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 reflectgrace.wordpress.com

Image by Semmick from reflectgrace.wordpress.com

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 boxyblogs.com

Image from boxyblogs.com

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 ❤ xoxo

A Not-Unexpected Delay in Plans

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“Most of the things we need to be most fully alive never come in busyness. They grow in rest.” ~  Mark Buchanan

 

There has been a lot of resting going on in our house just now.

Harry, home from the vet and minus his big broken molar, needs plenty of rest. He’s content to lie on the couch or the bed or the floor, or wherever else I am. He’s sore, and tired and not quite right.

I’ve been resting too.

I’m on new treatment for lyme, and it has knocked me for a six. I can feel it working, but it’s left me unable to get my head off the pillow for more than an hour at a time.

So Harry and I are resting together.

There is no mad running through the paddocks saying hello to the cows, there are no chasing games or chewing on bones for young Harry.

There is no work or being upright much for me.

Everything will wait. The work, the games, the life, the fun – it will all be there when we are ready and feeling better. Healing is big enough work for us, and it’s taking all our time.

For now we will nap, sleep and rest, keeping each other company. It’s not so bad. Cuddles and friendship and love always make us heal faster. And this bed is very soft, and the pillows smell of sunshine and lavender…

Image from pinterest

Image from pinterest

Feeling So Very Grown Up!

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“I feel wonderful and sad. It’s the gin.”
~ Stephen Beresford, The Last of the Haussmans

 

I know.

It’s a picture of a drink.

But it’s not just any drink.

That drink is a personal victory.

Let me explain….

For the next few days I’m attending an essential oils conference on the Gold Coast.

I’m staying in a fancy hotel. I’ll be in the company of people I adore, and I’ll be enjoying more adventures than I’ve had in quite a while.

But what is really making me excited is that last night I did something quite normal. (If you’ve ever suffered from a chronic illness you’ll know how exciting this really is!)

I was sitting in a lobby lounge with a girlfriend, when she decided that she felt like a drink from the bar. Without even thinking I agreed to have one too. The way I would have done so many years ago.

Just a simple gin and tonic, garnished with a slice of fresh lemon and one of lime.

It was refreshing, delicious and so very grown up. And this morning I feel absolutely fine!

How wonderful to reclaim a little bit more ‘normal’.

I know it was just one drink. But that one drink marked another milestone in my slow but steady recovery from lyme disease. Helped of course, by essential oils as part of my healing regime.

I’m looking forward to a day of learning today, followed by dinner tonight with good friends. I promise that if anything cool or amazing happens, I’ll let you know.

Hooray for being better and better!

Wishing you a day of magic and miracles too ❤ xoxo

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My Early Christmas Present

Image from securinvest

Image from securinvest

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image by Jeff Camden

Image by Jeff Camden

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh, the luxury of it all.

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

I lingered at a place which sold aftershave and perfumes.

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

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

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

It tasted like freedom. I had the best time!

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

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

Those wrapped gifts represent something profoundly significant to me.

My own little Christmas Miracle.

A returning wellness!

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A Big Green #Lyme Anniversary!

Image from The Cake Trail

Image from The Cake Trail

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

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

“Huh?” I replied.

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

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

tickindiary5 (1)

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

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

This is what I came up with.

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

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

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

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

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

No more.

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

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

The owl in the tree outside my window agrees!

barn_owl

Listening to the Universe…

nothing

“Part of doing something is listening. We are listening. To the sun. To the stars. To the wind.” 
Madeleine L’EngleSwiftly Tilting Planet

 

I came home to our little farm tonight. As we drove down the dirt road that leads to our front gate a great weight fell from my shoulders, and I realised that I had been holding my breath for the past five years, since my serious heart problems first began, and my prognosis became grim.

I am safe now, was all that I could think. Tears streamed down my face and I clutched my husband’s hand. He understood completely, because he tells me he has been holding his breath too.

We unpacked the ute and came inside, and I set up my laptop computer. It would not let me log on. Would not recognise my password. Would not work at all. It sat on my desk and defied my every attempt to let me in, even following the instructions over the phone of a techy friend who was sure he knew what the problem is. Without my computer I cannot access my blog, my emails, facebook, any of my work, the internet, nothing at all.

I rang the computer rescue technician. He can get to my house Friday, or I can take my computer and leave it at their shop and it should be ready by the weekend.

Three days without my computer? No work? No connection?

And then relief dawned. I had my little Macbook. I never use it for anything except writing books, but at least I could still blog, and connect and do some things.

It had 8% charge left in its battery. When I plugged in the power cord just now the light won’t come on and it’s not charging. I have wiggled the cord and tried seven different power outlets. Now there’s only 7% charge.

You’re kidding me, I say in frustration.

Maybe the Universe is telling you to take some time out, my wise husband said. You’ve had a big couple of days. Big news. Maybe you need a quiet space to digest everything and just be for a while.

I realised he was right.

Thank you, Universe. I get it. I am exhausted to my marrow. It can’t just be business as usual. I need some time to think, to cry, to sleep, to dance, to laugh, to cry some more, and to process all that has just happened.

I don’t need to hold my breath anymore. I am no longer dying, I am healing. That changes EVERYTHING.

I look at my little Macbook. 6% battery. Just enough to write this blog and upload it into the scheduler for you to read tomorrow.

I’m taking a few days off. I hope you understand.

I really need it.

I shall come back to you refreshed, and with a sparkle in my eye.

I’m blowing you a kiss and waving to your sweet face. See you soon.

I love you!

Here’s to deep rest and new beginnings…

EmbracingNewBeginnings

 

PS – As I finish my post, with 3% battery charge left, an owl lands on my clothesline and my husband calls me to come talk to it. I hope I have enough time to upload and add this picture I just took, before my battery dies completely. Isn’t she beautiful? I’m sure we will have much to say to each other. I’ll let you know when I return xx

Clothes line owl