Science-ing Our Way Back to Health!

Image from www.hdwlp.com

“Molecular biology has shown that even the simplest of all living systems on the earth today, bacterial cells, are exceedingly complex objects. Although the tiniest bacterial cells are incredibly small, weighing less than 10-12 gms, each is in effect a veritable micro-miniaturized factory containing thousands of exquisitely designed pieces of intricate molecular machinery, made up altogether of one hundred thousand million atoms, far more complicated than any machine built by man and absolutely without parallel in the nonliving world.”
~ Michael Denton, Evolution: A Theory In Crisis

 

If you’ve been following my blog you’ll know that Ben and I came home from our overseas holiday and then promptly went down with the worst gastro bug ever.

This wretched bug has defied all normal treatment. And all of the treatments thus far have involved herbs and drugs which have also been causing major lyme die-off for me, which is awesome, but also awful. I’m exhausted from disturbed nights and no food staying in me long enough to be absorbed and do some good. I still have fevers, stomach and bowel pain, cramping and bloody stools. 😦  And now itchy skin, arthritis, stinging wee and itchy sore eyes. It hasn’t been much fun around here.

Thankfully late yesterday our pathology tests finally gave us a definitive diagnosis of an exotic form of shigella, a treatable bacterial infection, which attacks the colon and if it becomes embedded like ours has, cause all kinds of complications – and now needs to be bombed with antibiotics. Antibiotics which were my personal horror drugs during my extensive lyme treatment.

So we started our new drugs last night and have five days to go.

Yay for pathology and answers and treatment.

I have profound respect for the powerhouses that bacteria are, and just how much havoc these little critters can wreak. And I’m glad that Now I can finally evict this lot and get back to normal life again.

Hugs and love, Nicole ❤ xx

PS – on a very happy note it looks like we may have found a little brother for Harry – a young red cattle dog rescue pup. We’re just waiting for his final vet checks etc so we’ll keep you posted about that!

Listening To My Body

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“The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon,
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers,
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.–Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.”
~ William Wordsworth

 

Yesterday I stopped.

Although I am on holiday and had a million exciting events planned I decided to cancel all of them.

Instead I put myself to bed and slept. Rising in the late afternoon I took a short walk, ate a simple meal overlooking the world from the top floor open-air cafe of our hotel. I watched the river flowing. I watched the sun set. I watched the play of lights in the night sky, and then put myself back to bed again.

So much sleep, and I feel as if I could still sleep some more. So it’s likely I will.

 

Once I would have pushed through this exhaustion. I would have allowed stubbornness to keep me upright and engaged, no matter how fatigued I might be.

No more.

Part of my holiday plan is to listen to my body and give it what it needs. It needs sleep. So I will happily comply.

How about you? If you take a moment, close your eyes and tune in, how do you feel? How much charge is in your physical battery? Your emotional battery?

What do you most need right now?

Try to give yourself some of that today.

Thinking of you, and sending so much love,

Nicole ❤ xoxo

Choosing Your Perspective

flowers from my garden

“If we are always arriving and departing, it is also
true that we are eternally anchored. One’s destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things.”
~ Henry Miller

 

I have never been much good at arranging flowers. I’ve never had the eye for it.

That is, until I found myself suddenly vision-impaired as a side-effect of some medication.

Usually my friend Christine arranges flowers from my garden for me when she comes to clean my house. It’s such a simple thing, but her arrangements always give me so much pleasure. Whenever I tried to create an arrangement of my own they never looked as pleasing as Chrissie’s.

While I have been in the city, recovering from surgery, there have been no flowers in our little farmhouse. So now I am home I decided to have another go and do it myself.

It was easier this time. Everything is blurry, so all I had to do was cut some blooms from the garden, choose a vase (an old teapot!) and then begin. I found myself arranging them by placing a few taller flowers and then filling in the holes with colour. It became all about the colour rather than the individual flowers or their shapes. It became about emotion and flow rather than about getting it right, and suddenly I had a vase full of flowers that spoke to my heart.

All I’d needed was to change how I saw things.

It’s amazing what a simple change of perspective can do for you.

roses and gardenias

These flowers on my kitchen windowsill are in honour of my friend, Kate, who passed away 6 years ago. Every year on October 26 I pick the first gardenias for her. This year for the first time there was a red rose too. I felt that shift from grief to acceptance. I still miss her madly but I walk this world with the ghosts of so many departed loved ones at my side now that it has become oddly comforting.

 

I still can’t see very well (I have about 20% vision in one eye and 50% vision in the other) but I am back doing most of the things I always do – with some necessary modifications. I’ve also had some bonuses. As I watched a wedgetail eagle soar above our farm yesterday I realised that the giant bird left a momentary energy trail in the sky, which I could see as a river of colour behind it, mapping its flight path through the sky. It was breathtakingly beautiful.

This doesn’t mean that suddenly I am okay with vision loss. It’s been incredibly hard. At least once a day I teeter at the edge of a dark deep hole. It’s only recently I haven’t fallen in several times a day. Still not a day goes by that I don’t shed a quiet tear or become momentarily swamped by misery. Truth is, I would much rather have my sight.

But crying and feeling bad doesn’t help. It doesn’t solve anything. And after a while it just gets boring. It is what it is, and adapting works better for me than stubbornly resisting what is and being only okay if it all changes back to how it was before.

I do my best to focus on what I can do. I look at how I can adapt and keep moving forward. I search out alternatives and new solutions. I change my paradigm. Looking from a different perspective always helps. It’s one of my best coping skills.

How about you?

Where in your life right now would you benefit from a perspective shift?

Lots of people have been telling me how panicked they are, or how regretful, that this year is almost over and they never got done what they’d hoped to. You can keep looking at life from that perspective, but it essentially means that you give up on your cherished dreams and outcomes. It’s almost over – I’ll stop trying. It’s almost over – there’s no point in even starting.

What if you change that perspective? There are two months left until year’s end. That is time enough to create change and to forge a different result for yourself.

If you’d like to join us for a month of dedicated perspective-shifting and outcome creation, sign up for #GeShiDoMo – our November-long program for creating and completing goals – and finish 2016 strong. I’ve designed this program so that if you are really stuck you can ease back into momentum again. There are choices that allow for all kinds of goal-setting and achievement, and a special category for those of you who actually need to have less DOING and more BEING in order to find a path back to self-care and life balance.

There is always time to change our perspective and try life from a new angle. I know you’ll be glad that you did!

Sending much love to you, Nicole ❤ xx

flowers from my garden

It’s here! Presenting #GeShiDoMo

#GeSHiDoMo“A clear vision, backed by definite plans, gives you a tremendous feeling of confidence and personal power.”
~ Brian Tracy, The Gift of Self-Confidence

 

November is nearly here! It’s going to be one of the best months I have seen in years for getting things done, for major breakthroughs, for going after what you want, for creating momentum and for anchoring the foundation energies of health and in your life.

How can you make the best use of these energies?

Join us for #GeShiDoMo.

#GeShiDoMo stands for ‘Get Shit Done Month’. I have turned November into 30 days of focused and fun effort, all following a structure that helps you to truly get things done.

You might have One Big Thing, or a mass of smaller and unrelated things. You may actually need to stop DOING and take time for yourself and your wellbeing instead. #GeShiDoMo caters to several models of action – and one of them will suit your situation. It doesn’t matter what you want to get done – what matters is that you do it!

The #GeShiDoMo program is now live, and you can access it via my Shop. To join #GeshiDoMo costs just $20 Australian (That’s about $15USD). No matter where you are, you can join us, because the program is all run online via our own private Facebook Group.

Join Me Up to #GeShiDoMo!

#GeSHiDoMo Goals

What will you get when you join #GeShiDoMo?

  • A #GeShiDoMo Planner workbook to download. This Planner will help you to create your goals and tasks to complete in November. You get a proper system for organising and completing these tasks, so you can finally Get Shit Done.
  • #GeShiDoMo Bingo Sheets – sounds crazy, I know, but wait til you see them. Suddenly getting organised has become fun!
  • Access to our exclusive Facebook Page and Community, where this month of madness will unfold. It will be a place where you can share your progress and support each other.
  • Weekly videos to help you start strong and keep going.
  • Daily motivational tips.
  • Heaps of very cool competitions.
  • Super-Ninja fabulous prizes!!!
  • An Awesome Certificate of Completion if you get Get Your Shit Done by November 30.

You can use the next few days to work through the #GeShiDoMo Planner, ready for your own personal launch on November 1.

Want to join us?

It’s going to be so much fun!

And please – don’t worry if you are not raring to go. Throughout my life I have managed to Get Shit Done from bed or in my pyjamas, suffering major illness, and with almost no energy. I have designed #GeShiDoMo so that you can still kick goals even if you are not at match fitness. In fact, #GeShiDoMo is perfectly suited to people who are already too busy, too tired, too overwhelmed, and too unwell.

Let’s make November a month of accomplishment and a time for putting your own needs first. Imagine how you’ll feel on December 1 if you actually got some of your major To-Do list done!!! Click on the link below to go to my shop. Then follow the instructions on the #GeShiDoMo image.

Sign me up! Let’s #GeShiDoMo

See you in the Facebook Group. Lots of Love, Nicole ❤ xx

#GeShiDoMo

Grace In Plain Sight

“Un-winged and naked, sorrow surrenders its crown to a throne called grace.”
~ Aberjhani

 

You may have noticed that I’ve been uncommonly quiet here on my blog this past few weeks.

Those of you who’ve known me for a while will also know that if I’m ever quiet it is always for good reason.

Today, I want to share some good and some not so good news with you, in an effort to explain this current spate of absence.

My surgery back in early September went well, despite unforeseen complications. Hooray! Good news. But then I developed a urinary tract infection which turned out to be a superbug. Bad news. I was given an avalanche of drugs, and finally, finally, we were able to eradicate the infection. Good news. But in the process of eradicating the bug my vision was affected. Bad news.

I am currently suffering from a condition known as ocular toxicity. Small crystals have formed in my right eye, causing vision loss and double vision. It’s a rare side effect of the drug I was taking that was necessary to beat the superbug. The effects are usually permanent.

My left eye has already been hammered by Lyme disease, so my vision from that eye is not great. With all of the drugs I’ve been taking recently my optic nerve has become inflamed again so until two days ago I couldn’t see out of that eye at all either – a situation that began before I contracted the superbug. It may also have been damaged by the drug. I won’t know for a few more days.

Scary stuff.

When you suddenly can’t see properly, everything changes.

blind faith

Blind Faith by AronBack at www.deviantart.com

I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that I have sobbed myself to sleep each night and been in the darkest of spaces this last little while. It seemed so cruel to have this to deal with, after everything else that has been my latest round of health battles. As a writer, to be unable to read or put words on the page has been an agony.

Each day I wake up hoping for improvement, only to find my world a blur. I can see shapes and colour but nothing has definition. My world is two-dimensional and rather terrifying. Overnight I have become clumsy and tentative. Dependent. Smaller, somehow.

But my left eye has cleared a little in the past forty-eight hours.

From experience I know that there is room for further improvement, and already I am coping a bit better with my new situation. I now have limited vision from my left eye, and using corrective glasses and vision impairment settings on my phone and computer I have managed to gain a little more independence. I can read large font for brief periods before I get a headache and end up exhausted from the effort. I’m cheered enormously by this latest development though. I expect to be able to read and write for short periods each day and with some creative thinking I should be able to get around most of these current hurdles and adapt to the vision loss.

My ability to see energy and auras hasn’t changed at all, thank goodness. If anything, my senses have become more acute.

I also have my fingers crossed that both eyes will improve over time, and I have a great team looking into all of this with me.

So, this is a turn of events I didn’t anticipate.

It’s one that has caused me many tears, and a great deal of distress.

But ultimately, no matter what happens to us, we find a way to cope and move on. I’ll be okay. Things will improve or I will learn to cope better with what is, and meanwhile I will keep asking for help and counting my many blessings. I’ll innovate in order to create. I’ll overcome, and where I can’t I’ll do my best to sit in a state of grace with it all.

My husband put it all into perspective for me. Would I rather have dodgy eyes and be alive, or be dead with perfect eyesight?

I’m doing my best to get up and running again. Sorry that all I’ve spoken about here on my blog lately has been health updates. I hope to bring you something far more interesting very soon. Thanks for your patience, and for your support. It means the world to me.

All my love, Nicole xx

PS: How cool is this Unicorn Eye Patch! It’s on my latest wish list 🙂

eye patch

Awesome Unicorn Eye Patch from www.youtube.com

Nic’s Latest Update: Life as a #Lymewarrior

brave

‘Brave’ by WillowWaves at www.deviantart.com

“O snail
Climb Mount Fuji
But slowly, slowly!”
~ Kobayashi Issa

“Bran thought about it. ‘Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?’
‘That is the only time a man can be brave,’ his father told him.”
~ George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones

 

Ah, Lovelies,

I’d hoped to be bringing you a good news post, a happy ‘post-surgery things are looking up’ story. And it is true, some things have improved. I am out of hospital. I am home in Brisbane, although not yet home to my precious farm. After an entire month of having my hair in a bun on the top of my head I have finally gotten all the knots from my hair and washed it (a three day effort that only others with chronic fatigue or pain will understand!). I have moved from a shuffling gait to a slow walk.

But I’m not as far along my healing journey as I had expected. Because, you see, having Lyme Disease complicates everything.

Having Chronic Late Stage Lyme Disease means that I’m immuno-compromised. Which is why I picked up two infections pre-surgery, which were treated with a metric tonne of antibiotics to get me infection-free before my operation. Treatment worked, but I was a ball of misery as the antibiotics killed not only my infections but lyme bacteria as well.

Surgery went well. Longer than expected and more complicated. I needed unplanned bowel and bladder surgery and repair. But I came out of it strongly and was making a good recovery, even on the new metric tonne of iv antibiotics and antibacterials I was given.

Unfortunately I then I caught a new infection (via my catheter we think) just as I was getting ready to leave hospital the first time. Tests showed it to be an antibiotic-resistant urinary tract infection superbug. It still responds to some old-school antibiotics, but not regular ones, so I was placed onto those.

One tablet, three times a day.

Which should have cleared it. But it didn’t, so now I am on massively increased doses. This old-school antibiotic is also used to clear late-stage lyme (but my urologist and gynecologist know nothing about that – Lyme is well outside their fields). It targets and kills the cyst form of the bacteria by damaging its DNA. Awesome news. So now I am on a drug that kills my superbug AND lyme. (The typical Lyme dose of this drug is just one tablet three times a week.)

Lots of lyme bacteria dying means lots of herxing. So now I am in agony. It hurts to pee. It hurts to poo. I can’t see out of my left eye, and vision is distorted from my right. I am sensitive to light and to sound. My skin hurts. My teeth hurt. My bones hurt. Old injuries are aching and paining. My muscles spasm and cramp. I have a killer headache. I am hot and cold in turns. I can’t sleep. It feels as if someone at odd times is tasering me, or pouring acid on my skin. And then there is my belly wound which goes from hip to hip, and the fact that my insides feel like someone has stitched them into a too tight sausage casing and then punched me in the gut a few times for good measure. And the pinched nerve in my back which has rendered one arm numb and painful and much less mobile than usual. Which instigated a case of shingles. My balance and strength is shot and I need a cane to walk. Let’s just say, it is not one of my better adventures.

I spent most of last night cry-laughing on the toilet. Because of my recent bladder repair it only holds about 200ml of fluid before I need to go, and I need to be drinking LOTS of water right now to flush both the drugs and infection from my system. Peeing hurts. A lot. Before, during and after. Although at least the feeling of pissing razorblades has resolved as the antibiotics kicked in and began working on this little superbug of mine. Now it only burns. So I sat on the toilet more than I was off it. Crying and laughing at the same time, because it was funny but pathetic, and scary but also ridiculous, and as I cried and laughed I panted power phrases like ‘This is just f*cked’ or ‘You can do this, Nic!’ depending on what frame of mind I was in for any given minute.

My friend Jennifer visited me while I was in the hospital and gave me a little bracelet. Inscribed on it is the phrase ‘Be Brave’. Those two words have been a constant reminder to me in the past few weeks. Be uncomplaining. Cry if I need to. Pull myself together. Chin up.

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I am mostly coping okay with the pain and lack of decent sleep. I am being well cared for by Ben, Nurse Bert, Cafe Dog and my dear friend Carly. I have everything I need. The hard thing is my vision loss (which is a temporary situation, we hope, and one I have faced several times while undergoing Lyme treatment in the past). This last fortnight I have had limited vision. My left eye is a complete blur, and my right eye has a restricted field of blurry vision – if I wear glasses, cover my left eye and increase my screen magnification by 300% I can read for short periods, but it is exhausting and gives me a headache. I can’t write. The television is a blur. Do you know how much stuff you suddenly can’t do when you can’t see?

I can’t check my messages on my phone or my emails. I can’t see my phone well enough to call a number – but Siri is getting good use as I task her to read my texts or call my mum. I can’t blog or update you. (I needed help to get this post written and published.) I can’t read any messages you may have written to me, so forgive me if I have not responded. Thank goodness for audio books and imagination land, and for good conversation in small doses.

I’m also exhausted, and after ten minutes of anything I am ready for a nap.

It isn’t where I expected to be, four weeks after surgery, but this is where I find myself. Nothing to do but wait for improvement.

I am good at sucking it up. Truth be told though, I am more than a bit over it. Still, it is what it is and it will get better – just maybe not in the timeframe I’d hoped for (and I am ALWAYS impatient!)

I’m missing my Year of ME Planner and choosing oracle cards to guide my week. I’m sad to be unable to tick things off my to-do list. From experience though, I know that it will all be waiting to help me get back on track again with all my dreams and projects just as soon as I am able. Meanwhile my wonderful team are working on all kinds of lovely things for next year’s Planner, our upcoming courses and retreats, and my new website. (Thank you Dana, Bek, Kerry, Chelsi and my PI transcription crew!)

I’m still sending you so much love in my daily meditations and healings, and I’m grateful for all the good energy you’ve sent my way too.

Hopefully things will sort out sooner rather than later and normal programming will resume. I’m looking forward to that. I AM getting better, it’s just a slow and bumpy road. Fingers crossed that my healing gets fast-tracked very soon. I am choosing to see all of this as a fabullous opportunity to kick Lyme’s butt in a bigger way than I had ever dreamed!

Hugs and love, Nicole xx

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A Little Nicole Update

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“People who want a cure, provided they can have it without pain, are like those who favour progress, provided they can have it without change.”
~ Anthony de Mello

 

So, here I am, still in hospital.

There have been a few little bumps in the road, including a massive resurgence of lyme symptoms and herxing, post-operation, as I was filled with what seemed like enough antibiotics and other drugs to treat an entire small pox-ridden and hurting country. My poor body has endured a bit of a rough ride. I’m bruised and bloated and scarred and bandaged. Wings of my hair have literally gone white overnight. It’s oddly fascinating.

As well as my four-hour surgery, I have needed to deal with unexpected bladder problems and surgery, lyme-induced loss of vision in my left eye, loss of balance, light sensitivity, bone and nerve pain, raging insomnia and terrible constipation and nausea from my pain meds.

And still, my doctors are pleased with my progress and I am healing well.

Between the pain, the constant intrusion of nurses doing observations, and the insomnia, that’s a lot of time awake. That’s a lot of time unable to be filled with television or books or iPad games or writing thanks to my dodgy eye. (I am writing this with a 200% screen magnification and one eye resolutely screwed closed. It’s taken me about fifteen spurts of energy and then rests to get all of this written; not my usual efficiency – but these are unusual circumstances.)

What can you do when you are in pain and unable to use external distractions? When you want to be able to work on your book but you can’t see to read the words?

I can happily report that I have spent most of the past eight days back in the Kimberley, with my Aboriginal Aunties. Using my imagination and memories as a portal I have returned again and again to the places and people so dear to me, and that form the backbone of my memoir.

I have sat with the late night silence and the loneliness, and spun them into a ladder to elevate me beyond my pain.

I have practiced deep listening.

I have meditated, and I have prayed.

I’ve also time-travelled back into myself. The hours between eleven pm and four am seem well-suited to reflection and analysis of my life. I’ve dug deep into places I had long covered over. What did I really feel? Why did I really make one choice over another? What emotions were in my body? Where was my head? I’ve strung the answers like beads on a mala, knowing that as I hold each one when I am able to come back to my writing I will remember, and that this new understanding will better inform my work. I’ve come to a more honest place. A kinder place. There has been much forgiveness this past week, of myself and others. My stay in hospital has gifted me clarity, and a way forward, finally, to be able to finish this book of mine, and get it ready to send out into the world.

The other thing I have done is gather life stories and vignettes; stories about the nurses and their lives, stories from cleaners and room service tray attendants, from the other patients who are limping slow laps of the ward as they push their drip stands or lug their wound drainage bags and catheter bags, tales from ward orderlies and the lady who brings the morning newspapers. People are endlessly fascinating to me, and their shared stories remind me that we are so alike in our differing journeys and struggles.

For we all face struggles. That is the nature of life. If it’s not one thing, it’s something else.

Even so, it’s a beautiful journey, life. I’m very grateful for mine.

Things will be back to normal, little by little, here on the blog and in my everyday world. I’m okay with things needing to be slow. Slow is all I can do for now.

I’ll swing by here again just as soon as I’m able.

Hugs and love, Nicole ❤ xx