Lemons 'n Lyme

When life gives you lemons, use them to beat Lyme


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Lyme Treatment and Supplement Update June 2017

I know I haven’t written a real blog post in a while. I’ve been much more active on Instagram and YouTube lately. I have a recipe coming soon for the blog, though, so don’t worry (too much)!

I posted a video earlier this week on my YouTube channel with a full treatment and supplement update for June 2017. Watch below if you are interested in what sorts of treatments I’m doing as of late.

 


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Lyme Disease Awareness Month

Today is the first day of May which means it’s the first day of Lyme Disease Awareness Month! I spent April working on a video project for this month. I wanted to flip the script on chronic illness and share some positives people had gotten out of being ill. I truly believe everything happens for a reason and that we even get sick for a reason, so I wanted to find out what others had gotten out of their healing experience so far. I was super inspired and motivated by everyones contributions and I hope you will be too!

 


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My Favorite Detox Baths

If you aren’t subscribed to me on Youtube, you should be. I haven’t been announcing here every time I post a video and if you don’t want to miss one, head on over to my channel and click that red subscribe button!

My Youtube is filled with tips and tricks for healing Lyme, some food stuff, and a few random videos for fun on occasion :).

I posted this video a few weeks back but wanted to make sure you all saw it. Detox baths are one of my favorite ways to, well, detox, also to relax and even help kill Lyme!


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Rosemary Faux-tatoes (Paleo/Vegan)

Mashed potatoes are a classic Thanksgiving dish. If you eat paleo you may still eat them on Thanksgiving, but if you are on any type of strict paleo diet or version of it, they are probably out of the question. They are for me with being on a low-fodmap, nightshade free paleo diet.

My favorite mashed potato substitute is mashed cauliflower. That’s a pretty classic trade in the paleo world, but it can get a little old. I decided to spice this dish up and just in time for Thanksgiving dinner ;). So this week I’m bringing you another super simple side dish that everyone will love.

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Rosemary Faux-tatoes

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 medium celeriac (celery root), peeled and cubed

1 small head of cauliflower, chopped into florets

1 tbs. coconut oil

1 tbs. coconut cream from the top of a can of full fat coconut milk (you can replace this with milk or more coconut oil)

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1 tsp. dried, crushed rosemary

Steam celeriac and cauliflower until soft and easily pierced with a fork. The cauliflower may finish cooking first, which is fine, just keep checking and pour out the cauliflower when it’s done to let the celeriac cook a little longer.

Once cooked, put the veggies into a bowl or food processor and add all the remaining ingredients except the rosemary. If using a food processor, pulse/blend until desired consistency is reached. If in a bowl, use an immersion blender or handheld mixer to mash everything together. I like my “faux-tatoes” well blended and fluffy but some like them on the chunkier side, so blend/process until you reach the consistency you love! Mix in the rosemary at the end and sprinkle extra on top for presentation, if desired.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Holiday!

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Guest Post: Advice for the Newly Diagnosed Lyme Disease Patient

I’m really excited today to be sharing a guest post by Kerry from Body, Mind, Lyme. Kerry was diagnosed with two autoimmune disease before finally figuring out the root cause- Lyme disease. Today she is sharing some tips for those recently diagnosed with Lyme and how to handle the diagnosis.

Although both of us have been dealing with health issues for quite some time and many of you reading this have also been dealing with Lyme for awhile, Kerry’s advice still applies. I know I get many newly diagnosed with Lyme reading my blog, as well, so here is some great advice for everyone! Let me know in the comments what you wish you would have known when you were first diagnosed. And don’t forget to head on over and check out Body, Mind, Lyme!

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Advice for the Newly Diagnosed Lyme Disease Patient 

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I suppose the silver lining of a chronic Lyme disease diagnosis is that you have a diagnosis. So many of our ranks suffered for years with no answers. I know the sense of relief I felt when I finally knew what was wrong.

But that is just the first step. Now you must venture into the strange maze of chronic Lyme disease treatment. Here are a few things I wish I’d know when I asked the doctor, “So, you’re sure this is it?” and she confidently and reassuringly said, “yes.”

1. You are not alone. 

It is scary to receive a diagnosis of a “rare” disease, but Lyme disease is not rare. There are 300,000 new cases recognized by the CDC each year, and some estimate a much higher number that go unrecognized or unreported. In my small circle I know 2 other people who have been diagnosed with Lyme. Once you start telling people about your diagnosis you will start hearing the stories, “my cousin has that,” “my uncle’s sister’s best friend’s niece has that.”

Aside from connecting with people who are 2nd and 3rd degrees of separation, I would strongly suggest tapping into the vast Lyme community on the internet.

The first place I looked was on Facebook and I joined a closed group for female Lyme disease patients all over the world and a regional closed group for people in Illinois (where I live) to share resources and ask questions. Then, I tapped into the blog world looking for posts from people who have had similar experiences to mine. Finally, I started my own blog to connect with other bloggers and Lyme patients with the goal of being a positive place for Lyme patients to stumble upon, like I did with so many other blogs, including Lemons ‘N Lyme.

There are countless blogs and social media feeds related to Lyme disease. I would suggest finding a few that share your attitude and approach to illness. I follow blogs and social media feeds that focus on positivity and a modified diet. Some people may want to follow blogs with a focus on research or a certain treatment protocol. The good thing is whatever you are looking for, you will find it.

I truly don’t know how Lyme patients diagnosed over 10 years ago coped with this illness without the internet.

If possible I would also recommend talking to Lyme patients face-to-face. I eventually joined a Lyme disease support group and have found it to be extremely helpful. If there isn’t a support group in your area, I would suggest having coffee with another Lyme patient who lives close by. If you live in a small area and are unable to find any other Lyme patients near you there is the option of Skype or continuing to form connections online.

The good people of the chronic Lyme disease community are a wealth of support and information. We have to be, because besides some medical professionals, we are all that we’ve got.

2. It gets worse and then it gets better (and then it gets worse, better, worse). 

Now that you and your doctor have decided on a treatment plan, it is time for the roller coaster ride of Lyme recovery. I often describe the Lyme treatment process like an upward moving roller coaster. There are rises and falls, but slowly you will be making upward progress. It just doesn’t always feel that way.

I’ve found that on my bad days I can’t remember how I felt on my good days and on my good days I can’t remember how I felt on my bad days.

You’ve likely read up on Herxheimer reactions and if you haven’t here is a good post. You could feel better for weeks, then have a huge herx reaction as the bacteria die off and leave your body.

My doctor has a good strategy for showing me that things are slowly getting better. She documented all the symptoms I brought to her on our first visit (debilitating pain, headaches, dizziness, blurry vision, etc.) and each visit she asks if I still have those symptoms. Most are better, if not gone. I still feel sick, but she helps me see the progress.

This is a strategy you could do with your doctor or on your own. Write down all your symptoms and return to the list once a month to add new symptoms and track progress on your old symptoms.

3. Your treatment will not be like anyone else’s treatment. 

Dr. Richard Horowitz calls Lyme disease Multi Systemic Infectious Disease Syndrome or MSIDS. That is because Lyme usually comes with multiple coinfections (including parasitic and viral) and attacks multiple systems in your body. So depending on which coinfections you have and which systems they are going after you are going to present differently than any other Lyme patient.

There are common symptoms across most Lyme patients, like fatigue, brain fog, and pain, but there are hundreds of other ways the disease can manifest.

Other things that will affect your treatment plan are: autoimmune responses (such as Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis), food intolerances (gluten, dairy, etc.), gene mutations (MTHFR), and vitamin/mineral deficiencies (anemia).

When you look at the above list it is pretty clear why no treatment plans look alike.

Usually they include antibiotics and/or antimicrobials, supplements, and lifestyle changes, but it will always be a variation.

4. There is no right treatment, there is only the right treatment for you. 

In my first suggestion I tell you to tap into the Lyme community on the internet. In this suggestion, I’m going to tell you to take it with a grain of salt.

I tend to skip over any Facebook post that contains any negativity or controversial discussion. There are people who will say never take antibiotics and there are people who say antibiotics are the only thing that worked for them.

It is very difficult to land on a treatment that you are comfortable with. When I was undiagnosed, I said no to many different medications, including antibiotics. At the time, I just wasn’t comfortable with that particular treatment. I feel like at this stage of my disease I am on the right treatment for me, so I tend to take with a grain of salt advice on what to take or not take. I’m always open to a new approach, but it has to be something I am comfortable with or it will end up doing more harm than good.

5. There is hope. 

Lyme disease is a devastating diagnosis and will surely have many days where it feels like an impossible climb.

When you are feeling like you will never get better, go online and read one or two stories of recovery.

I’m 75% better than when I began treatment and I still have moments where I break down and cry. In these moments I use advice I heard on The Oprah Winfrey Show many years ago. There was a guest who had been hit by a drunk driver and had severe, disfiguring burns covering most of her body. She told Oprah that she allows herself 5 minutes a day to cry and after that she gets up and keep going. When I break down, I let it all out, then I get back up and keep going.

It’s all we can do.

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If we can figure out how to fly above the clouds over the middle of the ocean, we can heal

 


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The Lyme Interview

I hope everyone is having a great Friday, yay for the weekend! I recently did an interview with Kerry over at Body Mind Lyme and it would be awesome if you all would head over there and give it a read (plus let Kerry know how awesome she is). Kerry has a great Lyme blog and a regular series called The Lyme Interview where she interviews various Lymies, sharing their stories and how they remain awesome despite illness ;). My interview encompasses a little bit about my story, why I started a blog, and how I cope with Lyme disease.

I also wanted to share this video a new Lyme friend, April Moor, posted sharing the faces of Lyme and the variety of symptoms we deal with.


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Evening Routine: How to Prepare for Sleep

Hello, allow me to introduce myself.

My name is Victoria and I am the Queen of Insomnia.

I can stay up… all night… staring at the ceiling.

Although I take sleep medication (I know I know. Yes, I absolutely hate that I need it. Trust me, I need it), I still can manage to spend the night awake. But, over the past month I’ve not only developed a morning routine, but a night routine that helps to calm my mind and allow me to both fall asleep easier and stay asleep (hopefully I don’t curse it with this post).

It’s usually anxiety and a racing mind that prevent me from falling asleep and I’m slowly learning to calm those thoughts. The tips I provide below help with all aspects of the falling asleep process, though. Sleep is a huge issue for me, so the tips I provide aren’t lame “relax your mind, breath, think happy thoughts” tips. They are legitimate tips that have helped me and I think can, hopefully, help you, too!

Last week I shared my tips for STARTING your day and today I’ll be sharing my tips for ENDING your day.

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1. Pick a Bedtime: This is crucial. You need to pick a reasonable time for you to go to sleep. This is important because, not only is routine important (as we are learning), but picking a time allows you to determine when you need to start your wind-down process each evening and lets your body know WHEN it needs to start winding down each evening. Pick a time that not only works with your schedule but also is plausible given your life and personality. Don’t choose 9 pm if you are used to staying up until 2 am. You can get it to 9, but it won’t happen the next night. If your ultimate goal is to be asleep by 10 pm every night and you are used to being up until midnight, start by setting your goal at 11 or 11:30 pm, then slowly work back.

2. Begin Your Evening Routine 30-60 minutes Before Bedtime:  You’ve got to get your body ready for sleep. You can’t be raging to metal music one minute then expect to fall asleep the next minute. 30-60 minutes before the bedtime you’ve chosen, begin preparing your body for sleep. If your mind knows that bedtime is approaching, it will begin to calm down. You have to give it time to prepare itself and your body for sleep.

3. Lithium: Melatonin is a popular sleep supplement. But if you are anything like me, melatonin ain’t yo thang. Okay, but seriously, melatonin KEEPS ME UP! I’ve found lithium to be a much better supplement for sleep and anxiety. I take a lithium supplement about an hour before sleep to calm my brain (anywhere from 2-5 pills).

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4. Download f.lux: By now you’ve already probably heard about how bad screen light (from your computer, phone, Tv, etc) is for you at night and how it interrupts your minds ability to relax for sleep. Let’s be honest, we live in a world dominated by screens. And we all feel the need to check our email/social media/texts right up until we physically can’t keep our eyes open anymore. But that interrupts your bodies ability to not keep your eyes open anymore. I’ve go the solution: f.lux. It’s an application that adjusts the light on your screen to match evening glow and lessen the disruption of screen time on sleep time. You’re welcome, now feel free to email until the minute you pass out ;).

5. Choose Relaxing Activities: I’m not going to tell you to read a book or meditate for an hour before going to bed. But I don’t advise you do high energy or demanding (physically or mentally)  activities in that 30-60 minutes before bed. Watch a movie or favorite TV show, but I suggest choosing one that isn’t super action packed or scary (nothing that is going to raise your adrenaline levels). Reading is always a great option, as well. And if meditating is your thing, perfect! But I highly doubt your unable to sleep and reading this post if you spend an hour meditating before bed each night. Just create a routine and pick activities each evening that aid in relaxation and don’t awaken your body and mind.

6. Evening Yoga/Stretching: I know you might be thinking, why would I want to be active before bed? Won’t that disrupt sleep? Not if you pick a stretching or yoga routine that is calming and designed to help you fall asleep. This has been a life changer in my ability to sleep! I notice a difference on the nights when I don’t do my yoga routine before bed (I have a harder time falling asleep, staying asleep, am in more pain, and wake up early but exhausted). I recently posted my evening yoga routine video on YouTube and I highly recommend giving it a shot. Otherwise, I suggest you pick a couple of deep, relaxing stretches to do. Hold them and breath into them rather then moving quickly between poses. I also suggest doing your yoga/stretching close to your bedtime. I usually do this yoga routine anywhere from 1-15 minutes before sleep.

 

I truly hope these tips help you. I don’t take this topic lightly, as insomnia is a huge problem for me, so I really believe these tips can help you.

What tips do you all have for helping with sleep? I’d love to hear them!