As 2016 draws to a close, I’ve been reflecting back upon the past twelve months. The exhausting search and constant struggle to find wellness tends to consume my year in review. This has definitely been a trending theme stretching well beyond these past 365 days. More like 5,840 days and counting. Wow! That’s a lot of days. This past October marked the sixteenth year anniversary of my Lyme disease relapse. That’s a somber reality. Happy lyme-relapse-iversary to me?! Umm…not so much.
Along with the norm – the daily challenges of living within the confines of chronic illness – I recently experienced great sorrow and loss. My beautiful, amazingly strong, selflessly caring, giving, and loving Mother passed away in November.
Nova Geraldine, was 90 glorious years-young. She and my Dad had been married just a few weeks shy of their 68th wedding anniversary. Mom lived a full and long life, but sadly, dementia began to take her from us years ago. Alzheimer’s ultimately stole Momma’s memories and cognitive function in her final year. Shamelessly whittling away at her abilities, taking her independence, and scoffing at her dignity. Such a despicable and degrading disease. Shame on you Alzheimer’s. Shame on you!
A piece of my heart is forever gone. I miss my Mother dearly, and I will for the rest of my days here on earth. My entire family mourns the loss of our lovely Matriarch. God rest our beautiful Momma’s soul. I plan to write more about my Mother in the future, as she is deserving of much more than a simple paragraph.
My sickly body took a hit with all of the emotional stress surrounding losing my Mother. Physically getting myself up out of bed, and pushing through during her final days was necessary but extremely taxing for this Lymie. I am truly grateful adrenaline kicked in full-force. A definite blessing, as this allowed me to join my Dad and siblings bedside with Mom almost daily – until she went to Heaven to be with my brother. My body seemed to know how much to give and when. Then eventually said – No Mas!
Time will provide healing, but the worry and concern shall continue for my Dad. I’m still trying to push myself to be there for him. Mom was his life, and now he is 90 and living alone for the first time in 68 years. A painful time for our family, as we are all deeply heartbroken and missing Mom, and our hearts ache for Dad. Deep sigh….
To allow for some type of break and hopeful recharge for my mind and body, I have pressed the pause button with respect to my Lyme treatment. Ironically, I had paused my treatment mere days before my Mother passed. My body was achingly battle weary and beaten from a solid two years of treatment. Seemed like I had been in a constant state of herxing (Herxheimer Reaction caused from excessive germ die-off) for the entire 730-plus days of my current treatment protocol. Despite monthly adjustments to medications, upping my detox efforts, eating appropriately, and abiding by the multitude of do’s and dont’s, no relief or reprieve seemed to be happening. If anything, my symptoms were intensifying.
Exhausted and overwhelmed from feeling miserable – day in and day out. So totally over the daily med regimen and the constant setting and ringing of alarms. The non-stop monitoring of when to eat, when not to eat, when to take this or that antibiotic, herbal supplement, or magic potion. That process alone was beginning to drive me batshit crazy! Side note: Apparently bats are crazy. I don’t know this to be a fact, however, this saying is completely appropriate.
Basically, I was reaching a breaking point, and it was not a positive experience. My Lyme literate physician (LLMD) had been monitoring my liver and kidney enzymes, as well as my thyroid levels, natural killer and T-cells regularly. Even though my labs remain at the “eh” level, my body seemed to be saying ENOUGH! Basically, my body and I were completely worn down and done with the constant barrage of medications and discipline. Goodness knows I was beyond tired of the added med side effects: My extreme nausea escalated to another level, severe headaches, weight gain, and feeling so puffy and swollen all the time. And oh how I’d love to feel the sunshine hitting my skin. Besides not being able to soak in much-needed vitamin-D naturally because of heightened sensitivity to sunlight (thank you Lyme AND the meds), I’m by far the palest person living in the desert! (Sorry. Tiny whine.)
If I had noticed any improvement or felt even a smidgen of reprieve, I would have forced myself to power through the meds, the herxing, the side effects, the uncomfortable frumpiness, and the Casper ghost-like hue. Okay, so my likeness to the Friendly Ghost was in no way a deciding factor, but worthy of the mention for visual effectiveness. True confession: Vanity flew out the window a long, long time ago thanks to these determined diseases. Ugh! The frumpiness and ivory shine shall sadly remain for a while. Once again, yay?! On a positive note, by staying out of the sun, I am hopefully slowing down the wrinkles. Wishful thinking anyway! Moving on.
After consultation with my physician and lengthy consideration, the pause button continues to be pressed. Basically, I’m on a three-month vacation from my medication. It’s not quite the same as lying on the beach in paradise or traveling the world, but I’ll take it! I’m all about the Simple Pleasures these days. Constant reality checks – like living with chronic illness, or losing a loved one – will help keep your focus on gratitude, appreciating the small things, and remembering what is truly important in this life. Also makes me want to give a little shake to the clueless and insensitive people in this world. You know, to help wake them up a little. But that might be an entirely different issue I have all together. Note to self: reconsider therapy.
Back to pressing the pause button. I understand enough about these illnesses that plague my body to know there is no quick easy fix. Since a cure has yet to be discovered, treatment is arduous, debilitating, and expensive. I also realize that by stopping treatment, I risk the potential of having to start over from square one. Especially with respect to my Babesia. Because of the reproductive process of this particular bacteria, I’ve lost all ground I might have possibly gained these past two years. This is extremely disappointing and unfortunate. Making this decision to pause treatment that much more difficult. But my sanity seemed more of a priority. The Lyme bacteria has a slower growing and reproductive cycle, so pausing treatment for a short period of time, hopefully, won’t hinder any progress made at attempting to kill off these nasty dastardly bugs. Hopefully being the optimal word.
I’m on my second month of (Lyme) medication vacation, and my body seems to be thankful thus far for the break. Reality is still that however. I’ve been herxing some from a Candida medication, as my gut remains quite a mess. But on an amazingly optimistic note, I have been blessed with a handful of good days recently. Upright, showered, makeup and hair done, going out in public kind of human behavior good days. Hallelujah! I’m staying hopeful that a second handful of good days will follow suit. I have more human-ing I would love to do before starting up treatment again in a few months.
So while this past year has been filled with more of the same as in previous years with respect to my health, I remain hopeful that improvement is coming. I have faith in my Lyme specialist, in myself in being able to push forward with treatment when the time is right, and most importantly – I simply have Faith!
I will face 2017 with a grateful heart. With my eyes wide open, embracing each new day as they may come. Learning from the lessons of my path, and giving thanks for the blessings that surround me, regardless of how small they may seem. Moving forward filled with hopefulness for what lies ahead. And as I close this Blathering, I sincerely wish the same for you – and more!
May this New Year provide you with improved health and endless joy.
Terry💚The Blathering Lymie
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