Thursday, July 30, 2020

10 days

10 days. That is all I had. 10 days where I felt normal. Where I had a life again. I remember sweeping the floor, tidying the kitchen on day 8 and the joy I experienced at being able to do such a small task and not needing to lay down afterwards. 

The herbs started working right away. I did scale it back a lot from what I posted in my PDF (taking less of each herb) because I ended up taking too much too fast. I didn't make a new pdf I just ended up writing over top of the numbers with new drop ratios. 

But on day 11 everything changed. My symptoms all came back.

Here are my symptoms:

1) gut bloating
2) headache (front forehead mostly)
3) extreme fatigue
4) on and off sore throat
5) feel weak
6) blurry vision
7) extreme light and touch sensitivity
8) brain fog

Many of these symptoms slowly came on since my miscarriage on in early May. (I've always had glut bloating and light and touch sensitivity)

I am devastated. 10 days of normal and now I am back to having to lay down after lunch and almost unable to get up. And I still don't know what is wrong with me. Do I have lyme (still on herbs) or EBV? Or maybe ME/CFS?  My plan is to finish out the lyme herbs (30 days) and take a two week break. After two weeks I will do a parasite cleanse, then another break and do the herbs for chronic fatigue mentioned in Healing Lyme. After that, I hope I am okay. I don't know. I can only hope and pray.

Anyway. The lyme herbs are not cheap. I know I've said this before. We had about $500 of herbs already, but I spent about $300 more on other ones I needed/ doubles for after I used them. I also bought some that I ended up not being able to take (tryptophan, nattokinase). I had to stop the nattokinase because it lowered my blood pressure too much. It says it does this, but I was hoping it wouldn't. On it my bp is measuring around 80/56. I also backed off on the cats claw as it also can lower your blood pressure. And I decided not to take the tryptophan yet as I read more about it and it can mess with your sleep and I need sleep.

But something else happened. My husband developed a bulls eye rash randomly one day! We never even saw a tick, but he did have some bug bites. The rash was around a bug bite, on his knee. The picture isn't really good--the rash was actually a lot darker. He is starting with 2 weeks of doxycycline and will move to herbs if that does not work.

July has been rough. Not only does he now have lyme, but he had to work all weekend! We didn't even get a break. This is tough and now that my symptoms are back, I am having a hard time clinging to hope. Please continue to pray for me and our family.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

covid-19 vlogs (Week 16)

The Governor of Va has stated he plans to keep VA perpetually in phase 3 until September?! I have no words. Or any time to think about it because I have chronic fatigue and I need health to function. This week begins my search in earnest to heal my chronic fatigue. After trying a few things and a doctor visit, its time to pull out the...lyme herbs? Yes, I'm starting there. I explain more in the videos.

Also, we ended week 16 of safer-at-home with a nice, safe, sparkler celebration for the forth of July. Because All Countries Matter. 

See you next week!

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Why is adulating so hard? (with pictures)

Why is adulating so hard?

Today, I wanted to spray the grass between our stones. It looks like this. 

It's because we installed them wrong (there is supposed to be sand below them) but we did it all ourselves and didn't know any better, so grass grows under them. One day we will move them all, put sand down like you are supposed to, and place them back, but that day is not this day. Last summer we sprayed them with a mixture of salt, water, and soap so the weeds died. This summer between my miscarriages and chronic fatigue, we have done nothing to keep them from growing, and thus...the problem. The problem that we caused in the first place by doing it ourselves.

Self sabotage is the theme of 2020. Or is it just my 30s? Besides the stones, our garden also needs help. It is completely overgrown with weeds. We need to rototiller and cover it. In one corner of the garden a tree is growing, I kid you not. And why is it so overgrown and unmanageable? Why, you ask, has it become a massive job instead of an easy one? Well, we didn't take care of it because of the thousands of other things in our life crowded “fix garden” out of our heads causing the afterthought and thus also the aforementioned problem.

After feeling sorry for myself for thirty minutes, I sat down to make a list of all the big chores that need to get done this year. My list was an thinly veiled attempt to micromanage my anxiety at the growing number of problems that need our attention. (This is not the order we should do them in. I am not that fancy.)

  1. new siding for house

  2. paint bathroom

  3. buy/ assemble bunk-bed for kids room

  4. buy/ assemble 2 closets for living room

  5. paint main room

  6. fix garden (remove walls, rototiller, new dirt, cover)

  7. finish shed

  8. replace carpet in spare room

  9. hang window cover

  10. rocks to driveway?

our house walls are still two colors of white.

After compiling said list, I then had a panic attack followed by a mid-life crisis. Why does something always need to be done??? And why is is a bazillion dollars to hire someone to do it for you?!

Also, do you know how many of the things I know how to do on this list? Possibly three of them, maybe four of them. Poor Brian always is saddled with a disproportionate amount of the heavy labor. For one, I never did anything with my hands growing up while he knows how to do all these things? For two, I also never learned it in school. (Brian did learn some of this in school) They should teach painting and carpentry in sixth form because most people will own a home one day and need to know how to hang a shelf. And, I could use manual labor-type skills a lot more than trying to figure out “how many apples Clarence has in his truck in Africa while going 40 kilometers a mile down a dirt road with a Cheetah chasing him” skills. Poor Brian also has the least amount of free time in our family due to working 50 hours a week yet has to do 90% of the manual labor.

When I try to think about myself “finishing a shed” I literally don't even know where to begin's not like I can add a lifetimes worth of DIY with my non-existent dad (I was raised by a single mom for most of my life) in one afternoon. I envy Brian his knowledge sometime.

Even if I lack many skills, I can learn. I learned how to hang a shelf last weekend only to find out the shelf we had was not made correctly and would not work. Back to goodwill it goes. What a waste of my time, I guess. But I did learn how to find studs. It is just so frustrating to try and do something only to have it not work, like the weed-spraying story I was telling you about above that I never finished. I made the mixture (Two parts water, one part salt, and soap) but THE SPRAYER WOULDN'T WORK. So I dumped it all out on the weeds in frustration. Husband came down stairs to tell me I put too much salt, that the sprayer I was using needed four parts water to one part salt. Ugh. I felt like giving up but instead I am complaining on the internet so people can laugh with me. Or at me. I won't know, so go ahead. I spent an hour of my life making that stuff (you have to boil the water so the salt will mix) all to have it not work.

I cried.

Is life a joke?

Sometimes I feel like I really am a hamster running on my little wheel inside my cage going nowhere, fast.

Anyway I'm going to take a break and pray we get something done this year. I know I have a lot to be grateful for and I love our home, but there is so much to be done and I don't know how to do it. 

I need to pray for my attitude because it's in a frustrated place today.

Why did we have to buy a fixer-upper? I need a time machine. Or maybe why did we buy a fixer upper and 8 years later STILL NOT HAVE IT FIXED?? omg.

Is adulating just a painstaking roulette wheel of fixing problems you yourself caused in the first place??

Unfortunately there isn't a cure for stupidity. Help.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Covid-19 Vlogs (Week 15)

I didn't actually talk about Covid in the two vlogs that I managed to film this week--but we are still in phase two in Virginia. Yet instead of emotional turmoil, I feel hopeful, and a lot less scared. It looks like phase three is just a week away per the governor, and schools are making their opening announcements. Also, we are able to go back to our local kid's museum (Amazement Square)! It's been a long 15 weeks but slowly, slowly things are going back to normal in my state. The numbers are not high here and are continuing on a downward trend. My chronic fatigue is better this week and I was able to do a lot of fun things with the kids (we went to the river twice, amazement square, and other things!) 

This was one of the best weeks since my miscarriage in May.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

What I've Learned this Season (Covid19, BLM, Lyme)

A friend of mine asked me today what this season had taught me. And wow, I have learned a lot. I've learned God is all you have when your health abandons you. I mean, I knew God was everything and all I could rely on before—but now I've experienced it on a very uncomfortable level. Good health, even with my autoimmune issues, is a privilege and I'm so grateful to have a functioning body again. I hope I shall have one for a long while.

I've learned that people are extremely diverse, and I am not talking about skin color. Covid and the hysteria of masked-vs-nomask, the stress of reopening and all the new rules is a horrible thing to watch unfold on Facebook. I'm definitely homeschooling even though I'd already decided to do so a long time ago. I'm now like 600x more interested in my kindergartner NOT WEARING A MASK ALL DAY. A five year old does not need to worry about how many feet he is from his classmate while he learns.

But the drama. Oh, the drama. I am going to stay out of it from here on out. I wear a mask, when I can, and I don't when I can't and I am the same sinful person on the inside no matter what virtue I happen to be signaling at the grocery store.

The race stuff is just horrible to see. It is so sad to see people still being hurt and shamed over the color of their skin in 2020. But the hilarious part of it all is seeing all the white people scrambling around trying to let everyone know how non-racist they are. Their facebooks scream LOOK AT ME OVER HERE WHITE LADY NOT BEING RACIST LOOK AT ALL THE BLACK-POSITIVE POSTS I AM MAKING EVEN THOUGH I NEVER SHARED A SINGLE BLACK RELATED ITEM IN MY WHOLE LIFE.

It's getting old. Sharing a post on Facebook does very little. But maybe they're doing things in real life too. I just spent two weeks on my couch, so I clearly shouldn't talk.

The world won't change until we do. And even then it's still going to be a corrupt cesspool where our politicians visit islands to rape children. The last four presidents we have elected have been absolutely corrupt from the sex and rape scandals of Bill Clinton to Trump, whose policies I actually like but who has a mouth like a high school prick and has said things about women I won't even dare repeat here. Is this really the best we can do, America? Where are all the decent young men and women I was promised in poli sci. My grandfather Robert could run the nation better and he won't insult all of womankind in the process, but I guess he isn't famous enough. Like, can we please have a candidate with good morals AND good politics? Is this too much to ask?

I've learned that my kids are always getting older and it sucks but it's also wonderful. I'm getting older too, and I like that part at least right now. My husband is also old but he tries to jump around like he's a 13 year old boy with a new skateboard and scare me half the time. Like just sit down Brian please remember you are 35 and work in a cubicle. I love you anyway.

And yup, that mostly sums up the past 14 weeks of 2020. Miscarriage sucks; I still don't understand the stock market...and why has the price of food skyrocketed?! Someone wake me up and tell me its 1999 and I can color in my Lisa Frank notebook with my gel pens.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Covid-19 Vlogs (Week 14)

This was a hard week. One of the hardest since my miscarriage. My chronic fatigue was out of control. So bad that I went to the doctor and submitted to blood work. I didn't film much in my incapacitated state, but what I did capture I have shared with you below. Stay safe and cling to Jesus, dear friends.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Reuben Preschool Graduation!

Happy end of my first year of quasi-homeschooling and Reuben's first year of school! Congratulations beautiful Reuben, you turn five in just a few short weeks and you are so smart and wonderful. Here are a look at some of our favorite preschool projects:

We finished the Alphabet Sticker book!! He did a great job. 

He's also done some handwriting (uppercase only) and simple math games I made. We have learned names of some flowers and memorized a handful of bible verses and read through two children's bibles. A great year and some amazing memories. I love you Reuben! Happy graduation! 

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Covid-19 Vlogs (Week 13)

This week I will call "adventures in chronic fatigue". It was bad. I was sleepy almost all of the time. I pushed through. I did a lot of resting and also alpine-climb style parented. I stayed off Facebook and Instagram for my mental health, and I tried to remain active in my community. God is still good even when the world feels divisive and crazy.

This week my hot yoga gym opened back up! Huzzah! I am excited to sweat again. We also went to Goodwill for the first time since Covid!!

Sunday, July 5, 2020

more musing (EBV?)

Now that I have had a little bit of time to research, read and pour over my symptoms, I don't think I have lyme. I DO think I have either EBV or walking pneumonia. Luckily, the herbs for lyme are similar to those for EBV and WP.

Right now I am on day five of herbs. I felt a lot better day one and two, but on day three when I added skullcap, I started feeling worse again. I might be dosing my herbs too fast, so I am toning it back and reducing my intake (I'll up it later if needed?). I am also experiencing horrible abdominal bloating, which can be a sign of gut die-off or intestinal worms, or gas, or an issue with salt retention. I am hopeful the bloating diminishes as I scale back on the herbs. I joined a lyme group on Facebook, and while my protocol takes one week to get on the full doses of herbs, many are saying they took a month to ramp up. 

I did have some joint pain, but after researching I started taking nattokinase in the morning and this has eliminated that pain. 

Right now I am not going back to the doctor. I'm on about $500 worth of herbs and hopeful it will help. The only way we were able to afford this right now is that I owned many of the herbs already from when Brian had lyme last year. Our total cost so far this year has been around $200. 

I have dark moments where I feel I am never going to get better but I have good days too, and I am praying. This is a season, I hope. I want to get better. I want to enjoy life again.

This past weekend I was able to go hiking. It was a good day, a day of fun!! I had to lay down the rest of the day after hiking, but it was worth it. Both kids enjoyed being out and seeing a waterfall. It was Reuben's preschool graduation present. He starts Kindergarten in August, and my hope is still to homeschool him. In order to school him, I must get better. 

Please, please pray for me and our family as we all battle this illness. The amount of time I have had to devote to myself since my May miscarriage has been astronomically disproportionate to the time my family needs me. Many days I have been unable to cook or even to get out of bed. My husband has been working from home (if he had not been, I would not have been able to survive) and basically taking care of the kids while managing his zoom calls and office work. The TV has been on a lot. I had buckets of guilt over it but I am setting myself free. I am sick. Something is wrong, and I am, with the grace of God, hopefully going to find out what is wrong and get better so I can care again for my family. 

On top of all the herbs, I am also still trying to stay active by doing hot yoga and walking. The hot yoga is for detoxing. Sweating is amazing. It's hard to exercise when I am dealing with chronic fatigue. Sometimes it is the only thing I do all day. But I do it because I believe it is integral to my health. Hot yoga costs $100 a month. Batting a chronic and debilitating illness isn't cheap.

Here goes nothing. 2020 health crisis, I hope you go back into Pandora's box. And stay there.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

adventures in I Am Still Sick

Doctor Results:

Everything came back normal, as I said in my last post. I was so sure that my blood work would give me the answers I needed that I was horribly disappointed. Actually, it was a punch in the gut. Every time I convince myself to do blood work (a triggering experience for me) I am always "fine" and slapped with a mental health disorder. I mean, I guess it makes a sort of sense from the doctor standpoint-- the blood work shows nothing abnormal, must be all in her head. But it is NOT in my head. I am not depressed (the diagnoses I was given via phone with an prescription to Lexapro). I am not even sad. I am TIRED all the time and have headaches. By the time my blood work came back, I was experiencing body aches and low grade fevers with reoccurring sore throat. This is not depression, at least not for me.

My husband mentioned it might be lyme disease, as it sounded like a lot of "flu like symptoms" with fatigue, but I brushed him off. He had lyme in August of last year. He caught his super early and did a herbal protocol with antibiotics. I did have a tick bite--but it was three weeks AFTER all this "tired" feeling started, and I wasn't convinced.

But I needed to do something, and Lexapro is not the anwser. Even though I felt better for a week, the next two were awful. So, I decided to try the lyme protocol. It couldn't hurt, right? If nothing changed--if I didn't get any better, I could stop and go back to the doctor. And we already have all the herbs. At this time (last week) I was basically a non functional adult. I had headaches all day, woke up tired, brain fog, bloating, no energy. Sensory issues galore (light hurt, being touched was panic-inducing, my sons voice sounded like he was screaming at me) In short, it was awful. I was struggling so much to complete basic tasks and I couldn't parent at all. Honestly,  I gave up hope every day but I was still looking for answers in my good moments (and I have another thing to try if this protocol doesn't work).

I poured over Healing Lyme again for an hour or two, trying to understand what I was supposed to do again, because this book is not written for the layman who has no herbal science background--and came up with a protocol for myself that I started immediately, that night.

The next day I woke up without a headache for the first time in eight weeks. Let me say that again. The next. Day. I woke up. WITH NO HEADACHE!

I thought that maybe my miscarriage allowed hidden lyme to reemerge. Or maybe latent EBV, and the herbs I was on was helping me fight that. Or maybe it had been fatigue and postpartum for the first four weeks but I developed lyme at the tick bite? I don't know, and I probably never will.

Whatever it is, the the herbs are WORKING. The first full day I did have a "herx" reaction after lunch but I had energy after dinner FOR THE FIRST TIME IN EIGHT WEEKS. Like I did not collapse from exhaustion. I was able to clean things, put away dishes, and enjoy myself. I didn't have to lay down for three hours because I was so tired I couldn't move. My brain was less foggy. I felt good in my own skin.

Maybe I wasn't detailed enough in what was happening last time (because I had a few comments that said that was exactly what depression was like for them) but I am NOT DEPRESSED. I mean it. I know when I am depressed. I'm really in tune with myself. Obviously, I am not going to be right 100% of the time, but to be depressed you have to be sad. I am not sad. I am experiencing sensory issues, like Reuben making noise sounds 600x louder, and people touching me is overwhelming. I am so tired I can't do things. But I am not sad. It's something wrong with my body and its not just affecting my serotonin. Maybe other people have only physical manifestations of depression, but I do not. I have zero emotional depression and thus I know I have something WRONG with me physically, not mentally. It isn't something an SSRI could fix, this is something attacking me. I'm probably not making sense, but I know I am not depressed. If this was depression, the lyme protocol would do nothing to help.

I hope I can be okay one day. I'm going to do try and do the lyme protocol for 30 days and take 7 days after that to slowly come off the herbs. I hope this works and I will be okay, because if not I will probably have to return to the doctor for more bloodwork and invasive tests only to be told I am fine again in all likelihood.

I really like my doctor. But I still affirm that I know my body best and that doctors should listen to patients who spend all their lives in their bodies, and know what is going on. Listen to us. I asked on the phone what the next step was. I wanted more blood work, more tests. I was told I had depression and to try Lexapro first before anything--a drug I didn't want and knew I didn't need.

Lyme herbs don't cure depression.

My brain is waking back up and I am getting my life back and it feels so good. I had honestly accepted the fact that I was probably dying. I'm glad to be feeling 90% normal.