lyme disease

4 Ways To Help Someone With A Chronic Illness


If you ask someone who has a chronic illness how they’re doing, chances are they will answer with sometimes along the lines of, “I’m fine” or, “I’m OK.” I can tell you with confidence that they may not be be “fine” or “OK.” They don’t want to mislead you, but it can be difficult to be vulnerable about being sick because that answer typically does not change day after day. Many, including myself, feel like they are a burden to those around them, and it is easier to continue to put on that “I’m OK” face than to admit that life is hard and the pain continues to be too much to handle.

As someone who struggles with multiple chronic illnesses, I have dealt with many emotions when it comes to telling people how I’m actually doing. Most times I start with only mentioning a few things that hurt, or a few emotions I’m dealing with, to gauge the waters on how receptive the listener is to my pain. I’m always worrying that they are tired of hearing about my disease and just want me to stop sharing, and that definitely contributes to why I tend to not to share as much as I want to. After sharing with people, I have many people tell me over and over, “I wish that I could do something, but I just don’t know what would help you.” Most times I don’t know what to tell them either.

As someone with a chronic illness, my heart wishes so desperately that I did not have to feel like a hindrance on the friendships or relationships I have. I sometimes need others to express love, effort, and patience, in a creative way. As much as I hate it, I can understand that many get tired of hearing of my aches and pains, my struggles with treatments and side effects, and how broke and lonely I am from it all. But for those of you that stay and listen, you are the real deal and the champions of loving me selflessly. You will never know the impact of what it means to those that are deep in the trenches of this fight, but know that you are right in there with them.

 1. Offer your help before being asked. I know it may be your first instinct to say something like, “Let me know what I can do to help,” but that actually can be a bit hard to answer. When I’m asked that question, many things run through my mind such as: What would they be willing to help with? Are they really just saying that hoping I won’t actually ask them, or would they be willing to do what I need that week, even if it’s inconvenient? You see, it’s easy to offer help, but harder to listen for a need and offer to fill it. If you don’t know what to offer, chances are they could use a meal, because it can be exhausting to cook meal after meal when they are weighed down by pain. (They may have food restrictions, so make sure to be willing to make something to fit those.) Do they need help cleaning their house? Offer to come spend a Saturday afternoon and help them clean and do laundry. When someone offers to help me clean, I am so relieved, since that is something that typically gets left behind because I don’t have the energy to do it.

2. Learn all you can about their disease/condition. Have you spent time reading about what they go through each day so that you can better understand? Is there a documentary that you can watch with them to help show them that you care and want to be educated on their condition? It goes an incredibly long way when you can work hard to learn the basics and be able to ask informed questions about how they are doing. Maybe even offer to attend their next doctor’s appointment or treatment with them, depending on how comfortable they are with that.

3. Plan an event with them in mind. I know in my daily life, I miss being able to spend time with people that I care about and participate in activities that now would put my pain over the edge. There are many things I am unable to do because of my disease, and many time I feel left out because of it. As a friend or family member of someone with a chronic disease, find out the activities that they can enjoy and make an evening out of it. Whether that’s an evening movie night or a quiet picnic in the park, any sort of planned event that they are able to enjoy will be cherished. And a special note that when asking those with chronic illnesses to an event -please never take it personally when they cancel. They cannot control their pain levels that day, and if they are canceling on something they are looking forward to, then the pain is more than you can imagine.

4. Offer to buy groceries or supplements. When I think about my daily struggle with my disease, finances top the list. Every extra cent that my husband and I have goes directly towards treatment, tests, supplements, and a specific diet catered to my body’s needs. Eating organic and taking over 20 supplements a day adds up quickly, and it has taken a huge burden off my shoulders when someone has offered to buy groceries for a day,or to buy my month of probiotics so that I had one less item on my list. I understand that not everyone has the financial means to give, but if you do, this can be so helpful.

I hope that some of these suggestions give you a guiding point that goes past asking how to help, but by also being able to take that step and love on that person in your life that is hurting. A strong support system is crucial to the healing process, and sometimes being that support can be confusing and difficult, since many times there doesn’t seem like options are out there that will help them. At the end of the day, just the fact that you’re there, you’re listening, and you are loving them through it is enough.

blog · lyme disease

A Love Note To Myself


Dear Awesome You,

This day isn’t going like you’d hoped. Your heart and mind want to be out in the world doing the things you love. Heck, you wouldn’t even mind doing something you don’t love if it meant you’d be out in the world.

Today, your body is asking you to slow down. It’s an invitation you’d rather not accept. You have so much planned for yourself, and this doesn’t feel fair.

You look out the window and see people and birds and trees doing their usual people and bird and tree things, living their lives outside, and you’d really like to join them.

Today feels lonelier than usual, and that’s alright. Maybe there’s sadness, regret, fear, frustration, longing, anger and confusion. It’s okay to feel it all. In fact, it’s actually good to really feel those emotions when they arise. I like to remind myself, cry when you’re sad, stop when you’re done.

The feelings that show up today actually need to be felt. When you let them be what they are without fighting them, they’ll be able to shift and transform. Feelings are always moving, they rarely stick unless we resist them. They just want us to stop and acknowledge them and give them love.

In some ways, you aren’t actually alone today. There are so many of us who woke up today with the same invitation from our bodies to slow down. You’re a part of a bigger group of people who are navigating the challenging world of chronic illness even if you can’t see them. Bring them into your mind and heart today.

What you experience matters, and it might mean a lot to someone out there to read about what you’re going through today. Likewise, maybe you’ll find someone else that was planning to leave the house today just like you, but their body had other plans too.

Be good to yourself today. You’re fantastic, and sometimes down days can trick you into thinking you’re not. But you aren’t your body, or your thoughts, or even your emotions. You’re the thing that exists whether you feel amazing or awful, you are your spirit.

I may not know you all out there, but I do know you’re deserving of love and patience and kindness. As author Louise Hay would recommend, go to the mirror during a difficult moment and say, “It’s okay, I love you. This will pass, but I love you and that’s forever.”

So feel your feelings, remember you’re not alone, and enjoy the company of the thoughtful, sensitive, amazing person that is you. Today you’ve got her all to yourself.

lyme disease

Having Mindfulness In the Face Of Incurable Chronic Illness


Mindfulness– a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.

I realized from a young age that something about me was different from my friends. When we would play outside at recess or during gym class, I lagged behind, sat out, or went home crying and sick. Many days in school were spent in the nurse’s office, laying on the cot, shaking and covered with a blanket, waiting for my mom to come pick me up.

I knew I was different, I just didn’t understand what was happening. After being shuffled around from doctor to doctor for many years and almost not graduating from high school due to missing so many days of school, I knew life for me would be different. There were no plans for college, living on my own and working didn’t pan out, so I had to learn to adjust to a new life, different from all my peers. After 24 years of not having answers, I was finally diagnosed with late stage Lyme disease.

Along with that diagnosis came depression and anxiety. I didn’t realize how much my life would be changed by this disease and there are days where I’m still in denial, most likely because of my desire to live a “normal” life. Life became about going from one doctor to another, constantly finding things wrong with me and having a desire to try and control everything around me since I couldn’t control what was happening to me. I knew my body was under attack and there wasn’t much I could do about it.


As human beings, we like to have control. But when you’re living with something like an incurable illness or a disability, there’s a unique form of stress that arises when you realize a major part of who you are is out of your hands. That, with no justification as to why, the deck of cards you’ve been dealt is vastly different from those around you. People generally like to take bad things and make them better. We like to mend things when they’re broken. But when a fundamental element of your existence is unfixable, an array of emotions bubble up to the surface. Sometimes they break through, or sometimes, I’ve found, they can lay dormant for a really long time, bubbling like hot lava, but eventually they come to the surface.

The way I see it, there are three ways to look at the hand you’ve been dealt. One way is to disassociate from them and pretend it doesn’t exist. The second is to acknowledge them but with anger or sadness, living a life full of complaints, driven by worry, and fear. The last, and most difficult, is to acknowledge them with grace and gratitude for what good lies within.

I wouldn’t say I had a light bulb moment. Over time I began to recognize that I couldn’t control the things that were happening to me, but I could control how I responded to them. Maybe it was my husband constantly reminding me to be positive or all the self-help books I read, or maybe it’s the inevitable growth you go through when faced with a life-altering situation, but I came to accept that my condition wasn’t going anywhere. It wasn’t going to change, so I would have to change from within.

When I chose to start finding the good buried beneath the bad, I knew I had to figure out a way to see the beauty in life. This meant living in the moment, not in the fear of my future. For as long as I remembered, I’d been bad at being present. And it’s not surprising as to why. Living with a disease, there is constant worry: Will it ever go away? Will I lose the ability to walk entirely? Will I ever have children? Will I be able to pay all these medical bills? Will I ever be normal again? Will I die?

Even day-to-day things that are normal for everyone else, like breathing, walking or going to the store can remind me of how different I am and bring up the fear of how much worse things might get. As with any incurable or progressive condition, these thoughts can run rampant and take a paralyzing hold of our days and our lives.

Knowing that being in the moment was really difficult for me, I decided to get more serious about changing my mindset. I began to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is generally regarded as the act of being in the present moment, without judgment. When we are more mindful, we are more insightful. We become more present in the here and now.

After a while, senses become more enriched. I began to taste my food more. I started really listening and hearing what people were saying. I took note of the feeling of the sun on my skin or cold air on my nose. I became more attuned to other people’s sufferings. It was like I began to see life more clearly. I realized how unimportant a lot of things are in life that we tend to put so much emphasis on, like what job you have, or how nice your house and cars are or if you can go on expensive vacations. I began to truly witness and connect with all of life’s precious fleeting moments knowing that our time here is very short, and for some of us, it’s much shorter.

Mindfulness has taught me to slow down and reflect before I react. Having lived for so long in a hyper-stressed state with mental and physical ailments feeding off one another, I can look back now and say that being more present is transforming my body, mind, and soul.

Today, I choose to see my deck of cards through a very different lens. What once looked like a dark curse has transformed into something light—a blessing, even. Without my disability, and the journey I embarked on because of it, I wouldn’t have never been able to find gratitude. Being an individual with an incurable illness is a fate that I’ve accepted. Doing this led me to my purpose of helping others, and that’s something I would never change.


health · lyme disease

Why Stress Is The Most Dangerous Toxin To Our Bodies

Photo: Shutterstock

What we think and feel, and how long we think it or feel it, determines our health. The science is strong, and yet so often stress is considered a gray area, something we can’t put our finger on or measure, and so it gets dismissed as not being “real.”

So many times I’m told by doctors to reduce stress but I always end up thinking, I don’t feel like I am stressed so how can I work on reducing it? What we don’t realize is that the meal you just ate, or the conversation you had yesterday impacts your stress response.

Here are 10 concrete ways stress is possibly the most dangerous toxin your body faces every day.

1. Stress changes gene expression.

The chemicals your body produces when you are under stress turn on or off genes that change everything from how much fat you store, to how well your immune system works, to how fast you age, to whether or not you will develop cancer. Ever see those commercials on tv talking about reducing belly fat by reducing cortisol? Cortisol is a hormone produced when your body is under stress. Reduce stress= reduce corisol= reduce body fat.

2. Early life events determine your set point for stress.

Research shows that even very early childhood events “set” your CRH, or corticotropin releasing hormone, at a high or low level. CRH is like the foot on the gas turning on your adrenals, and therefore your stress levels.

3. Stress causes brain damage.

High levels of stress hormones damage critical parts of the brain, such as the hippocampus, the area responsible for memory. One reason people experience “adrenal burnout” after long term chronic stress, is because the brain, in order to save itself, turns off the adrenals. That is why people, such as myself, in states of long term chronic illness have adrenal fatigue.

4. Stress shuts down the immune system and increases inflammation.

From slowing wound healing, to diminishing the protective effects of vaccines, to increasing your susceptibility to infections, stress is the ultimate immune-modulator. Stress can also reactivate latent infections — people who get cold sores know this from experience. For myself, it reactivated my Epstein-Barr virus due to long term chronic illness which caused a state of chronic stress on the body.

5. Chronic stress damages the energy powerhouses of your body, your mitochondria.

These energy factories produce ATP, the currency through which all cells and organs in your body do their work. The good news is this damage is reversible over time, as stress goes away.

6. Stress reduces your ability to metabolize and detoxify.

Studies have shown that the activity of hundreds of genes responsible for enzymes that break down fats and detoxify prescription drugs, are negatively impacted by stress. Stress can also increase your toxin burden by increasing your desire for high fat, high sugar foods.

7. Your cardiovascular system responds to stress, increasing cardiac output if you have to run away from a tiger.

But chronic stress has been shown to increase the thickness of the artery walls, leading to high blood pressure and heart disease.

8. Stress messes with your sex hormones.

Stress increases the amount of something called sex hormone binding globulin, the school bus that ferries testosterone and estrogen around your body, meaning fewer of these hormones are available to your cells. Chronic stress also increases the production of cortisol, leading to something called “cortisol steal,” where fewer sex hormones are produced.

9. Stress is bad for your bones and muscles.

There is evidence that higher stress levels are associated with lower bone mineral density, and many studies show that people under chronic stress experience more physical pain.

10. The gut and stress are intimately intertwined.

You may have heard that 95% of your serotonin is in your gut, and you may remember a time when you were nervous or sad, and your belly was in knots.

But more research is showing how stress impacts the function of your gut every day. It slows transit, leading to constipation and the re-circulation of hormones like estrogen through your liver. It increases the overgrowth of bad bacteria. And it loosens the barriers between the cells that line the intestines, creating something called leaky gut, that then leads to inflammation, food sensitivities and even autoimmune disease.

OK, so now that you know how stress impacts your body, what to do about it becomes the real question. Enter functional medicine, in which we look at the body as an interconnected matrix. We then recommend ways of modifying and supporting each aspect of the matrix, so that the system comes back into balance.

If this is an are of your life that you hope to improve, I recommend that you find a functional medicine physician who can help you bring your body back into balance.

I will also write in another post some tools you can do to reduce stress in your life.


lyme disease

Go Fund Me Campaign For Lyme Disease


Hi everyone!!! I have Lyme disease, Bartonella and Babesia.  I was bitten by a tick that transmitted the bacteria that caused my illness which by the way is a very serious one. This tick disease literally almost killed me.

My health has been rapidly declining in the last 2 years. After visiting many doctors in and out of the state and trying multiple types of treatment and medications, I have not been making progress in getting better.

It has literally affected my entire body, from my brain to my skin, heart, extreme body pain, eyes, shaking, numbness, tingling, kidneys, liver, neuropathy, balance issues, weakness in my legs and arms and everything else that you can imagine. I have been using a wheelchair and cane for a couple years now. I have to have 24 hour care and need help even with simple, everyday tasks like eating, showering and going to the bathroom. I only leave home to go to the doctor and had to quit my full time job a few months ago because I could no longer physically function enough to do my job.

I have spent tens of thousands of dollars already on doctor visits, lab tests, medicine and travel. It is only getting more expensive as my illness progresses. Since Doctors are not legally allowed to treat Chronic Lyme Disease, it is not covered on insurance.

The next step in trying to find help in recovering from this illness would be to go to the Hansa Center in Kansas. It would require a 2 week initial stay for treatement and then recurring visits every couple of months. It costs about $12,000 for the 2 weeks not including our travel costs and expenses to stay there. Subsequent visit are between $3000-5000 for a 3-5 day stay.

This is almost a last ditch effort to try and find healing since I’ve exhausted options in my local area.

If I hadn’t been misdiagnosed for so long  which cost us a lot of money along the way, then I would be in a better situation to pay for this center. But unfortunately, we’re only living on one income now and most of that money goes to paying my medical expenses. Plus my husband has used up his vacation days from work so we wouldn’t be receiving his income anymore on the days he can’t work to take me to the center and follow up appointments.

So to all my friends reading this, any donation will be much appreciated to help me with the cost of my treatment so I can get to where I was before getting sick. Share if you can…..

Thank you so much!!!