My Early Christmas Present

Image from securinvest

Image from securinvest

“I wandered everywhere, through cities and countries wide. And everywhere I went, the world was on my side.”
~ Roman Payne, Rooftop Soliloquy

 

Monday was my day off. A day to rest, sandwiched between two days of psychic work on either side. I am in Brisbane right now, and the plan was that Ben would be here and we would spend the day together, doing a little running around before I napped the rest of the day away.

But Ben needed to race back to the farm in the middle of the weekend heatwave, when a neighbour told us there was a problem with our water pump. And Monday morning Harry got injured in his fight with the stick and spent the day at the vet’s down near our farm, so I was stuck in Brisbane on my own.

Doesn’t sound very exciting, does it? And yet, on that day, with me stuck in suburbia, miracles happened.

I know it won’t sound very miraculous to you, but let me explain.

On Monday there were bills that needed to be paid, and forms that needed to be posted. I’d expected Ben would be there to help me, but he was busying helping Harry. Doing those chores suddenly fell to me. ‘Only if you’re well enough,’ Ben said. ‘We’ll work something out if you can’t do it.’

It needed to be done, so I did what any normal person would do. I got in the car and drove to Chermside – a nearby sprawling suburban shopping-mall.

Image by Jeff Camden

Image by Jeff Camden

 

I haven’t really driven very much for quite a while now. In fact I’ve driven only half a dozen times this year after two years of no driving at all. Lyme disease has robbed me of so much independence, and until recently congestive heart failure had made me unsafe behind the wheel. Even now I have a strong startle reflex and slow other reflexes. It takes all my concentration to drive, and it’s usually very stressful.

But Monday I was feeling stronger. Clearer. I got in the car and off I went, determined to get those jobs done.

At the shopping mall I found an easy park, and my tasks were completed in less than fifteen minutes.

I was just about to get in the car and go home when I realised…

I was out shopping ON MY OWN for the first time in five years.

For five years my darling husband has been at my side for every outing. This was the first time I’d had the chance to do a little Christmas Shopping on my own, without him right beside me.

Oh, the luxury of it all.

I stopped at a little cafe, the sort of place Ben would never go, and enjoyed some lunch while drafting up a list of things I’d like to buy. And then off I went, to look at shops that appealed to me.

I lingered at a place which sold aftershave and perfumes.

I dallied at a tea shop, smelling and tasting different blends and talking tea with the wonderfully informative staff.

I dawdled in a bookshop. At a toy store. At a supermarket.

All in all I spent nearly two hours out on my own.

It tasted like freedom. I had the best time!

On the way home, still feeling good, I called in at a friend’s house and we sat in her back yard and worked on my new website.

2014-11-17 17.39.10

That night, while I was waiting for Harry and Ben to come home I wrapped my stash of gifts and marvelled at how independent and outrageously liberated I was feeling.

Those wrapped gifts represent something profoundly significant to me.

My own little Christmas Miracle.

A returning wellness!

2014-11-19 04.35.33

I should be grumpy this morning…

Image from lalal

Image from The Bump

“The art of being happy lies in the power of extracting happiness from common things.”Henry Ward Beecher

I should be grumpy this morning.

Really, really grumpy.

I have now completed my third drug-free week from my lyme treatment, letting my liver have a break. At first I was so grateful to not have to put fistfuls of pills into myself. The drugs themselves are a nightmare, and I was celebrating not taking them. My body sighed with relief and my toxicity levels dropped. For a moment I felt marginally better.

But then some of the old symptoms I haven’t experienced for months flared up. Bartonella pains, babesia night sweats, lyme brain, chest pain. No fun at all. And it has become steadily worse. Worse enough that I’m looking forward to starting those horrible drugs again next week.

Each night now I endure pain, and insomnia. Last night was especially uncomfortable, and I didn’t get much sleep at all.

I should be so grumpy.

But last night I lay awake and listened to the sound of rain on our city roof. I peered into the bright screen of my iPad, loaded the weather radar and watched great clouds of rain dumping their load over the farm, imagining how the parched land would be sighing in relief.

I lay in the dark, hours later, and listened to the soft regular breathing of my husband, newly home from hospital. I reached my fingers out to him in the darkness and settled my hand on his chest.

Finally, after endless hours of misery I fell into a restless sleep.

I was dragged up from a disturbing dream by a persistent tugging on my arm.

Cafe Dog (known to some as Harry!) had my arm in his mouth and was trying to pull me out of bed. He let go, nudged my face and licked me. Then he bounded to the door.

Everyone was already up. It’s a glorious day. The air is fresh and clean from all the rain. The sunshine is dazzling. All my loved ones are happy.

So, I should be grumpy, but I’m not. Life is blessing me right now, and I’m not going to miss a moment. I can nap later, but right now morning calls, and Cafe Dog is keen for us to go to our favourite Brisbane haunt for an early breakfast, some writing and a little socialising.

No matter what is going on right now that is outside of my control, I can choose how I feel in each moment.

I choose love.

I choose happiness.

I choose gratitude.

How about you?

2014-08-05 08.26.42

 

And then the Storm…

Image from  Japan's Bureau of Meteorology

Image from Japan’s Bureau of Meteorology

“Another secret of the universe: Sometimes pain was like a storm that came out of nowhere. The clearest summer could end in a downpour. Could end in lightning and thunder.”
~ Benjamin Alire Sáenz

 

Sunday was Drug Number Four Day in my current Lyme medication regime. Today is, too. Ever the optimist, I had told myself that this week would be better.

Wrong.

It’s worse.

The Universe is throwing all kind of weather at me, and then some. It’s an every-flavour storm.

There’s a grim kind of humour in that, though, don’t you think?

I’m so side-swiped by pain that I’ve stopped crying and started laughing.

There’s no point cowering in a corner. I’ll meet this thing head on. Today’s glorious experiment? I shall turn pain into some kind of good. I feel so fiercely alive, so bright with the charge of this corrosive force, that I might as well channel it into something.

I’ll keep you posted as to how I go.

 

Breathing Through The Pain #LymeWarrior

A Breath of Freedom by Iladya Portakaloglu

A Breath of Freedom by Iladya Portakaloglu

“Your breathing should flow gracefully, like a river, like a watersnake crossing the water, and not like a chain of rugged mountains or the gallop of a horse. To master our breath is to be in control of our bodies and minds. Each time we find ourselves dispersed and find it difficult to gain control of ourselves by different means, the method of watching the breath should always be used.”
~ Thích Nhất Hạnh, The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation

 

Pain and I enjoyed a pretty intense relationship when I began my treatment for late stage Lyme disease at the beginning of 2013. My regime, which will last a minimum of three years, involves intense rotational use of various combinations of antibiotics, as well as diet, herbs and a myriad of other support tools. It’s a long road I’m walking, in order to regain wellness.

Recently, things have settled down a little. I’ve had more energy. I’ve been sleeping better. Pain has become an occasional thing rather than a stealer of breath and life-force. I’ve finally begun to feel good on my current meds combo.

That is, of course, until I brought in Drug Number Four.

I’ve slowly built up the intensity of three other kinds of antibiotic, anti-malarial and anti-bacterial that are the drugs on my current rotation. This combination was brutal to begin with, but I’ve reached the stage where I am now handling them well. Part of my treatment plan is to then bring in this fourth drug. It’s one I took earlier this year. It gave me fabulous longer term results, but it created a firestorm within my body while I was on it.

I’d been dreading bringing it back in. But of course I kept up this optimistic patter with myself, “You’ll be right, Nic. It will be heaps easier this time. It’ll be nothing like the last round.” I delayed taking the drugs too, because I wanted to be my best self for my recent retreat. So I took my first tablets on Sunday, seemingly without incident. I worked Monday, took all my drugs and didn’t skip a beat.

Then it hit me. About six pm on Monday night.

Oh God, I’d forgotten how intense the pain could be. That I would feel like I was dying all over again. That it would take all I had to bring my ragged breath back to some semblance of calm. Over, and over, and over again. All day. All night. Without cessation.

Quote from BullyVille

Quote from BullyVille

The good news? I’ll only need to take these drugs two days out of seven. It will get easier. It always does. Eventually. So, I’m breathing, and counting hours and minutes and moments.

I know, from previous experience, that the pain won’t kill me. That knowledge is my secret strength. I can endure this. One day, the pain will end, and I will be stronger, closer to healed, and I’ll have learned more about myself and the world.

It’s Friday today. I managed a few hours sleep last night. Today I’m a little better. Stronger. More determined. Sunday I’ll go Round Two with these drugs. Hopefully next week will be better than this week has been.

But it doesn’t matter. I’ll breathe my way through it. I’m in the killing zone. The bacteria that have made my life a misery are dying, so they can kick and scream all they want on their way out – just as long as they go.

I have things to do. Places to be. Trails to walk. Books to write. A husband who has his whole life on hold while I heal. So I’ll keep staring these squirmy little suckers in the eye until they back down.

Just watch me!

Image from Quoteko.com

Image from Quoteko.com

 

Attack of the Gorn

“Of all the things we can feel with our minds and bodies, severe pain is the purest, for it drives everything else from our awareness and focuses us as perfectly as we can ever be focused.” ~ Dean Koontz

 

There is this thing that happens to me on my current Lyme drugs.

It started in a small way. Bacteria began dying in my nerve endings. As they die, they release toxins. Awesome…

One night, delirious with fever, I thought that small lizards were hiding in my sheets and biting me. That was exactly what it felt like at the time.

And those lizards were mean!

Then it settled down for a while, and I’d thought that was the last of it.

But as I’ve ramped up my meds, the lizards have come back, and this time they’re bigger!

Now it feels as if large mean lizards are taking random chomps out of me with their hard plastic mouths. These are some hungry lizards, that’s for sure. Chomp. Chomp. Chomp.

Chomp on my cheekbone. Chomp on my thigh. Chomp on my belly, my eyelid, the top of my foot. Chomp on my lip, my hip, the very tip of my nose. Chomp, snap, chomp.

Image from Gweenbrick

Image from Gweenbrick

The sensations are horrid. Breathtakingly painful – somewhere between a stab and being tasered, although that only lasts a moment or two, after which it subsides to a less agonising sting. That’s exactly what a villainous lizard with a nasty mouth full of needle-sharp teeth would feel like, right?

Sometimes I can’t help myself and I will gasp with the pain of it. Or flinch and go all wide-eyed.

Which does look a bit odd when you’re out and about. But of course, how are you to know that I am under invisible attack?

My husband and I have developed a code for this now. I call it Gorn Attack.

“You okay?” he’ll ask me.

“Yeah,” I’ll nod. “Just Gorns.”

Have you met a Gorn before? Gorns are a brutal lizard-like race that Captain James T. Kirk fought so valiantly in Star Trek.

Where is Captain Kirk now, I ask? I could really use some help here.

Image from Kotaku

Image from Kotaku

Gorns then made a reprieve visit when Sheldon Cooper was conversing with Tiny Spock in Big Bang Theory. Sheldon was horrified to be attacked by a Gorn. It was his worst nightmare.

I know how he feels. :)

I guess it is kind of interesting. Maybe all of this will come in handy some day for a sci-fi story, or if I ever do meet a real live Gorn or end up in a parallel Star Trek universe. I feel I am developing quite an expertise when it comes to handling Gorn Attack. My weapons are primarily meditation, ninja mind control and magic.

When that doesn’t work, epsom salts baths, infrared saunas and Himalayan salt with vitamin c drinks often do the trick.

I have another four and a half months on these particular drugs. Maybe more. And there is no way I’m quitting.

So, Mr Gorn, bite me!

Image by Jim Doran

Image by Jim Doran

A Big Green #Lyme Anniversary!

Image from The Cake Trail

Image from The Cake Trail

“We are not the same persons this year as last; nor are those we love. It is a happy chance if we, changing, continue to love a changed person.”W. Somerset Maugham

I was talking with my sister yesterday, and she said to me, “Hey, are you planning anything special for your thirty year anniversary tomorrow?”

“Huh?” I replied.

“You know, this Saturday is the same weekend  thirty years ago when you were bitten by the tick that gave you Lyme disease. Ekka weekend. That anniversary!”

Simone remembered because I glued the tick into her school diary, which, weirdly, she kept for all those years! Thanks, Sissy :)

tickindiary5 (1)

Wow. Thirty years. That’s such a long time.

It made me sad at first, to think of how much of my life has been claimed by this disease, and then I decided that enough of my life has been given over to sadness. I thought long and hard about how Lyme has changed me.

This is what I came up with.

If I hadn’t been bitten by the tick I would have gone on to become a lawyer, and my ambitions would have taken me far, far from here. I would have never married my first husband. I would not have gone to the Kimberley for my life changing connection with the Aboriginal Aunties. I would have continued to ignore or hide my psychic gift. I would have shunned this thing that I am, in favour of something more conventional.

Lyme has stripped almost everything away from me. My ability to have kids, to study, to live a normal life, to work in a normal job.

But it left me two things. My ability to love, and my ability to live and work within the metaphysical planes of existence. I had always seen that as a diminishment, and now I see that Lyme distilled me down to my essence, and forced me to live as a psychic. It was the only thing left that I could do.

That’s actually a beautiful thing, hard a journey as it’s been.

Now, as my health slowly returns, as I walk this hard journey of healing, things are being added back in to my life. My ability to think, to write – these two things have become such precious, precious gifts. When I was young I took it all for granted.

No more.

Tomorrow I shall celebrate my essence. The gifts of love, compassion, psychic connection, perseverance, moral courage, gratitude and hope, and the return of words, imagination and the ability to write again.

That’s worth a good cake, don’t you think?

The owl in the tree outside my window agrees!

barn_owl

Are You Giving Yourself Space To Heal?

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.” ~John Lubbock, The Use Of Life

I’m on a fairly savage regime of drugs and herbs for my Lyme disease just now. Both the treatment and the illness place a burden upon my body, and so doing what I can to support healing and detoxification is paramount.

To cope, I’d developed quite a routine, actively including everything I could to detox myself. The routine itself was exhausting, and I was earnestly looking for whatever else I might add to make the process even better. Did I mention I’m in a hurry to heal?

As I was lying on a treatment bed with needles protruding from me, and a smoking box burning on my belly, I asked my acupuncturist for his advice. What was I already doing, he asked me. Dutifully I rattled off my long list, feeling rather proud of myself.

He paused for a few minutes, feeling my pulses, tweaking a needle or two. He was quiet. Thoughtful.

Do less, he said.

Image from Full Her Life

Image from Full Her Life

Less? That threw me. Shouldn’t I be doing EVERYTHING I can to get better?

No, he said. Being so busy, so consumed with wellness, puts a stress upon the body too. I had made healing a job. Withdraw a little, he said. Read a book. Have a nap. Sit quietly in the sun. Make things easier for yourself.

He’s right, of course. Sometimes we think that doing all we can is better, when really, less is more. Healing happens in the quiet spaces, the down time, the growing sense of ease.

How about you? Are you giving yourself space to heal? Maybe you’d be better off having an early night, a slow weekend, a simple diet, more rest.

Here’s to wellness and balance in our lives. Be kind to yourself this week. Bless xoxo

Image from My Peaceful Soul

Image from My Peaceful Soul