Thailand: The Realization of a Dream

In my last post, I announced that something ‘big’ was coming.  And indeed, it is very big.

I am going to Thailand.  THAILAND.  I’m on a team with six other individuals from my church!  We depart in October for two weeks.  :)  We will be teaching English language workshops at a christian camp in northern Thailand.

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In my “Wishes” post back in September of last year and in my “I’m Like a Little Kid Again” post back in November, you’ll find that going to Thailand has been a dream of mine for a very, very long time.  Indeed, since I was nine years old I dreamed of going to Thailand on a mission’s trip, spreading the Gospel and helping the missionaries my church supports there.  I read every book the children’s department of my library had on Thailand.  I even went so far as to make several attempts to teach myself the Thai language!  :D

When I became old enough to go on the trips with my church, I couldn’t.  I had caught Lyme disease and I could no longer entertain plans of international travel.  Heh, I could barely keep my head above water for normal life.  But a year and a half ago, I finally received my diagnosis of Lyme and started on treatment of high doses of antibiotics.  It was a rough time with many ups and downs, but here I am a year and a half later and I’m nearly fully recovered.  I have only a few months left.  Just in time too, because the trip is THIS October!  :D  I am so close to 100% now that even if my recovery date is pushed back again past the trip, I will still be able to go and fully participate in everything.  Lyme will not be holding me back this time!

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In order to go, though, I need to raise the funds for the trip.  In total, I need $2,000; this will cover airfare, travel expenses, food, lodging, etc.  I have to have raised half of that (1,000) by May 1st, in order to purchase my ticket. I’ll need the total sum by August 1st.  If you would like to donate, please check out my Fundly page!  Follow this link:  http://www.fundly.com/thailand-mission-s-trip

All the funds will go directly to my church, who is handling the finances of this trip.  If for any reason this trip is canceled, (by some unforeseen tragedy or political crisis, etc.)  the money will be kept in a fund at my church for future church mission’s trips.

I will be posting updates as we prepare for the trip, and of course I’ll post about the trip when I go!  :D  If you have any questions, please comment here or send me an email: lymelightfight@gmail.com

That’s all for now.  :)  I’m so excited I can’t contain it.  I’m tearing up just as I write this post. . . .  I can’t wait to go and to tell you all about it!

Blessings,

~Beth

 

 

Three Steps Forward, Two Steps Back

I have so much to say.  So much so that this post may be disorganized and jump around a bit.  You have been warned.

First off: The anniversary of my blog has just passed without any acknowledgment on my part.  So here it is: When I started this blog a year ago, I was just beginning my Lyme journey.  I had just been diagnosed with Lyme and had been told that I would recover within six months.

It’s taken longer than that and I still have a bit to go.  There’s been a lot of ups and downs, but it’s clear that the tide has turned in this war!  I know for sure I will be the victor, but I still have a few battles to go. :)

A big thank you to all of my followers and whoever else stumbled across my posts.  I have been thoroughly encouraged by your comments, and I hope I have been an encouragement in return!  :)  The experience has been fun and has provoked a lot of growth on my part. :)

Item number two on the agenda:  I just turned twenty-one!  I think this will be a great year.  If all goes well, this will be the year I recover from Lyme and put this stinkin’ six-year illness behind me for good!  I’m working on a bucket list again, and I’ll have to share with you all as I cross things off.  :)

Finally, number three:  I have an update from my recent doctor’s appointment.  I went in expecting good news, but it ended up being a pretty disappointing day.  We had run all of the sensitive Lyme tests through Igenex again, and I’m very clearly showing that I still have active Lyme disease.  :/  Furthermore, my joints are still flaring up and are pretty painful.  Whenever I go off my pills this gets worse, pointing to the fact that the little beasties are still definitely there.

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After reviewing the tests and my symptoms, my doctor has pushed my recovery date back six long months.  :(  As you can imagine, I was quite disappointed by this news.  I was under the impression that I had two months left . . .   Still, I can’t complain.  It’s less than a year and I am going to recover.

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We are making changes to my treatment.  I’m going back on Doxy and adding Flagelel.  The Flagelel will go after the cyst-form of Lyme.  It’s a pretty powerful pill that wipes me out, makes me dizzy, and eliminates my appetite.  But I only have to take it two days a week, and I love food and already eat when I’m not hungry, so that won’t be a problem.

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The Doxy I am more concerned about.  Doxy is an incredibly powerful antibiotic; it can be very hard on the stomach and can increase dizziness.  My doc warned me that I will definitely herx on the Doxy for at least two weeks.  :(

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In addition, my doc wants me to add some strength training to my routine.  Now I know that sounds like it’s not a big deal, but. . . it is. I’ve been taking a yoga class two days a week, and it is one of the most painful things I have had to willingly do.

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My body is broken and all the broken pieces hate exercising.  I am not looking forward to pushing it further, but in the interest of getting better as soon as possible, I’ll do it and I’ll do it well.

My Doc wants me to take a genetic test thing that maps my genome.  The purpose is to see if I have a genetic predisposition that is hampering my ability to detox from the Lyme, but I’m excited because the company says it will trace my lineage!  :)   I think it would be fun to see what countries my ancestors are from–if there are any surprises in there.  :)

So that’s the update from the appointment.  Disappointing, yes. But if the Doc is right, I’ll still be better by August!

Which is just in time for something BIG and WONDERFUL!  This Fall I will be fulfilling one of my childhood dreams—and I’ll be telling you all what it is very soon.  :)  Look for it in my next few posts!  ;)

Blessings,

~LymeDiseaseWarrior

P.S.  Need/want to contact me?  Shoot me an email:

lymelightfight@gmail.com

i feel small.

today i'm sad

This week I’m on Artemesinin to combat Babesiosis, another illness I picked up with Lyme.  I only have to take it twice a day for four days, and then I get a two week break.  Today is my second day, and already I can tell there is a huge difference between herxing with Lyme and herxing with Babesia.

When I herxed with Lyme, my symptoms were mostly physical.  I felt more nauseous, more dizzy, more tired.  The babesia herx is worse, even though I don’t necessarily feel physically worse.  My joints hurt mildly more and I am more prone to a headache or two; I’m definitely more tired.  The tough part is that the babesia herx plays with my head.  It makes me feel small, and the world is big and scary.  Have you ever had a moment when you felt anxious about something?  That’s how I feel all day.  But I don’t have a reason, and it doesn’t go away.  It’s exhausting.  My senses pick up every little sound, light, and motion and my brain just fires it all off at once.  I’m overwhelmed by all the sights, smells, and especially sounds.  I went to class this morning and had such a hard time focusing; there was more than once when I just wanted to jump up and run out of the room or crawl under my desk and hide.  I went to my yoga class after that and had several moments when I was struggling to keep back tears; not because I had a reason to be sad, but because that sad emotion had gripped me and I couldn’t shake it.

It makes me cranky and snappy.  It makes me feel like I hate everything and all the people ever.  My class this morning was all about talking to people, and it was very hard not to snap at everyone and frown the whole time.  Walking on campus I couldn’t stop thinking “I don’t want to be here.  I hate people.”  over and over.

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There is never a quiet moment inside during this herx.  At the same time as listening to the teacher, I’m hearing everything outside the room, I’m hearing every time someone shifts in their seat or whispers.  A repetitive song is stuck in my head, and my thoughts run a mile a minute.  Every sound is just as loud as the other sounds; I can’t focus on one of them.  The colors in the room are too bright; the lights are too bright; the window is too bright; the powerpoint is too bright.  I struggle to focus on the powerpoint but the other lights compete for my attention and it hurts.

I feel small.  And alone.  Even when I’m with people.  And I can’t decide if I want to be alone or if I want to be with people.  I think I want to be alone, but I want people too–just people who are understanding and quiet and gentle.  If you could see my soul right now it would be bruised and weak; I need to be handled gently and approached quietly.

And the people in the class who I liked last week suddenly seem scary today.  Everyone is bigger and smarter and important and I am small.  Tiny.  If only I were invisible.

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And I try not to show it.  I try to keep it all in and just look fine on the outside, like nothing is different.  It’s not that I don’t want to talk about it or that I don’t trust anybody, it’s just that I’ve only been back here for a year and during that year I spent most of my time at home.  My close friends aren’t here, and I’m trying to develop friendships here again but it’s a slow process since I’m only just now getting better.  And I don’t want to bother anyone.  I don’t want to make someone else sad.  And it’s tough too because I know that most people haven’t gone through this experience.  I don’t want to open up to someone and have them think I’m crazy just because they haven’t been through something like this and they just don’t understand.  :(  That’s the last thing I need.

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When I make eye contact with people I wonder if they can see the agony I am in.  If only someone knew and could remember and could just comfort me a little.  Maybe a pat on the back or a friendly hug.  I just need to be reminded that everything is okay and I’m okay and this won’t last forever.

I always try to end my posts on a positive note, so here goes:  I won’t feel as bad tomorrow.  Or the next day.  Or the next.   And then I won’t have to take these pills for another two weeks.  I’ll have a break.  The herxing is always worst the first couple days, but it settles down.  And I can do this.  I will do this.

~LymeDiseaseWarrior

I’m Not Exhausted!!!

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I felt like Rosie the Riveter today!!!

For the first time in five+ years, I have come to the end of an entirely busy day and I DON’T FEEL EXHAUSTED!!!! :D  I exercised, homeschooled two boys, drove to the park and ran around with them for an hour, drove back, finished school, and then I taught them how to peel potatoes etc. to make dinner.  And after all that–I’m not tired at all!!!  :D  My mind is racing!  I feel the need to do more!!  :D

This just stands as an example of the rapid healing of by body!  My recovery is going so quickly now in comparison to before, I can hardly believe it.  My symptoms are practically non-existent.  The only thing I’m really having to deal with right now is widespread pain.  The pain in my body is at an elevated level right now; between a 6 and an 8 on a scale of one-ten on most days.  This is due to the exercising which I’ve been doing every day, and is necessary to my recovery.  But even then, I feel so much better after exercising that the pain is completely bearable.  Plus I’ve been dealing with pain for five years and have gotten used to it, and with the absence of other symptoms I can definitely handle it. :)

Life is just so getting so much better!  I can’t even imagine what this year has in store!!!!!

Cognitivo Es No Bueno

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In my most recent posts, I’ve been declaring to the world how I’m so much better and will be fully recovered soon!  This is still true; but I still have a few symptoms that are bothering me.  One of the most obvious ones lately has been my cognitive function.  I seem to be spilling everything in spectacular ways.

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A few days before Christmas, I was painting a few Christmas ornaments.  I happened to be using a bottle of black paint.  I decided to shake the bottle of black paint (that is a normal thing to do), but I forgot that the lid was not screwed on, it was just sitting on top.  Well, I shook it hard enough to splat black paint all down the front of my brand new LIGHT pink sweater, the table, the ornament, the chair, and the floor.  I quickly ran–not walked–ran to my bedroom, flinging black paint onto the floor, walls, doorknob, and light switch.  After quickly changing into new clothes, I tossed the blackened ones all into the wash.  Without rinsing any of the paint off first and without spraying anything to help remove it, while in the process I succeeded in further spreading black paint to the washing machine door and the floor of the laundry room.  -___-  Nor did I sufficiently check the pockets of my jeans; I managed to pull out my phone, but sacrificed two chapsticks and a library card to the murky waters.  :(  The sweater came out like a bad tie-dye job, with gray splotches and drips all over it.  -__________-

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Then on Sunday, my family decided to go to Monterey.  I was terribly ill with a cold, but took some dayquil and went along anyway.  At lunch I got distracted and did some sort of a grab at my soup bowl (I don’t even know what I was doing : P) and spilled the contents all over my shirt and jeans.  -______-   We were already far from home and weren’t about to turn around just for some clothes, so we stopped off at a Sears and purchased a whole new outfit.  The rest of the day went well, and we did have fun–despite the odd weather.

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And just now I was getting out a liter of rootbeer (don’t tell my doctor), when I dropped it.  Instead of simply spilling into a little puddle to be easily cleaned up, the lid shot off and skyrocketed across the room, followed by a jet-stream of sticky soda.  -_______-  That’s what I get for breaking the ‘no-sugar’ thing.

*Sigh*.  I sure hope that I make a full recovery in terms of my cognitive function; it is possible I may be affected by having had Lyme for the rest of my life.  Which isn’t to say that I can’t get rid of Lyme, I just might still be affected by having had it.  We shall see, we shall see. . . In the meantime, it does make for some funny stories to share with you all!  :)

Learning from the Past and Looking to the New Year!

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2013 was a big year for me!  I started the year back at home, having dropped from college due to severe illness.  Within the first few weeks of January I had my fateful appointment with a Lyme-literate doctor and was finally diagnosed with Lyme Disease.  What followed were many ups and downs–mostly downs to be honest.  I had to enroll in two college classes during the hardest point of my treatment, just to defer paying on my loans, since I couldn’t work.  It took me hours on end to complete homework assignments that I used to be able to complete in record time.  As I continued to take fistfuls of pills, get my blood drawn repeatedly, and go back and forth from the doctor, I slowly started to notice a difference. By the time summer came, I was beginning to regain some semblance of a life.  I was a little more consistent in church attendance, I was able to attend Bible study once a week, and when VBS came along I was a leader and I acted in the drama.  :)  I may have overextended myself that week, but the satisfaction of knowing I helped made it worth it. :) 

By the Fall, I was well enough to start working from my home.  I started homeschooling/babysitting two boys from my church, while still taking two college classes online.  I now rarely missed church!  By the time December came, I was feeling so well that at my most recent doctor’s appointment, my doctor declared that I would be completely recovered in four months (probably).  I’m already feeling so much better, that even with the pills I am definitely back on track with my life.  :)

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As I look ahead to the next year, I am filled with wonder and excitement.  I’ll be turning 21 in February and finally getting my ears pierced!  It will be within this next year that I will have my first experience at being a healthy adult.  I cannot even imagine how wonderful that will be!  I’ll progressively take on more responsibilities, becoming more independent and relying less on my parents.  That in itself is a huge blessing of which I had given up on ever obtaining when I was sick.  I will come even closer to finishing my associate’s degree in Communications–I might even finish it in the fall!  I’ll be saving my money while also paying on my student loans, so that hopefully by the end of this next year I can start plans on moving out of my parents’ house in 2015! 

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At some point in this year I will take my final pill for Lyme disease.  In celebration of this magnanimous occasion I will throw a ginormous party!  There will be chocolate fountains, food, lots of people, time for prayer and worship, and most likely I will give a speech/testimony/thing.  The event will mark the end of my battle with Lyme, placing my illness in the past and initiate the start of an entirely new chapter of life for me!  :D 

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I’m working on a bucket list of things to do when I get better.  :)  I’m going to go hiking, bike riding, and attending college classes in-person!  I’m going to join my church’s women’s ministry, and volunteer for the nursery!  I’m going to open my own Etsy shop to sell my crocheted hats and painted items!  I’m going to work out and get fit!  I’m going to start the books I’ve dreamed of writing! 

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And in the middle of all the wonderfulness of healthiness, as I clutter my mind with all the responsibilities and fun a healthy adult life has to offer; I will leave room to remember and pray for those who are still fighting.  Yes, even when I am no longer a Lymie I will not forget any of you dear ones.  I will always pray for each and every one of you dear Lymies the world over.  I know the struggle, the fear, the hopelessness that is Lyme, and it breaks my heart that you have to suffer still.  Hang on to hope; the day is coming when you will be better.  Think of the things you will do when you recover!  What is it you look forward to?  Work?  Travel?  School?  Hang onto that dream and let it inspire you to keep on moving forward.  I will be praying for you as you go on.   Keep pressing forward and don’t give up! 

May the year of 2014 be a year we all remember with joy! 

~LymeDiseaseWarrior

I’m Getting Better! And When I do, I’m Throwing a Party! :D

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At this point in time, I have every hope of making a complete recovery from Lyme.  I went and saw my Lyme Doc on Wednesday, and it was by far the most encouraging appointment yet!  My symptoms have been reduced to almost minimal on most days!  :D  She even said that at this point it is a little difficult to tell whether my remaining symptoms are due to Lyme or simply due to being out-of-shape after having fought a chronic illness for 5 years.  :D  She’s continuing my treatment, since a couple of my symptoms are most likely due to Lyme.  I asked her how soon it would be until we could definitively say I’m fully recovered from Lyme, and she said that if she had to give a number, it would be four months. !!!!!!!!!!!.  What’s four months when you’ve been fighting it for five years? :D

The four month finish line may be just a tad bit off.  I could recover more quickly, or I could take longer. . .  This is the doctor who told me I’d be better in six months when I started the treatment, and now it’s been almost a year. :P  But hey, I’m TOTALLY GETTING BETTER eventually soon!  :D

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I’m starting to plan a party–an “I defeated Lyme and want to party” party.  It’s going to be pretty epic.  I’m going to invite basically everyone I know.  We’re going to have a chocolate fountain, and we’re going to dip chocolate in the chocolate fountain. :D  We’ll sing some worship songs, then I’ll give some sort of speech that has something to do with Lyme, hope, God’s work through the Lyme and in my life, or something else along those lines. (Obviously I’m still figuring out the speech part)  Then we’ll have a time of prayer for all the Lymies who are still fighting. 

There are several things I want to accomplish in this party: 1) have fun, because it’s a celebration! 2) Spread a little awareness about Lyme, 3) Give God glory because He’s the one who’s brought me through all these years, 4) Impart ideas/tips to help a severely ill/chronically ill friend, 5) Acknowledge the past and bring some closure to this illness phase of my life, while celebrating and looking forward to this new healthy adult phase of my life.  Whenever I picture this party in my head, I picture thousands of people there and even more chocolate!  But I don’t actually know thousands of people, so it will probably be waaaaaay smaller than that.  Hahaha 

Planning this party gives me something a little more fun to focus on than taking a bunch of pills, and it keeps my hope alive and well as I look ahead to the time when I will be all better!  No more aches and pains, no more sleepless nights, no more memory problems, no more faltering words, no more limping, no more confusion!  Just life, and life abundantly!  Praise the Lord!  Hallelujah!  Rejoice, everyone–this Lymie is becoming well!!!  :D

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~LymeDiseaseWarrior

Party suggestions?  Encouraging comments?  Questions?  Need prayer? 
Send me an email: lymelightfight@gmail.com

:)

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