them close to me.

I also have beautiful pieces from Italy. My mother in law went years ago, and brought me back a pair of gold hoop earrings that I love and wear almost every day. My husband and I also went four years ago, and I purchased two pairs of earrings that just scream “Renaissance” at me. I just adore them and but even more than the earrings, I relish in the stories of the women that could be behind them.

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Italian earrings from Tuscany

I’m in love with pieces that belonged to both my mother and grandmother that have been graciously given to me to keep. A cameo pin that I put on a chain, a gold and pearl bracelet, and many pairs of stud earrings are a few of my favorites. I also have several cocktail rings that belonged to my grandmother. One is a stunning garnet ring that I wear with my garnet pendant. It’s almost like the two pieces were meant to be together.

I also have been wearing two rings on my right hand, one, which was my mother’s, and the other which was my mother in law’s. While I would rather both women be here right now to share in my life with my husband and daughter, I am thankful that I have these pieces to keep their lives close and remembered each time I wear them.

 

What special objects in your life keep you connected to loved ones?

Yours in Lyme Adventures,

TWL

 

 

Blog Quote Challenge #2

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I nominate the following bloggers to fulfill the 3 Day Quote Challenge:

https://prettyflyforawhitemom.wordpress.com/

https://shelbyslifewithlyme.wordpress.com/

https://readbetweenthelyme.com/

 

Don’t forget to:

Thank the person who nominated you.

Select 1-3 quotes for 3 days to post on your blog.

Pick 3 bloggers to continue to love of quotes!

 

Thanks to anaprose for nominating me for this challenge.  Check out her work! https://anaprose.wordpress.com/

Have a great day, everyone! xoxo

Yours in Lyme Adventures,

TWL

 

 

 

 

Generosity

generosity

Dedicated to my family

I’ve been noticing little glimmers of love and generosity since Lyme has become my best friend and worst enemy. It’s hard to keep a positive outlook at times when you notice new symptoms cropping up, a reminder of how clever and persistent Lyme disease can be. But finding generosity in my life is one of the ways I use to keep myself from going down that dark rabbit hole and never coming back up to feel the sun.

I recently received free samples of soap from two different companies. One is Dr. Bronner’s, and the other is a local company here in Connecticut called Soap What. I had sent out emails asking for coupons so I could try their products, and they quickly responded to me with free samples! I’ve been keeping a loose “soap study” on the different soaps to see how my body reacts. So far, the peppermint Dr. Bronner’s leaves me feeling tingly, but the mild baby one, their shaving soap, and the lavender bar seem to agree with me. I put the bar of Citrus and Herb from Soap What in my bathroom. It smells really nice and doesn’t seem to bother my hands when I wash with it. I’ll continue on with my little study and hopefully find some more positive results and options.

I’ve received so many cards, gifts, and gift cards from co-workers and family. My daughter made me a cute card the other day that I put by my bedside. And I also received two letters from former students last week that brought a smile to my face and made me chuckle. I enjoy these little mementos. They remind me that I need to continue to spread these little joys with others. Taking the time to send little cards and notes to family and friends is a small action that can really lift one’s spirits.

My family and extended family, on both sides, have been very supportive, always asking how I am doing, even though I “look good”.  And that’s the paradox with Lyme. You look good, but inside, you can and often feel lousy. Eating for me is a chore and not a joy anymore, since I am so limited to what my body can handle. Family events can be challenging on my system, but life goes on. I don’t want to be sitting on the bench if I can be out their playing, even if it’s not a home run inning for me at every game.

We had some family here the other night for a little get together. (My husband is the youngest of ten children from an Italian family, so even just a few of his siblings here makes for a big party!) One of his sisters brought a dairy and sugar free dessert for me to try. When we went to her house the next day, she had purchased a special kind of rice chip for me as well. I really appreciated those little gestures. It just affirmed to me that people are thinking of me and are generous with their time in their own way.

When an extended family member was leaving that picnic, she expressed some encouraging and supportive words to me, handing me a Mother Mary stone from Lourdes she dug out of her purse. She told me to rub it and say a little prayer to Mother Mary to help me. I did as I was told, even though I am not officially Catholic. (I think I may go get one of those stones to keep with me. It may just be one of those generous links that will help get me well.)

It’s these little twinkles of love that occur that signal to me of the importance of family connections. I speak with one of my aunts quite regularly, either on the phone or through our Scrabble games on the computer. We check in with each other about our lives and share so many laughs that my stomach hurts. One of my sisters has been sending recipes for me to try, and I keep in touch with other family members via email as well.  My niece and I had a lengthy conversation recently about LUSH, a company that makes all natural makeup, skin, and hair products.  We’re going to take a trip to the mall soon as she is a LUSH expert!  My mother visited a few weeks ago with plants for my garden, and when I visit my parents, they always want to feed me, making sure to ask and prepare  foods I can eat. And my husband has been a great support through all of this. From taking over cooking and cleaning, to buying extra meat for my meals, to checking in each day to find out if I need anything , to just giving a hug or kiss, he’s always there for me and with me when whether I’m having a good day or a more tired one.

It’s the little moments of generosity that make living with a chronic illness a bit more bearable.

Yours in Lyme Adventures,

TWL