Two Steps Back

Image from tumblr

Image from tumblr

Don’t ever give up.
Don’t ever give in.
Don’t ever stop trying.
Don’t ever sell out.
And if you find yourself succumbing to one of the above for a brief moment,
pick yourself up, brush yourself off, whisper a prayer, and start where you left off.
But never, ever, ever give up.
~ Richelle E. Goodrich


It had to happen.

I’m on new treatment. We’re working on my detox pathways, and some brain rewiring and rehab before I hit the lyme drugs again for another round. Both my doc and I are new at some of this – both the treatment modes, and the regimes. They’ve been tried and tested by other doctors, with other patients, and their positive results have spurred us to try the same. (In my 30 plus years as a Lymie I’ve been a guinea pig for lots of stuff – desperation and a sense of the curious will do that to you.)

On the plus side for this new regime? We know it works. I’m getting noticeable results.

On the not-so-plus side?

Too strong. Too fast. Because of that I’ve gone backwards a little. A temporary thing. My poor old brain has been overstimulated, and my detox pathways are not coping with the load. So there have been some unpleasant side effects.  Headaches. Ramped up pain. Small seizures. Temporary loss of vision in my troublesome left eye (neurological rather than an actual eye issue). Disrupted sleep patterns. Mega brain fog and exhaustion. Slurry speech.

Thinking is hard. Problem solving stresses me out. Or else I look inside my brain for an answer and there is nothing…

Image from

Image from

I got properly checked out, and I’m fine. I just need to rest. Rest some more. Cut back my program. Drink lots of water. Did I mention rest and avoiding stimulation?

Soon as I’m feeling better we’ll try again, more gently this time.

So I’m going to step away from blogging for a few days so I can have a proper no-pressure break.

At least I got to enjoy a semi-normal weekend just a few days ago. Moments like those are gold. They show me that everything I’m doing is worth it, even the less-than-fun spaces like the one I’m in right now. I’m miles ahead of where I was this time last year. It feels like a different life, that me of a few years ago where I was dying and every day was a miserable struggle.

A setback is just that. A setback. It’s only a failure if I stop trying. Anyway, if I’d quit when the going got tough I’d have died years ago. :)

This round of treatment has been a valuable learning experience about what not to do. Next round, I’ll do better!

The Joy Of Ordinary


“And while it takes courage to achieve greatness, it takes more courage to find fulfillment in being ordinary. For the joys that last have little relationship to achievement, to standing one step higher on the victory platform. What is the adventure in being ordinary? It is daring to love just for the pleasure of giving it away. It is venturing to give new life and to nurture it to maturity. It is working hard for the pure joy of being tired at the end of the day. It is caring and sharing and giving and loving…”
~ Marilyn Thomsen


As a long-time Lyme sufferer (all my adult life and then some), until recently even an ordinary life has frequently been too much effort for me. I’ve had no energy, or no balance, or no mental cognition. Or I’ve needed to hoard my energy for more important things.

When you’re unwell and exhausted all the time, it becomes hard to be anything but resentful of things like housework. So it has been a joyful experience for me this weekend to potter around the house.

To cook. To do laundry. To tidy my linen cupboard and my kitchen drawers when soft rain fell and being indoors by the fire was cosy and happy-making.

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I’ve hiked up into the orchard to pick fruit, and made myself freshly squeezed juice with my gains. I’ve wandered through the paddocks to check on the cows and calves. Two are almost ready to give birth – one of them her first. It’s good to be close to them, and to watch over them.

mooI’ve had an outing to a local cafe where I sat under a bright cold sky and ate delicious breakfast and then held Ben’s hand, Harry Dog at our feet, as we sipped our hot drinks and huddled together against the wind.

I’ve planted out some seedlings and checked the progress of my winter vegetables.


And I’ve spent time on my bed, cup of tea beside me and book in hand. Because I’m still tired. I still need easy days and early nights. My new treatment regime of detoxing and rehabilitation isn’t brutal like my drug regime was, but it is still taxing and taking me time to get used to.

It might not sound very exciting – this weekend of household chores and little outings. But it’s thrilling to me. After so many years of struggling, to have a weekend of ‘almost normal’ speaks more loudly than any blood test or brain scan.

I came across this poem recently, which seems to capture exactly that space I’m in. I hope you may find a little of that space for yourself and your loved ones too, this week.

Make the Ordinary Come Alive

Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is a way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples, and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.

~ William Martin



A Lovely Spagyric Tincture Offer For My Readers

Image from Mare Maia

Image from Mare Maia

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.”
~ John Muir, The Mountains of California


One of the tools that has been most effective in my healing journey as I overcome Lyme Disease has been spagyric tinctures. My friends Paul Hardacre and Marissa Newell create these tinctures for their business Mare Maia in Chiang Mai, Thailand, using organic ingredients and time-old methods. The efficacy and purity of these tinctures is exceptional, as is the care that goes into making them.

Paul explains what makes Spagyric tinctures different to ordinary homeopathic or plant-based remedies:

“Spagyric tinctures are alchemical plant medicines that offer a more energetically complete herb or plant extraction. These concentrated extractions contain the three essentials – that is, the body, soul and spirit – of the herb or plant, purified and recombined in an exalted medicinal form. The spagyric technique is part of the ancient initiatic tradition of alchemy – the Art that lies at the heart of the inner traditions of the West.

Ordinary herbal tinctures only partially utilise the curative powers of the plants from which they are prepared. Spagyric tinctures are made according to unique processes which ‘open’ the plant or herb and liberate stronger curative powers. The spagyric technique of confecting herbal remedies embodies another – more synergistic – way of considering Nature and its powers.”

Paul and Marissa became interested in spagyrics and the restorative properties of plants after too many of their loved ones suffered and died with little recourse or support from conventional medicine. Theirs is a small family business, and they are involved in every aspect of the creation of each batch of tincture. They’ve been dear friends of mine for over two decades, and when they found out how ill I was they dispatched the first of many of their tinctures to me.

I can vouch for their tinctures’ efficacy because I’ve been using them for a prolonged period with great results. The tinctures harness the best of a plant’s healing powers, and as an energetically sensitive person I can really feel the strength and clarity of each brew.


Here are a few of my favourites, and how I’ve used them.

Dosage: Dosage is 5-10 drops under the tongue, or in any suitable liquid, twice daily, although this may vary according to the individual and his / her condition. For relief of acute situations I have taken two to three drops under the tongue hourly and found that to be very effective.

My Lyme Disease Combo: (although of course these tinctures will be useful for many other issues)

  • Turmeric. A powerful anti-inflammatory, turmeric really eased the arthritic pain in my hands, feet, neck and spine. Also tamed my fibromyalgia. Another bonus was improved liver function and sorting out the jaundice caused by heavy antibiotic use. It was of massive assistance in minimising and managing herxes while on lyme meds too.
  • Garlic. Garlic has anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-biotic, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-septic properties. Garlic boosts the immune system, lowers cholesterol levels and blood pressure, and regulates the cardiovascular system and blood sugar. Garlic can reduce inflammation of the stomach and intestine, including candida yeast. During my heavy use of antibiotics and herbs for treating lyme and co-infections garlic has been invaluable. It sorted out any candida problems quickly and naturally without having to resort to heavy-duty prescription anti-fungals. Now I’m off drugs I still take it as a mop-up and preventative. At the first sign of a cold or flu I up my dose, and even in an immune-depleted state I didn’t succumb to any of those infections.
  • Coriander. Coriander-Cilantro has anti-allergy, anti-microbial, anti-fungal, anti-septic, anti-oxidant, and analgesic properties. It also mops up heavy metals and is a useful and gentle chelating agent. An important part of my detox regime. I use it during my dietary detox cycles, and whenever I use an infrared sauna.
  • Lion’s Mane Mushroom. If you have neurological lyme, or any kind of brain or memory issue this tincture is for you! This has been such an important treatment for restoring cognitive function and memory for me. Lion’s Mane mushroom is a nootropic (or ‘smart drug’) known for increasing nerve growth factor (NGF) levels in the human brain. This hormone has been linked to increased neuronal growth rates and may improve the synaptic plasticity of the brain. NGF is integral to the growth of neurons, the generation of synapses and even the development of new neurons. Most neurons in the brain are formed within the first two years of life, and until recently it was believed that no new neurons develop later in life. However, it is now known that NGF can actually restart this neuron development process. NGF also makes it easier for neurons to form new connections with other neurons, and may improve communication between different hemispheres of the brain.
  • Fennel. My go-to tincture for herxing. Fennel provides relief from indigestion, gas, bloating, flatulence, and cramps. It was super-useful for combatting nausea and gastro upsets, and supporting my digestive tract during heavy antibiotic use.
  • Goji Berry. For exhaustion and fatigue I love Goji Berry. It helped me to manage energy slumps and adrenal fatigue during my worst days, and sorted out my unstable blood sugar. This has also given me a substantial improvement in my vision, and decreased ‘floaters’ in my visual field.

Other Mare Maia tinctures I’ve enjoyed:

Lemon Balm. The best relief I have found for insomnia is Lemon Balm. Another use has been easing my anxiety, especially that awful nagging depression and worry caused by bartonella, one of the co-infections many lyme disease patients suffer. I’ve also used it to break fevers, especially those associated with babesia. A gentle and soothing remedy.


Roselle. Roselle clears mucous and nasal congestion fast, and reduces fever. I also found it helped with Lyme cystitis, bladder pain, bladder urgency and kidney issues.


If you visit the Mare Maia Store at Etsy or the Mare Maia Facebook page you can check out the many other tinctures they have available. There are all kinds of tinctures for supporting digestion, emotional health, hormones, detoxification, immune system, healing, muscular-skeletal system and general well-being.


The Lovely Offer for My Readers:

I was chatting with my friend Paul yesterday and he made a generous offer. Until July 24, 2015 if you buy two tinctures and mention Cauldrons and Cupcakes or Nicole Cody as the referrer he’ll give you any other tincture free. Naturally, if you were to buy 4 you’d get 2 free. Or buy 6 get 3 free, etc. They ship internationally within 24 hours, and the products are sent registered and trackable.

You can access all of the spagyric tincture products here: Mare Maia Etsy Shop

<3 Thanks Paul and Marissa for making such a kind and lovely offer. As ever, I really appreciate your thoughtfulness on behalf of my community!

The Slow Climb Back

“Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.”
~ Winston S. Churchill


In the end, it went well with my lyme doctors yesterday.

Thanks to everyone who sent me well wishes and support. It means so much to me. :)

Here’s the good news. I AM stronger. My organs are functioning better. My brain is working better. My heart health continues to improve. My immune system and hormonal systems are slowly coming back to life. Some are still not looking great, but overall my upward trend is clear.

I was close to dying when I finally began treatment, and there is much collateral damage done after thirty years of undiagnosed lyme disease. It’s still a long road, my doctors stressed. But they stressed this as they smiled and talked about how far I’ve come and what my next treatment steps will be.

We’re giving my body a rest from treating lyme and co-infections now. Instead we are rebuilding. Strengthening my body’s natural functions and defences. Rebalancing and creating a healing space. Improving all of my detox pathways.

There will be time in the future for more aggressive lyme treatment, but not now.

And when that time comes I will be stronger still. My body will cope better. It won’t need to be so brutal.

One way or another, I am winning this fight.

Slower than I would have liked (I’m in a hurry to get my health back. Wouldn’t you be?), but I’ll take slow progress over no progress any day.

I have my eyes firmly focused on the road ahead. No looking back for me.

Image by Semmick from

Image by Semmick from

Dancing Out Of the Lymelight

Green Dancer by Adriane Pirro

Green Dancer by Adriane Pirro

“Stubbornly persist, and you will find that the limits of your stubbornness go well beyond the stubbornness of your limits.” ~ Robert Brault


I’m off to see my Lyme Doctor today, and I’m hoping for a good report.

In the last few months I’ve noticed real and sustained change. I have more energy. People tell me I look better. My brain works and I can access words I’d thought long forgotten. I can read maps again. I can recognise and add numbers after more than twenty years of being terrified of anything to do with maths. Music on the page looks like notes and rests rather than spaghetti with splotches. My reflexes and balance have improved. I have less pain. More mobility. Fewer fevers and other symptoms. Finally I feel that my future is opening out in front of me, when for so long all I have known is the end of the rope and my fingers in a vice-like grip at that knotted end, stubbornly holding on.

I had a moment recently when I knew. Knew for sure that I had turned the corner.

I wa sitting on the edge of my bed, on the evening of the first day of my channelling retreat. It had been a big day, after many big days. It was late. The world was quiet. And I held my meditation mala in my hand, ready to pray and meditate for my students before I turned in for the night.

Suddenly my cheeks were wet with tears.

Here I was, sitting in this familiar room. I’ve held many retreats at this place now. It feels like home, in a way.

But something was changed.

I was changed.

Some years ago, when I ran my first retreat at this place, I had just been given a prognosis of perhaps six months to live. I was in congestive heart failure with dilated cardiomyopathy. My organs were failing. Every breath was a struggle. One side of my face was completely numb from Bells Palsy. Back then I didn’t know I had Lyme. I just knew that I was dying. Every footstep was a struggle. I fought so hard for every conscious moment. I was worried that I would never be able to do my work in the world. Never share my stories. Never reach out and help more than just this handful of people. Never have time to be well enough to enjoy life, or to make up to my husband the many years of our life we had lost already to this wretched illness.

I hummed with a brittle hope mixed with equal parts of despair.

Now, here I was, a few years post-diagnosis, with strength in my bones. No chest pain. No struggle for breath as I walked up an incline or a few steps. Inside me I could feel grace and power and energy. I could feel life force. I could feel possibility.

Somehow I’ve moved from dying back to living. It’s like someone flicked the headlights to high beam and instead of fumbling along the road in the dark I have a clear run, and a well illuminated path opening out in front of me.

All because some brave doctor was prepared to go out on a limb and diagnose me with Lyme. (But they wouldn’t treat me. It was too controversial, they said. A risk to their career.)

Another brave doctor treated me. When they got closed down there was another doctor there. And then another. So much secrecy. So much clandestine medicine. All to give me my life back without ruining theirs.

It saddens me that this disease is still so poorly recognised, that the effective treatment protocols for Lyme and co-infections are questioned, that people like me go undiagnosed for miserable decades, and even after diagnosis Lymies struggle to find anyone willing to actually treat them. It breaks my heart to know that Lyme doctors are persecuted for doing their best to help their patients find a path back to wellness.

The Lyme community is an awesome one. We share information with each other, and provide support when there is little to be had within our own networks or families.

Image from

Image from

I’m one of the lucky ones. I have been able to find a way forward. I could afford treatment. I had the ability to research and educate myself about health and healing. I’ve had a roof over my head, some income still, and a husband who has stood by me through the worst of times.

Finally, I’ve turned this corner.

I can’t quite find the words to tell you how that feels after more than thirty years of being prisoner to this thing.

My legs are shaking as I stand at the unlocked door of the cage that has held me trapped for so long. My hands are trembling as I push against those bars so that I might step towards freedom. I need this to be true for me. If it’s a dirty trick I don’t know how I’ll cope.

I’ll confess too, that there is a part of me holding back, waiting. Just in case… I need for this to be a lasting change, rather than the calm eye at the centre of a storm.

I’m still so full of dreams and plans. I’m humbled and hopeful that this might truly be my second chance.

I pray it goes well for me today. Here’s hoping.

Much love, Nicole <3 xoxo

The Gift Of Blood

“How far that little candle throws his beams!
So shines a good deed in a weary world.”
~ William Shakespeare


We have a loved one going through aggressive chemotherapy right now.

One day a fortnight powerful chemicals flow into her veins. Each following day her blood slowly loses life.

A week after the chemo she has a blood transfusion. Vitality is restored.

Blood gifted from strangers keeps her alive as her body and the drugs fight the cancer.

Such a kindness from people she will never meet. People who are going about their daily lives with little or no thought to the battle she is fighting, or how the short time it took for them to ease some of their own blood into a storage bag is now buying so much more precious time for her.

I’m humbled by the life-giving power that flows through our veins, and by the generosity of humans who simply want to be of service to others.

Thank you, on behalf of our family.

And please, if you’re able, donate blood. It truly is the gift of life.


Turmeric and Ginger Tea Recipe

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“In Ireland, you go to someone’s house, and she asks you if you want a cup of tea. You say no, thank you, you’re really just fine. She asks if you’re sure. You say of course you’re sure, really, you don’t need a thing. Except they pronounce it ting. You don’t need a ting. Well, she says then, I was going to get myself some anyway, so it would be no trouble. Ah, you say, well, if you were going to get yourself some, I wouldn’t mind a spot of tea, at that, so long as it’s no trouble and I can give you a hand in the kitchen. Then you go through the whole thing all over again until you both end up in the kitchen drinking tea and chatting.

In America, someone asks you if you want a cup of tea, you say no, and then you don’t get any damned tea.

I liked the Irish way better.”
~ C.E. Murphy, Urban Shaman


Turmeric and ginger tea is a zippy little brew.

I drink this tea daily, first thing in the morning after my meditation, and have found it to be a very useful addition to my healing regime for Lyme disease. It might help you too.

Thanks to the turmeric and ginger, this tea has anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. It supports your immune system, and liver function. It is soothing to the digestive tract, improves digestion, and boosts metabolism. The lemon ensures that this beverage is alkalinising for your body, and rich with vitamin c and antioxidants..

Maple syrup helps break down biofilm, which is an important benefit for those suffering from borreliosis (lyme disease) and associated bacterial co-infections.

Turmeric and ginger tea is a delightful brew to start your day, and can be enjoyed hot or cold, depending on the weather and your mood. Your liver will love you for it.

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Ingredients for two cups – basic recipe:

A one inch piece of fresh ginger, washed and sliced finely.

A one inch piece of fresh turmeric root, washed and sliced finely.

Juice of one lemon (no need to strain, and lemon seeds are fine, giving their own unique health benefits in your brew)

Two cups of boiling water

One tablespoon of maple syrup – or more, to taste

*Fresh ginger and turmeric are best, but if you can’t source these use the dried powder. 1/2 a teaspoon of each will work, or adjust to your own taste.


Place all ingredients in a pot and let steep for four to five minutes before consuming.

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Optional extras:

If you have adrenal fatigue or chronic fatigue, and aren’t troubled by high blood pressure you can also add in  two to three slices of dried licorice root (found in many health food stores or Chinese herbalists or Asian grocery stores). Licorice root also protects and supports the liver, and can aid in treating depression. *Do not use licorice root if you have high blood pressure.

A pinch of cayenne pepper improves circulation and breaks down mucous in the body. It also helps regulate blood sugar. Be careful though, it’s very strong so start with a tiny little pinch.

If you are on a sugar-free diet it is fine to omit the maple syrup. You may also swap it out for honey or stevia.


Add more water to the pot and steep again. You’ll get a tasty second brew to sip during the day.

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