Hmm… how do I even start this? I wanted to say “Happy World Lyme Day”, but happy is certainly not the right word. How about, “Informative World Lyme Day greetings to you.” Good grief, that sounds boring. Oh, well. Today is the beginning of Lyme Disease awareness month. Last year on this day I took my Facebook friends on a journey through my day just to give them a glimpse of a day in the life of someone with Lyme. Today, I decided to capture the things that make my life better, which has ended up being almost like a day in the Lyme life anyway. Some of you heard me say before that there’s a chance I don’t have Lyme anymore but, honestly, I think I’m in a Lyme flare or other disease caused by Lyme flare. Even if I no longer have the Lyme bacteria, I still suffer from the toll it has taken on my body so it’s still good for everyone to be aware that just because the bacteria is gone does not mean the person is better. Boy, am I struggling this week! Sunday was truly awesome for me. I was able to attend church and then make it up to my mountain for the first time in more than two years. I am still overflowing with gratitude!!
But, I’ve certainly been paying for it ever since. It was worth it just for that beautiful glimpse and the assurance that all things actually are possible. I haven’t slept well since then so I’m wondering if I tanked my adrenals. Always a guessing game. I had been sleeping much better (except during full moons and hormone shifts) since treatment from Sozo and the Sunshine clinic as well as letting go of SO much emotionally, but the last few nights have been rough. So I got up super late this morning. Here are some products that help my sleep: Room-darkening curtains (except I no longer wake up to sunrises so that’s a bit of a sacrifice for good sleep), essential oil diffuser with lavender oil, and my weighted blanket – the best birthday gift! I have restless legs and Jason would often massage them for me so I could go to sleep but he usually doesn’t have to do that anymore, thanks to this blanket.
After getting up I take a few supplements and the last couple days I have been drinking celery juice that I have freshly made in our juicer, which was an awesome Christmas gift from my parents a few years ago. Celery has natural minerals and salt, which is good for POTS, and it’s supposed to be very healing first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Speaking of salt, we buy Himalayan sea salt in bulk because I eat salt like it’s my job. Dr. Sunshine helped my blood pressure a lot but I still have to eat quite a bit of salt. Honestly, I’ve eaten so much of it that I’ve lost the ability to taste it very well. Himalayan sea salt is far better for you than other salt because it still has the minerals, and grinding it fresh is best. There’s a picture of my supplements. They certainly make my life better and more livable. I finally found a pill case big enough for all the times I have to take pills during the day. Another thing that makes my life better is cooking in my grandma’s case iron skillets. I just love thinking of the history and connection to my heritage and I love the way they cook. I have homemade “sausage”, spinach, celery, and raw, pure almond butter for breakfast, leftovers from the previous night’s dinner for lunch, and we cook something hot for dinner. I used to despise cooking and then my illness hit so I didn’t have a choice. I can’t go to restaurants at all and I eat nothing from a package that I can think of. Now I love trying to figure out successful substitutions for the foods I can’t eat. It’s such a thrill when something turns out well! My current favorite is the chicken asparagus roll-ups. Grain-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, delicious! And there’s a picture of my water filter. It’s not the greatest but it’s what we can afford right now and better than nothing. I swear I get a stomach ache when I drink the water from our actual fridge filter. People with Lyme are usually so sensitive to anything and everything!
After breakfast, I have my time with God. I have grown to usually treasure my solitude because I get to spend hours with God if I want to. A couple years ago, I prayed that God would make me addicted to His word, and He has answered. I’ve read the Bible straight through multiple times since losing my job and I don’t plan to quit. I’ve been praying lately that God makes me addicted to HIM too, and He is doing so. I love spending time with Him and I pray all throughout the day. I pray for the people He brings to mind as well as the list of regulars I keep, and I talk to Him about everything. I have my daily calendar from a dear friend that helps me focus too. Another thing that has helped me a lot has been to speak my identity in Christ out loud. It has helped me to break away from a lot of the darkness of feeling like I’m worthless. God made me and that makes me so valuable to Him. Amazing. One of my favorite passages came up in my reading today and it says, “on the mountain of the Lord, it will be provided.” I love thinking about how God has led me up my mountain and has sustained me, providing all that I need along the way. I usually drink coffee while I’m reading and June sits next to me in the sun. I talk about quitting coffee all the time but it’s not working, so if anyone wants to be my quitting buddy, let me know! I enjoy looking out the window and watching my bluebirds. See the mama’s head peeking out of the house? Our friends made us a bluebird house last year and I have thoroughly enjoyed it. I love our big window and will miss it if/when we move. Many people think that I am bored and they try to come up with things for me to do to pass the time. I used to be more bored than I am, but I have actually learned how to have a pretty fulfilling life. That has been such a gift from God. I am lonely, yes, but I am not bored. I write a lot, in my journal or in my blog, and I read (purple pens and journals make my life better too). I work on Celebrate Recovery stuff and a couple other projects I have up my sleeve that I may share later (gotta keep some mystery!). CR has made my life indescribably better too. It’s a place for anyone with hurts, habits, or hangups. God is using CR and counseling to help me heal from the inside out. There is a women’s Step Study (a more in-depth study of CR’s 12 steps) that meets at our house on Monday evenings, we attend main CR on Tuesday evenings, and lately we’ve often been meeting on Wednesday evenings for CR leader training. Yep, Jason and I are learning to be CR leaders now. I’ve talked myself out of and back into it many times and will probably continue to do so, but God uses the broken. That’s me!
After my God time, I shower and make myself as presentable as possible to the outside world before I take June out. Sometimes I take detox baths with epsom salts, but I don’t usually do that while I’m alone since hot baths and POTS don’t mix and I don’t want to be alone and faint. I also do ionic foot baths occasionally and castor oil packs. Basically, anything to get my stubborn detox pathways flowing. Fun shirts and socks make me smile and, yes, I had to fold myself into a pretzel to get both of those things in the picture. I don’t usually wear jewelry unless I’m going somewhere but since it’s a special day, I thought I’d wear some. I love jewelry that reminds me of the people who gave it to me or the verses on them. One of the bracelets says, “He restores my soul”. You might remember that my word of the year last year was “restore”, and it is still very close to my heart. I also discovered eos, a natural lip balm, and Jason went a little crazy in cleaning the stores out of them for me. I think the ingredients are natural and okay for me but, if not, just don’t tell me! So then I’m ready to take June out and go get the mail. Mail makes my day better, getting and sending, though we didn’t get any today, perhaps because they’ve got condo complex-apocalypse going on out there. This place is torn up! I guess they’re trying to fix the pond so we will have a pretty fountain again, which will make me smile too. I do my best to send cards to people when I can. It’s pretty difficult for me to walk June, even just to the mailboxes, especially in the heat. Heat is still my #1 trigger and I cannot tolerate it even a little bit. It’s extremely discouraging. June doesn’t understand and she doesn’t walk well. She just likes to stop and smell every blade of grass. But, as difficult as she is sometimes, she is also the reason I leave the house and my constant companion. I am probably too attached to her and don’t know what I’d do without her!
Speaking of this dog, the following picture is just about right! I absolutely love Yoga Booty Ballet. I know, it sounds funny. Some of you know I used to be a ballerina. Well, I’m not sure if you can call someone a ballerina who just took lessons for twelve years and was certainly not a professional, but I like to call myself that! No offense to the real ballerinas. But, I miss dance so much and this has just enough ballet in it to keep me interested and helps me get some exercise. I’m not able to do much so, right now I only do parts of the Light and Easy version, but I’m trying. June loves to get in my way. I know, my yoga mat isn’t purple. Tragedy. A couple other things that make my life better are the salt lamp and my heart rate app. I don’t know if the lamp actually does anything but the soft light is calming to me. I only check the app when I’m feeling bad because it helps me know if I need to do something or if everything is fine and I just need to relax. I also follow a lot of inspirational people on social media, none more influential to me than Susie Larson. She is by far my favorite author and speaker, even though I’ve only read one of her books. Her other books are on my list for the future. She has had Lyme and she is unbelievably inspiring and powerful to me. I usually can’t watch her videos without tears. I also follow the group “A Little Lyme Laughter”, which provides so many laughs to those of us who certainly need them. Sometimes I’m able to have some porch time, but there is only a very small window of time when the heat won’t get to me. Maybe in our new house we’ll have a shaded porch. Purple flowers everywhere also make me so very thankful! Occasionally, I will get out my oil pastels and do some art. I’ve fallen in love with those things over the last couple years.
I know this blog has been stream-of-consciousness and jumbled, but these are the things that make my Lyme life a little better. I am so grateful for these gifts! I hope that they will give others who suffer ideas or inspiration and I encourage you to make your own gratitude list. It’s uplifting to count God’s extravagant gifts! Other things that make me smile are my favorite flowers – purple irises. I love the dark purple ones but haven’t seen any of those up close yet this year. I can’t get mine to bloom again. Sunrises and sunsets are God’s paintings for me, unique each day. My favorite creations in the whole world are sun rays. They remind me that God is here with me and that means everything is okay. Sun rays have often uplifted my heart during difficult times. I adore my Tennessee mountains and have a gazillion pictures of them. I wish I could hike them more, but maybe some day! I love looking at birds and watching the deer visit me from my window. I love getting lost in my piano, playing the guitar and singing. Also pictured with the piano is art from some of my friends, given to me over the years. Each one is precious to my heart. Most uplifting to my heart, though, are the people. I have an amazing husband who takes the vows of sickness and health very seriously and exemplifies what it means to love His wife like Christ loves the church. He is Jesus to me every single day. I also adore being an aunt to four precious children. It makes me so sad if I think too long about how my illness has kept me away from them much of the time but they are the most important kiddos in my life and I love them so! I am thankful for family and all of those who have become family by walking with me through this difficult illness. When life gives you Lyme, God gives you love.