Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Lyme: An Epilogue

I shared on this blog that earlier this summer I had Lyme disease. I'm good now.

Thank you so much for checking in on me and asking and caring!

I actually was good pretty early on. About 2 days into antibiotics (in mid-June) the fevers cleared and with them the brain fog lifted. I was tired for a bit as my body had been through a lot, but that lifted within days as well. Since late June, I've been living my normal life. Doing the yoga. Spinning on the bikes. Running in the streets. Hiking in the woods.

I finished the 3-week course of amoxicillin in early July. During the course of antibiotics, I was diligent about probiotics and a diet that would hopefully support my gut health. Off the antibiotics, I switched into high gear to restore my gut. Like, kombucha and bone broth daily kind of high gear.

I felt good but wanted to make sure I was doing everything that I could to support my interior.

Two weeks after the antibiotics concluded I was tested again for Lyme disease. The results were somewhat muddy-- Lyme is a weird disease. I was referred to an infectious disease specialist.

The infectious disease specialist at Cooper, Dr. Pedroza, was wonderful. She took a lot of time examining my blood work and explaining bizarro Lyme disease and how this applied to me. Dr. Pedroza was careful to say that I received "adequate care." She was pleased that I was tested and treated so quickly, but wished I had been treated with doxycycline as opposed to amoxicillin. I don't know why I was given the antibiotic that I was, but I can only guess that Lyme literacy is new to many. It was a good thing that I was tested so quickly. Perhaps, physicians are still learning the best defense to mount against this disease. Dr. Pedroza said I had a "very clean case" of Lyme, meaning it's very obvious that I had it, it seems that it was caught quickly (at my estimated timeline of treatment beginning 12 days after infection), and my body mounted a strong defense. At my request, she took more blood to test for coinfections.

Everyone at Cooper was really wonderful. Like, a strikingly good experience.

Afterward, I received a call with my results. I tested negative for all coinfections. It's very clear that I had Lyme disease, however, my body mounted a really strong defense. I now have a lot of antibodies against the Lyme. In other words, I'm good now.

I could still be reinfected as could anyone. I still need to watch out for ticks and for the tell-tale disease symptoms: a ring, rashes, fevers.

But I'm recovered.

I learned a lot in this episode. When a parasite got me, I became very clear about how much of my own energy that I leaked out. I saw where I prioritized obligations I made to other people over my own needs, where I took requests people made of me as my priority, and at my own expense. I saw how even my diet was more concerned with factors other than my own health. I started shifting all of that.

In every instance, when a request is made of me, when I have a choice, I'm learning to feel into my body. Generally, I feel somewhere a response. Either a softening of "yes, this is good," or a tightening of "the answer is no." I often don't even know why, but the more that I'm acting on the information of my body, the more I feel healthy, and often, down the line, I get confirmation of my original gut reflex.

In other words, I'm finally factoring myself in. When I released too much of myself to others it created this pendulum extreme where I would then also find myself taking what wasn't mine-- attitudes, expectations, resources, and more. The more I'm getting clear on my own needs, the more I'm learning to meet them.

I finally feel like my own advocate. At 37 years old. Jesus. As I act on the reflexive information of my body, my body is quicker to provide me with insight and direction. I know my own inner compass. It's the only place I can act from. It's the only place that I should act from. (And, thankfully, I have really good accountability partners in my life so if I ever get really off-the-mark they're there to help me reflect. So far, my body is very honest.)

This summer, I made it my business to learn how to take care of myself. I get enough sleep, I'm eating in a way that works for me currently, I'm moving, I'm staying inspired. When stressors come up that throw me off balance, I treat myself like I would my best friend on a bad day. I get still and ask, "what makes me feel good? what helps?" And instead of my past patterns of questioning that, considering it an indulgence, doubting that I had the right to simply take a day to care for myself, I go in. And I go in hard. I don't just do the one thing I think might feel help, I do EVERYTHING I can think of. I throw every idea I have at repairing myself, even when my mood has lifted hours earlier. I treat myself like my best friend, who is doing OK, but could still be cared for thoroughly and joyfully.

Weird side note: now that I am a priority to myself, depression is not the issue it once was. To me, depression felt like a sinking into a void. I couldn't get an anchor, I couldn't get my feet under me. I didn't know where I was. I didn't know what was happening. I didn't know what to do. I didn't know my worth.

I know depression functions in a multitude of ways, but I'm discovering that for me, when I keep myself prioritized and clear, I know where I am. I know how I am. I know what I need. I know what's right for me. I know what isn't. I can advocate on my own behalf. I can soothe myself when I encounter something destabilizing.

That means that every other relationship that I have is out of choice. It's not out of resolving a past issue or out of a need for someone else to pick me up. I can pick myself up. Those in my inner circle are there simply because I love them. I enjoy them. If I need care from them, I can ask for it, but I also know that I can ask myself.

Lyme sucked. Twelve days of high fevers, the craziest body aches that I ever experienced, and the fear I felt around not being able to regain my energy (until I was in treatment) totally blew. And, the experience taught me so much.

I'm really trying to learn at less of a cost. I think I'm getting there. But, anyway, thank you Lyme. Thanks to my time with you, I'm factoring myself in. The relationship that I've developed with myself is beautiful and such a solid way to move through the world.