Pull Back the Covers

Where has the time gone?  I cannot believe its been almost 10 months since I’ve posted here.  I think I have finally pulled my head out from under the covers.  So much has happened…where do I begin?

First, in March of 2020 the first negative Lyme’s test came into my life.  What does that mean?  Well, that likely 90% of the Lymes was gone!  Cheers to that!  We were hoping my body would clean up the remaining 10%.  If you caught that, I said “hoping”.  Back to that in a minute.  The additional negative test was that the anaplasmosis was gone too.  Prayers can be answered.

Of course COVID hit in March, and I’m pretty sure I just pulled the covers over my head because I feel like I haven’t been living my best life since then!  (Well…that’s my excuse….I’m sure I could come up with a better one if I had more time.)

With both the Lyme’s and the anaplasmosis gone, one would think I would be jumping for joy and feeling better.  However, I was feeling worse than when I started. How could that be?

Well, the additional lab tests showed my immune system was still going crazy in overdrive, that I had a parasite in my system, my pituitary gland was out of sync and two other blood tests to show off the charts inflammation in my body.  My doctor said he knew I wasn’t lying when I said I didn’t feel good because the test results prove it!  Again, the same old question of “Now what?”

Back to the 10% Lymes remaining in my system. If my body isn’t able to clear out the last bit of Lymes, I could still have symptoms and with my body dealing with high inflammation, my immune system is going to work overtime all the time.  Hence, why I’m not feeling well.  In addition, my doctor said this could point to another tick borne illness called Babesia.  This is a parasite that affects the red blood cells.  Good news…I’ve been getting treated for Babesia…and I’m FEELING BETTER!  I still need to work through the inflammation and hormone issues, but a little relief is like a little bit of heaven. Amen!

What have I learned the last 10 months? Lyme’s has substantially changed my life. COVID has substantially changed everyone’s lives.  It’s how we react that will determine the outcome!  That’s why I decided to pull back the covers and take a peak into what’s ahead.  Its scary but I’m doing it with my head high and my heart filled with gratitude!  We can do this together! I promise.

 

 

2 for 1

How can it be Fall already?  Kids back in school, leaves falling from the trees, and football is here!

As promised (way back in June) I want to provide an update on my latest diagnosis.  Well, here goes!  I have TWO tick borne illnesses. Yes, you heard that right – TWO!  I have Lyme’s and Anaplasmosis.  Both are illnesses from wood ticks.  (You can google either one). While I don’t know when I was infected with either one, I’m guessing it wasn’t from the same tick so the saying 2 for 1 doesn’t quite apply… although its kind of fun to say!

Since June, I have been getting treated for both and now know how good I can actually feel.  The treatment has been slow but beneficial.  I feel like I’m getting my life back a little bit at a time.  I am still limited with physical activity and do needs naps on occasion BUT it’s SO MUCH better than it has been in years!!

Everyday I say “I love my life!” And its so true!  I am so grateful for every day.  So, when the rough days come, I’m more fully aware of my body and my limitations, but now I know, with 100% certainty, that the rough days will not last long.  What a wonderful concept!

What a wonderful life!  As Self Care Cove says…”You don’t have to be perfect to be pretty damn amazing.”

 

Thankful

Today I was reminded about how thankful one has to be in the face of adversity.

While walking with a friend this morning, I was telling the story of what happened on Thursday with my youngest daughter, Brityn.  She went in for her weekly allergy shot and called me an hour later complaining about a stomach ache.  I didn’t think much of it because she eats many foods that causes her to get stomach aches.  About 30 minutes later when I arrive at my mom’s (she was with grandma), I walked in and she looked awful.  Flush in the checks, pale in the face, coughing, somewhat difficulty breathing, crying because of her stomach. She then pulled up her shirt and she had hives covering her entire torso.  Oh my goodness….she’s having a reaction!  I called the doctor and they immediately said to call 911 because we didn’t have her EpiPen handy. So I did and within about 20 minutes we were taking a ride in the ambulance and spent a couple hours in the ER.  Thankfully with Benadryl and quick medical attention, she was ok after a few hours and doing fabulously today!

It was scary and anxiety ridden and sad and the list goes on.  I remained calm but deep down I was dying inside as my baby girl was severely struggling….and I didn’t know what to do about it!  Even yesterday, I was still shaken by the whole experience.  However, the calmness that came over me when my friend said…”She’s ok, you’re ok…and despite the ordeal there is a lot to be thankful for.”

Yes, there is.  Lesson learned… Be thankful for the little things and hopefully the big things won’t seem quite so scary!

On a separate note, I’ll post more later about my latest diagnosis!  All good news as we finally think we’ve found the last piece of the puzzle!

Stay in Bed

Somedays you just want to stay in bed!  Today was one of those days for me.  I was informed yesterday that what I’ve been treating (Lymes) and the treatment may not have been 100% on target.  What?  No seriously, what??  My first thought was “Has all the time, money and effort for the last 3.5 years been useless?”  Probably not because I am feeling better, yet I’m still not better. So, while that does make sense, the news came as quite a shock. 

The facet of tears started yesterday and continued this morning as I laid in bed. Admittingly, I didn’t think I was going to get out of my bed today.  I’m angry and I’m sad and I’m frustrated.  I may have lost a lot of time, money and effort over the past several years because the treatment was not exactly correct.  I knew, as I laid in bed this morning, I needed to look at the positive side that in 6 months I could be a brand-new person. I could feel like a million dollars.  That’s what I’ve been praying for!  I want to feel better and now I may have that opportunity!  That’s something to celebrate!  I could have my normal life back. I could be active every day without struggle. I could stop taking medicine every day. I could wake up and jump out of bed. No more pep talks to myself about getting through the day. Yes, that’s all such good news!!

But I couldn’t get myself to that place this morning so I stayed in bed and continued to cry.  My attitude didn’t change until a friend wiped away my tears and said, “Lori, look at this as a breakthrough!  We may not have known any of this before and now today we do.  You’ve been saying you want to feel better, right?  Well, in 6 months, you will be!” At first, I struggled to see it that way! But after letting it sink in, I stopped crying, I pulled myself out of bed and I thought to myself… “Oh my goodness, in 6 months I WILL BE BETTER!”  Yes, this is a breakthrough!

I will know more after some testing this month.  And while I may still have a little pity party for myself today (my sister said that was ok to do), I will take this news and know with certainty there is a light at the end of this tunnel!

Mindfulness

We celebrated my mother’s 69th birthday yesterday.  I find it hard to believe she’s 69 years old.  She doesn’t look 69 and honestly has more energy than I do somedays.  However, as we celebrated her special day, I sat and wondered where the years have gone as it seems like just yesterday when she told me to clean my room, eat the food on my plate or be home by midnight.

Celebrating my mother’s birthday also had me reflecting on how my life has changed over the last several years.  I’m grateful yet perplexed.  Life changes daily.  We all face challenges daily.  As I sat there, I asked myself…. Have I taken a few moments to cherish the changes and challenges in my life?  Have I taken the time to be grateful for the little things like the smell of a summer morning or the scent of a recent rain?  Do I smile when I look at my daughters or loved ones and remember how lucky I am to have them in my life?   Again, I’m grateful for where my life has lead me, but I’m perplexed that it feels like its recently passed me by.  Again, I sit and wonder if I’ve really lived in every moment.  Honestly, I don’t feel I have recently.  My life has been a mixture of joys, sorrows, heartaches, illnesses, challenges and changes.   So many amazing changes and events have taken place, yet I am wondering how I am where I am.  My mother’s birthday made me realize I could have been more present the last few years. I could have paid more attention to the small joys, the milestones, the wins, and the loses.  I could have been more mindful of my journey and could have enjoyed the twists and turns and ups and downs.  Aren’t we all a little guilty of this?

Yesterday, my mother gave me a magazine called “Get Started with Mindfulness”.  (Thanks Mom especially since I’m the one who’s supposed to giving the gifts on your birthday!)  What an amazing gift!  The magazine resonated so strongly with me. It brought so many answers to the questions I’d been asking myself and helped me realize I need to be more mindful of my life and the graces around me.  As the old saying goes, I need to stop and smell the roses!

One of the articles in the magazine was by Janice Marturano titled “Take a Moment”.  It had very powerful suggestions for mindfulness!  One of my favorites was to use the door as a time to check in with yourself.  Every time you open a door to leave your house, you stop and take a moment…..to smell how different the air is from inside vs outside, to feel your muscles tense when you grab the door to push or pull it open or silently noticing your breath in your body.  By taking a moment to be present and “smell the roses”, you bring yourself to the present moment.  When you are present, you can be more mindful and truly cherish exactly where you are at that exact moment!  Brilliant idea if you ask me!

My mother’s birthday was a great time for celebration and reflection.  I am very grateful for the awareness this has brought me.  I want to remember the special days and be grateful for the joys and challenges that life brings. I want to reminisce and be thankful for how I got to where I am right now.  I encourage you to be present and practice mindfulness so you can also cherish every precious moment and not be caught wondering how life has passed you by!

Be mindful!

On the right track

I have to admit that May left without even a wave goodbye!  Maybe that’s what happens when May comes in with a blizzard…it leaves tip toeing away!  That’s ok because summer is close behind! Yeah!

Using EFT and having found success with my eating disorder, I was beginning to change my eating habits and was not having days of extreme eating nor days of major restrictive eating. I was beginning to push through the guilt on days I felt I ate more than I should.  I was beginning to push through the feeling of restricting food after a day of “cheating”.  Yet with these changes, I was still experiencing severe bloating and water retention. Admittedly, I was thinking….”Seriously, now what?” Knowing I didn’t want to lose momentum, I decided to talk to my Lyme’s doctor about the challenges I was continuing to face.  Dr. Litchy suggested I could be experiencing these symptoms because my metabolism is confused.  By restricting foods and restricting calories some days and overloading on calories (or foods I should not be eating) other days, my metabolism was not sure what it needed to do.

I’ve read enough books to know that changing one’s eating habits or patterns in extreme ways on a frequent basis can be harmful to your body.  Yes, but I’m doing what’s best for my body to heal so this certainly wouldn’t apply to me.  Right?  Nope…hard lesson learned…. my metabolism was not immune to chronic illness.  After many years of restrictive eating (which I thought was to improve my health), I was confusing my metabolism.   What was the solution?  You got it…. Stop eating in such extreme ways!  While I was changing my eating habits, I needed to make more changes.  I needed to eat regular amounts of food daily.  I needed to be consistent and regular with my eating habits. I needed to eat foods good for MY body.  And, I needed to increase my variety of foods.  Sounds easy, right?  Not exactly!  For someone who struggles with food every minute of the day, this felt extremely challenging.

What I know is the only thing constant is change!  So, yes, it will take time for my metabolism, stomach, and overall body to heal!  But with the continued changes I’m making, I know I’m on the right track!

Ways to Skin a Cat

If April showers bring May flowers, what do April blizzards bring?  Answer:  I’ll let you know in May!

I’ve always been fascinated by the saying “there are several ways to skin a cat”.  But first I ask, why would you want to skin a cat?  Second, why would anyone think of multiple ways of doing that?  Nonetheless, this holds true for most things in life. There are many ways to approach a challenge!  As I continued on my health journey, which started in 2010, I was learning just how many ways one can “skin a cat!”  No cat skinning here, but eating disorder…let’s count a few ways…1.  Therapy  2. Doctors  3. Self-care  4. Education/school  5. Hypnosis  6. Family/friends  7. EFT.  There are many other ways, but this was the list I pulled from the top of my head.  And yes, I tried all of them!  But EFT proved to be the most effective.  When it came to my eating disorder, I was able to clear the emotions causing me to eat the way I did.  I won’t go into detail about how EFT works (PM me or reach out to Elda if you want to learn more), but I can tell you after several sessions, my relationship changed with food and with my body.  OMG….I was now able to control the extreme shifts in my eating habits.  Success!!  Life changing!  

Without the extreme shifts in my eating, I was feeling better, my moods were more stable, I had more energy, and I was getting better sleep.  BUT… I was beginning to notice some weight gain.  While this was a good thing because my BMI was low, I was not happy about continuously gaining weight. I was eating healthy, yet I was feeling bloated and heavy more days than others. I began to notice many of my clothes were not fitting anymore.  I began to notice exercise was not maintaining my weight.  What was I doing wrong?  Because of the work I did with Elda and EFT, I did not go back to my old habits!! High five!  Yet I did need to understand what was happening.  So I turned to my doctor for guidance.  Here’s what I learned….restrictive eating, yo-yo dieting, and/or extreme food shifts over a long period of time can cause internal harm to your body.  Are you kidding me?  I was cutting foods to help my body.  I was limiting my food intake to benefit my body.  I was restricting foods to heal my body.  Now I was told all of that work over the last 6-7 years was actually harmful to other organs in my body.  I was shocked. I was sad. I was frustrated. I was mad.

Multiple ways to skin a cat?  What happens when some or all the ways cause harm to the cat?  Now what?

Another twist in the journey…but this too will be met with gratitude, positive thoughts and most importantly…. eyes wide open!

Stay warm…and I’m hopeful that Spring is actually coming to MN!

Seeking Help

Awareness is key!  At least that’s what they say!  In my case, being aware that I may have a problem was the start to me seeking help.  

In 2015, I started to suspect I may have an eating disorder, but I wasn’t quite ready to admit it. I wasn’t willing to talk to my friends or my family about it.  I didn’t want to talk to any of my doctors about it.  What would people say?  Would they view me differently? Would they judge me harshly?  In my mind, talking about it meant I was admitting I had a problem. I was very ashamed so….. I did nothing even though I was silently suffering.

At some point in 2015, I saw an advertisement for the Emily Program indicating they helped people with eating disorders so I confidentially reached out to them.  To my dismay, I needed a doctor’s referral in order to make an appointment.  This made me angry and frustrated.  A person should be able to reach out if they needed help!  Why is a doctor the only source of entry into the program?  As I mentioned before, I wasn’t willing to go to my doctor, so I then questioned if I really had an eating disorder.  My eating patterns hadn’t changed, but maybe my eating disorder wasn’t as bad as people who were in the program.  If the program doesn’t take “walk-ins” then I must not have a problem.  So, again, I did nothing!  Again, I continued to suffer in silence.  

Don’t give up they say!  Fast forward to late 2016 when I met Elda Dorothy through a networking group. Elda, through her business, Compassionate Truth, works with clients using EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique aka Tapping). Prior to Elda, I had seen a few videos and read a few articles on tapping, but it wasn’t something I knew or cared much about.  However, I had heard SO MANY wonderful things about Elda and while our paths crossed at the annual conference, I hadn’t had the pleasure of speaking with her.  So when I finally had an opportunity to meet with Elda in 2017….WOW…everything I had heard was true!  Elda was and still is the most sincerest, kind-hearted, caring, genuine and generous person I have ever met.  What I didn’t realize was how much Elda and EFT would change my life!
Stay tuned…..and don’t ever give up!
If you would like more information on EFT, please message me or reach out to Elda Dorothy at https://live.vcita.com/site/eldadorothy.

How my eating disorder started

Thank you to all of those who have reached out regarding my “Unexpected Eating Disorder” blog.  It’s very heart felt to have so many loving and caring people in my life.  Hugs to you all!

As promised, the series continues…..here’s how it started:

When I reflect, I can see where and how this began.  It took until about 9-10 months ago (yes, 2017) before I was willing and able to admit I had a problem.

About 8 years ago, I changed my exercise plan and eating habits.  Instead of walking daily, I added running, strength training and yoga.  Instead of cereal every morning, I ate eggs. Instead of sandwiches, I ate salads for lunch.  Instead of Hamburger Helper, I ate meat/poultry and veggies, rice, potatoes or some other combination for dinner.  I did this during the week and then would eat whatever I wanted on weekends. I would enjoy going out and going to parties with cocktails, snacks, chips, dip, candy, etc.  It took about a year of following this routine (eat healthy during the week, consume whatever I wanted on the weekends) before I realized I lost 20 pounds!  What?  Having never felt like I was overweight at 125lbs (height 5’5”-5’6”), I never thought my body would change as much as it did.  I went from a size 8 to a size 00 and weighed in at 105lbs.  My lowest weight was 99lbs (but that was after a surgery).  I was eating healthy and exercising. No problem here.

I liked being thin so I started to exercise more (generally 2 workouts a day) so I could eat more.  By doing this, I still felt skinny and beautiful.  I loved my new body. I loved feeling strong and athletic. I loved fitting into little black dresses or cute summer tank tops.  I was loving life! I loved being skinny while still enjoying the food and festivities of life!  I was eating healthy (most of the time) and exercising (a lot). No problem here.

Fast forward a couple of years when my health started to turn and found I needed to cut some major food groups from my diet because my body was reacting to the foods.  I cut dairy and gluten from my diet. I eventually cut eggs and almonds. I cut blueberries, cashews, kale, chia seeds, flaxseeds, salmon, legumes and the list goes on and on.  At one point, I hired two personal chefs to make food for me because I was finding it more difficult to come up with recipes I could eat.  As my list of restrictive foods grew, the substitutions became less. As the substitutions became less, my weight started to increase.  It’s now 2014 and while I was eating healthy (very restrictive) I was also gaining “extra” weight. Now at 115lbs, I felt I was “overweight”.  But still no problem here.

Having to eat the same foods every day, I started getting tired and frustrated. By late 2014, I started cheating on more foods.  I started to eat more foods from my restrictive food list for 1-2 days. I would suffer physically for this, but found if I juiced (only drank fresh green juice) for 2-3 days, I would be able to maintain my weight.  This turned into cheating on foods for a week, then juicing again for 2-3 days.  Then I started to binge eat for 7-10 days, juice for 2-3 days and then I added fasting to my routine, just so I could maintain my current weight of 115-118lbs.  It was a cycle.  By 2016, I’m officially 10-13lbs “overweight”.  I believe this is all par for the course because of my health challenges.  I told myself every day that I will lose the weight once my health is back.  Again, no problem here.

By 2017, I was consumed…. every day, every minute, every thought, morning, noon and night, revolved around food…..  I told myself I had to because of my health.  I also refused to gain any more weight.  I was obsessed..I had to lose weight.  Could I fast for 3 days?  Could I juice for a week? Or vise versa?   Reality set in…. I think I have a problem.

Unexpected Eating Disorder

February is almost behind us and March is coming in sight.  This means warmer temperatures and Spring, Spring, Spring!  Did I mention Spring?  Well, the thought of seeing green grass, new buds on the trees and fresh flowers spouting up brings me pure joy!

In light of Spring coming upon us, I wanted to share a little secret of mine.  Now I would whisper it in your ear, but I don’t think that will work in this vehicle of communication.   So, are you ready?  Wait…let me frame this up first….

Throughout my health journey, I have had to restrict my food intake because I have become “sensitive” to many foods.  I’m not talking just gluten and dairy, but a much broader list which includes black pepper, cilantro, almonds, kale, chia seeds, zucchini, blueberries, and green beans to name a few.  My list of restrictive foods is extensive and changes annually depending on when I have the testing done.

While this was beneficial for my health because restricting many foods reduced my Lymes symptoms and digestive issues, it also created a much large problem!  Ok, now are you ready?  Here’s my secret….a very unexpected eating disorder.   Deep breath…I’m saying this mostly for my benefit because this is an extremely difficult topic for me to openly talk about.  However, I want to help others who are struggling and the only way I can do that is by sharing my story.  Therefore, I am going to start a series on my eating disorder, how it developed, how I’ve dealt with it and consequences of all the above.

Stay tuned…more to come!

(In the meantime, if you or anyone you know is battling with restrictive eating habits, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.  I would love to have a conversation with you or them and see how I may help!)