Three In a Row!

“The best cure for insomnia is to get a lot of sleep.” 
W.C. Fields

This morning I’m celebrating a minor miracle at my house.

For the past three nights I have gone to bed, fallen asleep and then woken in the morning.

It’s been years (at least fifteen!) since I’ve had an uninterrupted night’s sleep, and I can’t think of the last time I had three in a row.

Usually I’ve found it hard to fall asleep because of pain. Or pain has woken me up. Or a bladder infection. Or both.

At my worst I was waking up hourly because of my bladder. And a good night meant that I’d get up maybe three times to pee.

The longest time I’d go between waking for any reason was maybe three hours.

And then this miracle happened.

Three nights where I have gone to bed, fallen asleep, slept all night, woke up in the morning.

I am finding it hard to explain how incredible this feels. How marvellous. How miraculous.

I went to bed and slept. Then I woke up and it was morning.

Actually, I’m crying now, writing this.

It’s amazing. Wow.

Dear Lymies and friends with seemingly intractable health problems, don’t ever give up. If it changes for me it can change for you too.

Biggest hugs, Nicole  xx

Maybe It’s Time To Be More Fully You…

“Don’t compromise yourself – you’re all you have.” 
~  John Grisham

 

Be yourself. Be authentic.

It’s what everyone tells you.

In fact it’s totally hip to be authentic.

But how far should you go?

I’m creating a new website right now. My old one is awful – a static site I can’t change after my previous developers decided it wasn’t cool to have my ‘weird psychic self’ site come up first in searches for their company name at a time when they were heavily investing in representing large government departments and corporations. They gave me 24 hours to find a new host and booted me off so that they’d no longer be associated with me, because how embarrassing for them!

And this blog was never meant to be my main gig.

I’ve put off this whole new website thing anyway. It seemed a bit pointless to spend the money if I was going to croak it, which is a place I’ve danced around for years. My business is successful despite my awful website and total lack of branding.

But as my business is growing I need a website with functionality. Regardless of my varying health status, I’d rather have a new website. So last year I began this journey of ‘rebranding’. It’s a funny thing, building a website around yourself. You need to be able to say who you are, and to put that clearly out into the world.

I spoke to some trusted business colleagues and mentors first. People who are experts in the whole personal branding thing. People I know and care about.

Well, they all asked me, what is it that you do? You’ve got to be authentic and put that out there so others can find you.

Great, I said. I’m a psychic who…

No! You can’t say that, they all interrupted me.

Every single one of them advised me not to call myself a psychic. Psychics are strange and fluffy and lack credibility and are often just bogus. Also, I’ll alienate the whole Christian market, which is big, apparently. Especially in America. In fact some of my marketing friends told me that being a psychic is maybe not Christian and might also be that other thing. The Satan thing. Being a psychic is not cool. If anything it’s an affliction. Maybe I could call myself something else instead? Intuitive’s cool. Why not be intuitive?

Also, they advised me, just pick one thing. Don’t water down your message.

Okay. Great. Which one thing should I pick? I’ve got a rich and complex life happening here.

I’ve never been one of the ‘hip’ crowd. All the stuff I love is either so old or so out there that I am invisible, way at the front end of trends or following far behind. I trusted these people. So I spent all of last year trying to simplify myself and find less offensive words to describe myself.

Image from Australian Museum

Meanwhile I was also working on my memoir, which is now in its final draft stages. And of course my memoir is all about a period in my life where I am going through this profound psychic awakening and needing to come to terms with that. You know some of that story already – from the time where I lived in the Kimberley and was helped by my Aboriginal Aunties.

I recently gave my draft to a few people to read. My well-meaning writing friends and business colleagues told me to tone it down. But all my tribe, the ones who get me, told me to ramp it up. To include more of me and my weirdness, not less.

The more I work on polishing up my memoir the more I see that my tribe are right. Thanks to all of you I’ve decided that I just can’t do it. I can’t pretend to be a watered-down version of myself just to make other people feel more comfortable. If I can’t be myself, how can I ever ask that of you?

I guess it’s because we all worry about being judged, rejected or ridiculed if we show our true selves – warts and all.

Here on my blog I am always myself. I don’t hide anything. I have shared it all – the psychic stuff, the health stuff, the ins and outs of my life. And you guys have come and stayed. Thank you.

I promise you I’ll keep being myself. I’ll just do it bigger, and with a website that can support me to support you better in your own journeys.

I’m not just intuitive. I’m psychic. And I won’t be ashamed of that or hide that anymore. It’s my truth.

What’s your truth? What are you hiding or diminishing within you for fear of being judged?

I promise you that the people who will ‘get’ you, and who are the ones worth hanging out with, will be eager for you to just be yourself. If you have to change yourself or hide yourself you’re running with the wrong crowd.

The world desperately needs more authenticity. Not the hip kind. The unhip kind. The kind that allows us to be ourselves despite that self not looking like what marketers, magazines or social media tells us we need to be.

Will you join me in just being yourself?

Hi, I’m Nicole. I’m a psychic, channel, metaphysical teacher and mentor, a business coach, a blogger who loves to cook, a late-stage Lyme warrior who often lives in pyjamas and who favours gumboots and slippers for footwear ( although gumboots are better for dancing on the farm), and a writer who can’t stop writing, reading and acquiring more books.

How about you? I’d love to get to know you more. Feel free to drop me a comment below, or come visit me on facebook. Be yourself, and know I’ll love you for it!

Biggest hugs, Nicole  xx

Sorry You Missed Me Yesterday…

 

“Persistence and resilience only come from having been given the chance to work through difficult problems.” ~ Gever Tulley

I was intending to blog yesterday, and then I couldn’t.

Early on Monday morning I was strapped into a heart monitor and holder for twenty-four hours, and while I was wired I had to stay away from my cell phone, computers and major electrical devices.

I’m okay. Please don’t worry. Over time lyme and other infections have damaged my heart, and after a recent episode of tachycardia and a few miss-beats one of my doctors thought it prudent to investigate a little further. For me that’s pretty much business as usual. There are always background things going on with my health, I just don’t focus on them or talk about them very much.

Two things I am grateful for in this ongoing saga that is my health:

  1. All of the hardship in my life has made me resilient. I know that whatever happens in life I can cope, adapt, manage, and in many cases thrive anyway.
  2. Meditation is my rock, and one of the major factors in me managing my day-to-day circumstances with grace and ease. (Mostly. Some days are still tears and bother!)

I had a lovely time offline. My Spiritual Awakening Retreat starts next Tuesday, so I put together the bags for the participants, undid my latest crystal grid in the back yard and washed the stones and allocated them for my students, assembled the materials for some of the spiritual tools we’ll make for our personal toolkits and baked up a storm in the kitchen – trialling recipes for Easter.

I’ve discovered that as long as you can manage pain (medications and meditation are great for this, or counselling and meditation if your pain is emotional) you can cope with and adapt to just about anything.

No matter what’s going on for you right now, know that you can do this. You can manage, you can cope, you can get through, you can find a way. I believe in you and in your own enduring resilience and spirit.

Sending you wind for your wings, and very big hugs, Nicole❤ xx

The restorative power of deep rest

A primitive type of jellyfish called Cassiopea, which goes to sleep nightly, is seen on the floor of their tank at Caltech in Pasadena, California, U.S. in this image released on September 20, 2017. Courtesy Caltech/Handout via REUTERS

“It’s in the morning, for most of us. It’s that time, those few seconds when we’re coming out of sleep but we’re not really awake yet. For those few seconds we’re something more primitive than what we are about to become. We have just slept the sleep of our most distant ancestors, and something of them and their world still clings to us. For those few moments we are unformed, uncivilized. We are not the people we know as ourselves, but creatures more in tune with a tree than a keyboard. We are untitled, unnamed, natural, suspended between was and will be, the tadpole before the frog, the worm before the butterfly. We are for a few brief moments, anything and everything we could be. And then…and then — ah — we open our eyes and the day is before us and … we become ourselves.” 
Jerry Spinelli

 

Don’t you just love the image of the sleeping jellyfish? It’s the sort of whimsical possibility my mind constantly entertained when I was a child, although I never imagined that they might sleep upside down!

I was lying on my acupuncturist’s treatment table yesterday as he felt my pulse and tut-tutted in his mad professor way at the energies within my body, the colour and texture of my tongue and his many other diagnostic tools. He knew it. I know it. The past couple of weeks of family illnesses and drama have exhausted me.

Hmmm, he said. Deep rest. That’s what you need. Deep rest, and rice and beans and sprouts. Warm foods. Warm liquids. No stimulants. No spices. Deep rest. Sleep.

I know he’s right. A good deep rest now and I’ll be back to normal. For me, deep rest is not just sleeping. It’s also quiet time. Time pulled back from the needs and demands of others. Time stepped back from work and busy-ness.

The alternative? I’ve been down that path, and I know you have too. In fact, I know some of you are walking it right now. That’s the path of pushing. We’re tired but we keep getting up. We’re exhausted but we fill ourselves with caffeine or sugar or both, and we force ourselves to keep on going. We bribe ourselves, pep-talk ourselves, bully ourselves and trash-talk ourselves to get our bodies upright and responsive. We push, push, push. And then we break.

All the while we think that we are okay to keep going. We’re not. We’re barely in our bodies. We’re drunk on lack of sleep. Our innovation and enthusiasm, our ability to bounce back, to laugh it off, to create with joy – all of that is missing.

It can be found again through deep rest.

That’s what I’m doing right now, and will be for the next few days. I’m doing a disservice to myself and to you if I don’t.

Today I’m asking you if you’re okay. Do you need to rest? Do you need to step back for a moment? We can’t help others sustainably nor keep on creating if we are not looking after ourselves first. The energies of 2018 do not support push in any form. If you’re pushing, it won’t be working. Look for another way. Your best solution is most likely to be taking a break, refreshing yourself, and then starting again.

Gentle hugs and much love, Nicole  xx

 

How to Check In with Yourself Each Morning

“Morning is wonderful. Its only drawback is that it comes at such an inconvenient time of day.” 
~  Glen Cook

After yesterday’s post where I talked about the importance of self-care and of knowing and honouring your priorities in life this year I had a flood of messages from people asking me how to actually do this. Fair call, so today’s post is designed to help you navigate a little closer to knowing yourself. Just follow the directions below:

  1. When you first wake up, lie quietly in bed with your eyes still closed. Feel into your body with your awareness. Are you ready to open your eyes and spring out of bed with a smile on your face and maximum energy levels? Are you wishing you could roll over and go back to sleep because your energy levels are so low?  Be aware of your energy, and of any aches or pains. Have you woken up with worries on your mind? Be honest with yourself. Score yourself on a level of 1 to 10 with 1 being completely wrecked and 10 being amazingly well and wonderful.
  2. Based on the score you just gave yourself spend a moment and think about the kind of physical and emotional support you’ll need today. Does your body need to eat better and have more hydration? Do you need an easier day? Or are you feeling ready to handle anything? On low-energy days don’t push yourself. On high-energy days look for areas where you can challenge yourself a little more or tackle a bigger project or task. (*Note: If you suffer from chronic illness, chronic fatigue, or other debilitating situations this is a super-critical step in self-awareness to make sure you don’t push yourself too hard – which always results in more setbacks, pain and distress!)
  3. Stretch, and count your blessings. Find at least three small things to be immediately grateful for in your life. Do your best to get yourself into a positive (or more positive than before) headspace.
  4. Think about what really matters to you – it might be your partner or family, your pets, your health, a project you are passionate about, something you want to experience or achieve in the world. These are the things that you’ll think about on your deathbed and wish you’d spent more time on. Muster some gratitude for these things in your life too.
  5. You can do this next bit while you’re still in bed, or over a cuppa at a place that’s  comfortable for you. What worries are in your head? What needs to get done today? Write it all down. Starting the day with a list instead of this all rattling round in your head helps you to stay clear and to better prioritize. 
  6. Take a deep breath and look back over your list. Are the people you love and the things that matter to you represented there? Tune in to your body again. On a scale of 1 to 10 how is your emotional battery? (At a 1 you are at your most fragile and are not coping – at 10 you could take on the world and you feel strong and unbreakable) Now tune in to your physical battery on a scale of 1 to 10 with a score of 1 being completely wrecked and 10 being amazingly well and wonderful. Has your score changed from when you first woke up, now that you’re upright and moving into the day ahead?
  7. Think about your true priorities first. How can you find time for them today, or schedule some in very soon? Include health and self-care in this.
  8. Now think about your worries and to-do list. Based on your assessment of yourself physically and emotionally, what can you really get done today? What are the tasks that will alleviate your stress if you get them done, what are your pressing priorities, what can be delegated and what can be left to roll into tomorrow if necessary? Where might you need help?
  9. Take a couple of calming breaths, and remind yourself that you’ve got this. All you need to do is honour your energy and your priorities. Self-awareness makes everything easier.
  10. Find a few quiet windows during the day, close your eyes and do a quick tune-in to your emotional and physical energy levels again. Use your breath to bring you back to a place of calm. Reconnect to or adjust your priorities and focus for the rest of the day. Practice kindness with yourself as you endeavour to live with more honesty and awareness of your own energy and needs.

Being able to check in with myself and then manage myself better has made a huge positive difference to how I cope in the world, and it has also helped me to put my focus on what really matters to me. I hope this simple technique helps you too.

Biggest love and hugs, Nicole  xx

Demon Banishing And Custard Buns In Hong Kong!

“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.” ~ Anonymous

I’m in Hong Kong right now, for the first part of the surprise holiday Ben bought me for my ‘Congratulations on turning fifty and thank you for not dying’ present.

We’re having a fantastic time. Every day is crammed with the wonderful, the unusual and a little of the outright bizarre. I’m in heaven!

Yesterday we met our lovely friend Amanda Cook, who is an expat currently living here in Hong Kong. Amanda is a herbalist, wellness coach and an excellent tour guide! (Find out more about Amanda here)

First we lunched at Dim Dim Sum, a brilliant little hole-in-the-wall dumpling cafe that is renowned for its delicious and innovative food. We drank tea and caught up on all the news in each other’s worlds over many many kinds of Dim Sum, and some of the cutest yummiest custard buns (shaped like little pigs) that I’ve ever eaten.

Then we went for a stroll through streets of fresh food markets. I loved the rich variety and freshness of the food and saw all kinds of things that were new to me.

Finally, under a gloomy overpass we came across some Villain Hitters. Villain Hitters are older women who practice an age-old Cantonese tradition of banishing demons and outcasting bad spirits and other energies that cause harm to you. It can also draw good and helpful energies and people to you as the bad ones are displaced.

Why not? I thought. So I paid my money and wrote the name of the demons I wanted banished on a paper package that the Villain Hitter handed me. She then had me sit opposite her beside her makeshift shrine. She said some prayers and I did too, and then she took small effigies (pieces of paper with human shapes on them)  to represent my demons and hit them vigorously with a shoe until they began to fall apart. The she screwed up the paper scraps and placed them in the mouth of a paper tiger, which was set alight and burned.

My Villain Hitter then cleaned my aura with a piece of paper on which were written prayers and invocations. It felt surprisingly good. The paper was then burned too.

Finally we made an offering, some more prayers and we were finished. Of course I then hugged my wonderful Villain Hitter for a job well done.

The Villains I wanted banished? Bad bacteria, ill health and lyme disease in my body.

Let’s hope they’ve all gone, banished by her shoe and her mighty intentions that I prosper and do well.

I’ve also been making a little gift for you for Christmas. Stay tuned. I’ll post it Christmas Day. Remember too that we are in a period known as The Lull right now, which will last until 16 January. It’s a time for resting, recharging, connecting with our friends and family, and having fun. Wherever you have the opportunity simplify, slow down, and take time for what matters most to you.

Sending heaps of love your way, Nicole ❤ xx

 

Why We Vaccinate

 “In 1736 I lost one of my sons, a fine boy of four years old, by the small-pox, taken in the common way. I long regretted bitterly, and still regret that I had not given it to him by inoculation. This I mention for the sake of parents who omit that operation, on the supposition that they should never forgive themselves if a child died under it; my example showing that the regret may be the same either way, and that, therefore, the safer should be chosen.” — Benjamin Franklin

 

We live on a beautiful rural property in Byron Bay, which we farm organically. We don’t use chemicals, artificial fertilisers or pesticides. To support the health of our herds and crops we use natural mineral fertilisers, biodynamics and good farm management. We also supplement our stock with minerals and molasses, and we vaccinate.

People are often surprised that we vaccinate, and that I am the chief officer of those vaccinations. But we live in the Northern Rivers – a lush country with high rainfall and summer temperatures, and every year when the season’s conditions are right ( dry winter followed by lashings of rain, summer storms, high heat and abundant new grass growth) we have an upsurge of a spore-forming bacteria in the soil called Clostridium chauvoei. It causes a condition called Black Leg, which kills healthy young cattle in a number of hours. By the time the condition is detected, if at all, there is little that can be done to save the animal. There are livestock deaths every year on farms around us. All of which can be prevented by vaccination.

Why do I know this?

Previously we farmed organically on a property in Queensland – a very different kind of holding with open forests and hard grasses. I hadn’t even heard of Blackleg, because our farm just didn’t have the conditions for it to be a problem. We vaccinated there too, but for different illnesses, including Tick Fever (Babesiosis – a co-infection that many human Lyme suffers have, including myself. Blood tests revealed this in me, along with a number of other bacterial infections that are also tick and biting insect borne and that are accepted to be present in many other mammals including cattle, although of course not humans! I’d love to show you the Fact Sheet on Borreliosis in cattle put out by the Department of Primary Industries in Australia. It was widely available for many years until the Lyme controversy started to heat up here, after which it was suddenly withdrawn. Sorry, I digress…)

When we trucked the best of our herd to our new farm we had a summer just like the one we are entering into now – lush, wet and hot. And within a month we lost six young animals over just a few days to this disease I’d never heard of. They were the healthiest and best animals we had, and that good health and good genetics did not protect them. We found them dead in the paddocks, after having seem them healthy and strong the day before. We called in the vet, and the vet introduced us to Blackleg and explained how and why it had occurred and what we could do to minimise the chance of it happening again. We’d vaccinated those cattle too, but not for this illness. I was beside myself that it could have been prevented and that I hadn’t researched this better.

So now as part of our herd health we vaccinate. Our dogs are vaccinated too, especially for the highly contagious Parvovirus which is rampant in the Northern Rivers and which kills too many puppies and dogs here in Byron Bay every year.

I thought about whether to post this, as vaccination has become such a polarising and controversial subject. Here in Byron Bay we have one of the lowest rates of human vaccination in Australia. I think the ongoing debate about the number, frequency and manufacture of vaccines for children is important. But I also know that vaccines save lives.

While we keep farming I’ll keep practicing land care, soil health, biodiversity, organic practices and I’ll vaccinate.

Take care of yourself, and each other,

Much love, Nicole  xx

Crying Over Sushi

Me, driving!

“There is freedom waiting for you,
On the breezes of the sky,
And you ask “What if I fall?”
Oh but my darling,
What if you fly?” 
~  Erin Hanson

 

Yesterday was quite a remarkable day for me. In the morning I drove to the other side of town for a meeting with an illustrator who’s joining my team. We’ll be working on a few projects together, including a tarot deck, oracle cards and a fairy book. Squeeeeeeee!!!

From there I drove to a supplier to pick up a few things. Then I was STARVING and also quite urgently needing to pee, so I drove a little further to a shopping mall at Carindale where I was able to use the rest rooms and then eat some lunch.

Lunch was slightly delayed though. As I wandered the huge mall, trying to orient myself and find a lunch spot I saw a woman coming towards me, crying and in obvious distress. She stopped me to ask me where the bathrooms were, and as I touched her arm to ask if she was okay information and images flooded through me. She had just been told that her Nana had died. A lady who had brought her up, and been a steadying influence for a dysfunctional family.

“I’m so sorry about your Nana,” I said to her without thinking. “She loved you very much.”

The woman lifted her head in panic and stared at me. “How do you know that?”

“I’m psychic,” I said. “Sometimes I just know things.”

The woman began crying harder so I led her over to a bench and we sat down together.

I sat and waited as she cried. She needed someone with her, and I knew it was wrong to try and comfort her; she needed to feel her feelings.

Finally she calmed and asked me about a necklace I was wearing. It’s my meditation mala I made for my recent Temple of Light retreat. I explained that each crystal represented a student, and that the final few crystals represented my family, my community and the world. I then took my mala off and showed her how I used it to meditate and pray for them all twice a day.

“Could you pray for my Nana?” she asked me.

So I held her hands and we sat in the middle of Carindale with our heads bowed and our eyes closed and I prayed aloud for her grandmother, and for this woman and her family, and I asked for her Ancestors and Angels to gather around them and watch over them all.

After which we talked about death and souls and love, and how souls and love are eternal. Finally comforted and okay the woman thanked me. We hugged and then went our own ways. I’d never even learned her name or given mine.

A few minutes later I was sitting in a little corner of a sushi restaurant, watching the plates come towards me in an endless stream of yumminess. Now I began to cry. Not over the events with the distressed woman – anyone who knows me will tell you that my daily life inevitably looks like that. I’m here to be of service. My door is always open and my light is always on. Somehow, people find me when they need me. No, I wasn’t crying about that. I was crying about freedom.

I was sitting on my own in a sushi restaurant. I had driven myself from one side of town to the other, I’d merged with other cars on the freeway, I’d negotiated traffic, I’d parked the car, done hill-starts in a manual car on a steep road, visited places of business, enjoyed a fruitful design meeting about projects I had shelved several times due to poor health, and now I was in a fancy shopping mall buying myself lunch. After which I would drive myself home. ALL ON MY OWN after ten years of relying on Ben to drive me almost everywhere, and for the past five years of having been almost a complete prisoner to illness that had stopped me driving.

I was free. And it felt like a miracle.

After lunch I drove myself home and immediately rang my sister to share the adventures of my morning. Later that afternoon I drove to my elderly mother-in-law’s to drop off some groceries, make her dinner and keep her company. It was a very full day indeed.

Wow.

That’s all I have for yesterday… Wow. I got my life back. After years of suffering all kinds of horrors due to Lyme disease I am finally well enough to reclaim my independence.

Wow.

Thanks for sticking by me as I’ve walked this long road. I’m not done yet, but I’m well on my way. I think that deserves a few tears at a sushi train!

Sending the biggest love and hugs your way, Nicole  xoxo

PS –  if you want to join me for the last retreat of the year you can find out more here: Soul Sanctuary – Working With Crystals. But it’s almost full, so please act quickly. I won’t be running this particular retreat again any time soon, so this is your one chance for this one, and it’s going to be AMAZING!

Meditation mala and a happy driver!

 

 

It’s crowded here right now…

“Nurses dispense comfort, compassion, and caring without even a prescription.” ~ Val Saintsbury

 

While I’m busy on bed rest just now I’m being very well looked after.

Harry and Rufous take turns to stay with me during the day.

Except for nap time, when we all bunk in together.

There’s no chance of me moving. I’m well secured to the bed by their heavy heads.

During the night they are there beside me every time I get up (which is lots due to my UTI still not resolved).

I feel very loved and cared for.

I still don’t seem to have much energy and tire after the simplest activities, but I can finally see some small improvements, so I’ll keep resting and following doctors’ orders.

June is a fabulous month for attending to our own wellbeing. I hope you’re carving out some time for yourselves too. Your health and happiness are important. Please don’t play second-best in your own life!

Biggest hugs and love to you all,

Nicole <3 xoxo

 

 

Superbugs: My First Real Taste of Fear

Pretty as a child’s picture, but not fun at all! ESBL E. coli Image from www.scitechdaily.com

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”
~ Frank Herbert, Dune

 

Wondered why I haven’t been blogging this past fortnight?

Last year, in the aftermath of major surgery, I became infected with a UTI (urinary tract infection). You can read more about that here. I had a catheter at the time while my bladder healed from a tear and it seems that this is how I picked up this little bug. A hospital-acquired infection.

No biggie, I thought back then. A simple round of antibiotics and it will be fixed.

Alas, no. This particular infection, ESBL E. coli is a superbug. In other words my little infection was antibiotic-resistant. It was okay, I was assured. There were still antibiotics that would work.

I was given oral antibiotics in hospital and then more when I got home. Apart from being slow to clear the infection, these particular antibiotics also caused me vision loss. Ocular toxicity and crystals forming in the back of my retina mean that even now my vision hasn’t returned to normal, although it is 80% better than what it was in October last year.

After the vision loss I decided to step away from my specialists ( a gynecologist and a urologist) and work with my fabulous local doctor who is also my acupuncturist. Using diet, chinese herbs, IV Vitamin C infusions and acupuncture we finally got my bladder infection sorted, my eyes improved and me feeling really good again.

Hooray. I beat the superbug! I went off on holidays and ran at life full tilt. It felt marvellous.

Until late March when I became infected with Shigella, a nasty gastrointestinal bug that laid me out flat and totalled my already-compromised immune system. (I have late-stage Lyme-disease. It complicates everything.)

My UTI flared up again, and my local doctor took a urine specimen. It was Easter Thursday, and we didn’t expect a result quickly. But we got one on Easter Saturday. It was the same superbug – ESBL E. coli. No worries my doctor said. It’s resistant to quite a few oral antibiotics but there are some it has sensitivity to. We’ll get you on them right away. And he did.

I took a first course and then a second, but I wasn’t noticing much difference. In fact I was beginning to feel worse.

We took a second specimen and discontinued the drugs.

This infection felt different to the one I had in hospital in 2016. Back then I was pissing blood and tissue and was in complete unrelenting misery, needing to pee every ten minutes and then only producing a bloody dribble. This time my urine was cloudy, and my entire lower pelvis ached but although I felt awfully uncomfortable I didn’t feel like I needed to pee constantly. Instead I felt like something was about to burst inside me. Car rides over bumps were agony, and I couldn’t even bend down to trim my toenails because of the pressure it put on my bladder. My back ached, and I couldn’t sit or lie comfortably.

On Friday 28 April, the night before my retreat, my doctor called me at home, quite late. I still had the superbug. It was no longer responsive to any oral antibiotic. He’d consulted an Infectious Diseases expert about what to do next.  I needed to report to hospital early the next morning for IV antibiotics. One big dose should do it and then I’d be able to head to retreat as planned. Important, seeing as I was running it! And just to be safe I’d have a second dose on Monday lunchtime while everyone was on a break.

Getting ready for my IV antibiotics and finding it hard to believe that things had escalated to me needing to go to hospital to be treated.

But I didn’t feel better from my massive IV antibiotic hit. I tried not to panic and focused on other things.

Monday morning my doctor rang me early. I was in my room, getting ready for breakfast before a big day of teaching. My lab work showed that my superbug was now resistant to this IV antibiotic too. I was going to have to be admitted to hospital and try a new antibiotic, very strong, and given in infusions eight hours apart for five days.

My wonderful PA Dana and I madly restructured the course to allow me to be a hospital inpatient from late every afternoon until mid-morning the next day, then duck back to run the retreat in my seven hour window of free time.

We coped okay, but the drugs made me feel even more awful.

Resigning myself to being in hospital in the middle of my retreat

On Tuesday morning just as I was about to head back to my retreat the Duty Doctor came racing into my room. I couldn’t leave. The superbug was now no longer responding to the latest drugs. There was only one real option left. I was to be given a new drug straight away. My own doctor kept talking to the Infectious Diseases specialist, and I was given incredible care by the staff at Byron Central Hospital.

We rolled onto the final option, with the same regime of an IV infusion every eight hours over seven days. Retreat finished midday on Thursday and my husband Ben raced my back to hospital to stay. No more gate passes for me!

I’ve been really ill before. I’ve had some very big scares. But nothing compares to this one.

As Ben drove me back to hospital after my retreat concluded I realised that even after a full week of IV drugs I still wasn’t feeling improvement. I was struck with a sudden thought. There weren’t many things left to throw at this infection. It was a sobering moment. My darling husband. My precious pups. What if there was no more time? If things went downhill there was no time left to finish my memoir or my pirate tales. No time to go to the places I had wanted to travel to. No time to finally be well and just hang out with Ben. Or to go do yum-cha with my sister. Or go listen to my brother’s band in some Tasmanian pub on a Friday night.

Byron Central Hospital – best staff ever!

It took until Sunday night before my symptoms went from escalating to turning the corner. By that stage I was also taking a drop of Frankincense essential oil on my tongue every ten minutes. When my symptoms began to remit I took it back to half-hourly, and then to hourly. I’m not ashamed to say that I also called on God, my Ancestors, my Guides and on the healing energy that my students and friends were sending me.

Somehow, things finally went in my favour.

I’m home now. And I’m feeling wrecked from the enormous stress and quantity of drugs I’ve had to subject my poor body to. On doctor’s orders I’m on two months of rest to build my immune system back up. My next retreat has been postponed until September. We’ll give you more details on that soon.

 

Right now every bladder twinge, every burning sensation or cramp makes me wonder if we killed it. Or if this damned bug still lurks inside me, waiting for me to drop my guard. Something still doesn’t feel right. I’m trying not to worry about it. But of course, I am.

During the day I’m fine. But at night my dreams are all nightmares where the infection was never completely cleared and when it flares up again there are no more drugs and I die.

Suddenly, all that talk about antibiotic-resistant bacteria being the major threat of the future just got personal and very, very real.

 

So, apart from looking after yourselves, what can you do to make sure you don’t end up where I have? Eat well. Rest enough. Get some sunshine and some exercise. Only take antibiotics when prescribed by a doctor, and take them exactly as directed. Wash your hands well after going to the bathroom and before preparing or eating food. It’s simple basic hygiene but it helps enormously to stop the spread of infection. Probiotics and fermented food help too, by keeping your gut health strong. Ladies, when using the bathroom wipe from front to back to stop bacteria from your bowel potentially ending up in your urethra and bladder. If you’re immuno-compromised don’t take risks. Be extra vigilant with your hygiene and don’t be afraid to wear a mask and to use gloves or hand sanitiser.

And whatever you do, don’t get Lyme disease. Especially in Australia.  But that’s a whole other story…

The beautiful waterlillies some of my students brought me during my hospital stay.