Progress?

At dinner last night, I said I felt better, and that–(fingers crossed)–I was making prooooogress. The word stuck to my tongue. “Progress, I mean. Progress.”

I felt destined for failure. Jinxed. Cursed. I’m quick to share the experiences that haunt me, that weigh my life down, that suffocate my peaceful existence. I’ve always been this way. I think I do it as a way to relieve negativity. If I release it, like a ladybug, it will fly away home. Somewhere else.

Same goes for positivity, unfortunately. I want it to remain close to my chest, to spread throughout my being and to fill my life with abundant possibilities of joy. I hold it tightly. I play with it, tossing it from one hand to the other, staring at it. I test it, breathe it, tease it. Is it really there? 

But I do feel it. The progress. I started using the far infrared sauna every single day. No mess-ups. The heat on my body for 40 minutes. Perspiring. Reading. Perspiring. Re-hydrating. Perspiring. Until the timer chimed.

The progress looks like a stock chart. There’s an upward trend, but there are bad days that make me question. Should I stick to the treatment? Or should I sell and cut my losses?

I don’t feel normal yet, but I am a hell of a lot better. I’m nervous. Writing this makes me nervous. Jinxed. Cursed.

I’m going to buy a small IR sauna for my townhouse. I’ve made a decision to invest in this upward trend. Let’s see where it goes.

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Elephant Journal Publication

From Inversions to Infancy: How Chronic Lyme Disease Redefined my Yoga Practice

I wanted to nail that picture.

I’m sure you’ve seen it floating around your news feed every now and again. Your friend hikes somewhere awe-inspiring, sets up her iPhone and captures herself in a flashy yoga pose with just the right amount of sunbeams. I planned for somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. I would outdo the gals before me by stumbling upon wildlife at sunset.

Then, I would strike a Natarajasana in front of a majestic beast, and astound everyone with my flexibility while in perfect union with nature.

Let’s be honest. What are the chances of this one playing out? This wasn’t my only outlandish yoga fantasy either. I daydreamed about mastering the most difficult of maneuvers that frankly require some quirky genetics. My desire to succeed in yoga fueled an aggressive approach to class. I would try as hard as I possibly could to take flight on my mat. Every Monday, my legs would swivel into eagle pose, and split wide for bird of paradise. I craved the feeling of accomplishment that came with mastering an inversion, my toes pointed proudly above my head.

Little did I know that I was accomplishing these yogic feats with a bacteria that was staging a coup: a coup de corps. The worm-like inhabitant entered my system through a tick bite and spread through my body, waiting for an ideal time to strike.

Click to Continue Reading …

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Just the Ativan

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Do you ever ask yourself, is this really happening? Am I really in my body right now being me? Probably not. But I’m still going to tell you about what happened to me today.

Lyme is a fickle beast. You can wake up feeling like a batch of fresh baked bread and then an hour later feel like a plane crash. It really is that insane on the daily.

So, I started my morning off with enough energy to power an electric toothbrush (which is totally a lot for me). I walked around the house accomplishing mini-chores. I breezed through my living room without tripping, grabbed dishes without my knuckles cracking, put them in the dishwasher without losing my breath AND threw in a load of laundry… I did A. LOT. OF. STUFF.

Then it hit me like a ton of bricks … the crippling pain from the bacteria that has WAY overstayed its welcome in my body. When the pain hits I go into survival mode, which means I process reality differently … which means I don’t remember things very well. After the pain dies down, I usually recall what happened to me during that time in waves.

Wave number 1 … I was on the couch when the pain hit.

Wave number 2 … I got into the fetal position for comfort.

Wave number 3 … I was watching “Born in the Wild.”

SIDE NOTE: “Born in the Wild” is a riveting new television show that documents the birth of human babies in the outdoor arena. The husbands sometimes bring their guns to protect their birthing wives from the bears. Yes I am serious.

Wave number 4 … I was moaning and rocking from side to side.

Wave number 5 … Mom giving birth outside in Alaska was moaning and rocking from side to side AT THE SAME TIME AS ME. She was moaning much louder than me and was probably in WAY more pain … but still! Weird, right?

Cut to the dissociative moment: Is this really happening? Am I really in my body right now being me? Are my actions really paralleling this woman’s birthing experience in Alaska? The answer is yes. They totally were!

I had a brief moment where I thought the universe was trying to tell me something, until I realized it was the Ativan. Then I went to sleep. More riveting tales to come.

Good Day, Lymie

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From one Lymie to another …

It’s a good day when (ahum hummmmm … drum roll please):

1. You open your eyes and your body is bone dry … this morning you will not be greeted by the sun after producing your own Mississippi River. Score 1 point. 

2. Your dream did not involve karate-chopping spiders in the movie Arachnophobia, drowning in your neighbor’s pool, plummeting to your death in a botched skydive, or suffering from delusional parasitosis. Yay for you.

3. You sit up and realize you can feel your legs … both of them. Point for each leg. 

4. You walk down the stairs and the only thing you hear creaking is the wood beneath your feet. Didn’t even notice you needed some home repairs, did ya? 

5. You get a little funky and toss some cayenne pepper in your cabbage-kale-cilantro-parsley-carrot-sprout drink … because, look out, today you are spicy and dangerous.

6. Your boyfriend is out playing basketball, so you raid his stash of watermelon sweet and sour candies. You grab a handful of them, take a big whiff, drop them back in their plastic bag, then lick your hands! So naughty.

7. You spell out the word “RAD” with your pills, and then swallow them because you are … rad.

8. Because your body is feeling extra fresh, you plan for a walk around the block. You dust off your favorite sweatpants and hit the road (with your alkaline water, your enormously large shades, plenty of organic sunscreen, your cell in case of an emergency and an Ativan). You are a beast!   

9. The ringing in your ears has died down enough for you to hear the sound of the birds chirping as they fly into your neighborhood for spring. Tweetle Tweet.  

10. You see your neighbor … Frank. You remember his name. Holy heck! “Hey Frank!” You say that kind of loud, but your brain is ON FIRE here.  You give yourself a high-five.

11. Your body thanks you for 15 long minutes of walking in the sun with no rash. CoverGirl.   

12. When you get home you make yourself a deluxe “detox” bath. You light some candles and listen to Enya while you pour your epsom salts in the shape of a heart. See, boyfriend-that-isn’t-home? You can be romantic.

13. To top off your splendiferous day, your doctor writes with the results of your kidney and liver function tests, and you passed with flying colors.  A+ for you.

14. As you tape your results on the fridge, Ice Cube echoes in your ears and it makes you feel a little hardcore: Today was a good day! 

Lyme-Stricken Butterfly

“The Hungry Caterpillar” is a lovely kid’s book about a caterpillar’s transformation into a butterfly. The story is full of hope as the caterpillar, fueled by food and  genetic predetermination, morphs into a beautiful flying creature. I’d like to write a book, based on the opposite premise, in which a “The Lyme-Stricken butterfly” chooses to return to her cocoon. She shuts out stimuli that might exacerbate her pain. She retires her wings, her flight and her freedom in order to cope. She closes herself off for months in hopes that a sense of vitality will one day come rushing through her body once again.

Deep in her cocoon she waits. Every now and then, when enough light shines through, she looks at the parti-colored markings on her wings. She remembers the many people that admired her vibrancy and is saddened that she is now wasting away. She struggles with her regression, knowing how much time she spent in the cocoon to become a free-flying creature.

She asks, Why me? The answer echoes in her head: Why not?  She is no different than the butterflies that are eaten by frogs. She is one of many creatures destined to suffer. Why should her life be any different than theirs? She convinces herself to accept her present reality for the time being, to save her wings the disappointment of failing to lift her off the ground. What she doesn’t know, however, is that hidden in the darkness of her cocoon the potential for a different kind of transformation awaits.