The Best Spagyric Tincture Deal You’ll See All Year!

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“A wise man ought to realize that health is his most valuable possession.” ~ Hippocrates

 

Those of you who follow my blog know that one of the factors that has been instrumental in my healing journey with Lyme has been to take the Mare Maia herbal spagyric tinctures that have been so carefully and loving crafted using organic plants and time-old methods by my friends Paul Hardacre and Marissa Newell in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

These beautiful alchemical formulas support a return to balance and health from a myriad of conditions, and I can’t recommend them highly enough.

 

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

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

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

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

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

On my desk beside me at all times I have Lion’s Mane Mushroom, Lemon Balm and Turmeric. I also have a current love affair with Raw Cacao and Digestive Blend.

So – the good news. If you need to re-order, or you’ve been thinking about getting some, now is the time to buy!

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The Mare Maia Laboratory is relocating, so until this Friday 19th of February, you can buy any three tinctures and receive an additional two tinctures for free. Your purchases will directly and meaningfully help Paul and Marissa to relocate and to expand their current family business, as well as benefiting yourself and securing a massive bargain.

You can go here to read more about the tinctures, and to order:

Mare Maia Relocation Sale

Please feel free to share this post with your friends and family. Let’s spread the word about Paul and Marissa’s wonderful herbal tinctures and help more people to benefit from their work. Thank you.

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A Little Lyme Recovery Update

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“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

 

I can honestly say that I’m improving as I heal from late stage Lyme disease. It’s noticeable. To me, it’s remarkable. Bittersweet, humbling, world-expanding.

In November 2012 I was dying. I suffered from dilated cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure and my organs were slowly shutting down. No-one really knew why. I had lesions on my brain. I struggled to walk. I couldn’t drive. I had uncontrollable Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and the hormone levels of a ninety-year-old nana. Things that I’d held to as my last bastions of humanity were being stripped away from me, worst of all my capacity to write and hold a story in my head. I clung to life, such as it was. The only things working for me were my marriage and my psychic work. Both endured, despite my increased limitations.

In December 2012 a wonderful doctor diagnosed me with Lyme Disease, a condition I had never heard of. I was diagnosed clinically, and then by bloodwork sent to an overseas laboratory. I felt ecstatic to finally have a diagnosis. I was told there was treatment!

And then my diagnosing doctor announced that he could support my many ailments, but would not treat my Lyme Disease, because it was ‘controversial’.

WTF?????

Seriously. There is a condition. I am diagnosed. By a well-regarded and very competent doctor. I am DYING. Treatment is controversial, so sorry. Can’t do.

In a first-world country. In 2012. A disease with a treatment protocol, and I can’t have it?

It beggared belief.

I wanted to be well. I hungered to be well. I was dying. I didn’t have time to muck around. I found another doctor.

That doctor saved my life with an aggressive campaign of antibiotics, antimicrobials and antimalarials.

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He was shut down before my treatment protocol was finished.

I found another doctor. Resumed treatment after having slid terrifyingly backwards while being unsupervised. I began to improve again.

That doctor closed down his practice.

I found a doctor prepared to treat me ‘under the radar’ and in ways that would not jeopardise their licence. But then they couldn’t keep offering me the treatments that worked.

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Each time I improved a little more. Thanks to these champions of medicine who risked their own licences and careers to uphold their medical oath and treat me and others like me.

Meanwhile I worked with acupuncture and herbs. I meditated and visualised.

My lyme doctors kept being shut down or unable to offer me effective treatment, but because of their brave actions my health has slowly been reclaimed.

Here I am now, alive. My treatment regime now is herbs, essential oils, diet, acupuncture, meditation and energy work. I continue to improve.

But let me put that in context:

Things that have improved since January 2013:

  1. No longer dying! (Yep, I rate that pretty highly.)
  2. My heart is almost back to normal, although I still have pain and inflammation of the lining, which has resulted in a recent hospital stay. Again.
  3. I can write, and hold a complex story-line in my head.
  4. My Hashimoto’s has resolved enough that I no longer need thyroid meds.
  5. I am no longer on any drugs.
  6. I am seizure-free.
  7. Gone from 17 brain lesions to 3. Those three are shrinking too.
  8. Massive, massive improvement in cognitive function.
  9. Short and long-term memory working better.
  10. I can do maths again (after over twenty years of not being able to place numbers sequentially or do basic math tasks).
  11. I have more energy for daily living, and can now do small amounts of exercise.
  12. My capacity for work is now ten-fold!
  13. I can forward-plan without having to take into account the high likelihood of croaking it anytime soon (except for normal statistics and variations, of course).
  14. I am sometimes well enough to drive.
  15. My food allergies and intolerances have gone.
  16. My pain levels have diminished significantly.
  17. My incapacitating frequent headaches are down to an very occasional blind-siding incident.
  18. My vision is almost normal, except when I am tired.
  19. I am arthritis-free.
  20. Liver and kidney function and all bloodwork vastly improved. Vastly!
  21. I am able to have an occasional late night, an occasional alcoholic drink, an occasional socialising event like a normal person would.
  22. I can climb stairs and hills and still breathe. No chest pain. No breathlessness. No recovery time needed. Exercise is now my friend.
  23. I can follow a movie, read a book, hold a longer and more technical conversation.
  24. My balance has significantly improved and I can actually walk up and down stairs unassisted and safely. Balance not good enough to wear any kind of heel yet, but that’s okay. Flat shoes are safety shoes!
  25. I am well enough to travel again.
  26. I have glimmers of libido. (Talk to any chronically ill person and their partner and you’ll know what a big deal this is!)

Things I’m still working on:

  1. My sleep is often interrupted by pain. Deep pain in bones and nerves. Pain that makes me whimper. Aching pain that won’t resolve with meditation or medication. Not every night anymore, but enough to be annoying and limiting.
  2. Occasional neurological bladder incontinence. Yep, unexpected peeing of my big-girl pants. It’s very occasional. Which means almost impossible to plan for. Truly, you can’t die from it so overall it’s not so bad.
  3. Energy levels – I rise early, but am also in bed most nights by 8pm. Sometimes 6pm. Sometimes 4pm. That’s not normal! However, in my waking hours I get so much done these days. It’s thrilling. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
  4. Startle reflex. I am jumpier that a ‘Nam Vet. Magnesium helps. Meditation helps. But still. Awful. And makes me a horrible passenger, let alone driver.
  5. Driving. I’m still not really doing it. My reflexes and balance are not flash yet. Peripheral vision? Awful. I am good with known routes in low traffic times and where parking will be easy. Brain processing speed? Slow. My brain can’t process night driving at all. Too much going on. I can’t drive when tired. I am almost always tired.
  6. Optic nerve issues and occasional loss of vision in left eye. No biggy, but annoying.
  7. Daytime pain. Sigh. Yep, still got it, although it is improving. Stabby eye pain. Heart pain. Leg pain. Foot pain. Ice-pick headaches. Sudden severe nerve-pain like electric shock.
  8. Memory-gone-on-holidays moments. Especially when tired.
  9. Brain overwhelm from too much stimulation. Which then leads to poor sleep.
  10. I get tired really easily. I still can’t live like a normal adult. I can have a late night if I have a quiet week. (My idea of late is 10pm!) Big days of work? No problem. But need big days of rest and early-to-bed.
  11. Weird symptoms that revisit every so often. Think rashes, spasms, pain and unexplained annoying symptoms. Too long a list to mention, but they are now occasional rather than usual events.
  12. Libido. God, I miss that. What is sexy to me these days is the idea of a long uninterrupted sleep from which I wake refreshed. Sleep? Mmmmmm! Mind you, small improvements. After so long of a completely flat battery, any kind of spark is noticed and appreciated!

My life gets better all the time. I am a master of optimism, flexibility and working within my limits. I deal in reality but expect miracles to show up. And they regularly do.

I am healing from lyme.

Wherever you may be in life right now, know that change is always possible. Believe in the impossible until it becomes probable. Don’t give up on yourself, or on your dreams. Defy the odds. I have. You can too.

All my love, Nicole <3 xoxo

Lovely Herbal Tincture Combos to Help You Heal

Paul and his son, with a butterfly pea tincture-in-progress

Paul and his son, examining a butterfly pea tincture-in-progress

“A wise man ought to realize that health is his most valuable possession.” ~ Hippocrates

 

My friends Paul Hardacre and Marissa Newell of Mare Maia, who make the spagyric herbal tinctures that have been so beneficial in my own journey back towards health, have just created some very good value packs with three tinctures for the price of two. Each of the three packs offers the same degree of savings, i.e. USD$75.00 worth of spagyric tinctures for just USD$50.00 – and that’s inclusive of shipping. It’s really good value!

Paul and Marissa run a small family business in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where everything is hand-crafted with love and care. I’m happy to share their products here, in the hope that you might find some benefit too!

The information and purchase details are below.

Much love, Nicole <3 xx

 

Relax-Max Combo

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This pack features tinctures of German Chamomile, Butterfly Pea Flower and Goji Berry (one of my most favourite-ever tinctures!). The combo is great for over-thinkers, worriers, poor sleepers and anyone suffering from adrenal fatigue.

Order it here – Relax-Max Combo

 

Immune Boost Combo

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I swear by these herbs. Anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and they support good gut health as well as being jam-packed with anti-oxidants. The perfect combo to support an ailing immune system or to help your body shrug lingering low-grade infections. If you have lyme disease or co-infections I recommend this combo!

Order it here – Immune Boost Combo

 

Body Balance Combo

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If you’re run down, suffer from auto-immune disease, are burned out from stress or things just aren’t working as well as they used to, then this is the combo for you. It supports and re-regulates the immune system, improves cognitive function, improves digestion and tonifies the organs and systems.

Order it here – Body Balance Combo

 

A Lovely Spagyric Tincture Offer For My Readers

Image from Mare Maia

Image from Mare Maia

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Mare Maia tinctures I’ve enjoyed:

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

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

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

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The Lovely Offer for My Readers:

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

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

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

Turmeric and Ginger Tea Recipe

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

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

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

 

Turmeric and ginger tea is a zippy little brew.

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

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

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

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

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Ingredients for two cups – basic recipe:

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

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

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

Two cups of boiling water

One tablespoon of maple syrup – or more, to taste

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

Method:

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

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Optional extras:

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

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

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

Hint:

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

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Breathing Yourself To Sleep

“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh

 

Do you ever have trouble getting to sleep, or falling back to sleep if you wake up during the night?

One of the great issues that many lyme sufferers (like me) experience is insomnia, which may also be coupled with pain. Of course worrying about lack of sleep or having a brain that won’t switch off only exacerbates things. But we can’t heal if we don’t sleep.

Many years ago a meditation teacher taught me a simple mindful breathing exercise, which has now helped me get to sleep more times that I care to mention, even in the face of great discomfort. This breathing exercise is easy to do, and it helps settle our bio-chemistry so that we can more easily move into that space of deep relaxation and sleep.

Whatever the cause of your insomnia, I highly recommend this simple breathing exercise.

Here’s what you do:

1. Settle yourself comfortably in bed.

2. Breathe in through your nose for a count of four.

3. Hold that breath for a count of seven. (Don’t strain – if seven is too hard, try for six, or even five – as you become used to this exercise the holding part will become easier.)

4. Exhale through your mouth for a count of eight (or once again work up to this number if it is hard to get to eight at first).

That’s all you need to remember. 4-7-8.

As you do this meditation you will find that your mind quietens, your heart rate will slow and so will your breathing – all things that help us move into sleep.

Image from imgkid.com

Image from imgkid.com

Extra help: You may  like to try a little Lavender essential oil on the soles of your feet and on the back of your neck. Cedarwood oil on the back of the neck will also help.

Other uses for this cyclic breathing exercise: If you are studying or working and feel yourself becoming tired and losing focus a few minutes of this breathing pattern while you sit at your desk will help you to calm and settle. Stand up and go for a short walk afterwards and you’ll find yourself much more refreshed.

On Overcoming Obstacles

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” ~ Calvin Coolidge

 
I have always wanted to be a writer.

I wrote my first full book when I was four, complete with illustrations.

Writing was what I did. It was who I was.

But contracting Lyme Disease at sixteen changed all that. I began to lose words.

By the time I moved to the Kimberley, when I was in my mid-twenties, things were significantly worse.

I write about it here, in the draft of my memoir, based on that period in the Kimberley with my Aboriginal Aunties. At the time, my diagnosis (I’ve had many before Lyme) was relapsing and remitting multiple sclerosis.

“I stepped out of the laundry block and looked up at the sky. It was filled with beautiful streaky…

It was filled with beautiful…

You know.

Those white things.

What were they called?

For the life of me I couldn’t find the word. White was all I could come up with. I knew they weren’t called white. I knew they had a name. But that word, whatever it was, remained dangerously elusive.

Fluffy?

Bear? No, that wasn’t the right word. I sighed with exasperation. Now I couldn’t remember what bear was. But it was brown. Like a tree trunk?

A quiet horror awakened in me. As I ticked off the possible causes – lack of sleep, dehydration, low blood sugar – I knew it would be none of them. I dreaded to think that it could actually be multiple sclerosis. This dull worry exploded inside me, and a moment later my inner warning lights came on. My vocabulary had shrunk dramatically over the past several years, but I’d never lost a word before. I’d always been able to find another word that worked. If I couldn’t say beer I’d say ale or tinny or cold drink. I had good coping strategies. Even when my cognitive function hit a major low I’d managed. Point in case: I had been coping with my new lack of ability with numbers. After all I could still read words, I could still read numbers. I found a way around the problems.

This was the first time I had looked at something familiar and gone completely blank. Words, knowing how to string them together, writing them, speaking them, crafting them, had always been the one thing I could do well. Writing was my fall-back plan. My secret love. What if I lost my words? I couldn’t bear to think about what my life would look like if that happened.

All week it worsened. I never did remember that word for the white things in the sky, and couldn’t even cheat a little by looking them up in my dictionary because I didn’t have a starting point. I also noticed that things didn’t stick in my brain. After reading and re-reading a fax and still struggling to make sense of it I resorted to a list of short bullet points, summarising as I read each paragraph. The bullet points kept my thoughts in order, and jogged my memory. I was reluctant to ring my doctor back in Brisbane, worried that he’d tell me to leave the Kimberley and come home immediately, from which I’d eventually end up in an aged-care facility with all of the old people who had also lost the ability to think and do for themselves.

I became suddenly, stupidly, enormously insecure. Carefully I observed myself, keeping notes in my journal each day. My cognitive dysfunction became worse when I was tired or stressed, and my best time was from when I woke up until lunch. There was a black hole each afternoon where my brain function was massively retarded, and it picked up a little again after four in the afternoon. I rearranged my day so that my mornings were all about problem solving, writing and math. My afternoons were filing, tidying and simple tasks that didn’t need much brain power. No-one else noticed that anything was wrong. I still managed to work each day and complete my duties. However, no matter what I did, the sudden decline in my mental ability was terrifying.”

 

That terror, that dumb incapacity, that lack of ability to find the right words, to remember the plot or the characters, to hold a train of thought? Those things have plagued me my whole adult life. The last paragraph from my memoir extract? That sums up living with Lyme. That sums up three decades of my life.

Sure, I’ve still written. I’ve compensated. I’ve found ways to get words on the page. But they haven’t always flowed, and as the number of pages increased so did my confusion.

Now, after two years of hard-core drug treatment, and a host of other helpful modalities and herbs, my brain is healing. I am healing. My function is coming back.

At my writers’ boot camp this weekend, words have been pouring out of me. Good ones. Words, that when I read over them later, make me weep.

Because I have found that place again. The one that has been lost to me for thirty years. I can remember plots and characters, I can see where something needs to be edited, and I can reach into that wellspring of ideas and still find my way back from the catacombs.

That’s a handy thing.

After thirty years I have so much to say!

Your take-home on all of this?

Don’t ever give up.

Ever.

Be resilient. Be determined. Trust that you will find a way.

Holding you, and those intentions for you, in my meditations and prayers,

Nicole xx

Image from danhilbert.wordpress.com

Image from danhilbert.wordpress.com

Lit up like a Lyme Green Christmas Tree

Image from Thinkstock

Image from Thinkstock

“You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,
Love like you’ll never be hurt,
Sing like there’s nobody listening,
And live like it’s heaven on earth.”
~ William W. Purkey

 

Well, you know by now that when I’m quiet there’s a good reason.

This time?

My doctor recommended a new combination of Lyme drugs.

Result?

A night of small seizures and a misbehaving brain.

The drugs are well prescribed, but the dose was too high and too many lyme bacteria and their associated friends died too fast, releasing toxins into my brain, after which I did that herx-induced shaky-limbed, sweat-soaked seizure dance all night.

I also woke with my voice totally gone.

Two days of sleep, no meds and lots of binding agents to remove all those toxins and I’m almost back to normal.

Normal for me, anyway. Normal right now is: my hands and feet are burning and yet strangely numb, there is a pain behind my ear that won’t shift, my vision is blurred in my left eye, I get intermittent stabbing pain in random parts of my body, feelings like electrical shocks get me up in the middle of the night, and after I eventually sleep I wake soaked in sweat. Don’t let it get you down though. I don’t. This is nothing compared to some of the Lyme-induced misery I’ve suffered.

It’s actually okay for me. I can deal with most of these problems, and it’s far better than where I was a year ago. Two years ago. Back then I was just this side of dead. My improvement since then has been legion. I mostly have a wide smile on my face. Because? Progress!

It humbles me, the power of these tiny critters who have wrought so much damage in my body. I no longer under-estimate them or think that simply taking drugs will be an easy fix.

While at the doctor’s on Monday I also got my latest bloods back. After two years of targeted high-dose antibiotics, herbs and essential oils I have the best blood and hormone levels and organ function I’ve enjoyed in decades. The upswing in my body is amazing. And I can feel it!!!

I can honestly say I’m winning now. Battle weary as I may be.

Best Christmas present ever! 🙂

But oh how sad that I have had to fight for thirty years to get a diagnosis, that lyme disease is still not acknowledged by most of the Australian medical community, and that effective treatment is something I continue to fight for rather than a right, as it is for so many other diseases and conditions.

If I must live in the Lyme Light, then at least let me help others to know that there is hope, that there can be healing, and that things will change. I will keep pushing for that change. Hang in there, Lymies!

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For more information on Lyme disease go to: 

Lyme Disease Association of Australia

Karl McManus Foundation Australia

Lyme Disease Association, Inc United States

The Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation

Slowly Slowly Better…

Image from Mental Floss

Image from Mental Floss

“I saved a man’s life once,” said Granny. “Special medicine, twice a day. Boiled water with a bit of berry juice in it. Told him I’d bought it from the dwarves. That’s the biggest part of doct’rin, really. Most people’ll get over most things if they put their minds to it, you just have to give them an interest.” 
~ Terry Pratchett, Equal Rites

“Though the doctors treated him, let his blood, and gave him medications to drink, he nevertheless recovered.” 
~ Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

 

I’m off to see my Lyme Doctor today. Another date to tick off my calendar, another date to record my progress, update my meds and share my journey with a physician who truly cares.

Slowly, slowly I feel like I am being returned to myself. I’ve made a few short solo trips this past week, driving myself in the car. That’s a major breakthrough. I’ve begun a slow return to work. I’m having fewer terrible days, and more stretches of consistent energy. I’m writing. A lot. And that’s the most exciting thing of all.

There’s still a long way to go, and I’m still exhausted easily and often, but oh, how hopeful I am that this slow journey will take me back to the flow of life, where I can be fully immersed instead of simply cheering from the sideline.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress. Thanks again for your love and support, and for being here with me through all of this. Much love, Nicole xx

 

Heartbreakingly Wonderful News

“How strange that the nature of life is change, yet the nature of human beings is to resist change. And how ironic that the difficult times we fear might ruin us are the very ones that can break us open and help us blossom into who we were meant to be.” 
Elizabeth LesserBroken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow

 

Would you be surprised if I told you of the bittersweet joy that is my healing journey?

I have experienced deteriorating health since 1984, when I was bitten by a tick during a picnic in Brisbane. For thirty years I have fought to obtain a diagnosis and effective treatment for this invisible illness which has slowly but surely stolen my life.

In January, 2013, I was finally diagnosed with Lyme Disease.

Yesterday I went back to my Lyme doctor to investigate my progress, one year into our aggressive treatment plan which uses antibiotics, herbs and diet. One year on, both my doctor and I needed some kind of tangible evidence that this treatment plan was working.

Since my late teens, when I first became ill, I have tried so many things in my efforts to regain my health. Until last year I’d actually tried EVERYTHING I could think of except antibiotics.

EVERYTHING.

Natural therapies, complimentary therapies, medical specialists, psychology, hypnotherapy, past life regressions, chelation, ozone therapy, detoxing programs, every kind of diet, nutritional supplements, all kinds of machines and energy work, every network marketing product, spiritual healing, positive thinking, meditation, prayer…

Everything.

Three decades of my life, and hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of ‘everything’.

Some of that ‘everything’ kept me alive.

Some of that ‘everything’ even gave me limited improvement for a time. But still, I ended up with lesions in my brain, cardiomyopathy, and on a fast track to my own imminent demise.

A year ago I was dying.

I had my affairs in order. I’d made my will.

At the end of 2012, life, as I knew it and lived it, had diminished to such an extent that I knew there was nothing left to sacrifice. Piece by piece, year by year, I have given up on things. On dreams. On hopes. On normal things. Simple wishes. I kept making choices based on a smaller and smaller view of the world.

I found clever ways to keep existing, and to be grateful for being alive, despite those limitations. I made choices, not based upon the wishes of my heart, but simply based upon what I might cope with, while still managing to shape this small world of mine with meaning. And I told myself that was okay.

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I kept up a running commentary in my head, in my meditations, even in my dreams. I would be okay. I would get through this somehow. All of this misery must be for some higher purpose. One day, I’d tell myself, as I desperately tried to cling to the tattered shreds of my life. One day I would make sure that my life truly did count for something. One day, I would find a way to heal. I hung on and would not let myself face the possibility that it might turn out otherwise. One day I would be well again, I told myself.

No matter how hard it was some days to believe that this could possibly be true…

And then I did find a way. Through a set of divinely synchronistic circumstances, a brave and clever doctor diagnosed me with Lyme. Another brave and clever doctor was prepared to take me on as a patient and treat me. I was prescribed truckloads of antibiotics. Ridiculous amounts that made me more horribly ill, even as they were supposed to be making me better. If I wasn’t herxing, I wasn’t healing, I was told.

It took all I had to hang in there with the treatment. I’m glad I did. Under the care of this kind and compassionate doctor I have made incredible progress.

I still have a long way to go. But the lesions in my brain? Gone. The cardiomyopathy? Resolving. In fact, my heart is on its way to being normal. Do you have any kind of idea how big of a deal that is?

My bloodwork has improved.

I can feel strength returning to my body.

My mind works again. I mean REALLY works. Works so that I can write. Works so that I can function.

I’m not independent yet. I have another two years of drugs ahead of me. I still can’t drive. I’m still in pain. I am still fatigued.

But I am healing. I am alive. And finally my horizons are expanding rather than contracting, after just one year of intensive antibiotic therapy on top of all the other good things I was already doing.

I should be overjoyed.

Please, don’t get me wrong. I am overjoyed. My husband is. My family are.This is the best of news.

It’s just that I am also so very achingly sad right now.

As I stood in the shower on Sunday, Mother’s Day, I cried. Because of Lyme I have miscarried five times. I shall never be a mother. Lyme took that from me, and so much more.

My husband gave up his career to care for me, and it is too late for him to get that career back. The career that was his passion, his pride, his life.

We have both missed out on family time, and time with friends. Our finances and future security have been impacted, and our resources dwindled in my pursuit of health. Over the years we have watched genuine caring doctors, willing to think outside the box for patients like me who had fallen through the cracks, be persecuted and closed down.

Because of Lyme I have given up career paths, education, business opportunities, dreams, relationships. I have said no to so many things. I have been unreliable in my life, and with those I love. I have endured the criticism, judgement and contempt of many, including health professionals, family and friends. I have been in bed, in a quiet dark room, or living small, while life moved on without me.

I will never get those years back. My husband will never get those years back.

I held my Lyme drugs in my hand this morning. A few tiny pills. Pills that are making me well. Pills that could also have given me a whole other life, if I had only taken them earlier. I have recently learned that my government was advised back in 1990 that Lyme disease existed in Australia, and that doctors needed to be educated to better deal with this new threat, which was expected to become more common.

lyme letter

Imagine, if I had been diagnosed back then, at a time when I was already so ill, when my family and I had already suffered so much.

I’m grateful for all that this disease has taught me. I’ve learned humility and compassion. I can honestly say that living with Lyme has grown and shaped me in positive ways. It has forced me to walk a spiritual path, and to explore that path with a dogged determination as I looked for answers.

But in the end, my answer came largely from modern medicine. Alternative medicine and my spiritual practices kept me alive, against all hope. Modern medicine is what is giving me my life back. Antibiotics, anti-microbials, anti-malarials. Tiny little pills.

All that misery, all that pain which my family and I might have been avoided if only I’d been diagnosed earlier and been given those tiny little pills.

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For all of you dealing with Lyme and its co-infections, I urge you not to give up. Healing is possible. I am healing. You can too. Something in the mix will work for you, as it has for me.

This bittersweet symphony that is life is still beautiful to me, and I am grateful beyond words to be given a way back to health.

I am also grateful with everything that I am for all of you who have encouraged and supported me, who have sent me messages and cards and gifts that were often the ONLY bright moment in the darkest of my days. You deserve credit too, for keeping me alive and helping me to hang in there. Thank you.

Yesterday as much as I celebrated this glorious victory, this incredible come-back in the fight to become well, I mourned my losses, and grieved the life I gave up on the way to becoming who I am. I know that there is more loss there yet to be acknowledged. I know that grief can tap me on the shoulder, and cut me off at the knees when I least expect it. That’s okay. It’s part of my healing process too.

Today I am stepping forward with optimism, and renewed purpose. My life matters. I am here for a reason. In stripping so much of my life away I have come to know my core, my essence, and I know this next part of my journey is to embrace that fully.

I love that I am healing. I love that there is still time for me, and that I will be well enough to use that time to a greater purpose.

My progress is heartbreakingly wonderful news.

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Some useful links:

Lyme Disease Association of Australia

Karl McManus Foundation Australia

Lyme Disease Association, Inc United States

The Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation