Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Summer of Lyme

Well, I haven't updated on how my symptoms have been in a while. So this will be just a short update on how I've been feeling...

My herxing has been very minimal, if at all prevalent. I hardly ever notice them, it worries me sometimes because if your not herxing you are not getting better. However there is this concept that actually sounds super strange, and nobody can fully explain it, but it is the Full Moon. Lyme symptoms worsen on a full moon. It is awful, I am more sick the week of a full moon then ever. It is like I'm herding for a whole week. I am extra tired, I feel like I have the flu, I ache, I have no energy! I am so miserable, I am sharing this because this coming week is the 4th of July and the full moon is July 2nd, this coming Thursday and I am just dreading it. I try not to think too much about it, but it is always just awful. There are several guesses as to why the full moon is so awful, but nobody knows exactly why... a blog that I referred to a lot in my early days of Lyme has all the info on the full moon and lyme disease theories. It talks about the gravitational pull from the moon and how the bacteria can feel it and makes them go crazy. It also refers to the theory that I find the most interesting an that is the electro magnetic theory. But the one I find the most plausible is that the bacteria just reproduce every 28-30 days along with the full/new moon (because some Lymies actually get worse symptoms on new moons instead of full moons) thus making it worse because your bacteria inside you are going through their own monthly cycle and reproducing faster than rabbits inside of you! I know it totally makes me sound like a werewolf, but instead of turning into a sick-awesome giant dog once a month that howls at the moon, I turn into a very sick girl that cries until the a few days after the full moon is gone.

So that is one thing that has been happening, I have noticed the full moon concept effecting me since about February. Another thing that is frustrating me has more to do with my medication then anything. I have finally been able to take Doxycycline. I took it for two weeks last August before they tested me for Lyme and it was the worst 2 weeks ever. I was constantly dizzy and sick, and it was mostly because Doxycycline is the best antibiotic you can take to kill lyme, it did such a good job that I was herding so bad every room I walked into was spinning and I couldn't even drive. So finally after about 10 months of slowly killing off the bacteria I can now take Doxycycline without being bed ridden. However Doxy, as well as most other antibiotics I take (I'm always on 3 or 4 and they are constantly changing), cause sensitivity to sunlight, and when I have ever been on just one it hasn't been a big deal, but 3 antibiotics causing sunlight sensitivity is making me get fried overtime I go outside.

Now, I'm not one it tan, I am white, I fry, I blister, I peel, and I am right back to white. But I work at a daycare center. We swim every Wednesday with all the kids. We play outside, we go on field trips to parks, and hike. I am outside a lot! I have peeled only on my nose, and a little tiny bit on my shoulders. That is after using child sunscreen SPF 70+. I don't peel on my arms or legs at all, I am a dark tan color. I have never been this dark! I don't know how to handle it. My sister has always been darker than me because she will lay out for a little bit or go boating with friends all the time. But I go outside to mow the lawn or play with the kids at work for a half hour and I am another shade darker!

People comment and say it must be nice to be so tan... I just think, yeah right! Because for me it's painful! Yeah I tan super quick but the sun burn is still there, it is pain full too! I tingle, and my feet have blistered over and over from being sunburned so much! Each of my toes has at least one big blister on it from repeatedly being sunburned. I would go back to being white and fair skinned in an instant than being this tan and sunburned all the time.

I also think I have a heat sensitivity that is worse than most. I love summer, it's my favorite season, July 4th is my favorite holiday, but I feel extra tired, and extra exhausted in the heat. Utah has hit up in the 100's this past week and I am just melting. I am not one to usually complain about the heat but I crash every day after work. I worry that I am more moody, and I find myself getting more depressed because I am so much more worn out. I researched this and I found some other people talking about how Lyme spirochete die in higher temperatures (which makes sense because in winter I was always going to the sauna to sweat, I don't do that now because I feel like I sweat all day and that I can't take anymore heat!), I read how they did tests that how that the ideal temperature is 98 degrees Fahrenheit, and as you get higher the lyme bacteria struggles and around 102-106 degrees the bacteria dies off in droves. So summer is good because I am naturally killing off more spirochete, but I am killing myself by doing it as well. My body is shutting down more quickly because the Lyme is fighting it, and then dying so I am actually herxing in the heat and it is so painful that I am exhausting myself to withstand and survive summer.

I honelsty don't think I have ever really complained about the heat of summer, I might say that it is too hot to go outside and play basketball, but I have never wished for winter to come back in a summer EVER, and now I find myself doing it all the time! I don't like it one bit!

Anyways, I feel like this post was just a little bit of me complaining more than anything, I tried not to make it sound that way, and make it sound more informational than anything else... I am doing much better, but these are just the biggest problems with Lyme that I am dealing with right now.

-The Lyme Warrior

Saturday, June 13, 2015


I wrote this post a while ago, found it in my drafts, and thought I'd share it!

Sometimes people get scared. And I used to think that people were most dangerous when they were angry, and upset. I used to think that when people got hurt it was usually because someone was angry. But now I think fear is more dangerous. It controls you more. It's not as easy to change fear, as it is to change anger. I don't think anger lasts long in most people, they eventually calm down. But fear can last a really long time. I also think that people are more likely to admit they are angry before they will admit they are scared. Because fear is a weakness. And most people aren't as likely to show weakness and admit that they have it.

I've known a lot about fear over these many months. Being sick does that to you. Being detached from everyone else gives you fear.

There are lots of fears in the world. Fear of tight spaces, fear of dying, fear of spiders just to name a few. I think it's silly that I used to be afraid of clowns, and cockroaches, and flying. Those seem so pointless now that my fears go much deeper than getting on an airplane. And squishing a bug.

I think a lot of people have a fear of not understanding. Whether they realize it's a fear or not is a different story. But people generally fear and avoid things they don't understand. I know all about that fear too. But I got passed it. I'm not sure how, but after I started getting sick and I didn't understand what was going on I felt panicked all the time. I was afraid of what was going to happen next. Afraid of what my next symptom would be. When my next break down would happen. Who I would hurt next... But I eventually came to the point where I can now say "what will come will come". 

Now my fear is bigger than not understanding what is going on. I'm afraid of myself. I'm afraid of letting myself give up on the meds, and give into the disease. I have been talking 16+ pills morning and night with a few in-between during the day for almost a whole year now. And to think that I still have probably another year of this is very frightening.

My fear now is my increasing desire to just want to throw in the towel. To give in. Of course I don't feel that way all the time. I will have good days, but when the bad days come (and come they do), it is so tempting to just give in. Fighting is so exhausting. And I can't remember what it is like to not be tired. To not be worn out. To wake up with a  refreshing sleep. And this obviously isn't ending anytime soon and that is what is frustrating.

I am afraid of the day when I give in and decide to give up. I don't want it to come. But I don't know how much strength I have left.... I know fear is the opposite of faith, but like I said, we all fear.

-The Lyme Warrior

Sunday, June 7, 2015

"If Physical Problems were treated like Mental Problems"

I came across this video and it made me laugh... It gives a definer perspective on how most people actually treat people who have mental health problems. Or how people with mental health struggles treat themselves.

If physical problems were treated like mental problems

-The Lyme Warrior

Monday, June 1, 2015

When bad things happen...

Bad things happen. Trials hit. The saying is always true "when it rains it pours..." And where we don't always get to choose our trials or hardships along the way, we can choose 1) our reaction towards the trials 2) our attitude towards the trials and 3) we can choose to accept responsibility over the trial... I don't know if responsibility is the right word; I guess, you can choose to own the trial or deny it.

These are 3 things we can choose after our trials hit, and we know they will. Maybe they already have, maybe you are saying "I cannot take one more thing." Maybe you are saying, "how much longer is this going to last?" Maybe you are wondering "what did I do wrong to deserve this?" Maybe you are faced with a tough decision and you aren't good at change and either way is hard. Maybe you feel completely helpless. Maybe you are stuck in limbo. I don't know, but I do know that I have learned some key things through my own trials that I think might help others...

The Reaction

How we react when the trial first hits. No matter how big or how small I find that my first reaction is "Why"? And it's not always a "why me" but it's more of a "why now..." As if I'm telling God, or just someone in general... "This is a very inconvenient time to be experiencing this certain trial I have been given." I've learned that when I say "why" that is more what I'm asking. I've had to realize, and ask myself is, is there ever a time that this would be convinent?

To give and example I was told I had Depression 6 months into my mission... 4 or 5 months after that I was told I was borderline bipolar and manic. And my thoughts were "why now?" But I learned that it doesn't help the situation, God doesn't send explanations, that's faithless to expect God to answer that way. There is no action on my part, only the demand to know "why" something is happening that I don't like.

Asking "why me?" is no better. Because, again, God isn't going to send an explanation to every trial that comes our way. I realized that every time I asked "why me?" It was selfish... It was as if I demanded that it be taken away and given to someone else. I would not want to wish depression on my worst enemy! Asking the "why" questions brings no comfort, only more frustration.

If you look in the scriptures, all the great stories of trials show not a single person or prophet saying "why now?" Or "why me?" 

Job lost his whole family, got sick and lost all of his property, but not once did he say "this was really bad timing Lord." (Job 42)

Abinadi was burned at the stake I don't think he ever asked "why me, why do I have to be the one to preach to people that won't listen and then be burned because of it?" (Mosiah 17:7-20)

Ruth from the Old Testament never said "Wow this is so inconvinet and such bad timing, not only did my husband die and I have to take care of my mother-in-law now, but there is also a famine in the land, this is literally the worst timing!" (Ruth 1)

Instead of asking "Why" I think I have found a better thing to pray for. And I switched my prayers and it helped me feel better. And I felt like Heavenly Father was more willing to answer me this way as well. What I changed my prayers to was "Help me understand thy (God's will) better." I found that where I didn't always get a direct answer, I was able to receive a greater understanding, learn more, and I was aligning my will with Gods.

Another reaction that I have noticed I do is I turn away from others... I hide that I have this problem. I hide that there is even a trial in my life. Now that I have had depression over a year now, I understand more about the timing that I got it. I was serving in South Carolina. 

If you haven't been to the south and experienced southern hospitality for yourself I highly recommend it. But something that southern people are not afraid to do os voice their problems. And its not that they are complaining! But if you ask a person who is checking out your groceries how they are doing, it wouldn't be uncommon for them to say "oh my mama is sick, will y'all pray for her and for me as well?"

That might sound strange but after living among that you realize the faith and the trust they have in voicing a problem and requesting a prayer is very powerful. I felt like I left one culture extremity and came home to another, a culture that believes the key to happiness is "faking it until you make it." Putting on that brave smile. Not wanting to be a burden to anyone so not sharing the hard things that are happeneing. And there are many extremes within the culture, but that is how I felt coming home. And this ties right into my next point.


Once we have gotten over the initial shock of a trial hitting, we can choose our attitude not only towards the trial itself, but also our attitude towards others during our trial. That's where turning outward instead of inward comes in... 

Elder Bednar once said:

"Character is revealed, for example, in the power to discern the suffering of other people when we ourselves are suffering; in the ability to detect the hunger of others when we are hungry; and in the power to reach out and extend compassion for the spiritual agony of others when we are in the midst of our own spiritual distress. Thus, character is demonstrated by looking and reaching outward when the natural and instinctive response is to be self-absorbed and turn inward." ("THE CHARACTER OF CHRIST" Brigham Young University-Idaho Religion Symposium January 25, 2003 Elder David A. Bednar)

If you turn inward you choose to have a more negative attitude, not always a bad attitude, but it's not as good if you chose to turn outward during your trial of adversity. Your attitude towards others during a trial will greatly be affected by you turning inward than other wise would be the case.

I remember my attitude went back and forth a lot when I was told I had depression... I instinctively turned inward, it wasn't that I was feeling sorry for myself or that I was throwing a pitty party, it's just that I wanted to be alone. I felt like I had to carry it and face it alone (again the not voicing it reaction, so you see how they are connected?).

This is something I learned from back home. I said "I'm fine." But I wasn't. I feared being a burden. I feared that my problems, if shared aloud would then become someone elses... This is wrong. If, as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I believed, as well as everyone else, that our problems were a burden on someone else, we would not be helping each other keep our baptismal covenants to "bear one another burdens". (Mosiah 8:18)

As I hid my depression, I distanced myself from my companion, who was my only source of understanding, outside of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Turning inward is a selfish act. And I did just that. When I said "I'm fine." I was being selfish, and prideful. We might try and justify it, I know I did. But when we turn inward all we think about is ourselves. I started to get even more down as I turned inward because I was only focusing on me, and "me" was in pretty bad shape, so I got more and more depressed. It was like a downward spiral that kept getting more and more dark and made the depression, my trial, much more hard and much more big.


I still don't know if that is the right word, but when a trial comes we can choose to accept that it is ours, or we can try and look at it from every angle and think of something we could have done different to avoid the trial. 

After suffering with depression, anxiety and other symptoms for 6 months I was sent home early from my mission... Those 6 months prior I had blamed everything in the book for my depression. I had blamed the fact that I was transferred out of an awesome area. I had blamed the guy at the library that had tried to anti me and my companion. I even had started to blame my parents because every time I went to the doctor for some medication they asked if I was ever abused, if my home life growing up had caused me depression. This was wrong. Never had I been abused, I was completely fine being transferred, and I knew in my heart the things the anti people would tell us were not true. I knew my depression was sudden and inexplainable, but still I wanted a reason, I couldn't accept that I was depressed let alone that there was no explanation.

I blamed my depression on the lack of baptisms in my area. I even had the nerve to blame my Great Grandma for dying while I was out... Then I blamed myself for not writing my grandma before she passed away.

 I blamed the depression my family for not sending me enough letters through out the week. I blamed my cousin for getting married while I was gone and then emailing me and telling me she is pregnant 6 months later.

All these things just made it worse. Not only would I not accept that maybe no one was to blame, but I also couldn't accept responsibility and move on. I was stuck in this rut for a long time... And it seemed to spiral down ward too, but it never ended. 

And then I got sent home early... And that was a whole other trial all by itself. I blamed the doctors back in South Carolina, saying they didn't do enough for me. I blamed my LDS counselor saying she could have done more. But when I came down to it all I blamed myself. I had got myself sent home. 

At this point I was taking on too much. I wasn't just accepting that the trial was mine, and that it was there... Nope I went as far as to blame myself, and that made things even more worse (I didn't think it was possible, but it was).

Then 3 months after being home I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease... It imitates 300+ diseases and was causing depression, anxiety, as well as many other huge problems on my mission. I was so relieved! I knew I wasn't truly depressed! It was the disease that was causing it, and since it wasn't real depression the medicine would only work for a little and then the disease would replicate and fight against it and the meds would stop working.

Everything made sense in my head. I had something to blame! I came up with my favorite hashtag #blamethetick as well as the name for this blog. This trial had a source... But now what? I had spent so much of my energy trying to find the "why" and the "how" it had made me so bad that I was suicidal. I had self blamed myself for everything. And where at that point the tick was to blame for the depression, I still blamed myself for being sent home.

I couldn't agree more with Dr. Maraboli
Being sent home was a seperate trial from the depression/Lyme Disease. They didn't help each other but they were 2 seperate things because I blame myself for coming home... I cut myself. And cutting yourself in the mission field is a plane ticket home. I made the cut. Nobody else. I chose that, and dealt with so much shame that it was unbearable.

And as I kept up with my #blamethetick, way of thinking, I started to find myself if a vicious circle that I think lots of Lyme patients experience. I started to say, "am I depressed because of Lyme? Or do I have depression because I have been sick so long, and I'm miserable being home early, therefore I have depression...?" I would go back and forth with this argument and it was maddening. To say "is this Lyme? Or me?" Am I depressed because I've been sick so long or is Lyme making me depressed?

Back and forth I would go and in the end it just made me more depressed! What I realize now, almost 1 year of being sent home and 1 and a half years of depression, is that I need to just accept that the trial is mine. It doesn't matter who's to blame. Or whose fault it is. It's my trial, that I can choose to share with others, and that I can choose to ask for strength instead of "why me?" And that goes for any trial as well. I think we can all implement these steps somehow in our lives, and it may not make the trials go away, it may not make it easier. But I know it will help you, because once you do these three steps, the less big and demanding your trial will feel... At least, that is how it is for me.

-The Lyme Warrior