Creepy crawly critters…

I was the little girl covered in dirt from head to toe digging for bugs and worms. I was the little girl that appreciated nature and all of the animals and insects it had to offer. I even had a bug collection and a butterfly collection. I would have had every animal that existed if my parents had allowed it. I had books on butterflies and insects. I hatched spider eggs and praying mantis eggs and collected June bugs in July. I had jars of lightning bugs that would glow all night in my bedroom like a nightlight. I used to watch the nature shows on PBS with my mom on nights that my dad worked late. I can remember one day on our farm when two monarch butterflies were attached to one another and that’s when my mom and I had “the talk”. I was 8 at the time. 


I didn’t have a care in the world and never did I imagine that some of my greatest memories are some of the ones that could have caused this horrible disease from hell. I look at nature differently now. I still respect it, but I no longer am carefree when I am outside or even inside for that matter. I cringe when I see spiders, mosquitos, and anything that can bite or suck your blood. I worry about my children. Do I let them be carefree or do I warn them about certain bugs? I don’t want them to be guarded and not have awesome memories of being outside, but yet, it’s not worth it. If I could go back…I would have insisted on being the “bubble girl” and avoided all things that are creepy and crawly. I can honestly say, it’s not worth it. 


But, based on research it’s expected that I already passed Lyme down to my children. Based on research they are now varifying that not just ticks carry Lyme disease and it’s nasty coinfections anymore. 

It’s hard when you are educated enough about Lyme to know the statistics, the research, and the aftermath to turn a blind eye. I lived years in denial, an ignorant bliss…but now I know. I know the damage that Lyme can cause. I see what it does to bank accounts, families, relationships, friendships, and I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy. 

But, I don’t want my kids to live in fear. I don’t want them to worry about something that they may already have been exposed to. But, I also don’t want them to ever have to experience what I’ve been through. I’m honestly at a fork in the road…I don’t know what is the right or wrong thing to do? What is best for my children? What about all the other people out there that don’t know? I worry for everyone. It’s scary. The true reality of Mother Nature. 


What now? 

(I need to emphasize that I have been writing this post for over two weeks now. So some things are outdated, but still relevant.)

As I lay here in my bathtub full of apple cider vinegar and bentonite clay, I can’t help but wonder, “will I be doing this for the rest of my life?” Yes, I write my blogs while I detox…doesn’t everyone? 😜

I spent the majority of the day getting infusions, then I went grocery shopping, then I helped my parents set up for the garage sale, then I came home and did a coffee break, one hour in the sauna, and then ended with my wonderful smelly detox bath. It’s late for me. I have been going to bed around 8:30 every night, but tonight it is 12:30 am. I’ve noticed lately that I’ve been putting myself on the back burner. I haven’t been taking care of myself like I promised myself that I would. What has changed since I made that promise to myself over a year ago? Life

 
Life is always pulling me in a million directions, and to be honest, it’s my reason for living but also my biggest downfall for healing. 

For instance, I’ve been working on this one blog post now for over two weeks and I’m not even sure where I was going with this one???

I do know that I am getting closer to solving my puzzle. I strongly believe that my Lyme and co-infections are under control. My hormones, which are affected by Lyme are finally under control. I’m now on a thyroid pill and I am hopeful that will help with my crippling fatigue. I also started taking quite a bit of iron for my anemia, which has got to help with my lack of energy. I’ve passed three gallstones and my gallbladder pain is completely gone. 

Things are looking up even though this time of year is so busy and I have to be very selective about how much I do in a day or the days to follow. That is the biggest annoyance and probably one of the biggest things “normal” people do not understand. For example, this week I helped chaperone a field trip to the zoo with my son. People don’t realize that the day before I had to sleep for an extra four hours and that the day after I slept for an extra six hours just to be able to pretend for a few hours that my son had a “normal” mother. I watched the children play and thought so many times to myself, “if only they would each give me just a little bit of their energy…the things that I could accomplish.” When I say I’m tired or exhausted, I don’t think most people understand what that really means. I used to think I knew what tired meant, but now I don’t even have the right word to use to describe the exhaustion that I feel. When your legs feel so heavy you don’t think you can walk and have to grab onto the wall to balance yourself, when you think you could fall asleep driving and roll the windows down so you don’t, and when just walking up the stairs to go to bed seems impossible. The debilitating fatigue takes over and sometimes I have no idea how I managed to get through another day. If I didn’t have these fatigue issues, I might almost be able to say that I am fairly close to being normal, or my version of normal. 

The thing is…when one symptom finally is under control it seems like three more appear in its place. I’m not sure if other Lymies feel like that, but it’s a never ending puzzle. So now what am I left with? Well, right now the big focus is on my heart. I see a cardiologist the beginning of June. Most of you know that I was diagnosed with POTS, but the medicine they gave me hasn’t been working as well as they had hoped. Sometimes my heart rate is 145, my average resting heart rate right now is 101. Also, my blood pressure hasn’t been the best. Typically, it’s anywhere from 115/95-124/105. So, off to the cardiologist I go. I’m extremely hopeful that if this issue gets resolved that my fatigue will also improve because my heart won’t be working so hard. I’m pretty much putting all my eggs in this heart basket because I’m running out of options. 


If my fatigue is still bad after the cardiologist appointments then we will explore viruses and toxin loads. I’m very hopeful it won’t come to this because the testing is very expensive, and it’s just ONE MORE THING. 


Nonetheless, I’m grateful for life even when it’s hard and seems impossible. I’m grateful for my kiddos who help motivate me to get better. And I’m grateful for the support of my friends and family, and even more thankful for the ones that take the time to understand the extremely difficult and challenging journey that I am on. 

WARNING: Diarrhea of the mouth…

What a let down life has been lately.  

 
No, it’s not a “woe is me” day it’s just a realistic, reflective type of day. All the following sayings apply and are overused, but nonetheless they apply.

“When it rains it pours.”

“If it wasn’t for bad luck, I would have no luck at all.” 

“It can’t get any worse.”

“We can only go up from here.” 

Blah, blah, blah. (insert eye roll)  

In the past month and a half God has challenged every single person in my life, including myself multiple times. 

My health has been majorly challenged. Not only did I suffer from strep several times this winter, but laryngitis and bronchitis where close friends of mine as well. I not only had weird reactions to my prescribed meds, but now I find out my gallbladder isn’t doing it’s job. I also have a cyst that is creating enormous amounts of pain that we found this month through ultrasound. We also found out my gallbladder was in trouble through ultrasound as well. And, I passed out at the chiropractor’s today. All of these things are so frustrating to me. I eat right, I take my supplements, I detox, I rest, and I am doing everything I can at this point but still feel like I’m drowning. I can barely stay afloat and this is when I am supposed to be getting better and healing more and more, not having major setbacks.   

 
Also, my kids have been sick a lot this winter….more than ever before. And, I automatically go to “they must have Lyme” mode and turn into the biggest worrier/freak ever and basically shove as many vitamins in them as they allow.  

My parents, husband, and extended family and friends have all been challenged the past couple months in some way or another and there are so many challenges that are still unresolved. I feel sorry for everyone right now. I feel bad for complaining so much, but obviously not bad enough to stop complaining! It’s just been majorly hard since we’ve moved, and this was supposed to be my comeback year. And so far, I feel like I’m left with more stress and baggage than one person should ever have to carry.  

  

My insurance is crap. Seriously a piece of crap. They are refusing to pay for things that aren’t even related to Lyme and I’m positive we are going to have to get a lawyer. Why are we paying almost $1,000 a month for insurance when it doesn’t even apply? Why? Which brings me to my next point. Why is this world so corrupt? Does anyone see a silver lining? Does anyone see things getting better? Financially speaking Illinois is a mess, our politics are corrupt, school systems are out of control,  and it’s all so embarrassing. So after several hospital visits this past week and the millions of labs I had done, I’m sure I will love getting that bill in the mail especially when it shows that my insurance doesn’t exist!!! 

Today is the day. Caution: diarrhea of the mouth has commenced. 

It’s just too much. When is it going to be easy? When we will not suffer and struggle? When will people prioritize and realize what is REALLY important? When will we be floating down the river instead of drowning or barely staying afloat? Why is everything so hard? And I’m not even specifically talking about myself here. Just in general…it seems that most people are struggling and that life is just stressful and challenging. Why? Are there lessons to be learned? Sure…I’m sure there are and I’m sure they are invaluable, but there is a fine line between learning a lesson and growing from it, to what we have been experiencing lately. AKA: our breaking point. It’s a slippery slope that we are standing on. I could easily turn my back on God, but I know that wouldn’t solve anything and really just make things worse. But, God…if you happen to be reading blogs today I would kindly like for you to please just let some of us have a break for awhile. No more lessons and no more pain. Just a short break, a time to catch our breath…please.  

  

I would love to wake up and say, “wow, what a great beautiful day and everything is going just as planned.” I want that so badly. I want normalcy and happiness and no worries or fear.  
    

 

And side note-why in the hell did they ever start posting these visual recipes on Facebook that all seem to have bacon or chocolate in them? Seriously? Cause it’s not already hard enough? Me over here eating my birdseed, air, and water…drooling from the mouth watching those damn videos. It’s like a train wreck, I can’t look away.  

Vent over…for now. I’m honestly starving and want to go find something to eat because just thinking of that brownie and Oreo video I watched this morning is killing me. 

And, while we are talking about food, why is it that the healthy food is so much more expensive? And why is it that all I want are Oreos? 

Seriously this time, my vent is over. 

On a more positive note…my gallbladder may be treatable, but I have to drink some pretty gross stuff to help it work. I’m desperate though to keep all my organs and to avoid surgery at all costs, so I pretend it’s a nice little cocktail three times a day. I am also alive and so is my beautiful family. We have a home and warm beds. We have each other and we have love. It could be so much worse…I know this, like I said, “it’s just one of those days.”  

 
Thanks for listening. 

A get out of jail free card…

“In sickness and in health” we both said to each other grinning ear to ear with tears rolling down our cheeks.   

  
Our wedding day was magical. He looked so handsome and we had all of our loved ones gathered around us to celebrate our big day. Our love for one another was contagious, and that day was perfect in my eyes. It even rained during the ceremony, but then it was beautiful and sunny afterwards. They always say, “rain on your wedding day is good luck.” I knew we didn’t need the luck, we were meant to be…rain or no rain.  

  
Like every couple, we have had our share of up’s and down’s. Concerns about finances, differences in parenting styles, lack of communication, making family a priority versus other things in this world, and the list goes on. We even have had the petty arguments of leaving things out and not putting them away, or dripping or spilling on the kitchen floor and not wiping it up, chewing too loud, not having all the light switches synced perfectly, and that list goes on and on. But, never did I imagine that life would throw us one of the biggest curve balls at the age of only 30. Our relationship soon began to change. It went from arguing about finances to how are we ACTUALLY going to pay for all these medical bills? It went from trying to prioritize family time to MAKING time for me to rest and be alone. It went from thinking our biggest problem was communication to, am I going to LIVE another year?  

  
I know many of you can probably imagine how hard and difficult our lives have been the past two years. I know many of you can relate to our issues and disputes. But, what most people won’t be able to understand is how hard we have had to fight to stay together. I’m not saying you can’t imagine it, but until you have truly lived with a loved one that has a chronic illness…the sacrifices and the pain is something that you just can’t truly comprehend until you have been there. I thank God that many of you have never been there. That many of you will NEVER be there. Your greatest disputes or arguments will be about chores, or money, or church, or in-laws, etc and I pray that you don’t have to experience the pain and hardships that we have been forced to experience the past two years. 

I go back to our wedding day often and wonder if we really truly understood the vows we made to each other that day. I think “in sickness and in health” was one of those things at the time that meant I would have to buy him cough syrup and baby him when he got a cold. I think it meant I would clean up his mess after puking from the flu. Temporary sickness. Nothing that would be life changing and permanent

But here we are…at a fork in the road. 

Do we continue to try and make this work? Do we stay together because it’s what we promised to do over seven years ago? Yes, we both love each other tremendously, but I can see the toll it is taking on my family. Of course no one knew that I would get sick. No one knew that life would become so hard and challenging on a daily basis. Would we have still made those vows if we could of had a glimpse in the future? I would have, but then again, I’m not the one that is watching his wife fight so hard to survive. 

I see my husband struggling to stay afloat. I see him and his anger, his bitterness, and his depression taking over our once beatufully flawed marriage. To be honest, it makes me want to punch God in the throat. Too extreme? I don’t think so. It makes me want to scream and cry and throw in the towel. How much more can one take before breaking? How much more can Wes take before he drowns? Yes, life isn’t fair, but the cards that we’ve been dealt and the string of bad luck shows me two things. That life is so much harder than anyone could have predicted and that we don’t deserve this. 

My one year anniversary is coming up from when I left for treatment and my birthday is also coming up. I honestly don’t remember a lot of last year and feel conflicted with my upcoming birthday. I don’t feel like celebrating. I don’t feel like my life is where it needs to be. And I know my relationship with my husband is in dire need of help. 

  

   

  
How can I be full of encouragement and strength when all I want to do is hide under a rock and cry? How can I be strong and positive for Wes when all I want to do is give up? What do we do? Do I just hand him a get of jail free card and tell him it’s okay? Do we try to save what is so precious and special to both of us, but also so broken? 

There are so many lessons to be learned from this journey and some I appreciate so much and they are invaluable, but some are a very hard pill to swallow. I have read many articles on the impact a chronic illness has on its entire family. I’ve also read ways to improve your relationship, but more importantly I’ve read many people’s stories about separation and divorce and the statistics are incredibly high. But, why wouldn’t they be? Think about it…your entire wold has been flipped upside down. There are no breaks and there are no redo’s. Your significant other has two choices…tough it out even when you feel like you have nothing left in you, or leave and be free of the misery and insane amount of responsibility that comes along with chronic illness. The burdens that my husband has to carry are too heavy and too large for anyone, and like I said before…we all have our breaking points. 

What I have learned over the past few years, is that nothing in life that is worth anything is easy to obtain. People work hard to stay afloat and reap the benefits. If marriage was easy we wouldn’t see so many divorce and give up. 

My husband is strong and wants to do the right thing. He doesn’t want to separate or get a divorce, but the guilt I have for making his life miserable is also a heavy burden for me to carry. 

This blog is coming from my heart and soul. I am scared for our future, our children’s future, and our livelihoods. 

More often than not, actions speak louder than words. So may our actions from now on speak volumes about the love and respect we have for one another. I pray that our hearts soften, that our anger and resentment fades, and that we draw not only closer to one another but also closer to God. Because it’s obvious we can’t get through this alone. It’s obvious that we are struggling and yes, we’ve been dealt a shitty hand, but giving up now doesn’t seem to be an option. We are both in it for the long haul and I just pray that God grants us wisdom, grace, love, patience, understanding, compassion, and empathy to get through these dark days. 

I strongly feel that brighter days are yet to come. I have hope, and yes giving up would be easy, but that is definitely not the answer. As I’ve said before, He knows how much we can handle. He knows we are strong. We can handle this together with good communication and patience. But we both have to want to. 

I will be brutally honest, today, I gave Wes the option of quitting. I felt it was time for me to be blunt and honest about where this was going. We are both miserable and I just knew if he could get away from me he would be better. Once again, my assumptions were proven wrong. So here we are…we met in high school and fell in love. We cannot predict the future but we have control over the choices that we make. Although, this has been the hardest thing we have ever had to experience…I cannot let it steal my joy. I cannot let it steal Wes’ joy. 

As always, we will survive and make it but at that moment and in that moment, sometimes giving up feels like the easiest solution. Today, Wes chose the hard route and the route that we promised each other over seven years ago. We are a family and we WILL get through this.  

    
    
    
   

How did I get here?

I’ve had one of THOSE days, you know what I’m talking about….an official day from hell. 

Everything that could go wrong did. I won’t get into the details and air my dirty laundry to the world, but I can’t help and stop and think to myself, “how the hell did I get here?”  

 
As I heard children playing outside our unpacked, chaotic house this afternoon I couldn’t help but feel sorry for myself. As I am drowning in my tears and sorrow, again, I ask, “how did I get here?” What went wrong? Where did I miss a step? What did I do to deserve this? Why me? Why us? How could I have prevented this? 

My biggest concern everyday is making sure I wake up and do as much as I can (like I have to prove something to myself) and as I do this I am missing all the fun because my main thought and goal is purely SURVIVAL. 

 I don’t know about you, but I have started dreading weekends because it’s so draining. How sad is that? I am incredibly jealous of all of the moms out there that can ride their bikes with their children, go to the park, run around and play ball, I ENVY you. I want that. The life that I’m living now is not me living…it’s me surviving. I want to LIVE. I don’t want my kids to think that their mommy is a bad mommy, or my husband to think his wife isn’t fulfilling his needs. 

I’m going to be brutally honest, I am extremely happy to finally have a home, but moving freaking sucks. It’s never ending. It’s draining and it’s so frustrating because I see things that NEED to be done but don’t have the energy to do them. This is supposed to be an exciting and happy time in our lives…but I feel nothing but fear, anxiety, disappointment (in myself), envy, and regret. I regret being a burden to my family. I have such an immense guilt that will not go away for anyone that has helped me in the past year and a half. I have guilt for not being a good mother and for not being a good wife. 

How can I help others when I can’t even help myself? How can I be positive and inspiring when I’ve had a day like today?  

I see so many families on different social medias that are traveling or going on little adventures here and there, and instead of me being happy for all of you I am jealous. I will be the first to admit it. Jealous that I couldn’t do it even if we had the means, and jealous that we don’t actually have the means to do it anyways. Let me set the record straight, it’s not that I’m not happy for all of you…it’s just that I can’t help but be envious. As 32 quickly approaches I look back on my life. And for the first 25 years I LIVED. I got to travel, and learn, and exercise, and eat whatever I wanted, and to just be a free spirit. The artistic, creative, free spirit that I was born to be that also could get me into trouble, but boy did I LIVE and was it worth it. 

If I had known that my life was going to turn out like this I would have done more LIVING. My quality of life isn’t good…it’s not as bad as it was this time last year, but it’s not good. It’s depressing and pathetic. I feel like a waste of space…it’s hard to admit that I feel that way, but I do. Everyone one else is living and I’m static watching the world pass me by. 

Stuck. Miserable. Pathetic. Embarrassed. Regretful. Angry. Envious and most importantly, SACRED. Is this my life now? Does my world have to revolve around detoxing and supplements? Will it be like that forever?  

Or will I one day be able to say, “What a wonderful life we have, I’m so glad we got here.”

Giving up, but NOT giving up…

Why is this title contradicting? 

I wish it was a simple explanation and something easy to talk about, but rarely in life is anything easy anymore. 

Since being diagnosed…I’ve had to give up so many things. Things that in my mind, defined who I was. I had to give up my job, my home, my income, my passions, and my free time. I’ve had to modify my parenting skills, choose my battles, decide what is worth it, I’ve had to modify my duties as a wife, my ability to clean and cook (let’s face it, I was never a good cook), and my ability to provide for my family. I’ve had to cancel dates with friends and family, I’ve had to spend hours upon hours hooked up to IVs, while traveling from one doctor to another. I’ve had to literally give up all of the things that I thought “defined” me. I’ve had to swallow my pride and apply for disability, and I’ve had to resign from a job that I so passionately loved. I’ve had to give up so much in order to maintain where I am at today. Not to mention all the sacrifices that those around me have had to make also.   

  
Now, let me tell you why I’m not GIVING up. Yes, I had to give up and let go of a lot of things. One of them which was extremely hard was admitting I wasn’t able or ready to return to work. But, I am not giving up this fight. I am not going to let this disease rob me of everything and those things that I have had to sacrifice are HUGE, but in my mind, it is worth it. Why is it worth it? Because, what good am I to any of my students if I can’t stand for long periods of time? What good am I to my students if I can’t be there every day for them? What’s more important at this time in my life? That’s a really hard question. But, I am first a wife and a mother and a survivor.  So, I had to make the choice, and I will admit it was a hard pill to swallow. But, at this point my health and my family come first. I need to use whatever energy I have left to teach my children right from wrong, to show my husband how much I love him, and to set a good example for my family. It’s not that teaching isn’t a huge part of me or a huge priority in my life, it’s just that at this time I have to pick my battles and at this time I NEED to be there for my family more so than for my students.   

   

I recently had to submit my letter of resignation and as hard as that was, a weight has been lifted from my shoulders because I can now focus more on my family and myself. It pains me to think that I will probably never teach again. But, I have NOT given up on the fact that there is something out there for me and when I am healthy it will be waiting for me. I know that I will make a difference again, even if it isn’t through teaching. I will make an impact and I will change lives. But first, I need to focus on me. I am better…don’t get me wrong, but I’m not where I want to be yet. My time will come, but I am so saddened that I will not be returning to work.  
 
Never in a thousand years did I imagine my life would turn out this way. Of course I want to feel sorry for myself, wallow in my tears and regrets, but I know that isn’t good for anyone. So, I am giving up a lot but I am NOT giving up.  
 

Genetics…just may save your life. 

Genetically speaking…I am a hot mess. I guess I have my family to thank for that. (Love you anyways) 😘

Who would have thought that this art loving, free spirited woman would ever be so interested in genetics and pathways and methylation. Homozygous vs. heterozygous. No, that’s not some rock band out there or a wrestler’s name…which I would have thought a couple years ago if we are going to be honest.  

  
Seriously though, if you are struggling mentally or physically and can’t seem to find the answers you are searching for than you need to check out 23andMe. I cannot emphasize how important this is!  
  
Do you take supplements but don’t notice a difference? For most people genetics doesn’t play a huge role in your everyday life, but for people that are struggling with chronic illnesses it could be the missing piece to your puzzle.  
  
Methylation, detox pathways, etc. are all so important to understand. Is this supplement good for you? Should you use this as a detox method? The list goes on…I received my raw genetic data and was completely amazed. I was literally doing things and taking things that ended up being harmful to me when I had good intentions the entire time. I would not have known my intolerance to sulfur existed which means no Epsom salt baths, foods high in sulfur, and no glutathione. For the non-nerdy people out there that get to live “normal” lives this probably means nothing to you, but in the world of chronic illness this speaks volumes.  
  
Why am I a naturally anxious person? Easy…genetics. No it’s not the way I was raised, it’s not because of my chronic Lyme disease even. Why am I a perfectionist? Because of my genetics. Why don’t I crave or like red meat? Genetics. Why did I get Lyme disease? Genetics. Why can’t I sleep good? Genetics. Why do I feel bad when I eat broccoli? Genetics. The list goes on and on.  
  
I cannot emphasize how much this digging into my genetic data has made my life so much easier. I now understand that I can’t take b12 or even methylated b12…I’m made for hydroxy b12. I have so many homozygous genes that I lost track, pages upon pages, and that means that my sweet little babies at least have one of each of those. Some of those traits won’t be harmful, but some of them could essentially set them up to be walking immune disasters, which petrifies me but I know it’s out of my hands. I have been religiously giving them vitamins already to help with some of these issues already. I am confident now about genetics and I feel that I am capable and able to make these educated decisions. I am now saving money because I got to reduce my supplement load, my body has to digest less supplements, and overall I am feeling healthier and healthier. It’s just another piece to my puzzle, but never have I been more thankful for science. (And this is coming from the girl that avoided it at all costs and only was interested in art for years)  

  
I don’t know about you, but I want to live for a long time and I want others to too. So, best advice out there. Check out 23andMe. You can get free interpretations or you can hire a genetics doctor, which is what I ultimately ended up doing.