Attitude is everything

The latest edition of my herx saga led me straight to the living room floor where a yoga mat awaited my arrival. Every joint in my body was locked up and every muscle was tense and tight. The herx had gripped me suddenly and now its grip was so fierce I could only think of two ways to handle the pain. Cry or do yoga. I wanted to choose “cry” but, a second before tear production thought better of it and chose yoga instead.

On my mat, a faithful friend during previous herx episodes, I hoped the bends and twists of my yoga practice might assist in loosening rubber-bands coursing through muscles. It had always worked marvelously before but not this time. Not this herx. No, this herx had my very core in an iron clad grip and it wasn’t giving up easily. I couldn’t twist in a lunge. In fact, I couldn’t even stay stable enough to stand in the lunge! I teetered and tottered on legs that had, in less than an hours time, become stuck stiff.

When I tipped completely over and into the coffee table while trying to return to a plank position I became utterly frustrated. I had wanted to step on the mat and conqueror that nasty herx with valor and enthusiasm. I would show that herx whose boss of this body – me! I’d dominate the herx by nailing a strong and powerful dancer pose with poise and grace. But my episode of the herx wasn’t ending like I had hoped. The story book “happily ever after the herx” was not following the climatic scene and triumphant breakthrough I had anticipated.

I have to admit, this just irked me. When the herx made its assaulting arrival I had chosen to conquer it instead of cry about it. Now, where was my reward? Where was the victory? My frustration moved quickly to defeatism and depression, lamenting the physical body I could have were it not for my circumstances….

If it were not for Lyme I could have great balance and stability. If it were not for the ravaging my body has taken I could have strength and stamina. I could have weight and muscle and fat in the places that give women their shape and their curve. If only it were not for this devastating disease I could be nailing ever pose on the mat. It is because I am sick, weak and fragile that I am falling over!

Boom….

It was somewhere around the words “unfair” and “circumstances” in my mind’s dialogue that I fell over and ended up completely sideways on the ground.

And I laughed. Oh, how I laughed.

Why laughter, you may ask? Because it was the moment in the saga where a climatic decision must be made by the main character. She must choose to take give up with anger or give in with grace. For this character, grace spilled out in the form of laughter as I chuckled at the pure ridiculousness of my predicament. My physical predicament – being sideways on the living room floor when I had intended to be upright – was just the most obvious. My attitude’s predicament was the one that came to mind when I hit the floor.

Up until that moment of impact I was going through the motions while my mind told my heart that I was justified in my frustration. My pain, discomfort and declining condition “entitled” me to have a bad attitude. Or so I said. Thank God, I hit the ground and He met me there because I needed to hear the truth.

You, not your circumstances, choose your attitude.

It took forty five minutes of frustration for me to realize that I was playing the role of a victim in the saga of my circumstances. But in that moment I was given the opportunity to choose otherwise. I could choose an attitude of anger or I could choose an attitude of joy. This time around the decision was easy and it was decisively for joy.
After an hour of yoga my muscles weren’t released and my chest still felt stiff but my facial expression was drastically different. Circumstantial everything was the same. It was my attitude that was transformed. Now that’s a “happily ever after” I can believe in.

No Comments Uncategorized

Recovery Tracker

How do you track an invisible illness?

This is a question I’ve failed to answer and a practice I’ve failed to perfect for over seven years. I’ve lost complete track of my illness. All of the symptoms have blurred together in my memory and don’t even ask about my illness timeline. I’ve lost all grip on years, dates and the order of events.

In some respects forgetting is actually a beneficial coping mechanism. If I could remember every step (and misstep) of this journey I would probably become discouraged. In this case, some ignorance is certainly bliss. Forgetting has kept me from being paralyzed by the past and the long road of progressive, chronic illness.

But there is a flip side to the forgetting/losing track coin. Now that I’m on the Lyme healing journey if I forget the severity, complexity and variety of my symptoms I won’t recognize when they start disappearing. When it’s all said and done, I won’t fully appreciate the healing or acknowledge how truly far I’ve traveled on my road to recovery. So in order to make sure I don’t miss a moment of healing I’m renewing my efforts to track my recovery progress.

With a pen and paper I determined to sit down and write any and every sign of improvement that came to mind. I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly I was able to fill the lines. Muscle spasms severity and frequency cut in half… Optic disturbances reduced to an average of once a week instead of daily… Increased heat tolerance… Increased stamina in the evenings.

The simple act of tracking my healing progress opened my eyes to changes great and small, invisible victories and silent wins I nearly missed. By taking an improvement inventory I could see, recognize and rejoice in the exciting steps of healing and recovery underway in my body.

Give it a try, take an improvement inventory and track your invisible progress. I think you may be pleasantly surprised to discover that over the course of your fight you’ve not only been surviving Lyme, you’ve been beating it.

 

No Comments Uncategorized

Loveless in Lyme

I know what you must be thinking (I used to think it, too). “Oh, how sad to be single while sick!”

Lyme coupled with singleness certainly sounds like a recipe for lonely nights. I used to assume that to be in love while sick would somehow soften the blow of the illness. I reasoned that it would be better to be comforted in the arms of love than to cry alone. I thought the life of Lyme would be better endured in love.

I don’t believe that anymore because I have come to understand that singleness in illness is not a curse. It can actually be a blessing and here’s why…

1. Enduring illness alone creates resilience, perseverance and character. This is Romans 5:3-4 in action. Not only that, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Gathering the spiritual fruits offered on the road marked by suffering is a decision made individually. This is good news for the single! To gain perseverance, character and hope does not require a boyfriend or girlfriend or husband or wife. It requires walking the road of suffering with Christ!

2. Illness is stressful. Wait, maybe I put that too simply. Illness is gut-wrenching. It is heart-breaking. It will take you to the end of yourself and than take you even further. It will lead you to the edge of self-destruction. Sickness will cause you to think thoughts of death you never imagined your mind could produce. Now, try coupling that with a marriage or a relationship. Is it possible to have a lasting marriage or relationship in spite of chronic illness? Yes. Is it easy? Not a chance. For those of us who enter into illness as singles and find that we are lonely, remember that it would not necessarily be easier to be married. Being married and ill would be its own unique challenge.
3. Finally, being sick and ill is an opportunity to grow closer to God. There is more time to devote to studying His Word and more quiet time for prayer. By diving into God’s truth and His promises instead of pining for human contact and companionship the spirit is actually strengthened by the purest and only eternal love.

 

For those who find themselves chronically sick and chronically single I encourage you to rethink the state of your relationship status so that you can see the blessings to be had in your single Lyme life.

No Comments Uncategorized

Healing Currents

Hey friends!

If you’re in need of some Lyme encouragement this Saturday evening I invite you to jump on over to Pippy Love and give Healing Currents a read.

Healing from Lyme comes in currents that can make you feel like you are pulled into a sea full of unknowns but take heart because God is in control. He directs the direction of your journey and will never abandon you. Trust in the Lord and relax in His arms, knowing that in His time He will carry you all the way back to shore.

No Comments Uncategorized

The Battle of the Herx

It is the million dollar Herx question: Will you trade worse now for better later?

The Herxheimer Reaction was discovered by none other than Bacterial researchers Jarisch and Herxheimer. While treating syphilis patients with antibiotic therapies the two discovered that the patients kept getting noticeably worse, then better and then worse again and then better again. This cycle continued at the beginning stages, middle stages and even in the late stages of treatment.

What the two men discovered is that when the body’s foreign intruder is found by the antibiotic it isn’t a pretty greeting. I like to think of this way: Bacteria is the enemy. The antibiotics (pharmaceutical/botanical/homeopathic – take your pick) are the good guys determined to eradicate the enemy and all its evil from the face of the earth (or your body). When the good guys discover the hiding place of the enemy and unleash their antibiotic assault war breaks out. The enemy won’t die off without a fight and the Battle of the Herx is their last defiant stand.

In the throws of a Herx Reaction every nasty, debilitating, troubling symptom returns with vengeance and they bring new friends along, too. Pains will travel to new territory. Fatigue will hit an all time low before it goes even lower. Vision might go spotty or it may even take an entire leave of absence. Muscles may spasm with increased intensity and don’t even think about playing loud music. During a Herx Reaction your ears will ring off the hook.

On the surface the Herx Reaction appears troubling. Common sense tells us that treatment should lead to improved health, not drastically diminished condition but common sense can be misleading. The Herx Reaction is a necessary component of the healing process because it is the eradicating of the enemy. If the enemy is not killed and removed from the body the war can never be won. With each battle more of the bacteria is killed, the forces of the enemy are depleted and their capacity to fight diminished.

With the understanding that worse leads to better, the Lyme fighter can courageously answer, “yes” to the million dollar Herx question. Then, armed with antibiotics and the promise of recovery, march into battle with courage and determination that bacteria’s dictatorship of disease will ultimately be defeated and recovery will reign victorious.

No Comments Uncategorized

Gettin’ Oily: Frankincense

If Frankincense was a gift fit for Jesus then it must be good! Upon further investigation into its properties (especially for combating Lyme and its effects), I learned that Frankincense is a powerful oil and a must-have for any at-home apothecary.

So what makes Frankincense so special? Apart from its notable appearance at Jesus’ birth, Frankincense is notable for its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier. This is key to treating Lyme since it becomes neurological as the disease takes over. Frankincense has been shown to help with herx reactions during healing and to reduce the persistent fog known as “lyme brain.” Since the brain sends messages to the rest of the body Frankincense has body-wide benefits, especially when it comes to joints, digestion and immunity.

To use Frankincense I suggest beginning with diffusing. This is my go-to method for testing out how my body will respond to a particular oil. Start with a little – trust me, it goes a long way. One of the very best uses for Frankincense is to dilute it in a carrier oil and use it on the soles of the feet. The uses are seemingly endless. With Frankincense you can not only help aid your Lyme recovery but you can create a healthier life by using it to make your own cleaning and hygiene products.

If you’re gettin’ oily, add a few drops of Frankincense into the mix. The Lyme will hate it but your body will love it.

 

For more reading check out a few of my favorite essential oil online resources:

Dr. Axe

Lyme Brain

Dr. Eric Z

Order Oils

No Comments Gettin' OilyUncategorized

Survival Song

In 1929, after nearly a century of debate over its origin, the United States Marine’s finally secured their hymn. It took two Barbary wars and a whole lot of copyright hoopla but finally the brave and courageous Marines had a song to officially call their own. But the Marine’s aren’t the only one’s with their own special song. Every football team has one and they call it their “fight song.” Every couple has one and they call it their “love song,” although I’m all in favor of calling those “fight songs,” too. Because, let’s face it, anything worth having – from a successful marriage, to a victorious battle or a touchdown in overtime – takes a fight. And every fight should have its own song.

So today is the day to choose your song. You can refer to it as your “fight song” or maybe your “battle hymn.” I’m calling mine a “survival song.” Your song doesn’t need to have words or it can have so many words it rivals the eleven verses of “For All the Saints.” There are no rules for your song selection and no need to concern yourself with copyright infringement. This special song is just for you. It is what motivates and encourages you with a tune, lyrics and melody that strengthens your resolve and infuses you with courage to keep up the good fight.

Dear friend, let me remind you that you are in a battle. A battle to beat Lyme while keeping your faith and hope in the face of despair and disappointment. The enemy wants to use your illness to defeat you. Don’t let Him. Claim the victory ahead of time. Then sing your survival song.

 

No Comments Uncategorized

*A tip for belt wearers

The first piece of our survival kit has been introduced. It is the belt of truth and it is the foundation on which the rest of our survival rests. It is truth, after all, that sets us free.

Since putting on my belt of truth I’ve been noticing some changes in my survival methods – changes you might be experiencing, too. With my belt of truth I’ve become less knocked down by bad days. I’m less prone to collapse in emotions of defeat. I’m experiencing more resiliency, optimism and hope.

Still I have days where I begin to waver, as if I had no belt at all. Even since purposely putting on my belt I’ve sunk into states of despair and depression. As you can imagine, I’ve questioned the effectiveness of my belt of truth but upon further inspection of my belt, I realized the problem. The belt was lose, not snug. I had to kept reaching down and pulling it up instead of standing tall and wearing it with confidence.`The trouble wasn’t the belt. It was how I was wearing it.

From my belt saga, I’ve learned a valuable lesson about the belt of truth. It was designed by God to fit securely so we can stand tall, filled with the strength to hold up the sword, wear the breastplate and trample our foe. The danger of a loose belt is standing on a constantly shifting, perpetually volatile foundation.

With the belt of truth snug and secure we can confidently face the battles of illness ahead, defeat the enemy and survive Lyme.

 

No Comments SurvivalUncategorized

Survival Kit: Scripture

To beat Lyme or any chronic illness it takes more than bandages, it takes armor. It takes more than first-aid kit, it takes a survival kit.

A Lyme Survival kit isn’t sold on any store shelves – at least not that I’ve seen – but it is offered freely in the Word of God. It is the armor of God offered in Ephesians 6 that is our means of surviving Lyme without succumbing to the physical and emotional destruction deadly disease seek to wage. The only way to escape the external and internal death of disease is to survive in the truth of Salvation.

“Truth” is one of the pieces of the armor that is essential for survival. Ephesians 6:12 associates our very ability to stand with buckling the belt of truth around our waist’s. We need truth when faced with disease that tells us lies, attacks our peace, joy and faith and taunts us with death. When we are up against disease, we need to take it on with truth that teaches us, reassures us and encourages us with abundant, eternal life.

So how should we use the survival kit’s belt of truth? The uses for this belt are endless but I have a go-to truth tip that I’ll share with you. My go-to use for the belt of truth: call on scripture.

With my belt of truth fashioned around my waist I can stand firm and find the strength in the core of my soul to open my Bible wide and proclaim boldly the truths of God. The Bible’s Scripture is so powerful because it speaks strength to weakness, light to darkness and life to death. Scripture tells the truth to the lies of the enemy. The Word of God speaks to all of our needs – physical, emotional, spiritual. Scripture helps us with our words when we don’t know what to pray or even ask how to use our survival kit.

There is not just one single scripture to keep in your belt of truth. The whole Word of God is necessary for survival so keep it in its entirety near by and, for good keeping, write a few on your heart. Here are a few I’ve written on mine:

Psalm 27:1…. Because my light is not in me so Lyme can’t take it. My light is in my salvation and no one (and no disease) can shake it.

Matthew 6:25-34…. Because there are no guarantees for tomorrow (for any of us) but there is today. So live for it fully.

Romans 5:3-4…. Because there is a purpose in my suffering and it is always for my ultimate good and God’s glory.

Isaiah 53:4-5…. Because the most brutal, painful, excruciating suffering was done by Jesus who willingly endured it all to save me.

2 Corinthians 12:8-9…. Because if God has made me weak it is only because He wants to be my strength.

 

Have you put your belt of truth in your survival kit yet? I hope so. But if you haven’t, you can grab hold of it right now and never face another day of Lyme without it!

Fashion on your belt…keep truth at the ready in your kit…tuck scriptures straight into your heart….Because Ian assure you, you’re going to need them to survive.

 

 

 

Do you have go-to survival scriptures? Share them below!

 

No Comments SurvivalUncategorized

Survival Kit

Lyme should come with its own survival kit because the plastic box labeled “first aid” just isn’t doing the trick. The bandages aren’t relieving my chronic Lyme pain. The Asprin doesn’t touch Lyme brain and the ointments gave me a rash. The first aid kit wasn’t made for me so I’m making my own.

To survive Lyme, or any other chronic illness, there are tools, practices, habits and strategies you will need as desperately as as a ct needs a bandaid but you won’t find what you need in a plastic box. Your survival kit won’t be sitting on a store shelf. To survive the battles of chronic illness you will need a prescription for victory that no doctor on earth can give you.

To survive you will need the full armor of God.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” [Ephesians 6:10-18]

The full armor of God is our never-fail survival kit that always has what we need. I know I wouldn’t be surviving Lyme without it and so I am making it my mission to share with others how they can survive, too. Stay tune in the coming days and weeks as we explore each piece of this precious armor and learn how to use it stay alive, survive and thrive with Lyme.

No Comments SurvivalUncategorized