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!

 

 

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

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

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

 

The Blessing of Sleep

Sleeping Beauty by Foxfires

Sleeping Beauty by Foxfires

“Even a soul submerged in sleep 
is hard at work and helps 
make something of the world.” 
~ Heraclitus, Fragments

 

No proper blog today. Something miraculous happened last night. My friend Sally came over yesterday afternoon and brought me a rock she’d found for me in Nepal. As she left a gentle rain began to fall, and I began to find myself getting sleepier and sleepier.

Still clutching the rock I hopped up onto my bed, listening to the soft fall of rain on the tin roof. Effortlessly I drifted off to sleep.

And only woke up now. Fourteen hours later.

So, I’m still all sleepy and half awake, but feeling deeply revived and calm after some amazing nocturnal adventures, which I shall blog about tomorrow.

Have a beautiful day.

Hugs and Blessings, Nicole xx

 

A Little Bag of Comfort!

Image from ZingTravel

Image from ZingTravel

“There’s a sorrow and pain in everyone’s life, but every now and then there’s a ray of light that melts the loneliness in your heart and brings comfort like hot soup and a soft bed.” 
~ Hubert Selby Jr., Requiem for a Dream

Right now I’m pushing through an aggressive round of drugs and herbs to treat my Lyme disease and various co-infections. Oh goodness yesterday was tough. In fact my misery had started late in the afternoon of the previous day, from which time everything deteriorated.

At first I meditated. Then I tried to distract myself with a thoughtful gift from a friend who had packed me a little bag full of prompts, sounds and smells to take me on a journey through France, all from the comfort of my bed.

Eventually though, my physical pain and discomfort became too much for those kinds of imagination games. My very bones ached, my head throbbed as if it might explode, my skin burned, it felt like a million monsters were scratching and biting at me. Nothing I did seemed to reduce my suffering. How was I going to cope with weeks more of this same horror?

I needed some help.

Reaching over the side of my bed I groped around in my ‘Lucky Dips’ bag, and pulled out the first one my fingers found.

Here’s the little Love Letter I chose for myself. Perhaps it will have a message for you too…

My Lucky Dip Bag #1. All of the items inside were chosen randomly and placed in bags ready for when I might need them. Because of the way I put these packages together I have no idea what the contents will be.

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Lucky Dip #1 contents:

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An Oracle Card from Doreen Virtue’s Goddess Guidance Deck:

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A random note of encouragement from me:

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A Kimberley Amethyst I picked up many years ago in the company of my Aboriginal Aunties:

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I hugged that rock to me all day and used it as a focus point while I meditated.

‘It will all be worth it’, I reminded myself.

‘My prayers have been heard and are being answered.’

I slept with the crystal under my pillow. I slept! This morning I woke up feeling a little better. Less pain. More optimism. 5 weeks, 3 days to go…

Whatever challenges you’re facing right now, I’m encouraging you to keep going. It will be worth it! You’re in my thoughts, prayers and meditations.

Much love to you, Nicole xx

The Freedom of Four Wheels

Cartoon Car by Cassius

Cartoon Car by Cassius

“Not all those who wander are lost.” ~ J.R.R. Tolkien

Something fabulous happened late last week.

I drove a car. All on my own.

Yeah, you might be thinking. No biggie. But actually, for me, it was.

I haven’t really driven a car since November 2012 when my health took a turn for the worse. Problems with my heart. Problems with my eyes. Problems with my concentration and reflexes and spatial knowledge. It became untenable for me to drive.

I’ve had to rely on my husband or friends to take me places. Mostly though, I just haven’t gone anywhere. My world shrank small. Honestly, while I was so sick it didn’t seem to matter. Public transport wasn’t an option either. I had no strength to walk long distances or to wait around when I could have been home in bed.

A few weeks ago I began to notice a positive shift in my health after months of horrible uselessness. More energy, more alertness, better reflexes, eyes that mostly work. I received the okay from my doctors. I could try driving again.

For my first outing I drove the short distance to a local coffee haunt at six in the morning, my husband beside me. There was not a car on the road and I felt like a teenager under the watchful eye of their father. I was nervous but excited. Oh, the sensation of freedom! The joy of four wheels! What a rush!

freedom-quotes-sould-quotes-Freedom-is-the-oxygen-of-the-soul.

This past weekend I drove from my farm to Brisbane, a two-hour trip, with Bert the dog for company. I have my independence back. I was able to go back to work. I could head out to the store when I needed something. I drove across town to meet up with friends for breakfast. I took myself to my own doctors’ appointments. And last night I drove myself home to the farm. Hooray! I’m sustainable again. I can look after myself. I can drive.

On the last few miles of our trip last night, as we travelled down the winding narrow country roads that lead to our farm, I put the windows down. Bert and stuck our heads out the windows and sucked in lungfuls of clean cold farm-scented air, and I got why dogs find car rides so thrilling.

There is something quite empowering about being able to drive, about jumping in your car and going wherever you want, whenever you want. I’d never realised the importance of that freedom, that liberty. My car is nothing less than a magic carpet.

Makes me wonder where else I might dare to go…

Image from

Image from Justin Perricone

Photo by Ollie Craford. Lyrics by Defiance, Ohio.