As individual people, it is easy to forget the collective impact we have with our purchases. “Does my dollar really make a difference?” is a question we often ask when deciding between a small brand we’ve never heard of or a larger one we “trust.” We rarely pause to reflect that our spending greatly impacts the lives of others throughout the planet. This holds particularly true with purchases for items that involve slave and child labor; we are so removed from the origins of what we consume, it seldom crosses our minds to consider whose life created our purchase.
As the Starbucks red-cup story hit the news this week, I was shocked and a bit appalled that for all the talk about Christmas and freedom, nowhere in the conversation did the topic arise of how awful Starbucks actual PRODUCT is. There are several reasons we shouldn’t be giving our money to Starbucks: their coffee is the result of child slave labor, their dairy is GMO & hormane laden / antibiotic filled, and they don’t use organic beans. You may not be aware that coffee is actually one of the most pesticided items on the planet.
When you want your next latte, why not try out a local shop that uses fair trade, organic beans and local– or at least organic– dairy? Wouldn’t you rather know that in drinking a cup of coffee, you’re helping others in foreign countries make a living, instead of suffer? And wouldn’t you rather enjoy a drink that wasn’t filled with 250 lbs of chemicals per acre? Currently, Starbucks says that most of their coffee is “ethically sourced” through a program they themselves created– about 90%— yet only 3% of their coffee is fair trade certified by the actual, real, fair trade organizations who are NOT part of Starbucks. And as for organic, about 3% of the coffee is.
Let’s make the conversation one that actually matters: it’s what’s IN your cup that you should be devoting your thoughts, and your money to. If you oppose slave labor and factory farming, vote with your coffee purchase, no matter what color the cup is, and choose to drink happiness.
This past weekend I spoke at The W.E.L.L. Summit, a new wellness event that took place in Boston. Similar in process to other conferences I’ve presented at, I was able to attend sessions myself when I wasn’t leading them, and to mix and mingle with other presenters and attendees alike. To say it was mind-opening is an understatement; my conversations with the female-centric group of wellness warriors at the Summit was nothing short of transformatory.
What I walked away with were precisely the pieces of advice I needed in order to forge on in my path in the most potent, positive way possible. Oddly enough, these pieces of advice didn’t come from the sessions themselves, but from my conversations with others in the off times. This may not seem significant, but to me, it’s huge. Why? Because my goal for the weekend was not to lead amazing sessions; I’m confident enough at this point to know I could do that. My goal, simply put, was to socialize.
I understand that doesn’t sound like much of a feat, but for me, it’s pretty huge. As skilled as I am at talking TO people in a formal context, the idea of talking WITH people I don’t know– of any age, any gender, in any setting– is terrifying. I’m one of the shyest people I’ve ever met. In the past, that has repeatedly led others to presume I’m stuck up and/or uninterested in them. When people give me compliments, I say thank you and spend critical time trying to think of a retort that is interesting, engaging, and not self-deprecating (as women are known for being when complimented). Typically, by the time I come up with a good response the moment is over. The oddest aspect of these endless occurrences is that for every other life situation, my brain works at lightning speed. In problematic or chaotic situations, I typically remain the calmest person, the one who comes up with a solution the fastest and then orchestrates, delegating appropriate tasks to others involved. But small talk? Dear God, save me from it.
And that is why it was my goal for the weekend: to step far outside my comfort zone, into the magical place where change occurs, and just see what happens. I didn’t just engage with others when they approached me, I straight up introduced myself to strangers. I asked to join them for meals, I walked over and said hello, I complimented something I enjoyed about them. And WOW, did it yield incredible results!
Had I not consciously decided to do something for myself that was distressing and uncomfortable, I wouldn’t feel nearly as empowered as I do right now about my game plan for my next career steps. As much as I encourage people to do what makes them happy, sometimes we need a little kick in the butt to get to our next level of happiness, and there is no one better suited to do that for you than you are!
Here is my challenge to you: today, do one thing that embodies the person you WANT to be. Forget how you’ve never been “that type” of person. Forget that it isn’t your go-to behavior. Forget, above all else, the identifiers and quantifiers you’ve placed on yourself, like “shy” or “two left feet” or “not good at cooking.” Just dance. Just try making a new dish. Just talk. Just go BE exactly who you want to be, and I promise, after you get over the shock of it, you’re gonna love it. You’re gonna love you even more, and everyone in your world will then get that extra love toppling over onto them. All the magic in the world is in you, just waiting for you to set it aflame with your growth.
P.S. I offer weekly culinary and lifestyle “I’ve Been in Your Kitchen” tips in my newsletter, which you can subscribe to here. You’ll get three free recipes from my book when you do. =)
It’s no big thing for me to singe a little skin. In fact, it happens so often while working that I barely ever bother to stop my flow and check out the damage a corner of the oven may have caused. Up until recently, I had no burn protocols in place, no special sauce for said singed skin, no nothing, because I’d never needed to take the issue too seriously.
Then, one night recently, an eggplant exploded on my arm, and everything changed.
I was making dinner at home, roasting up some seemingly innocuous baby heirloom eggplants: super cute fig shaped purples, long white skinnies, and stripy circular ones. I’d made them enough times before to not consider the veggies a hazard, but when I heard a “BOOM” from the oven, I knew trouble was amiss. Clearly, one had popped, so I went to go poke holes in them so that no more had to suffer as they cooked. I pulled the cookie sheet out, and as I began poking around with a knife, one of the skinny white eggplants exploded ALL OVER my arm, from thumb to armpit.
It was bad. It was real bad. It was, stop the presses, what the hell am I going to do now, I’ve got 375 degree burning eggplant in my armpit, and on my dominant side no less, superbad. The blisters began forming at once, from thumb to armpit, a collection of them shaped like eggplant blobs and strings. (I took pictures, which I emailed to my mother for sympathy, but I’m nice enough to not post them here for the public. Also, I got enough sympathy from her that I don’t need any more.) They were scattered abroad my entire left arm, and they hurt like holy hell.
In recent months I’ve gotten very into essential oils, because they pretty much tend to fix everything. So I asked my girlfriend to look up what essential oils help burns, and she did, and I made an ointment of them mixed with aloe and calendula. And all my burns magically stopped hurting within about half an hour. I reapplied religiously for the week, and now, two weeks later, the marks are faint and hardly scarring. And the entire experience, which could have been a nightmare of infection and pain, was less of a big deal to experience than it has been to bother blogging about it, which I am doing for the sake of sharing my easy, and outrageously effective, burn salve.
When You’re Burned, Baby, Burned Salve That Fixes Everything Quickly
2 tbls aloe vera gel (don’t use the bright green stuff, that’s gross)
2 tbls calendula gel (double aloe if you don’t have this)
10 drops lavender oil
10 drops tea tree oil
10 drops chamomile oil
Mix together and feel better immediately. The tea tree acts as an antiseptic, promotes tissue healing, and prevents infection, the lavender relieves pain, prevents inflammation, and reduces scarring, and the chamomile is antibacterial, speeds healing, and alleviates pain.
For brands, I use Aura Cacia and Mountain Rose Herbs, both organic. Mountain Rose is a sound internet choice in terms of quality and price and perfect when you want to stock up ahead of time. Aura Cacia is great quality, also reasonably priced, available without the internet, and made by Frontier Co-Op, which are my very favorite spices and herbs.
Rather than include a photo of the ointment, which is just white and ointmenty, or of my nasty blistery arm, here is a pic of the dinner I still managed to plate after shredding up my arm, because even though I email my mother photos of my blisters for sympathy, I’m still a badass:
The internet is a safe haven for people to act nasty, but it is also representative of cultural opinion at large. Based on this knowledge, I am extraordinarily dismayed that with all the PSA’s for Lyme Disease and new info circulating around it, it still doesn’t “count” as a serious illness to many people.
Of course all the details about my late stage neurological Lyme, like how I had fibromyalgia so bad I couldn’t move my limbs for a spell, were cut from Chopped, and the CO poisoning was played up because it made me look insane that a stove tried to kill me. The reactions from people, though, were still shocking: I didn’t have cancer, how could I call myself a survivor? My illnesses didn’t compare to cancer. The other two contestants had cancer, and I need to GET OVER MYSELF. Never mind that my CO poisoning– which I have very real blood work and medical records from, just like my Lyme– involved a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s by a Cedars Sinai neurologist, and the gas killed my ex’s cat, it was considered “trite” compared to cancer.
Lyme disease has a tendency to keep people laid up for years, and many simply never get well. There is no “cure,” only methods of treatment that very thankfully work for some, like me. My family and I did intensive research to find holistic treatments for both my illnesses when they each occurred, and thankfully, I successfully moved past both. My mom had cancer, and was mortified when I told her yesterday about people’s statements of my illnesses being “nothing” compared. Pain and suffering are pain and suffering, and one thing that can kill you is no less bad than another thing that can kill you.
There is simply no need, ever, to compare illnesses and minimize the suffering of others. People used the hashtag “#killerstoves” to mock my experience as minimal compared to cancer. Some even said there is no way it happened, because I’d be dead, which is clearly untrue: the ventilation problem was real, and was fixed by real HVAC people. The exposure was slow and low and not detectable on an alarm designed to only detect life threatening levels. It left me with a huge array of brain damage related troubles, all of which I have recovered from fully via holistic methods. (And most definitely NOT only with avocados, that was some fun editing.)
Our culture is rife with judgment, and social media fuels our ability to depersonalize others. We are all critics from our couches. I write this not to say I feel I was perceived unfairly (that’s a whole different blog!), but to ask people to realize that being laid up for years is a nightmare, whether or not one is sick with cancer. Period.
Besides, you know, affecting people’s lives positively and stuff, my recent speech for the Lyme Angeles Lyme disease group has gotten me to finally remember how to spell the word e-x-c-e-r-p-t. It’s one of my only spelling nemeses, and I’ve had to use it repeatedly when posting clips (aka excerpts) from my speech. Now I’m confident that I can spell it in my sleep. I’m equally confident that you will learn something from at least one of these three video clips from my speech! =)
The will to survive is powerful, but there is something inside us that dwells in a far more important place than survival alone does. Survival is a start, but to be alive does not mean to be well. There is something inside us that I’ve begun to think of as the Recovery Molecule.
I’m starting to consider myself an expert at getting, and then healing naturally from, weird and controversial illnesses. Lyme Disease is gaining momentum in terms of recognition, but this past year my little family suffered from slow chemical poisoning in our home for six months, and every doctor I saw for it was befuddled. Few people survive carbon monoxide poisoning, and no research is generally done for it because there are no drugs to cure it. From winter to summer, I had severe joint pain. And for a full year, until December 2012, I lost my sense of presence, my memory, and my overall ability to think clearly. Being in my head was absolute hell. I couldn’t remember what I did from moment to moment, I couldn’t empathize with anyone, I couldn’t even handle simple addition or subtraction.
In about a month, the same amount of time it took me to catapult into wellness from Lyme, my brain recovered. (Incidentally, it was the month of December, same as Lyme, only two years later.) I utilized different modules than with Lyme, this time being helped by camel milk, lymphatic drainage massage, a supplement called Mag-Mind, and a seriously copious daily consumption of avocados, one of the best brain foods. I’ve pretty much recovered from the poisoning now, save for my metabolism refusing to return all the way and let me be as skinny as I was before this past year, but that is a minimal problem.
There is an instinct to survive, for sure. But during my times of illness, I WAS surviving. And, to be honest, it didn’t count for all that much. I’m the first one to acknowledge that when ill, I’m not exactly a positive person. People constantly said I’d be fine, I’d get over it, I would triumph, and it mostly just made me angry. They couldn’t *feel* how terrible my situation was, they didn’t understand, who were they to claim I’d be ok when I felt like life would be easier if I were dead? But there was a piece of me, far inside beyond my grumbling and complaining, that believed them. And that belief, I believe, is the Recovery Molecule. That kernel of hope so far inside, you can hardly sense it when you’re chronically ill, is as powerful as love itself. And everybody knows, thanks to Hollywood and Disney and reality, that there is pretty much nothing more powerful than love.
I don’t know if it’s love for ourselves, or those we’re close to, or what, that provides that kernel of hope. I just know that if you can picture it, and feel it, and focus on it, and freaking just BELIEVE a tiny little bit that you can be ok again, you CAN. I’ve gotten there twice now, from states that were deemed irrecoverable by professionals. And I did it without ANY pharmaceuticals. At different times I’ve been offered everything from Doxycycline to Adderall to Cymbalta to Ketamine. Screw the drugs. Screw the doctors pushing them, telling you you can’t get better without them. Make Mr. Google your best friend and do all the research you can on alternative therapies, then heal yourself better than any doctor ever could.
Thanks to my YouTube interview from Blythe Raw Live, as well as word of mouth, I get emails regularly asking for advice on how to recover from Lyme. I send people to my blogs with my protocols, and I offer any words of wisdom I can come up with at the time. But it never feels like enough, like I can do enough to save anyone else from the pain and horror of serious illness, and I want to be able to do more. This is the best I can do, sharing this idea of a Recovery Molecule. Please find yours inside. Please tune in as hard as you can to your deepest self, and find that thought that you could be ok. You will be better than ok. You will be so much wiser for having gone through this. It seems impossible, but illness is an enormous gift. It teaches us gratitude in a way we could never experience otherwise. My ability to think clearly again is a gift. Being able to breathe without pain is a gift. Find your gifts, stop waging war against your body, and make friends with your Recovery Molecule. It works, and I am proof. I am a happy, able-bodied, clear-thinking symbol of recovery, and you can be too.
My mother often jokes that she and my father don’t travel simply because they would need too many suitcases for all of my father’s supplements. Traveling while maintaining one’s health, and trying to be eco-friendly on top of that, is no small task. My recent trip to S.F. inspired me to compile a list of what I do to be as health and planet conscious as possible while away.
1. Avoid the x-ray machines at the airport. Natural news sites report that there is thousands of times more radiation in these machines than the TSA discloses, and conventional news acknowledges that the amount is at least a good bit higher than claimed. Why radiate yourself more than you already are by flying? Opt for a pat down instead… they usually aren’t too bad. Once, the guard spent WAY the hell too long prodding around my vagina, but beyond that, it’s been pretty painless.
And a clip from an article about this on Huffington Post:
“Scientists from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) sent a letter to the White House Office of Science and Technology echoing the concern that radiation from the scanners could damage skin and underlying tissue, potentially leading to skin cancer. The White House Office responded that the technology had been tested extensively for safety, but the scientists noted numerous flaws in the response and are currently preparing a rebuttal. Because the radiation beam from the scanners concentrates on your skin, researchers believe the dose may be up to 20 times higher than is being estimated.”
2. Reduce your radiation exposure by flying as soon away from noon as possible, when radiation is at its highest. Never heard that you’re exposed to about 65 times the normal amount of radiation when flying? You can read the Science Daily News article about it, or google “radiation flying” for more info.
3. Protect yourself from both radiation and getting sick by taking anti-oxidants, specifically astaxanthin. Mercola discusses that here. Lots of foods have great anti-oxidative powers too!
4. Pack produce. Of all the food items you’re likely to have a difficult time finding on your trip, simple raw vegetables rank amongst the highest. Before leaving, pack your purse or extra bag with green veggies that keep well for days in a mini-fridge, such as baby (Persian) cucumbers and sugar snap peas. This way even if you end up eating worse/more processed food than planned, you can still supplement throughout the days by snacking on fresh, preferably organic, healthy snacks.
5. Be an eco-conscious hotel guest. Opt out of housekeeping at least every other day by keeping the “Do Not Disturb” sign on your door for the day, because unless you’re a big family, three small, medium, and large towels each is probably enough for two days. You don’t change the hand towels in your bathroom at home every time you wash your hands, so there’s no reason to do so at a hotel; it’s not as if any less heat and water are consumed just because you’re not getting the bill. In most hotels nowadays, there is a card you can use to let housekeeping know whether or not you want fresh linens. Again, you’d never change your bedsheets daily, so unless you’re staying somewhere for weeks on end, opt to have the bed remade with the same linens each day you utilize housekeeping.
6. Buy water in one or 2.5 gallon containers, rather than tiny bottles, and keep them in your room. If you are walking around a lot and need small bottles, get a couple- or better yet, bring your own re-useable empties from home- and fill them up at your hotel daily. While plastic is still involved from the gallon jugs, it’s a LOT less, and every little bit helps. Alternately, if you are somewhere rural that actually has quality tap water, fill empty bottles straight from the sink.
7. Find the farmers. Farmers markets are everywhere now, and usually just by googling the term along with the city you’re staying in, you can get a guide for when local markets occur. You get a great outside morning or afternoon activity out of it, will find out what’s in season where you’re staying vs. your home, get to try new foods, and can restock your supply of healthy snacks to keep at the hotel.
8. Keep a morning routine. When you plan too many activities for every day, you’ll lose track entirely of your normal healthy habits. Start your day in a homey fashion in your room with a morning beverage (like organic tea you’ve brought from home) with enough time to remember to take your vitamins (you brought them with you, right?), drink plenty of water, work out if that’s part of your normal morning at home, and gather your thoughts. This is a photo from my hotel room in SF this past weekend- it was very easy to bring travel-sized stevia and a package of cococeps to drink each morning for a healthy start.
9. Allow occasional indulgences. Unless you’re off visiting a farm, temptations will abound. Do your best to eat as many quality, organic, whole foods based meals as possible, but allow yourself a meal here and there comprised of comfort foods. If you eat like crap the whole time, you’ll go home feeling sluggish, heavy, and off in the head, but if you eat mostly healthy and indulge for a meal or snack every couple days, you’ll return both satiated and proud. Help negate the fact that you’re likely to eat heavier food than at home no matter how cautious you are by walking wherever possible in the place you’re visiting.
10. Don’t waste any days hungover. If you know you’re going to be drinking, as is very normal when on vacation, pack a few supplements that will help your body combat the effects of alcohol. Specifically, bring milk thistle, charcoal, vitamin B, liquid oxygen with trace minerals (like Cell Power or Cell Food), and get some coconut water for your room. These supplements will drastically reduce your risk of feeling lousy the next day after an afternoon or evening of too much fun.
PLEASE NOTE: Due to the volume of inquiries I receive requesting help for Lyme Disease, I am unable to reply to all blog comments and emails. If you are interested in scheduling a phone or Skype consultation with me on treating Lyme Disease naturally, please contact me directly by email or phone.
So far, I’ve had Lyme Disease and Bartonella in complete remission for 4 years, and that includes having spent 6-8 months minimum getting seriously exposed to carbon monoxide. If one can get hardcore chronic CO poisoning and still not relapse, I think it’s safe to say their treatment system was damn successful. In total, I dealt with Lyme for about 2 1/2 years before getting it into remission, which is shorter than many people out there, but still long enough for it to have taken over my body on a cellular level. At my worst, I had fibromyalgia so bad that my legs would not bend enough for me to walk.
I have a document that I’ve sent to many people with everything I did to get well, and decided it was time to post it here for the interwebs at large to have access to. Some things are more personal than I’d really care to share publicly, but I am doing so for the sake of hoping to help others. Note that this is just what worked for ME, and is not medical advice from a professional. I’m just a health foodie chef girl who manages to survive an array of wacky illnesses and wants to share whatever possible to help others recover too.
Lyme Success- What I Did:
-The #1 thing that killed the Lyme was a GB 4000 rife machine. It costs about $2500, my parents bought it for me. Basically, it is a
radio frequency machine that bursts both the lyme and the cysts the disease creates inside your cells to protect itself from being killed.
(Antibiotics make the lyme build stronger and stronger cyst protections, which is why people plateau so quickly on them.) I also
found useful the rife’s programs/settings for pain, detox, etc. A cheaper option is a doug coil, which can be homemade, or a Hulda Clark Zapper. Though the cost of the GB 4000 is high, it is cheaper than antibiotics and all their supplies, and much more effective.
-Therapy helped a lot with the entire process. Lyme eats up your brain and creates whacked out, f-ed up emotional problems; I would sit in the closet in the dark and cry for hours, with no cause or understanding of why. I’d always been pretty stable before, that
wasn’t normal for me at all and was very scary. I also had a LOT of awful suicidal thoughts that came as soon as any conflict arose in
life. I just couldn’t deal with anything without feeling overwhelmed and like I wanted to die. Therapy not only got rid of all that, it
gave me hope that I would get better, which in turn, I did. I did DNMS, developmental needs meeting strategy, along with EMDR, eye movement desensitization reprocessing. My therapist taught me how to be sick, and then, how to be a better version of myself when I got well.
-Supplements are VITAL. I took daily all of the following: sarsaparilla root, pau d’arco, chlorella, milk thistle, probiotics, proteolytic enzymes, zeolite, krill oil, olive leaf, magnesium, immunity mushroom blend, ubiquinol, and a multiple with high amounts of b/c/d etc. plus an antioxidant blend.
-Acupuncture was the thing that actually catapulted me into wellness. I had already killed the lyme, but was so overrun with toxins I couldn’t get out that I hadn’t yet felt any recovery. Acupuncture, specifically the mobile cupping, mobilized the toxins out, and I began recovering the day in late December 2010 that I first had it done.
-Coffee enemas. I know, major wtf. But seriously, they helped a lot. There is pretty much NO way you can get out all the toxins building up from killing lyme without drastic actions. Google has all the info on how the caffeine stimulates your liver to dump the toxins out. I did these twice a week, minimum.
-Epsom salt baths with hydrogen peroxide, after every rife treatment. They help pull the toxins out through your skin.
-Diet. I’ve always been an extreme health foodie, but I had to go as far as cutting out all grains, fruit, etc. for awhile. Lyme makes bad
stuff grow in your intestines, and both ibs and candida are very common in Lyme patients, so you can’t feed the yeast or it makes the
Lyme stronger by creating a more acidic internal environment. Incidentally, I had horrific ibs before being diagnosed and fixed both
that and the major candida symptoms with a product called Intestinew by Renew Life. Organic, unprocessed food is key.
-Kombucha. I drank 16-32 oz a day, which is pricey, but it’s the only thing that ever helped me palpably feel better, plus it’s full of
-E3 Live: again, pricey. It’s a good way to get high potency greens, but I didn’t feel it really helped until I was already on the way to
-For insomnia, they gave me ketamine, to which I said no way. I managed to sleep with large doses of amantilla, which is valerian root
extract, and a chinese herbal complex called an shui wan.
-For pain, a topical cream called Thermoderm provided substantial relief. It’s cheap. Also, pot helped with pain, specifically pot with
a low thc to high cannabanoid ratio.
As for what to avoid:
-Lyme disease forums on which everyone is still ill. Majorly depressing.
-Antibiotics if possible, which only have a 65% recovery rate and a 35% relapse rate anyway and will likely ruin one’s digestive system indefinitely. They are the standard course of treatment.
-Cowden Protocol, or herbs from it. The herx (die off reaction) is the worst ever… like bugs crawling all over you, bad drug trip, tear
your eyes out, bad. This includes samento, cumanda, and the other herbal antimicrobials. The herbs with it like burbur, pinella,
magnesium malate, and serrapeptase are fine.
The Number One Lesson That Helped Me:
In my interview with the fabulous Blythe of Blythe Raw Live, I detailed my process with Lyme, as well as the statement from my therapist that was utterly transformational to my healing process. The Lyme clip is only about five minutes total and has some good info, but if you don’t want to watch it all, fast forward to about four minutes in for that part. I think it’s the most powerful when spoken. You can watch it here.
Again, I’m no professional! I grew up in a very holistic household that taught me to always choose natural remedies before Western Medicine when possible. In my opinion and experience, that is the smartest, most productive, and best way to go for overall health.
I’m a firm believer that everything that happens in life has a purpose. One of my favorite lines is, “If it was meant to happen any other way, it would have.” Inasmuch as I believe this, finding the reason for life’s occurrences can be quite the serious challenge. When we first found out last month about the situation in our home and began to put all our sickness pieces together into a puzzle of assorted chemical exposures, I could not for the life of me understand why, after less than a year of wellness, I was stuck being sick again- and sick in as serious a way as Lyme disease, if not more so. It was impossible for me to jump out of victim mentality as the shock began to settle, and, “Why me, why us?” was the main thought in my mind. I mean, really- I spend my life eating clean, organic foods, using natural cleaners, not drinking out of plastic bottles, etc., just so I can get slowly gassed and poisoned in my own home for months on end?
Once we began to try and sort all this out by going to various doctors, setting up treatments, and consulting with a lawyer, I steadfastly grew more depressed. The unfairness of it all was so overwhelming. Our cat- Ace’s baby and love- was gone, my brain is shot, I’ve been in pain all year, Ace has “seasonal allergies” no matter what the season… our list of symptoms is literally pages long, and it’s a lot to digest. The notion that some of my brain damage may be permanent was horrifying news, and the ten hours of neuro-psych testing I did was far from the easy experience it would have been before all this. I continued asking, “Why?” as I worried about ever getting better, instead of listening to everyone who told us how lucky we were to be alive.
It finally dawned on me that the only thing I hadn’t done after recovering from Lyme was document my story, which numerous people had both suggested and requested. When I realized I could do that now, and write a broader story about surviving not just Lyme disease but also carbon monoxide and assorted chemical poisonings, it struck a strong chord in me. This is my path. I am passionate about healthy food and wellness and constructed a business based on the model of feeding people healthy snacks they would be able to eat without even realizing the nutrition benefits of.
I am going to write a book about how to be well, even when you’re not. As soon as I decided this, I began to feel hopeful. While my physical symptoms have yet to lessen at all even though I’m about a dozen sessions into hyperbaric oxygen treatment, this decision lifted a good bit of my depression cloud. I was reminded of “Yo Pal” Hal Elrod, someone I greatly admire. He is an RnR customer who overcame a vehicular accident that technically killed him for a few minutes. Due to his “attitude of gratitude” and strong will, he recovered at an alarming speed. His bones and brain literally healed faster than doctors said was possible because he decided that he was going to get well. Now he is a motivational speaker (and excellent writer) who empowers others to live their lives to the fullest.
Writing a book makes perfect sense given that I have a degree in writing, but is daunting to me because so many parts of my brain feel broken nowadays. I’ve decided to take this on as my summer project, as a reason to get out of the house daily even if I don’t have the memory and learning skills to go back to work anytime soon. Once my neuro-psych report is completed, I’ll find out what treatments are going to be involved to help my mind recover. I do have a feeling that some aspects of the brain damage are going to be deemed untreatable, but I will still be taught how to work with them. As someone who has always been very proud of her intellect, this entire experience has been devastating, and the idea that I may never be as smart as I was before is very hard to stomach. But one important part of life that I learned from Lyme is this: we are never, ever going to be who we used to be again. Thinking, “I want my old life back,” is insane, because no matter whether you’re sick or not, life is change. You’ll never be who you were before, no matter what. I just want to be the best new version of myself I can be. All I can ask of the world is help in becoming that.
To say, “Thank you,” to those who have stood by me- or, more like, propped me up completely- lately feels very trite, but it’s the best I’ve got right now. So thank you, to my family, to my friends, to the hyperbaric technicians who don’t pressurize the chamber too fast because my ears are sensitive, to customers in stores who don’t get freaked out when I stare at blankly at them for long periods of time while trying to remember what I needed from that aisle, and of course to Ace (who also counts in the family section), for continuously insisting that no matter what, we are going to get well. And thank you to the forces that be that I am still alive and here to embark on yet another healing journey.