The Judgement & Scrutiny Of Living With Chronic Illness 

(*disclaimer at the bottom of article)
Judgment. 

Scrutiny.

 Those words immediately evoke feelings of negativity. Living with chronic illness is negative and difficult in itself, but have you ever stopped to think that almost every person batting a chronic illness also gets “insult added to injury” (literally) by being judged and scrutinized in everything they do?….. What they post on social media, every choice they make, every event they attend or don’t attend, everything they eat and every purchase they make? Yes. This is a huge part of living with chronic illness. 
   Can you imagine suffering from a condition and all of a sudden even “normal” activities and decisions come under the watchful and judgmental eye of everyone you know?
What do I mean? 
Example: “Shelley” suffers from chronic Lyme. All her friends and family know this. They know treatments are expensive and Shelley spends a lot of time at the doctor. Shelley also says no to a lot of family functions and activities with friends. Shelley also shares her struggles on social media and everyone knows she is struggling financially as well due to all her medical expenses. Some of Shelley’s family are very negative; they knew Shelley when she was active and vibrant and can’t understand how this sickness seems to go on and on without end. They think her posts about illness are attention-getting and that Shelley is needy, especially being that she is single and they think therefore she is trying to get sympathy. They think she is pathetic. Some of them let her know and express their anger. Some of them no longer speak to her at all.
Shelley also feels like she can’t win when it comes to socializing….
(NO) When Shelley says no to an event or dinner (or has to leave early or rest in the middle):
People think Shelley is being a drama queen again, or lazy, or being anti-social, etc. 
“She always says no so why bother asking”
“She is so self-absorbed with her problems. If she just got out more and acted normal she would feel better”
“Sickness has become Shelley’s identity. If she just stopped owning it she wouldn’t be so sick” 
“Shelley is not as sick as she thinks she is. Lyme is an excuse”
“Shelley has some kind of social disorder and is using sickness as an excuse”
“There she goes again, lying on the couch in the middle of a party. Apparently she wasn’t getting enough attention…”
(YES) When Shelley says yes to an event, or dinner: People think
“how can she be sick in bed yesterday and out today looking normal today?”
“She is such a liar, she said she couldn’t go out his morning and there she is tonight out with friends”
“She must be getting better, finally this Lyme thing is going away”
“You look good! You look healthy, you must be better”
“How can she afford to go out when she was just posting her Gofundme yesterday?”
“All this posting on social media about being sick, and yet when I see her she looks fine”
“Should she be eating that?”

You see I am Shelley. If you are ill and reading this, you are Shelley. And I know dozens and dozens of Shelleys that have the same experiences. 
Most people don’t think twice about going out to eat, taking vacations, hanging with friends, going to movies, buying a pair of shoes…

But when you deal with chronic illness things are a little different. Have you ever considered how much judgment someone who is sick receives? And this is on top of all the physical, emotional, mental, spiritual and financial suffering. 
That’s why I write. Because most judgment comes from naivety and simply not understanding. 
I have to deeply think before I post anything regarding my illness; TMI? Who’s my audience? Sharing info with fellow Lymies versus relatives that are going to roll their eyes at another health post?

Am I going to get negative backlash?

Are people going to get the wrong idea?
I also think twice before I post anything about going out, being with friends, or anything that has to do with spending money….. 

You see guy can buy new shoes if you need them without a second thought. But if I do I have to assess who might judge me knowing that I struggle financially. See what I mean? And I also don’t want to hurt that friend that I said no to yesterday when I felt super fatigued when they see me out with someone today because I rested and feel a little better.

I also struggle with guilt and and moral questions whenever I do something fun or spend a little money. Am I “allowed” to have fun? Can I justify a purchase for myself? Even though I am. It by any means extravagant (I rarely go shopping, buy clothes, and almost never eat out) I feel funny when I do and feel I have to answer for myself to everyone I know. 
Conclusion. 

This isn’t a perfect essay, and I didnt touch on a lot (including judgment and negativity from the mainstream medical community that doesn’t understand certain chronic illnesses), but there are tons of bloggers out there and they are doing a great job being a voice for this community. All we can do is try our best, and have an extra dose of grace as we raise awareness to those who would judge us. 
*Please note that this essay is on the topic of judgment and scrutiny; There are a LOT of kind and understanding people who do take the time to learn, ask questions, talk and give support. Thank you all my friends and family that fall in this category. 💚

  

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A “Good Day” To Be A Lymie

Today is a good day; it’s currently 12:10pm on a Saturday and it’s still my “morning”, being that I’m still convincing myself to get moving and I haven’t done much yet.

I am coming off of several weeks of an antiparasitic/antiviral treatment that was pretty hardcore, and it was phase 2 having completed phase 1 the month before last. I feel like it takes a while for my body to reset and rebuild after the onslaught.  I had a UVBI blood treatment on Monday and I’m still not sure what my reaction is being that I felt energized the day of and not so good the rest of the week. (I was told I could experience some die off).

I’m tired. Even though I’m done with that particular protocol I’m still on a TON of supplements, and as of a few days ago three new prescriptions. Still have to deal with Candida, hormones and other stuff. I’m tired.  But body pain today isn’t too bad, fluid retention (my pesky persistent minion) is at about a medium. All things considered today is a good day relative to how crappy I have been feeling. I might even try and go for a walk.

I am mentally troubled this “morning” as I contemplate where I’m at as far as treatment protocol and what the rest of the year holds as far as medical expenses and whatever the doctors will want to do next. 11,000 went on the credit card just the last 6 weeks for our family’s medical needs 😳

That said; I got confirmation from my main two doctors this week that the protocol to kill the viruses and parasites was very successful and I’m in good shape as far as that goes. Which leaves the remaining battle being the autoimmune disorder factor in this long-term disease, and that’s been a huge battle. 

Bottom line my body hates itself and I hate it. Not a happy cohabitation. So my Mast cells and histamine, cytokines and gut all need to decide to start getting along or my slow decline into self-destruction will someday be successful. 

That said I am hoping that the remaining months of this year will see big changes, that I will start to experience what “normal” feels like, and that next time I have a “good day” it won’t be in parenthesis because of relativity, but “good” will actually be good


Lyme Fund

Are We All Crazy?/Sanity Is Relative

I think “crazy” is not so easily definable as we think sometimes and has levels and facets, different causes and effects. I think we can all dip into “crazy” from time to time in moments or seasons when our view of the world is warped through the lens of something that throws us for a loop.                                                              Another definition of crazy is “not in one’s right mind.”

I have asked this question of myself many times on days when my brain and emotions betray me, when my view of the world and my situation in a given moment seem warped; “am I crazy?” Not all the time of course, and not as a constant, but there are times when I know I’m not in my right mind. 

Now we know that Lyme and coinfections cross the blood brain barrier and can literally infect the mind, but I think many times it is more complicated and more subtle things going on than even those factors. You see the entire life paradigm is different for people with certain chronic illnesses and not in rhythm with most people. The box we live in and our life experiences are very different, especially after living this way for many years. So I guess it makes sense that we are not always normal. After all, normal is a sliding scale based on majority.

The idea for this post came lying in bed last night after seeing posts from other Lyme/Chronic Illness sufferers on Facebook and thinking that what we suffer physically, cognitively and emotionally can make our viewpoints and behaviors pretty skewed:  I see desperation, scattered emotions, TMI, prolific postings, saying things publicly that shouldn’t be said, weird viewpoints that seem to come from places of isolation and disconnection. But I sometimes do it too, and honestly I struggle sometimes with how to balance being honest and “real” in the moment and when it would be best to keep stuff to myself. What’s the answer? I don’t know. I do try and consider my audience; my blog and Lyme page is primarily for fellow sufferers and those that will come after us, to know they are not alone. It is also for friends and family of the ill to get a window into this world. But from time to time I do regret some things I put out there, primarily to my healthy friends, I really must come off as cracked once and a while. I start to second guess myself especially if I get no response to texts or emails and I think people must have a negative opinion of me.

 But if we are talking brain stuff, even beyond Lyme and coinfections there is so much that effects the mind it is incredible. Honestly when I consider the complexity of our brains and the 100 trillion (yes, trillion) neuron connections in our brain I am in awe that the chronically ill with all that we are dealing with are not stark-raving mad. Really  We are fearfully and wonderfully made.
I had two doctor appointments this week and even though these two brilliant physicians come at treatment and diagnosis from different directions the conclusions are compatible. I cannot even begin to repeat the science and biology that was explained to me by these two doctors who can talk complicated biology and genetics like most of us do daily English about what is going on in my body, but I remember a few things: Pooling dopamine in my brain, dysautonomia, receptors not communicating, parasympathetic nervous system not doing its job….. But what is great is to get validation on the feeling of “disconnect” and yoyo emotions (aka crazy) and knowing that there are real physical reasons behind it. This also helps me understand the ebb and flow of having cycles where I don’t feel in my right mind and not knowing why I feel more normal on some days than others. 
So what’s the point of this post? Not sure. But maybe if your chronically ill friend that “looks fine” doesn’t always seem rational, maybe they are experiencing a little slice of crazy. 

Sticks & Stones May Break My Bones, But Words Can Crush My Soul

“”Don’t become your illness.” It is so painful and disheartening to hear. Trying to explain to someone what it’s like to be a soul trapped in a body that perpetually manages such a high level of pain, to have a mind that attacks itself with every thought it produces, to constantly live in anxiety and to lose the talented pieces of yourself that are the most God-given and true, is almost, ALMOST as exhausting as the Lyme. It is the walls of darkness that keep us from experiencing the full beauty of this world. Us with Lyme, we didn’t harm ourselves, make poor choices, or consume bad things. It’s not cirrhosis or type ii diabetes. We got bit by ticks while being in the wilderness. To those who suffer, God’s presence is forever within you. And to those who lead healthy, disease-free lives, you are the lucky ones. We didn’t ask for this.”~Sara

I am opening with this testimony by a fellow Lyme sufferer, because this post is all about the questions and comments that hurt…
Living life with a chronic illness is hard enough; it takes and takes and never gives back. But what is worse than the daily agonizing struggle,  the pain, the isolation, the desperation for answers and trying to get better… Are the words and reactions from others who do not/cannot understand.

Granted some hurtful words come from a place of naivity and are not ill-intentioned, but some people do choose (no excuses here please) to belittle, downplay and deny what they cannot “slap a label on” or grasp the concept of, or fit into a comfortable pre-conceived catagory. Somehow we have become a society of labels and categories and if someone is suffering from something that someone doesn’t have a “label” or fit our ideas of what “sick” looks like, we seem to think it is easier to accuse the sick person of faking sickness or having a mental problem, not getting appropriate treatment or doing something wrong; because of course “there is no such thing as long-term illness without quick-fix cures, right?” Why is this? Is it because people cannot accept that there are illnesses without straightforward blanket treatments, without instant textbook answers? People seem to need  everything to be like a math equation; A + B equals C, and people seem to need the “C”; meaning they need the treatment equation to make sense…

 If you have cancer you get chemo/radiation/surgery. 

If you have Diabetes you get insulin and change your diet.

If you have allergies you take antihistamines and manage your environment. 

Etc, etc. 

If you have Chronic Lyme you…….well that’s complicated.

Don’t we the chronic Lyme community hear it every day? 

“Why aren’t you getting better?”

“Have you tried this?”

“It’s all in your head.”

“You just need to exercise and get out and you’ll feel better.”

“You are obsessed with being sick and people are sick of hearing about it.”

Folks I/we get it. What we live through from an outsider’s perspective is confusing, confounding and perplexing at best. What is sad that approximately one out of every four Lyme sufferers I talk to has been alienated/disowned/abondoned by close family and friends. I don’t know maybe the statistics are higher. 

I just wrote the other day on what it’s like to live with someone with chronic illness (Living With Someone With Chronic Illness), and recently also about a day in the life of a chronic Lyme sufferer (Confessions Of A Functioning Lymie) which have already helped many people in understanding this life. Not that I’m the only blogger out there, but I try. 

Anyway a fellow Lymie and friend asked people with chronic illness on her Facebook page to post things that had been said to them that were hurtful and frustrating in regards to their illness; she got a huge response. It brought tears to my eyes to read through them and see all the hurt that was piled on to these poor people who are already suffering so badly. It hurts so much because we are desparate to get better, being chronically ill is NOT  fun and degrading comments is literally adding insult to injury. I asked permission to re-post the FB comments here to try and raise awareness, so here we go…

“I hate the people who are emphatic that you can get better by doing things they recommend (as if we haven’t been practically scratching our eyes out for years looking for answers and are under the care of expert doctors). I have been told I should drink lemon water every day and get massage..(by the same person) and this should get me better.”  Also (said to me by a doctor, in several lectures over several different appointments) that I just need to get out there and meet someone, that being in a relationship would energize me and help me not to feel so bad. “~me

“The most invalidating is in response to hearing of my Lyme diagnosis is simply, “So?”” ~Megan 

“It all from within…. Just visualize yourself healed and eat better. Why can’t you just do that?” ~Cody

“But You Don’t Look Sick! It’s all in your head . Don’t claim it. ” ~Charmica

“Are you sure you are not just in need of some counseling or a psychologist?” Oh and, “So when did the doctor say you could expect to be over this?” ~Amanada

“Everyone has problems.” Then compare it to sprained ankle or a bad grade on an exam, or something similar. The fact that extended family was often the source of these comments was especially hurtful.”~Sarah

“Why aren’t you better yet?” ~Sarah

“Oh yea another BIG peave of mine “I know someone who had lyme and he/she is fine” (me to myself they either caught it early, are in remission or probably really not “fine”)  I ask them what stage? They never know – and I say, “you know the difference between stages of cancer?” (Trout-eyed answer of Yes) …well you’re friend might have caught his/hers early/stage one… consider me as late stage metastasized”… ~Linda

“Why is your treatment not working?? Umm let’s see I just started two weeks before this goon asked me that.”~Melissa

“Lose weight and u will feel better”~Nikki

“My neighbor knows we have Lyme. She asked how my daughter was doing, my daughter had psychiatric Lyme, I said much better than a year and a half ago. Neighbor said it must have been a phase she was going through. Really?? Neighbor is an M.D.”~Valerie

“I was told by the pharmacist when I was picking up my huge bag of medicine “well at least you look good!”~Tammy

“Could be worse, you could have cancer. Your still not better?” is another one..ppl dont understand what the word chronic in chronic illness means .. ~John

“”I think your a hypochondriac” said by a good friend too. :/ ” Are you using drugs?” Said by a family member. Ugh thank god the full moon is preventing me from thinking of them all! I block that crap out then block the people who say these things out too. Lucky I have a pretty thick skin but still… It can hurt. They have since apologized to me but it still hurt.~Michelle

“From my occupational therapist sister when she was criticizing me when I couldn’t go to her kid’s birthday party when I was herxing my brains out, “I have cancer patients who do more than you!”~Denise

“Or ….. Has treatment worked yet then a few days later…. Has treatment worked yet? Then a few days later …has treatment worked yet??…… This one drives me insane!! Like stfu!!!!!!”~Sandy

“Aren’t you better yet? Why not try xyz you’ll feel better positivity and mind power can heal you!…. Ugh!  I have tons more! 😩😳😡 xx”~Joanne

“”It’s funny how im always reading on fb that you don’t feel well, but then I see you and you look fine…”.Uuuhhh that’s because I only leave the house when I feel well!”~Misty

“It must be nice to sleep in everyday. (!!!)”~Amy

“”You look good though, you don’t look sick”  “Well, at least you don’t have cancer, could be worse!””~Chloe

“What a waste of money – all you need is antibiotics!” Like you know!.”~Charlene

“But your not dying so your fine.. Someone close to me always says if I went to a better church I would have been cured by now.”~Alyssa

“I’ve heard many things. Like… “I would say I hope you feel better but we have given up all hope” that was said by a nurse. When I was dying in the hospital I was told “You’re young and healthy you will bounce right back”. “Maybe you need to see a psychologist because It could all be in your head”. When I was in a wheelchair and couldn’t even stand or barely talk I heard “Just go out and have fun with your friends you will be fine”. The list just goes on…. and I was told most of these things by people in the medical community.”~Jenna

“Stay off of Facebook and the Lyme groups and you will get better”🤔~Angela

“I’m cracking up, but hurting inside for all of us and the soul crushing words we hear from our family, friends, Christians, strangers, and our own Lymies and Moldies.”~Roxanne

“I know they probably mean well, but “I wish I could do more for you or help you out somehow” when they damn well know that I do need help, physically and financially, and there are a few that are very able, but won’t. Just empty words, meanwhile they are buying themselves trips to wherever the eff, while I couldn’t barely pay for my trip to bc to see my Lyme dr. Immediate family, by the way.  Another one is “don’t let yourself get lost in the label of it. You’re not your disease.” So deep…”~Carli

“This from a neuropsychiatrist after telling him i have chronic Lyme disease which has caused my depression and anxiety, after being referred to him by a neurologist. “So do you believe in aliens too?” This from a highly specialized doctor who deals with mental health issues!”~Sharon

“So you don’t work or do anything at all?.”. ” if you actually did something rather than just laying around all day you would feel better”B“you’re just depressed, just get outside get some fresh air you’ll snap out of it.”..  “You’re just being lazy”~Grant “you just need to go back to work and be around people” “i dont understand why you cant get out and do anything and live your life” “you’re not even trying” <— one of my favorites “you’re taking too much medication” “you’re not doing enough” “you need to make ______ (fill in the blank) a priority” “are you sure your medication is working? you always feel like shit” “who told you that you have lyme? it was probably a false positive, igenex is crap – less sensitive than standard testing” …that coming from a neurologist recently! “why cant your dr figure this out?”“so when are you going to get better” “there’s nothing wrong with you, you just like attention” “i know someone with lyme, they did x,y,z treatment and is fine now, you’re just being dramatic” “have you tried…….?”…….so many ignorant statements i feel like i’m forgetting some of the best!”~Betsy

“I have so many – but one of my faves was from a Dr during my first of many hospital asdmissions. When they couldn’t find the reason for my sudden onset neuro problems, the Dr asked ‘are you sure you haven’t forgotten to tell us anything? like – have you been hit by a car recently??’ That was the point when I knew that life with Lyme in our current medical system was not going to be easy lol!!” ~Laura

“What is it like to be able to stay home, not work and sleep in all day? GRRRRRRRR”~Linda

“”do you use your disease as excuse?”-no ,i like to feel like dying. lol”~Robin

Readers I had to stop because there were just too many comments and many were repetitive, but you get the idea. 
In closing I am left with not much else to say, but I wanted to share a link from one of my favorite Lyme sites on being in the life of someone with chronic Lyme

 So you know someone with Lyme?




Living With Someone With Chronic Illness, Are You Prepared?

Living with a person with chronic illness; what to expect

So we’re friends, we get along great and have never had a conflict…all is good and we are both amiable people who should be able to room together. You are also empathetic and know I (or said chronically ill person) have major health struggles. Lets say for the sake of this post that we decide to become roommates and I (or said chronically ill person) is financially able to do so. What are you in for? You may think you know, but you usually see me at my best because that is when I see people at all, and what may seem fairly normal from the outside may not be what you imagined when we get into the day-to-day. So I will do my best to step outside my life and look from a subjective outsider’s point of view.
I was prompted to write this today because this morning I encountered a situation staying in someone else’s house where I did not meet their expectations of me; I don’t mean this in a negative way on their part at all, only that my life doesn’t flow at the pace of everyone else’s and I am hit with the sharp reality that I disappointment people. You see this morning I was not “up and at ’em” when I was expected to be. Not only is sleeping difficulty just part of my life but it’s even harder in a strange house. Add to that that sleep is like oxygen to the chronically ill and there is never enough. So if I get less than 9 hours everything feels worse: pain, inflammation, brain fog, grogginess, cognitive abilities…everything. And a lack of sleep feels like a slow sinking death. 

With that in mind I rolled out of bed at 9:30 this morning aching, feeling hungover (no not from alcohol) and DESPERATELY needing coffee just to be able to speak properly… And was instantly expected to engage. I guess that didn’t go so well because I am sure I came off as unfriendly to the houseguest who had just arrived. But that’s a fact I didn’t even consider until later, but that’s how it goes.

Anyhow, back to living with the I.I. (Invisible Illness) Sufferer. 

If you catch me at the wrong time I may seem odd or unfriendly, my schedule is not normal, I am not consistent. Thank God my personality is more consistent than it used to be but I wasn’t alway able to navigate how I came off to others or convey what I meant, or be clear in my head with my intentionality’s…( I have had some catastrophic misunderstandings in the past). 

So currently I live with chronically ill family so nothing ever has to be explained, no one disappointments anyone else with unmet expectations, things in the house gets done according to whoever has the energy and nothing is assigned or on a schedule. We undertstand and support each other. But for the healthy person things might be strenuous. Here is what to expect:  

They will disappointment you/not meet your expectations:

What would be normal are Shared chores, a house schedule, sharing a bathroom/kitchen/living space, being uncluttered… Basically contributing in equal parts in all the ways a healthy roommate would be expected to; but they may not be able to do so.
This is scary for us because it means you may become frustrated and angry when we don’t hold up “our end”. Having expectations of a shared living situation are fair and everyone should contribute equally financially and physically and show respect; this is the only way rooming together can work. But this is assuming everyone involved is healthy, and living with someone with a chronic illness is not normal and throws a monkey wrench into what could be a happy cohabitation. 

We will have a problem with you using chemicals in the house, we will tell you that you can’t use that air freshener or spray that perfume in shared space. We will overrun the refrigerator. We will not clean up right away. We will sleep until all hours of the middle of the day. We will (most likely) be financially strapped all the time due to our overwhelming health expenses. We may appear lazy. We know we’re burdensome 😦

They will not respond appropriately sometimes:

So I am SO grateful that I now deal with this very little since I have been treated for Bartonella on my brain and brain stem, but I used to have a real problem with social situations and communication; with how I came across, with how I understood a situation and having proper emotional responses.
Ugh! This is really hard and frustrating especially when you don’t get out enough as it is due to your energy and symptoms. Being misunderstood and misunderstanding others makes you want to crawl out of your hole even less. Also I have to say that the chronically ill whose brains are affected need a lot of grace; I still deal with many fellow sufferers online and when I get frustrated I have to remind myself that I used to be where they are and it seriously affected my emotions and responses  too. I was whinier, angrier, and had a lot of inappropriate emotional responses to things that shouldn’t have been responded to emotionally. People that didn’t know us “before”, or don’t understand that this is what’s going on can’t differentiate between this brain garbage and our personalities (honestly sometimes we can’t either). I remember so often wondering “what’s wrong with me”? Well what was wrong with me was literally a viral infection in my brain.

So if your ill roomie is being bratty, emotional, childish, grumpy or whatever, and you think this is not true of the person you thought you knew, you may have to step back and give it a little time and space and see if they are different on a better day. But this is tricky ground and everyone is different, so tread how you see fit. I just recommend honesty in gentleness and grace.

They may be messy:

Yes that mess or clutter will get cleaned up, but maybe not when you want it to or on your schedule. Please understand we are not slobs because we want to be, we actually feel better when things are clean and orderly, but it takes effort to maintain that. You know how they say that the outside (say, a person’s home) reflects the inside? This is true. We are a MESS on the inside mentally and physically and for a lot of us it’s all we can do to keep any kind of normalcy. You may think we don’t care about clutter or are lazy, that’s not true. For example on a day where I happen to have extra energy and feel clear in my head one of the first things I do is clean house. And it feels good and I actually enjoy it! In contrast there are a lot of days where I am fatigued and I have a staring contest with those few dishes on the counter and no matter how hard I try to telepathically put them in the dishwasher it just doesn’t work. I try and mentally imagine getting up and moving and putting things away, and even in my head I can’t put forth the effort. The best way I can describe it is its like you have lead in your veins and everything is so heavy and moving your body takes three times the effort of normal.
And speaking of clutter; we are going to come with a whole lot of “baggage”, because our lives are all about health stuff; trying to get healthier, trying not to feel worse, trying to just live. So there will be a LOT, and I mean a lot of pill bottles. Plus pill organizers, zip lock baggies, tinctures, droppers, pill cutters, powders, liquids in the fridge…
And besides that we can’t eat and drink just anything, there are a lot of things we are intolerant to that further activates autoimmunity, so food is all about trying to improve health, prevent flare ups and rebuild our bodies. That means food is a bigger part of our lives than it is for most people, and not necessarily in a fun way. Actually it can be exhausting because we can’t trust things other people make (for the most part) because we don’t know if they used a non-organic veggie (toxic pesticides) or whether it might have been cooked in an oil that we react to, or has a spice in it on our allergy list… (You get the idea). 

So the cupboard, fridge and freezer are going to be stocked with a ton of stuff; there is going to be a lot of fresh produce, dairy-free milk alternatives, organic condiments, jugs of water, whole chickens, lots of leftovers (because cooking in bulk means less cooking), big bags of stuff from Costco (because buying organic in bulk is cheaper), hemp seeds, quinoa, spices, herbs, gluten-free items of all sorts… And SO much more.

Oh and lots of cooking means (drumroll) items to cook with! Also be prepared for your kitchen to be taken over by pots and pans, utensils, food storage containers, and (probably): a juicer, a super powered blender, sprouting jar, sauerkraut maker, food processor, fancy vegetable cutter, veggie noodle maker, ice cream maker, and more. But please, use our utensils and our appliances because we will probably want you to eat healthy too 😉

Also if we share a bathroom aforementioned pills may be in there too, along with our bags of Epsom salt, essential oils, rubs and pain creams. 

They may have trouble keeping a schedule:

Most people’s live revolve around one god: Time. Schedules, daily duties, social calendars, work, travel… It all centers on the almighty clock and this determines life and how it’s lived. With the chronically ill time can be almost shoved aside and forgotten and the “god” that replaces it is energy and the severity of symptoms on a given day. That is what determines daily life, and for many of us it is completely unpredictable. The yo-yoing is very frustrating we know, but even more so for us. Yes I know I will feel worse if I didn’t get enough sleep or ate something I shouldn’t, but what frustrates the heck out of many of us is that sometimes there is just no rhyme or reason that we can decipher why some days we feel downright good and others we have to crawl to get to the bathroom. What happens then is that we drive ourselves mad trying to reconstruct every little thing that we can to have another good day, or we overanalyze with intricacy what could have caused that bad day. 
So we will bail on plans last minute, we will let you down, our days when we aren’t working (if we work) may begin at noon, and getting ready for something could take hours because we take a shower, then rest, we get dressed, and rest, we do our hair, then rest… Oh and if it’s really a bad day all that getting ready may wipe us out and we’ll bail on you anyway. 

Please understand we HATE this, we don’t want to miss out on life and it adds to our malaise and depression and we hate letting people down, but this is reality and has nothing to do with desire or intention but everything to do with physical limitation. 

They may be anti-social:

*please insert here a lot of what was written above about keeping a schedule, as this overlaps that part by quite a bit and for the same reasons. 
But I wanted to add here that sometimes we won’t even feel like talking or visiting with you, our beloved roomie. This again has everything to do with lack of energy and pain levels and nothing to do with you. You see for a normal person the speech center of your brain is not necessarily affected when you are overly tired, but for an I.I. (Invisible Illness) Sufferer just trying to talk and listen and process what you are hearing and respond correctly takes a lot of effort. 

Aaaand again we are going to say no to a lot of social events and/or bail last minute.

One thing though that I’ve heard across the board from every chronic illness sufferer is that we don’t want you to stop asking us to things and inviting us. Even if we say no, it lets us know we are still important and we still matter. 

They can’t eat that:

By now if you know your I.I. Sufferer friend well enough to move in with them you will also know they have a very limited diet. 
Now working that through may depend on them and how difficult it is for them personally (as far as what food you eat in front of them and what you keep in the house). As for me I have been living with dietary restrictions so long it doesn’t necessarily bother me when people eat food in front of me that I can’t have; my will power has a lot more to do with my own inner struggles and won’t necessarily be effected by what you eat in front of me.

I have found that (in a social situation like a restaurant) everyone else is a lot more self-conscious about me not eating than I am.

I will say fervently to those (and I have heard too many stories) who do not take a sick person’s dietary restrictions seriously by: belittling them, trying to talk them into breaking their diet, sneaking “bad” food into their food, teasing them, saying it’s all in their head or that they have an eating disorder.. This is disrespectful, cold hearted and controlling on your part and metaphorically it is you lifting up your skirt and flashing us with your ignorance causing indecent exposure of your personality disorder. Sorry that was harsh, and very few people are that cruel, but I have heard first-hand of ill people having this happen to them and even landing in the ER due to an autoimmune response because someone slipped something into their food because they thought the person “was faking”. This has happened to me before also, although thankfully even though I had a horrible reaction there was no ER visit. 

When you have an autoimmune disease it means your body is in high-alert attack mode all the time and there are a lot of food triggers. We want to thank you in advance for understanding and please, continue to enjoy what we can’t.  

Their priorities are different:

How we feel is the lens through which we see and do everything. What may seem urgent or important to you on a given day may be pretty low priority for us. This doesn’t demean or downplay your priorities in any way, it’s just that the old saying is true:
“When you have your health, you have everything. When you do not have your health, nothing else matters at all.”

There is nothing like feeling sick in your mind and body every day of your life to change your outlook and priorities. You may think we are obsessed with our health and how we feel, but honestly when something rules your life to that degree and its something you can’t escape (you can’t leave your body) you feel it and carry it and are affected by it no matter where you are or what you do.
My sister and I have left a concert before that we had been dying to go to for months because we just couldn’t make it through to the end due to our pain levels and fatigue. Was this great concert a major priority? Yes. But our health and discomfort robbed some of the joy and caused us to leave before the end because we just couldn’t enjoy it to the degree we would have if we felt okay.

So, sometimes beloved roomie we will have to bow out of things we would like to do, and focus on things we would actually rather not. C’est la vie.
Thank you perspective roomie for reading all this, I hope you are now armed with info and can have some insight into the work of living with the chronically ill. 

Revisiting Word Press

Hello everyone, I have to remind myself to keep active on WordPress because I find I tend to spend more time posting and sharing articles on Facebook. If you would like you can find my page here   https://www.facebook.com/mycolorislyme

Anyway, rather than just reposting this link and missing everyone on WordPress I decided to come here and share. Here is a great article and some videos that come from overseas about two ladies who suffer from Lyme and their struggles for acknowledgement and treatment. (thank you Lyme Disease UK for sharing)

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2845997/The-hidden-epidemic-Thousands-Australians-believed-suffering-Lyme-disease-forced-travel-overseas-seek-treatment-government-continues-dismiss-it.html

Biography And Treatment Update

Hi my name is Jennifer, and I am not sure how long I have had Lyme because my and my family’s health history is rather complicated;

In 1990 when I was 11 and my sister was 9 we moved into a house on 5 acre property, it was a dream to have lots of animals and acreage. There were some great memories living there, but it ended up being a disaster. I cannot remember the time frames of everything but I will just do a quick overview. After a time our family started having various health issues ranging from chronic fatigue, depression and asthma to chronic sinus infections and a lot of other stuff. It took years but we eventually discovered that there were 13 different kinds of mold growing in the house including black mold. Also we were on a well and we discovered that there was suspected chemical dumping in the ground.

In 1996 after being nearly bankrupted by medical bills and with my mom going through chemo, my parents sold the house as a tear down.
Fast forward, (there were a lot of years in between and too much to go into) although some health issues got better after leaving the moldy house there were a lot that still lingered. Personally I had a two year period around 2003-2005 where I cleaned up my diet got in shape and was doing fairly ok. I don’t think I realized at the time that some cognitive things I dealt with and other health things weren’t normal, it was just “me”, because I was functioning at what I would consider to be a normal level. But right at the end of 2005 I had a period of stress and started having a lot more GI issues. A lot tumbled downhill after that; systemic inflammation, food intolerances, fatigue, brain fog (insert lots of Lymie symptoms here). I did the usual rounds with the doctors, was told a lot of different things, I had IBS, fibromyalgia……nothing at all. I had tests and blood work and MD’s never found anything.
I Finally found a doctor in 2010 that did muscle testing and nutritional therapy that was able to help me with a lot that was going on by supporting organ functions and detox pathways, etc. After two years with her my experience is that she gave me a lot of help where I feel I might have literally died without her intervention, and yet in some ways treating my body was like her trying to patch holes in a leaky boat that kept springing new leaks. During my care with her she also ran  a lot of blood work and tests revealing things like Leaky Gut, MTHFR defect, high PM cortisol, etc. My doctor had been concluding that we were probably dealing with an autoimmune disease and sent me to an LLMD in Seattle. (I must note that my sister was also on a parallel journey with me). Long story short got diagnosed with Lyme and went through two years of treatment with antibiotics and herbal antibiotics. At the end of 2012 during the beginning of die off I was bedridden for 3 months and this was probably the darkest period of my life.

I would have to say that with initial treatment I got maybe 50%-60% better and really had a very sharp LLMD that also understood treating Candida and all the other stuff that was going on. That said I  had  a lot of symptoms that just wouldn’t go away and still wasn’t really living due to fatigue, body pain, neurological issues and other things. I have kept hitting brick walls over these long years with treatment.

I heard about Dr Smith late last year from a dear friend who is also a chronic Lyme sufferer and was in a worse place than me with her health. She had also been treated by a Seattle LLMD although a different one than myself and was not doing well. She went to go see Dr Smith late 2013 and has had nothing less than miraculous results. By chance (providence) I met several other mutual friends online who had also seen Dr Smith and were getting better.

I went for my first appointment with Dr Smith June 30th 2014 and had Lyme treatment in consecutive days. Despite the fact that I had been receiving treatment for 2 years Dr Smith found Borrelia, Bartonella, Babesia, Lyme virus A, Lyme virus B, a liver virus and parasites. There was both some shock and relief in the diagnosis because in my head I had thought I must be mostly over the Lyme, but I knew I was stil struggling so something must be wrong, and I had wondered “what now?”

Week 2-3 post treatment were the worst with the die off with chest pain and hard heartbeat, vertigo, mini seizures, panic attacks, severe brain fog and confusion, worse systemic inflammation… Toward the end of week 5 things started to ease up and I felt back to my normal sick self. Almost 2 months later I went back for a second appointment with Dr Smith on August 25th for some “touch ups” due to some kidney and liver problems, he ended up finding a few viral infections. Literally the next day after treatment I already felt better.

As of today September 27th 2014 I am approaching 3 months post treatment and I am doing pretty well. My mind is clearer than it has ever been to my recollection, I am not dealing with the brain fog, dyslexia, word recollection problems, etc. My energy is immensely improved and I have been getting on my bike a few times a week. I also went to my first yoga class in years and made it about 2/3 of the way through before surrendering to Child’s Pose. I have also been back to the gym a couple times and done 20 minute sessions on the elliptical. These are all huge steps compared to what my activity level has been for years. Also I have been more social and seeing my friends again.
I have a little ways to go with all this but I am hopeful that I may in the near future have good health for the first time in my adult life.

It is too much to go into but my sister is also in treatment with Dr Smith and both my parents will start their Lyme treatment with Dr Smith in October 2014  (yes all four of us!) having been diagnosed by Dr Smith as having Lyme during my first visit to Idaho.