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

Chronic Illness? This is a Spiritual Retreat for you!

“The lotus is the most beautiful flower, whose petals open one by one. But it will only grow in the mud. In order to grow and gain wisdom, first you must have the mud — the obstacles of life and its suffering. … The mud speaks of the common ground that humans share, no matter what our stations in life. … Whether we have it all or we have nothing, we are all faced with the same obstacles: sadness, loss, illness, dying and death. If we are to strive as human beings to gain more wisdom, more kindness and more compassion, we must have the intention to grow as a lotus and open each petal one by one. ” 
Goldie Hawn

I have a beautiful residential retreat coming up, from March 6 to 11 in Byron Bay, Australia. It’s a gentle retreat, a restorative retreat, whose focus is to help you develop and commit to a regular spiritual practice that nourishes, sustains and grows you.

When I think about this retreat, and the practices I will teach you, my heart swells with love and gratitude. These are the techniques I used on my own soul journey, as I moved from resistance into connection, from self-loathing to self-love, from fear into deep peace. These techniques are ones I still use daily, or often. They are what helped me to become more fully who I truly am, rather than who I thought people wanted me to be, or how I thought I ‘should’ be. Quite frankly, these practices have become the foundation of my spiritual and psychic life, and the reason I have been able to cope with suffering, pain and trauma. They are also the practices that have enhanced my gratitude, compassion and inner wisdom.

As many of you will know, I have suffered from serious illness and the limitations that creates for most of my adult life. In fact it was this chronic illness that first created the space for me to explore my own spirituality, intuitive and psychic abilities so much more deeply.

All of the techniques I will teach on this retreat, and the journey I shall guide you through, came to me when I was at my most unwell. Suffering and illness is often the doorway for profound spiritual awakening. I’m sure there are many of you who will resonate with that as the truth of your own journey too.

I’ve had inquiries from people with chronic fatigue and other debilitating illness, wanting to come to our next retreat but worrying if they are suitable or if they will cope. If that’s you let me reassure you… you’ll find a place to fit in and belong here in my Tribe.

Our Awakening to Spirituality Retreat is gentle. You’ll be supported to find your own rhythm for connection and inner journeying. There will be enough time to get from your room to the Hall and to the Dining Room. There is plenty of rest time and quiet time scheduled each day. Our days will be filled with meditation, reflection and simple spiritual practices, creative activities, good company, laughter, love and transformation. There will be friends to lean on, and we can find accommodation for you that is quiet and allows you additional solitude, or find a suitable roomie to give you company if that’s what you’re yearning for.

Our catering is geared for people with food intolerances, allergies and issues. Honestly, it won’t be a drama – we can work it all out. And you won’t be a burden to us, because this is how I’ve lived my life, and how I’ve often had to run these retreats as I have faced health issues myself. I understand pain. I understand fatigue. I understand anxiety and medication routines and incontinence and mobility issues and stupid dietary requirements that usually mean I have to lug my own food everywhere. I understand no one else understanding. I understand the emotional pain and isolation that illness can bring. I also understand end of life spaces. I’ve lived all of these things. I’ve created my retreats for my own needs, which are also yours. My retreats always have able-bodied people alongside people like me who have major health issues. And the health issues in the end are never a big thing. They are just something we manage so that we can focus on the real work – soul work.

Having a health issue is not a prohibitive factor for this event. In fact, it might be the perfect time for you to join us in a safe and non-judgmental atmosphere.

Your journey is my journey. Often when we are living with long-term illness, no answers to our health problems, a chronic or a terminal condition, we think that there will no longer be a place for us in the world. There is a place for you in mine.

I can show you spiritual practices that will help you to find your centre again, manage your pain, and give your life meaning and connection. I KNOW that when you begin to incorporate this soul-journey work and spiritual space in your own life that life will regain shape and satisfaction for you, no matter what your situation, or the nature of the days ahead of you.

If you need to talk further with us, please reach out. We are here for you. Our best email is nicolecodyinfo@gmail.com and Dana, my wonderful PA, can send you information and start the ball rolling to have you join us.

Able-bodied and completely well people are, of course, always welcome and invited too! My work is for you all, on a soul level, regardless of the skin you are in.

You can read more about the Awakening to Spirituality retreat here and here.

Love and gentle hugs, Nicole  xx

Diagnosis – Lyme Disease

Image from www.caryinstitute.org

Image from www.caryinstitute.org

‘All delays are dangerous in war.’ ~ John Dryden

There’s a war going on in my body.  In fact it’s been going on for a quarter of a century.  First there came the enemy invasion. There was no loud and obvious display of force. Instead it was an invasion by stealth. A mass of tiny bacteria, regurgitated from the stomach of a tick, entered my body via its bite.  My body fought back, and it’s been fighting ever since, but this is a war where the odds for victory aren’t high, and decrease resoundingly over time.

Amazingly, I recorded a tick bite in my sister’s school diary in August 1984, and actually taped the tick to the page! (Why would I do that?) A short while later I was diagnosed with German Measles, but looking back I am sure my rash was tick related, and anyway I had already had measles, and at the time no one else at home or school became sick. I was sixteen years old; bright, ambitious and high-achieving. Sadly, that was all about to change.

For some reason Simone remembered and dug the book out, all these years later…

TickInDiary5

Oh my goodness what a rough road it’s been since then.

My recent diagnosis after years of chronic illness is end-stage lyme disease with heart and neurological complications. I first received a clinical diagnosis of lyme weeks ago, based on my medical history and symptoms.  But I have come to distrust diagnoses – I’ve had so many, and been so disappointed when I’ve not been able to be healed of these things, or the diagnosis has later proven to be wrong. Then, two days ago, I received lab results that made the diagnosis definitive for me.  I finally have a piece of paper I can hold in my hands, reassuring me this whole thing is most definitely not my imagination.

It’s not a great diagnosis. There is much collateral damage after such a long time with this war raging within me. My results list brain lesions, advanced Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, lyme carditis and dilated cardiomyopathy, a weird undiagnosable multi-drug resistant gut parasite, severe adrenal fatigue, almost zero DHEA or cortisol or other good hormones, tumors on my ovaries, enormous uterine fibroids, lots of deficiencies due to malabsorption issues, and in fact I could go on. It’s a long and very depressing list, and the catalyst for it all is Lyme…

Here’s my brain in 2000. It’s much worse since then. In fact, I stopped getting SPECT scans because they became more and more depressing.  There is nothing quite like watching your brain get hole-y and feeling your cognitive function slide. Luckily I had a genius IQ to start with (seriously – LOL) so I had a little more up my sleeve, or at least that’s what I keep telling myself!

SPECT Scan A

I have fought for a diagnosis for a long time, and I’ve had many. Included in the list have been Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Ross River Fever, Q fever, multiple chemical sensitivity, ME, Fibromylagia, Post Viral Syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and multiple sclerosis (both later recanted), Bell’s Palsy, Guillain Barre, Acquired Brain Injury (I love this one – it sounds like I went down to the shop and just ‘picked one up’…), depression, non-specific auto-immune disorder, mitochondrial disease, endometriosis (but my gynacologist can only ever find gross inflammation, NOT endometriosis affected tisssue), and recently ideopathic dilated cardiomyopathy and congestive heart failure..

I’ve also been told over the years that this is all in my head, and that my condition is psychiatric. That’s done so much damage.  I doubt everything that happens. I blow off the worst of symptoms and take ages to act on new health problems. After complaining of severe chest pain on many occasions to my general practitioner, I was told it was stress related, given a script for ‘something to relax me’ and advised to ‘learn to meditate’. It was recorded in my chart that I was a hypochondriac two days before I was hospitalised with a major heart attack.

I always knew there was something VERY wrong, but it has been so hard to find doctors who would take me seriously, or who could manage me on an ongoing basis.  I’ve seen so many specialists and natural therapists, I’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on my health, and it is still my greatest ongoing expense. I’ve done everything you can possibly imagine in my quest to be healthy, but it’s never worked completely, and I’ve never achieved wellness.

Past life regressions?  Done. Faith healers, reiki masters, and psychic healers? I’ve seen the best. Diet?  I have tried and complied for YEARS with many, including being a raw food vegan, fasting, a macrobiotic vegetarian, an elimination and anti-candida low allergy diet, food combining, paleo, body ecology and a few other weird and wonderful ones.  I even drank my own wee!

Image from www.ukskeptics.com

Image from www.ukskeptics.com

I’ve IV chelated until I whimpered with pain at every session and vowed I would rather die than do one more treatment. I’ve detoxed and sauna’d, had my blood removed from my body and passed through ultraviolet light before being pumped back in again, I’ve done health retreats, hypobaric chambers, hormone therapy, psychology, psychiatry (they said my problem was physical and send me to an infectious diseases specialist), seen a geneticist, cardiologist, immunologist, gynecologist, ear nose and throat specialist, rheumatologist, environmental medicine specialist, and many other wholistic doctors and clinics. I’ve tried EVERY form of natural and complimentary therapy, and most of the multi-level marketing pills, potions and lotions.  I’ve also used vega machines, biofeedback, Hulda Clarke’s zapper machine and held onto electric fences in fits of inspired desperation after reading about farmers who had cured themselves of Ross River Fever doing the same thing…

I still use homeopathy, meditation, acupuncture, chinese and western herbs, nutritional supplements, chi gung, diet, chiropractic and prayer. In fact, I am convinced that my twice-daily meditation and visualisation sessions have saved my life and maintained my ability to function.

Over time I have become very good at managing my condition, and keeping things in a crazy kind of semi-balanced state. But if I’m honest it’s not living. It’s existing.  Existing with good bits and gratitude, yes, but I have been robbed of so much. So many years and opportunities I will never get back.

There is an upside, of course. I have gone deep within. I have done more work on myself than I ever would have, had I not walked this path. When everything else failed, I have always had my psychic ability and my spiritual connection. It is the one thing that allows me to say I wouldn’t trade this if this is the gift I received in exchange. But it’s a gift that isn’t very useful if I’m dead, which is the way I was recently heading.

So, now I have a diagnosis, what next?

One doc says it’s manageable but not fixable, one doc says it’s sort of treatable although he is not hopeful of a positive long-term outcome this late in the game, and one doc says to me I have drugs for the bacteria, and they’ll make you sick, but they might make you well – what do you think, Nicole?

I said ‘Give me drugs. Give me all the drugs. Cos I’m gonna kill all the things!’

kill all the things

In my long war I have used everything else, and it has all helped. But I have never used targeted antibiotics, anitparasitics and anti-microbials. So now I have a fistful of scripts and I shall rattle like a maraca but it’s something. And I am hopeful. Hopeful I can mend my heart and my brain.  Hopeful that my future here is not only a long one, but one with a better quality of life.

I’ll keep you posted. And I may spend a little more time blogging health things and wellness things, in with my usual mix of stuff. Over the past 25 years I’ve learned so much about health that has aided my journey. Perhaps some it will be useful to you too.

If I have one message for you out of all of this, it’s this: Back yourself.  Trust yourself.  We always know deep down, when something isn’t right.  Don’t ever give up looking for answers. Don’t ever give up expecting that you can have a better life.

Much love to you, Nicole ♥ xoxo

Image from www.weheartit.com

Image from www.weheartit.com

Some useful links:

Lyme Disease Association of Australia

Karl McManus Foundation Australia

Lyme Disease Association, Inc United States

The Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation

We All Have Days Like That…

Image from www.sodahead.com

Image from www.sodahead.com

“I don’t understand how a woman can leave the house without fixing herself up a little – if only out of politeness. And then, you never know, maybe that’s the day she has a date with destiny. And it’s best to be as pretty as possible for destiny.” ~ Coco Chanel

Ah, it’s inevitable, isn’t it?

The one day you leave the house, looking like a fright but convincing yourself that it won’t matter, is the one day you bump into everyone you know.

Now that we are no longer flooded in and life has returned to normal, I really did need to pop into town and pick up a script for some new medication I’m on. These meds are rather fearsome, and have been making me just as sick as the problem I’m trying to sort out.  Think vomiting, diahrrea and misery. And a whole lot of other unhappy-making things we won’t go into here…

I felt so ill I wondered if I could get out of my pyjamas.  But I made a supreme effort and managed a clean t-shirt and shorts.  I gave up on my hair, which was knotty and wild, and soap and water was my supreme effort for my face.  No make-up, although I did think to use a squirt of perfume. LOL

Don’t worry, Nicole, I said to myself.  You’ll just be in and out.  No-one will even see you. In and out I chanted as I drove from the farm into our little hamlet we importantly call a town.  Just five minutes.

Of course I parked MILES from the chemist. And as I walked up the street TWELVE people stopped me to say hello.  Thank God for the perfume, cos most of them wanted to hug me. Dropped in my script and had to wait so I decided to go to the Post Office.  Outside I ran into someone else who said, ‘Gee Nicole, you’re taking casual to new levels’ followed by ‘you look like you’re coming down off meth!’ I should have laughed, or thought of something witty but all I wanted to do was burst into tears.

Furtively I ducked into the alcove where the mail boxes are.  And wondrously my box was stuffed full of letters and little cards claiming that I had a package. When I went inside to claim them I ran into an old friend from the CWA (Country Women’s Association) and had to have the obligatory update on EVERYONE, followed by a hug, but bless her she didn’t notice what a fright I looked.

At the counter, receiving my mountain of mail and recognising the senders, I burst into tears. I felt suddenly and completely wrapped up in love and well-being.

We all had a good laugh at my emotional reaction, but a kind laugh, and I left with armfuls of stuff, picked up my drugs and managed to get back to the car hiding behind my packages.

Let me share with you the magic that was my yesterday…

2013-02-04 14.59.54

Inside the most gorgeous of hat boxes was a home for fairies and their treasures. The love and attention to detail still reduces me to happy tears.

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A diary, hand-covered in pretty pink and green fabric, for my heart healing, and with a note admonishing me not to work so hard.

2013-02-04 15.02.03Delicious home-made soaps for me and Ben, and for my dogs!

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Notes of love, encouragement and support…

2013-02-04 15.04.18A book to uplift me.

2013-02-04 15.02.16And the most exciting, wonderful and happy-making card from my blogging friend Daisy in New York.  After the floods and me being so sick we’ve had to cancel our holiday which would have taken us there, so to receive a card of the New York Skyline means I can put it beside my bed and visit it in my imagination for now, instead. (Promise I’ll get there one day, Daisy!)

2013-02-04 15.04.47

We’ve all had one of those days. One of those days that reminds you of the caring nature of people, a day that swells your heart with gratitude for your friends, that proves how fortunate and blessed you are, just when you might have been feeling otherwise.

Life has a wonderful way of shining a light into our darkest hours.

Right now I’m beaming out some of the love and gratitude to you.  Bless ♥ xx

The Magic of an Epsom Salts Bath

One of my favourite things is soaking in an Epsom Salts bath after a long day of psychic work. It works to soothe me on all levels – body, mind and spirit.

Because the magnesium from the Epsom Salts is absorbed directly through your skin it allows even people who find it hard taking magnesium orally to be able to top themselves up with this magical mineral.

Magnesium is an important element within our body.  It is used by our nervous system, and also by our muscles.  When we do psychic or metaphysical work we also burn up lots of magnesium. Magnesium is a co-factor in over 300 enzymatic actions in the human body, such as co-factoring with calcium to build and sustain healthy bones. It gives us energy, prevents muscle cramps and pains, calms us and helps us sleep.

How do you know if you might be magnesium deficient?  There’s a list of common symptoms here.

How to make your own Epsom Salts Bath:

Firstly, you’ll need a bathtub!  If you don’t have one then a big bucket to soak your feet in is the next best thing. The ingredients I list are for a bathtub, so reduce them accordingly if you are using a bucket.

Fill your bath with water that is tolerably hot (it needs to be able to flush your skin slightly pink) without burning you.  You need the water hot so that your pores open and because it aids osmosis.

Now add two heaped cups of Epsom Salts to your bath and stir to dissolve. Spend at least ten minutes having a good soak!

Extras – for that Deluxe Bath Experience

You can also add some essential oils to your bath to enhance the experience.  Use a few drops of Lavender at the end of the day if you want to relax – this is a great sleep enhancer.

3 drops of Rose Geranium, 3 drops of Bergamot and one drop of Vetiver will reduce stress and help rebalance hormones.

2 drops Rosemary, 3 drops Basil and 3 drops of Lemon will perk you up, enhance your mental clarity and memory, and boost your immune system.

Epsom Salts baths also detoxify the body, and work wonders on your aura – that energetic bubble our physical bodies reside within.  Epsom Salt baths clear our auras and strengthen them.

I often put a few tumbled crystals in my bath too – favourites are smoky quartz for clearing negativity and low vibrations from my aura, rose quartz for love and nurture, and amethyst for enhancing spiritual connection.  I often throw in a carnelian too, as it is a great physical healer and energy booster.

Enjoy!  ♥ ♥ ♥