healthy me header

Up until this point, I haven’t been one of those bloggers who puts it all out there like some of the other bloggers with Lyme who I admire. But yesterday I had the pleasure of sitting in my favorite hospital in a cold sweat on a bed of bloody sheets in one of the classic living with Lyme episodes I can’t wait to put behind me. So as much as I prefer to focus on the positive, I feel like it can’t hurt to acknowledge those less than bright moments that come along with living with and overcoming any chronic health condition.

Today I ended up at the hospital because the kidney pain I’d had for weeks had escalated to the point where I felt like I couldn’t honestly care about Rapper X’s upcoming album feeling the way I felt and the only responsible thing to do would be to finally get it checked out. All the taking it easy, detoxing, cranberry juice, yogurt, and lemon water hadn’t done anything to ease the pain, and  my daily calls to my general practitioner’s office had yielded only a Sept 17th appointment. I was doing my best to hold out until then, but at this point I’m so over living for the next doctor appointment the way some people live for the weekend. It’s one of the many times I’ve had to make the call on which symptoms/potential infections warrant the doctor and which I can treat at home, and I only wish I had the successful track record of someone of average health to make me more confident. As it stood, I gave in and made my way to the hospital to have it checked out on my time.

Say “Lyme” and half of the doctors you talk to will immediately shut down. Either they know nothing about it (“that means you got bitten by a bug, right?”). Or they’ve heard too much of the debate going on in our nation’s courts to want to get involved or make any decision that would look like they’re taking sides. All understandable reactions and all indicative of the place Lyme holds in the medical field right now. But difficult nonetheless when someone who has no choice but to live with this condition gets caught in the cross hairs. Once she saw Lyme listed in my records, the doctor that had been assigned to me decided there was no reason to look for any additional cause of pain. So we did the basic pee in a cup and take some blood routine in which a basic IV insertion went so wrong that both me AND the nurse nearly passed out. It was not pretty.

It’s episodes like these that finally made me want to learn as much as I can about the human body and health in general, if anything to be able to look at things objectively enough not to freak out but to remain calm when everything else is going haywire. Researching Lyme has helped me ask better questions, take more control, and offer better advice to those in the same boat. But as far as understanding it all goes, I still have a lot to learn and most of what I know is based on simple experience. Which is why I had to find out the hard way that I can drink at least 8 cups of water a day and still land in the hospital with “dehydration” (their diagnosis). And why I had to go through the aforementioned rogue IV episode and dirty my fave pair of jeans just to figure that out.

A lot of living with Lyme is acting as your own advocate and nurse rolled into one. How much pain is too much? How often do I need to check my own kidneys, liver, and chemical panel while taking all these prescription drugs? What side effcts do I put up with? What interactions do I risk? And of course there are the more frequent “smaller” decisions that take just as much mental energy: can I get on the train today when I’m feeling like this? Can I smile and fake feeling great in that big meeting today? Can I sit through this presentation without having to excuse myself at least once? Sometimes it’s these decisions and the little things I have to do to compensate for my choices (yes, I’ll take that meeting and I’ll wait until afterwards to have  lunch just in case I don’t feel well when I eat) that leave me mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted at the end of the day and which make the idea of marrying wealthy and retiring young so appealing. (I kid, I kid. But it totally is tempting, right?) 😉

Right now I’m nearing the end of my treatment, and all in I’m doing better than I’ve ever been. But just reaching this point has been a two year uphill battle through diagnosis,treatment, herxes, backsliding and forward climbing that has left me in major need of some time off to do nothing but mentally recover from what feels like a war to win my health. I have no doubt that I’m emerging victorious here, but as as the saying goes, I think a change could do me good.

This summer I’ve been finding my escape in daycations, staycations, lazy weekends, and the inspiring blogs of others who are doing all they can to live their healthiest lives possible. Which is why, on Every Lil Step, I break things down into manageable goals and take them one step at a time. Happiness, health, and spiritual wealth are possible if we just keep on keeping on. This blog entry is the first of my new “Healthy Me” column in which I’ll check back in, talk about my own progress in healing, and keep it real so to speak.

For those of you with no interest in reading about the small victories and minor upsets along the way, look for the Healthy Me header and skip right over. But for those of you reading who know what it’s like, maybe we can inspire each other. Until then…

Oh, and the kidney pain… that reached its peak (I hope) last night before bed after I’d downed probably 8 cups of water in the last two hours of the day. I woke up with sharp abdominal pain around 5:30 AM, continued to down glasses of lemon water and flush myself out as I tossed and turned for the next three hours, and felt better by the time I finally decided to start the day around 8:30 (late as usual these days). Was it just dehydration? Who knows. But I’ll be following up with my family doctor in that September 17th appointment to make sure it’s all good.


Link of the Day: I Heal Myself on All Levels by Louise Hay [via Eureka!]