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A Little P.R.

And by P.R., I’m talking PRAISE REPORT.  Which is a Christian-ese type slogan that I don’t usually toss about, because I think it can be over-used, or used too lightly, or perhaps misused.  And I’m guilty of all three.  So I use it only when I can think of no other words to describe what I want to convey.

Kind of like now.

I am entering my 3rd week of treatment for Lyme Disease.  In this last week, I have made more progress than I thought possible in this relatively short amount of time.  Because when you’re treating late stage Lyme Disease, progress may not be seen for months.

On Christmas Day, I was able to go to our family celebration unaided by a wheelchair, leg brace, or crutches.  And I felt pretty darn good.  And since I did not take a pain killer, for the first time in many months, I could not credit the Tramadol for my mood.  (And not even the Rum Ball or two that I scavenged.)

On Sunday, I attended church, walking in on my own volition.  And for the first time in many many months, I was able to lift both arms in praise during worship.

Two weeks ago, I had very little use of my left arm.  I could not lift a fork to my mouth, or put my hair into a pony tail.  Try that with one hand.

I think what has struck me more than anything, is that for the last 3 mornings, I have woken up, and not been in excruciating pain.  Mornings have been the most difficult time for me, as I wake up so stiff that I am unable to move a muscle for a good 10 minutes.

I’m in near tears as I type this, because I’ve been wanting to tell you all about this all weekend, but was afraid that it might have been a one day anomaly.  But my progress this last week has been slow and steady.

I have taken you all on this odd medical journey with me for the last year.  Whether you wanted to come or not.  I have received so much support and encouragement from this blogging community.  I don’t know how I would have gotten to this place without an outlet for all of my fear and frustration.

And I do know how so many of you have lifted me up in prayer over the last year.  There is so much that God has taught me, and is continuing to show me as I have traveled this path.  And I’m certain He’s not through with me yet.  I still have a long way to go.

But I am so grateful for the healing that I’m already experiencing.

And so, like a child with news that is bubbling up within me, to the point that I just might explode if I don’t share it, I wanted to begin the week with this report.  A true report of praise.

I do believe this is an excellent way to begin the New Year!

Last Giveaway for the Year!

I am now two weeks into treatment, and am finally experiencing the joys of what is called The Herx Effect.  This is what happens as the Lyme Disease begins to die off, and it makes you feel like you are going through something akin to drug withdrawal.  

For me, this is not a set-back, but rather it is getting me closer to healing.  And thankfully, the Tramadol does help to take the edge off.  If I had to describe what I’m feeling, I would say that it’s like having the flu, only the entirety of my skin hurts.

So much so, that if I weren’t cold, I informed my horrified children that I would be conducting the rest of my day in my birthday suit.

Which encouraged the children to seek the opportunity to play out of doors.  Instead of indoors.  Making all manner of racket.  

Tell me that I’m not brilliant.

To take my mind off of my woes, I am happy to announce that I have one more giveaway of a $100 MasterCard Gift card, courtesy of BlogHer.  This is a post you will enjoy if you like to SHOP ONLINE.  Which I do.  Head over to my Review/Giveaway page to enter.  Entries close on 12/31, so there’s not much time!

The War Within

One of the more interesting things that happens to me whenever I visit my Acupuncturist, besides converting me into a human pin cushion, is that she is able to feel my pulse, and know what is going on with my health.  She’s been spot on about a number of things.  During my first visit, she asked me if I’d ever had Mono before.  I said no.  She seemed surprised.  Then the next day I got some blood results back, and they stated that I have been affected by Mono at some point in my life.


Last week, as she was feeling my pulse points, she said that my body was in a state of chaos.  No surprise there.  I’m now established on 3 different antibiotics, plus a myriad of other supplements and herbs to help balance everything out, and support my immune system.  In all, I’m taking about 60 pills a day, spread out into 4 fun-filled pill taking sessions.  No small feat, for a girl who detests taking pills.  Always have.  I’d like to report that my gag reflex is fully functional.

I started my treatment for Lyme Disease almost 2 weeks ago.  I have noticed improvement, in that I have more use of my left arm.  Which is a huge blessing.  But I have also been on a bit of a body temperature roller coaster.  One minute I’m freezing to the point of goose bumps, and then the next minute I’m having a hot flash.

On Saturday, because of a power outage, we decided to have brunch at Bob Evan’s.  Not that we need an excuse to hit Bob Evans on a drizzly cold Saturday morning.  I was freezing prior to leaving the house, so I dressed in layers.  But once we were seated, the hot flash began.  So I began peeling off layers of clothing.  Much to my children’s horror.  Because they realized that underneath the sweatshirt, I was wearing my sturdy-but-2-sizes-too-big white tank top.  With my black sports bra.  DON’T DO IT MOM!

That’s one way to get faster service.  And as a bonus, your children will fan you with their menus.  Just so you leave the sweatshirt in place.  There is method in my madness.

I’ve also discovered that I’m sensitive to smoke inhalation.  I’m still using the Moxa Roll on my affected and inflamed joints.  If you’ll recall, the Moxa Roll is the cigar-like stick that I light on fire, and hold close to my skin in the affected areas.  And the smoke it emits smells like a week old bong.  (This is just a guess, btw.)

Anyhoo.  It’s been very chilly here, considering this is Equator, Florida.  Usually I am banished to the back porch to light up my Moxa Roll.  But one night Fiddledaddy took pity on me and established my nightly ritual in my bathroom.  Wherein he turned on the exhaust fan, and closed the door.

Just before I lost consciousness, Fiddledaddy came to check on me.

I was relocated to the back porch once again.  It took a week to get the smell out of the house.

Tonight I braved the sub-freezing temperatures on the back porch to have my Moxa Roll therapy.  I was armed with a space heater, a sweatshirt, flannel coat, and blanket throw.  I tried to expose only those areas that had to be uncovered for the Moxa Roll to do its job.  When the smoke became a little thicker than usual, I noticed that I was surrounded by a good deal of highly flammable polyester, and I may have been getting a little to close to it.

Fiddledaddy offered to pull the hose to the back porch.  Just in case.  Now I’m left with a case of nausea from all the smoke that only a Christmas Cookie will cure.

And that’s my story, which I’m sticking to.

Happy Monday, everyone!  Is anyone else freaking out that Christmas is this Saturday????

***Post Script:  I apologize, comments were inadvertently closed on this post as well as my $100 Visa Giftcard giveaway on the Welch’s Share Your Story post.  Everything is fixed now, and you can still enter the giveaway, which closes on 12/31!

Smile and say cheese

My appointment with my doctor could not have gone better this morning.  We discussed all of my options, then settled on a course of treatment that we both were comfortable with, all while I sat in his office clutching a hot Cafe Mocha from Whole Foods Market.  That was perhaps the first Cafe Mocha I’ve had in 6 months or so.

It was everything I’d hoped it would be.

I left armed with 4 prescriptions, 3 of which were for antibiotics, and one for Nystatin.  I came home and printed up a blank calendar, and charted when I have to take what, and how much, and OH MY WORD, I’m glad I excelled in math.

Instead of bombarding my system with heavy doses of antibiotics, I will be easing into them slowly, in increments of three days.  I will gradually increase until I have achieved the full dose.  The idea behind easing into the increased dose, is that I will likely feel the affects of the Lyme die-off, this is called the Herxheimer Reaction, as my body detoxes.

This is the “you will feel worse before you feel better” scenario.  And it’s a good thing.  

The plan is to stay on the oral antibiotics for about a month, to see how my body tolerates treatment.  Then likely I will be ready for intravenous antibiotics.  My doctor thinks that I might feel pretty rotten for about 3 weeks, but then by the 4th week, I’ll notice improvement.  And I have specific herbs that will help me with the side affects.

I’m not at all afraid.  I was just so excited to get started with the treatment.  I feel like I’m finally moving forward.

Yesterday I took my girls to the dentist for our semi-annual teeth cleaning.  My hygienist looked at my crutches and knee brace and asked me what was happening with me medically.  I gave her the condensed version.  Then, thankfully, she told me that I needed to wait until I see my doctor prior to a cleaning.  And then she explained.

When you have your teeth cleaned, all whole lot of bacteria is released into your system.  And if you are having immune problems of any kind, that bacteria will settle into any weakened areas of your body.  And believe me, when they clean my teeth, a whole bunch of bacteria is loosed into my innermost being.  From experience, and the use of the dental jackhammer to loosen the unsightly plaque, she knew that it would be best to wait.

I had not even thought about that being an issue.  I’m glad she was vigilant and checked into my medical history. I discussed it with my doctor today, and he said that I would be good to go in about 2 weeks, as I’ll be nicely saturated with antibiotics.

Jackhammer away.  My girls emerged from their cleaning all smiles, and no cavities.  I’m almost afraid to say this out loud, but (lowers voice to a whisper) I’ve never had a cavity.  In my life.

I KNOW!  It’s not that I take such great care of my teeth.  It has to be my mother’s genes.  She didn’t get a cavity until later in life.  And since we were both raised on iced tea so sweet that the spoon stood straight up in the glass, I would say it’s more of a dental miracle that I haven’t experienced the dreaded filling.

And btw, I’ve given up the iced tea, and the only sweeteners that I rely on are Stevia and Agave Nectar.

My spirits are good, and I feel that I’m off to a good start.  Thank you to all of my cheerleaders and prayer warriors!  I’m going to beat this thing.

And so it begins

Sadly, the aforementioned play date had to be postponed when Jensen’s future mother-in-law contracted a fever over night.  Jensen did try to work around that issue with, “WELL, MAYBE WE COULD JUST GO OVER TO THEIR HOUSE.”  And when that didn’t work, “WELL, MAYBE SHE COULD JUST DROP THE GIRLS OFF AND LEAVE THEM HERE WITH ME!”

He’s a sly one, that boy of mine.  I explained to him that E & K’s mommy had a FEVER and shouldn’t be driving.  And the girls might be getting sick too.  He tried  more idea combos, but none worked.  Other than we will try again next week.

“NEXT WEEK?  BUT THAT’S LIKE FOREVER!” At this point he threw himself prostrate onto the cheap linoleum.   Yes, I suppose when you’re 5, it is like forever.  I’m just hoping for a speedy recovery for Mrs. N.  And you know who you are.

On a different note, the treatment that directly affects my Lyme Disease begins bright and early in the morning.  I am only slightly fearful of how my immune system will react.  More than anything, I cannot wait for the real battle to begin.  

I will be taking copious notes, as I will be journaling this phase of my medical odyssey.

I ain’t skeerd.

How Lyme has affected my parenting style

Over the weekend, I woke up and discovered that the Lyme Disease had claimed my left foot.  Every joint was sore, I could put no weight on it, and I couldn’t even spread my toes apart.  I often boasted that because of my toe splaying abilities, I can peel a banana with my foot.

It’s on my resume.

I felt like this new affected area was going to put a crimp in my ability to effectively parent my children.  Because there would be no way that I could kick anyone’s back side into gear each day.

It’s not like I can rely on yelling, although I do try.  But Fiddledaddy is always quick to inform me that I sound like I’m insane whenever I yell.  As if. As it is, I’m certain the neighbors refer to me as the pot smoking homeschooling mother.  Why not tack on insane as well. If you’ll recall, part of my healing regime requires the use of a Moxa Roll.  Which when lit and applied to the offending joints, smells very much like what Spicoli might have smelled like as he fell out of the Volkswagon in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.”

Okay, I just got my own joke.  Offending joints.  Marijuana reference.  I slay myself.

Anyhoo.  Another area of my parenting prowess that is greatly affected is the ability to sweepingly swat at my children with my right hand as I roll merrily down the highway in my mommy-mobile.  Since I’m losing the use of my left arm, I have to keep BOTH hands on the wheel at all times.

I’m within inches of losing my driving privileges as Fiddledaddy is threatening to confiscate my keys.  I assured him that I only have an issue when I need to turn left.  And if I plan a trip just right, I have perfected the ability of making all right turns to get to nearly anyplace I want to go.

Turning left is over rated, anyway.

But, there is one thing that I’m still able to do to maintain my Super Mom status.  I have not lost the ability to give advice to the lovelorn.

I recently discovered that one of Jensen’s cousins was teasing him about his relationship with 5 year old E and her twin sister K.  Jensen has declared his undying love to both of these sisters.  And they to him.  It is a precious relationship, demonstrated by hand holding and sweet hugs.  The kissing has mercifully come to an end, after all 4 parents involved insisted that kissing be reserved only for the child’s own mommy and daddy.

And they have dutifully complied.  So far.

But Jensen’s cousin told him that the whole thing was just disgusting and gross.

Well.  I talked to Jensen and told him not to let anyone tell him such lies, and that his friendship with E and K was something very special.  He said, “Oh, I know mom, l love them.  They’re my best friends!” Thankfully, Jensen marches to the beat of his own music, and could care less what anyone thinks of him.  We should all possess that gift.

And furthermore, I told him to continue to look out for E and K, because they do not have an older brother to protect them.  And he does.  He opens the door for them, and helps them up from the floor during Awana and Sunday School.

Today, a friend of mine at church, informed me that she watched with amusement as Jensen sat in the childrens big group at church on Sunday.  The Kindergartners sit on the floor in the front, and Jensen was flanked on either side by E and K, each of his arms draped protectively around their shoulders.

My heart melted into the floor.

But there could be trouble.  After church, E pointedly asked, “Jensen, who do you love more, me or K?” Uh-oh.  I jumped in and offered, “He loves BOTH of you.” And by then, their attention was diverted by a dust bunny on the carpet, or a fly, or whatever else claims their short attention span.

E is the more eccentric of the pair, and Jensen tends to gravitate toward her on most occasions.  But honestly, he cannot tell them apart (neither can I), except that E is the one most likely to show up with a baggy on her head as a hat.

On Monday we’re hosting a play date for E and K, and their older sister at our house.    And happily, their mommy is one of my favorite people in the world so I always enjoy girl talk with her.  Jensen of course is beside himself with excitement.  He cannot wait to show them his toys.  Particularly the Disney Cinderella Castle that doubles as a fortress for Mario, Luigi, and friends.

I will be enforcing the NO CLOSED DOORS policy.  I will also be honing that other mothering ability that Lyme Disease has not affected.  The eyes in the back of my head are 20/20.  

Have a wonderful Monday, my friends!

Tears in my ears

I’m sitting in a puddle of tears.  I would be face down on the cheap linoleum if I thought I could get back up.  Honest to goodness, your comments on my last post touched my heart deeply.  I sincerely thank each and every one of you for taking the time to encourage me.  My heart is happy.

Yesterday, Fiddledaddy had to make a trip into Orlando to the DisneyWorld of my dreams…the Apple Store.  The day before, while Jensen was having a 5 year old fit outside of the library, he jumped up with arms flailing and knocked Fiddledaddy’s iPhone out of his hand.  It went crashing to the sidewalk, shattering the screen.

Well.  Fiddledaddy remained calm, mostly because there were people around, and we already have a dicey reputation at the library.  Jensen was immediately filled with remorse and apologized profusely.  They continued into the library to turn books in, and pick up more books on hold.

Fiddledaddy said that Jensen uncharacteristically stood still, didn’t utter a word, and did not render himself naked.  As he has been known to do in library visits past.

I’m pretty sure that the staff asked to see Fiddledaddy’s ID, because no one who works there would have ever believed that this was Jensen.  And his bedraggled father.

When they got home, Fiddledaddy called the nice folks at Apple and explained the situation.  We were fully prepared to have to shell out many dollars to replace the phone.  We do have the extended warranty, but we didn’t think that warranty covered anything Jensen related.  They happily told him that he could bring the phone into the Apple Store and they would replace the screen.  FOR FREE.

Therefore, I had to make the gut wrenching decision whether to accompany my family to my favorite place on earth, or stay home, ALONE, and get reports and paper work finished.  While enjoying a nice cup of hot coffee.  (My joy knows no bounds.)

Well, I pulled up my big girl panties and did the responsible thing.  I stayed home and got some much needed work done.  Difficult as that was.  My favorite thing to do at the Apple Store is to drool all over an iPad.  So I gave Emme clear instructions to drool in my stead.  Which she did.

Sadly, I cannot justify the expense of purchasing an iPad right now.  My contract with MSN as the Mom’s Homeroom Message Board Moderator is coming to an end this month.  Because of severe budget cuts, they will be doing the moderating in-house.  They have let me know that they want to use me as a guest blogger writing articles over the next year.  I look forward to continuing to work with this group of people.  I just adore them.

And you know how when God closes one door, He opens a window?  Well, I just look forward to seeing what He has in store for me next year.

I hope to finish up my post about my Lyme journey this weekend, and I’ll give that a page all to itself, so that other people battling Lyme can share their journey as well.  I will also include some terrific resources that I’ve discovered in the last few weeks.  Oh, I finished watching “Under Our Skin” last night.  If you are close to anyone battling this disease, I so recommend that you get a copy and watch it.  It helps you to understand the disease better, and know what the patient is really going through.  And the unbelievable controversy surrounding not only the diagnosis, but the treatment as well.  I had no idea what Lyme Disease really was, or how devastating it can be, until these last few weeks.

Have a wonderful weekend, my sweet cyber friends!


Don’t forget, the $100 Visa Gift card giveaway is still continuing through December.  This is a Christmas tradition post featuring Welch’s Holiday drink beverages.  Go to my Review/Giveaway page to enter!

Really, I’m fine

Many years ago, I bought a t-shirt that featured a cartoon cow lying on its back, feet straight up in the air, and at the bottom the caption read, “Really, I’m fine.”

I wore that t-shirt until you could no longer discern hooves from the actual words, and at last I had to finally toss it.

Tonight at church, Fiddledaddy and I attended a class on parenting an adolescent.  Because we have absolutely no idea what we’re doing with a certain 11 year old, who is solely focussed on pushing the boundaries.  And my buttons.  Which reminds me, I need to make that weekly phone call to my Dad to again apologize for everything I put my parents through.

Afterward, as I hobbled up the aisle on one crutch, probably no fewer than a dozen people stopped and patted me on my shoulder, asking how I was doing.    I gave them my standard answer, “I’m doing fine.” Occasionally I get more creative and offer, “I’m up and out of the house!”

Fiddledaddy finally looked at me and asked, “Why don’t you tell them the truth?”

And I really couldn’t answer that, except to say that I really don’t want to tell anyone the truth, because I’m afraid I’ll just start weeping.  The truth is, that I’m scared.  The truth is that I hurt all of the time.  And the truth is that I have days where it’s all I can do just to put one foot in front of the other just to get from the start of the day to the end.  The truth is that I’m struggling.

Driving is beginning to be an issue.  And as Fiddledaddy learned when I hit the 7th month of pregnancy, and he has to confiscate my car keys because I can no longer fit behind the wheel, I AM NOT HAPPY IF I CAN’T EXPERIENCE THE FREEDOM OF HOPPING IN THE CAR AND BURNING RUBBER OUT OF MY DRIVEWAY.

It’s just a small part of feeling autonomous that I’m been awfully attached to.  But, as I’m losing more use of my left arm, turning is becoming very difficult.

I’m good as long as I can go straight.  But someone had the nerve to build roads around here that CURVE.  Also, as I learned tonight, I’m losing the ability to give a really good hug.  Or to reach out my arm and pray for someone.  Or just raise my hands during a really great praise song in church on Sunday.

I’m beginning to experience some of the neurological issues that sometimes come with advanced Lyme Disease.  I have difficulty finding words, or finishing a sentence, or remembering what the heck it is I went out to the garage to find in the first place.  I’m foggy.  And so tired.

I debated in my head whether or not to spill my thoughts onto a post.  But more than anything, I want to be honest about what this disease does to you, and what my experiences are with Lyme Disease.  Today I borrowed a DVD about Lyme Disease called “Under Our Skin” from a girlfriend of mine who is also fighting Lyme.  I haven’t been able to get through it, because of how close to home it’s hitting.  And I’m just fighting mad at how much controversy there is within the medical community regarding the diagnosing and treatment of Lyme.

Today my coping skills have taken a big hit.  And I know I’m going to have days like that.  And likely, tomorrow will be better and I’ll cringe when I reread this post.  And that’s okay.  I want always to remember this journey, so that I can be a help to someone else who is struggling.

It’s okay to have bad days.  And it’s okay to be honest about them.

I begin treatment next week in earnest.  I’ve been fighting some of the smaller co-infections this week, and I suspect that accounts for the little dark cloud over me right now.  Lyme is putting up a fight.

I’m up for it.  Lyme is picking on the wrong girl.  

I love you guys.  Thank you for letting me vent.  And thank you for your continued support, encouragement, and prayers.  And thank you for your comments.  I tell you what, you guys make me giggle daily with some of the stuff you come up with.  It’s such a comfort to know that I’m not alone in my insanity.  🙂