Monday, June 10, 2013

No more googling, no more searching, no more darkness, no more drowning, FINALLY!!! THE VERDICT IS IN!

>I'm not crazy
>It wasn't all in my head
>I didn't make it up
>I've been validated by the Igenex blood test
>Everything has been real
>Those misdiagnoses separated me from the right treatment
>I've been living in fear
>The bodily joint/muscle pain is a reality
>The numerous sensitivities are true; I'm not just a freak about food
>It's time for me to HEAL

Since the summer of 2004,
>I've wondered what happened to my body
>I've wondered what I did wrong
>I've been told "oh, she must have a bigger appetite now; that explains the weight gain"
>I've been told "maybe you're sick because you live at home with your parents"
>I've seen too many doctors to count
>I've never stopped searching for explanations
>I've opted out of MULTIPLE (and I mean A LOT of) social events
>I've distanced myself from family & friends & coworkers 
>I've struggled with extremely terrible, unbearable anxiety (starting to improve now) 
>I've been at a loss of words whenever someone asks "how are you?"
>I've been frowned upon for telling the truth & frowned upon for hiding behind it
>I've tried to live a big life no matter how hard things have gotten
>I've continued to dream of a greener pasture presenting itself at some point in my life
>I've been an unreasonably nervous dater (can't eat out? not easy to work with nowadays)
>I've attempted to exercise my way out of this mess by practically killing myself at the gym/with too much hot yoga
>I've cried myself to sleep
>I've yelled at the people I love most
>I've pushed people away when they didn't understand (even though it was too complicated even for me)
>I've been living in denial of this horrible *no name until now* disease that's wreaked havoc throughout my whole system
>I've hidden from the world on several occasions 
>I've tried to mask the pain with a smile
>I've dropped out of my dream college because I was too sick to continue
>I've picked up the pieces & attended my community college despite wanting to spread my wings & fly away
>I've fixated on things that bring me joy like Stephen King books
>I've always told people "oh, this is just a rough patch. I'll be fine in a little bit", not wanting to confront the truth of the matter 
>I've been depressed
>I've sweated through t-shirts in a matter of minutes
>I've looked hungover because of a food
>I've been judged
>I've found myself eating the wrong foods out of depression & fright & confusion 
>I've questioned my sanity 
>I've broken seven bones
>I've wanted a different life
>I've wanted the pain to stop
>I've died to be like the rest of my friends; entirely carefree
>I've been too fragile to dance the night away
>I've been too fragile to live on the edge
>I've been too scared to be somewhere without access to help
>I've grown tired of trying to explain when someone asks "what's wrong?"
>I've been haunted by the RSD physical therapy program I was part of at the Children's Hospital of Philly
>I've found comfort in movies because they never questioned my illness or whether or not I was faking it
>I've always thought this couldn't be my story; something will change eventually
>I'm not in Wonderland anymore

It's time for me to look this bug right in the eyes & kill it; kill it for good. It's never too late to capture the flag & win the game. To those of you who never left my side, thanks for cheering me on & never losing confidence in me. I will be grateful for your love for the rest of my life. My road to recovery has begun.  

XOXO, Allie

Sunday, June 9, 2013

This, that, the other thing, the thingiemabobber, the whatchamacallit, the imitator... LYME DISEASE

I'd like to tell you I have a new recipe to share with you but I'll probably end up cooking homemade chicken/chicken soup/plain beef meatballs, zucchini pasta, or fish instead.

I'd like to invite you over to my house to enjoy a refreshing fruit smoothie but you'd wind up eating a bun-less hamburger with sauerkraut instead. 

I'd like to say I'm going down to the city tonight to partay all night long but I'll probably snuggle up in bed with a book on my lap instead.

I'd like to tell you I'm excited about returning to school again this Fall but I'd much rather run away to Yellowstone Natl. Park instead. 

I'd love to tell you I have the energy of any normal 21 year-old but I actually keep things calm instead. 

I'd really like to see if you want to go for a 8-mile run with me but I'll probably opt out & go for a short walk instead. 

I'd love to live in the middle of nowhere but I'll probably live near a grocery store instead.

I'd love to spend the rest of my free time in a hot yoga studio but I'll probably choose a more relaxing, less taxing form of yoga instead.

I'd like to tell you I'll blend in with the crowd but I'll end up being the only one eating chicken soup for dinner instead. 

When you have Chronic Lyme Disease or any other chronic bacterial infection, you don't live like the Romans do. You don't walk the walk, or talk the talk. You don't fly by the seat of your pants. You don't lose track of time or forget what day it is. You can't afford to be aloof. You can't ignore what's right in front of you. 

When you're in a flare, it's all about commitment. It's about setting alarms on your phone so you don't forget to take your morning & evening supplements. It's about drinking plenty of lemon water to help flush out the toxins stuck in your body. It's about sleeping when your body says so because it needs to heal. It's about eliminating as much stress as possible to increase your chances of exiting this flare. Your body takes all your attention. 

It's not about how you look  what's on the outside. It's about HOW YOU FEEL. For so many of us, we hear "you look fine" & yet we're crying on the inside. It's hard for us to face the facts & let people in close enough to hear the truth. Sometimes it's better left unsaid. If we don't say it, it must not be true. Right? Perfectly logical thought. ;) 

If we're acting like a plate of scrambled eggs or a wiggly bowl of jello, it's not intentional. We don't mean to confuse you with our whacky emotions or our ridiculous insecurities!! We're trying to be comfortable in our skin. We're constantly learning how to love ourselves despite what we feel. It's a full-time job & sometimes we need a break! Walking around with a smile on our face can be helpful & harmful. At times, we just need to let it out! SCREAM at the top of our lungs. Say, "I HATE THIS!! WHY MUST THINGS BE SO DAMN DIFFICULT!". The only time you'll hear us blurting out things of that hostile nature? During a flare. When we're in remission, you couldn't tell the difference between me & the next girl. I eat, she eats. I play, she plays. I laugh, she laughs. I wear dresses, she wears dresses. Where's the disconnect? A-ha! See, it's much harder to find when we're well. 

The key to coping with a flare? Do whatever you can to be happy as often as possible. Pick up a wickedly stellar book to dive into. Search Netflix for a new action-packed Bruce Willis movie! Go sit on a bench by the local lake & watch the geese come & go. Start crocheting a colorful scarf. Light a few candles & take a luxurious Epsom salt bath. Call up your best friend to catch up on the "other side of life". Don't, whatever you do, RUN AWAY FROM YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS. That won't do anyone any good. You need to be around others to heal. If they ask you to hang out? Don't run & hide!!! PLEASE DO NOT! Like I said in my last post, just because you're sick does not mean you aren't worthy of love & affection & socialization. Find the group of people you can be YOURSELF around. A bunch of friends you can comfortably cry in front of or flat out vent in front of. You do that? They're the right ones for you. And the best part is, when you're with them, you'll be too happy to even consider crying or venting. It'll happen less & less when they're around because you'll be distracted & happy. And that's how it's supposed to be!  

I'm working on practicing what I preach. To my friends who might be reading this, I want to hang out with you! If I don't feel well, I'd still love the company. Don't let me say no! :) To my family members who might be reading this, I want to see you! I especially must not let how I feel get in the way of our family get-togethers. ;) 

Life is too short to miss out on all the fun. I won't be a victim anymore! For those of you who struggle with a bacterial infection or from a number of other autoimmune disease like Crohns (the path I followed that led me to where I am today), you deserve to have fun, too!!!!!!!!!! Don't be a victim! Let yourself be a fighter! We can put war paint on our faces together. :) As for the rest of you lovely people, thanks for not abandoning us of a "different species". There aren't words to accurately describe how grateful we are. 

p.s. Yes yes, the "killing herbs"! A clue? One of them has a street name; Cat's claw. 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

...The answer is NO.

Can you say....HOLY SCHNAPS!!!!! good grief?! 

I'm finally surfacing after my absurdly long absence from the blogosphere. SO GLAD TO BE BACK. I don't remember what I said in my "New Year's Eve" post but 2013 has caught me WAY off guard. What happened to "smelling the roses"? Whoops! I guess I was asking for a miracle. It's been more along the lines of "smelling the manure".   -___-

Life happens! No matter what you do or better yet, what you DON'T DO, you might hit a bump in the road. Whether it's a lethal food, a stressful event, a difficult workplace, an overwhelming school load, or an unfavorable person (most likely someone who can't fully understand your bodily issues; NOT their fault), there's no way all of these potential triggers can be avoided. The only way you could come close to smooth sailing 24 hours a day/7 days a week? Crawl into bed & stay there. Don't call your friends. Don't go to school. Don't keep your job. Don't do anything with anyone. Don't have any stress in your life whatsoever.

Now, do you think that's sustainable? Does that sound fun? Do you think you'd be happy without any human contact or affection? Or without the chance to work hard at your job or at school? 

...The answer is NO. 

I've lived that life before. I lived that life when I first started the SCD. Sure, I followed the diet to a T & I felt like a million bucks pretty quickly. Yes, I was eventually symptom-free. Yeah, I had no stress & was able to rest everyday without abandoning my responsibilities; I initially started the diet when I wasn't in school and I wasn't working. 

But after a while, that got lonely. I had no one to share my wellness with. There wasn't anything to show me how well I was. Where's the fun in being healthy if you don't hang with friends or do anything adventurous? The Fall of that year, I returned to school & took two classes. I didn't have too much stress then. The following January, I got a job. That's when things started to get complicated. I made lots of friends... which meant I would have a social life... which meant people might be eating "other foods" in front of me. And last Fall, I signed up for three classes in addition to my part-time job. That was when the ball rolled out of my control. And suddenly I found myself wrapped up in everything else except my health. I wasn't ever at home so cooking proper SCD foods to last me throughout the week became a problem. My health was not my top priority anymore. I wanted it to be but school & work stole all my attention. 

That's the deadliest recipe for people like me. As my incredibly dear friend Damion says of "My Cranky Gut", a hectic life leads to a reckless diet. Convenience takes on a whole new meaning & suddenly you find yourself eating foods your body rejects but your mind/busy lifestyle accepts. Once you enter this vicious cycle, it's extremely hard to get out of it. Those crappy foods make you feel crappy inside & out so then you feel too crappy to make any positive changes to your diet. Oh, shoot me. I ate a handful of organic tortilla chips with organic salsa, or a local apple with salt-free organic peanut butter. (*REALLY?! How sinful... NOT. I ate what normal people eat!!!!! I ate the "healthy stuff from the food pyramid"!!! ARGH!!!!!!*) Depression follows, taking hold of you & making it nearly impossible to remember what it was like to be well. Crawling under a rock seems like the better option (who will miss a nasty sick person anyway?) until someone notices you (parent, best friend, boss) & then you're no longer alone! You need help. OKAY. It's a hell of a lot easier to ask for help then allow yourself to become just short of bedridden & deny yourself of any human contact. Humans NEED other humans to thrive & be well.  

The healing process for the gut/mind is lengthy when it's been damaged over a long period of time (many many years in most cases, like myself). Foods like gluten & fake processed sugars wreak havoc & drag out the process even further. Your thyroid takes a hit (helloooo inflammation) along with your gut & your intestines (& your brain, too!). If life becomes too much to handle, wave the red flag. Sound the alarm. For goodness sake, SPEAK UP! It took me most of this year (ever since the beginning of January) to face the music & build up the courage to ask for outside assistance. 

I'm blogging today from the other side of the fence. I'm blogging today as a woman with help from my friends. I'm blogging today with a new partnership (Dr. Wong). I'm blogging today with a realistic outlook on life. I'm blogging today with more determination to be well than I've ever had in my entire life. I'm blogging today with a purpose! 

I don't want you to give up. I don't want the nearest boulder to be your place of residence. I don't want your best friend to be your pillow. I don't want you to forget what it feels like to be blanketed by the warm rays of the sun. I don't want you to go too long without a hug and/or a kiss. I don't want you to feel underserving of help because you may have eaten the wrong foods. 

It's not your fault! It's not something you should be ashamed of. It's not all of who you are. If someone can't see that this "ill" you is only temporary, that's their loss. It doesn't mean you aren't deserving of love, affection, fun, social outings, happiness, & all the other enjoyments of life. The inflammation you are battling (& me, right there with you!) can be tackled. It just takes the right amount of force in the form of relaxation, rest, sleep, supplements, (maybe antibiotics?), little to no stress, & positive energy. I don't care how crappy you feel. You cannot call "Uncle". I won't let you. 

As always, I encourage you to take care of yourself & continue to be happy! If things are dark right now, things will brighten up. I promise. I refuse to believe otherwise. 

Lots & lots of love, 

ps Look out for my next post on "Killing Herbs". I bet you're curious! And I think I'll have a new recipe, too!!