Sunday, November 30, 2014

Grieving and PTSD??

Recently my therapist (yeah, I have one of those, that's how bad things are) suggested to me that coming home early from my mission was not only a huge loss, but the process of being sent home was traumatizing. I agreed with him and explained that I relive parts of being sent home almost every night in my dreams, the good and the bad. He then explained that I probably have some PTSD from the trauma of coming home early. He went on to explain that when you go through something that is very intimate to you it stays in your short term memory and repeats itself over and over and short term memory is very vivid and life like. When a very big and traumatic event happens it stays in your short term, which is why soldiers who come home with PTSD get upset over thunder and such, because the booming sounds from guns and bombs are stuck in short term memory. To get rid of PTSD part of the therapy is retelling the event over and over again so that you can hopefully try and get the memory to go into long term so you son't relive it every night.

From all this my therapist has told me that it is ok to grieve the loss of leaving my mission early, he has also told me to try and retell my story and share the though parts when I feel like I can. Now for me that was a very tall order. I don't like talking about myself and I don't like people being up in my business about things. In fact, if I had it my way I would rather pretend I didn't have the disease at all and just pretend that everything was hunky dory and dandy. Unfortunately I tried that and I got more and more depressed.

Here is a fact about me... I am either really bad at faking it, or I do such a good job that I end up hating myself and getting more and more down because I know I'm faking it and not making it, so that just makes me fake. And I do not like fake people. When I explained this to my therapist. He told me that like a person who loses a loved one unexpectedly, I lost something to me, unexpectedly. I lost 6 months of time that, to my culture, was one of the greatest and noblest things you will ever do. And that I loved. He explained that I am in the grieving process right now. And that even though I didn't lose someone, I lost something. And I am grieving. When he explained this, my impatient self answered back and said, "Well how long does this grieving process last? Because I'd kinda like to get my life back together." Of course, just like someone loses a loved one, it isn't as simple as bushing yourself off and saying: "I'm good!"

The best thing that I have found to help me during this grieving process, as well as my illness is to take it by the hour. People sometimes ask me if I have good days and bad days. I tell them that it is more like good hours and bad hours. The evening hours are much more harder, because I have exhausted myself to stay somewhat normal during the morning and afternoon hours. So I take things hour by hour. And when I do that, I find I appreciate things more.

It is amazing the perspective I get now that I take things by the hour. When I am not looking at the time for the next thing I will have to do, I tell myself that if it is over an hour away, it doesn't matter. Because if I am worrying about what is in the next couple hours, I am missing out on what is happening in this hour that I am living in. And those next couple hours I might not even be in commission so whatever I had planned doesn't matter anyways. It helps me be more grateful for the little moments of each day. And I am not so worried about what I will be like in the next hour, because yeah I could have a melt down in an hour, its very possible if it is around 5 or 6 at night. But instead of having my whole day be ruined because of what is coming later that night. I can buckle down and focus on the 11:00am time slot and whatever that hour brings. I have even stopped wearing watches regularly because I don't want time to run my life. I want to live, not function. I have said that before, and taking it hour by hour is my way of doing that.

It is also helpful because I might wake up and be so tired and just exhausted. I can wake up and say "This is going to be a bad day." And write it off and just let the whole day be bad. Or I can accept that I am tired, but hope that as I get going I can make it that some of my medication will kick in and I will be ok in an hour or so. It doesn't let me have a whole bad day. And it helps.

HA! If only it were this easy!
Now, this is so much easier said than done. And the most aggravating part is I don't know when I am done grieving. Yeah, I may have a good hour, but the grieving is still in the back of my mind always! And I would really rather not have to wonder if this next hour is going to be good or bad. I'd rather take things as a day, instead of an hour. I also struggle with not knowing if this grieving is drawn out because I have depression, because I have Lyme Disease. Or if I just have a hard time letting go of something that was so awesome and that I loved. I mean, it's not Lyme Disease that makes me embarrassed when someone asks how my mission was (even if they don't know I came home early). It's not Lyme Disease that makes me hate that I have been home for 5 months now, when I could still be out there. Or is it?

Ya see, it would be nice to just blame it all on the Disease. To just blame the tick. But the grieving and PTSD came from me leaving so suddenly, and the shock of being home early, those are in a way the ticks fault. But the fact that I can't shake it off and move on, the fact that it is dragging me down, are those the ticks fault? Or mine? I guess part of this is just accepting that Lyme Disease is part of my new identity for now, and I say that a lot of things are the hardest part. But THAT really  is the hardest part. Everyone at different points in their life asks "Who am I?" Well, am I this chronic illness? Am I PTSD? Am I depressed? Am I grieving? Or does the Disease make me depressed? Does the disease make me have PTSD? Does the Disease make me grieve? Or are those things I bring on myself...?
All in all, this is how I feel. And though I can never actually say these things... I feel at least one of these ways, every hour.

-The Lyme Warrior

Thursday, November 27, 2014


In the spirit of Thanksgiving, a time of hope, and gratitude I am going to add to everyone's posts this time of year and state what I am thankful for. It is small and simple, but it has made such an impact on me that I just can't contain the amount of gratitude this Thanksgiving.

I have come to notice that I am very ungrateful. I have no problem expressing gratitude and thanks when someone does something for me. But I didn't realize it until just recently that I am very bad at expressing gratitude. For example, when people are depressed it is recommended that they start a grateful journal. I was first recommended this out in the mission field by the LDS Counselor. Now, I tried hard to do the suggestions that the Counselor recommended, and others in South Carolina advised me to do the same. But I never did do that. 

After coming home off the mission my mom proposed we start a gratitude journal as a family and she gave each of us a note book. That night I felt angry. It just brought back memories of the mission and how I had failed out there (this was back when even the slightest reminder of my mission set me off), and I told myself there was no way I was going to find something to be grateful for, when I was desiring nothing except to be back in the SCCM with my name tag on and a companion at my side.

Then after things took a turn for the worst and I began seeing a family therapist who had helped other Lyme patients, he suggested the gratitude journal. I gave in and tried downloading an app, where you record 3 things each day that you are grateful for. I did it one day. The app is still on my phone. But I haven't opened it since.

So then November hits, and people start posting something they are grateful for everyday, and I found myself annoyed. I said, "well that's great that you are grateful for that, go tell Heavenly Father, not the rest of the world because we don't care!" I was annoyed, and frustrated.

 All I have been thinking about is what I was doing last thanksgiving back in South Carolina, and comparing my life then to what it is now. Or I was seeing all these other missionaries that were so blessed to finish their missions, return home, and I was ashamed to even place myself in the category of a returned missionary with them. Because I came home early, and I thought how could I be grateful, when I don't deserve to even be home right now. I guess I still think I could have done something more to stay out. 

Then on Monday, November 24th, I had something happen that changed how I looked at gratitude. And it was perfect timing for Thanksgiving.

I have been having more and more of a hard time with focusing and forgetting then ever before. And Monday night I struggled even more. I was getting CPR certified for work, and the Paramedic guy that was certifying us was telling stories, and doing a great job teaching us. And then he handed us a comprehensive test and I couldn't answer a single question. The questions were nothing. I couldn't comprehend, it was just letters on paper and I would read and read and read and it wasn't processing in my brain. I stared at one question for 5 minutes trying to understand, I started to tear up. I couldn't break down in the middle of being certified, I knew that, but I was on the verge of losing it. I took about 15 extra minutes to complete a 20 question test. I was embarrassed but above all frustrated.

I cried the whole way home, and ran into our library. I pulled a book that I got for my birthday a couple years ago about Area 51, I just opened it up and tried to read. I couldn't get through a paragraph. I threw it back on the shelf and grabbed Harry Potter 7, a book I had read 8 times; once nearly every summer. I lasted about 3 pages before my eyes were wandering off the page and I had lost track of the story and was trying to relocate where I was on the page. In anger and rage I threw that book on the ground and pulled a picture book off the lower shelf. I read half of it and even though I was trying so hard, my mind wandered, the words turned into nothing and all I saw was a jumbled alphabet. I cried angry tears feeling stupid, and upset. I put the book back on the shelf and went to my room to go to bed.

This is how I feel...and now it is gone.
How could a tiny bug the size of a poppy seed carry this deadly disease that would take away one of my favorite past times, and one of my escapes from the world? I was defeated.

As I went to my room I pulled out my phone. And began to read my nightly General Conference talk that I read every night before bed, sometimes I do more searching than reading... Searching for answers, for help, for peace.

I opened my Gospel Library app I came across the talk given by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf called "Grateful in Any Circumstances" from April 2014 conference. As I read the tears fell harder and faster as I realized that I have been so ungrateful of late. I felt guilt and shame for my negativity towards being grateful. And it wasn't until I was halfway done, and had highlighted half of the talk that I realized I was reading, and comprehending! I opened my scriptures next to my bed and looked up scriptures under "Gratitude" in the topical guide. I read my scriptures and that talk for an hour more! And when I found myself losing concentration, or the words started to become just letters, I could close my eyes, take a big breath and focus right back in! I was reading with so much joy and happiness I was giggling to myself like an idiot! It astounded me in that moment that I was being very ungrateful! One thing that stuck out to me so strongly in that talk was this quote:

And he also says: "We sometimes think that being grateful is what we do after our problems are solved, but how terribly shortsighted that is..." I don't know of my thought process was before all this, something like: I'll be grateful after I'm better, and after my time of serving would have passed, and after I get to move on and go back to school, and after I don't have to feel obligated to go to anymore homecomings of real finishing missionaries, I don't know why I avoided being grateful. Maybe because I felt like I deserved to feel miserable. Maybe I still think that way a little. I really don't know. Maybe I'm just an ungrateful person who also happens to have a chronic illness. Either way it doesn't matter. 

I have come to realize that it only took a couple of really intense moments to basically break me... and it is taking so much more time than a mere moment to get me back to where I was. And this breaking point of recognizing how ungrateful I have been is just a small step to putting my shattered self back together. I now wonder, how many more pieces I have to pick up before I can even start putting the shambles back together?

It is amazing how you truly don't know how good you have it until you lose it. And I may not record in a journal, or express on Facebook one thing I'm grateful for everyday, but I do know I am grateful for something that I have never thought a mere second on until I realized that I had all but lost it. That is why this Thanksgiving I am grateful for my ability to read, even if it is only scriptures and talks, at this point, I will take whatever I can get and be grateful.

-The Lyme Warrior

Friday, November 21, 2014

"Everytime you find humor in a difficult situation, you win."

A brief post of my moods hosted by Spongebob Squarepants, Patrick Star, and Squidward (side note: this is not exaggerated, it is completely accurate).

1) Me when I forget something mid sentence:

2) Me, usually at the end of the day when I have exhausted my back ups to my back up emotional tanks, and the blanket of depression takes over the controls:

3) Me waking up Tuesday morning:

4) Me trying to remember why I walked into my brothers room with my hair straightener:

5) Me when I get handed a lot of papers to read and I try to follow along. If it's more than a paragraph I'm lost:

6) Me waking up Friday morning, telling myself "the weekend is coming!":

7) Me right before I blow my top (the flames are figurative, but they might as well be there because that is what is going on inside me):

8) Me having a panic attack:

9) Me Sunday night when I realize that I have to get up early Monday morning:

10) me Monday morning:

11) My face I am so annoyed by the tiniest thing and I just have to walk away or I will lose it:

12) Me trying to hold back anxiety but I can feel it building and building inside me:

13) Me having anxiety:

14) Me waking up every other day of the week (my bags have bags!):

Ok so this might seem silly but humor is one way of giving myself therapy. I guess laughter truly is the best medicine... Well one of the best. And since I can laugh about it in this moment I'll take advantage of it, because I never know, the next moment I could be rolled up in a ball wishing I was back in the mission so I don't have to see everyone coming home and feeling shame. Or another moment I could be staring off into space not remembering what I am doing or why I walked into the room. So I laugh when I can. Otherwise Lyme wins. And most of the days it does so when I get a jab at it I take advantage.

 I may not look like these characters on the outside all the time (though the bags and me waking up in the morning are scary accurate) but on the inside I feel this way. And it is a constant battle to keep the emotions and everything at bay. While putting on a normal face... It used to be a smile. But most days that is too hard. 

I'll talk about this later but I feel like it's too fake also. And I hate fake people, but fake is what I have to be these days. Because if I let how I feel on the inside come outside I would be chucked back into my cell in room 9 of the ER like I was on my mission. And people deserve to at least get a tame me. I might look tired, unhappy, or about to implode. But if I can achieve that LOOK while I'm FEELING something much worse, than I count that as a victory. And then I can move on.

-The Lyme Warrior

Sunday, November 16, 2014

SLEEP: "I don't want to function. I want to live!"

Earnest Hemmingway said it best when he said: "I love sleep. My life has a tendency to fall apart when I'm awake." And I couldn't agree with Earnest more!

Sleeping isn't exactly my problem with Lyme. I take sleeping medication to help me go to sleep. But getting enough is my problem. No matter how many hours of sleep I get I am exhausted. I take medication to help me function. And that is what I do most days is just function. I don't live anymore. I function. Because I am so tired. Some days are easier than others, and the meds work better. But Lyme is kicking my butt in the lack of sleep.

I have always loved sleeping. And I have never really had a problem sleeping either. And on the mission I was pro at it! I would be asleep before my head hit the pillow and I wouldn't hear a sound until the alarm went off. And when it went off I was awake. I never, in my life, pushed a snooze button. I heard 1 alarm and I was up and going. But as time went on in the mission it was harder and harder to wake up, I already talked about needing to slam my knees into the floor in the mornings to pull myself out of sleep, and to motivate myself to get out of bed. But waking up became a struggle.

Me and my last companion took turns driving. I volunteered most days because I knew I would stay awake in the car if I was driving. At night I would hear my companion talk in her sleep (which wasn't as much as she told me I talked), which I had never in all 20 years of sleeping, heard things at night. I started getting dark circles and bags under my eyes, and they have become permanent. I wear glasses to try and mask them.

Lack of sleep is almost tied with depression in the race of who can debilitate me the best! I saw an article on that used pictures of dogs to describe the life of someone who is "Eternally Exhuasted"... And I'm going to go through it.

1)Showing up to work Monday morning.

Everyone always talks about how Mondays are bad and they complain... well for me, Mondays are so hard! I can't sleep in, and it is so hard! And I know I'm probably explaining everyone's Monday here, but for me and how I used to be the intensity level is dialed up to about a 7 or 8 here!

2)When you show up to work every morning.

I will occasionally get to work early and just sit in my car. Not to talk myself into getting out and going. But to just go brain dead and sit.

3)When you get home and you are too tired
 to even get out of your car so you just sit for a while.

I will sometimes sit in my car at home so dazed that my mom will text me and ask if I wanted to come inside or not.

4)When you are exhausted but forced to interact with people.

It's not that I'm ticked off at you, it's just that I'm so tired I could cry and probably will after I get home.

5)When you realize that you slept through your alarm again!

I told y'all I would hear my alarm and get up. I would never push snooze. Well now my alarm goes off and I still refuse to push snooze, but I won't wake up and get out of bed for a half hour or so later. I literally can't get up. My brain won't turn on, and I run late every morning. No matter how early I set my alarm clock for, I will not get up.

6)When you are waiting to meet up with your friends
but start falling asleep instead.

HA! What friends!? My weekends are spent watching a movie and going to bed. I just like this picture because it is so cute. Look at that puppy trying to stay awake for his buddies. Poor pooch!

7)When you meet those people who are full of energy and refreshed after just 5 hours of sleep.

Jealousy is what I feel when I see people like that.

8)When you are starving but too tired to get up and get something.

My life used to be food before sleep. But now I'll take sleep over food any day, anytime and anywhere!

9)When people tell you that you "look tired."
I get this a lot. I usually just say, "yeah thanks." I don't explain. Because I know how I look. And I know how I feel. And if how I look reflects how I feel than I must be pretty dang sick. And if I look better than I feel on one day out of seven than I am doing fantastic!

There are a bunch more sleepy puppy examples, but these are the few that reflect my life the most.

Sleep is the body's way of healing. You can find tons of articles on how sleeping can help you heal. And Lyme is linked to lack of sleep. But with that my body is also trying to heal and wants sleep. So it is like double the amount of tiredness.

I am not trying to say I am more tired than someone or that I have a harder time getting up in the morning than someone else. What I am saying is that this isn't the normal me. This is a real Lyme symptom that is debilitating and frustrating. And I dream of the day when I can wake up and not feel tired, or think about when I can go back to bed again. Or not count the hours until I can take a nap. Or not have my eyes droop as I'm reading a book to kids at work. To just not be tired That is the ideal goal. I don't want to function, I want to live!

-The Lyme Warrior

Sunday, November 9, 2014

My Lyme Brain

The third party guest that isn't welcome in my brain but has made itself at home is what I call my "Lyme Brain".

My Lyme Brain is also due to the fact that my brain has so much inflammation that my cognitive brain can be compared with Dory from Finding Nemo. Ok, maybe not so bad that I forget who my family is. But it is almost as comical. I find that I will be in conversations and people will be talking to me and I will have no idea what has been said. I will go into a room 5 times looking for something and forget every single time what I was getting. And at first I thought it was just me having a slower brain, or me being a little bit spacey but it has gotten pretty ridiculous and frustrating. And I have begun to realize that it is much more then a blonde moment, or a sign that I am getting older.

Things like forgetting to brush my teeth in the morning. Something that a normal person will do everyday without needing a constant reminder, I forget, it just totally spaces. On the weekends, when I don't have a set routine like I do more so during the week, I will forget to eat, and then I wonder why I feel like I'm going to pass out.

There is a doctor, Rober Bransfeild, and he has done studies on Lyme Disease And Cognitive Impairments, and there are people that have it worse than me. He talks of a patient he has that can make 13/15 free throws, but now he has Lyme Disease and he have maybe make 5/15! I pray it never gets that serious. But Dr. Bransfeild talks about how the attention span is effected, and I sometimes wonder if I have ADHD because I am so spacey some days. He talks about organizing and planning and memory and how Lyme effects the brain in all the Cognitive ways in a pretty negative way.

There are some people that have had Lyme for so long that they have been diagnosed with dementia  and even early Alzhimers disease. Luckily I'm blessed to not have things go that far, but sometimes I feel lost in conversations and I truly wonder if my brain is aging faster than everything else!

My Doctor, in my last appointment, when I voiced that I hadn't had a chance to read the book that he had recommended for me to read, he asked me if I wasn't reading because I couldn't because my brain couldn't handle it, because it was slower than usual. I explained that I thought it was because I didn't have the motivation, not because of my Lyme Brain which not being motivated is more of a depression side. 

But as I think on it more, even though I do know that I have no motivation to pick up even my most favorite of books, I wonder if part of it is because I don't have the brain capacity that comes with an overloaded and inflamed Lyme Brain. Because reading is turning out to be a struggle for me like learning has become as well.

Almost everyday I go to lunch with my dad and we talk basketball. We watch videos of the offense we will teach the girls to run this year at the high school. Learning this new offense isn't hard, I understand it. But remembering it, in finding is super difficult. And me and my dad are trying to come up with different drills to help teach this offense and simplify it. But as we sit at lunch and try and figure it out, I find myself getting more and more lost. I sort of pretend to know what I'm talking about as I try to explain what makes sense in my brain and what I understand, but toke it come out I find it is becoming extremely difficult. And as the season begins this week, I worry about how well I actually do understand the offense, if at all. Because I can't follow my dad drawing up a simple play on the board, all the "X's" and "O's" start to run together and I find myself asking in my head "wait, which one are we again?" And then I'm lost.

All in all, this symptom, I'm afraid, is just starting show up. Or at least I'm just beginning to notice it's appearance as an unwelcome guest, and I hope that it doesn't not become more prominent in the future. Otherwise they could just cast me as a real life Dory!

-The Lyme Warrior

Saturday, November 8, 2014

ANXIETY (the least welcomed party guest in my brain)

Another thing that has been really difficult with all this bacteria infesting my brain is the Anxiety and panic attacks that have happened to me. Now I am not one to worry, or stress over menial things. I don't lose sleep over stuff that does stress me out, and I never fall apart over socializing but the past 2 weeks this has been my biggest problem.

My anxiety turns into panic attacks if I can't get a grip on myself. It starts with intense butterflies in my stomach and my throat gets really tight. If I can't talk myself through it and if telling myself that I'm being an idiot doesn't calm myself then the next step is my heart beats so fast that I am breathing like I just sprinted a 5k. I then start to cry, and these are uncontrollable sobs, which doesn't help with the breathing, and I will sob for about 3 minutes and all my muscles and body will be tense and then I'll calm down a little for 5 minutes and stop crying, but my heart is still racing and then another wave of sobs hits me. The longsest this has gone on was about 2 hours one night. It was actually the night before Halloween. I was just having regular stresses over preparing for work tomorrow and all the kids with their costumes and I just fell apart.

I have come to realize that anxiety isn't just a fear of something, it is a huge step further than that. Anxiety isn't just something in your mind. It is physiological as much as psychological. And like depression, it isn't something you can just "suck up" and "shake off". IT IS REAL!

The thing that gets me is when I look back at the panic attacks after they are over I think, why was I freaking out over such a menial thing? When I have to go somewhere and I know there is a bunch of people out there that will ask me how I am doing, or they want to know about my Disease I start to get anxiety. Anything outside of my normal routine I can't handle. Even this blog causes me anxiety. When my mom tells me that I am touching a lot of people with this blog. Or when someone says something to me about it I get anxious because I feel like there is pressure to make another one, sometimes I just say, that's it! This is my 5th and last blog because I just have too much anxiety about all of this. But then I am able to look back a couple hours later or a day later depending on the situation and I think "Why did I freak out about that?" And I can move on.

The anxiety that I feel comes from so much inflammation in my brain. My brain is killing all the bacteria and it is super inflamed and overwhelmed, so things outside of it's norm, or things that put extra stress than what it is already going through cause me to have a panic attack. I am on medication for it now, but I am to the point where anything outside of basketball, work or church I am having some level of anxiety about. And still in the normal things I get anxious over. Every Sunday night I get anxiety about starting another week. Wednesday mornings I am anxious about early out day for all the schools. Fridays I am anxious for the weekend because I think of all the stuff that I should be able to get done, but I know I won't because I will sleep away most of the weekend because of exhaustion. I get anxiety when someone tells me to read a book that will help me. I can't read my favorite books, how can I read some motivational thing? But for some reason it just plagues me and I stress over it.

Anxiety is the bane of my disease right now, at least when it comes to socializing, and the stress it brings me before whatever I am doing. Luckily I am on some better medication so I can hopefully get a hold of myself a little better and if I'm at least gonna have anxiety then hopefully I won't have panic attacks anymore. And that can be one less symptom that is at the party in my brain.

-Lyme Warrior

Friday, November 7, 2014

Exercise = Exhaustion

Boy howdy y'all am I sick! I have started to have a lot more symptoms of Lyme show up in the past couple of weeks. It is sorta like whenever I start to think that maybe this is all in my head again... BAM! I get another symptom and then another, and then it is like a party of symptoms that just invited themselves into my life. So over the next few days I'm going to try and go through the symptoms that have shown up so far and how they have impacted me.

For people that know me, I love to play. I work at a Daycare center. So playing is my job, and I love that I get paid to do it. I also love basketball, and I am excited to assist in coaching at my old high school as a girls basketball coach. And I have been doing this BYU co-ed inter murals basketball team, and it has become very apparent that after my game the next few days I am more sick and wore down... and last night took the cake. I didn't feel like I had over done it during the game. I felt like I played decent, we won. But after I got home I was so tired! Then today I was so run down. Every single one of my muscles ached. My back hurt. My arms were stiff. I felt... I hate to say this but OLD! And I found that I wasn't able to stand up for long amounts of time. The kids wanted me to chase them around the play ground, and it wasn't a matter of not wanting too... but I couldn't! Now try explaining it to a 5 year old kid, this is how the conversation went:

Child: Sadie, will you be the zombie and chase us?
Me: I can't today dude, I'm sorry.
Child: But why?
Me: I'm sick.
Child: Then why are you here?
Me: Who is going to be your teacher if I'm not here?
Child: Please.
Me: I am sick.
Child: Where are you sick?
Me: My head hurts, and all I want to do is sleep, and I ache.
Child: Let me feel your head... (places hand on my face)... You don't feel hot, you're not sick!
Me: Just because my head isn't hot doesn't meant I'm not sick!
Child: I don't hear you coughing either.
Me: I don't have a cough but my throat hurts.
Child: Well, just don't get me sick, if you really are sick.

It became very apparent today that I have exercise induced exhaustion due to Lyme. You see, I am now on 4 Antibiotics that are fighting with my body to kill the bacteria that has infected my brain, and wherever else it is in my body. Because of all of this my body is letting me know that I can't handle what I used to be able to do because it is bigger battles to fight. 
Example of Spirochetes (I hate those little guys).

Also, when you exercise you sweat. Sweating is a good way to detox, and it means that you have increased your body temperature. Doing that also means you are killing off the Spirochetes (the type of bacteria that Lyme looks like), but if you kill off more than you can handle you end up having a Herxhimer Reaction. This is both good and bad, because it means you killed off a lot, but it also means that your body gets sick with all of the basically dead bacteria carcasses floating in your blood stream, causing Flu-like symptoms, and extreme tiredness, as well as a bunch of other things as well.

Because of all of this, I have had to come to this realization today, that I can't handle exercising like I used to. And until I get better I won't be playing full games of basketball without getting the flu the next day. This is hard for me. Not just because I am blessed with competitive juices, but also because I have all this pride that doesn't think "I'm sick" is a good excuse to skip out on fun things that I love. And also because I tell myself I can and I will. But then I regret it the next day, or days. 

This is the hard part. And it comes down to me knowing my limits. I am learning them and they are way lower than they ever were and I hate that. My whole life, to relieve stress and frustrations I would play basketball. Even on the mission, when I was stressed out I would think "I just need to shoot." Obviously I couldn't do that, but we ran every morning. And now, when I am more frustrated and down and depressed than ever before, I can't release. I can't let myself release all the tension inside me. And it kills me! I don't have the energy or motivation to run around and play at work... how can I possibly go shoot and run? 

Just one of my frustrations. And symptoms that have showed up to this party that I don't like hosting.

-Lyme Warrior

Monday, November 3, 2014

"You will one day understand why you had to go through this"

 So I have mentioned in other posts about how I knew I when I was bit, I figured I should just share the story.

Friday December 27th, 2013, I'm serving in Anderson SC. I have been out almost 6 months and have almost finished up training. I wake up 2 days after Christmas to a stiff and swollen right arm and hand. I can't even get my CTR ring off, but I try and ignoreit thinking that I must have slept on it funny. I go out to go running with my companion but I start to get a heart beat in my arm, and as we go into our personal study time I am not able to concentrate becuase the throbbing has intensified. I show my companion she suggests I call our mission nurse.

I'm not one to make a big deal about little things, and so I was very reluctant to call her, but eventually I gave in. She asked if I had done anything to it the prior evening. I said no. She asked if there was a rash of any kind. I said no. She said I should go to the ER to get it checked out, so I had to call my mission president's wife to get permission to go, and answer all of the questions again. And by 10:30AM I was off to the ER.

I  sadly don't rememer much from that ER, experience, but I do remember learning a big word: Triage. Two days after Christmas what is everyone doing? Playing with their presents, wrecking their presents, crashing their presents, injuring themselves from their presents. I waited 11 hours to see the a doctor because everyone was wrecking their 4-wheelers and falling off their dirt bikes, so someone with a swollen arm could wait as the more serious patients piled in. During that time we had a bunch of contacts and I even gave away a Book of Mormon that my brother had written his testimony in and sent to me for Christmas.

 I finally saw the doctor and he X-Rayed my arm, asked me if I had any history of Gout. I told him I had no idea what that was. He checked my arm for a rash or a bite or something. It was very clear that the doctor didn't have  time to try and figure out what it was, I was told it was a "muscle sprain" and they handed me a bottle of Vicadan and put my arm in a sling and sent me on my way.

Feeling super confused but hopeful for the next days, I went on with the work. But the pain was still bothering so I asked one of the Anderson ward missionaries for a blessing. Brother Woods gave me a wonderful blessing, and there was a specific part that stood out to me, he told me that one day I would understand why I had to go through this. It made me excited, I thought it meant that we were going to get a baptism from one of the contacts we made in the ER! But as time went on, my arm got better and nothing really came from it, so I asked Brother Woods multiple times what he meant by it, he said he didn't know but that he felt very strongly that I needed to know that.

So 2 weeks later I'm transferred, and a week into the work in that area I start falling into depression. Now fast forward through those awful and hard times, past me coming home, up to Sept 4th, 2014 where the Doctor tells me that I have Lyme Disease. And he says according to my tests I was but about 9-11 months ago. I do the math and count back to December when I went to the ER. Then the words from the blessing come to my head saying "you will one day understand why you had to go through this." I had to wrap my head around it and once I did, I called Bro Woods to tell him about the bite and the blessing.

I felt so much relief to know that Bro Woods held the priesthood. And because he held that priesthood he was able speak as if it were My Heavenly Father was speaking. Land the blessing was proof that He knew the whole story. He knew I was not going to finish my mission, but he did know that I would be ok. God knew that I was but back in December, and I made it all those months without knowing what was going on. And now he had provided answers, to keep me going. 

And that is why I am still "all amazed at the love He offers me".

-Lyme Warrior