Author: Steph

Give to Survive

One of the most dangerous symptoms of being chronically ill is being chronically self-centered. It is a symptom that has devastating effects on the heart’s hope and joy.

Over the past seven years I have struggled with this symptom. On days when my pain is constant and acute I am tempted to see only my personal suffering. When I’m weak and fatigued I retreat into my own isolated, solitary existence. I use depression and disease as rationale for being all consumed with myself.

I’ve experimented with all sorts of remedies for this symptoms and I always come back to one tried and true cure: give.

Give a surprise gift.

Give a note of encouragement.

Give a loved one undivided attention.

Give the dog a little extra love.

Give a call to an old friend.

Give a stranger a sincere compliment.

Give a plate of cookies to a neighbor.

Give a thank you to your garbage man.


No matter how weak and tired you become I promise that you will always have a gift to give. In fact, I’ve discovered that the very best, most precious and treasured gifts, come from the most fragile givers.

As the late Jim Elliot, missionary and author, once said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” Giving is more than a remedy for a symptom. Giving is a sure cure for the heart and soul.

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You are beautiful

Sickness and disease are ugly but the sick and diseased are not. The temptation for those of us who have suffered under years of illness is to look in the mirror and see nothing more than a battle weary warrior. The challenge for the chronically ill is to look in the mirror and see their true beauty.

If today you are feeling battered, broken and anything but beautiful this message is for you. If you have looked in the mirror and met a face drawn down by the devastation of disease, these words are for you….


Fellow Lyme Warrior, today I encourage you to take the opportunity to do something special that makes you feel beautiful (or handsome, for the men). Ladies, paint your nails. Have an at home spa night. Get a hair cut. Spritz on your wrist your favorite perfume or cologne.

Remember that no matter how sick you’ve become or how long and hard you’ve had to fight this ugly Lyme foe, YOU are truly beautiful.

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Gettin’ Oily: Peppermint

Time to get oily… Essential oily.

Essential oils are precious liquid gems extracted from the bark, flower, fruit, leaf, seed or root of a plant, sent through a distillation process and bottled in dark glass. There are different “grades” of oils indicating their health benefits (the highest and best is therapeutic). When used topically (diluted in a carrier oil), inhaled, diffused and, in some cases, even ingested they have powerful healing effects on the body.

I love EOs. I truly believe they are God-given gifts. Over the years of my illness journey I have used EOs for muscle spasms, digestion, depression, pain and energy. That said, I’ve also had seasons of illness where the oils have been too aromatic and strong for my body to handle. Thankfully those seasons always pass and, when they do, I always come back for the healing and calming benefits of oils.

Because I love EOs and believe they can play an important and beneficial role in healing I will be sharing a series of posts to introduce my Lyme warrior friends to specific oils and share a bit about their ability to aid disease recovery.

Before we jump into the world of oils remember that if your body is rejecting a specific oil, or every oil in our apothecary, don’t force yourself to get oily. Step away from the oil! Come back another day. On the road to Lyme recovery, what works one day may be troublesome another. Just keep the faith that in time, as you regain your health, you will once again be able to tolerate and enjoy the healing benefits of each and every oil.


To begin this series I’d like to introduce you to my very favorite oil, Peppermint. The benefits of Peppermint are so immense I could write a thousand posts about how wonderful it is for the body. In my history with Peppermint I have used it diffused at meal time to aid digestion, diluted in castor oil for muscle spasms and inhaled for relaxation and headache relief. Peppermint not only does wonders for the body but it smells wonderful too! Even when my olfactory system has rejected nearly every other oil, I’ve always been able to rely on my trusty standby, Peppermint oil.

Beyond its beneficial properties for the physical body, Peppermint is also a powerful repellent for bugs and insects, making it a must-have for Lyme warriors. As the body recovers from the disease Peppermint oil helps to boost the immune system and protect against bacteria, fungus and microbes. See why I love Peppermint? It is seriously a super oil!


To learn more about this oily gem check out the links below for more healing benefits and ways to incorporate Peppermint into your Lyme warrior life!

Peppermint Oil by Dr. Mercola

13 Surprising Peppermint Oil Uses by Organic Lifestyle

Top 25 Essential Oil Uses and Benefits by Dr. Axe

43 Unbelievable Peppermint Oil Uses by Natural Living Ideas


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You’re Invited

Friend, you’re invited to a retreat. No need to pack a bag or make an appointment at a spa. And, no, you didn’t forget to get a dog sitter or book a hotel room. For this retreat you don’t need to leave your house. In fact, you don’t even need to leave your couch – or your bed! This is a personal, at-home retreat reserved specially just for you.

If you choose to attend you will enjoy the peace of releasing every burden, worry, concern and obligation. You will breath easier as you simply relax, rest and breath deeply. By giving yourself permission to empty yourself of every worldly demand, even the demands of healing and being well, you will be rejuvenated; refreshed and renewed by the serenity of stillness.

Dear friend, this is your standing invitation to nestle into your own personal sanctuary of rest and relaxation by retreating right where you are, in the here and now, right at home.


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Coloring to Cope

I can’t think or focus.

I am at a loss for words.

I am at loss for feeling.

I want to cry but tears won’t come.

I want to scream but I’m stuck in silence.

I simple can’t cope.


But I can color.


When my brain isn’t firing on all cylinders, I can color.

When words fail me and my memory is fleeing, I can color.

When I can’t cry, I can color.

When I can’t scream, punch a pillow or vent my frustrations, I can still color.

With a blank page and a box full of markers I can take the emptiness that is plaguing my mind and memory and fill it with color.

With a box of markers and a seat on my couch, I can embrace the simplicity of a child, empty myself of all my cant’s, and just color.


When I can’t cope I will choose to simply color instead.

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Could it be Lyme?

Getting a Lyme diagnosis is tough business. Many doctors don’t even consider Lyme and, if they do, the blood tests they use are often inaccurate. Too often Lyme sufferers are told they have another chronic illness that has no explanation and no cure. That’s how my story started.

After years of declining health I finally had an MRI that showed “demylination” on my brain. From that picture I received a vague Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis and offered prescriptions to target my most severe symptoms, namely my digestion and hormones. I didn’t take the bait. I didn’t want to just cover up symptoms – I’ve never been one for bandaids. I wanted a properly functioning body. I wanted true health.

In my refusal to stop searching for a real answer I came across Lyme disease. After researching and reading I found that Lyme has been linked in medical studies to almost every “mysterious” neurological disease. There are entire theories based on Lyme being the root cause of MS, Parkinsons, chronic fatigue and even ALS.

If you are suffering from a chronic illness, could it be Lyme? Don’t give up your search. The road to recovery from Lyme is long and challenging but there is hope. There is more than a lifetime of management on the other side of a Lyme diagnosis.  To find out if the cause of your suffering could be from Lyme I encourage you to find a doctor who will look at you as a whole person and consider your entire disease progression.

Looking for a doctor who will help you on your Lyme journey? Many states have Lyme websites and Facebook pages acting as search resources to help catalogue doctors by location.

Please contact me or comment below if you need assistance in finding a Lyme doctor in your area. We’re in this together!

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On FaceBook everyone is hash-tagging and throwing back to Thursdays gone by.

Not me.

I don’t want to throwback.

If I throw back it will be to a time when I was healthier. I’ll see pictures of myself with more hair, more weight and more vitality. Throwing back hurts. Throwing back reminds me of how far my health has fallen. Throwing back just reminds me of my body’s drastic the decline.

So I am not participating in #ThrowbackThursday. In fact, to survive Lyme, I’m banning it. To survive Lyme I am instituting a new Thursday hashtag.


No matter how sick I get or how depleted my body becomes, I will always have reason to be #thankful. Instead of focusing on the past, I can always focus on the goodness that is right here, right now.

So what am I #Thankful for this week? Chippy, the chipmunk who has become my daily back porch visitor. He is a tiny little fella and cute as a button. He eats the birdseed from the bag I’ve left open on the ground. When I am alone in my apartment he shows up, darting back and forth with seeds filling his cheeks. Because of Chippy I need not leave my living room to enjoy the beauty of God’s precious creatures. I am thankful for Chippy. I am thankful that God made chipmunks! I’m thankful that today is #ThankfulThursday.

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Welcome to Surviving Lyme!

Coming soon to this site will be stories of surviving chronic Lyme disease. More than stories of suffering, these posts will offer simple strategies for living fully in spite of illness. This isn’t a medical resource with supplement protocols and therapy reviews. It is a survival resource rooted in eternal hope.

What you are soon to discover by reading these posts is that you are not alone in your sickness. There are others out there who are struggling every day to make a life in spite of Lyme.

My hope is that here at Surviving Lyme you will find encouragement and hope for your journey.

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