Making the Most of Life with a Chronic Illness

Making the Most of LIfe with a Chronic Illness

Life with a chronic illness can be incredibly hard. Most of us who face chronic health issues have one thing in common: our lives do not look the way they did before we got sick. No matter the level of debilitation, the symptoms we face change the way we function.

Changes may be big or small depending on the severity of symptoms at the particular time. For some, it’s a roller coaster of symptoms that get better or worse (or both) each day.

Some people are able to be functioning members of society, while others are confined to their homes, unable to get out into the world to do things as “normal” as grocery shopping.

I’ve been in both camps. I know what it’s like to try to manage a full-time job while very ill. I also know the challenges of being unable to get out of bed for long periods of time. In both situations, my life was vastly different than it was when I was healthy. Accommodations had to be made to conserve energy and meet my needs. I was often discouraged.

So, how do we make the most of our situations?

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Trusting God When Healing is Slow

Trusting God When Healing is Slow

The process of healing from chronic illness (or at least getting to a place of stability) has gone nothing like I thought it would.

About fourteen months ago, I was officially given names for the host of symptoms that gradually led to the debilitation of my body. I saw various symptoms come and go over a period of five years, but it wasn’t until February 2016 that my health began to decline to the point where I needed serious help to get better. By the time of diagnosis, I was exhausted, in constant pain, unable to function at work, and deeply depressed.

Many days of research, blood work, and doctors appointments led to the discovery that I had Chronic Lyme Disease, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, several co-infections, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, and more.

For some, receiving test results that pointed to multiple conditions and food sensitivities would be devastating. But for me, it provided a glimmer of hope. I finally knew what I needed to treat so I could move forward toward better health. I had a plan for healing, and I love plans!

In my typical Type A fashion, I followed my doctor’s treatment protocol to a T. This meant giving up all my favorite foods and focusing only on the things I needed to get better. I had to quit my serious Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup addiction and instead fill up on Vegan Chocolate Shakeology and a (mostly) Paleo diet.

My health protocol was overwhelming, sometimes consisting of 60+ pills a day. My weeks were filled with detoxing, sleeping, lying on the couch while listening to podcasts, and working as much as possible to maintain some sense of normalcy in the office and get a paycheck (gotta pay for all those supplements and meds!).

I was doing everything “right” in my journey of healing, but instead of finding stability, any step forward was met with two steps back.

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5 Things to Remember When You Have Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease - Con-infections - Bartonella - Babesia - Chronic Illness

You have Lyme Disease, huh?

I’m so sorry!

Lyme Disease is rough, and facing it can often leave us questioning everything we thought we knew about health and ourselves. Some days we may have moments where we feel relatively “normal” before we’re spun into a place of pain, neurological symptoms, and grief.

For me, personally, most days are pretty rough. Since my diagnosis, I have seen some better days, but they are always followed deep valleys. Treatment may be working, but when you add in Herxheimer (die-off) reactions and flares, healing doesn’t seem to come as quickly as I would have hoped.

Each day is a battle of both the body and the mind. In order to help myself heal effectively, I have to remember a few things. If you’re also fighting Lyme Disease and co-infections, these simple reminders may make a difference for your outlook.

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The Most Loving Thing You Can Do for Someone With a Chronic Illness

The Most Loving Thing You Can Do For Someone Who's Chronically Ill

Suffering from a chronic illness is hard!

Throughout my journey with chronic Lyme Disease, I have had the pleasure of meeting some amazing chronic illness warriors. The people I have met may have different backgrounds and experiences, but there is an underlying thread that binds them together.

Those with chronic illnesses often share that they feel misunderstood by the people around them.

Even those with strong support systems may feel like the healthy people in their lives just can’t quite comprehend the pain they experience.

Being unable to relate to our friends and families can leave us feeling discouraged and misunderstood.

For anyone out there who cares about someone with a chronic illness, I want to let you in on what I truly feel can make all the difference in being able to better support the chronically ill.

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